Do you properly celebrate your own birthday? I ask, because we’re often really great at creating a beautiful celebration for our child/ren, but can feel it’s a bit self-indulgent to make a fuss over ours. Or we don’t want to be reminded of how old we’re getting…..!
But it’s SO important to celebrate ourselves! And for our children to see us celebrating ourselves and being celebrated by others.
In my family, both my children and I have our birthdays within the first week of September. So since being a mum, my birthday has been overshadowed by my children’s (except my 40th, which was epic!). I’m normally absolutely fine with it, but this year, as it fell on a weekend, I thought I’d do something to celebrate. I organised a beautiful walk with girlfriends, followed by a picnic with all the families at the beach.
Only problem was that it was also Fathers’ Day. Which also often gets overshadowed due to the birthdays….
So I agreed with my hubby that he would go to the pub with his mates mid-afternoon. It seemed that way we would all get to do something fun. Except that the reality meant that I went home from the picnic with 2 kids who needed to be fed and put to bed. I had to unpack & tidy up and then spend the rest of the evening on my own. On my birthday.
Naturally I immediately blamed my husband for not being thoughtful. But then realised I had allowed this to happen. I hadn’t wanted to ‘make a fuss’, or demand that he’d forgo a boozy afternoon with the boys because I wanted him to be with me. I hadn’t thought I was worth it. Or that my birthday was important enough.
But I AM worth it and my birthday IS important enough! And I’m sure we could have found another way to celebrate Father’s Day & my birthday – together. (Which, incidentally, I made vividly clear to my husband when he rolled in later that evening!!!)
So why am I telling you about my birthday disappointment? Even writing this I can now feel judgement that it’s ‘a first world problem’, or that I should just suck it up as I’m an adult. To stop being self-indulgent.
Because when I told my mum & girlfriends about what happened, nearly every one of them had a similar story. Nearly every one! And nearly all of them grudgingly accepted that ‘that is just how it is’.
So I’m wondering how it is for you?!
And if it is like this for you, I’d love for this to CHANGE!! I’d love for YOU to be celebrated and adored on your birthday.
So here are some reasons why celebrating our birthdays is good for the world…..
1. The more we receive, the more we can give.
Being a mum can be HARD work. It can be boring, tedious, repetitive, draining and irritating. If we constantly give, give, give, we become depleted. We run out of vitality and patience. We snap and criticise and joy drains from our family life.
So we need to be comfortable in receiving the love and affection which we so readily give our kids. We are actually doing our families a service by receiving. The more we freely receive, the more we freely give.
2. It’s important to model to our kids
If we want our daughters to be celebrated by their partners and families when they are older, we need to show them what that actually looks like.
If we want our sons to celebrate their partners when they are older, again, we need to show them what that looks like.
So for our girls and our boys, we are doing our kids a service by celebrating our birthday!
3. Increased levels of self-worth
It can be confronting to have so much lovely attention, or affection from others. We can feel embarrassed or that we don’t deserve it. After all, birthdays are about just being born – there’s no striving or ‘achievement’ or even finding ‘the one’.
But that’s the beauty of birthdays – they are a celebration for purely being alive. How amazing is that?! No sense of failure, of not being worthy, or that you have to do ANYTHING. Just being alive for another year is cause for celebration by those who love you. I can’t think of anything more lovely than that!
4. Imagine if we were ALL celebrated
Imagine if we ALL felt special and cherished and adored. If we ALL felt worthy of a gorgeous day of celebration, just for us. How joyful we would feel as a collective. How loved. How valued. And then how joyful, playful and loving we would be to others – to the wider world as a whole. We could participate in a year-long birthday love-fest!
So as I prepare for my daughter’s dog-themed birthday party this weekend, I am reflecting on how I want her to feel every year on her birthday – special, loved, cherished. And I want her to have a huge amount of fun, play and laughter in her life, that’s heightened around her special day.
And I wish that for you too! So happy birthday for whenever you were born, and I hope you feel cherished and loved and celebrated too!
PS – this is shared with my husband’s permission, who is, for the record(!), a lovely, generous man…who also likes to go to the pub with his mates!