For My Birthday, Let’s Stop Letting Our Kids Blow Out The Candles For Us

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happy birthday momGuess what friends? It’s my birthday today. Yay me! 27 years ago on this day, my mother got to deal with all of the crazy labor and delivery drama that I write about for a living. Unlike me and my daughter’s birth, my mom did so without an epidural. Thank you Mom!

On this special occasion, I’d like to bring up a subject that has bothered me for some time. I’m hoping that I don’t sound too selfish or cranky, but I’m sure you guys will let me know if I do. I don’t understand why we, as parents, constantly let our children blow out our candles or rip open our presents on our birthdays. I don’t understand why we give up our one special day and let our children take over. I think it’s time we put a stop to it.

Every birthday party I attend, it seems like the children in attendance are completely incapable of sitting back and letting someone else enjoy the limelight. On my dad’s birthday, he pulls his grandchildren onto his lap and let’s them blow out the candles with him. It’s expected. The kids wouldn’t know what to do if they weren’t allowed to get in there and “help.” The truth is, that’s my dad’s day. It’s his time.

A friend of mine never buys presents for her own kids on her birthday. She doesn’t want them to get upset that mommy is getting gifts and they aren’t. So for her birthday, she buys and wraps a present for the kids. She says, “It’s just really hard for a little kid to understand why one person gets a present and they don’t.”

And I know what she means. It is hard. Taking your child to someone else’s birthday celebration is always hard. Who doesn’t want a chance to open some presents? But I think that kids learn a lot as they sit back, watching someone else get excited about a new thing-a-ma-bob. They learn that not every day is their day, and that’s okay.

We teach our kids to share everything. We make them think that everyone should get a chance, all the time. That’s harder to do when you’re talking about sharing pieces of a whole big year. It’s more difficult to explain that a child has a couple months to wait before they get to have their own birthday party. But those moments also teach them a lot more about sharing that having to give up a ball for a couple minutes. Birthdays are a chance to teach your children how to be happy for someone else’s enjoyment.

It’s easy to let out kids take over our birthdays. It’s easy to pull them on our laps and let them “help” with the candles and the cards. I still don’t think we should do it. I think parents should start saying, “This is my day.” Not only will it make it easier next time you attend someone else’s birthday and your little one wants to run up and get involved, it’ll let them see that parents deserve a little time dedicated to them as well.

I don’t want to go all Ayn Rand on everyone, but I think it’s okay to be a little selfish on your birthday. Tonight, I’m blowing out the candles on my super yummy, homemade apple cake all by myself.

(Photo: Ilike/Shutterstock)