What were birthdays like in your home when you were growing up? If you were like me it was a day filled with joy and family memories. Well, years later when I was raising my children, birthdays took on a different look. I did not like this look as much but it was one that I had to learn how to make the most of. Let me help you learn how to change your expectations and find a way to embrace this new challenge.
I don’t know how your visitation schedule works, but for me whichever parent’s day the birthday landed on was the one who got to spend that day with the birthday child. But it was mandatory that the other parent got either the day before or the day after the actual birthday. It worked out great the years I had them. But on those years I had to wait it was sure a difficult adjustment.
If your situation is amicable, try to invite your former spouse over for cake and ice cream. In most cases when the tables turn they will extend the same invitation to you. For those of you who would not be able to do this, I challenge you to consider it for next year and strive to make it happen. The most important thing is to keep our children’s feelings top priority. This day is about them, not about us. And having both their parents with them on their birthday could be the best gift you could give them.
But if this is not possible and you do not have them on their birthday, we need to learn to let go of our expectations and make the best out of the reality that we have. Keep in mind, that the day is not as important as the person. So whatever the day that you get to celebrate your childs birthday make it special. Whatever you do, do not punish them by ignoring their birthday if they were not with you on that exact day. Put the details aside and focus on the celebration.
One thing I always did was I had a special day plate that was brought out at every meal that day. They knew when they got to use that plate they were special. I also have written birthday messages on mirrors or used window clings so that when they wake up they are instantly reminded that this day is all about them. Let them pick out their favorite meal for the night, play their favorite game or watch their favorite movie. Whatever you do, make the day full of celebration no matter what day it is. The more you embrace the celebration instead of the day, the more peace and happiness will be in your home.