Last night I caught up with one of my best friends, Becky. She was telling me how she spent yesterday with another friend of hers who was celebrating her birthday in a rather unique way.
It seems this friend found herself disappointed every year when her birthday rolled around because her husband and four teenagers didn’t acknowledge her special day like she hoped they would. Instead of allowing disappointment to turn into bitterness and anger, this mom decided she would take things into her own hands this year for her birthday.
She announced to her family how she was going to spend her birthday. She took the day off work, invited her daughters and several girlfriends to join her for lunch and antique shopping for the day and then had her daughters drop her off at her husband’s work in the late afternoon so he could take her out for dinner. Her husband and teenagers seemed to have no problem meeting their moms birthday wishes…they were quite willing to join in the celebration she carefully communicated.
Becky said that she thought it was the neatest thing how her friend decided to take care of herself. And I had to agree.
Most of us would “hope” that our family would plan a celebration in some way. Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn’t. Occasionally something someone else plans isn’t exactly the way that the birthday person would actually have liked to celebrate their special day.
What if we moved from being reactive to being proactive more often, cutting out disappointment before it could ever even creep into the picture? What if we took more of a leadership role in how we’d like a special day to be celebrated (birthday, Mother’s Day, anniversary, etc) rather than “hoping” that our family members would think to ask us how we’d like to celebrate or better yet, read our mind and somehow miraculously match their plans with our desires.
I, for one, think Becky’s friend is on to something. So what do you think?
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I have learned this lesson too. About seven years ago, I was frustrated with my own disappointment over no recognition on Mother’s Day from my husband (and hence, small kids). So, I changed my thinking and decided to plan my own celebration of motherhood and bought myself a new cd to listen to, made my favorite, decadent sandwich, planned a picnic outing for the kids and myself and ENJOYED the day! Now, it is a holiday to look forward to with no outside expectations, family members choose to join me and I get to enjoy Mother’s Day with the ones who made me a mother. It really took me to change my attitude, and indeed, become more proactive. Thanks for your inspiring blog.
Great idea! So often disappointment comes because I just want my husband to “know” or my kids to do it from their hearts. Why not cultivate the environment for some great memories rather than pout about it?!
Yes, and in reality, Tristi, they can’t really know without us telling them.
I love this idea..I fall into the category of getting my feelings hurt when “that special day” is not celebrated the way I have envisioned it in my mind and that leaves room for disappointment and anger. This way is so much better..you can plan it how and where and with who you want. Why put unnecessary pressure on people who can’t read my mind..I’m using this!!
Yay! I’m glad it was helpful!
so timely for me!! My birthday is next week and I couldn’t agree with you more. My husband was planning on taking me out for my birthday Sat. night at a VERY busy restaurant with a bunch of our family….guess what….that’s NOT what I want to do. So, I told him that in a polite way. now we (I) am planning something different and he is fine with it. thanks for this post Jill!!
Gina, that is so neat! I’m so glad it was so timely for you! And Happy Birthday to you!
Several years ago my husband did not buy me a Christmas present. *GASP* I know! I was so disappointed and hurt. So from then on I have bought my own presents, wrapped them and put them under the tree. He doesn’t seem to care and the kids have no idea.
Jill, I know others who do that too!
You go, girl!
Thank you for posting this. This Monday March 7th, I will celebrate my last radiation treatment for breast cancer. My hearts wants to celebrate it in a big way, much more so than I ever have for a birthday. So after reading this post, I just informed my husband how I “at least” wanted balloons, and flowers. He grinned and told me that we will have to see what happens. But I FEEL better knowing I communicated that this is a big deal to me and I want to celebrate. Even if he doesn’t check off every detail, I know he will do something. It felt better than stewing that he might not recognise how I need to have this milestone acknowledged.
Tina, I’m so glad you were proactive and communicated to your husband! And congratulations on the upcoming celebration! My mom is a breast cancer survivor. You do have a lot to celebrate.
Hey Jill! My birthday is next month and I am going to plan my own celebration. I will be 7 months pregnant and will need some pampering, so I am going to plan a pampering time for myself as well as a really good friend of mine, who has two small children (both boys ages 2 & 5 months at time of celebration). Then, my husband and I will get a sitter for our 3 1/2 year old daughter, while we spend the evening at home together. Thank you so much for this post!