How to Celebrate Your Birthday With Your Kids

Happy birthday! You probably won’t hear that from your kids unless first prompted by your spouse. First they’ll beg you for food and cartoons. Once they are overtly reminded that it’s your birthday, they’ll whine that it’s not their birthday. Make this a teaching moment and explain how the calendar works while calculating exactly how many days it is until each of their birthdays. Do this more than once because they’ll keep asking. Go ahead and make yourself a mimosa. It’s ok, no one’s judging since it’s your birthday. (But don’t make yourself one tomorrow; Tomorrow is no longer your Birthday and that would make you a day-drinking unfit mother.)
Make sure you don’t expect to sleep in. Inevitably, one of them will wake up early and refuse to go back to sleep. They probably won’t be pleasant about this, yet they’ll insist that they aren’t grumpy and would very much like to start the day. Their persuasion skills could use some work, but their will is iron-clad, so you forgo the battle and start the day earlier than most mammals find acceptable. This will ensure you’re also in a foul mood. The day-long grogginess and foul mood are actually your gifts, since your kids accidentally told you what your real gift was over a week ago. 

Try and plan a fun outing. It’s great to spend time with your kids and celebrate another year of life as a Mother. Partially brought on by the early rising and partially by pure irony, at least one of your children will pick this outing as prime time to throw the fit of their life. This public embarrassment is also part of your birthday present. It pairs well with the grogginess. Feel free to call the outing a wash and pack everyone back up. You can always try again in the afternoon after naps, assuming you haven’t been banned from said place of outing. If this is the case, you can use this as another teaching moment on “not trespassing” and following “norms of socially acceptable behavior.”

When you get home, your spouse will feel bad that nothing has gone according to plan and may tell you to just leave. It’s wise to capitalize on this opportunity. Some quality time alone, sobbing in your minivan in a gas station parking lot can be mood-lifting. It’s your birthday, after all, so treat yourself.

Wipe the smeared mascara off your face and go order yourself some type of high calorie ice cream coffee drink. Enjoy your dessert beverage in solitude. While you’re lapping the whipped cream off the top of said drink (like all same and totally normal people do) you will spill your drink all over yourself. This is because you were about to enjoy something, be careful not to do that again today. 

At this point you’ll feel compelled to repeat your gas station parking lot sob-fest. This would be an acceptable next step. If you’re brave and want to temp the Mom-Birthday-Karma-Gods, you could attempt to reorder your meal-replacement coffee dessert, but by the time you go to reorder, they’ll undoubtably be out of whatever you want. So you should probably just head back to the gas station.

Once you’ve grown bored of looking at your phone in your parked car, feel free to head home, since there aren’t a lot of places you’re excited to go to while covered in sugared coffee syrup. Once you’ve worked yourself up to walking into the house, announce that you’re ordering pizza for dinner. Declare with authority that you get to pick the toppings and that no one is allowed to complain about them. Have a glass of wine with dinner while everyone complains about the pizza toppings.

After a second glass of wine, call your own Mother and apologize for all 18 birthdays you probably ruined for her.

Delicately suggest that your spouse should put the kids to bed. It’s your birthday after all, and you shouldn’t have to spend it arguing over which PJs to wear or getting 17 glasses of water for the thirstiest children in all the land. Kiss them goodnight after your frazzled spouse has wrestled them into bed and tell them how much you love them. 

Make your escape quickly. You don’t want your kids thinking they get to stay up late for your birthday. As you close the door, you hear a soft whisper, “Happy Birthday, Mommy.” You feel your heart melt and you realize this was actually the best birthday present. Embrace this moment as it swells large enough to overshadow the long list of mishaps that filled the rest of your day. 

Happy Birhday, Mommy. 

But don’t forget to do that load of laundry with those coffee soaked clothes right away. You leave that until tomorrow and it’s totally going to stain.

A Letter From My Anxiety

Hey, Hi! It’s me again, your anxiety! We’ve been friends for a while now so I feel like we can skip the pleasantries and I’ll just jump right in. You should really switch your kids to nitrate-free lunch meat. Yes, you’ve thought about it a couple times but haven’t quite had the time to do the research (I know you’ve been super busy with raising those munchkins AND using that endocrine-disrupting scented lotion again, I see…) So, I went through the trouble of doing all the research for you. I’ll spare you all the details, but suffice it to say, it’s slowly decaying your children’s organs. You should definitely switch. BUT, I mean, only if you want to raise humans with functional kidneys. 

While you’re at it, have you considered switching the milk to organic too? I don’t want to sound pushy, but you don’t want to know what all those artificial hormones and whatnot are doing to their poor little developing nervous systems. Trust me, it ain’t pretty. I know it’s pricey, but sacrifices, right?! This is totally the right call. I’ve crunched some numbers and if you just stop heating your house in the winter you can definitely afford the $7 a gallon liquid cow gold.

Speaking of gold, unless you want your kids to end up looking like those rappers with all the gold teeth, you need to make sure you’re using a clay-based tooth paste. I know I’ve warned you about fluoride before, but did you read those pamphlets I sent you? It’s good info with some terrifying statistics. 

Also, I’m aware that the kids hate it and act like you’re torturing them, but you should definitely be flossing their teeth at least twice a day. Skip your shower and that should make up the time for all the resisting, writhing and physical restraint you’ll have to do in order to get those itty bitty teeth flossed. It’s about time management and priorities. Slap on an extra coat of deodorant; You can stink for a couple years if it means no cavities for your little sweeties!! But since we’re on the subject, please make sure you don’t bribe them to sit still during flossing, that’ll make them entitled and manipulative. 

Not to be nosey, I just happened to notice that your kids have a bit of a summer tan. I know you’re applying sunscreen before any outside time, especially after I got you those statistics on skin cancer forming before age 2. But since you went against my advice to have them enjoy the sunshine from inside in long-sleeve shirts and pants, I wanted to make sure you are reapplying the sunscreen every 20 minutes. I know it takes you a full 20 minutes to put sunscreen on all three, but that works out pretty well if you just start over again with kid #1 once you finish up #3. 

I guess one upside to your ill-advised choice to expose your children to deadly UV rays and all the free-radicals that make most sunscreens fatal, is that they are getting less screen time. Any more than that one 24 minute PBS show could really inhibit their development. I know some days you would like to make dinner without kids hanging on your body and screaming, but letting them watch another show could have some pretty dangerous side-effects. I’ll keep it brief, but the list includes loss of muscle function, facial ticks, language delays and full-on brain melting. I think we can both agree that the high blood pressure and stress you experience during dinner prep are a small price to pay for those precious little brains. 

Listen, I feel like this was a good talk. Of course, you’re the Mom so it’s ultimately your decision…you can’t keep your kids in a bubble, after all! (Although I did send you an email about this fantastic new bubble suit for kids, did you read it yet?) So, yeah – this was great, let’s do it again multiple times a day for the rest of your life!

Looking forward to it!

– Your Anxiety

5 Times My Toddler Accidentally Insulted Me.

Just the other day, my daughter told me that my panties were “so big and beautiful, like a princess!” I was unsure which Disney classic features Princesses in large parachute style panties, so I tried to focus on the “beautiful” and ignore the “big.” Considering the possibility that my briefs could legitimately fit her as a shirt, “big” was probably an appropriate adjective. I’d like to say that this was the first time my kids have made me feel like less than the young, hip and svelte Mom I know I am, but they rock the backhanded compliment like it’s their job. Kids have such a special way with words that far too often ends with me sob-eating Rice-Crispy bars in my closet.

“I like your yellow shirt. It makes you look like a minion.”

Listen kid, I know that you’re just pulling from what you know and what matters in your toddler world, but I can’t help but feel the burn of being compared to a babbling turd-shaped dweeb dressed in overalls. I’d like to think I’m still rocking some sweet lady curves, but realistically my figure may have shifted from “hourglass” to “tic-tac” after birthing twins and a singleton, making the minion reference more accurate than I’d like to admit. Since you love minions, and probably think the idea of having one as your Mother is fantastic, I’m going to try my hardest to take this as a compliment.

“I love snuggling with you; Your belly is so squishy!”

Nothing melts my heart more than my littles wanting to snuggle, but I’ll take those snuggles without the running commentary on my less than firm midsection. I’m well aware that your former house, that stretched to capacity while simultaneously providing free rent for you and your twin brother, looks a bit like a deflated balloon. Or chewed bubble gum, or any number of unflattering comparisons that might pop into your filter-less brain. Just snuggle up and be quiet so I can pretend that you’re actually saying “you had twins and another?! Three kids?! You look fantastic!.

“When will I grow lots of hair on my arms like you?”

So I wasn’t ever self-conscious about my arm hair…until now. I would have been slightly less traumatized had the follow up question not been, “do you brush it, Mommy?”

Do I really have a lot of arm hair? Is it too dark? Are arm cornrows the way to go? Should I wax it? Maybe I’ll get electrolysis, or maybe I’ll just wear long sleeves the rest of my life. OH MY GOODNESS a three-year-old just made me spiral so hard that I purchased a laser hair removal package on Groupon.


“I want to wear my hair all lumpy, like yours.”

I‘m not the most manicured or put together Mom. I might not always be the cool Mom, wearing “clean clothes or “real pants,” but I’d like to think I am on the cusp of emerging fashion trends when it comes to the “messy Mom bun.” Critics might argue “you should at least brush it first,” or “one lump would be plenty,” but that really takes the “messy” out of it, now doesn’t it? Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but if my daughter is admiring my hair lumps, I’m going to say I’m doing something right.

“Why you got those lines on your face?”

It wasn’t always like this. I wasn’t always a sleep-deprived, legging-wearing, messy bun-sporting, minivan-driving, child-rearing referee. That’s the stuff wrinkles are made of, so I’ve likely acquired a few. Botox isn’t a part of my Mom-life beauty regiment, which mostly just involves scrubbing my face with a baby wipe once a day and a quick prayer to whichever Saint protects from pimples. Wrinkles happen, but so do first steps, first words, and the first unsolicited hug and “I love you.” For those moments, I’d wear a million wrinkles. Ok, maybe not a million, but if that’s the case, I can always reevaluate Botox.