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.