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Happy Birthday: Mommy Style

Twin HugsI’m a twin, so I’ve always shared my birthday. It’s no big thing. I remember the first birthday that I celebrated while I was in college. My friends went all out with decorations and goodies, and I felt so special and loved. The day was all about celebrating me — and only me!

Fast forward about a decade and three kids later, and this mom’s birthday extravaganza isn’t nearly so glamorous.

While I highly doubt that there will be decorations or streamers, I can guarantee that there will be various art supplies left out for the newly walking 14-month-old to get in to.

I’m hoping for cake and goodies, but I know that I will only get to partake if I scarf it down during nap time or squeeze in my own bites while I am “sharing” with the littles.

People celebrating nothing more than the fact that I was born on this day thirty-something years ago? Not gonna happen. Now, finding the ever-elusive-yet-absolutely-necessary Minnie Mouse blanket before nap time? That, my friends, is cause for celebration in the Swaringen house. 

Fact is, my birthday doesn’t feel like my birthday at all — and it hasn’t for some time. 

My birthday feels like any other day. I have always loved sharing my birthday with my twin brother. But “sharing” it with my kids and doing the same things we always do is completely different. For just one day a year, I want my day to be about me.

I want all of my mom and home responsibilities to be handled by someone else. I want to eat yummy snacks and watch TV all day and be celebrated for my awesomeness. Wait, did I just say that out loud?! Isn’t that what I’m working so hard day-by-day to lovingly train out of my kiddos?

Yep, I’m selfish to the core.

We are all selfish, and becoming a mother won’t take that away. If anything, becoming a mom has made my own selfishness even more apparent. Selfishness is easily excused in a two-year-old. They can get away with hurling themselves on the floor in a 15-minute tantrum over not being able to wear flip flops when it’s 40 degrees out because, well, they’re two years old. But I’m not really that different. I pitch a little fit of my own when my little ones aren’t cooperating with my plan for the day. I might not actually be flailing around on the floor and screaming my head off, but I can honestly say that I’ve felt like doing just that on many occasions.

Just like my little ones, I want my own way. But that’s not always something that motherhood allows.

Motherhood asks me to put aside my to-do list and take up the CandyLand cards.

Motherhood asks me to lay aside my own television preferences and turn on Sesame Street or something else where the characters are entirely too excited when they find the letter “C.”

Motherhood asks me to wake up in the middle of the night when the bed is wet – again – and change out my kids’ sheets and pajamas with love and grace.

Which brings me to my my grown-up wish list…

My birthday is coming up, and I’m sure that the day will have it’s fair share of spilled cereal, lost socks and toddler meltdowns. Still, rather than getting something for myself, I want to give my kids something on my birthday.

I want to give them grace. And more grace. And more grace. Because they need it. And they need to see me choose grace over anger and frustration.

I want to give them attention. I want to postpone my agenda and get down on the floor to build with blocks or put together a puzzle.

And, ultimately, I want to give them a picture of a mom who loves them and loves being with them. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for. It is my birthday, after all.

Happy Birthday: Mommy Style


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