Birthday Traditions for Moms

My birthday is this week and as usual, I’ve got the birthday blues.

Birthdays used to be something you make a fuss over. An excuse to be creative. Just look at Pinterest. Thousands and thousands of colorful, creative and amazing ideas for celebrating people.

Little people.

There’s almost nothing there about Mom birthdays. Not one Pinterest board I could find.

Pretty sad considering the ones who do all these crafts and think up all these amazing traditions for their kids and family members? Moms.

That’s right. The fussmakers don’t get fussed over. They remember everyone elses favorite colors and bake cakes from scratch.

Do you know what their favorite flavor is? They were so busy remembering yours, they probably forgot their own favorites too.

I could have a tantrum, but instead I made this list.

I asked some of my friends about their own birthday traditions, either from the past or the present. I had to ask some of then twice because they immediately wanted to tell me what spectacular stuff they did for their kids, and not what was done for them as kids or that their families presently did. Part of the reason I asked was curiosity. But I’m also looking for an antidote to my own do-nothing special¬† then cry about how craptacular it was year-after-year birthday pity party. I’m looking for something that doesn’t require a lot of planning, crafting or a big fat check on the part of my family, because frankly, I am not sure they are up to it. It’s probably not personal. They just do better with routine and clear directions.

I just ordered my own gluten free cupcakes from Sprinkles. Which, come to think of it, might be a tradition waiting to happen. Check out these ideas from some of my friends and feel free to leave your own suggestions and traditions in the comments!

  • Treasure Your Mom! 1 of 14
    Treasure Your Mom!
    I allow my family to buy me nice gifts. It's not easy to do and goes against the mama image, but it makes me happy and them even happier. I get a pile of cards, my husband and kids decorate a cake for me, and as mentioned, a nice gift of my choosing. I've been known to order it and hand it over for wrapping. Hadass Eviatar
  • Play Tourist 2 of 14
    Play Tourist
    For my birthday, for years, I would give myself the day to become a tourist in my own town & do fun things not normally done unless you have visitors. As I live in NYC, that's top of the Empire State building, Circle Line boat tour, horse carriage ride thru Central Park, dinner at Russian Tea room, Statue of Liberty tour, etc etc. When the kids were young I stopped, but now that they're old enough to either be sent off with friends or come with, I've started it back up again. Varda Steinhardt
  • The Cake Matters 3 of 14
    The Cake Matters
    We have a family birthday song, and a tradition of a local bakery's cake. I throw myself a party most years. Always a Luau theme and my closest women friends and I give everyone a little gift with a note about what their friendship means to me, because their friendship is the best birthday gift ever. Oh, and did I mention Archie's Lakeshore Bakery??? Leah Weiss Caruso
  • 29 Again! 4 of 14
    29 Again!
    My husband got candles that say "29" many years ago and they go on every one of my birthday cakes. I am forever 29. Stephanie Schwab
  • Something Fun For Everyone 5 of 14
    Something Fun For Everyone
    Kinda simple, but i always make sure do to something fun. like the aquarium, zoo etc. maybe one of these days i'll do something fun just for me, but for now i always bring the kids. i figure if they're having fun on my birthday then it's a win-win. Desiree Eaglin
  • Childhood Traditions Preserved 6 of 14
    Childhood Traditions Preserved
    My mom always had my special birthday gift wrapped and lovingly arranged on the kitchen table so that I would find it when I came downstairs in the morning. After *forgetting* my birthday a few years ago, my husband does that now, too. Kim Tracy Prince
  • A Cultural Twist 7 of 14
    A Cultural Twist
    My mom would always make us our favorite cake and dinner. Mine was a lemonade cheesecake (she's since lost the recipe!) and beef stroganoff. I'm Mexican-American and we had Mexican food all the time except for a few days a year. My birthday was my one chance to have "white people food." Now on the rare occasions I'm home for my birthday, I only want Mexican food. I didn't realize it then, but my mom's is the best. Yvonne Condes
  • Breakfast in Bed 8 of 14
    Breakfast in Bed
    Every year since I can remember my mom has brought me breakfast in bed on my Bday. When I was in college she would drive the hour to bring it to my dorm room. and when I married she would drive the hour up to our home with 2 coffees instead of one. And now that I have kids she still comes every year and enjoys spending the morning with us all. She has never missed a year and the security it brings me knowing I can always count on my Bday breakfast is priceless. Kate Wilkinson
  • You Are Special 9 of 14
    You Are Special
    Sounds dumb... but when I was a little girl my Mom had this special red plate that said "You are special today." I have one now, and my kids get to use it on their birthdays or whenever they get an award. photo: Jen Klein
  • Let Them Eat Ice Cream! 10 of 14
    Let Them Eat Ice Cream!
    For me, it was a Birthday Party Dinner or Lunch at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor. I'm super excited they're back in business!!! For my husband, it was that mom made them their birthday dinner of choice that night (which still continues and hubby is 43). Photo: Jen Wiley
  • Sprinkles and Freebies 11 of 14
    Sprinkles and Freebies
    My birthday only comes every four years (Leap Year 2/29), so on the years I don't get it, I celebrate on the 28th AND March 1. In my younger years I would go skiing with my buddy whose birthday is the 28th, we'd both get free lift tickets. I usually buy myself something small and completely impractical. One year it was a piece of pottery from an artist in Ojai. This year I had an actual birthday and got to have a dozen Sprinkles cupcakes for free, and got to see Cirque du Soleil with my daughter, for free. Brigitta Schumacher Bradley
  • Balloons and Streamers 12 of 14
    Balloons and Streamers
    My mom always went out of her way to decorate my room with streamers, balloons, etc. She worked the night and graveyard shift , but she never failed to have it decorated by the time I woke up. Now with the kids, I do the same. We also take a four day weekend to celebrate each of our kid's birthdays. We eat out every single day, ask for the birthday special everywhere we go and they wear their Happy Birthday pins every day too. Birthdays are a huge deal and we usually spend months planning them. Pattie Cordova
  • No Lima Beans Please! 13 of 14
    No Lima Beans Please!
    We had "Birthday Season." The two weeks prior to our birthdays, were considered Birthday Season (like Christmas season I guess) -- not that we'd get gifts every day of the season, but that we'd get away with a little more than usual in terms of strict bedtime rules, exactly how much of our lima beans we had to eat before being excused from the table and all that. Maybe it should have been called "Relative Laxity Season." Jen Miner
  • Flowers and Memories 14 of 14
    Flowers and Memories
    Dinner at Benihana's in Japan Town in San Francisco. I used to look forward to that Birthday dinner soooo much because I'd be able to order a virgin fancy drink and get the Buddha or Geisha ceramic souvenir mug too! I wish I could carry that tradition on, but we don't live close enough to SF to replicate it. my childhood birthdays were so closely associated with celebrating with my mother, that when I lost her, my birthdays have never been the same. But what IS a tradition is flowers on my birthday. That started with my mom doing that as a kid for me and my boys have taken that on for me also. Love having such sweet boys! Katie Krueger Simpson

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