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Adult Birthdays: Before Kids vs. After Kids

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

There was a time in my adult life when I really looked forward to my birthday. There was 18 — official adulthood! Plus lottery tickets! 21 — for obvious reasons. And then pretty much every birthday in my 20s. Birthdays were special. A day that was all about you. Where you could drink, eat, pamper yourself, and be surrounded by friends. Not to mention where the upward tick in your age didn’t also mean an upward tick in gray hairs and back problems.

Last month I “celebrated” another birthday. I am well out of my 20s, and well into caring for my three young children. And the sad truth is, birthdays just aren’t what they used to be. Here’s a glimpse at what’s changed.

The Lead-Up

Before

Watch the clock turn midnight — it’s your birthday! Think about your plans for the day and decide you’d better turn in early to get a good night’s sleep.

After

Watch the clock turn midnight over the head of your 4-year-old, who is inexplicably standing at the side of your bed staring at you. Also catch glimpses of the clock at 2 AM and 4 AM, as various children cry out, before finally calling “sleep” officially over at 5:30.

Pampering

Before

Pamper yourself — it’s your day! Book a massage, check out that new nail salon, or even schedule a facial. Why not!

After

Clean up a diaper explosion. And start an emergency load of laundry while you’re at it.

Catching Up with Loved Ones

Before

Chat on the phone with family and friends calling to wish you a happy birthday. Stretch out on the couch and admire your newly-painted toes while talking.

After

Try to talk to the few brave souls who think you are still capable of having a conversation. Hush your children while holding the phone high above your head so no one can grab it. Try to make sense of the disjointed scraps of conversation before suggesting you move to texting.

Dinner

Before

Head to your favorite restaurant for a nice meal with friends. Don’t forget to order that second bottle of wine! You can sleep in tomorrow and then just hang on the couch binge-watching Sex and the City.

After

Attempt to dissuade your husband from taking the whole family out for dinner. In theory, so fun! And no dishes! In practice — you sneak bites of food in between shuttling your children to the bathroom, cutting their food into bite-sized pieces, implementing the two-second rule, and pulling out books, puzzles, and other means of distraction. Don’t forget to take that second sip of wine! But careful not to drink any more than that, or your 5:30 wake-up call will be all-the-ruder.

Cake

Before

Think about all the fabulous things you could wish for before finally blowing out the candles and devouring a piece of chocolate cake, which your 20-year-old metabolism will take care of in about 18 minutes.

After

Think about thinking about making a wish before your kids begin arguing over who should blow out the candles. And who should get the first piece. And whose piece is the biggest … Then think about the roughly 234 miles you will need to run to burn off this one piece of cake.

Gift Wish List

Before

Some cute new clothes, a set of matching plates, maybe a new purse.

After

Five minutes in the shower without anyone interrupting.

Actual Gifts

Before

Some cute new clothes, a set of matching plates, maybe a new purse.

After

Chocolate (heaven love your husband!) and thoughtfully-made birthday cards with “I love you Mommy!” etched in crayon. Okay, so maybe the “after” isn’t so bad after all.

Article Posted 7 months Ago

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