Baby Steals Birthday From Mom and Dad

Jeanne Sager

birthday cupcakeSharing your birthday with your baby sounds pretty cool from a distance. So does sharing a birthday with your baby and your baby's dad. But while everyone is sending congratulations to Tiara and Jamal White for welcoming Jamal Jr. on their shared birthdate, November 24, let me be the first one to offer moms like Tiara my condolences.

Yes, I noticed she celebrated her birthday by welcoming one of God's little miracles into this world. I'm not a total grinch.

I'm also not ready to ignore the fact that she spent her 21st birthday in that agonizing hell they call natural labor. And now she'll spend each one of her birthdays slaving over a cake and party decorations. What's the chance she and hubby will get to sneak away on their special night to do a little somethin' somethin' anytime in the next 18 years or so?

Eh, to-may-to, to-mah-to, huh?

Or how about: Hello, baby! Goodbye, self!

Maybe it's because I've been a mother for five years that I look at this as a mixed blessing. I wouldn't trade my daughter for anything, but I wouldn't call the days leading up to her birthday relaxing.

It's 100 percent self-induced, but I just have to make the cake from scratch, in a shape that fits the party theme. And speaking of themes, I feel the insane desire to make what she wants work, even if I have to search through 15 stores to find the right pinata and prizes that don't scream, "My Mommy hit the dollar store, and here's the cheapest junk she could find."

Don't laugh. You've been there, Mom. Maybe not on birthdays. But Christmas, maybe? Or during those first several months postpartum, when you're killing yourself to never let baby spend one second crying alone in the crib?

You don't have to share a birthday with your child to realize you're giving up a major part of yourself to become Mom. Generally, you picked it, and you're OK with that. Despite the occasional griping, I think I am.

I let her wipe her boogers on the cuff of my jeans in a pinch. I wouldn't do that for someone I didn't love unconditionally.

But my daughter and I don't even share birthdates. And my birthday hasn't been much fun since she was born. I'm too focused on family finances to let my husband spring for anything fun, and debating finding a sitter for a date night just makes me feel more depressed ... because I know she wants me home so she can surprise me with some handmade something or other. Yes, yes, I will love that rock covered in glue or paper dripping in paint, but a girl can dream of diamonds and fancy Greek restaurants.

Sure, it's just a birthday. But they were just your boobs before they became a milk dispenser. And those were just your favorite earrings that got flushed down the toilet by the toddler. Soon you start forgetting where you end and they begin.

If you want to stay sane, you can't give everything to your kids. You have to save a little something for yourself.

Congratulations on the baby, Mrs. White. But we understand if you need to take a minute for yourself.

Are you worried you'll lose a part of you when the baby comes?


Image via Theresa Thompson/Flickr

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