the birthday blahs

On Wednesday it’s my birthday.  I’ll be 35.

As someone who is in love with attention (come on, this is not news), my birthday has been one of my most favorite days of the entire year for pretty much my entire life.

In college, I would skip class (sorry, mom) and use the excuse “it’s my birthday!” to do whatever I wanted.

Even in my 20’s, my birthday was a fun day.  Maybe I didn’t get to skip responsibilities and just hang out or sleep or do whatever, but it was always my goal for the day to be awesome.

This year is different.

I’m not looking forward to it all.  It’s not that it’s because I’ll be 35.  Age quit mattering to me once I hit 21 and there was nothing to look forward to that was connected with that number. I don’t feel old and I don’t feel young.  I feel in the middle, which is what 35 is.

This is a tricky thing to write about because by admitting what I’m going to admit, it sounds like I am A) whining for more attention and B) giving Cort a passive-aggressive hint. Neither of which I am trying to do.

But if I continue to say, “oh, it doesn’t matter,” I am lying.  It does matter. At least to me.

So here it goes, and I guess take it for what it is, but my birthday is already disappointing me.


{see, I even put that in all caps so you can get my jazz hands that I am doing with that}

On my 32nd birthday, Cort and my BFF who lives in Chicago organized a birthday weekend.  We spent the weekend having birthday extravaganza.  Saturday included mani/pedis with my best friends, lunch, starbucks, and then getting cute to go out for dinner at the most awesomely COLORFUL restaurant (Carnival) ever.  The entire weekend = jazz hands.

My bestie decided that since I was pregnant on my 29th bday (ending in miscarriage) and my 30th (ending in miscarriage) and 31st (Eddie!) that I was due for BIG FUN.  Cort wholeheartedly agreed.

I don’t expect that every year.  I really don’t. We don’t have that kind of money or resources for that.

But it seems like since becoming a “real” adult, birthdays just aren’t as magical anymore unless you put lots of planning and money toward them…which we don’t have.  And I just don’t want to plan my own birthday anymore.  That was fine when I was single…or even before we had kids and a million obligations and were living on a food/sleep schedule set by small people.

I mean, my birthday is on a Wednesday.

I have to work.  The boys need to be picked up from daycare. Dinner needs to be had. Bedtime will have to be done.  And then our bedtime so I can get up and go to work again the next day.

Cort asked me if I wanted to go out for dinner as a family that night.  Not really.  That is a huge pain in the butt with two little kids, and not relaxing in the least. We did that for Charlie’s birthday and it was really all I could handle for a while.

So he asked me what I wanted him to make for dinner.  I don’t know. I sort of don’t care.  It won’t make the day special for me to have anything in particular.

It’s just going to be Wednesday.

I guess what I wish is that it wasn’t going to be “just Wednesday”.

That somehow it was going to be extraordinary. Magical.

That magically my entire house would be clean and fresh.

That I would get to be pampered.

That I could rest.

But I know that is not feasible.  That is not going to happen.

I know, this is horribly depressing and sounds incredibly ungrateful.  I know.

But I started dodging questions about my birthday a month ago and now that it’s just days away, I am getting sad.

I cried at Charlie’s birthday for one because my baby is One, but also because I was mourning the magic of birthdays for myself.  March was always my month.  Now it’s his month.

I am good with this.  I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I am.  I was planning on sharing, but it just isn’t about me anymore.

And I wouldn’t want to change that.

Except I am grieving it a bit.

Maybe part of being an adult means giving up part of your childhood so you can give your kids an awesome childhood.

Or maybe not.  Maybe I am just being stupid and emotional and a brat.

Maybe it’s just the time of year and the weather this year; winter showed up late and is hanging on with all its gloomy, depressing might.

I really don’t know.

What I do know is that I am grumpy about my birthday for the first time in a decade and I wish I wasn’t.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I completely relate. My birthday is tomorrow, just a Tuesday. I realized Friday night that this was going to be the third year in a row I basically did nothing for my birthday and I wanted to cry. Then i thought I could quickly remedy it and just do something quick and fun Saturday and realized that I have a child, didn’t have a babysitter and my one friend in town had plans. So yeah. I love big plans and surprises as well andmy husband sucks at both of those and knows it. I completely picked out my present the last two years and bought it and said it was my birthday present. This year I told him Friday after he admitted he hadnt gotten me anything and no idea what that I’d just get myself a wallet (when I dont know). But it sucks. I LOVE planning parties for people and making abig deal about their birthdays and now, I don’t get the same and it DOES SUCK. especially when you know it is going to suck and you can’t really complain because then people will say it is stupid and selfish, BUT IT’S MY DAY!!!!!!! I am sending my kid to daycare for a full day tomorrow instea dof a half day and doing something for myself before I go to work and hang out with 4 year olds who are only concerned that I bring a treat for my birthday but I at least can expect a hug or two. (((((((()))))))

  2. I hear you on this, Katie. My birthday is tomorrow and I am away from my husband, which stinks. And I know what you mean about sharing the month. Even though my oldest’s b-day is technically in a different month (April 2) it’s only a week after mine and we usually have to deal with Easter stuff around that time every year and we even had to have his party on my b-day once. 😉 it’s hard not to get a little bummed when you Do like to celebrate your own special day.

    I do hope you have a good birthday and be excited about this – I am turning 38 and you are not! LOL! ;p Happy Birthday!!!

  3. I feel similar to this every year. I’ve never had a huge birthday. As a child my family was broke, so I rarely had a birthday party. At 18 I had just gotten to college and didn’t know anyone (my b-day’s in September). My 21st was on a Monday, so I only managed to get a few people to hang out with me. At 30, I had just had a baby in July and we were actually at an out of town wedding. But I make a really big deal about other peoples’ birthdays. So mine’s always kind of a let down. The last couple of years I’ve taken my birthday off from work and been able to do what I want. That’s been nice, but it would be nice to be surprised with something big. But, we don’t have the money for that either.

    So, I guess I’m saying, you’re not alone. I definitely feel this way most years.

  4. Oh hon. I wish your birthday wasn’t on a dratted Wednesday.
    I don’t know how much this will help, but know that on the 27th, I will be wishing you well, good health, love, light, laughter and joy, from my part of the world, and that I’m holding you in my heart.
    I’ll even have cake for you.
    I hope for you to have a lovely day. I really do.

  5. I think maybe we’ve all forgotten that a great part of growing up and becoming parents is going to involve mourning in that way, and the end result of the forgetting is that we can’t forgive ourselves for mourning it.

    I miss the hoopla, too. Maybe it’s an Aries thing. My birthday’s in a little less than three weeks. And I suggested a small party to my husband and got an, “I don’t know my work schedule yet.” I won’t lie, I was bummed out. I wanted jazz hands and YES! Let’s do that! But I am a grown up, so I acknowledged that was sad and went to find my big girl panties. Hate those.

    So, Katie, have a very happy birthday tomorrow, be sad for the loss of the hoopla, and then forgive yourself for mourning. Because it’s normal, it’s okay, and we love you.

  6. I’m terrible at remembering birthdays, including my own, but I felt something similar around the holidays. I think you hit on something universal for moms when you said, “Maybe part of being an adult means giving up part of your childhood so you can give your kids an awesome childhood.” It’s hard to create those magical moments for others – as delightful as that is – and just hope that you experience a little magic for yourself. Wishing you a happy birthday and some sunny spring weather.

  7. I know exactly how you feel. Except its not my kids birthdays. My husbands birthday is the day before mine. Which is technically fun but also really not.
    Example: this year I made his favorite dinner, homemade cake & icecream, we sang to him and whooped it up. Most years we don’t do presents because its January and we are broke from Christmas and buying stupid license tabs for our birthdays.
    The next day came chaos ensued at hubbys work so he didn’t get home until after 8:00 at night. No acknowledgment from my children who are 10, 13 & 16 and should know better (a handwritten card would have been nice). Didn’t plan a meal because we were supposed to have Wednesday night activities. They were cancelled due to a water issue at hubbys work (which is also church). I ended up eating frozen Jacks pizzas (which I hate) and leftover cake. And…feeling bad about myself.
    I didn’t say this for a pity party but to let you know your not alone. Hope your day is somewhat sunny!

  8. I feel ya. I have that too where I wish that someone somewhere would do something unexpected on my special day. Just to make me feel like I am wanted… needed.

    I do think you are on to something with this weather though. The chilly weather and gloomy days are definitely not helping any of us. And I think one of the best gifts that you could get is to have sunshine on your face this week. I really hope that happens. 🙂

  9. I totally get it. I really really do. It’ll be awesome. I know it 🙂

  10. I was so grumpy about my birthday this past year, my 30th. I wanted a big deal – 30!! But I had a three week old and a 2.5 year old and I just knew my birthday wasn’t going to be birthday candles and presents. It was a real, grown-up, not exciting birthday, and I was sad. That middle, no longer young but not at all old either, really is just a grumpy blah sort of thing!

  11. First off happy birthday. I’m older than you.

    My birthday is December 30 . . . which is right when the Christmas festivities are winding down and people start getting ready for New Year’s, so I’ve been used to my birthday not being a big thing since I was little. And while I can admit that I want people to make a big fuss about it — I don’t ever want people going out of their way for me if they feel obliged to do so, so seldom big ever happens.

    Working for companies that have draconian “use it or lose it” vacation policies, I seldom ever have a real option to work on my birthday (if the office is even open that day, and there is a 4/7 chance that it won’t be, I have vacation days that I need to spend), but it used to be that December 30 was a dedicated travel day for New Years plans.

    For my 30th birthday, the day came & passed without much fanfare . . . most of my friends are not within hailing distance of where I live, so it was months later that we had a big party, and that seemed kind of silly. Since then, if we’ve done anything, it’s just been a quiet dinner. This last year, my 35th, I got drunk on wine after spending all morning dealing with a leaking hot water heater but before dealing with Leila’s all-time greatest bedtime tantrum.

    So – I’m with you. I want to be pampered & cared for & treated special. But I’ve tempered my expectations . . . my birthday is “just a day” anymore.

  12. Oh, how do I relate to this! Growing up, birthdays were a HUGE deal in my family. However, my husband’s family always did more for Christmas, so while I try to give both equal attention, my husband is still pretty much only good at Christmas.

    This year, I had a newborn at home, and while he was the best present ever, my birthday was lack luster to say the least. Not that I could have done anything anyway, but, ugh. My inlaws didn’t even give my birthday any forethought, and I got a text asking what I wanted ON MY BIRTHDAY. Umm, how about you to give my birthday some actual attention and thought??? My gift? A dinner and movie with my MIL. Somehow I think that’s more of a gift for her than me. Grr.

  13. Boy can I relate to this on so many levels. First, I turned 35 on my last birthday. Yes, it sure does feel like the middle. And that should make me happy, I suppose, but I don’t like the middle of things much. I like the beginning of things! Sometimes the end of things. Rarely the middle, though. Second, my son’s birthday is the day after mine. So my birthday is always a mad dash now to get ready for his birthday. I used to take off from work every birthday and spend it at the beach with friends (my birthday is in August, and I live an hour from the Jersey shore). Then I spent my birthday in 2009 in labor and had to cancel my big dinner with all my besties. Ever since then, not the same. I strongly feel it is OK to mourn this. There are so few special things in life. And it’s OK to miss the ones we no longer have. It’s also OK to celebrate on a different day–not a Wednesday. Why not move it to Saturday and pamper yourself all day long? Make a short list of things that make you really happy & joyful, and then choose at least 1 or 2 of those things to spend half a day doing. My two cents. 🙂 And happy birthday a little early!

  14. I am only 6 days older than my husband. I haven’t really had a ME birthday since the 2nd year we were together. This only bothers me minimally, because usually we pool the money and do something fairly awesome. But now with not one but two kids (one of whom is not a fan of the unfamiliar), it’s almost impossible. Last year we celebrated at Disney, but we’re passholders, so you can find us at Disney on a Tuesday or a birthday. So now I take a few moments on my birthday to celebrate what we’ve done and hope that we will have even more opportunities in the coming year. It’s hard being an adult for so many reasons.

  15. I am going to tell you that I completely, 100% get this post and how your are feeling. I always loved my birthday is was my special day and then 8 years ago, something happened… I had a baby, which is awesome but this baby was born 3 days before my birthday.

    Yeah, no one cares about my birthday anymore and truth be told, most people forget it. I hate that. It’s not fair.

    *end rant*

    I will find someway to make your birthday feel special… someway. 🙂

  16. So are you getting the jist yet that you are not alone in this?? We all feel the same. We want to feel special but would feel guilty if a big deal were made and money spent on us.. it is without a doubt a mom thing. Why is it we feel we are so unworthy of a big deal being made once we have children?? Hello we just spit a watermelon out a hole the size of a pea, THAT alone counts for some celebration!! I hope he shocks you and cleans house and has a bath drawn for you. See that would be perfect for me, mine to have done all the housework and I got the day off from being mom, even if it is just to hide in the bedroom with my favorite movies and coffee

  17. Julie commented about being made to feel wanted and special… for me that is what is lacking. With three kids and always something going on, it’s unrealistic to expect to be made to feel that way every day. On your birthday though… that should be the day that stands out for that, right?

    I get it.

  18. We share the same birthday! I understand about how going out is a schlep, but take aways work! Have a super day on Wed, even if its ordinary, it’s special.

  19. Totally get it. Birthday is supposed to be a day just a little more about you then everyone else. I ALWAYS celebrate my birthday by being in charge of all the homecoming activities at school….that’s awesome. Not. If it makes you feel better you will be the center of my universe on Friday night at dinner and I think we should have a BIG margarita to celebrate!

  20. I totally, totally get this. Totally. My husband HATES birthdays & doesn’t get the big deal. I don’t think you’re whining or ungrateful. Maybe some day again, in the next phase, when the boys are bigger, it will be easier to at least go out with just Cort. Hugs to you!

  21. I can totally understand this. It’s so hard when I spent my entire childhood making a big deal out of my birthday. Suddenly I am left with the job of making everyone else’s birthdays special and mine are just regular. I just turned 40 and there was no big fan fare here. 🙁

  22. Yep, I totally get this. I always kind of downplay my birthday because I’m not a present person, I’m a quality time person. This year my birthday was on a Thursday and Joel had work and school. So I didn’t see him the entire day till almost nine o’clock. Such a bummer.

    Anyway, you’re not a brat for feeling this way at all. Your feelings are perfectly valid. Stupid being a grown-up.

  23. I stopped having birthdays when I turned 25 which was like last year so that means I won’t be celebrating my birthday for the 8 years.
    I spent last year in a car for 8 hours on our way home from camping. I was dirty. Shawn pulled a necklace out from under the seat. That’s all the celebrating we did and I was fine with that. We were never really birthday party people growing up.
    But I think you have a right to feel poopy.
    After all it’s your birthday and you can bitch if you want to.