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Grown Up Birthdays


The Ups, Downs and Sideways of Working Motherhood

Grown Up Birthdays

Alex Steinman


I'm an only-child who used to celebrate an annual birthday month, nay, birthday quarter. But for the first time in 27 years, I completely forgot about it. As a first-time working mom, I'm starting to understand why my own mother forgot about her birthday and gave lame gift ideas like costume jewelry. Between cleaning our Tub Toilet and my son's constant request for "more oranges," birthdays have become just another thing to think about. This morning, I shoved a sugar cookie in my mouth, wished myself a happy birthday, and got my ass out the door.

The good news: I have a million other milestones to celebrate everyday. Peeing in a public bathroom while entertaining a toddler enough to keep him in my stall. Success! Managing not to murder the McDonalds drive-thru attendant when they tell me they're out of biscuits (IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE BREAKFAST ALL DAY). High five! Putting on my own shoes despite not being able to bend over. Woo!

Time is clipping by so quickly, and with kids, it seems to move exponentially fast as we watch the humans grow, while we grow, and all the growing is happening.

There's a Ted Talk by Tim Urban that talks about the mind of a procrastinator. There are a lot of good nuggets in there, but the thing that resonated with me most was an image that showed one square for every week of a 90-year lifespan. When I did the math (on a calculator because numbers), 1/3 of my squares were gone.

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You can look at this in one of two ways. 1) what have I done with the first 1/3 of my life? or 2) what can I do with the next 2/3? When I think about waiting to make decisions or take risks, I think about this chart and the boxes slowly disappearing. Then I freak the f*** out and just do it. At 27, my bullshit tolerance is that of an octogenarian, so things that aren't aligned with my goals must move along quickly to make room for the things that make me say, "yay!"

Thinking about all of the tiny celebrations I get to have in a given week makes a birthday feel less important. Maybe I'm trying to convince myself that I don't need my own parade float anymore, or maybe I really am a grown up. Either way, choosing to throw a party everyday sounds like a better option than once a year.