Be Selfish : Treat Yourself on YOUR Birthday

Do not regret growing olderThe older I get, the less I crave material things. And I’ve noticed that for the past several years the only things I can think to ask for at my birthday are actually for either the house, the kid, or the whole family. This year I made an effort to actually treat myself on my birthday and let me tell you, it was the best birthday I’ve had in a long time! So if you’ve got a birthday coming up and are seriously considering asking for a vacuum cleaner, a family vacation, or a baby carrier (that’s seriously what I asked for last year), maybe this post can give you some ideas for requesting a gift that’s a tiny bit selfish.

Gift Ideas Just for YOU:

  • Get pampered. Spoil yourself with a salon blowout, a mani/pedi, or a massage. This is the kind of thing that I rarely do but enjoy so much! So worth it on a special occasion like this.
  • Ladies who lunch. When is the last time that you had a leisurely lunch with a girlfriend sans kids? Sure, maybe you grab a bite with coworkers or schedule playdates at kid-friendly restaurants, but for most moms the days of lady lunch dates are far behind. Let someone else take the kids for a few hours on Saturday while you engage in adult conversation with someone who sees you as more than just a mom.
  • Sensible shoes. Sounds boring, I know, but as a busy mom I’m on my feet much of the day and my shoes (primarily sourced from either Goodwill or Target) have not been able to keep up lately. I spent some time searching for a pair of flats with great reviews then told my husband I was ordering them for myself–they’re comfortable, durable, and go with everything. From the office to the playground, every mom can use a good pair of shoes (these are about $50).
  • Dinner your way. What’s your idea of the perfect dinner? Takeout served with red wine? Homestyle goodness cooked by somebody else? A great restaurant you’ve been wanting  to try but are scared to bring the kids, or that you know your partner would never agree to if it wasn’t your birthday? Go for it, girl. It’s your special day.

For all the time, money, and effort so many moms put into planning their kids’ birthdays, it’s a shame that most of us let our own pass by without so much as a blown out candle. It’s not selfish to treat yourself a little on your birthday. Not only is it good for your mental health therefore helping you be a calmer and happier mom, but you’re teaching your kids how to celebrate the special people in their lives. You are in charge of teaching people how to treat you, including your kids, and if you’d like a card or a phone call on your birthday twenty years from now you’d do well to start by teaching them that mom’s birthday is just as special as theirs even now. You’re kind of a big deal, mama.

Charlotte is mom to two-year-old Jack and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She works part time, sells vintage wares on Etsy, and also maintains a personal blog, Living Well on the Cheap, where she writes about creating a full, rich life and a beautiful home without living beyond her means. Decorating, blogging, and thrifting were the creative outlets that helped her cope with the emotional demands of her career as a social worker, and they still serve her well now that she spends most of her time caring for her son. She and her husband, Nick, both grew up in the suburbs of New Orleans, but met at LSU in 2006 and never had the heart to leave Baton Rouge. She is happy to call the Red Stick home and loves connecting with other moms.


  1. This year for my birthday I took myself to dinner and a movie (alone, yup) and enjoyed every awkward, quiet moment! I did also get a pair of new glasses from my mom, but I made sure to choose some I would never buy myself haha. I was so nice! I can’t remember the last time I did something for me and not my family on my birthday!

  2. Okay, this will
    sound extremely sad. I have not had a Birthday party in my entire life, even as a kid.
    and on every birthday I didn’t even have any presents, on some birthdays my dad just gave me like 40 dollars to buy something, but from my mom, none. My mom cares more about money than me and I had a very suffering childhood life. There were days I thought weren’t worth living and there still are. Some birthdays, they didn’t even know it was my birthday! On my 11th birthday, all my mom did was yell at me. Today I just turned 16, and you guessed it, No sweet sixteen. My parents forgot it was my birthday until like,4:00 pm and didn’t even buy me a birthday cake or wish me a happy birthday. They just said, “Today is your birthday”. That’s It. I always fell like they just don’t care about me, witch probably, they don’t.

    • Kaity,

      I just read your email. I am so sorry that your parents do not make a big deal about your birthday like they should. Please do not feel like life is not worth living. I had a difficult childhood as well – my dad was an alcoholic and there were a lot of kids in my family. I’m a middle child and often felt invisible. I’ve had dark days too, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I need to be in charge of my own happiness. Many people have let me down throughout my life. Next April 8th, plan for a fantastic birthday. Do something you love. Spend time with friends that cherish you and appreciate who you are.

      And belated happy 16th birthday to you!


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