Making Birthdays Special In a Big Family
Life with a big family, or any family really, can get so busy. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine because it works. I love having a plan and trying to keep it consistent, but there are obvious exceptions to my rules. We have five kids, which means everybody is fighting for attention in some way. I can only do so much at one time. There are days when I sit down after everyone is asleep and try to remember what each kid looked like that day. I wish I could say I’m kidding… Most days I haven’t looked in the mirror and had to brush my teeth in the kitchen between diaper changes and fetching snacks (which is every 3.5 minutes). Again, not a joke.
I like to try and make sure that everyone feels heard and special. Even if it feels like I’m not paying attention to the kids, I am. It’s not easy though with my group to get quality one on one time. If you remember from other posts, I have two teens, one in middle school and two toddlers. My oldest is a child with many special needs. My time, and focus is stretched thin lately. This is why I take full advantage of birthdays, everybody should feel extra special on their day. Sure, there are weekends for a party or an activity with friends and extended family. What about a weeknight though? It’s not their fault that their birthday is on a Tuesday, right?
At the end of the day the last thing I feel like doing is pulling out the “fancy” dishes or actually setting the table. Here’s the thing, it’s not about me for that day. So I do get out the fun stuff to serve food at the table instead of the pot. On each one of my kid’s actual birthday the whole family pulls together in our house to take our time and celebrate them. They get dinner of their choice, a special dessert and a lot of focus on them. It might not seem like much, but they look forward to this day. Even my twelve year old son who just celebrated this week, woke up feeling on top of the world. He was so excited to come home and see how I managed to pull his meal off. I’ll be honest, it was a struggle. I almost cheated and just threw the food on paper plates and gave up. These toddlers just wear me out. When he saw me head over to “fancy cabinet” he perked right up and even offered to help set the table! My husband switched shifts at work and came home early to eat with us. It was a great time for our son, and nice to slow down for a few hours with our family.
The next day was back to the normal chaos of school, work and toddlers destroying the house. Even if it was just a few hours of a break in our routine, it was much needed. We can get so caught up in our feelings and in ourselves that we forget somebody else in this house needs to be noticed a bit more. I hope that pausing to celebrate a special day will show my kids that there is always time to make someone we love feel important.
I have about two weeks until the next birthday. It will take that long to come up with a fun dessert for him!