Yesterday was my older son’s 17th birthday and I spent the day shopping…for me.
I hadn’t picked out a gift for my son yet and yes, it was on my mind as I lunched with a couple of friends and meandered through over-priced niche stores, but it didn’t stop me from shopping for me. And why would it?
The more I thought about it, the more sense it made to me that I should be getting gifts for bringing life to my child. Why wasn’t my husband buying me presents to thank me for giving birth to—and raising—his oldest child? Sure, he did that after our son was born but why stop there??
And grandparents? Where were my gifts? Shouldn’t they be showering me with gifts as well? My contribution to this endeavor has brought them 17 years of joy beyond anything they could possibly have imagined and yet, I have never been appropriately thanked…with presents, that is.
The day didn’t start out as a shopping trip for me. As I set out in the morning I was actually a bit obsessed with finding my kid the perfect gift (especially since the day was upon us and I was empty-handed).
But when I found myself at the perfume counter at Barney’s, I knew I was no longer shopping for him. Yes, I made a good showing of trying to find him some after-shave but Barney’s doesn’t carry Axe and I wasn’t really going to spend fifty bucks on aftershave for a 17-year-old.
I’m not suggesting that you skip your child’s birthday celebration and make it all about you. No, your kid should have gifts and cake and celebrate with friends and family.
But raising kids is a thankless job—we’ve all heard that before—and it doesn’t really have to be. If no one is going to thank you why not give yourself a little treat on your child’s birthday. Why not spend the afternoon celebrating with friends – preferably at a nice lunch followed by a Sprinkles Chai Latte cupcake?
It really doesn’t have to cost anything, though. It could simply be the gift of time: time to read a book, or take a nap or go for a walk…but new perfume doesn’t hurt either.