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Would you ever leave your child on his or her birthday?

Posted by on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:13 AM
  • 187 Replies

I'm Missing My Son's 10th Birthday & I Only Feel Slightly Guilty

by Julie Ryan Evans

mom and sonA couple weeks ago I was at the beach with my kids and another family when I got an email from one of my editors. She asked if I wanted to go to Los Angeles to attend the premiere of the new movie Planes and for a big event celebrating Disney's release of the Diamond Edition Blu-Ray  DVD set of The Little Mermaid. I started reading the itinerary out loud to my friend -- stay at the Roosevelt Hotel, walk the red carpet, interview some of the films' cast including Jodi Benson (voice of Ariel). Did I want to go? Of course I did!

Then I read the dates: August 4-6. My son's 10th birthday is August 5. Crap.

I almost responded then and there telling my editor there was no way I could miss my son's birthday. I mean, what kind of mother would do that? Then I thought about it some more, and decided that yes, actually I could ...  and I would. 

When my son was born a decade ago, I dove right down off the corporate ladder I'd been working so hard to climb. Since then I've turned down countless opportunities that would have advanced my career and recreational activities that I would enjoy to be with him and my daughter as much as possible. And I've done so happily.

But I don't think that being a good mom means it always has to be about them, and frankly I don't want them to think it always should be. I want my kids to know that while I love them more than anything, I have interests, passions, and responsibilities that have nothing to do with them. I want to set an example that making yourself happy isn't always a bad thing.

And honestly, while birthdays are a big deal, they're just a day; we can and will still celebrate his first double-digit birthday with gusto. The night before I leave we'll have a family party. My husband will take off work on the day of his actual birthday, and they'll spend it doing something fun. I'll leave a special gift for him to open on the big day from me, and I'll call and FaceTime with him to sing him "Happy Birthday."  While we both might be a bit sad that day that we're not together, it will be okay.

He's doing a triathlon on the morning I fly out, and that I would not miss. I only accepted the trip after ensuring I could fly out after watching him cross the finish line. Not because triathlons are more important than birthdays, but because that's something that I just can't miss ... or rather won't miss.

We all have to pick our own parenting non-negotiables when it comes to things likes this, and not everyone's are going to be the same. So I'm sure some will think it's outrageous that I'm choosing to go rather than stay and be here with him on his birthday. But I'm okay with it ... mostly. There's still a small twinge of guilt I feel no matter how many times I go over my justification for going, but I think those kind of doubts are an unavoidable part of motherhood.  The most important thing though is that he knows that I love him, and of that I have no doubt.

Would you ever leave your child on his or her birthday?

by on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:13 AM
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by Gold Member on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:15 AM
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I don't know if I have, but I wouldn't feel guilty if I did.  It's not like it can't be celebrated at another time.  The idea that your child might end up on a psychiatrist's couch because you "worked" on his/her birthday is ridiculous.

by on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:20 AM
4 moms liked this
I Don't think your wrong at all, most of the time birthdays aren't celebrated on that day anyway. Your still being a good mom and dealing with your career. Have fun on your trip! Happy birthday to the big guy!
by Anonymous 1 on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:21 AM
1 mom liked this

Well I wouldn't leave the child for a children's movie premiere that he would have LOVED to go to. Maybe something grown-up though that he wouldn't be the least bit interested in attending. Maybe next year YOU can go to Disneyland and leave him behind?

by Ruby Member on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:22 AM
I don't work so it wouldn't be a problem for me. The only way I could imagine missing my dd's actual birthday is when she is grown and wants to go out with friends instead or something. But of course I would find a way to celebrate with her the day before or after or something.
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by Anonymous 2 on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:24 AM

for that reason? no. :( I would have called and talked and seen if there was any way I could bring them with me.. if not, I would have had to pass. 

for the most part if something happened I would be able to take my kid/kids with me, but if it was a medical reason, there is a legit reason*IMO*.. 

my husband on the other hand is military and has had to miss 2 birthdays out of 4..  it happens sometimes.

by on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:26 AM
1 mom liked this

So it's wrong to miss a triathlon, but not his birthday? I disagree. My kids birthdays are really important, and I wouldn't miss it for the world. 

by on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:28 AM
we wont be there for the morning of his bday because my parents are taking him over night the night before but we will still be there
by Ruby Member on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:28 AM

I wouldn't.  My kids birthdays are very special to me and I wouldn't want to miss a moment of them

by Gold Member on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:29 AM
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I'd try to find a way for my whole family to come along. If that didn't work? I'd be staying home with my child.

Yes, my children come before my career, always.
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by Bronze Member on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:29 AM
I think celebrating a birthday on an alternate day is completely acceptable, especially if its for work reasons.
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