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How much effort do your adult children make over your birthday?

44 replies

Youknowaboutthepaint · 23/06/2023 16:19

I'm a widow. DC were late teens when their father died. I was very clear at the time that I didn't want anyone burdening them with the idea that they need to look after me or become "the man of the house" etc

However, I'm not sure it was necessary, they've never shown any inclination that they want to step up. It was my birthday this week. Sons now 20 & 22 made a very cursory effort after being reminded by my mum.

I've never been big on birthdays (so tbf that's the example they've been set). They know I'm not bothered about expensive presents and would prefer they didn't spend their money, but I did expect that they arrange their social lives so that the occasion could be marked in some way.

Or maybe I'm just feeling sensitive because there's not really anyone else to make an effort for me these days and it's an unrealistic expectation of young adult DC? They both live at home still.

OP posts:
Youknowaboutthepaint · 23/06/2023 16:20

I should say the anniversary of DH's death is a few days after my birthday so this is always a difficult time of year for me.

OP posts:
soapysu · 23/06/2023 16:28

I take the day off for my mum’s birthday, she always did for me growing up so I feel like it’s only fair

PeonyPaws · 23/06/2023 16:30

I take the day off for my mums birthday and usually take her out for lunch plus a gift I know she’ll enjoy but not majorly expensive usually around £30-40 mark.

Gowlett · 23/06/2023 16:32

They both live at home, so should have done something. We always celebrate family birthdays. When me & my sister were that age, though… I can’t remember if we did much!

Babdoc · 23/06/2023 16:32

OP, I am in a similar position - DH died the day before my birthday, when our DDs were a baby and a toddler, so it’s a v painful time for me too.
However, as adults, they have always stepped up for my birthday, including taking me for a luxury city break in Amsterdam one year, and arranging an “Escape the room” in Edinburgh where they got the staff to hide my presents around the room, another. I have been given a voucher for an hour with a racing driver, and treated to some very expensive restaurants. They are very solicitous and do their best each year to cheer me up and get me through the day. I think you are absolutely entitled to expect the same of your own offspring, and I am very sorry that you feel they don’t care enough to bother.

UsingChangeofName · 23/06/2023 16:33

Mine always either pop round, or message me (the one who is several hours away) , or make me a cake (the one who lives at home), or invite me out for lunch or round for tea (the local ones).

I've never been big on birthdays (so tbf that's the example they've been set).

But I think this ^ is key here. I have ALWAYS celebrated birthdays in some way, and like a bit of a fuss / day out / meal somewhere / people round. That is the example my dc have all grown up with.

If you want to change what you do / have done for the last 20 years, then you need to make that clear, and arrange a day out or a meal or whatever it is you are after.

BatshitCrazyWoman · 23/06/2023 16:34

Happy birthday 🎂 🎉

I can totally see why you feel the way you do. It's not hard to buy your Mum a card and a little present, and take her out for a meal (if that's something you'd enjoy) - it doesn't have to be expensive. It's very hard when there's no one else around to mark your birthday.

I think you'll have to say something to them, OP, because they've obviously (and insensitively) not realised

SliceOfCakeCupOfTea · 23/06/2023 16:35

I don't mark my parents actual birthdays by taking the day off or anything like that, but I do always send a text first thing in the morning, call on my lunch break and drop a gift/card off on my way home from work and take them out at the weekend.
If their birthday falls on a weekend I'll go and see them/take them out for lunch.

I will admit I was shit at this in my early 20s. I worked at sea so often forgot what day/week it was (we only referred to days by the ports we were docking in ie Lisbon day), which meant I'd sometimes be sending a message a week early or a few days late etc. Often by the time I came home a few months later, I had completely forgotten I'd missed their birthday at all.

hattie43 · 23/06/2023 17:27

Yes birthdays celebrated here . Cards / gifts ( even from pets ) and a meal out .
Happy birthday OP

IncognitoMam · 23/06/2023 17:34

It's mine soon. Adult DSS in 20s asked what I wanted. Their dad exdh probably reminded them. I've just opened exdh's gift and he's gone to town. Plus he's giving me and dh money for a meal whilst we're away. He's not normally this generous. Think he's had a secret lotto win 🤣
DSS are getting me a navy t shirt and wine.

I've always celebrated birthdays but never want or expect cards. I have parties usually but not this year. I'll find an excuse to have one sometime.

Can you celebrate with friends op? If you've never been big on birthdays then they probably don't think you're fussed?

I'm sorry about your DH. That must have been very difficult. And for you too @Babdoc ❤️

Backstreets · 23/06/2023 17:37

Bloody hell, feel like I should step up. I just send some flowers and have a nice chat on the phone.

If I lived at home I’d do a nice dinner for her though.

MaverickSnoopy · 23/06/2023 17:52

We always made a big deal of birthdays growing up so still do. We normally either go out for a meal or have a small buffet and birthday cake. We buy presents and usually sit together and open them. No different than when we were growing up.

Mybestusername · 23/06/2023 18:28

I think you need to set expectations with them and let them know how you'd like to celebrate. Eg suggest they cook a special meal or do something on the day, go out for dinner etc. I would also give them gift ideas.

This is what I do with my kids - for my birthday this year they bought exactly what I wanted, plus a couple of small surprise gifts. One was away so sent me some flowers, the one at home cooked all day so I didn't have to do anything. That's how I like to be spoilt!

newtb · 23/06/2023 18:51

None, nor for Mothering Sunday for the last 7 years.

TulipofUtrecht · 23/06/2023 18:52

My parents send me a card, and ring on the day to say happy birthday. I do the same for them.

MissyB1 · 23/06/2023 18:57

Mine usually message me a couple of weeks before to ask what I would like, I tend to tell them very specifically what! They then come over either on my birthday or as soon as they can around then.

Stratocumulus · 23/06/2023 19:04

All together now ….

🎶Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. 🥳🎶

I’d be hurt too because we always lovingly acknowledge birthdays and give a small gift. We go out for family meals too either on the date or near to it.

I don’t think you’re going to get very far trying to raise the bar with your thoughtless, selfish, self absorbed kids if birthdays have never been a familial thing in your house so in your shoes I’d book myself a treat, spa day, that kind of thing and have some fun.

Tell them “it’s my birthday, I’m going away/spa day/out with a friend for lunch so get your own supper tonight!”

I’d also play down their birthdays too.

Hesperatum · 23/06/2023 19:14

My daughters are both incredibly generous with their time and gifts on my birthday. I am very fortunate. My ex on the other hand not so.

Giselletheunicorn · 23/06/2023 19:22

I lived in a different town from my Mum as an adult, so was not always there in person. But there was always a present, a card and a phone call regardless. And usually I'd take her out for lunch either the week before or after...

Barleymilk · 23/06/2023 19:24

Son 22,usually a bottle of the cheapest coop wine on the way back from work.
Daughter 24,a card and box of chocs.
Son 15,nothing.But says he will next year!

firsttimemum1230 · 23/06/2023 19:26

I’m an adult child and 4 years ago at 23 I took my mum to Italy for her 50th.. haven’t even been anywhere close since but I’m now a mummy myself so it’s hard but i wish I could make more effort I will try to next year

blackheartsgirl · 23/06/2023 19:46

Nothing from my adult dc both early 20s, oh sorry one got me a moonpig card cos she was away with her boyfriend

ni phone call or anything.

tbf both are autistic and one has adhd so they are very forgetful. Still hurts a bit.

my 16 year old dd2 was brilliant though, she knew how I feel about my birthday and how little effort everyone else makes even my parents and she bought me a Pandora bracelet and bath bombs, pjs and a lovely card

SoWhatEh · 23/06/2023 19:49

I think they are still of an age where you need to direct them. They are incredibly wrapped up in their own lives at that age - and that's pretty normal - not a sign of the people they will become when they are fully adult (late twenties)

Next year I'd say: It's my birthday on Wednesday and I'd really like to celebrate it with you two. Are you free to meet up for lunch or go out to dinner somewhere with me?

Or you could say something like: I know we don't bother much with birthdays but I felt a bit too neglected this year to be honest. I have tried my best to be both parents to you since dad died and it's probably more effort than you realise, so now you are adults, I'd really like it if you showed a bit of appreciation without needing to be prompted by granny. I care so much for you and it's time you responded and show a bit of care back. I don't expect you to be my carers, just loving adult sons rather than indifferent ones.

ZenNudist · 23/06/2023 19:50

I try and see my parents near their birthdays. I send a card and pay for a meal. I buy mum flowers.

I didn't when I was 22. It's something I've got back into as I've got older.

I think you have to make a point of reminding them and teasing them if they forget your bday.

What do you do for theirs?

Pkhsvd · 23/06/2023 19:52

Did you tell them what you wanted to do? As an adult I expect my mum to tell me what she wants to do for her birthday, if she doesn’t then I’ll check so I can plan around it but equally I tell her what I want to do for my birthday

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