There are few things in life as precious as the bond between mother and daughter. That bond isn’t always peaceful, and it isn’t always happy. Just ask the mother of a teenage daughter how it’s going, and you’re likely to get a very tired, rueful smile out of her! But ask that same mother if she has any regrets, and you’re also likely to get a very emphatic no. Through the good times and the bad, mothers and daughters are friends, confidants, and cohorts.
As the years go by, that relationship changes. In infancy, a mother is a caretaker, providing for her daughter’s every need. As she grows, as she starts school, a daughter wants to play make-believe. She pretends to be an adult. There are dollhouses, new friends and soccer practice, an exploration of the world around her. Adolescence brings with it a fierce sense of independence. The daughter wants to do everything Mom can do, and sometimes, she wants to do it better than Mom to prove how capable and grown-up she is. When she finally strikes out on her own into adulthood, the relationship has evolved into something close to a deep, abiding friendship. Even if the mother has advice and guidance to give, her daughter is now making her decisions. She is her own lady.
Every birthday that passes by is a milestone, marking the changes and the development of that special, unique relationship. Each one counts, and as time goes by, you’ll soon come to realize that your daughter will grow up far faster than you would like.
Infancy and the Very Early Years
There are some people who say that because a baby can’t remember her first few years in life, it doesn’t matter if you do or don’t celebrate with a party. While you might not feel keen to hand out invitations to all the neighborhood children and hire a party clown, even the first handful of years are important to celebrate. Children bask in love and affection. Your daughter, at one-year-old, is still old enough to recognize that she is being showered with attention. Some parents just like to celebrate the fact that they survived the first year of child-rearing!
Keep it Bright, but Keep it Simple
For a very young child, you don’t need to splash out with a lot of expenses or a lot of complications in order to show your love. Children love bright, vibrant colors. They’re easier to see, and studies have shown that the developing eyes of a baby respond best to colors that have high contrast to one another.
Children also love the simplest things in life. Many a parent has laughed to see that after purchasing some high-tech, new toy and spending hours assembling it. The child has more fun playing with the box and the bubble wrap that it came in.
So when you plan a birthday party for your very little one, you don’t need to go crazy with the complicated schemes. Buy a pack of brightly-colored balloons and blow them all up, and then release them on the floor of the living room. Your daughter will squeal and laugh as she plays in them, throwing them around. Get a bunch of large cardboard boxes and paint them in bright colors so your children can pretend that they’re cars or boats.
Parties can be kept small and casual. Consider a family barbecue, either in your backyard or at a park or consider a brunch at a nearby, family-friendly restaurant. Entertaining outside of the home gives your child a sense that something extraordinary and exciting is happening, plus it cuts down on clean-up time for you.
Give a Gift That She’ll Want to Pass Down to Her Children
When your daughter is very young, chances are, she’ll go through her toys one right after the other. They’ll either end up going to charity or into the trash when she’s done with them. But some of the best toys are those that your daughter will want to keep even after she’s long out-grown them. They’ll hold sentimental value for her and bring back lots of warm, wonderful memories that she’ll hope to give someday to her children.
Heirloom toys like this obviously need to be of high quality to endure the rough play of little ones. When they’re small, children love playing make-believe. Solid wood furniture and toys will not only cultivate their imaginative play, they’re also durable and likely to stand up to the vigor of childhood. In addition to wood kitchen sets, also consider a rocking chair or a rocking horse. Giving your daughter a toy like this—something solid and physical that she can interact with—will do wonders for her mental and emotional development.
Birthdays In The Tween Years
As your daughter nears adolescence, it can be a hectic time. School keeps her busy, and often the time you do spend together has to be done around errands. There are trips to soccer practice, after-school activities, meetings, and music practice to get through. And somehow, in and around all of this, you have to find time to spend with the rest of the family on a day-to-day basis.
It’s no wonder that with all the pressures of everyday routine, trying to plan something special for your daughter’s birthday can seem like a daunting task.
Involve Your Daughter in the Birthday Party Prep
The tween years are a difficult time to manage. She’s still a child, and she still loves spending time with her family, but she also loves spending time with her friends. When your daughter’s birthday party is in full-swing, it often means that you’re going to be spending more time supervising and running games than actually getting a moment to bond with her.
In that case, on the day before her birthday or the morning of the party, pull her aside and enlist her help in preparing for the celebrations. Sit down with your daughter to talk awhile as you makeup crafts, party favors, or decorations or let her ice her birthday cake after it has been baked. At the ages of ten to twelve, children often want to feel as though they’re grown-up enough to do a lot of things for themselves, and they often like getting involved with what the adults are doing.
Get Your Daughter a Birthday Gift She’ll Think is Cool
Being a tween is a difficult time in life. Your daughter isn’t quite a child anymore, and she isn’t quite a teenager just yet. She likely wants to follow fashion and fads, and those change so swiftly that what’s cool today is out tomorrow. So how do you get her a gift that she’ll enjoy and won’t be embarrassed to show her friends but will still be appropriate for her age?
Well, one obvious answer is to take an interest in what she enjoys doing. Does she like arts and crafts or cooking? Does she enjoy sports? Does she enjoy literature, science, or mathematics? Buy her a gift that she can use to support her hobbies.
Another idea is to take her on a shopping spree with you. Set a limit of how much she can spend, then accompany her through the stores and let her pick out a gift. It will mean that she doesn’t get a surprise present, but the pay-off there is that the two of you will get to spend a little time together.
Truly some of the most difficult years for any parent, a teenage girl is a source of endless joy, pride and frustration for a mother. During this time of her life, your daughter is working very hard to assert her independence while she transitions into adulthood. It’s a time for arguments and mood swings, and for many girls, it’s also a time for first loves and first heartbreaks.
Your teenage daughter is not likely to want to be seen with you while she’s out and about with her friends. She’s easily embarrassed, and she wants to be treated with all of the privileges of being an adult. Trying to show your appreciation for her on her birthday can feel about as welcome as if you’re pulling out her teeth.
Have Two Parties on Her Birthday
Your daughter is unlikely to be receptive to any displays of affection from her mother while she’s in front of her friends. In fact, when she hits high school, she’s likely going to think that her mother and her father just aren’t cool anymore. They just don’t understand her.
On her birthday, you’re likely going to have more quality time if you respect that your daughter needs her space. Take her out for breakfast or for brunch at her favorite restaurant. Have a quiet moment together where she can open her presents from the family. Don’t involve her friends, and you’ll relieve her of any pressure to look and act cool in front of them.
Later in the day, for the afternoon or evening, she can have a larger party where she can be with her friends. Teenage girls enjoy slumber parties or just getting together for a few hours. Provide them with what they need: decorations, pizza, snacks, movies, and music. Then clear out. Just going upstairs or into a back room to do your own thing for a few hours is good enough. It keeps you close enough to keep an ear open for trouble, but it also lets the teenagers pretend that you don’t exist.
If this seems a bit harsh, take heart. It’s just a phase. Your daughter will eventually grow out of it, and she will someday come to deeply appreciate your respect and sacrifice.
Cool and Quirky Birthday Gift Ideas
Just like the tween years, your daughter will most appreciate those gifts that cater to her hobbies and interests. She’s still likely to be heavily concerned with her appearance and her reputation, and she’ll want things that she deems cool.
Gifts like cell phones, video games or music will always be great choices for a teenage girl, especially if you can pick up something she needs or has been wanting for a while. Many teenage girls also like jewelry that fits their distinct style or has a message that they support, such as political or environmental issues.
If your daughter hasn’t ever gone to any lengths to make her interests clear, then finding the right gift will take some investigation on your part. Ask her what she takes an interest in. Pay attention to what electives she’s signed up for in her high school classes or what extracurricular activities she’s a part of, then get her a gift that will help to further her interests in that field.
Following the idea of a day spa or shopping trip, you might also consider getting passes for your daughter and a couple of her friends. She’ll have a great time—and when she comes back, she’ll appreciate your consideration.
Your Daughter, the Single Adult
In the early years of her adulthood, when she has her own place and has struck out on her own, it can be an exciting, frightening, and difficult time. By now, your daughter is paying her own bills and finding her own way through her new life. She may be in college, or she may have gone straight into a career. Although she will always be your little girl, she’s not a little girl anymore.
The early years of adulthood are often marked with financial troubles and debt. Your daughter may have her own new apartment or a new house, and she might even be balancing a budget for the first time in her life. When it comes time for her birthday, you can show your love and affection for her by offering a helping hand.
Celebrate Your Daughter’s Special Day with a Birthday Meal
Gone are the days of birthday parties with neighborhood kids, balloons, and streamers. As a young adult, your daughter will appreciate being taken out for a birthday meal at her favorite restaurant or having her favorite meal cooked for her if she can come home for a visit.
At this age, your daughter is likely to be very busy with school or her new job. While she might be the type to enjoy a big party to celebrate her birthday, she might also just enjoy a chance to sit back, have a quiet, heartfelt conversation with her mother, and get a chance to eat something she truly enjoys.
Gift Ideas for your Adult Daughter’s Birthday
Again, your daughter might have hobbies or special interests that you can support with a gift. She might tell you exactly what she wants, or even have an online wish list that you can choose from.
One heartfelt way to show that you love your daughter is to provide furnishings for her new home. While your daughter is in her early twenties, money can be scarce; that new job might not be getting her as much as she’d have dreamed when she was young. Consider high-quality, long-lasting furniture that will suit her living room or front porch.
When She Has Her Own Family
When your daughter becomes a mother herself, it can be an exciting and happy time. Being a grandparent is surely one of the world’s most wonderful joys, giving you a chance to play with your small grandchildren and then handing them back to the parents when it’s time for diaper changes or naptime.
It’s also a very stressful time for your daughter too. Happy as she’s sure to be, you can surely remember all of the work that came with those bundles of joy. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can give your daughter a show of love and support on her birthday.
Give Her Something She Really Needs
Raising children takes time and money, and even with a solid, well-paying job, your daughter will appreciate a heartfelt gift that makes her life easier. Some ideas you might consider include furniture, like a rocking chair or a nursing stool that will make her job easier. With a good rocking chair, she’ll be able to feed her new baby in comfort or soothe him when he’s feeling fussy.
With a timeless classic like a wooden rocking chair, not only will your daughter have something she could potentially pass down as an heirloom to her children or grandchildren, but she’ll also have a daily reminder of how special she is and how much you love her.
Offer to Cook and Clean for Her
Whether your daughter has a new baby and is a new mother, or she’s grown experienced with several children, she’ll likely appreciate the help with her house. Offer to give her a break from her daily chores.
If she refuses or has already got her house in order, you can always prepare a special meal or take her out to her favorite restaurant, with or without her children. Your daughter is likely to appreciate a chance to get away from the kids for a while, engage in adult conversation, and have a moment to remember that she’s her own person, rather than a diaper-changing, laundry-folding, baby-feeding machine.
Building Memories – One Birthday at a Time
While your daughter’s preferences will grow and evolve through the years, your constant love and devotion will remain unchanged. The memories of birthday surprises, and events, and gifts are priceless.
Make the most of that time you have together. As a mother, you can show your appreciation and your love for your daughter (or daughters!) on her birthday with a few extra touches here and there. Let her know just how special she is to you.