Did I Screw Up My Mom’s 50th Birthday?

Middle age brunette woman holding anniversary present and bouquet of flowers annoyed and frustrated shouting with anger, yelling crazy with anger and hand raised

Redditor Curious_Cattle_6426’s mom was turning 50 in a few days. Due to scheduling conflicts and distance, the family decided to celebrate her birthday earlier on the weekend instead. They had planned and booked reservations at one of the best restaurants in town, but unfortunately, the OP’s babysitter became ill, leaving them with no backup plan.

The OP suggested celebrating later, but his mother insisted on going to another restaurant, which was more kid-friendly, so they didn’t have to worry about finding a babysitter. The OP paid for his mother’s meal and made her favorite dessert when they got home.

A Not-So-Happy Birthday

The next day, on her birthday, the OP called to wish her mom a happy birthday but did not give her a physical gift since he felt she already had too many things and a shopping problem.

However, his mom became upset and sent a long text to the OP about how she felt neglected on her special day. She mentioned that she received no gifts, and no one sang “happy birthday” to her.

The mom expressed disappointment in how her birthday was handled and felt hurt that it took so much energy to make her feel special. She even threatened to remember this in the future when their birthdays come around.

High Expectations?

The OP loves their mom but sometimes feels like they are talking to a 15-year-old. They acknowledge that they could have done better, but as a young parent with a tight budget, they feel it is unfair for their mom to expect them to do more just because she does more for them.

Redditor’s Reactions

User millymollymel was clear that she was on the mom’s side, saying:

“It was her 50th birthday!!

“You could have bought her flowers. Or chocolate or something simple – it doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, taking her out for a meal was lovely but a token something and a card for her to open on her birthday is not a big deal for you to have done. Really it’s a low bar. You know yourself that mums really just want you to show you care, and a small gift for her to open on her birthday or flowers sent to her would have meant so much.”

User _my_choice disagreed:

“Gifts are given, and you say thank you. You don’t bitch about how much they cost or any of that rubbish. Your mom is trying to guilt trip you. You did the best you could under the circumstances.”

Another user, nicarox, agreed, saying:

“She sounds very ungrateful. Next time, just don’t get her anything.”

CrystalQueen3000 chimed in with support for the mother:

“It was her 50th, that’s a big milestone birthday, and she had to adjust everything to accommodate your childcare issues.

“She wanted to be made to feel special, and just because she can buy what she wants, it doesn’t mean you stop trying. You could’ve got her flowers and sang happy birthday.

“I’m not surprised she’s hurt.”

More support poured in from BeeMacca:

“I get that your mother can buy herself whatever she likes, but it wouldn’t have killed you to get her something thoughtful. Or if you didn’t want to buy something, you could have made her something with your kids.

“Sure, she’s being a bit dramatic by saying “no one sang to me”, but she’s your mom, and she just wanted you to make her feel special.”

BlondeJonZ agreed with BeeMacca as well:

“Right!?! My mom and grandma get experiences that we do together. That’s their favorite thing, anyways. Tickets to a show, a spa day, etc. There are so many ways to give thoughtful gifts to even the most-impossible-to-buy-for loved ones. Presuming, I guess, that they ARE your loved ones and that you want to show them they are important.”

After hundreds of messages supporting his mom, user grassisgreener598 supported the OP with this argument:

“Not all families celebrate the same way or consider the same things gifts. And NO family is without issues.

“Your mom sounds passive-aggressive. And those saying YTA seem to think having a child gives special rights to demand things from other adults? Since when is it ok to demand singing on your birthday? Because you’re the mother? And gifts? And keeping score of who does what for whom?

“Honestly, she sounds exhausting. I am a parent over 50 and expected nothing from my adult children because they do not owe me anything for raising them, and I do not need them to validate my existence.”

Reddit’s Verdict

Overall, Redittor’s overwhelmingly supported the mother, asking the OP to put more effort into their relationship, especially for special milestones.

What is your stance on this? Do you think the OP mishandled his mom’s 50th birthday?

You can find the original post here.

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This article originally appeared on Ash & Pri.

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Annika Stepanov

Annika is passionate about personal finance and travel, pouring her extensive experience into her writing on these topics. She has a diploma in Creative English Writing and has been working in the industry since 2016.