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Whoops! You Forgot a Loved One's Birthday: 5 Ways to Help You Make Amends.

    I Messed Up 

    When you are at home all day every day with your kids the days are practically the same and you honestly don't know what day of the week you are in unless you actually glance at your phone to realize it's Thursday and not Tuesday, and today is the 20th not the 12th. Bad I know, the only thing I keep a hawk's eye on are important appointments. Dental appointments, Doctor Appointments, Etc. But my laid-back approach of not paying attention to the days got me into some major trouble recently. My day started like any other. My husband was home and was in a very good mood. I went on about my day, as usual, made breakfast, cleaned the house, and started a load of laundry. My husband was doing his own thing as well and he received a phone call from his brother. He went into our bedroom and I later stumbled in to dump our new clean laundry on the bed. I said hi to his brother and he asked me how I was going to be celebrating the day. "What?" I thought, I looked at my husband confused and he gave me the "Are you serious?" kind of look. My head started to dart in different directions until my blood ran cold in realization. "What day IS it?" I grabbed my phone and actually looked at the date that I usually ignore on a daily basis on my opening screen. "Crap!" I thought. I turned to my husband and told him that I was so sorry that I had forgotten. I still had the impression we were still early in the month. My husband was so upset. He isn't the kind of guy that makes a big deal out of his birthday, but a quick " Happy Birthday" and small from his wife would have been enough to make his day. I screwed up bad because this wasn't the first time. Earlier in our relationship dating his birthday would always line up with something important getting lost in the events of the week. I screwed up big time and I knew the act of me forgetting was a big deal for him. He had told me even friends from his high school days he hadn't spoken to in years remembered to say happy birthday! After that realization that I am a HORRIBLE WIFE. I panic drove to the nearest HEB and bought him a premade carrot cake and hoped for the best.

    This Situation made me realize that I'm not the only one dealing with the guilt of missing a loved one's Birthday. Learn from my mistakes on how to handle forgetting someone you love's birthday.

Photo by Steve DiMatteo on Unsplash

1. Apologize

    First off tell them your sorry! Don't play it off that you remember or that you were joking. Be honest because they are not dumb. They figure out that you forgot eventually. I could have played it off and pretended like I remembered but that wouldn't be a genuine response and it may come off to the person we forgot that we don't care and that it's not a big deal that we forgot. But we don't know that. Had I assumed that I remembered when I obviously didn't could've made the situation worse?

2. Find The Right Method of Communication

    I would suggest opting for in-person communication or over the phone if they live far away. But choosing the right channel for communication always lets your loved one know just how sorry you are telling them in your own voice whether that is in person or over the phone. I understand the benefit of writing out your thoughts in a concise text to get your words organized, another way to do that is through a handwritten note or letter.

3. Don't Be Upset If They Don't Forgive you Right Away

    One of the mistakes I made was to get defensive when my husband wasn’t quick to accept my apology. I was very sorry and I was trying my hardest to fix it. I bought him a cake I offered to take him out for dinner or to make one of the meals I make that he likes. But he didn’t want anything and that made me upset at both myself and him because I didn’t know how to fix it or if I could. What’s done is done. I forgot my husband’s birthday and I apologized sincerely to him. I just needed to give my husband space to allow him to cool down and recircle the issue later in the day so he could tell me how my forgetting caused the reaction it did. And I could apologize for being defensive. Because it wasn’t about how I felt about the situation it was his feelings that were more important.

4. Offer a Belated Gift

    Now you don’t have to do it immediately if your loved one is still upset and not keen on receiving anything from someone who forgot their birthday. But offering a belated birthday gift can help soften the edges. You can take them out shopping the next weekend, buy them gift cards, or get them tickets to their favorite show. For my husband, I am waiting on Father's Day to make up for what I lacked during his birthday and let him know that I love him and that he IS appreciated in our family.

5. Use This As A Learning Experience

    This Experience has traumatized me enough to put multiple alerts on my phone for not only my husband but for other family members as well. I have marked my calendars and made sure my Google calendar gives me alerts when the days are approaching. Not only that but to be more prepared to make the day specials days beforehand. I could pre-order a cake, get a gift ready, and save up to go out to eat or prep food for a birthday dinner.

    Hopefully, this blog post has given you useful advice on how to navigate the uncomfortable situation of forgetting a loved one's birthday. Comment below on what other tips you have for communicating with a loved one on this matter.