Hayley Matthews: Older and wiser with the help of my birthday boy

Hayley enjoyed her birthday as much as her son
Hayley enjoyed her birthday as much as her son
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IT was my birthday in July and at the ripe old age of 38, with a young family and a bun in the oven, my celebrations were very low key.

It’s really hard to muster up any sort of motivation to do most things when pregnant, but to arrange a party, social event or get-together, it just feels like the biggest challenge ever.

It’s not really something any pregnant woman wants to do, especially as you’re not even partaking in the celebrations, wine drinking or dancing – you’re merely a spectator, with swollen feet and a stomach the size of a No. 26 bus.

Arranging a party for other people, only to go along and watch everyone else get steaming was not on my list of ideal birthdays.

Instead I decided to take my six-year old, growing bump, partner and dad out to Tony Macaroni at the Omni Centre for a sit-down meal. This way I could keep my boy happy with spaghetti meatballs as well as looking after Mr Hayley and my dad with a few Peronis. All minimal effort whilst I sat sipping a Coke and deciding over linguini or rigatoni.

It was lovely and really family-friendly, just what I needed for a minimal effort kind of day. I also had to test the ice cream sundae that my son had ordered, just to make sure it was fit for purpose. Well and truly spoilt – and the only time I moved was to go to the loo!

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It’s what it’s all about really, keeping the children happy. That’s my role as a parent. I put my son first all the time and would do anything for him. It’s what comes with being a parent. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I have warned him that when I’m older he’ll be wiping my bum and feeding me soup in return. He’s not quite come round to that idea yet but I’m working on it.

Kids are hilarious on your birthday. It’s almost like it’s their birthday too. Helping you open cards, eat cake and unwrap presents is the best bit of any birthday with a young child. Mr Hayley always says that our son can’t hold his own pee so he rarely tells him what he’s bought people as a present, so I wasn’t expecting any big reveals of what I was getting. ­However, in true style, with perfect timing my son woke me up on my birthday, excitedly shouting “Mummy, mummy, I’m trying to find your cat book that daddy got you for your birthday so you can open it!”

Brilliant, just utterly, totally, completely brilliant! That is the innocence of a six-year-old on a parent’s birthday. No malice, just honesty and kindness, which sometimes can reveal a surprise, but hey, it’s hardly a big deal.

So after a rake about and a call to my partner who was on his way to an early shift, we located the presents.

I wouldn’t change it for the world and am pleased to report he knew nothing about any of the other presents, so there was still an element of surprise.

But genuinely, the older I get, the more I gear my birthdays towards family-friendly events. Gone are the days of walking home along Princes Street with make-up running down my face, shoes in one hand whilst the other is waving down a taxi after too many vodka and Cokes. It feels great.