I just love this idea so I have to share it with you. A few years ago I let my husband, Rory, off the hook for my birthday. I have high expectations for my birthday and was always hoping that maybe he could magically read my mind when my birthday came around. As it turns out, he could not read my mind. But I could! So I started planning my own special day from start to finish.

I recommend this SO MUCH. Because I know I’m not alone in this. I know too many stories of the big day ending in disappointment and tears. But I really believe your birthday is your responsibility when you become an adult. It just is. So whether I am turning 36 or 66 or 96, I will continue to plan my day. It’s not my husband’s job, not my children’s, not my friend’s. It’s mine. And you know what? All my expectations are met when I plan the day.

So Saturday was my big day, and I was ready for it. Friday night I cleaned the kitchen and hung my own pennants. I set the table for a fun brunch party with my family, bought my own coffee cake and woke up early to meet a bunch of girlfriends for a birthday breakfast. I invited every one of them and told them not to bring a gift or a card but to just pay for their own pancakes. I love beginning the day with friends. It’s good to feel loved by girlfriends at the start of the day!

When I got home, the kids were ecstatic to give me their cards and have coffee cake (which I can’t actually eat because of my no-grain eating plan…but I bought the cake mostly for them because it is very important to have your kids’ involvement in your big day!)

But in a crazy surprise, Rory had spent the morning making me a very complicated Paleo Chocolate Pie! Now here is an added bonus to letting your husband off of the birthday hook: anything he does is genuinely appreciated because it is bonus and not done out of birthday obligation! I was so surprised and impressed. We had this chocolate pie a few weeks ago with friends, and I loved every crumb. It is coconut cream, dates, and melted chocolate (and other things) on a walnut crust. I told Rory that I would have been really intimidated to attempt that recipe, and he said, “Oh, I was.”

I spent the afternoon making special foods for a Seder meal we had the next day. And that was a great task too, trying a bunch of new recipes. I really enjoyed playing in the kitchen all afternoon. At 3:00 we dropped the kids off at my friend Allyson’s house, and she watched them for four hours. I’ll return the favor on her birthday in two weeks. Genius!

Rory and I went to a coffee shop and talked for a few hours and then went out to dinner. And it was so great. I told him on the drive to pick up the kids, “I love time with you. I love when we get to finish a conversation.” And it’s so true. Our communication can be so fragmented and interrupted with so many vying for our attention. The joy of our date night was really getting to talk.

We picked the kids up, put them to bed, and then watched a documentary on sugar while eating the incredible chocolate pie.

What a perfectly planned day.

Guest Contributor Becca Groves is a stay-at-home mom to four awesome kids, Ivar, Elsie, Hattie and Alden. She and her husband, Rory, live on a hobby farm where they keep bees, tap maple trees, have chickens, goats, kittens and a garden. She blogs about her adventures in motherhood, marriage, and hobby farming at