Jessica Jefferson, LMFT
Valentine’s Day for Parents
Ahhhh Valentines Day. A day where love is in the air and chocolates are ridiculously expensive.
A day where we get all fancy for our partners, get nice cute gifts with hearts and kisses on them, and prepare for a romantic evening out.
More importantly a day where all those little butterflies in your stomach come back and that rush of passion for a night of “fun” (wink, wink) get you all excited.
The problem is... you got a three-year-old ruining the mood by throwing a tantrum on the floor because Target ran out of Paw Patrol valentines (If it hasn’t happened to you, consider yourself lucky).
Instead of wishing for a box of chocolates, you simply ask for a quick 30-minute nap. And instead of flowers you just want to be able to eat/shower/pee in peace.
All of those loving feelings for your spouse is replaced by last-minute store runs to get valentines for your kids, plus the time to fill up the boxes, write their classmate's names on it, assemble the “mailbox” for your kid AND get a snack for the party (schools need to tone it down a bit with their Valentines demands).
Through all that chaos and glitter glue, you completely forget to get something for your partner. Not because you are a bad spouse, but because holidays take on a whole new meaning with kids.
As a mom of two, I get it (homegirl is tired!!).
We all have kids, work, home, etc. to manage, and trying to squeeze in a day of love gets hard. So, unfortunately, I am guilty of occasionally slipping up on the gift front.
Fortunately, I know my spouse isn’t one for gifts but prefers quality time (definitely should check up on your partner's love language).
But even then... that can be hard with kids.
You have to find a babysitter who is single/lonely on Valentine's Day, who is available, and/or who doesn’t cost a fortune (especially since you are already spending money by going out).
Your options are limited.
You may have a niece or neighborhood kids available, but with little ones, they are definitely not an option.
So what’s left?
Are you to quit on Valentine’s Day until your kids leave for college? Granted you may save money, but you don’t want your relationship to suffer.
Well... let me not say “suffer.” The core of your relationship isn’t going to break because of Valentine’s Day.
BUT!!! Valentine’s Day is the time for you and your partner to reconnect. It’s a chance and opportunity for you to drop the excuses.
No more excuses that you can’t do something together.
No more excuses that a date night is impossible with kids.
It’s Valentine's Day! It’s a day of love. You know a day to get back to that loving feeling (and potentially back to what created those kids in the first place LOL).
So let me help you make the impossible, possible!
There are several different scenarios we can run through and you choose which one works the BEST for you and your partner.
1.) Take the day off from work. So this plan works well for those who have paid days off, their kids are in school, and for a day where Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday. Take a day off to reconnect with your spouse without having to worry about a babysitter because your kids are in school!! Plus doing stuff during the day, on a weekday, is AWESOME!! Places aren’t crowded, it’s daylight out, things are cheaper (think of all the lunch specials!!) and you can take your time. Kids are in school for like 6 hours! You can do so many things!!! Plus a little afternoon delight never hurt anyone.
2.) Do Valentine's Day, not on Valentine's Day. So plan B is good for parents who have a babysitter option but who aren’t available on the 14th. No problem! Go out on a different night that week. You can still get the heart-shaped chocolate boxes from the store and most places will most likely have Valentine’s Day decorations up within that same week timespan. Plus a lot of places have specials a few days before and after Valentine’s Day because they know that not everyone can go out on the 14th.
3.) Plan a date at home after the kids go to bed. Plan C is honestly my favorite and a favorite of those “homebody” couples. Let’s face it, everything is at our fingertips! When I said no more excuses, you literally have no reason NOT to do a date night with your partner. There are companies that ship a date night in a box to you! No lies! You can even go on a monthly plan (*cough which is a good investment for your relationship *cough).
Maybe you like to cook?? Have a box of food shipped to your house that you guys can cook together!
Not into actually doing stuff? NO PROBLEM! Cuddle on your couch and watch Netflix together.
Ok granted, you might already do that last one with your partner. Switch it up and watch a Valentine’s Day movie.
Spending time with your partner on Valentine’s can incorporate whatever you want.
Now I know, some of you may be thinking “well why not offer an option to go out WITH the kids?” While that is a viable option, it’s healthier for your relationship AND your kids, for you guys to do things without them.
Obviously, if your kids aren’t around, you and your partner can focus on each other. You don’t have to worry if little Timmy is sticking his finger way too far up his nose or if Susie is screaming her head off during the whole meal. You have each other’s undivided attention to focus on other things beside being a parent.
A hard concept to believe, but one you must accept.
So now you are probably wondering “ok I get it being healthy for my relationship, but how is it healthy for my kids?”
Wow, you are on point!
Your kids are seeing their parents taking care of themselves. They see that it is important to have “grown-up” time and that life without them exists. A hard concept to believe, but one THEY must accept. It also shows them that you guys are bonded together. It teaches them how to appreciate their future partners and how important it is to spend quality time with the ones they love.
Ahhhh Valentine’s Day... such a teaching day of the year.
Regardless of which option you choose or if you choose none of my options (don’t worry my feelings won’t get hurt), the important takeaway from all of this is to find and plan something to do, to honor your partner this holiday. It can be something big or something small (I personally am a sucker for a box of Bunch O’Crunch) to show your partner that you care... well and also show your kids that you care about your partner.
Well, scratch that. The important takeaway from all of this is... DATING YOUR PARTNER DOESN’T END WHEN YOU BECOME A PARENT!!
Sorry to literally yell at you, but this point needs to be emphasized.
In order to survive the chaos, stress, and exhaustion of having kids, you need time outside of them with your partner. Time to reconnect. Time to get back to the fun (that doesn’t include dancing the Hot Dog dance from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse). Time to get back to the romantic love that st