Hollywood has created a vision of what Valentine’s Day should look: flowers, chocolates, expensive jewelry, candlelit dinners, and nights out on the town that end with frolics under the covers.
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a lot of expectation from one day, and there’s something I know a lot about, it’s high expectations.
Valentine’s Day is a romantic idea when you are young, or single, or even newly married and still in the honeymoon phase of your relationship. The thing about love is that it matures and changes as both you and your relationship change.
That doesn’t mean you have to stop celebrating Valentine’s Day, it just means that HOW you celebrate it might change, along with your expectations for the day.
The first thing to do is keep in mind that expressions of love are shown in a million different ways over the course of the entire year. Your partner might make your coffee in the morning, or pick up your favorite flavor of ice cream at the market, or take the kids out for the afternoon so you can have some “me time” (or a nap). All those gestures say I love you, but in a different way than grandiose gestures like flowers or chocolates do on Valentine’s Day. Which is not to say you can’t appreciate the grandiose, but make sure to appreciate the every day as well.
Once you have children, you might find that it becomes harder to get away for that candlelit dinner, or a romantic weekend away. But, here’s the thing: your children need to know that gestures of love are important, so why not include them in the festivities?
Start with breakfast. Set the table as if you were having royalty for diner: use your nice dishes, get out the linens (red is useful for Christmas as well, it’s a good investment), and buy some fresh flowers. Carnations are inexpensive and last a long time if you buy them before they are fully bloomed change the water frequently. Prepare something kid friendly like heart-shaped pancakes and leave a love note next to everyone’s plate. Make it a yearly tradition.
Skip the romantic dinner and make plans to get away with your husband for lunch. This works better if you have school age children, but it’s just as easy to make arrangements for a babysitter during the day. In fact, you might find it easier on Valentine’s Day to find a sitter at lunch time then for dinner. Text each other before lunch and mention how much you are looking forward to your date, and don’t talk about the kids. Not even once.
If your children are school age send a Valentine to school in their lunchbox. A hand written note, or a card, telling them how much you love them. Nothing too fancy or embarrassing, just a reminder that love isn’t just for adults.
Have a fun family dinner. Think easy and kid-friendly. Maybe you want to have pizza and a movie. Order out or make it yourself. Include the kids on the topping decision or let them help with the assembly. Maybe you want to have finger foods and a board game. Either way, make it about what they like, and be sure to have a festive feel to the evening.
End the night with dessert, after the kids have gone to bed. Think chocolates and wine. Or maybe you like fondue. Or perhaps ice cream sundaes are more your style. Either way, spend some time alone with your loved one and remember why you fell in love with them.
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