Valentine’s Day for a third-grader means decorated shoe boxes filled with chalky hearts. At age 13, it means carnations from secret admirers and awkward dances. At 21, it means a LBD and a fancy restaurant. Now, 4 kids and mortgage later, it doesn’t exactly mean the same thing and those Valentine’s traditions vary.
When a “real life” mom plans a Valentine’s date, these things typically come to my mind: Finding a babysitter who doesn’t have plans, the cost of said babysitter, making dinner reservations, crowded and overpriced restaurants, and then the feeling of disappointment because my expectations didn’t hit reality.
After all is said and done, is the emotional stress really worth it? Why do we celebrate Valentine ’s Day anyway? To let those closest to us know how much we love and appreciate them? Isn’t this something we do every day?
At our house, we celebrate Valentine’s Day our own way with our own Valentine’s Day traditions. We want our kids to be as much a part of the celebration as we are.
Here are some tips for creating your own Valentine’s Day traditions:
- Get fancy. My husband wears a tie and the (four) girls wear dresses, high heels and sometimes make up.
- Decorate. Tape pink and red hearts all over the house and light some candles.
- Use that fancy China set. We set the table like an expensive restaurant. I make chicken pot pie and decorate the top with cutout hearts.
- Splurge on dessert. Bring home gelato or a chocolate cake. Just get something really special.
- Have a dance party. Dim the lights and blast a dance mix from Pandora. Dancing improves your mood and releases endorphins. Being silly and laughing as a family brings you closer together. (We always use our disco light to make it extra special.)
- Get creative. Lay out all the construction paper, doilies, pipe cleaners and stickers you have and make your own Valentine’s for each other.
Finally, plan a special night out with your SO for the following weekend. Your relationship started out in love and it should be nurtured and maintained — even through the years of nursing, dirty diapers and homework. After your kids move out, it will be just the two of you again; take time to pull the weeds out of your love garden, so you don’t lose the spark that started your family.
What are some of your family’s Valentine’s Day traditions you’ve started?