It’s just around the corner, you guys. Good plans, bad plans, no plans, some plans. Everybody is crazy on…
The day of over-priced cards, flowers, chocolates, and—dare I say?—lingerie. (I realize that last one can be a fairly weighted word in mom world.) It’s also the day that we feel the most social pressure to be happy, loving, and romantic. So combine that with the pressure to gift our people with all. the. things., and we’ve got ourselves a pretty serious problem.
Yes, I hear you. It’s commercialized and made up. We should be just as loving all year long, not just one day. Yes, yes, I agree. BUT, Valentine’s Day can also be fun if we let up a little on our expectations. It’s often those pesky expectations of a perfect love, perfect gifts, or just the right amount of romanticism that leave us feeling less than googly-eyed on this day. And newsflash: we often do it to ourselves.
Instead of wishing for your partner to bring you all. the. things., what if you told him about small things that you really love? The little things. For example, I love my coffee—like, a lot. So, a gift card to my favorite local coffee shop is absolute perfection for me. Nevermind that $100 flower arrangement. The way to my heart is through a cup of joe. Also, I love music. I love Target. I love shopping alone. GIFT CARDS! GIFT CARDS! See the red flashing lights yet? These things bring me happiness and allow for some me time. Win-win.
However, if I didn’t share that information with him, he wouldn’t know not to bring home the flowers and chocolates for the big day. Society tells him to, and if I don’t communicate otherwise, I’m getting flowers. I know this because I did for the first few years of our relationship. I would smile and thank him for the flowers and die a little inside thinking about all the Dollar Spot purchases I could have made at Target instead. In our house, we buy little and love big. That’s much more our style.
Also, I realize some of you want that surprise factor. It’s more romantic, you say. And I don’t necessarily disagree. You don’t want to have to pick out your gifts—you want your partner just to “know.” Here’s a little secret: he doesn’t. He absolutely doesn’t know unless you tell him. And you know what is even more romantic than a surprise? Feeling like your partner knows you and hears you. Solid relational communication? Super sexy.
So while you don’t necessarily have to buy your own gifts, you can drop hints, create Amazon gift lists for each other (he can still pick!), or simply tell him what you enjoy. He can still have artistic freedom with what he decides. Also, let him know your opinion on the big-ticket items. I have a friend who would lose her mind if there wasn’t a flower arrangement waiting for her the morning of Valentine’s Day. (Obviously something that’s worth sharing with her partner!) So figure out what it is that makes you smile, and then start there.
And lastly, don’t forget all the lovey-dovey stuff that’s free! When is the last time you told your partner your favorite things about him? Haven’t written a haiku since seventh grade? Now’s your chance. Never, ever underestimate the power of the written word. Write a love note to your marriage or make a list of all the things your partner does that bring a smile to your face. Make a painting, write a song, or just take a moment and hug it out. Love always wins.
Yep, another area of major stress for many people, especially those of us with children. Quality time is difficult to come by at this stage of the game and often becomes yet another source of frustration. Regular date nights can be fun. However, Valentine’s Day date nights are often filled with pressure to find the perfect plans. (There’s that darn social pressure, again!)
Expensive meals, busy restaurants, and then there’s the babysitting expense. It’s A LOT—so much so, that many people these days are opting for a quiet night at home instead. It’s easier. But what I’ve also seen happening among my friends is that a quiet night at home translates to doing nothing. This is great if you mean it, and a downer if that’s not what is actually desired.
So, take a quick look at quality time. What does that mean for you and your partner? Have you talked about that recently? Forget about Valentine’s Day for a quick second and focus on what you love to do together (and not as a family—just y’all). Exercising, eating yummy takeout, watching your favorite shows, opening a bottle of wine, taking a shower together after the kiddos are asleep. Plenty of things allow you to connect, without the noisy restaurant and overpriced appetizers. I challenge you to think inside YOUR box as a couple and put some intention into it. However, if fancy nights are y’all’s thing, then by all means do your thang. But, do yourself a favor and communicate that desire—don’t just expect it. Or, perhaps make the reservations yourself. If you want it, go and get it.
The magic word for this year? Intention. Especially if you have kids. The quality time isn’t sitting there waiting for you to grab and the gifts/sweet exchanges aren’t going to make themselves; you’re going to have to take the initiative. You’re a mom, for Pete’s sake. You know ALL about doing things yourself. If you plan something, big or small, put some intention behind it. And most of all, think about your relationship. Think about your partner and yourself. Spend more time this year on your plans for yourself and your relationship than you do on those valentines for your child’s class. I dare you.
Pulling some plans together, even if at home, highlights your relationship for a hot second. And that’s what Valentine’s Day should be doing for you: highlighting a little happy, not making up for a year’s worth of lost time. And if you notice that it often highlights some of that “not so good,” pay attention to that and perhaps spend Valentine’s Day reconnecting and talking about where you’d like to see your relationship headed. Any day, Valentine’s Day or not, spent focusing on love and reconnection, is a good day in my book.
So, you’ve got about two weeks to go before the big day. I challenge you (and myself, for that matter) to do three things:
- Focus on your relationship this year and have fun with it! Remembering one single day doesn’t have the power to make your relationship happy. It takes daily work.
- Be intentional. Communicate your desires, learn about your partner’s desires, and then get creative! That love note isn’t going to write itself.
- Be good to yourself. You don’t need to be in a relationship to love this day. Treat yourself. So what if this day is commercialized? You don’t have to buy conversation hearts or roses to feel all the feels. Buy a cup of joe, prop your feet up, and spend a moment loving on yourself. It’s worth it.
If words aren’t your thing, let us help you out with our Share the Love Valentine’s Day printable. It gives you a little communication boost to help express all the things you want your partner to know – and will give you a bit of a boost on showering them with love, too!