My husband and I won’t be spending Valentines Day together this year. Not because we don’t believe in celebrating and think it’s an over the top marketing exercise, but simply because we won’t actually be in the same country on the day. We’ve recently moved back to Sydney after living in Dubai, and after the first few weeks of getting organised, my hubby had to go back to work out his notice, and arrives back here for a short break on February the 15th, one day after Valentines Day.
It got me thinking about how Valentines Day has evolved for us as a couple.
From the early days of dating where it was such a big deal, all about crazily romantic dinners and over the top presents, as newlyweds where it was just as exciting, especially being “husband and wife”. Our first Valentines Day while I was pregnant also felt so special, knowing it was our last time to celebrate our love, all by ourselves! Fast forward to the fog of being new parents, when just getting a full night’s sleep became more than enough of a gift, and if either one of us managed to remember a card that was a bonus it itself. And then with young children – where suddenly Valentines Day is about them thinking Mummy will give them a card filled with love notes and chocolate, and handing out chocolates to their little friends, and a hubby who forgets in the morning but somehow manages to arrive home with supermarket chocolates and flowers at the end of the day – sounds familiar anyone?
I don’t think anyone can deny that becoming parents can test the strongest relationship.
There are moments where we feel like passing ships in the night, moments where we are so sleep deprived, or touched out that we barely have time for each other. In that light, whether you are into Valentines Day or not, I think using the day as a simple reminder to remember the love we have for each other, the love that brought us together, the love that created our children in the first place – is reason enough to celebrate. And whether you choose to do that in a fancy restaurant, or simply with supermarket chocolates and a handwritten card, all that really matters is that we remember that love.
As parents, what better way is there to teach our children about kindness and being loving to others than by expressing it openly in the home?
Encourage your kids to write love notes to your spouse or partner, to each other, and to their friends. My son wrote me a love note once that said “If you were at another universe, I would go and get you” and it remains in my wallet as a reminder of that beautiful, innocent childhood love that I know will change as he gets older. It also makes me see my husband in him, and reminds me of the days when we were younger and more romantic, when he used to write me love notes. And even though that doesn’t happen as often now, the simple memory is enough and reminds me of the love that brought us together.
This year, I’ll be spending Valentines Day with my two beautiful children, as we wait for Daddy to come home to us the next evening. I plan to sit down with them and look at our wedding photos, and tell them funny stories of when we first met. I know they will be more interested in just getting some chocolate, but I know I’ll be sharing those stories just as much for me as for them. If you’re a single parent, I encourage you to celebrate Valentines Day with your little ones, why should you miss out on a day that should simply be about love? And lastly, as mums, lets all take the day to remember that above all, we need to love ourselves first – so book in for that pamper session, take a long bath, get some retail therapy in, simply do something that is just about you, for you.
Catherine Nelson-Williams is the author of this article and founder of The Nursery Collective. She is a mum of two and juggles being a WAHM with blogging and running The Nursery Collective – a haven for mamas navigating the early years of motherhood, where you can find unique boutiques and services for Mum, Baby & Kids all in the one place.