Valentines Day can be one of those days that ends up being stressful for mamas. As the day approaches, the million mom questions start to replay in our heads.
Do I plan something exclusively for my significant other? Do we do something special as a family because we also love our kiddos, not just each other? Do I REALLY want to try and get a Valentine’s Day babysitter and go out in the middle of the week? What kinds of Valentine’s Day gifts am I supposed to get a 1 year old? AM I supposed to get a 1 year old a Valentine’s Day gift?
It is nonstop.
Worry not, mama, I’ve got your back with 3 ways you can WIN Valentine’s Day, and not cause yourself (your first) grey hair!
1. Decide what is easy for your family!
Every family dynamic is very different. It’s important to think (realistically) about what works for you!
A few questions to think about are: How old are your kids? Do you have the capability to go out somewhere? Is strict bedtime important? How do you do as a family as restaurants? Do you have a babysitter available? What does your budget look like?
In my stage of life, I have a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and I’m 32 weeks pregnant. Going somewhere sounds more exhausting than exciting, so we will be staying in as a family. If your stage of life looks different than mine, you may be able to venture out with your family and have a fun dinner or activity out, or even have a date with your significant other (you lucky ones!)
Bottom line – do what is the LEAST stressful. Would I love a lovely dinner date out with my husband? Absolutely, but the planning, prepping, scheduling, and primping would make it less enjoyable, and more stressful. I know that we will have those fancy Valentine’s Day dinners out in the future, so I’ll enjoy my family time now while my kiddos want to spend Valentine’s Day with ME!
Now, if you have the ability to go out, either with your family or just your significant other, go for it! Just think realistically. If you go out with your fam, choose somewhere that’s family friendly opposed to a real date-ish place so you can laugh and enjoy yourselves!
2. Save yourself some time each year and choose a Valentine’s Day tradition for your fam
When I was growing up, my parents decided on a few Valentine’s Day traditions that we could look forward to every year, and no doubt made their lives easier as parents.
We would order the heart-shaped pepperoni pizza from Papa Murphy’s for dinner (because…FUN!!) and they would give us a new movie to watch and enjoy. (I’m sure there was chocolate in there somewhere, but the pizza had this girl’s heart!)
Thinking back to this, this was a brilliant parent move. We had a fun, out of the ordinary dinner as a family, and then my sisters and I would snuggle up and watch our new movie while my parents could have some time to themselves.
We did this for several years – and I know having the tradition made the planning on my mom’s part easy. She knew exactly what she needed to do for that day – and kept it low key so it was enjoyable.
Whether you choose the same type of gifts for your kiddos each year, fun activities, or dinners, creating traditions will save you time and brain power each year AND give your kids something to look forward to. You can never go wrong with special family traditions!
3. Have the “V-Day Expectations” chat with your significant other
Being a woman, I know that there have been many times that I have created grand gestures in my head that my husband would do for Valentine’s Day, and been very disappointed when he didn’t do them. Not because he didn’t want to do them or forgot, but because he didn’t know about my expectations so he did something different.
Now, we all love an element of surprise, but many times the disappointment of the wrong surprise will trump the surprise itself. This is why I encourage this chat among significant others.
If you love flowers but hate chocolates, make that known. Are teddy bears your specialty? Will your husband be upset if you spend money on some silly pair of boxers he will never wear? Maybe all you want is a back rub because your week has been stressful?
Sit down and have a 10-minute conversation about what your ideal Valentine’s Day gestures look like, and then follow through with them. This will eliminate the disappointment that could potentially happen if you leave your S.O. to fend for him- or herself.
Here is my real life example, and how simple it can be!
My expectation: Flowers, because I love fresh flowers in my home. His expectation: Back rub because his love language is physical touch and that is all he needs.
One last thought while talking expectations – chat about what you are wanting to do with/for your kids. Moms tend to overthink things and want to go over the top (guilty!), while dads tend to be more laid back and practical. Avoid an argument about what to do for your kiddos, talk about each of your ideas and expectations, and find some middle ground.
I can guarantee (from my own experience) that if you realistically sit and think about these things, and take a little time to plan with your S.O., your Valentine’s Days will be smooth and stress free! You won’t have to think about all the typical mom questions year to year, and because you’re going to crush it with simple traditions and planning won’t get crazy!
The first year that you are starting to figure things out, you could hit some road bumps. However, doing it once will make the future years more enjoyable!
One small last note: ALWAYS leave room for flexibility and growth! Your family is going to grow and change through the years – so some of your yearly plans and traditions may also need to evolve. That is OK! We are mamas, we want to keep our babies little and with us forever, but the most important thing is teaching them how to care for others well!
After all, that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about right? Show them good examples, and they will continue that as they grow up! (Even if that means missing heart-shaped pizza, and taking their high school sweetheart out!)