Valentine’s Day: A wondrously commercialised day aimed to fill hearts, boost egos, empty wallets and cause the singles amongst us to drown our sorrows in an ocean of pity, chocolate and wine.
Up until a couple of years ago, this was certainly how I viewed Valentine’s Day. I saw it as a stupid, exclusive celebration that further highlighted how single I was, especially when I first became a single mother.
But with time and patience, my perception has changed dramatically … for the better. I have learned to embrace the day and focus on my loved-ones who are already part of my life, instead of looking outwards for someone to love me.
So, with a cup-half-full attitude, here is my Valentine’s Day survival guide for single mothers.
Further reading: 14 Things to do with your kids this Valentine’s Day.
The Valentine’s Day survival guide for single mothers
“Survival” seems like a strong word to describe a day, considering us single mothers we are already survivors. Some of us walked away from very difficult situations, copped rejection, and had to start again from rock bottom.
So, instead of approaching Valentine’s Day as a survival exercise, let’s challenge ourselves to fall in love with this day and all it has to offer.
Valentine’s Day: A Little History Lesson
I know a lot of us are beyond our schooling years, but the teacher nerd in me did a little research and discovered some pretty cool history.
“During the peak of the Roman empire, Claudius ruled that young men could not marry as he felt they were better fighters during war than their married counterparts. Saint Valentine was not cool with this law and continued to marry-off young couples against Claudius’ wishes (what a rebel). Claudius then got a little egotistical and ordered his execution. While awaiting his fate, Valentine fell in love with the jail warden’s daughter. Before his execution, Valentine wrote a letter to her which he signed off ‘from your Valentine’ (a hopeless romantic – what a guy!).”
From there, the “celebration of romance” came about because February 14th aligned with the day that birds started their mating season.
Finally, skip forward to today, when it’s become the cultural norm to be all commercial and objective. If you’re keen to learn more, head to this website.
It comes down to love
In essence, the central theme of Valentine’s Day is ‘love’. Love has so many misconceptions, which in-turn makes us single mothers loathe the day when it rolls over. I feel that if we change our perception of what love is, our outlook on Valentine’s Day will change for the better.
Years ago I read this powerful piece of writing which challenged how I viewed love forever:
“Love is a verb. Love is not just a feeling; it is an action. Love is a choice. Understanding this concept will change your life and determine your ability to find happiness in any situation. Love never ends.”
Every moment of every day we are provided with a series of choices. Do we choose to love unconditionally and ultimately find happiness or do we work against the grain, get caught up in the commercial nature of love and ultimately be miserable?
Being a single parent is the greatest exercise in love that we can ever engage in because we not only have to love ourselves first, but through those actions, teach our children how to practice and experience love.
Further reading: Valentine's gifts for mums to get themselves.
Take Positive Ownership of Valentine’s Day
Here’s a thought …
“Why can’t Valentine’s Day be a day to remind us about the power of love rather than a day to be loathed and feared?”
Use this day as an opportunity to teach and practice love and kindness to your children. Do something that makes everyone happy, and don’t forget to take care of yourself too!
Also, check out this article: 107 Self care ideas that cost you nothing.
My two key takeaways
Here are two key take-aways from my Valentine’s Day survival guide for single mothers:
Make it about connection
Take time to acknowledge how important your children are to you. Reflect on their achievements, highlight the things that you love about them, and remember to LISTEN to why they love you! Go on a child date with your child/ren. Do something nice that works within your time restraints and budget. Maybe a BBQ/ picnic in the park or a special movie night in the house (create a little movie setting with food and sheets).
Reach out to others
Remember love being an action? Do something that helps someone in the community beyond your family. Go to the discount store and buy some small gifts to give to the elderly at nursing homes or get your children to make some Valentine’s gifts for them. Whatever it may be, encourage them to understand the importance of not only loving their own family, but loving others as well.
To conclude my Valentine’s Day survival guide for single mothers
I hope that you now view Valentine’s Day a little differently than before.
Like many things in life, it helps to think outside the box.
Of course, there is always the option to ignore Valentine’s Day altogether, but it is unlikely that your kids will let you, especially younger kids. And why ignore something which is pink and pretty and all about love?
Perhaps you may start to look forward to the day. Even relish the opportunity to spread a little love and positivity to those who are lucky enough to have you in their lives.