Yep, it’s that time of the year again. Our media feeds start overwhelming us with Hallmark-type content and ads as we’re reminded to pay our respects to Saint Valentine – or for commercial purposes, Valentine’s Day. This can inspire a few reactions: excitement, hope, anxiety, sadness, FOMO, a massive eye roll…
While Valentine’s Day still provides many couples with a symbolic day of romance – surprise picnics, candlelit dinners and starlit first kisses- many of us aren’t living that reality. Most of us are either buried in nappies and in need of an early night, don’t have access to a babysitter or don’t have a lover to speak of!
Yes, for many parents, love letters, bouquets of roses and romantic dinners are…well…non-existent. Not only does the loud addition of a baby (or 2 or 3…) pretty well stamp out any trace of romance for many parents, some of us are single parents and may have no one to romance anyway.
That’s why we’re all for renaming the day to LOVE Day. Because everyone has someone to love – and everyone is loved. LOVE Day feels a lot less commercial and a whole lot more heart-felt.
For those who are stuck at home with a baby who’s refusing to sleep, is teething, waking for multiple night feeds or co-sleeping or those who don’t have the energy, bandwidth or even the means to arrange a babysitter and go out on a date with a partner… We’ve come up with 5 things any parent can do to celebrate this LOVE Day that doesn’t involve chocolate or a candlelit dinner.
1. A family picnic
If there’s ever a perfect month for an outdoor arvo or early evening picnic, it’s February. Who needs a restaurant when Australia is quite literally overflowing with glorious parkland? (Also, I don’t know about you but the thought of pinning my toddler to another restaurant high chair is enough to bring on a panic attack!) With a picnic blanket, a picnic basket and a BYO or pot-luck approach, you can let the little ones explore, run around and play, while you enjoy a glass of wine and some imported cheese with your partner, a friend or other family members.
A LOVE Day picnic can include the whole family – and you can even team up with another family. Double whammy!
2. A massage or facial
Why not love yourself this LOVE Day and book in for that facial or massage you’ve been frequenting in your mind but haven’t managed to carve out the time for yet? There’s truly no harder job than being a parent (one that comes with the greatest rewards and the most epic challenges!), and as a parent to little ones, so much of our waking time and energy is absorbed by the needs of our babes. So, do something just for YOU this love day. It’s a cliché, but you really do deserve it.
3. An outdoor movie
An outdoor cinema date can be a great way to mark the LOVE Day occasion with your baby, kid/s, friends, parents or other family members without having the ‘romance’ angle rammed down your throat.
February is normally a great month to enjoy outdoor balmy evenings. Pack some cheese, dip, olives, wine or even your entire dinner in a picnic basket with a picnic blanket and enjoy watching a film under the stars.
TIP: Pack an extra blanket or 2 for extra cosiness in case it gets chilly.
4. Pizza night!
It’s LOVE Day, which is NOT the night to be cooking. Or cleaning. If getting out of the house just feels too much, if you are still establishing your baby’s sleep rhythms and routines, if your baby or toddler is going through a sleep regression, if you can’t get a babysitter or if you’re just damn tired, stay home. Don’t place too much pressure on the big day that is Valentine’s Day. FOMO is a non-starter once you become a parent anyway.
Order a pizza, put your legs up and treat yourself to a movie night on the couch. Done.
5. A family sing-along, bake-up or craft sesh
Any musos in the family? Do you have a piano? A guitar? A tambourine? Everyone has a voice! It’s time to get your dag-on…! Celebrate LOVE Day with your little one/s and any willing family members by enjoying music, and singing your favourite songs together. You could even put together a ‘love’-themed playlist. (We used to be cool once too 😉)
Alternatively, get your little ones involved in baking cupcakes, banana bread or a cake. Yes, it will get messy. And yes, you will be the one left to do the clean-up. But just think of all the bonding…
Painting or building a sculpture together is another great family-bonding activity. Also messy. Don’t hate us.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to start at roses and end at a flashy restaurant. Make of it what you will. Get creative, take the pressure off and do what’s right for you and your little ones this LOVE Day.