Depending on where you are on the separation timeline (just fresh off the couples boat or a seasoned single person/parent), Valentine's Day can still kink the most practical person's armour. So while all those other sweet hearts give roses and chocolates or go out for a romantic dinner, here are three ways to celebrate Valentine's as a single parent.
# 1 Send yourself flowers
Ok, before you shoot me down thinking that's the most ridiculous thing to do, hear me out. Firstly, you've got to try it! Order those flowers over the phone, ask for your favourite color, and have them delivered to work with the card just saying 'Happy Valentine's!'. So while you're working away, someone is going to charge in from reception proclaiming to everybody, 'Look who's got flowers!' You will still be surprised by what you get and it will give the whole office something to talk about for the whole day.
# 2 Create a yearly ritual with the kids
The kids always love any excuse to celebrate something and if you go over the top with making it a fun day, they will be talking about it for days (more than any partner would). Here are some suggestions (OCD parents ... take a deep breath):
• First things first – no homework on Valentine's Day (and that includes chores)
• Shape everything possible in the lunch box or the dinner plate as hearts
• Lay a picnic blanket or table cloth on the floor (or over your bed) and have a picnic dinner
• Make the craziest ice cream sundaes for dessert and cut wafers into hearts to stick on the top
• Each person has to say three things they love about you / their siblings
If you missed the kids this year because of shared custody, just move it to another day but still do everything above for yourself while watching your favourite movie.
# 3 Write a Valentine's message to yourself
Sadly we hardly ever offer self praise, so write a love letter to yourself. Make sure you list at least ten things and no, it's not silly or being vain! Why can we melt when said by someone else but we can't say it to ourselves. It might go like this ...
I don't often tell you this because life gets in the way and I'm not very good with praise (I know, no excuse), but I want to let you know why I love you so much.
1. You always put others first
2. You have the most beautiful eyes
3. The way you get yourself and the kids ready in the morning and out the door on time is amazing
4. You cook the best pancakes
5. You have a gorgeous smile that brightens any room when you're in it
6. You make the cutest sound when you sneeze
7. You make the kids laugh with the funny faces you pull
8. You make up words to songs when you don't know them so you can still sing along
9. Your bottom is beautiful, even if you don't think so
10. You have an inner strength that I see get stronger every day
I will love you till the last breath you take and I'm glad I can spend every day with you.