Every year on Valentine’s Day, my dad would buy my mom a box of chocolates. My siblings and I were grateful for any our mother would share, knowing full well those were her chocolates.
After all, at least as we understood it, Valentine’s Day was a holiday for grown-ups, and more specifically, for grown-ups in a relationship.
We weren’t showered with candy and gifts, because the holiday wasn’t about us.
In our home Valentine’s Day was an opportunity for our father to show his appreciation for our mom.
Over the years, and especially as social media has made competitive parenting a thing, Valentine’s Day has morphed into yet another reason to shower our kids with gifts.
I am not talking about cards and candy here either. I am talking full on toys, games, clothes, and other items expensive enough to rival any winter holiday wish list.
And, because these often over-the-top, lavish displays of gift-giving are all over our Instagram feeds, many parents feel compelled to do more, and thus the cycle continues.
I am here to say enough is enough.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be about the kids. Our children have ample opportunities to be spoiled throughout the year, a manufactured Hallmark holiday doesn’t need to be another one.
And, if making our kids feel loved on V-day is important, there are numerous ways to show them our love that don’t involve spending hundreds of dollars on toys.
Furthermore, we parents (and moms in particular) need to stop feeling like we can’t have something just for us. Our kids don’t have to be included in everything. And we shouldn’t feel like we have to stress over making yet another day “special” for them.
It is not selfish to want Valentine’s Day for you and your partner.
Even if you aren’t in a relationship, you deserve to treat yourself to something special just for you.
Your kids will see you valuing yourself and understand some things are not about them.
I imagine some reading this will think I am judging those who go all out for their kids on Valentine’s Day. I’m not.
I understand many find more happiness in celebrating and giving to others than they do in getting gifts themselves. If that brings you joy, keep doing what you love. Go ahead and make as big a spectacle as you desire.
If, however, you don’t feel like getting your kids anything for Valentine’s Day, know that you are still a good person, your kids are still loved, and they will grow up just fine.
Besides, St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, and those toy leprechauns won’t give themselves.