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Don’t let parenthood harsh your Valentine’s Day

We all know that romance in a relationship is just as important after kids as it is in the prebaby days. But here’s a special word of warning: Don’t throw in the towel and skip Valentine’s Day just because you’re tired. There’s nothing sadder than parents who forgo a hot date because of their kids.

The thing is, it’s so easy. We are all parents here. We are all so very, very tired. We all would rather go to bed early after watching a few hours of Netflix than lift a finger to light a candle, let alone cook a special dinner. Or maybe that’s just me.

Then there’s another factor in the after-kids Valentine’s Day celebration: Money. Your kids really do take all your money, and then they want more. Logically, it makes little sense to pay $15 an hour for a babysitter, plus $30 or more for a movie, plus $100 for a fancy dinner when you could spend the same $150 on a few days of day care. How depressing.

I’m here as your personal, post-parenthood Valentine’s Day cheerleader to tell you to buck up, cheer up and learn a lesson from your kids. One of the things that we always tell our kids is that it is the thought that counts. This same principle will hold your shaky adult marriage together.

I am in the school of thought that I will take any chance I can get to get out of the house, spend some time in public and look at my husband’s face without kids screaming in the background for our attention. Valentine’s Day is the perfect ruse.

Even if you don’t have the cash, even if you don’t have the time, even if you don’t have the energy, it doesn’t mean you can’t put in the effort.

Most parents spend the week leading up to Valentine’s Day planning class parties, baking cupcakes decorated with hearts and helping kids write dozens of Valentine’s cards for their friends. This is a great start. This is all the fun of being a parent. But let’s not try to church it up — this approach to Valentine’s Day has everything to do with your kid and nothing to do with you.

If you do one thing this Valentine’s Day, do something for yourself and for your relationship. Even the smallest gesture, like watching the same Netflix show together and sharing a bottle of wine, is something. Taking the time to book a date and get out of the house will probably be the highlight of your year.

You are a parent, but you are still a person who wants to feel loved and attractive. It’s a mistake to make Valentine’s Day all about your kids.

More on Valentine’s Day

Lazy mom’s guide to Valentine’s Day
Kid-friendly Valentine’s Day recipes
Valentine’s Day gifts he won’t be getting you

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