I’m not someone who totally hates on Valentine’s Day. I like having a day to celebrate love with a little extra flair. I’ve always enjoyed planning out special meals for me and my husband. I get a free pass on buying items not usually in our budget and drowning myself in chocolate dessert.
But now that I’m a mom, Valentine’s Day is not quite the low-key lovefest I once enjoyed. The expectations for celebrating are on a whole new level — and the ridiculous hoops we expect moms to jump through for a Hallmark holiday are kind of out of control. Here are just a few of the ways moms are expected to outdo themselves in the name of Valentine’s Day love.
Remember when you used to be able to buy a box of Valentines at the drugstore, tape on some candy, sign your name and call it a day? Gone are those sweet and simple days. My son’s school demands handmade valentines for all 40 kids in his class. Candy is also forbidden, so there is no easy fancy-tag-plus-lollipop quick fix for this dilemma. Instead, I will spend the weekend before Valentine’s Day crafting obscenely messy and glitter-laden heart paraphernalia and begging my child to write his name on each and every one so I don’t get shamed by the teacher for forging signatures again this year.
Why are Valentine’s Day Pinterest projects somehow the most elaborate of any holiday? The other day I found myself staring into the abyss thinking about how I should make my children plush bunnies with heart patches sewn together from old sweaters and socks. I don’t even know how to sew. Really, I’d be doing myself a favor if I just deleted my whole “crafty” board, because all my nonfood-related Pinterest projects end in tears, messes and wine.
Like I said, making a special meal is totally my jam. I can spend the evening making a good rare steak and a chocolate tart and be on cloud nine. Creating a bento box of heart-shaped carrots and other themed food, however? Not so much. Want to know how long it takes to make heart-shaped homemade cheese raviolis? Because I know from experience. It takes four hours — and five years off your life expectancy.
Much like at Christmastime, even if you are not an avid baker, you are expected to make something out of this world to commemorate Valentine’s Day. I, for one, really enjoy baking, but felt compelled by the holiday to try making homemade fortune cookies, because, you guessed it, Pinterest told me it was super-easy. It was a fail of epic proportions and I’m still not sure I have full feeling in my burnt-ass fingertips.
More: 27 Recipes That Make Valentine’s Day Worth All the Effort
There is one time a year when I am willing to force my kids into matching holiday outfits, and that is Christmas family photo time. This is not an enjoyable experience and it involves much bribing. Dressing them all up for school Valentine’s Day parties when one kid wants to wear camouflage snow boots and a Little Mermaid dress and the other is complaining about how itchy his button-up shirt is? Forget about it. I quit motherhood.
If you love any or all of the above, you do you, my friend. I think we should all be able to celebrate in a way that feels authentic — and not be bullied into crazy expectations because Pinterest told us to.