Gone are the days of the overindulgences in the name of coupledom for Hallmark’s most chocolate-coated holiday — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Considering that Valentine’s Day was originally celebrated merely with a handful of local flowers, a small sweet treat, and a handwritten note declaring one’s affections—all lovely gestures that get the point across—the fact that, starting in late January, the pressure is on to express your love via diamonds, ribbon-tied luxury automobiles, $300 pre-fixe dinners, or red long-stem roses with a four bajillion percent price increase is pretty bananas, if you think about it. Having kids, settling into a long-term relationship, and losing the time, budget, or desire to get caught up in the V Day pressure is a relief! Not only does it allow you to make much much much better financial decisions (Hmm…new car or pay for our eldest’s college education?), the kids, themselves, remind you how happy we can be with the smaller gestures once more. More casual, more adorable, more perfect.
Here are some of the ways Valentine’s Day has changed for moms (and how it’s for the better):
1. THEN: Celebrations could start as late as an 8 p.m. dinner, keeping you out til the wee hours of the morning.
NOW: The partying starts no later than 7 a.m. (if your kids manage to sleep in, that is), allowing you to tuck in at a respectable hour that night.
2. THEN: A simple, sensible breakfast in bed with a naughty dessert.
NOW: The breakfast in bed your kids bring you will likely be mostly candy and donuts. SCORE ONE FOR THE OFFSPRING.
3. THEN: He set up a scavenger hunt for you to find the presents he bought.
NOW: Every morning is a scavenger hunt for the kids’ matching shoes, so he just hands the gifts to you to streamline the process.
4. THEN: It took you so long to get into that little black dress and Spanx that he needs to work hard to deserve you taking it off for him.
NOW: You wear cozy fleece sweatpants and a tee that you don’t mind slipping out of them on a whim, #ifyouknowwhatImean.
5. THEN: The gorgeous leather-bound book of love poems he gave you sure looks nice displayed above the fireplace.
NOW: The Why I Love Mom poem your fourth grader brought home had you ugly-crying with love for days and earned a spot on your nightstand forever.
6. THEN: Your honey would always stop for those truffles that look like art and cost exactly one arm and one leg, then half the box was something odd and trendy that you didn’t even enjoy.
NOW: That cheapo heart-shaped box your tween grabs at the corner store to save Dad some shopping time? FULL of winners, every time.
7. THEN: You ended up only picking at half the stuff on those fancy pre-fixe menus.
NOW: Everybody loves pizza, it totally goes with the champagne you’ve been saving for a special occasion, and you don’t even have to leave your house to enjoy it.
8. THEN: You spent weeks planning the perfect surprise for your one true love.
NOW: You spend weeks planning the perfect class party for 22 strangers plus your kid.
9. THEN: You used to sext each other dirty little things to get excited.
NOW: You get excited when he texts you that he’s picking up diapers and formula on his way home to save you the trip.
10. THEN: Each year a red, pink, or black negligee was given, worn for minutes, then shoved into the back of your closet with all the others.
NOW: Well-worn granny panties are happily removed after a knowing glance signals that the kids are distracted long enough for you two to sneak into the laundry room for a quickie.
11. THEN: A date night in included something R-rated and funny or sexily romantic, inspiring you to paw each other on the couch.
NOW: The kids cram between you two as a PG-rated movie plays, but at least you get front-row seats to the adorableness all that pawing at each other created.
12. THEN: One molten lava chocolate cake with two spoons.
NOW: You have to share your chocolate cake with more than one person. So, you buy a second one and hide it until the kids go to bed.
13. THEN: Thick, swirly-fonted cards would be exchanged and were so long it got awkward just sitting there reading those $5 novellas you never knew how to respond to appropriately.
NOW: You each get a stack of handmade cards made of construction paper that get right to the point with drawings of your family surrounded by heart stickers. Hugs all around are the only response they require.
14. THEN: As a joke you’d buy conversation hearts and write out dirty messages with them.
NOW: You still do that, but your toddler usually eats them before your husband ever sees the messages, which makes it all even funnier.
15. THEN: A romantic candle-lit, two-person bubble bath, just like in the movies.
NOW: You bathe your wily rascals, chase them off to bed, and sneak solo into the silent hot shower to wash off the day’s stresses/whatever the kids stained you with in order to prep for a night of romance.
16. THEN: Sex was always a sure thing on Valentine’s Day.
NOW: There are kids who like to sneak into your bed to pee in it, sooooo…not always a sure thing that night. But eventually you’ll get around to it.
17. THEN: It was all about the two of you.
NOW: It’s a smorgasbord of love to and from everybody under your roof, and love smorgasbords are a wonderful thing.
More Mom Truths:
- 13 Reasons Why Classroom Valentine Exchanges Suck
- Why We Parent the Wrong Way, According to Our Moms
- How to Read a Mom’s Body Language