Valentines Day Ideas for the Married

Wellness  / 

Some holidays are more exciting with kids, like Christmas or Halloween. But others take a pretty steep tumble once you’re a parent.  And in this category, I place Valentine’s Day.  It’s not that I don’t want to spend the day about love with the people I love the most.  It’s just that the way you celebrate Valentine’s day before you have kids is pretty different then the way you celebrate after.

Before kids, we made our plans in January.  “I’ll take you anywhere you want” my man would say. “Surprise me” I’d coyly respond, unable to think of anything I wouldn’t want to do with him. And then we had a bunch of kids.

Now, we start planning when one of us says “Oh #*@% this weekend is Valentine’s Day.”
“Should I make a reservation?” my hubby would ask.  “Fine”, I respond “but no weird menu, not the city, and not late.  I’m exhausted.”  And we both know there’s a decent chance we’ll order-in and light a candle to make it “special.”

Before kids, I loved the beautiful flowers my husband always sent that day, the sight of them a symbol of how thoughtful and romantic he is.

Now I look at flowers and think “Great, I have to cut cellophane and put them in a vase.  With water!”  Then I think about all the useful things we could have bought for the price of a dozen marked up roses, like a season of rec soccer or the new Xbox game the kids want.

Before kids, I would take the spa gift card he gets me every year and lavish those hours of relaxation.

Now, my underwear drawer is a graveyard of beautifully wrapped expired gift cards for massages at fancy spas.  The fact is, I hardly have time to grocery shop and do laundry between school drop-off and pick-up, much less travel to and from a spa, strip, get oily and massaged, change and get home.  And then have to shower!
Before kids, our night would definitely end with some romance. Light a candle, put on some music and have “alone time.”

Now, we usually come home to find at least 2 kids awake, anxious to tell us how they almost threw up or heard a noise. And since Valentine’s Day falls in the middle of winter, at least one of the kids has a virus or ear infection and needs medicine. By the time we get them back to sleep I’m half asleep myself. So chances are if someone’s moaning for daddy that night, it’s not me.

But even given all this, I know 2 things for sure.  First, my husband is still the same amazingly thoughtful and romantic man he was before we were blessed (and worn out) by our little people.

And second, no matter how lame my Valentine’s Day may be, I can still make it look awesome on Instagram.

Jacqueline Goldschneider is a freelance writer and a mother of four living in Bergen County

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