It’s wonderful to have a day set aside to celebrate the one that we love, and to feel cherished by someone who cares about you. But what’s good for card manufacturers and florists is not necessarily the best thing for your relationship. Your expectations of the day and the pressure to be more in love and happier than ever can put a strain us and our relationships.
My tops tips for surviving (and enjoying!) Valentines day this year:
- Plan ahead. If you are going to go out you will need to arrange childcare. Make sure you find someone that you feel comfortable with so that you can actually relax and enjoy your evening rather than feeling stressed out. If you aren’t ready to leave your baby for the evening, then do not feel pressured to do so.
- Get creative! You can create something really romantic in the comfort of your home. This could be a candlelit picnic in your front room, your favourite takeaway or even just setting aside some time together, away from your phone and the TV, to talk and re-connect with one another.
- Give the gift of time – most parents struggle to get enough ‘me’ time. This might be running a bath for your partner, or taking turns to have a lay in this weekend, or even recruiting a babysitter for a couple of hours so that you can go out for a lunch or a walk together.
- Make sure you are on the same page with your expectations. If one of you makes a grand gesture and the other barely acknowledges the day it could create a bad vibe.
- Match your expectations to your budget – many of us are a little more stretched when we become parents. A little love note, or small gesture is just as valuable as an extravagant gift.
- Take the opportunity to re-connect. When we become parents our focus is naturally on our little one’s and our partners can feel neglected, as can we. We all want to feel appreciated and cared for. Affection sometimes takes a back seat when baby arrives. You may not be ready for sexual intimacy yet, but remember that a cuddle, or even holding hands goes a long way.
Valentine’s Day means different things to different people – whether you choose to ignore it, go hearts and flowers crazy, or make a small gesture of affection to your loved ones, remember to look after yourself and focus on what you want and need, not what you think you’re expected to do.