In my experience, the majority of parenting occurs in the gap between expectation and reality. Nothing ever goes as planned, someone will be disappointed, and this is arguably the most true on Valentine's Day. For example, expectation: you actually remember V-Day. Reality? It's 10:00 pm on Feb. 13 and you're desperately searching for an open store. Expectation: sex. Reality? You're too damn tired for sex. So sorry, but Valentine's Day is bullsh*t once you're a parent.
For one, it's pretty impossible to meet your kids' expectations regarding Cupid's Special Day. Even if you do manage to remember to buy Valentines, you'll probably purchase the "wrong" ones or fail to buy enough for every kid in their class. Or one of your kids will decide they want to make cards, while the other wants a very specific card that happens to be sold out. Mommy brain is a real thing, too, so you're bound to forget about your kids' Valentine's Day obligations until the last minute, or remember the night before that you signed up to send treats for their Valentine's Day party.
In my experience, few people appreciate the efforts parents must make to get their kids up and out the door each morning, and no one seems to recognize that Valentine's Day makes that goal harder to reach. Instead, someone will probably judge your kid's Valentines, and you by extension. The kids only care about the candy anyway, which makes me wonder why we don't just wait until the day after Valentine's Day and buy them a bag of their favorite candy at 50 percent off, instead of going through all of this needless trouble.
I thought Valentine's Day was a bullsh*t, made up holiday before, and now that my kids have bought into it I hate it even more. Sorry I'm not sorry, and here are just a few reasons why:
Because You'll Probably Forget About It
Mommy brain is real. I seriously can't remember sh*t. So, I'm not likely to remember Valentine's Day until the night before, when our kids remind me that they absolutely have to bring cards or snacks to school the next day.
Because You'll Feel Inadequate
I used to be crafty and loved making unique and special gifts by hand. Now that I'm a mom, however, I'm just too damn tired. Every year before Valentine’s Day I buy cards, rather than make them, so I have more time to do things I actually enjoy. A part of me knows this makes me smart, but there’s a voice in the back of my head that whispers “bad mom.” It really sucks.
Fortunately, my daughter is old enough to make her own Valentine's this year. Unfortunately, that also means there is now glitter and heart-shaped confetti all over our house.
Because You Have To Buy Valentines
I'm that mom you'll see at the store the night before V-Day, trying to remember how many kids are in each of my kids' classes, doing the math in my head, and still failing to buy enough boxes of Valentine's Day cards or bags of candy.
Because Date Night Is Different For Parents
Date night was so much easier before having kids. Now that my partner and I are parents, we have to find a sitter we trust if we want to leave the house sans kids. And I don't know if you're aware, but kids are freaking expensive, so we're rarely able to afford a night out.
And if I'm being really honest, I have to admit that I would rather not go out on Valentine's Day and have to share date night with everyone else who goes out.
Because You're Too Busy To Actually Enjoy It
Valentine’s Day also means that I have something extra on my plate. I have to remember to go to the store and pick up Valentines, bring treats for classroom parties, and get something special for my partner. I’m way too busy to enjoy it.
Because Your Partner Will Forget To Buy You Something
I was never really into Valentine’s Day before I had kids. I don’t really expect a gift from my husband, and I’m not just saying that. This time of year, though, and when every other commercial and online ad tells us that we have to buy something to show the people we love how we feel, does have the power to make people feel crappy when they're not on the receiving end of a Valentine's Day. And now that we are parents, we have even less capacity for remembering made-up holidays, so we're screwed (and not in a good way) before we even have a chance to live up to these unrealistic expectations for romance.
Because Your Kids Might Feel Left Out
I want to believe that schools make an effort to help prevent kids from feeling left out by making each child bring enough Valentines for everyone in the class. But kids can be mean, you guys. My kids have been judged for making their own cards, not sending the right kind of candy, and sending fruit snacks instead of chocolate (which was totally my doing).
Because There's Candy Everywhere
My kids haven't even finished eating the candy they got for Christmas, so the last thing they need is more. And you can argue with me about this, but most Valentine's Day candy actually sucks. IN the end, we'll likely have stale conversation hearts sitting on top of the refrigerator until next year.
Because Sexy Time Probably Won't Happen
I wish we could plan sex for Valentine's Day, but by then my partner and I will probably both too tired for sex. After all this Valentine's Day planning and running around and crafting and whatever else, we'd rather sleep. True story.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.