Here's What Moms *Really* Think About Valentine's Day

As a mom, Valentine's Day can sometimes feel a bit obligatory and insignificant. In fact, the only way I'd even remember it exists is because of all the cheesy social media posts — you know exactly which ones I'm talking about — and of course, the drug store aisles filled with rows of fake roses, bad chocolate, and stuffed animals. This part of V-Day, I'm not a fan of, but I am a fan of love — all kinds — and as a mom, I have lots. Honestly, what moms really think about Valentine's Day isn't that complicated — it's just so much more now.

I still remember the best Valentine's Day gift I ever got was from my Dad when I was 7 years old — a porcelain doll in a pink frilly dress and matching bow. It made me feel special and loved and seen, and it meant something to me that he thought of me, too, and not just my mom. It wasn't just about the doll; it was about the gesture. The fact that I had recently developed an interest in porcelain dolls and had begun to collect them and he remembered. I immediately felt just how special and important to him I was.

Courtesy of Alison Kresta

Fast forward to adulthood and motherhood where Valentine's Day has turned into something quite different entirely. When you're a mom, Valentine's Day is about getting the kids to school on time, asking yourself if you should plan something special (and then you can't because you get caught up at work), and trying to find time to fill out a thousand fiddly Valentine's Day cards for their classmates while ignoring the never-ending laundry. It's about counting down the hours until bedtime because you just want to enjoy a glass of wine or eat food that's still warm without being interrupted — food that's not mac and cheese or shaped like a dinosaur. (Oh, except now you feel guilty because you probably should've cut those dinosaurs into heart shapes and at least dressed your kid in a red sweater.) It's about celebrating the 50% off chocolate on Feb. 15, and then feeling terrible after eating the entire box. I'm making it official: Mom-Valentine's-Day is a thing.

When I started writing this piece, I was convinced I'd approach the idea of Valentine's Day by attacking all the Hallmark clichés while talking about my divorce and dating fiascos. But that's not what Valentine's Day is about to me anymore, and that's not what love is about. Yes, Valentine's Day is about love, but that doesn't mean just romantic love. Mom-Valentine's-Day is about a lot more than that — it is the unfolded laundry that's been sitting on top of your dryer for a week. It's the fact that you're never able to actually drink your coffee warm — literally ever. It's the sticky paint-stained fingers making you a Valentine's Day card that'll fall off the fridge every time you open it for a snack. Those things are the ultimate, beautiful signs of love. They are proof that moms lovingly put others before themselves, and they wouldn't have it any other way. They're also proof of your own heart walking outside of your body — and how you'd do literally anything to protect them.

Courtesy of Alison Kresta

Valentine's Day isn't about buying a million cards and roses because that's what you're told to do — as a mom, it's about the little things that keep love alive. If I can spend hours each day on social media, I can spend a few moments each day appreciating all the love I have in my life. Especially with my little boy. I want to think of creative ways to make my loved ones feel special and seen, no matter how small the gesture is — it's what I do every day as a mom, and it's how I plan to raise kind and loving humans.

So what does Valentine's Day mean to moms? It's a time to appreciate all the love we're capable of giving to others, and yes, also to ourselves. It's staying up to do the little cards for your kids' class, because you know how excited they are. It's finding their favorite candy, making breakfast into heart shapes, and giving them some extra kisses on their way out the door, even if you're running late. It's about the little things that make moms feel loved, appreciated, and seen. It's about giving your kids a memory like the one I have of my dad that Valentine's Day. It's all about the things you do everyday — except now you have an excuse to cover all those little things in lace and chocolate.