In a few days it will be Valentine’s Day. A day earmarked for romance and grand gestures by Cupid. Many parents will make it a priority to hire a sitter and go out on the town. Some will stay in and bask in family glow.
And then there’s us single moms. The ones who know this holiday can be a bitch or a blessing.
I have worked to never attach too much power to February 14th and yet … here I am, single, thinking about love. Since it’s nearly impossible to ignore the day, let’s all resolve not to. Instead let’s embrace the holiday in a way that’s meaningful. For some, this could mean carving out some me-time. I know I’m a much better mom when I take a step back and recharge, even if it’s just a small moment. For others, this could mean taking stock of what makes us tick and remembering we are complete people, even if we are un-partnered.
I’m reminded of an exercise I did in elementary school years back. My teacher asked my class bold questions: Do you like yourself? Do you love yourself? Do you think other people like you? She had us write down three things that we liked or loved about ourselves, and then told us to fold the list and tuck it away. We’d be coming back to it later.
She then handed out white paper plates that we each wrote our names on. She had each of us grab a pencil and and move to the desk to our right. She asked us to look at the name on the paper plate and think about that person. Who were they to you? Is there something they can do that you admire? Is there something they have done that made you smile or laugh? How do they make you feel?
She had us write them down.
We spent the next part of the class shuffling around between desks, glancing at what our classmates had written about other students and adding our own insights. Eventually we all ended up back at our own desks looking down at a paper plate with our name on it, filled with comments.
Some of the comments on my plate were silly. Someone had written “glue fingernails!” in reference to a plastic ruler and glue project I had invented. Others wrote the obvious, “You are very tall” or “You have nice freckles.” (I was thankful for the inclusion of the word “nice.”)
The teacher asked us to take out the list of three things we had written about ourselves. Were there overlaps? Did our classmates see in us what we saw in ourselves? I clutched my original paper in my hand and never opened it again because I knew there was a disconnect. When asked to write three things I liked or loved about myself, I wrote, “I don’t know.”
If you did this today, what would you see on your own paper plate? Do you think the world only views us in terms of coupled or not? Who are you to the world? To your kids? To your friends?
I’ve learned a lot since those elementary school days, especially the fact that being alone does not make us unworthy of love. We are all worthy of the most amazing love stories. And just because we aren’t currently living one, doesn’t mean we have to turn off our sparkle.
I get that not having plans on Valentine’s Day can bring up The Feelings. Yes, those “everyone else has someone and I don’t, so something must be wrong with me — pass the bucket of chocolate” feelings. If you are feeling antsy because February 14th MEANS something to you and you have no plans, then make plans. Create the day that works for you as a single mom. Maybe that’s a lunch date with your kids or a night of binge-watching Downton. It’s for you to decide. It’s for you to enjoy.
On many days I am still like the younger version of me: the girl who struggles to find something to love about herself. Oddly, a day like Valentine’s Day doesn’t make me want to wilt away, but instead it pushes me to get out there. So I don’t have some hunky guy clamoring to take me to the movies this weekend; there’s no rule that says I can’t take myself to the movies. There’s no rule that says I can’t call up some friends and make a night of it.
So to all of you single moms out there:
You are great and wonderful and special and fantastic and amazing! I hope you tell yourself that daily. Writing down things we admire and like about ourselves is very uplifting. If you do one thing for yourself this Valentine’s Day, write yourself a love letter. Seriously. Remind yourself why you are the best thing that ever happened. Need inspiration? Watch the video below …
Happy Valentine’s Day, my friend, you are loved.More On