Locked Down Valentine’s

As we are coming up to a year of being locked down because of the current global health pandemic I am finding myself thinking about what to do about Valentine’s Day. With nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no significant other to celebrate with what does one do on this day of love? I hadn’t given the day much thought until recently. I feel like It doesn’t really apply to me. I figured it would just be another day in isolation for us, the days tend to blend now anyways.

Of course, my kiddos aren’t having any of that. They realized the date this week and got all excited about the upcoming day of love. And what can I say? Their excitement is infectious.

I gave it some actual thought once their excitement caught hold of me. There are so many reasons to just ignore the day this year. Especially for those of us single parents who have the entire world on our shoulders right now. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered how we could use the day. What if we didn’t ignore it though? What if we embrace it?

Life might be more than too much right now but that is exactly the reason why we should make time to celebrate this year. No, I’m not talking about running out and partying with a bunch of people. Clearly, we need to be responsible. No, what I’m thinking is more about taking the essence of the day and turning it into something we need. Turning it into something other than a commercial excuse for material things just for couples. Let’s use the day of love to love ourselves.

Ending up in a padded room is a good possibility after the last year. Or is that just me? Either way, hear me out with this one.

Take it off

Yes, hire a stripper. Just kidding (or am I?). Seriously, just take the day off. If you can’t take the actual 14th off, pick a day you can and stick to it. Valentine’s Day is officially your day off this year to the best of your abilities. Yes, there will still be things you need to do. You know, like keeping your tiny humans alive, but otherwise it’s a day for you and them. A day of love, a day of your closest loved ones.

No deep cleaning your kitchen, no work, no things that don’t bring you joy. Spend your day on what actually matters in life; you and your immediate family. Chances are organizing your closet isn’t something that brings you actual joy, neither does mopping your floor. There are some days that those things can just wait, and this is one of them.

What do I do then?

You, my overworked friend, relax. You eat some yummy food, you hang out with your kiddos, you breathe. Maybe you love to sit down with your kids and draw. Maybe you all love to play board games or have a movie night. Maybe you all love to snuggle on the couch and read your own books. Do whatever makes you happy.

Aside from spending the day breathing and having fun It is a good day to do some self care. I don’t mean just toss on a facemask and listen to an audiobook. Although that might be a part of your day and may be a good way for you to relax. I mean actual self care. Taking some time to breathe, meditate, and get in tune with yourself. Take some time, maybe when the kids are in bed or you have some quiet moments to focus on you. To check in with yourself.

Loving you

I think something we all often forget to do, especially as busy parents, is to give ourselves attention. We are always so worried about keeping up with our kids, our jobs, with life in general that we don’t take the time for our own basic needs. Let alone taking the time to connect with ourselves, to listen to ourselves, nourish ourselves.

Be honest now, when is the last time you took some actual time just for you. Not to just mindlessly watch Netflix, although that is a great way to just be and enjoy yourself, but to ask yourself how you are. When’s the last time you were honest with yourself about where you are, what you need, what you want, who you are, and what’s been on your mind? When is the last time you focused on you? Truly focused on you. When is the last time you took in a breath and felt it work it’s way through you and back out? When is the last time you were creative for the fun of it or just for the sake of being creative?

I know it’s hard to find the time. I know it’s hard to do. I know it can feel impossible. I even know, I’ve laughed at similar advice before. We can do this for one day though. We can take one day to just feel love, be loved, and give love. We can have a day to reconnect with ourselves, to remember what being human is really all about.

How many of us totally lose ourselves when we have kids? It’s such a common complaint I hear from mothers. Many of us give up so much of what we originally thought made us, us; hobbies, jobs, friends, our sanity. Becoming a Mom changes you, it does, and it does so in some of the greatest ways, but it isn’t all you are. It doesn’t have to take over everything. You are still you. Ever heard the popular adage: you can’t pour from an empty cup? This is the same idea. You cannot take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. Many of us forget that staying connected to who we are is apart of that. Checking in with ourselves and making time for us is apart of that. In short, date yourself and never stop.

I’ve certainly been on a journey of self love and self worth lately. This is likely a culmination of all of that but the advice holds true and it is something I’ve been working on the last couple of years. The positive change it’s made for me is beyond what I thought it would be. I was so stuck for so long that I couldn’t see this light but, I assure you, it’s there. Even in the demanding hard world we live in right now, it’s there. It’s helpful.

I know I will be taking inspiration from my kid’s this year; allowing myself that infectious wonder and excitement that comes with holidays. Truthfully, it’s been a while since I allowed myself to do that. This year, I’m sure, has done that to a lot of us. Especially those of us who have been able to completely stay at home during these hard times. The isolation is rough, but it is exactly why we need to step away from it in a sense. We may still not be able to venture out like we usually would but we can step back from it to connect with ourselves and our children who are also struggling during this time.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all. I wish you nothing but a day full of love, not just given by you but also to you.

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