Isn’t it funny how, over time, Valentines Day shifts from being wined and dined, eating heart-shaped chocolates, and fawning over a dozen red roses to making hand-cut heart garlands with our little ones and their sticky fingers and grinning smiles.
Our priorities certainly shift as we become mothers.
As much as we would love to find a babysitter and make a night out of it, the idea of Valentines changes as our relationship grows and our nurturing spreads. We may still hope for that bouquet of flowers or some expression of love, but it may not be what we longed for.
This Valentine’s Day, I have a new idea for you.
The Expectations Of Valentine’s Day
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be loved, admired, cared for, and indulged upon on Valentines. After all, it is the day of love, albeit wholly fueled and therefore confused, by commercialism.
For this reason, our expectations are often too high.
The disappointment when the flowers don’t arrive, the chocolates are still in the shop, and the card is simply signed can be a bit of a thundering hit. Or if the conversation at dinner is not sparked by adoration and love but the direct dialogue about the broken washing machine and the kids’ report cards.
Those expectations sold to us from an overtly consumeristic population tell us we should adoringly stare into our partner’s eyes and play footsie under the table. Now, most of us have not had a Valentines like this, as we did in the first flush of romance. And that is perfectly ok! As I say, life shifts gear when we become Mama.
So, how do we adjust our expectations?
We look inward to be our own Valentine.
Be Your Own Valentine
By all means, be grateful and show gratitude when you are handed tulips with a hug and kiss so warm and needed from your partner. And most certainly, show them how much you love, respect and admire them. Valentines can most certainly be shared with this idea of being your own Valentine and that of your partner. It is not one or the other (because let’s face it, which one is more likely to fall to the wayside? Yes, being our own valentine.)
This idea is very much along the lines of self-care, self-appreciation and nurturing, alone time, honouring yourself, and the concept of self-preservation. There is nothing selfish about wanting time to focus on your own needs, to nurture your mind and soul, to linger over a hot cup of cacao without the mental load tugging on your sleeve.
So this year, be your own Valentine, not just on February 14th but all year long, because you are worth loving every single day.
How To Be Your Own Valentine
Reconnect With Yourself
Tell yourself, “I love you.” Look in the mirror and truly see yourself. This is not something many of us do routinely. There seems to be something a little narcissistic about it, but that is simply your inner critic / shadow self / ego judging you. This declaration of self-love is empowering! It boosts our confidence, amplifies our self-worth, and hugs our self-acceptance.
The more time you take to recognise and acknowledge how pretty damn incredible you are, the easier it gets. The more you reconnect with yourself, the quicker you can shut down that judgemental inner voice.
Make Self-Care Your Valentines Gift
We know how important self-care is, but here is your Valentines reminder to make self-care your gift to you.
Again, self-care is never selfish and is, in fact, a necessary and important part of our lives. We need to slow down, reassess, refocus, and reframe our minds and bodies daily. Let’s not forget that we can, at times, be overwhelmed and exhausted.
Motherhood is hard.
What would be the point in not prioritising ourselves and leading ourselves towards burnout?
Be Present In The Moment
There is not a day that goes by without a schedule, a plan, a list to tick off. Take time to heighten your senses and indeed be present in the moment. Listen to the rain hit off the windscreen as you wait at traffic lights, feel your little ones soft hand in yours, smell the spices oozing out of the slow cooker and hear the gentle hum in a quiet room. It’s so easy to miss these things. To get lost in the rat race. But by slowing down and appreciating the small things, we build gratitude, become more aware of our surroundings, and become less judgemental of our thoughts.
The Luxury Of Time And Space
Time and space. Luxury. Not exactly words you would think to combine in motherhood but this Valentines, indulge in the luxury of finding (and keeping) your own time and space.
Find the comfort of somewhere where you are comfortable and alone, silent and simply breathing.
Ensure you have the time to benefit from the boredom of not being needed, and give yourself permission to do nothing but simply be.
Not everyone likes the idea of boredom, of course, so if that’s you, then find that time and space and fill it with what drives you—a walk by the coast, yoga in the mornings, a coffee in the garden.
The idea is to create boundaries and give to yourself in a way that no one else can.
Because remember, this Valentines, we are not expecting others to shower us with love, but instead we are taking back that idea and honouring ourselves first.