HOW TO DO VALENTINE’S DAY, FOR PARENTS

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Some might say Valentine’s Day is only for the young, the newly in love and those with a lot of time on their hands. It’s not for new parents who struggle to find time to go to the toilet, let alone engage in overblown romantic gestures for each other. But I say no! There is always time for romance: kids or no kids, it’s just a case of tweaking those classic Valentine gestures to suit your new lifestyle needs.

BREAKFAST IN BED

Before children, you might kick off Valentine’s Day with a lovingly prepared breakfast in bed. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like heart-shaped food and a morning spent lounging around nibbling croissants and each other. Unfortunately there is no time for this when you have children (unless you set your alarm for 4am, and not many people fancy a heart-shaped pancake at that time of the day.) For parents, the more practical alternative to a romantic breakfast in bed is a romantic breakfast on the run.  What a lovely surprise for your loved one when she goes to start the never-ending-pile-of-laundry, only to find a romantic breakfast awaits her.

 BEFORE CHILDREN:

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AFTER CHILDREN: 

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LOVE NOTES

Before having children it was easy to find time to tell your partner that you love them. You wrote a simple heartfelt card or something more elaborate like a mirror full of love notes.  Don’t worry,  now you are parents very little needs to change. You’ll just need to find more creative ways of peppering your partner’s day with words of affection. For example, your loved one won’t have time to read a heart made from a hundred post-it notes, but they might have time to read some motivational words written on the inside a nappy or hidden inside the dishwasher. This way your partner can feel loved and appreciated as they go about the daily drudgery of parenting.

BEFORE CHILDREN:

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AFTER CHILDREN:

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THE VALENTINE’S GIFT

Before children choosing a gift was easy; a dozen over-priced roses, some impractical mesh based lingerie, or perhaps a box of luxurious chocolates. I’ve got good news for you – now you are parents, gift giving gets a hell of a lot easier. As parents you are no longer concerned with material possessions. You don’t have time to wear nice underwear (it’s manky grey feeding-bras all the way). And though flowers would be lovely, they’d probably die before you had a chance to enjoy them. No, as parents there is no physical object that could be appreciated as much as three little heartfelt words.  Three words that make everything better, three words that make you remember, “this is why I married you,” three words that sum up what Valentine’s Day is all about: “I’ll do bedtime.”

BEFORE CHILDREN:

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AFTER CHILDREN:

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VALENTINE’S DINNER

Ah, the classic Valentine’s day meal. Before you had children perhaps you went out to a fancy restaurant or you and your partner took turns to cook. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a lovingly prepared smorgasbord of your partner’s favourite food. Now you are parents none of that needs to change, it’s only your definition of a romantic meal that needs adjustment. Before kids you would have relished the chance to sit down for a three course meal and enjoy some quality conversation. Now you’re so tired, tearful and mentally defeated by the process of getting your kids fed, bathed and to bed, that when you finally get back downstairs all thoughts of producing a proper meal will go out the window. You will just want to sink into the sofa with a packet of hula hoops and some form of alcohol.

Remember, the most romantic words you can say to your partner this Valentine’s Day; “You choose what we watch on Netflix tonight.” Netflix and Chill…dren.

BEFORE CHILDREN:

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AFTER CHILDREN:

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A ROMANTIC BATH

After a long day of being romantic, what better way to conclude the day’s celebrations than with a luxurious bubble bath. Before you had children, perhaps you and your partner took baths together, soaking in rose petals then sharing a bottle of bubbly before retiring to bed for some Valentine’s Day action. As parents this romantic bathing ritual hardly need change at all.  However, baths are time consuming and now you are parents you will be too tired to even run one, therefore a shower is the way to go. Wet rose petals are tricky to clear up and champagne is too slow to drink (what with all the bubbles) so it’s best to limit the decorative flourishes and just stick with hard liquor. This can be conveniently glugged straight from the bottle as you take it in turns to have a quick hose-down before passing out in bed after an alcohol-fuelled argument about which of you is the most tired.

BEFORE CHILDREN:

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AFTER CHILDREN:

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So there you have it. With just a few adjustments to expectations, even exhausted parents can experience a Valentine’s Day packed full of romance just like the good old days. However, if the above still feels like a bit too much effort, don’t worry –  in just a couple of decades you’ll have the house to yourselves again and your romantic child-free life can resume. You might be too old and life-wearied to think about romance by that point, in which case you can just wait for death to deliver you from the terrible social pressure to be romantic on Valentine’s Day.

Sophie Cousens is author of ‘How to Get Ahead in Television’, a romantic comedy, currently being promoted on Apple (iBooks) for Valentine’s Day. 

 

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