Dear Newly Single Mama,
It’s Valentine’s Day, and maybe it’s the first one where you’ve been on your own in a really long time. No one is buying you flowers. No chocolate covered strawberries or box of mystery chocolates. No card expressing adoration for you. Sorry to be that buzzkill. Was your ex really good at those things? Did they make you feel loved?
For me, I was never a big fan of Valentine’s Day because it all felt forced—especially when I had a partner who didn’t do a lot of thoughtful things like that without a holiday telling him to. My favorite part of Valentine’s Day was always the sweet things the kids would bring home from daycare, and now you may not even have that this year thanks to the pandemic.
What I’ve learned about Valentine’s Day is this: the day is as special as you want to make it, in whatever form you want that to take. I decided on my first single Valentine’s Day that I wanted the day to be about our love as a family. I wanted my kids to know how special they were and all of the reasons why I loved them so much. If I wanted their cute little hands on a canvas, well then I can drive my butt to Target or place an order on Amazon for a 5 pack of them.
And as my daughter prepares for middle school next year (and the obsession with boys and if she’s cute enough for them to like her, already seeps into her sweet little mind), I’m spending THIS year reminding her what Valentine’s Day is really about. Why it’s an expression of love. Just love. Love is love is love, after all.
We grew up in a different time, perhaps feeling like our happiness hinged on a man finding us worthy or desirable, and as we grow older, I find myself calling bullshit on all of that. Why do I need that validation to make me feel worthy? And why would I ever want my daughter to feel that way? I don’t.
And so, I create traditions that have nothing to do with romantic love. We belong to each other and have accountability to our family and friends. That is what I want to value, and how I want to raise my kids.
Mama, there’s a lot that you and I have to untangle as adults. So much to undo about how society raised us to believe in our value as women. But I’m here to tell you:
You are loved.
You are worthy.
And you are perfection.
So on Valentine’s Day, if there’s something that you want to need: do that thing for yourself. If it’s a love letter, write one to yourself—examining all the ways you are absolutely incredible as a woman, a mom, a co-worker, friend, etc. If it’s a fancy dinner you want, order a steak, sit by the fire, and turn on a romantic movie (or comedy, or WHATEVER YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE). Buy yourself some flowers. Your very favorite, not just red roses because it’s tradition.
And lastly, write another woman in your life a love note today. Remind her how amazing she is and why you celebrate her today.
Valentine’s Day is for everyone to enjoy and celebrate love. Especially you.