There’s a lot I can’t change about this year.
I can’t change the fact that my husband and I can’t safely have a night out for Valentine’s Day. I can’t change that I’ll be spending a lot of the evening caring for four kids, including a newborn. And I certainly can’t change the fact that I’d do just about anything to turn this holiday into something more than one more night at home feeling touched out and tired.
All that to say: it’s definitely justifiable to just let Valentine’s Day slide this year.
But it feels important, not just for my marriage, but for my mental health, that we plan to enjoy something special together. After nearly a year managing work, childcare, and school without our old social supports to fall back on, I’m burned out. The truth is, we could use a little extra joy in our home.
“The truth is, we could use a little extra joy in our home.”
We need to do something different even if that’s only for one night. So, when I started to talk to my husband about what we wanted to do for Valentine’s Day, I knew just wanted to have a good time. Here’s what we came up to celebrate Valentin’s Day at home with our four kids. (And please wish us luck.)
Dressing Up is Mandatory
Sure, sweatpants might be my go-to look this year, but I’m declaring that at least for one night in our house, we are going to make an effort to dress up. My definition of “dressy” is a loose one with a newborn in the house, but at the very least, my kids are all excited to dress up and exchange Valentines before sitting down to a family meal.
Take-Out with a Twist
And speaking of that family meal, we decided on getting take out. I love to cook, and my temptation is to take this on as some kind of personal responsibility. But with a newborn at home, that could easily turn into an exhausting, impossible task.
With every restaurant in our city offering curbside or delivery, there are endless possibilities to have good food at home without lifting a finger. We’re picking something a step up from the typical pizza and Chinese and getting a family-style meal from a small Italian restaurant down the street. If I’m feeling ambitious, I may even set the table with candles and cloth napkins before emptying takeout boxes onto real plates. #fancy
There Will be Drinks—And Dancing
Next up are drinks and music, which are harder to recreate at home. I know nothing really competes with the jazz band at our favorite bar, but anything is better than giving up on the idea altogether. So, we challenged ourselves to play bartender and DJ for each other. My husband will pick out a new cocktail recipe for me along with a record for us to enjoy together.
“My husband will pick out a new cocktail recipe for me along with a record for us to enjoy together.”
I’ll be doing the same thing for him in return. I’m still brainstorming, but I’ve been leaning towards a Brandy Alexander or a Dark N’ Stormy. I’ve also found a ton of Valentine’s Day mocktails for pregnant or sober parents that look so delicious.
As for the dancing? Who knows what could happen after the kids are finally asleep. After all, bouncing a newborn to sleep is its own kind of jig, isn’t it?
We’re Letting the Kids Join in on The Fun
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, we’re deciding ahead of time to be OK with pulling our kids into the mix of our night at home. Valentine’s Day with kids underfoot isn’t exactly my ideal romance. Still, if my kids are going to be there, I’m going to involve them and enjoy them instead of spending the whole evening trying to reach the finish line of bedtime.
After our family meal and Valentine’s exchange, we plan on sharing a special treat together and cuddling by the fire before sending everyone off to bed. Because what could be romantic that actually getting to catch some shut-eye for a parent of a newborn, am I right?
This year, this holiday will be anything but perfect but I’m looking forward to sharing our love with each other. And those early bedtimes.
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