Nurture - February 12, 2020

Why I Love Being a Single Mom on Valentine’s Day

I’ve been single for most of my life, and this coming Valentine’s Day will be the 37th consecutive year I haven’t had a romantic partner to celebrate with.

I’ve never received flowers from a love interest or braved the chaos of restaurant dining with a crush on the 14th of February. I’ve always just gone at it alone, admiring other love affairs from afar, but not having my own love connections to boast about. 

At least, not on Valentine’s Day. 

It’s not that I’ve never had any romantic connections at all—they just never tend to last long. Or take place in the spring. 

The reasons for my perpetual singledom are lengthy and complicated. But suffice it to say, in my perfect world, I would have a partner. I am not celibate, and I do want to find love; It just hasn’t happened for me yet. And so, I continue waiting. Because I’m convinced that if there is someone in this world I’m supposed to be with, I’ll know it when I meet them. Until then, I don’t see any reason to mourn being single. I love Valentine’s Day! It has become the most special day because it’s a day I spend celebrating the one true love of my life: my daughter.

Valentine’s Day, to me, isn’t about any one kind of love. Even before my little girl, I always found joy in this day. I love love. It makes me happy to hear other people’s love stories and to see them celebrating that love together. It gives me hope that maybe one day, I’ll have something similar. 

I’ve also always seen this day as an opportunity to do something special for the people I care about. Friends, mostly—the family I’ve created for myself. And there’s something exciting about that too. About focusing on the love I do have.

But I know for a lot of single moms, this day can be a hard reminder of what they no longer have—the partner who either bailed out early or was good for a while—until everything fell apart. 

I’m willing to admit it may be easier for me because I’ve never really had a great love to lose. But for the mom who is mourning the relationship that is no more this year, I want you to know: There is still joy to be found on Valentine’s Day. 

First of all, you should know that the origins of Valentine’s Day are pretty dark and not at all romantic. It all started with bloodshed and executions, not a single romantic element to the entire story. The history itself got twisted over time and combined with other early spring rituals. But St. Valentine? He was focused on far more important things than uniting lovers—and may actually be a compilation of several different men, none of whom were especially focused on love.   

But none of that means you can’t still celebrate the love you have in your life—your kids, your friends, your family. Just because you’re currently single doesn’t mean you’re loveless.

So, if you have your kid(s) this Valentine’s Day, commit to showering them with the love and attention you might have otherwise bestowed upon a romantic partner. I like to surprise my daughter with flowers and balloons on Valentine’s Day morning, reminding her how special she is and how big my love for her remains. 

Even though I do it every year, she still acts like finding those small gifts beside her bed is the best surprise she’s ever had. 

We always try to do something fun together that day—something that doesn’t involve going to any restaurants, because there is no good reason we should ever subject ourselves to that. We might go sledding if there’s fresh snow on the ground, or hit up a movie we’ve both been wanting to see. Just something fun and out of the norm that allows us to enjoy some time together. 

Just because you’re currently single doesn’t mean you’re loveless.

For dinner, we usually get together with my other single mom friends, each making something yummy to contribute to a family meal. The kids play, the moms drink wine and enjoy each other’s company, and it’s generally the most peaceful, fun celebration I could imagine. 

Do this even if you don’t have your kids this year. Throw yourself into spending time with friends—the women who lift you up when you’re feeling down. Let them remind you how amazing you are and do the same for them. 

Because if there’s one thing I’ve come to learn, it’s this: Romantic love can fade. But real friendships are forever. 

And if your kids are with their other parent this year, why don’t you take those single friends of yours and hit up the local bar scene? You’re almost guaranteed to meet someone—and whether you need a palate cleanser or are ready to start working toward something serious again, this is a great night to get a feel for what’s out there. 

But maybe you’re not feeling quite up for that just yet. Perhaps you’re still nursing a broken heart and are just trying to get used to your new normal before dipping your toes back into the dating pool. That’s okay, too. I can’t tell you how many Valentine’s Days I’ve spent focusing on the most important love of all: Self-love.

If you need to learn how to love yourself again—take this day as an opportunity to be kind to yourself. 

Pick up your favorite bottle of wine and order in for dinner. Fill the tub to the brim with bubbles, play some music, and spend the evening relaxing. 

Go on a hike if outdoor activities are what fills your heart with joy. Or get a massage and pedicure if a little pampering is what you need. 

You could even spend the night curled up on the couch binging your favorite show. 

Whatever it is that fills your tank the most, do it. Spend the night loving yourself.

Because you know what? You deserve it. And if ever there was a day meant to remind you of that, it’s Valentine’s Day.  

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Photography - Leslie Meadow Photography
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