How to be your own best sweetheart
Valentine’s Day is a secular holiday designed to make you forget how miserable New Year’s Eve made you feel by rendering you even more miserable. If you loved New Year’s Eve and are still humming “Auld Lang Syne,” then excuse me. I’ll go bury my head in the sand and hum “Bad Blood” while you switch to humming “Hello.”
Seriously though, who establishes a holiday in the middle of winter that features blood-red roses and chocolate? And Jared commercials? And weird, always-stale “mints” in pink boxes with unintelligible messages written on them in probably toxic food coloring?
Who is this holiday for anyway? The popular kids who shower everyone with pitying smiles as they hand out Scooby-Doo valentines with stickers on them? And, if you have kids in elementary school, is it for their equally fabulous moms who decorated cookies with the name of each kid in the class, while you were racing around the drugstore after work looking for whatever was left and trying to convince your child that Elmo valentines were not too babyish for third grade?
Ugh! Sorry to repeat myself, but as a Solo Mom, you have to ask yourself, Who really needs someone else’s refried sense of romance? Isn’t it a bit ridiculous to pick out one day of the year to say I love you?
It’s like what my practical and chic mother used to do when I brought her yet another poorly constructed, unimaginatively colored, handmade Mother’s Day thingamabob (“You use it to hang things! It’s scented! I made it with two bottles of cloves and an orange!”)—she knew she might have to display it around the house until some other holiday could replace it with another offspring’s doodad. So she’d smile sweetly and say, “Thank you, but isn’t every day Mother’s Day?”
In fact, as a Solo Mom who has already learned some interesting lessons about romance and its illusions, how are you supposed to observe a holiday that celebrates happily ever after for just 24 hours? I suppose, if you are dating, chocolate, flowers, and a nice dinner might be fun. But someone doing a household chore for you would go so much further, right? On the other hand, to paraphrase my mother, shouldn’t every day be a good day for a loving child to pick up their laundry? Ahem?
It’s the sentimental part of Valentine’s Day that I think makes it most difficult for Solo Moms. Suddenly it seems as if everyone is acting like the dormouse in Alice in Wonderland, dreaming of treacle and telling absurd stories at a strange tea party to which you’re not invited. So what do you do?
I suppose there is a silver lining to a holiday that causes anxiety and stress for Solo Moms, married moms, dating moms, etc. You don’t have to wait till everyone is around at midnight to feel blue. Why feel blue at all?
This is why I would like to give you some tips on how to handle Valentine’s Day gracefully. Really, I would. But let’s be honest: Whatever Valentine’s Day is, I’m against it. So instead I’ve put together a list for how to deal with the “Ugh” on Valentine’s Day:
1. Give someone chocolate that has passed its expiration date.
2. Demand that all possible Valentine’s Day cards requiring reciprocation instead go as a donation to the Kardashians, who need them so much more than you.
3. Book a spa day. Order champagne. Post selfies in which you are basking in the glow of the Duke of You’s gift to you (you know, the Duke of You: that special someone who really gets you and your needs). You’re probably thinking, That sounds like celebrating Valentine’s Day to me. But here’s the difference: you are doing sweet things for yourself. And, as a Solo Mom, you deserve them! So . . .
4. Send yourself a card. Buy yourself some chocolate. Take a relaxing bubble bath. And tell yourself you are a sweetheart.
And then remind yourself that for a Solo Mom, it doesn’t hurt to get up every morning, look in the mirror, and blow yourself a kiss as if every day were Valentine’s Day.
Margot Kessler, a screen and television writer living in Los Angeles, is the sporadically witty Solo Mom of two lovely daughters.
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