Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Is This A Bad Mom Confession? About Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I am making a confession. I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day with my children. I have never taught my children about it as part of our homeschooling.

Is that bad? Does that make me a “bad mom”?

Today one friend of mine said it does make me a bad mom. Oh well!

I have always considered Valentine’s Day for adults and to be about romantic love. It is a day when a couple can feel romantic, or shall I say, feel pressured by our culture to do something with money in order to celebrate and to be romantic? I am speaking of the usual stuff like buy a Hallmark card (the good ones are often $5 now which seems like a lot of money), buy red roses, buy chocolates, or go out for a fancy expensive restaurant dinner.

One of my favorite memories was in the early 1990s, getting a Vermont Teddy Bear delivered to me while at work, from my then-boyfriend (now-husband). It was a real surprise. Back then I collected teddy bears. That was when the company was just starting out with their mail order bears for gifts. The next year he did it again, this time buying me the pregnant-female bear, as I was pregnant at the time, it was SO sweet!

Roses…I do not like the fact, though, that the price of roses skyrockets on Valentine’s Day. And I don’t like expensive roses that die within days. That is a pathetic waste of money. I’d prefer cheaper roses a week later that last for a week or two weeks!

Cards...we switched to writing our own Valentine's cards to each other using a blank card. I much prefer original words to a Hallmark staffer's sentiments. It is cheaper, too.

And having worked in the restaurant business I can tell you that you will get worse service and maybe inferior food, on Valentine’s Day due to crowds and overworked staff. So I have never pushed or desired to go out to eat right on Valentine’s Day.

When my kids arrived on the scene Valentine’s Day was changed for us as a married couple. That first Valentine’s Day after my oldest son was born was still a time when I was nursing him, waking up ever two hours at night for nursing, and other typical baby caring stuff that drains ones energy. On that day I felt pressured by society to “do something” for Valentine’s Day. And so we did do something, at home, alone, after our son was fast asleep. It was something that humans have been doing since the beginning of time and something that Hallmark has nothing to do with!

When my oldest was being homeschooled for Kindergarten I realized, whoops, I didn’t do a unit study on Valentine’s Day. I had failed as well to ever mention the ‘holiday’ to him. Oops.

For first grade also I didn’t teach him about the holiday. Whoops again! I was more focused on daily living and still thinking only about Valentine’s Day as a thing for my husband and I to enjoy together.

For a couple of years I received my favorite chocolates for a Valentine’s Day gift. Since my husband worked in New York City he’d hoof it over to La Maison du Chocolat to buy me a big box of assorted chocolates and truffles, and then he’d buy some roses from a street vendor. It was fantastic! What more could I ask for? Great chocolate, yippee! (If you are a chocoholic and have never tried these chocolates, you simply must! They do mail order now, I believe, check the site.)

Now that we are on a budget things have changed a little. I was very happy and not offended when my husband came home from Costco last night with a big box of Costco brand (Kirkland) gourmet chocolates and a dozen red roses. The Kirkand Belgian chocolates are actually delicious, better than Godiva if you ask me (I am not a big Godiva fan, sorry.) And today I found out that my husband is making my favorite dinner for me: Fetuccine Carbonara.

No, we don’t leave the kids with a babysitter and go out for the evening. The original reason for this is/was our attachment parenting philosophy and the fact that our older child was “non-separating” for years. Then the issue was that we were happy to be home with our kids, all of us together. Now the issue is one of the budget. I am at a point now where I would be happy going out alone with my husband for a romantic dinner, and Valentine’s Day could be a good excuse for that. Perhaps I’ll take a gift certificate we received as a gift (two years ago) and use it soon with my husband as a delayed Valentine’s Day celebration.

But anyway back to the kids.

This year my younger son (aged 6.5) proclaimed that Valentine’s Day is for love for parents, and for girls. He said he feels no need to celebrate it as he doesn’t like girls and doesn’t want to get married, ever, well except, to me, he says. He also made a comment that the only ones that can celebrate are already-married couples which I found funny, apparently he doesn’t yet know about dating (I certainly have never discussed it with him).

My older son just informed me that Valentine’s Day is “dumb and boring”. I tried explaining the Valentine’s cards that children exchange in school and he made a weird face and that it makes no sense to him to give a friend a Valentine as he is not in love with them. I wish I could share a picture of what his face looked like, it was hilarious.

So anyway, no today we are NOT doing a unit study on the history of St. Valentine’s Day. We are not making heart shaped cookies or sending cards to anyone, or to each other. Valentine’s Day is something for my husband and me to celebrate. Perhaps tonight we’ll pop open a bottle of champagne (left over from Christmas Eve dinner) and eat some chocolate and enjoy each other’s company….now that is a good Valentine’s Day if you ask me.

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1 comment:

Mel said...

First of all Christine, I do not think you are a bad mother for not doing Valentine's Day with your children. That doesn't make any sense to say that. And it's wonderful and special to have it be a special day or evening with your husband.
We have never done a unit study on Valentine's Day but I read the possible stories to myself and then to the children and I even had the urge to write up a historical/fictional account myself of St. Valentine and the legends connected with him and the holyday we now have. (which I know isn't holy anymore). But I do enjoy making heart shaped cookies etc with the children and my daughter sent out a bunch to little friends (she is 5). Just fun things to do, but not required. My husband and I will sometimes have some time together after everyone is in bed, same as you do. We rarely have babysitters. But last night we had two children throwing up and three with colds so when we got the chance to go to sleep-we did!
It's good to not feel guilty for not doing what society or culture say you should. I don't remember reading anywhere in the Bible about Valentine's Day!
Sincerely, Melanie (fellow blogger and fellow bookroomie)