During my marriage, Valentine’s Day was a big deal in our home. I made mini heart-shaped cakes that my husband and I would share with our children after he and I had been out to a special Valentine’s Day dinner.
We didn’t focus so much on romance but on showing each other love. The children received a new plush toy on that day, I got a special dinner with my husband and, at the end of the day, we all had a sweet treat and time together as a family.
We carried on the tradition after the divorce only I didn’t get the special dinner and although I felt like my heart had been ripped out, I still had to make those mini heart-shaped cakes and buy plush toys.
What I really want to do was go to bed and pull the covers over my head. There is no better reminder of how unlovable you are after a husband leaves than Valentine’s Day. And the last thing I wanted was a reminder of how much life had changed since our last Valentine’s Day together.
I also knew that, I didn’t want my next Valentine’s Day to be a reminder of the past or my station in life so, the following year, I changed things up and made a promise to myself that I’d not wallow in pity but make the day the most splendid it could be regardless of my marital status. Here’ how I did that.
How Divorced, Single Moms Can Have A Splendid Valentine’s Day
Be kind. Pay attention to your inner dialogue and the things you say to yourself. When that inner voice is saying something negative, stop and ask yourself if you would “talk” to your girlfriend that way. If the answer is no, then don’t say it to yourself. Instead of thinking, I’ll always be alone or no one will ever love me or Will I ever find love again? Try reminding yourself that you are loved and reassure yourself that the right person will come along at the right time.
Treat yourself. Do something nice for yourself, anything. Pamper yourself with a pedicure or massage. Take a bubble bath. Visit your favorite coffee shop armed with a good book as company. Go for a long walk. Treat yourself to dinner and a movie. Buy yourself a fancy cupcake or a piece of chocolate. You deserve to enjoy good things. You deserve to spend time participating in activities that are life-giving and create peace in your life. Stop waiting for someone to do it for you—do it for yourself.
Create a new tradition with your kids. Valentine’s Day does not have to be all about romance. Take this opportunity to celebrate with your children. Make pizza at home. Decorate cupcakes or watch a family movie. Clinical psychologist and divorce coach Deanna Conklin-Danao suggests that focusing on your kids is an excellent way to combat the loneliness that can creep in around this time of year.
Phone a friend. Surrounding yourself with positive people is a key way to practice “emotional hygiene.” Enlist the support of a good friend and plan an evening or afternoon out. There is nothing like some good girlfriend time to remind you of how wonderful you are.
Work out! Exercise is a proven mood lifter and is essential to maintaining one’s physical health. It is an excellent way to demonstrate self-care. You don’t have to join a gym or go to a class—start with a walk outside. Go for a run. Climb the stairs in your house. Rent an exercise DVD. It doesn’t matter what you do—just move your body and you will feel better.
Make someone else’s day. Another great way to elevate your own mood and to feel encouraged about your situation is to do something for someone else. Make and send Valentine’s Day cards for our servicemen and women who are away from their families. Plan and host a Valentine’s Day party at a women and children’s shelter. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Serve meals to the homeless. Bake cookies, and take them to your local firehouse or police station. Send thank-you letters to your children’s teachers.
Holidays can be difficult for divorced single moms, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Creating new traditions on these special days is an excellent strategy for combating the blues and building a wonderful new life for you and your children. This Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to start the tradition of celebrating your love for yourself. Filling up your “love tank” will give you plenty of love to pour out on those around you.
Happy Valentine’s Day!