I saw a meme on social media poking fun at a long-term couple who got each other Valentine’s Day cards, exchanged them, and then put them back on the shelf. I almost didn’t even read the words because I was instantly off-put by the image of the red-and-pink card aisle that literally makes me cringe when I enter any store this time of year.

  As Valentine’s Day approaches, every trip to the store for groceries or vitamins means enduring a bombardment of expensive paper with words written by a stranger and we’re expected to purchase that paper with the strange words and then present it to someone we love as if that stranger encapsulated our feelings. But that’s not enough—we also have to consider over-the-top displays of candy and stuffed animals and, for the hopeless romantics, champagne and rose petals and wining-and-dining nights out you do more for the social media-sphere than you do for yourselves.

  I’ll admit there was a time in my life when I was caught up in those things. Maybe I’ve grown old or perhaps I’ve grown realistic but I’m ready to cut the men (and ourselves, ladies) some slack because honestly, I’m tired.

  Aren’t we all tired?

  I’m tired because I’m a full-time journalist, full-time wife and full-time mother who literally has to schedule play-dates with family and friends weeks in advance and wiggle in a moment or two here and there for self-care.

  What I really want for Valentine’s Day, more than anything, is a quiet evening.

  I don’t want my husband to spend our hard-earned money on a card that contains words he didn’t write; I want him to take the baby for a drive while I enjoy an uninterrupted, candle-lit bubble bath for about an hour.

  Many of you know I broke my foot in late Sept. and I’ve just in the last week been able to start walking without assistance, so this Valentine’s Day I plan to do something for my husband I haven’t been able to do for a while—I’m going to cook him a nice meal and do all the dishes. And maybe for a day or two I’ll save my usual gripes about his shoes being in random places throughout the house instead of by the front door (where they belong).

  If you and your significant other prefer to spend the money on the things and that’s your love language, no judgement here; you do you. I just hope we all step outside this idea of spent money equals love and the more dollars spent the more love a person earns. I get discouraged sometimes with the superficial world we live in and what I hope is that each of you take a moment to consider your valentine and if you’re celebrating your relationship in a way that truly resembles who you are as a couple without getting caught up in the fray of capitalism.

  The day doesn’t just have to be about appreciating the love between significant others—for many years the only attention I received on Valentine’s Day was flowers and candy from my parents. Take care of your friends and your granny, too. You might be surprised by how much joy can be found over a shared, previously-frozen pizza at your kitchen table or how significantly you could improve the day of another by standing on that chair and squatting in the floor to wash out dusty cabinets.

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