Being a single mom is hard all days of the year, especially when you’re doing it all alone, but Valentine’s Day has a way of making it even harder because with all the lovers’ romance in the air, all singles, including divorced single moms, feel extra pressure, dread, and shame.
I was already a single mom for eight years the first time around, so every year I had a different set of negative emotions that resurfaced on this magical holiday of flowers, gifts, candy, dating, and love cards.
All this reminded me that I was “missing something” or more specifically, I was missing that someone they call “a significant other.“
Here’s just a taste of the emotional roller coaster I experienced the first few Valentine’s Days as a single mom:
- Feeling sorry for myself because I was all alone and I placed all my self-worth on being someone’s Valentine.
- Feeling green with envy or jealousy – which I would never then dare admit – and questioning “why me?,” or “why NOT me?” for that matter.
- Feeling like this would be “my year” to experience a romantic soiree of flirting and being showered with chivalry and bright jewelry.
- Feeling empowered that I was a rocking independent single mom and didn’t need a man to buy me anything, to validate me, or to answer to!
- Feeling relieved that I didn’t “have to” celebrate this day – I had the freedom to go anywhere, do anything, and with whom I chose.
- Deciding it was an overrated made-up Hallmark holiday, where everything was extra costly, and people went overboard to profess the love they didn’t feel or hadn’t shown all year.
- Isolating myself to avoid couples on Valentine’s Day or women who weren’t single the day after, because “they would ask” or “brag” about gifts and special dates of undying passionate love.
These are all unhealthy emotions and the most unbelievable part is that, as women, we can go through all these feelings in a matter of minutes.
I wish I were joking or exaggerating here, but I’m sure I’m speaking for many single moms out there who feel left out and this leads to self-attacking or self-defending until they get the Valentine’s Day blues.
If you’re wondering how to find joy in being a single mom on Valentine’s Day, I have a few non-prescriptive options that I want to share because they worked for me.
I personally feel there is so much ill advice for single moms out there.
For instance, I would never consider indulging in alcohol drinking and partying with wild abandon as options to deal with what I was feeling.
Shopping for shoes, pampering mani-pedis, or baking myself a layered chocolate cake weren’t really appealing activities to me either.
And don’t get me started on the glitter and glue gun alternatives of celebrating Valentine’s Day with your kids .
I mean, you don’t have to be a single mom to have fun with the kids and help them with their crafts and school projects.
In seeking a way to not let this “day of love”make me feel like a loser, I learned that the way you look at something or someone determines what you see.
How to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a single mom:
Below are some of the new ways you can choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a single mom.
Many people want you to believe that Valentine’s Day is a sad and depressing day “without someone special” to share it with.
Some have to deal with not having a mom on Mother’s day or having lost their father on Father’s day, or even the unimaginable: mourning a lost child on their birthday.
I decided long ago that any day above ground is a good day, a second chance, and proof that God has a purpose for me.
There are many negative emotions that are part of life and part of motherhood, but why doom an entire day that has not yet happened just because the calendar marks February 14?
I became happier as a single mom when I started to let go of what society expected from me and to focus on being present on the blessings and issues of the day, just as I would any other.
Celebrate Who You Are
Instead of going to Google and typing dramatic queries like “how to survive Valentine’s Day as a single mom?,” I decided to resort to the best search engine that ever existed: the Scriptures.
When you realize that you are an attractive, intelligent, courageous woman who happens to be an unmarried daughter of a powerful God, your perspective sure changes.
I suddenly didn’t find it necessary to spend Valentine’s Day sitting and moping around wondering why there wasn’t a Prince Charming out there calling willing florists, making fancy reservations, and stressing about which would be the perfect gift for me.
Repeat after me: my life has meaning, purpose, and value as an individual, as a child of God… and then write yourself a list or a letter of what you love about yourself… it may sound silly, but the truth really does set us free.
Celebrate Where You Are
It’s okay to get a little lonely on Valentine’s Day, but we must not let our relationship status define our worth or happiness. And that goes for everyone.
Whether you have not yet been married, have been divorced or widowed, or are having marital problems, you must remember that there are many seasons in life and that each has their roses and thorns so to speak.
When I embraced life as a single mom, I saw that there were many blessings I enjoyed. Now that I am married, it’s tempting to think of “what I didn’t have to deal with as a single mom” because it’s so often easier to see the grass greener on the other side.
Another big thing that helped me was to remind myself of the true reason why I was single: my past relationship was not the one I was meant to have!
I learned to love my ex and to realize I was now free to experience true love… and it took a while, but eventually, I decided to not be afraid of admitting I did long for that epic everlasting true love that breaks spells in fairy tales.
If you are single, enjoy this time, and embark on the sacred experience of building a relationship with yourself.
With all the smooching around and all the bragging going on, becoming isolated, hiding, or throwing a pity party may sound like the only “escape.”
I discovered that people don’t want to make you feel bad. Most of the time, they are just happy, excited, and in love.
I started to look around and actually seek for couples who were in love and for women who were given the royal treatment, and my attitude changed because not only I was happy for those people, but I began to see that it is possible to have the love and the passion that we desire.
I gave myself permission to let go of my inner bully’s destructive tendencies to compare, complain, condemn, compete, and criticize, and to start celebrating committed couples who honor each other.
Whether someone indulges in self-destructive thoughts or finds hopes in my words is their choice, not mine.
It’s your choice to let other peoples’ affection and love gestures inspire you or hurt your feelings.
Be The Change
There are many awesome ways to celebrate being a single mom on Valentine’s Day, and the best way is to be the source of love.
I always stress the fact that we cannot give what we don’t have and the opposite is true, as well. How do we expect to receive that which we don’t give?
I remember when I first became a single mom I felt so different from the women in my church and I noticed they didn’t say hello or engage in conversation, or include me in their activities.
I felt like I didn’t belong to “the we’re so happy to stay home with the kids while our loving husbands go to work club,” so I stayed away. Ridiculous, I know.
As my thinking changed, I decided to be the first to say hello, to ask questions, and to invite myself when I wasn’t invited.
I failed more than I succeeded at making friends, but I was happier because I was being myself and being Christlike in my behavior.
This taught me a powerful lesson that Gandhi would call being “the change you wish to see in the world.“
With this in mind, I have to confess that the strongest motivation for my change of attitude was to set an example for my daughters.
With myself being a sole parent and my family being overseas, my example was pretty much everything they saw in the world.
Did I want to teach my daughters that…
- relationships are a waste of time?
- there are no honorable men left?
- life is about being bitter when others are happy?
- a woman’s worth is measured by the size of the diamond on her ring finger?
- I didn’t believe in second chances?
No, I didn’t. And I still don’t, and that is why I still work on myself, I work on my marriage, and I work on all my relationships.
And as I improve myself, I open up portals of possibilities for them to have healthy relationships with themselves and with others.
With the awareness that I didn’t want my daughters to experience frustration, brokenness, and despair because of the emphasis that is placed on February 14th, I strive to teach them that every day is a day of kindness, of service, of compassion.
Love comes from God and starts with being kind to ourselves and extends to our family, and all of our Heavenly Father’s children… in that order.
I realize it’s time to step off the soapbox, and that I may just be unconsciously asking to be nominated to “the longest post you ever read award,” but just before I do that, I’d like to suggest that you celebrate Valentine’s Day on your own terms.
You choose whether Valentine’s Day is the best holiday on Earth or that it’s a contrived commercial fest; you choose whether you want to get a fancy dress on, or stay at home watching a flick in your Christmas jammies. Choose what is right for you!
And while you’re holding out for your hero ’til the end of the night, be sure shower the people in your life with approval, affirmation, attention, acknowledgement, and affection this Valentine’s Day… and you will find JOY!
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM
Be sure to Subscribe to blog post updates, so you never miss a thing!