The Exhausted Parent's Guide to Valentine's Day

Last Updated on January 24, 2024

Aaahhh, Valentine’s Day when we were young.
Years ago on my husband and I’s first Valentine’s Day, we sat out at a park on an unseasonably warm February night and exchanged gifts under the stars.
The next year, we had a ridiculously romantic dinner in the French Quarter in New Orleans…
In 2020, we ate at Olive Garden at 4 pm with our 2-year old before he hit his “cranky hour.”
Last year we had a steak delivered and ate it on paper plates after the kids went to bed.
This Valentine’s Day we’ll probably pull something together at the last minute, in the middle of busy work schedules, runny noses, and dirty dishes.
It’s not glamorous and it’s not like the movies. But I don’t want to forget that it’s STILL good.

From Butterflies to Baby Wipes

Like most little girls, I always assumed marriage was just like what I saw on my favorite tv sitcoms. First comes love, then comes marriage, the two kids, a dog, and a house with a white picket fence.
But what TV often fails to also mention is the stress that can come from learning to share your life with someone else. Then there’s the sleepless nights when your kids are born. There are the late-night tense conversations about money, and the weeks at a time where it’s all you can do to change into a clean pair of yoga pants.
Somewhere in there, from butterflies to baby wipes, we’re supposed to figure out how to keep the romance alive. You know, “Keep dating your spouse” and all the things those Christian relationship books say.
But when I collapse on the couch at 9 pm in a haze from a full day of working, parenting, and cleaning (if we’re lucky), romance is often the last thing on my mind. That doesn’t change on February 14th.
So how do we still use this day to show our significant other how much we care, how important they are to us, and that they’re loved and cherished when we forgot to brush our teeth this morning?

Where the Mind Meets The Heart

One thing God has been teaching me these last few months not only in my marriage but also in life is that sometimes we have to make decisions with our MINDS. Then, what we determine in our minds can change our hearts.
Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say my husband and I decide that for Valentine’s Day we’ll order takeout. After the kids go to bed, we’ll watch a movie and just genuinely spend time connecting with each other.
When the decision is made, I can go into the day setting my mind.
So when my daughter has her 3rd tantrum of the day, I can either tell myself “I’m so fed up I don’t want to do anything tonight.”
I can say, “I can’t wait to spend some time alone with my husband. It’ll be so good to have some one-on-one time to be refreshed together.”
When the toilet overflows 3 minutes before my next Zoom meeting, I can tell myself “Bad things always happen to me. This is the worst day ever.”
I can tell myself, “This is just a bump in the road. I can take this in stride and tonight will make everything better.”
Where the mind goes the heart follows. Don’t believe me? Scripture backs it up.
[verse reference=”Philippians 4:8″]Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.[/verse]

Here’s Your Heart Check

This one goes out to all my exhausted mamas, entering another Valentine’s Day. You may not be in a romantic mood. Maybe you couldn’t find a babysitter this year. Maybe you wish you were 5 pounds lighter or had a cute dress to wear that actually fits.
Maybe things have been tense between you and your husband. Maybe there’s tension with you, your husband, and your kids.
But how can you go into this Valentine’s Day setting your mind on demonstrating love to your spouse? It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be intentional.
Remember, where the mind goes, the heart follows. What will YOU set your mind on today?