With the new year, we’ve been taking stock of what 2020 has been like, and unfortunately, continues to be in 2021. And the thought of attempting to celebrate Valentine’s Day might seem like a cruel joke to parents who’ve been doing their best to not drown underneath the weight of the past year. But maybe this pandemic can help us re-focus the day of love for couples like it has for other holidays.

What Does Your Partnership Need Right Now?

The Valentine’s instinct is to plan a fabulously romantic dinner/night out. Since there aren’t too many options for that right now, take the pressure off of your date and think about what your partnership actually needs right now.

  • Do you just need a conversation un-interrupted by little voices?
  • When’s the last time you shared a good laugh together?
  • Do you miss dreaming about the future?
  • Do you need to truly relax and unplug together?
  • In all honesty, do you need alone time?

Call In Some Reinforcements

Let’s be real: kids won’t magically leave you alone just because it happens to be Valentine’s Day. (The law of parenting basically guarantees they’ll need you for everything as soon as you ask to be left alone.)

Book the Sitter

If you have a sitter you’ve already been using to help with remote schooling or working from home, give them a call. Dedicated time with your partner is just as important as surviving a school/workday.

Virtual Sitting

If you haven’t been comfortable having a sitter in your home, there’s an option for you. Book a virtual sitting to keep your kids occupied. On Sittercity, you can specify that your job is a virtual sitting so that sitters experienced in virtually entertaining kids can find you right away.

Ideas for Planning the Valentine’s Day You Need

Attend a Live Show

Obviously not in person—there are plenty of artists and comedians who have made live shows available online.

Get Out of the House

This isn’t a revolutionary idea, but it’s still a good one. Whether you can bundle up and go on a long walk together (in your neighborhood or drive to a nature preserve), or book a weekend getaway to a cabin, just get out of there. Your whole life has been confined to a specific space. In order to escape, you have to literally escape.

Make “Appointments” at Your Bathroom Spa

If pampering your tired parent bodies is what you both need, order supplies, and schedule out when each of you takes turns at your kid-free “spa.” Pick your pleasure—Epsom salt baths, a mani/pedi, masks, whatever! The beauty is that it doesn’t have to be a one-time thing. Schedule multiple “appointments” for both of you!

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

Sometimes looking back on your relationship together can be a supremely romantic endeavor. See if you can find the first picture you ever took together or the trinkets and mementos you collected when you first became an item. Getting perspective on how far you’ve come together can lead to some great conversations about what’s still to come.

Can’t Go Wrong With Flowers

A beautiful bouquet never fails to brighten a room—especially one you’ve spent all your waking hours in for the past 9 months. Plus, I’m sure your local florist is doing their best to make ends meet and could use the support.

However you choose to celebrate this Hallmark holiday, just make sure that it actually is in service of your partnership. Maintaining a romantic relationship while simultaneously being parents is not an easy thing—whether in the day-to-day or on special occasions. Do what you both need and not what anyone else thinks you should be doing.

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