Parenting is hard work. Like, REALLY hard work. It is hands down the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. Even harder than labour, and that hurt like… well, labour! Why do I bring this up today, of all days? Because – Valentine’s Day.
Now, this isn’t a cautionary tale or anything like that – I’m not about to say “don’t be silly wrap your willy” on Valentine’s day. It’s the Hallmark day of love, go out, have fun, be merry – that is if you’ve found a babysitter of course. If you’re kid free, get it in, have some fun!
No, rather this post is about all the non-romantic parental obligations you now have for Valentine’s day. This isn’t about the top ten tips on how to bring romance back into your relationship, it’s a diatribe on all the shit we as parent’s are expected to do for holidays, like this one.
Welcome to What Kind Of Holiday Parent Are You? Let’s play, shall we?
There are various different kinds of parents, and when it comes time for things like holidays, I feel like we fall into two categories – the laid back *this isn’t my first kid, fuck it* parent, and the over-achieving parent.
The Laid-Back parent understands that all these Hallmark holidays aren’t going to make or break your toddler’s psyche. No one will notice or care if you spend time and money on valentine’s day cards for your child’s class.
My 2-year-old isn’t going to remember the fact that I bought cards for every single student in his class and spent all night signing them, tying them with ribbon, attaching candy and stickers, and turning a simple task into a three-tiered art project. I envy the laid-back parent, because I am NOT that parent.
I am of the over-achieving parent variety. I’m that annoying freaking first-time mom that stresses about the holidays coming up. I’m the mom that runs to the store to buy high quality yarn so she can crochet a scarf for each of my child’s teachers for Christmas, and then buys mugs and fills them with chocolates and nail polish before neatly wrapping them in cellophane. I am that mom because I almost feel obligated to be – like I’m representing my child and his family through the gifts I give and the effort I put in.
I am that mom, and I don’t think I like it anymore.
It’s really rather unrewarding. Not all the parents spend their time signing little valentine’s day cards and attaching lollipops for all 25 children in the class – so why do I? The teachers haven’t once said thank you for the gifts I’ve spent time and money making and gifting. So why do I bother? I honestly don’t even know if they like them! It’s like this for Every. Single. Holiday.
I understand that parenting is often a thankless job. I don’t expect my child to say thank you for my efforts in feeding, bathing, clothing, and just generally keeping him alive. That’s my job – I enjoy doing it (most of the time), and his love for me is all the thanks I’ll ever need. But this doesn’t extend to his classmates, his teachers, the secretary at the doctor’s office, and the gymnastics instructor that monitor’s him as he jumps on the Gymalaya trampoline once a week (SHIT, I totally forgot to get her something this year…). So why can’t I just let it go, and be one of those “this is stupid, fuck it, I’m not doing it” parents?
Can you say Type A personality with a sprinkle of OCD? Clearly, I have some shit to work on.
I think it’s time to reach a compromise with myself – tone down the crazy, just a tad, and learn to say ‘Fuck It’ more often. I think that if more of us were “fuck it” parents, then maybe there wouldn’t be this kind of unnecessary pressure. Maybe we’d spend less time stressing about how to impress everyone else, and spend more time playing with our kids, relaxing and having ‘me time’. Hell – maybe Valentine’s Day would be spent making love instead of making cards.
So here’s to all the parents that have figured out how to say ‘fuck it’ to the holiday pressure – you’re totally winning, and I definitely want to be you when I grow up.