Certain holidays and celebrations can be a little bit more difficult than others for a single parent. Valentine’s Day used to be one of those holidays for me, but I learned some fun personal and practical family activities to celebrate without feeling the “Valentine Blues” as a single dad.
Valentine’s Day with your Children
The first thing I had to “re-think” for myself was the commercial association of Valentine’s Day. My mental picture of love letters, cards, and flowers sent to the office and the romantic dinner date that evening was not the only way to see it happening for me. Everything changes when you are divorced or widowed. When I was a newly divorced, this holiday is just another date on the calendar and may or may not fall under my custody schedule. So my first year, I discovered I had my children for the holiday and I celebrated Valentine’s Day with a special “Daddy Date”. I hand-wrote three invitations for my children and mapped out the activities on the invitation:
* A Special Dinner prepared by Dad featuring their favorite meal
* Dessert Menu featuring fresh home baked cookies which we all baked together
* My own hand made Valentine Card with personal special wishes from Daddy
* A choice of (1) Activity that we could all agree upon: Bowling vs. Movie
My Daddy Date went perfect and I found the meal and all the activities brought us closer and together as a family.
Valentine’s Day as a Single Dad, Single.
I had to “Think out of the Box” on my first Valentine’s Day as single parent without my children. I have two separate suggestions to make on this subject because both of them worked just as effectively for me on two separate occasions. My first suggestion is based on my community of friends and how they helped me out during my time of loneliness. There is a term nowadays where guys can go out and have a great time just being “the guys”…it’s called “Bro-mance” — not romance, but Bromance. My two best friends from college and high school took me out for some great food and great laughs and it made all the difference in the world for me to celebrate and realize that there is a difference between feeling lonely and being alone. As a single parent, we are never alone, but we can always feel lonely. I realized that I am only a phone call away from anyone, and that was a big life lesson learned that evening.
My second suggestion is from my Valentine’s Day this past year. I actually made a special meal for that special someone in my life… Me. It was another year of not having my three kids with me, and I actually was excited to have an quiet evening to myself and just enjoy my kitchen and prepare a big steak and a few glasses of red wine. My dessert was going to bed early, and giving myself 8+plus hours of sleep and actually feeling rested the next morning! I know anybody can relate on this subject of sleep, parenting and children. It was a great evening.
I hope these experiences that I shared with you help create some new ideas this year. Wherever you are, and whatever you do this Valentine’s Day, remember that we are all experiencing the same feelings and emotions as divorced and widowed single parents going through transition.
About Single Dad
RJ Jaramillo is a single father of three and the founder of www.singledad.com. While facing the daily challenges of raising three children on his own after his divorce, RJ realized how few resources were available to help him during this journey. He started SingleDad.com in 2007. RJ lives in Southern California with his family.