Valentine’s Day after separation can be confronting and leave you feeling very alone. I remember this feeling all too well through my years as a single mother. It is important to remember that you are not alone in these feelings, and there are many ways to cope with the wave of emotions that you may be experiencing as you navigate “flying solo” for the first time after separation.
But first, have you ever wondered what Valentine’s Day is all about? Well, one legend has it that its origins started from a quest by one priest to advance the cause of justice – and that’s a story that we lawyers love to hear about! Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. The Emperor passed a law forbidding marriage for young men, as he decided that single men made better soldiers than those who were married with children. Valentine couldn’t stomach this new law which defied basic human rights of marrying (which of course back in those days played a far greater significance in their society), so he secretly performed wedding ceremonies for young men and their fair maidens. Valentine was eventually put to death for his defiance of the Emperor’s law! We salute St Valentine for his valiant efforts, which result in us having the opportunity to express our love to our nearest and dearest on Valentine’s Day each year.
Here are my top tips on how to survive Valentine’s Day as a single parent:
- Give yourself the gift of a Theme Song – I cannot emphasise strongly enough importance of having a song can that pep your mood right up. There are going to be days (like Valentine’s Day) where you might feel isolated, angry, teary – this is entirely normal – but you need to be able to pull yourself out of that funk. Find a song that makes you move, makes you smile, puts some rhythm back into your soul. For me it was “Summertime” by Thirsty Merc – it’s amazing how much better I always felt after playing that song, singing out the words, moving my body around and smiling. It’s unavoidable! Trust me, you will feel better!! Find “your” song, and have it ready to go whenever you need a pick-me-up!
- Do something special for yourself – take some time out to cherish YOU. Perhaps spoil yourself with something a little special. My favourite was chocolates from Essenze at Caringbah – their Pistachio Marzipan chocolate was the treat that I took time to stop, be present and really savour the flavours in the moment when I sank my teeth into that gorgeous square of pistachio goodness! You might prefer a movie, getting your nails done, having a drink watching the sunset – whatever it is, it’s something for you. It’s important to take some time out for you, be present and enjoy it – even if it’s half an hour after the kids are asleep!
- Do something special with your children – just because Valentine’s Day is supposed to be for those in romantic relationships, that doesn’t mean you cannot use it as an opportunity to remind your children of how much you love them! In my household, my daughter and I liked to bake a heart-shaped chocolate cake each Valentine’s Day to enjoy after dinner. It was just a lovely little moment we spent together, and made memories. If you don’t have the children in your care, you can always send a card with a little chocolate or two tucked in the envelope, or send a funny video message – or have dinner with friends and enjoy the love of your friendship.
From all of us at Family Law Matters we wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day and would love to hear how you made this a special day for yourself and for your children – we especially would love to hear about your Theme Song! Here’s the link to our Surviving Separation playlist if you need some inspiration!