Well, here I am on the holiday meant to celebrate romantic lover and lovers without someone to share it with.
Not exactly where I thought I'd see myself a year ago. But, that's just the way life is sometimes.
My knee-jerk reaction was to dismiss it simply and the concept of Valentine's Day overall as "not a big deal" - which in the grand scheme of life - it isn't. And then just tell myself that instead of being reminded of my obvious and lonely single-ness, I'd simply take the kids out for a nice dinner and we'd all celebrate Valentine's Day as a family.
And then I put the brakes on that idea altogether.
Your kids are not your substitute for romantic love. While you do love them and can spend more time with them than you did before, I think it's a slippery slope to begin to insert them into places best fitted for a romantic partner just because they are there and it's easy.
For one, if you are dismissing your need for romantic love because you have your kids to love instead, you run the danger of becoming too absorbed into their lives, especially if they are pre-teens or teenagers. Your omnipresence at every moment and every activity will begin to stunt or erode their autonomy in their lives, and that will have long-lasting effects.
Second, your actions are a model for what your kids may need to do themselves as adults if they are ever in the same situation as you. If you are teaching them, inadvertently, that romantic love and maternal love are interchangeable, that is sending a mixed single to them about healthy relationships. Plus, what if your child is single and doesn't have children? How are they to understand how to cope and navigate if they don't have their child-surrogates to distract themselves from their loneliness?
Parenting doesn't end when the kids move out on their own. We have to remember that we are parenting for today and their future - sometimes at the same time! Showing them what being "healthy single" looks like might be one of the most valuable models we can give them.
Watch the video to see me discuss this further.