Valentine's Day and the Single Parent

father and daughter 101

by R.J. Jaramillo

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 aspect of Valentine’s Day. My mental picture of love letters, cards and flowers sent to the office, and a romantic dinner date was not the only way to see it happening for me.

Everything changes when you are divorced or widowed. When I was newly divorced, this holiday was just another date on the calendar that might or might not have fallen under my custody schedule. So the first year I discovered I had my children for the holiday, I celebrated Valentine’s Day with a special “Daddy Date.” I handwrote three invitations for my children and mapped out the evening’s activities to them on the invitation:
• A special dinner prepared by Dad featuring their favorite meal
• Dessert menu featuring fresh homemade cookies that we bake together
• My own handmade Valentine’s Day card with personal special wishes from Daddy
• A choice of one activity that we could all agree upon: bowling or a movie
My Daddy Date went perfectly, and I found the meal and all the activities brought us closer as a family.

Valentine’s Day as a Single Dad
On my first Valentine’s Day alone as a single parent, I had to “think outside the box.” Here’s what worked for me.

My community of friends really 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 a “bro-mance.” My two best friends from college and high school took me out for some great food and great laughs. 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 feel lonely. I realized that I am only a phone call away from anyone and that was a big life lesson learned that year.

My second suggestion comes 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 a rare and quiet evening to myself, just to enjoy my kitchen, prepare a big steak and sip a glass of red wine. My “dessert” was going to bed early, giving myself eight hours of sleep and actually feeling rested the next morning! I know anybody can relate to this subject of sleep, parenting and children. It was a great evening.

I hope my experiences help you create your own celebrations this year. Wherever you are, and whatever you do this Valentine’s Day, remember that as divorced and widowed single parents in transition, we all experience the same feelings and emotions.

For more great family articles, pick up your free copy of San Diego Family Magazine or read our digital edition.

-------------
A father of three, R.J. Jaramillo is the founder of Singledad.com, a Website dedicated to single parenting and its mission to “Make Life Happen … Again!” He lives in Scripps Ranch.

 

April Fool's Day Family-Friendly Pranks

April Fool's Day Family-Friendly Pranks

On April 1, people who aren’t typically jokesters turn into pranksters. Many of us enjoy playing tricks on each other and perhaps falling for a couple ourselves. This offbeat holiday continues to . . .

Read more

Spring Break Day Trips and Stay Trips

Spring Break Day Trips and Stay Trips

DAY TRIPS Day Trip for Families to Los Angeles Explore Julian Fun Stuff to Do in Long Beach Fun Family Activities in Temecula A Borrego Springs Adventure Treasure Hunting in San Diego 10 Tips . . .

Read more

Easter and Spring Round-Up

Easter and Spring Round-Up

Celebrate Easter and springtime with these family-friendly events, festive recipes, seasonal crafts and fun activities.   Easter Egg Hunts and Earth Day Events in San Diego County 30+ . . .

Read more

5 Ideas for an Easter-themed Playdate

5 Ideas for an Easter-themed Playdate

Have you ever considered having an Easter-themed playdate for your toddler and his friends? Easter egg hunts are fun, but they can be overwhelming for toddlers, especially if older children are invo . . .

Read more

Easter 2019 - 30+ Egg Hunts & Happenings in San Diego

Easter 2019 - 30+ Egg Hunts & Happenings in San Diego

Find an egg-citing trail of Easter happenings including egg hunts, Easter Bunny sightings, crafts, brunches and worship services. We update this list with more events as they become available, so be . . .

Read more

Celebrate Easter With These (Almost) Sugar-free Ideas

Celebrate Easter With These (Almost) Sugar-free Ideas

The Easter holiday invites a bit of excess. During medieval times, Easter Sunday was the day when Lenten fasts of eggs, dairy, and fat were broken, thus an inundation of rich treats was prepared to . . .

Read more

14 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

14 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day is near, but don’t wait until April 22 to celebrate. Now is the time to reflect on your family’s commitment to the environment. Have fun as a family and encourage your children to be s . . .

Read more

20+ Earth Day Activities Around San Diego 2019

20+ Earth Day Activities Around San Diego 2019

Earth Day is April 22! Take part in these activities in San Diego and celebrate all month long!   Celebrate Earth Day in San Diego and honor Mother Nature with these “green” activities t . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!