It's Valentine's Day. "So what!?" you cry. "Exactly" is the usual response.
Whether it's a Hallmark holiday or 'just another day', there are some sweet things you can do with your partner no matter your budget or emotional bandwidth. Who wouldn't absolutely fall off their chair with joy if their partner surprised them with some flowers, wine, or offering to do the washing up after dinner. Right?
Making the effort would mean the world to your partner, but where does a sleep-deprived, exhausted parent start - especially when you totally forgot what day it was?
To help out during the ideas drought, Laura Ruston from Out and About Baby shared five ways to celebrate your love when you forgot it was V-day.
1. Crack out the picnic rug
It’s tried and tested and suits all levels of organisation. Whether it's super simple like buying a pizza and heading to your local park, or fancy cheese, champagne and fairy lights.
"If you've got time, make some cute little picnic food - you know, corn fritters that have great hidden veggies in them for the kids and things like that. But if you don't have time, who cares? Go to your favourite local pizza place, get a takeaway pizza and a good bottle of red, and watch the sunset. Added points if you're by the water," Laura jokes.
If a babysitter isn’t on the cards at this late stage (better luck next time), Laura says that a picnic with kids doesn’t have to be mayhem.
"Choose a really great park that's nearby. If you've got toddlers, choose one that has a fenced-in playground so you don't feel like you have to chase after them every five minutes. You get to watch the sunset over the water and the kids can just play. It is beautiful."
Listen to Laura on Feed Play Love - your bite-sized parenting podcast:
2. Make dinner a special occasion from budget to glitz
It doesn’t have to be a Michelin-starred restaurant (though it could be!), and you don’t need a babysitter. You could go to a family-friendly restaurant where strangers won’t sigh heavily every time your baby makes a noise. Plus, you don’t have to do the cleaning up.
If going out seems like hell on earth, make the effort at home. Set the dinner table, buy a nice bottle of wine or preferred fizzy beverage - heck, even light a candle or two. If Lady and The Tramp had one of the most romantic meals of all time in an alley surrounded by rubbish bins, a candle lit dinner at home with clean cutlery and some soft background music can work wonders.
3. Book a night out at the movies in your loungeroom
Gone are the days of spending an hour at your local video store trying to find the perfect date-night flick. The wonders of modern technology mean that it barely takes any effort (or pre-planning) to set up the evening on the couch.
“Go to a bit of effort," Laura urges. "Before the baby goes to bed, pop some popcorn, because the smell and the noise isn't going to be really conducive to sleep. Light that special candle that you've been saving. And make sure you've got some good ice cream in the freezer!"
4. Take a late afternoon walk together
Even if it’s just around the block, going for a walk with your partner, holding hands with the baby strapped in is a great alternative to a 10-course degustation for the sleep-deprived parent. Plus, it's free. You can hold hands and struggle for breath together, it's a truly unifying experience.
"Go for an early evening stroll," says Laura. "Strap the baby on too, for those 10 bonus points for burning extra calories. Go for a walk and talk. Hold hands. Because really that connection, that touch, is also really important to foster.”
5. Give your partner a massage
Now if you’re on the giving end all the time, or so you think, this one is a doozy. If you find your partner with empty hands toward the end of the evening, just sidle on up to them and place their hands on your shoulders with a wry smile. If they don't take the hint, stare them in the eyes with all the love and desperation of a parent who is exhausted and say, "If you really love me, you will rub my shoulders." 😉
Laura adds that there's a chemical reaction to a massage, it's not just a mental thing. And this goes for the giver as well as the receiver.
"Oxytocin is also known as the love hormone. Just give your partner a massage and your body will feel this wonderful thing called oxytocin and it's a really nice way to end the night before you both pass out again."
If these suggestions sound achievable, you should most definitely slide this post into your loved one's DMs.
Happy Valentine's Day, lazy lovers!
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