Valentine’s Day is this week. Yes. This week. Which means that if you want to avoid a repeat of last year’s fall-asleep-while-watching-Parenthood celebration, you have some prepping to do. I have some tips to get you through.
Quick! Make plans
Google “most romantic restaurants in town” and quickly call each one to see if you can get a reservation. Hang up the phone and silently chastise the crazy people who had the foresight to make reservations for Valentine’s Day in November.
Decide You’ll Figure Out the What Later
Focus your energy on finding a babysitter. Even if you end up spending your romantic evening at Luby’s, at least you’ll be at Luby’s sans kids. Send a quick text to all of the high-schoolers you know, only to find out that all of them have plans. Apparently with boyfriends who had the foresight to make reservations in November.
Decide that Your Husband Probably Planned Something
What are you getting all worked up about? If your babysitter’s sixteen-year-old boyfriend remembered to plan something for Valentine’s Day, certainly your husband of ten years remembered.
Binge Eat Candy Hearts
Of course, if your husband planned something, you’d probably better get him a romantic gift to show that you remembered him, too. Raid your kid’s stash of candy hearts as you realize that it’s too late to order something from Bridgestone. Nothing like the taste of chalky sugar to calm a girl’s nerves.
Load the kids into the car and head to the mall and spend two hours bribing them with Auntie Anne’s pretzels while you search for the perfect gift. The perfect gift that clearly doesn’t exist. Get a little stabby with the Macy’s clerk who suggests “a nice bottle of cologne.” Who wears cologne? And how is it fair that guys have a hundred options for Valentine’s Gifts ranging from flowers to lingerie to diamond earrings and girls have… cologne?
Default to Pinterest
Decide that a true gift comes from the heart. Strap the kids into their car seats and spend twenty minutes in the parking lot scouring the Pinterest app for ideas. Stumble upon an idea for “homemade kid’s Valentines” and quickly realize that you have also failed to get Valentines for your kid’s friends. Crap.
Race to Target
With visions of late hours taping tiny suckers to flimsy cards dancing through your head, head to Target and scour the valentine section for something that says “no assembly required” while knowing full well that everything in the aisle a) requires assembly and b) requires candy that you will be tempted to eat.
Remember Your Husband. Again.
On the way to checkout, notice beautiful display of chocolate covered strawberries. Your hubby loves chocolate covered strawberries. Violá! Target pulls through for the win.
But They Cost $2.99 Each
Three dollars for a chocolate covered strawberry? Whatever. You just spent all morning looking at Pinterest, surely you’re capable of making a simple chocolate covered strawberry. Pick up a pint of strawberries and a bag of chocolate chips. For $5 total, thankyouverymuch. Pat yourself on the back for being such a bargain shopper.
Spend the afternoon in the kitchen whipping up a magnificent batch of chocolate covered strawberries. Step back and admire your work and briefly consider starting an at-home business selling chocolate strawberries to suckers who are willing to pay exorbitant amounts for simple fruit and chocolate. Eat seventeen strawberries as a reward to yourself for being such a great chef.
Remember Your Husband. Yet Again.
After receiving a text from your husband that says “What’s for dinner tonight?” you quickly realize that your husband a) doesn’t remember that it’s Valentine’s Day and b) didn’t plan anything. Instead of feeling angry, you feel inexplicably relieved that you can– dare you even think it?– spend the evening relaxing on the couch.
Change your Underwear
Of course, even relaxing on the couch on Valentine’s Day requires something other than the ratty granny panties you’ve worn all day. Head to your closet and dig out the teensiest, slinkiest, least-worn out pair you own and slip them on. Throw your jeans back on and head into the kitchen to make your kids mac & cheese and to get them ready for an early bedtime.
Snuggle in Front of Parenthood
There are some traditions you just can’t mess with, and one of them is your annual Parenthood-and-Pizza Valentine’s Day marathon. Order a pizza, snuggle on the couch, pour a glass of wine and enjoy your romantic evening.
And hey, at least you changed your underwear.