After doing some very informal research on Valentine’s Day, I noticed that the word “martyr” kept popping up. According to Wikipedia, the original Valentines were the Valentine of Rome and the Valentine of Terni, who were honored for their martyrdom in the early first century.
Which got me thinking: wait a minute, this holiday is about honoring martyrs? I thought it was about love and candy hearts and staying up past midnight writing Valentines for my 5-year-old’s 30 closest friends.
Well if this is the case, then good news for us moms! Because I can’t think of a single mom who hasn’t made significant sacrifices since having kids. Aren’t we all, in a way, martyrs too? We have sacrificed our bodies, time, careers, relationships, friendships, and exercise for our families.
Not that we would have it any other way.
But maybe this year, we can use Valentine’s Day as a way to honor each other in addition to honoring our significant others and all our kids’ friends, because, let’s be honest, we deserve it. We may not be martyrs per se, but we sure do a lot for our families, things that often go completely unnoticed because we are so good at just getting stuff done. Hey, I’m a mom, and I barely recognize half the stuff I do every day that keeps the household running and pays the bills. I don’t have the time or energy to keep track of everything I do, and I tend to focus instead on all the things that didn’t get done.
Well, it’s time that we stopped that. Why waste our time focusing on the negative? In a world where everything seems uncertain and even scary right now, lets focus on all the good that we are responsible for. Because if we don’t, no one else is going to. And let’s do it together, for each other.
Many mothers I know feel very lonely and out of touch with other moms, even though we are all going through the same thing! We need to support each other, raise each other up, and acknowledge collectively how great we are, and how proud we should be of our many contributions to our families. We don’t often make time to do that, but I really think we should.
So this Valentine’s Day, send a thoughtful note to another mom or two, someone whom you think is really killing it, getting her mom on and inspiring others. Find time to grab a drink or at least a phone call with a friend, and update each other on all the good stuff that is happening, not just the sleepless nights, tantrums and dinnertime battles.
And while you’re at it, treat yourself, too. During that massage, pedicure, yoga, or wine break (or all of the above!), take a minute to reflect on all the things that went right today. Be grateful for these successes, and be gracious to yourself for the things that maybe didn’t get done or go as planned. And when in doubt, turn to a friend. It’s time we come together to support each other. What we do isn’t easy, and it’s hard to go it alone.
So Happy Valentine’s Day to all my mom friends who are doing their best, which is more than enough. We rock!