You are here

The Valentine’s loot: Adorable or aggravating?

Erin Zammett Ruddy

You can tell there are moms who clearly get joy out of doing this stuff. I am not mad at them. Don’t hate the player, hate the game, you know? But I wonder how many women (like me) do it just because we feel we have to…


My kids are four and two. Alex goes to preschool four days a week; Nora goes to daycare three days a week. These are the goodies they came home with yesterday. Adorable? Aggravating? Overkill? Don’t get me wrong, if Alex said to me, “Mom, let’s get out the glitter and the glue gun and make really awesome hand-crafted valentines for all my friends,” I would say, “Hell, yeah!” I’d clear my calendar and we’d get our DIY on.


Here’s something you may not know about me: I was an arts and crafts fanatic growing up. I had my own art studio in my house (i.e., a side of the finished basement that my dad tricked out with counters and easels), I handmade every gift and card and was constantly painting or drawing or sculpting. I loved it and I was pretty good at it. So I am not a hater at all. I totally get it. I want to be that mom that hand-makes more than I buy. I want to spend hours sitting at the table creating with—or without—my kids. But so far, it hasn’t happened. So far Alex doesn’t sit still long enough to draw a straight line and Nora eats crayons and colors on herself. But life is long and my kids are young.

The upside: Alex got lots of practice writing his name, which he clearly needs. 

Back to Valentine’s Day. Those of you who saw my facebook status yesterday know that I went the bare-minimum route for Alex’s class ($1.99 Kung Fu Panda-themed cheap-ass cards). I didn’t give any candy because that’s not my thing and I didn’t give any toys or trinkets because, well, it isn’t Christmas, right?! But I did make Alex write his own name on all 25 of the cards. That was a feat, let me tell you. I didn’t partake in the day because I wanted to or because I enjoyed it or because I love celebrating Valentine’s, I did it because I didn’t want Alex to be the only kid who didn’t give out cards—and because I didn’t want the other mothers to judge me. I had a whole mix of feelings bubble up about this stuff yesterday and here they are, in no particular order:



  • Wow, Alex kind of sucks at writing his name. Wonder what the other moms will think of that?


  • Crap, I forgot/just didn’t want to do valentines for Nora’s class. But Nora’s classmates are two and don’t speak. And they certainly can’t write their own valentines. And I don’t know a single other parent in her class so what do I care what they think of me? Wait, why don’t I know any of the other parents? 


  • When did Valentine’s Day become Halloween? Would it be wrong to dump all of this candy in the garbage? Except for that tootsie pop, which I can use as bribery down the road.


  • Why isn’t there a single Valentine card that doesn’t have a Disney character on it? And why are there so many freaking princess cards?! Dislike!


  • Ugh, I wish I had handmade mine, too. They are SO much cuter/more thoughtful. But wait! My kids are babies! And this is just a made-up holiday that Nick and I don't even celebrate! I have other things on my plate right now! Kung Fu Panda is perfectly fine. 


  • Showoffs!


  • Oh no, am I taking away some of the fun for my kids because I’m not into this holiday? Should I have made heart-shaped ravioli for dinner? Should I have at least worn red, even though it clashes with my hair?


  • $@*&! this %#*! candy! (this was at 7:30 p.m. when Alex was asking for yet another piece of his loot and I said a half-hearted no and then I said OK and then Nick got mad at me for caving—Happy Valentine’s Day to me!)

Alex gets distracted easily. We had to have three different name-writing sessions to get through all 25 cards.



So, what are your thoughts on all of this? Do you really love Valentine’s Day and get into the spirit because it’s fun? Or are your kids are old enough where they actually participate and care? Or, are you hardcore and just don’t give a crap what the other moms think of you and, therefore, don’t subscribe? Let’s discuss. Kindly, please. Clearly this is a sensitive subject (yes, I am embarrassed that I just wrote that last line but it’s true).