Today is Valentine's Day-- the day that we express our undying love to our partners and let people know they are important. While it's ALWAYS important to say you care, I really want to focus on LOVING YOURSELF and not losing your whole self in someone (or something) else. This is especially true when we become parents (and, okay, mothers in particular) because our identity becomes so attached to this wonderful little creature that depends on us for survival and love.
Think of the you that you were 5, 10, 15 years ago. How were you different? How was that former you more fun? What made that former you tick? When we become a mother/ father and partner/spouse what comes with it are brand new roles, expectations, pressures and responsibilities. You can think of it as wearing a new "hat" ( cue Dog Go's famous, "Do you like my hat?" sequence). For some (okay, many) of us, the role of being a parent takes over and dominates, with some of the other hats we used to wear collecting dust in the corner. We may still feel those other hats tugging at us to wear them, but the more dominant hats prevail. So the "loves to paint," "loves to listen to sappy music," "loves to go to the batting cages" gets pushed behind sick kids, preschool/middle school applications, getting that project for work done, etc. By being happier with yourself, the residual effect is that you're a better parent and spouse.
So do the Valentine's Day thing today--show your love and get some chocolate (some for you and some for them). Then, as you wake up tomorrow, though, think about the YOU outside of being a parent or spouse. Figure out if you may be forgetting parts of you that excite and invigorate your soul. What you love about you. I love the (arguably) sappy music of Josh Groban who has a new album out. My Valentine's Day present to myself is buying it, playing it when no one is around, and fully enjoying it as ME!
Coming full circle to the "together" part of "Together Tuesdays", if you are still looking for a great Valentine's Day present, ignite your partner's dusty passions by giving them the freedom to do something that was important to their old self. Buy two tickets to a ____ (concert, game, play, golf course, etc.) that you don't necessarily want to go to but you know your partner will. Have them bring a friend so they won't be thinking, "I know s/he isn't that into this." Give him/her the freedom, for just a while, to escape the confines of their current responsibilities (their hats) and just BE.
"You Raise Me Up" (yep, back to Josh) is a great song and in my mind a CALL TO ACTION. Figure out what you can do to help your partner love themselves. And raise yourself up while you're at it.
Susan Fox, Ph. D.
Founder, Park Slope Parents
Photo Credit: Theo Wargo
for Getty/iHeart Radio