Valentine's Day has a bad reputation for its overload of pink hearts, overpriced teddy bears, racy lingerie, and pressure to lay the romance on thick every February 14th. It’s no wonder people have polarizing views on how they feel about the occasion that celebrates love. Some begrudge it because they’re not in a couple, think romance should be about more than putting in a token effort for a ‘Hallmark Holiday,’ or are still feeling the pinch from their December spending.
While many don’t love Cupid and all that he brings, there were 20.1 billion US dollars spent on Valentine’s related purchases, events, and celebrations in 2018 alone, so obviously people are still paying a toll for the price of Cupid’s arrow.
Those who are hosting their first Valentine’s Day post-parenthood are probably looking forward to a little romance, and maybe grandma or grandpa even offered to babysit, but here’s the thing: Baby doesn’t care that the calendar is marked for romance. In fact, many small children (or so it seems) will do anything in their power to shut down romance this year – other times the parents manage to do this on their own. Here are 20 photos that show the true and hilarious realities of Valentine’s Day with a new baby.
20 A Family Photo To Remember
Valentine's Day can be the perfect day to pose for a family photo to show how your family has grown, but sometimes things aren’t predictable. You can pick out themes, the perfect photographer, and matching outfits, and sometimes it falls apart. This family arranged for a touching and somewhat romantic beach photo, which ended up becoming a viral blooper of what was supposed to be a very special moment. Thankfully they had a good sense of humour about this outtake photo, which we sincerely hope is hung in a place of prominence in their home.
We all know about fast food and speed dating, but this couple decided to take their date night to the extreme. New parents are often deprived of sleep, time, and funds, but this couple wasn’t going to miss out on a chance to dress up and paint the town red on date night, so they put on their dancing shoes and sauntered up to McDonalds for a McRomantic meal. The white linen table cloth is a nice touch. This drive through date surely took less than an hour, and mom and dad were home in time for bed time stories.
18 The Most Happening Club In Town
In early parenthood being able to run errands without the interference of little babies was the best gift of all. I remember rushing through dinners out so we could pick up some groceries, wrapping paper, or whatever else, in silence. This couple decided that a good date night involved grocery shopping and I can’t say that I blame them. Being able to meal plan in silence and read all the labels on potential purchases without complaints, crying, or diaper changes is a dream any day, especially on Valentine's Day. Let’s hope they remembered to stop by the chocolate aisle and pick up a little chocolate to nosh on at home.
17 Home Cooked Meal
Several years ago a group of men thought that it would be fun to create the ‘man’ version of Valentine’s Day, celebrated on March 14th. This satirical and fictional holiday is meant to celebrate men with steak and some other ‘treats,’ since women are showered with attention themselves on the real Valentine’s Day. Although I’ve never heard of anyone really celebrating on March 14th, we’re guessing these heart-shaped steaks would be the perfect staple to show him just how much she cares. Steak on the BBQ once baby goes to bed sounds like a solid plan for Valentine’s Day anyway, no matter when it’s celebrated, after all it’s just about spending some time together!
16 The Cleanup Crew
Babies make a lot of mess. We hope this significant other is volunteering for cleaning duty instead of suggesting that a new mom step up her house keeping game on Valentine’s Day – because that’s just asking for trouble. If he’s smart maybe he’ll even let her take a nap while he cleans some windows. To many new parents hiring someone to come in and scrub those bathrooms and kitchen floors, fold a couple of loads and laundry, and make a meal or two is probably a much more practical and appreciated gift that a teddy bear holding a heart anyway.
15 Constantly Calling & Texting The Sitter
Technology has made it easier than ever to help keep an eye on your kids. The babysitter can be reached in a matter of seconds so you can remind them to do everything you wish while you’re away on date night without baby, and this can make it hard to disconnect from your phone and focus on enjoying some one on one time. According to Business Insider, “Young Americans send almost ten times as many texts as Americans over 55. According to Experian, U.S. smartphone owners aged 18 to 24 send 2,022 texts per month on average — 67 texts daily — and receive another 1,831.” We’re guessing at least 60 of these 67 texts were sent to the babysitter on this date night.
14 Jet Setting Away For A Weekend
Many airlines will allow for a baby under two years old to fly for free, if they sit on a parent’s lap for the flight. A lot of these airlines will even take pity on parents and sit them next to an empty seat so they have a little more room to spread out (and not annoy the other passengers around them). Here’s the thing, romantic trips as a couple are very different than flying with a child – kids are messy and unpredictable. Have you ever tried changing a diaper in a plane bathroom? It isn’t pretty. Hopefully baby allows for some romance to make it into this getaway, but in my personal experience romance is probably off the table. I hope this dad has some spare clothes in his carry-on!
13 When Mom Doesn't Have Her Sea Legs
What could be more romantic than a three-hour cruise to help escape land locked life and your baby? I’m guessing that when this couple set sail for a fantastic date night, they were hoping to get a view of a fantastic sunset, a nice romantic meal made by someone else, and maybe a cocktail or two while they held hands. Instead, it looks like the Mrs. has come down with a bout of sea sickness. For most people it takes a day or two to feel better after this kind of ailment, so it wasn’t just date night that was ruined. Hopefully she feels better soon.
12 The Third Wheel
You don’t need to tell a new parent that babies take up a lot of time. It’s estimated that on average a newborn baby will take up around 30 hours a week of a parent’s time. For those working and wanting to get some sleep, this doesn’t leave a lot of time for much else. Therefore many parents opt to enjoy a nice dinner in with some takeout and Netflix instead of facing the crowds at a romantic restaurant. This also means that the likelihood of baby crashing your dinner and becoming the third wheel on what is supposed to be a romantic evening is quite high.
11 An Improvised Sleep Mask After A Long Day
While romance is often lacking on Valentines in parenthood, so is quality sleep. Jill told Care.com about a date night that didn’t go exactly as planned saying, “(I) dropped the kids off at Grandma and Grandpa's house for a sleepover and went back home to get ready for (the) big date. My husband, Francis, was fast asleep. Since (we) had two hours before meeting friends, I snuggled up next to him and fell asleep. We slept for 13 hours." Sometimes the refreshment felt at uninterrupted sleep tops any other promise of a fun double date night out.
10 Not So Relaxing Bath
As a parent, I know that as soon as I shut that bathroom door my children need me. It doesn’t even matter when my husband is home. Something about mom lying down in a nice relaxing bath makes my children need me (and only me) urgently. While it is a fantastic idea to practice some self care via a bath, a glass of grown-up grape juice, some scented candles, and maybe even some flower petals for good measure, it’s probably best to schedule the time for when baby is in bed, or when someone else can take over, cause odds are you’ll just end up frustrated like this little one.
9 Special Night Doing Laundry
Parents referring to their pile of dirty laundry as ‘mount laundry’ is no joke. Babies go through a lot of clothes, and so do their parents who end up cleaning spit up off their shirts on a regular basis. New mom Hua Love dished on The Bump, “I don't cloth diaper. I do a load almost every day, if not every other day. Today I already did a load, but then he had an epic blowout all the way to his shoulders as he was nursing so now those clothes and the boppy are in the wash.” Since newborns roughly use 10 to 12 diapers a day, those using cloth diapers will have even more laundry to do. So, odds are if you’re a new parent home on Valentine’s Day you have some laundry to do, fold, and put away.
8 Nothing Says Romance Like A Home Repair Project
What can be more practical than making your honey complete his ‘honey do’ list as a Valentine’s present. The timing of Valentine’s around the coming Monday holiday in the United States and Family Day in Canada is sure to have many new families taking advantage of their extra time away from work by tackling that home renovation project. While a trip down the aisle at Home Depot isn’t as romantic as a trip down ‘the aisle,’ sparks are sure to fly when couples get passionate about paint colours and fixture designs.
7 'Cause Moms Don't Get Sick Days
According to the CDC, flu season is at its peak between November and February, meaning new parents with compromised immune systems thanks to a lack of sleep can thank their child for whatever bug they pick up this Valentine’s Day. According to WebMD, “In families with children in school, the number of colds per child can be as high as 12 a year. Adults average about 2 to 4 colds a year, although the range varies widely. Women, especially those aged 20 to 30 years, have more colds than men, possibly because of their closer contact with children.” So, if you’re more in the mood for a trip to the bedroom for sleep than something else, blame your kid and know you aren’t alone.
6 Real Anniversary Photos
The rose-coloured social media photos we see of family celebrations show the best possible faces of parenting. Here’s the reality. It can be hard to organize children and family to look at the camera, smile, and look their best any day, particularly on a special occasion like say Valentine’s Day or even a wedding anniversary. Those wedding photos of a coy look of longing are far in the past as the chaos of parenting has set in. This couple tried to capture their anniversary with a commemorative photo which became a hilariously relatable spectacle instead. Odds are this has long become a favourite, even if it is epically awkward.
5 Messy Hair Don't Care
The mom bun and yoga pants are a true uniform of parenthood, and most of the time it doesn’t matter whether it’s a special occasion or not. Who has time to do (let alone wash) their hair when they have a new baby; isn’t that why they invented dry shampoo? This mom is the epitome of reality, complete with dishes in the background. We can see that she’s enjoying a cup of coffee, but as a parent odds are this isn’t even her first attempt to drink it. It has either been reheated a dozen times or is chilled cold.
4 Keeping It Simple To Keep It Together
There is a lot of pressure when you’re a new parent. There is the pressure to do what is right for your baby, there is pressure to keep an exciting romantic relationship, and the pressure to return to your pre-mom self (all while remaining a supermom) which is impossible to do! Mom Mackenzie enjoys the simple pleasures and told S. Mommy, “Watch a ... movie together. You know, one that doesn’t have talking inanimate objects that teach you a compelling life lesson. Seeing real actors conversing with one another is sure to remind you of the good old days when you, too, could go out and interact with adults in adult settings. I’m [excited] just thinking about it.”
3 Heart-Shaped Chicken
Aesthetically pleasing food has become a huge deal, just ask anyone with a social media account. Before the dawn of social media, people have enjoyed theme food to help them better celebrate the little things in life. Parents everywhere know how much little ones love food shaped like anything, and chicken nuggets. This company clearly knew the number of parents who would be spending their Valentine’s Day catering to the needs of their children before the needs of their partners, and what better way to say love than dipping a heart shaped chunk of chicken into some ruby red ketchup. Now that’s romance.
2 Avoiding Another Baby
Many parents anxiously wait for the go ahead from their doctor to resume romantic activities after baby is born. This call is generally made about six weeks after baby arrives. That being said, it can be intimidating to jump back into it. In the weeks and months after a baby arrives the last thing on most people’s minds is wanting to create a baby, so perhaps a trip to the drug store and a heart-shaped display of these puppies is a much more practical romantic gesture when compared to say rose petals, cause the last time we checked roses won’t prevent babies.
1 A Galentine's Day Win
Leslie Knope and Anne Perkins of Parks and Recreation fame helped make Galentine's, the celebration of female friendship, something that we all want to celebrate. Celebrated on February 13th women everywhere have taken note and really want to get out, away from their kids (and significant other) and enjoy some platonic female fun. Leslie explains it best, saying, “Oh, it's only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It's like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus, frittatas."