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Why Do Moms Hate Valentine’s Day?

Elementary school and Valentine's Day should not mix.

by
Bonnie Ramthun

Bio

February 14, 2014 - 7:00 am

Why do moms with kids in elementary school hate Valentine’s Day?  Let me count the ways.  Elementary schools have Valentine’s Day parties where cards are exchanged between all members of the class.  First, moms have to travel to the store and purchase boxes of cards.  If you’re not super organized and you don’t get to the store early enough, you end up with the dregs, the cards that no little kid wants to give or receive. One year all I could find was a super creepy Chinese knockoff of Ken and Barbie. Not my best year.

These days candy has somehow crept into the yearly Valentine’s Day card offering, so if you don’t have cards with candy attached your child may burst into hysterical tears. Nobody wants to be seen as the lame kid in class who doesn’t offer candy.  I have friends who spend the night before Valentine’s Day frantically attaching candy to cards with scotch tape.

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But wait, there’s more to do.  Moms have to fill out the cards for each child in the classroom, after they procure the list from the teacher, and heaven help you if you misspell or forget one. At one point I had three children in elementary school and that equaled around 78 cards filled out, by hand, for Valentine’s Day. If you’re an especially dedicated mom you make your child sign his or her name to the cards, which is difficult and stressful to the child. They can burst into tears when they have to sign their name to the classroom bully’s card, or to a secret crush. Their little hands get tired. Any moms want to admit they signed Valentine’s Day cards using a forgery of their child’s handwriting?  No?

Then there’s the Valentine’s Day school party, where the kids get over-sugared, over-excited, and over-stimulated with the excitement and come home in exhausted tears with bags of candy and cheap cards that mom now has to deal with.

This may be why some husbands arrive home on the Most Romantic Day of the Year with flowers and chocolates only to find out that mom is already in the middle of a date with a bottle of Chardonnay.  Yes, dear husbands, moms of elementary school kids love flowers and chocolates for Valentine’s Day.  We’ve earned them.  Just don’t give us a card.

Please, not a card.

*******

Image courtesy of Shutterstock: Brent Hofacker

Bonnie Ramthun lives in Colorado with her husband and children. She's the author of mysteries and thrillers for adults and children. Her middle grade mystery "The White Gates' was a Junior Library Guild premiere selection and was a finalist for the Missouri Truman award. All her novels are available on Amazon.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Bonnie, Bonnie Bonnie…

You poor overstressed soul, let me help you out…

“if you don’t have cards with candy attached, your child may burst into hysterical tears”

Laugh at them when they cry, then tell them to shut up.…then send them to the Bus Stop with that bitter sting of wet cheeks on a cold February Morning. They will learn not to cry before school.

“I have friends who spend the night before Valentine’s Day frantically attaching candy to cards with scotch tape”

Tell them they are vapid, shallow and possibly insane…tell them you’ve already solved that problem by implementing the above. They will be jealous of you…..much easier than staying thinner or richer than the Joneses!

“with bags of candy and cheap cards that mom now has to deal with”

Yeah, that’s called “garbage” and we have a place for that….only question is “paper or plastic”

And know those cute little candy hearts? The ones that say “hubba -hubba” and “Kiss me”?

Funny, they make EXACTLY the same rattily noise going up the hose of my heavy-duty shop-vac as all those errant lego bricks my kids (no longer!) leave all over the floor. And the Shop Vac is so loud, you can barely hear them scream.

Happy Valentines’ day!
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
When did PJM turn into a bitchy mommyblog?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just say no. It's a manufactured obligation. The kids might be upset for a moment, but if we all did it; this stupidity would stop.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (21)
All Comments   (21)
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You have to be a mom with kids in brick and mortar school. It is funny, pointless and sad in the re-examination. It matters to kids their peers magnify the whole scene. You can point out all the facts in the world it doesn't make it unimportant to the child it makes it worse. Getting my kids out of brick and mortar unchained us from many of those dreadful days. My daughter had an insight to the pain of those holidays for children and moms. She said parents grasp on to those days because school takes their children away. They don't get to spend enough time together and they try to make every thing perfect. She then said since we get to be home we now get to spend enough time we don't need the "perfect" day and they don't matter anymore.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why do mothers insist on making the rest of us responsible for their children, and their mental and physical wellbeing? It's not *my* kid, I didn't make the decision to have the baby, and after taxes have been skimmed from my paycheck to pay for their mandatory schooling, I feel like I have done my bit. I don't want to hear how it's my responsibility to make someone else's little darling feel comfortable on the plane, or at the next table in a nice restaurant, or - now - in school on Valentine's Day. You wanted kids -- you deal with it and don't be heaping guillt on me.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I loved all the comments, absolutely agreed with them all. It is so funny to see all the ways I felt through the years (4 kids X 6 years elementary school X 14 kids in classes) I still have a valentines stash in my attic.
But the no cards for Mom has a solution. Do what we do. Go to Walmart together, stand in front of the cards, find a great one, exchange, read, and then put them back. Then go home, crack open the Chardonnay, and have a great evening!
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
So Ms Bonnie Ramthun, you get roughly 78 (minus 3) cards back. no?

Do you and your three children actually see and read any of them cards?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Nobody wants to be seen as the lame kid in class who doesn’t offer candy. I have friends who spend the night before Valentine’s Day frantically attaching candy to cards with scotch tape."

No, that's the mom projection of what the kid wants to be seen as.

THAT mom doesn't want to be seen as the bad mom that isn't involved in her kids life enough, so she goes overboard with V-Day, making it about her being a Good Mom, rather than the kids having fun.

She doesn't realize that the "good mom" or dad, for that matter, actually looked at and paid attention to their schools calendar and made it all easy to pull of by planning for it and making it a day with her kids help to accomplish.

Oh no, not 30 cupcakes! That takes like, 5 dollars and 2 hours to accomplish! Oh, the humanity!
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bonnie, Bonnie Bonnie…

You poor overstressed soul, let me help you out…

“if you don’t have cards with candy attached, your child may burst into hysterical tears”

Laugh at them when they cry, then tell them to shut up.…then send them to the Bus Stop with that bitter sting of wet cheeks on a cold February Morning. They will learn not to cry before school.

“I have friends who spend the night before Valentine’s Day frantically attaching candy to cards with scotch tape”

Tell them they are vapid, shallow and possibly insane…tell them you’ve already solved that problem by implementing the above. They will be jealous of you…..much easier than staying thinner or richer than the Joneses!

“with bags of candy and cheap cards that mom now has to deal with”

Yeah, that’s called “garbage” and we have a place for that….only question is “paper or plastic”

And know those cute little candy hearts? The ones that say “hubba -hubba” and “Kiss me”?

Funny, they make EXACTLY the same rattily noise going up the hose of my heavy-duty shop-vac as all those errant lego bricks my kids (no longer!) leave all over the floor. And the Shop Vac is so loud, you can barely hear them scream.

Happy Valentines’ day!
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
When did PJM turn into a bitchy mommyblog?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I get the frazzlement, but maybe you need to delegate and organize. I put V-cards on the grocery list and got them a couple weeks ago without much hassle. Then I leave it to my kids. I fill out the cards until Kindergarten, but as of first grade a kid should be able to do their own cards. My daughter was excited to fill them out, then we put them in an envelope in her bag. They are her responsibility. I sent her a bag of hershey kisses that she can throw in with each card (I thought about taping to the cards, but decided against it).

It's a fun day with a theme color. It's an excuse to have pizza in the class. And those cheap little cards are tradition. I fill them out even for my younger daughter that doesn't have an official card exchange. And I'm actually okay with having to give one to everyone because

a) Elementary kids are not old enough to maturely navigate being graceful to those they don't like. If the school didn't insist then I would. When I bring cupcakes to work I don't exclude people I don't like. It's deliberately hurtful and immature. That's often how young kids are and we should be deliberately teaching them to be otherwise.

b) It's not just the bullies that get skipped. Plenty of very nice but shy kids wind up with no valentines, I don't want to be the mom who has to explain to my sensitive six year old why she got no cards because it was left up to the kids who they would and wouldn't give cards to.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I don't want to be the mom who has to explain to my sensitive six year old why she got no cards because it was left up to the kids who they would and wouldn't give cards to."

There is plenty of opportunity for them to be crushed to be the only kid in homeroom who didn't get balloons or flowers when they get to high school.

And in every box of meaningless pre-printed cartoon cards with six designs (and giving one to every one does not make "everyone special", it makes the card trivial), there's always one design that is less cute or funny than the others. Kid who pushed me off the slide got Gargamel. My friends got Smurfette. Ha ha.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
And your point is?

They have plenty of opportunities to be crushed so let's start early? I was a kid once and I know exactly what you're talking about with both elementary and HS. And while high school is hard, the kids tend to take it better because they can usually understand better. And if I'm talking to my 16 year old instead of my 6 year old it's a lot easier to explain the facts of life because of the additional decade of experience and maturity. I think six is a little young to be teaching ALL the facts of the cruel world if you can help it.

Who said it was about making everyone feel special? In fact I would argue the opposite is true. For me it is from the same place as "thank you" notes. It is polite to think of the enjoyment of your classmates and hand out cards to everyone, and the concept of not leaving anyone out is something I actually support in elementary school (I know I'm a total red commie). For my little kids the absolute rule is "we don't hit". Older kids get to know that sometimes force is needed to defend what's right. For my little kids we treat everyone as our friends. Older kids can handle a bit more nuance.

And thinking about going through your cards when you get home is FUN. Why can't it just be because it's FUN? It's a party activity. I had fun with it when I was a kid, and my kids have fun with it now. Even getting a bag full of Gargamel didn't ruin that (though not getting any would have). Sheesh.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
One more reason to homeschool... or (if you can afford it) send the kid to a private school that isn't into the socialist "all or nothing" approach those government brainwashing centers take toward Valentine's Day.

In plain fact, making kids give out cards to everybody (including the class bully, as pointed out here) is a way of enforcing the socialistic twaddle that "everyone is special" by which (as little Dash pointed out in the brilliant Pixar movie The Incredibles) socialists ultimately mean that no one is.

Sharing one's candy with everybody is one thing: the old "I hope you brought enough for everybody" policy is just a way of keeping kids from engaging in too much cliquish tribalism in their classes at school. (No throwing exclusive parties for your pals at school; do it on your own time.) A Valentine's Day card, however, is a statement of love of at least the friendship kind. Demanding that the kids make a statement of love to everyone equally by making them send a card to everyone in the class renders these statements completely meaningless, since the bully they obviously don't love gets the same card their best friends they love a lot get. That kind of "equality" is no virtue at all, and an invitation to tyranny.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
A few years back, we left the district school for a public charter "great books" type of school. The students leave pop culture at the door. Since Valentine's day happens to be our statehood day, the kids celebrate that instead. One year my son's teacher dressed up with her scorpion earrings. My youngest just completed a history section on the western expansion in the U.S. That grade is spending the day "going west" with kids wagons and gear to set up their settlement, do all the usual pioneer activities ( make butter, dance, rope "cows", washboard clothes, pan for gold, hunt with marshmallow shooters), and have a frontier lunch.

I am SO glad I don't have to do the Valentine's party thing anymore. My older kids (boys) hated it back when they were still in the district schools.

I am much happier donating wagons, blankets, and making chili.

As always, with much gratitude for school choice.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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