ONE FROM THE ARCHIVES: As it's Valentine's today, I'm re-posting a piece I wrote for a US parenting site a couple of years ago...
It's almost Valentine's Day and love is swelling in the bitter February air, building to the romantic apogee that is the 14th. But why limit tender gestures to one day a year? Being romantic and being in love is wonderful isn't it, so don't let the overdone window display at Clinton's dictate when you should be reaching for the heart-shaped greetings cards.
I like to think I'm bit of a romantic, but a mortgage, school fees and buying a never ending supply of Calpol means I can't afford grand and expensive romantic gestures like whisking Georgia away for fanciful city breaks anymore. But, there are simpler and subtler ways to her heart. Some of them might seem rather trite to some, but once kids come along, finding the time and the money to be romantic can be tough. I've been discussing with US mums site Motherly, just how I try and keep up a little romance in our lives when life is dictated by children.
Let’s face it, the moment our darling dictators enter the world, life as we once knew it is over. Gone are wild nights and lazy mornings, instead we're confronted with a round-the-clock tsunami of toys, tantrums and tears. But, while we waved a sorry goodbye to those hedonistic luxuries a long time ago there’s one relief from a world of snotty noses and grazed knees that we shouldn’t dismiss, and that’s romance.
Sure, finding the time to be romantic when we’re wrestling with sleep deprivation and (literally) wrestling a toddler is tough. And thanks to weekends spent going from birthday party to birthday party or tackling a mountain of laundry, romance is often the last thing on our minds. That said, it is important to try and find just a little bit of time each day, even for the smallest of gestures to ensure that whilst the mountain of ironing might kill us, absent affection won’t.
Before children, we would skip around New York, Paris, London or Wolverhampton, arm in arm, carefree and young. These days, to get our romantic kicks we order a takeaway and curl up on the sofa with a decent boxset. And while that might seem banal to some, to us it still signals romance. Life has changed and so have our expectations; while we’re still very much in love, romantic gestures don't need to be so grand or expensive. Once the children are in bed Sofa-Ville is now the location of our romantic city breaks, and although it isn't quite akin to the air mile-crunching jaunts of before, the important thing is that we’re together. Frankly as long as I'm with my wife Georgia, I'm happy anywhere.
When we’re not knotted together on the sofa, semi-comatosed from thick pizza dough, there are a few other ways to woo Georgia and ensure my enduring love is still blatant. Small love notes find their way into her handbag for her morning commute, a simple yet unexpected bunch of flowers will always brighten her day, I’ll never leave for work without kissing her, I’ll run her a hot bath, I’ll cook (and I hate cooking) or I might give her a foot massage (and I really hate feet). If she’s extra lucky, I’ll check her Instagram and make sure I’ve ‘liked’ all her recent posts, even the rubbish ones – I know, what a Casanova!
Who said romance was dead? In my (very tired) eyes, it certainly doesn’t have to be.