But where does that leave you if you don’t have anything to give in the first place?  This Valentine’s Day, I invite you to give to yourself first.  

As busy parents, we are on Pinterest trying to create the perfect gift or Valentine for our children or are otherwise riddled with guilt that we “bought” them from a store. If someone followed you all day long and wrote down everything you did today for your family and friends, what would be on your list? I bet it would be pretty amazing and pretty long.

I want you to start with writing your own Valentine first this year. Take ten minutes and write yourself a thank you note. Thank yourself for the lunches packed, for the clean clothes on your children, for making sure their bodies are cared for both inside and out.

You may find it challenging in the beginning. You may find that the first few minutes are uncomfortable and awkward. That’s ok. Keep going.  Start off with the most basic compliment. Once you get going, let it flow. You deserve to be thanked because you are awesome. Put that incessant broken record in your mind of the LEGO movie’s song, “Everything is awesome” to work. It’s not just that everything is awesome but YOU are awesome. You are raising other human beings and teaching them how to give of themselves authentically to this world. That makes you, as a parent, a pretty amazing being.  

But what would happen if you did this every day? How would that feel? How do you think you might change? Give it a try. Before you go to bed at night, thank yourself first. Thank you and your body for getting everything done today, for being everywhere you were supposed to be. It’s even better if you didn’t make it to everything. Thank your body for giving you a different experience or teaching you a lesson that will better prepare you for your future. Say thank you for the chance to have had one more day to make a difference. You’re just laying there anyway, so let’s turn this time into your grand finale of the day. Give yourself the credit and gratitude you deserve and begin filling your own heart with love. If you can’t be your own favorite Valentine first, how much love will you really be giving away?
Erin lost her own mother in 2008 and used all of the activities and inspirations found in Angel Birthdays to help her daughters process their grief. It was so helpful that Erin felt compelled to turn their life experience into fiction so others could... Read More