Let’s Schmooze!
Like Me, Pretty Please!
Subscribe to the Tribe!

Enter your e-mail address to get Mishegas of Motherhood in your Inbox:


Love is in the Air; So Are Mold Allergies

Even though Valentine’s Day is named after two Christian martyrs named Valentine—that’s at least one of the theories—a Jewish woman nevertheless worships this romantic holiday. She loves to be loved, and Hallmark makes it official. It doesn’t seem to matter that the price of long stem roses quadruples in mid February. Flowers are symbolic of love and romance, so there. Deep inside, she desires to be treated like the unsuspecting actress on the Zales Diamond Store commercial.

A mom with young children especially likes the element of surprise—not the kind she uncovers in a dirty diaper, but the one she discovers when she gently opens a small velvet box. She also likes attention—not the kind she gets from a toddler’s temper tantrum in a shopping mall, but when her husband notices her new hairdo before he finds the beauty salon receipt. She likes to feel special, so what else is new.

Actually, Saint Valentine’s Day, or Valentine’s Day, has been around a long time. The holiday of hearts originated when courtly love flourished in the High Middle Ages. Centuries later, this cold, winter holiday is hotter than ever. In fact, the Greeting Card Association estimates one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, and this doesn’t include the boxes of cards moms buy for their children’s school parties. Obviously, women are more sentimental because we purchase 85 percent of all valentine cards.

Valentine’s Day is the traditional day for couples to express their feelings of love for each other, even if they fight over the MasterCard bill earlier that same morning. At some point before the alarm clock is re-set, wives and husbands across America are expected to kiss and makeup, which for me usually involves chocolate. I’m easy.

In Jewish tradition, a special day for sweethearts falls on the fifteenth day of the month of Av, which is usually late August. This festival of love is called Tu B’Av. In ancient times, girls in white dresses danced in the vineyards, where the boys awaited them. In modern Israeli culture, Tu B’Av is a popular day to pronounce love, propose marriage, and give tokens of affections like cards or flowers.

But who wants to wait until the summer to officially declare their devotion? Jewish wisdom tells us to take advantage of any opportunity to celebrate our relationships, whether it’s with our significant other, children, or family. When it comes to marriage, the sages remind us that no love is perfect, and this important lifelong lesson is loud and clear from the time the groom shatters a glass underneath his foot. From the wedding day forward, Judaism emphasizes that our struggles and efforts to make our relationships better and stronger are what counts.

So, with that in mind, here’s a few simple and inexpensive ways for wives to make their husbands feel special on Valentine’s Day:
1. For a toasty treat, surprise your spouse and throw his socks in the dryer before he gets dressed. (Note: Your husband should not be wearing those socks at the time the pair is tumbling in the Maytag).
2. Buy him your favorite chocolate, and hope he’ll share.
3. Make dinner reservations so that he won’t have to.
4. Slip a note in his briefcase that says something affectionate like, “Be home early.”
5. Let him be in charge of the remote control for one night.
6. Finally, don’t criticize him for 24 hours. I know, that’s a tough one, but it’s only for a day.

“Mishegas of Motherhood” is the creation of Ellie S. Grossman, a St. Louis freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom who never stays home. Her stories are inspired by the real life of her family, including her two children, toy poodle named Luci, and her husband, but not necessarily in that order. Feel free to send any comments, prayers or recipes to ellie@mishegasofmotherhood.com.