Valentine’s day is officially a week away. So naturally, Pinterest and my Facebook feed has been flooded with ideas on heart-shaped treats frosted in shades of pink and red.

I’m normally a fan of making healthy food fun for kids. And I’ve been trying to think about what I want to make. Will it be heart-shaped fruit? Cranberry muffins shaped like a hearts? Or maybe some Valentine’s version of strawberry French toast?

But then I noticed myself getting a little stressed and a little annoyed by it. I don’t mean to sound like a Scrooge. I like baking and playing around in the kitchen when I want and when I have the time. Just not when a “holiday” and social media tell me I’m supposed to be doing it.

The reality is, it’s just not a good week for me. I have deadlines looming and a mile-long to-do list. I know that if I take on one more project, I’ll end up being grumpy and snippy with my kids. Not the kind of mom I want to be.

And then I had this realization:

Valentines day should be about giving my family and myself an extra dose of love. Not about stressing myself out by making cookies, cupcakes and whatever pink-frosted-heart-shaped-thing I see on Pinterest. Giving my kids attention, hugging them, and really listening to them. That’s what really matters. {And lord knows, this polar vortex hasn’t been kind to my waistline — baked goods in the house are the last thing I need right now.}

choosing love over cupcakes

I started to do the math (sort of). I can either spend an hour+ shopping for ingredients and making something heart-shaped. Or I can spend the same amount of time doing something my kids choose — and giving them my full-undivided (ungrumpy) attention while we do it.

The choice seems clear.

Maybe my kids will choose to bake muffins or cupcakes. And if so, I know I will now be able to approach it as a way to spend quality time together, rather than as one more to-do.

So this valentines day, I’m choosing love — heart-bursting, pure love — over cupcakes. And I feel darn good about my choice.

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