Here in Norway there wasn’t really a big focus on celebrating Valentines, but the media & commercial actors’ focus on 14 February has exploded recent years. Does this mean people’s habits are changing as well?
Chatting with some of my friends earlier today, it became quite clear that we may definitely be aware of the date, but few (amongst us) actually make a big deal out of it, even when it team up with Mother’s Day. I wonder if the buzz in media actually creates false impressions, causing us to be less content and with higher expectations to what we’re entitled to “get”, than we would otherwise be?
My recent hectic trips were followed by a week at home with nights spent between two coughing kiddos taking turns in waking each other through the night, and including a strategy launch, 3 board meetings/presentations, plus plenty of things to catch up on after being off to various destinations. We try and keep weekends quiet and unplanned, to avoid stress.
Here at home, my partner has been down with a heavy flu since Monday, so obviously there wasn’t going to be a lot of fuzz. Not to mention the parental life with kids age 1,5 and 3 being more about (the relationship’s) survival, juggling fulltime++ jobs, frequent periods with travels and/or lack of sleep & trying to get enough quiet, stress-free time with the kids, than Hollywood style romance. Prioritizing each other during a period where time is a scarce commodity (and where you’re not exactly experiencing the most energized or sexy versions of each other) is a superb ambition – but unfortunately too often becomes no more than that in real life…
To be honest, I had forgot about February 14 until I picked up the kids from kindergarden on Friday, and was greeted by a very proud 3 year old, who had made some cute gifts for us both (equal parenting FTW). Walking back home we talked about different occasions & celebrations, and of this Sunday being a day for appreciating the people we love.
Knut was still talking about this yesterday morning. So while the youngest monkey had his nap, he and I went for a tram ride and icecream hunt, also picking up some treats for dad, adding strawberries and 2 pieces of chocolate cake from the deli to share after breakfast. Valentines for 4… ❤️❤️❤️❤️
After 2 weeks of extensive travelling (no wonder Espen went down as a wreck, having served as single parent in the middle of his most hectic work season), I actually reckoned the dad was the one deserving to be pampered this year. I am not very good at showing how much I appreciate his dedication and efforts at home, doing more than his share of our mutual responsibilites, – the little things which makes a world of difference for me as a work traveller. Knowing that the kids have a dad who’s 100% competent and dedicated, and who takes pride in being no less of a parent than I am (or actually, even better), also makes it much easier to chose a demanding job as well as heading off for work trips abroad.
Working towards and talking with women from many different regions and cultures, I am very well aware of how lucky I am. There’s not much room for complaining in a life where you can combine the best of two worlds, having a family and still pursue a meaningful, exciting professional career. Based on governmental framework and cultural practice, as well as the individual partner you chose, this cm be a huge challenge for many.
Having a family who’s healthy & safe, and all basic needs covered, is not something that we shold take for granted. Having a partner who’s dedication and hard work at home enables you to have your cake and eat it too in terms of work/family, shouldn’t either. I appreciate this every day.
To me, this is so much more important than superficial items and gestures timed to a specific date in the calendar.
A big hand-out to my wingman and the other modern heroes of our time, the men who’s understood the value of being in a balanced relationship, and who demonstrates their chivalry every day – not through big cliché gestures, but through taking their part at home, claiming their parental role and rights, leaning in, enabling a positive development. Role models who we need to drive change!
Thank you Espen, for being a fantastic father and backbone in our family, and for always challenging me, reminding me of what is most important after all!