This blog originally appeared on AtlantaWomanMag.com.
t's been circled for weeks on my calendar in bright red pen - Valentine's Day is nearly upon us. What to do? Where to go? What to wear? Who will babysit? As a working mom, it's nice to have an official, designated day to go out and have some fun with my husband. Otherwise, date nights seem to take a backseat to everything else going on in family life.
I think it's a wonderful opportunity to tell the friends and family in your life how much you love and appreciate them. And now that my daughter is getting older, I'm going to enjoy the day even more as we make cards, bake cookies and eat way too much sugar!
Some families find it a great day to spend time together. A friend on Mamasource.com tells me she and her family often go to the movies - family-friendly of course - and enjoy the nearly empty theater and the relaxed feeling of not having to rush around for a babysitter and reservations.
A few friends have shared their favorite Valentine's Day ideas and experiences:
* A complimentary couples dance lesson at Fred Astaire Dance Studios
* The Westin Peachtree Plaza, and Dante's Down the Hatch on Peachtree - romantic, with great fondue
* A family-friendly trip to The Waffle House somewhere in town that offers tablecloth/jukebox style dining on Valentine's Day . Come to find out, a Waffle House in Johns Creek did just this last year: http://www.ajc.com/news/content/metro/stories/2008/02/13/buzz0213.html?cxntlid=inform_sr
* Staying in to cook dinner and watch a movie were mentioned by a few friends. A soon-to-be married couple I know takes this idea one step further. The guy cooks for the girl - he does the shopping, comes up with a menu totally new to both of them, cooks, and prepares the dining room. She doesn't see a thing until it's time to sit down and eat. They've been celebrating this way for years, and think it really cuts down on the stress associated with trying to get a reservation at a pricey restaurant.
* One of the sweetest treats was related to me by one of my daughter's preschool teachers: "One of the nicest things my husband ever did for me on Valentine's Day was to sneak into my classroom the night before and decorate it with balloons, streamers and hearts. I loved it, and the kids enjoyed it too. I'm pretty sure he followed up with a bouquet of my favorite yellow roses."
Need help finding a babysitter on the big day? Several readers have shared a few suggestions:
Ms. Lala's Treehouse in Marietta is offering drop-in childcare with special Valentine's Day activities from 3 to 10 pm.
Kids' Stay 'n Play (Roswell, Gwinnett and Dunwoody) also offers drop-in childcare.
And many area churches may also offer special nursery care that evening for a small fee.