Last year, Forbes projected that Americans would spend 19.7 billion dollars on their valentines, with the average man spending “$133.61 on gifts ... compared to $62.14 for women.” Cards, candy, and an evening out were the biggest items, of course. That’s an incredible amount of money. Is the day really worth that kind of investment? According to TIME, a survey from Discover found that “of the 75 percent of survey respondents who demurred on receiving a gift, only about a quarter say they meant it, while about half would like their partner to go ahead and buy them something anyway.” For single people, The Huffington Post offers 20 ways to treat yourself on Singles Awareness Day (SAD), February 15.

However we decide to celebrate, most of us try not to stare into the abyss of probable disappointment that we face every February. Although I have the will to love Valentine's Day, it’s the top entry on the list of days I'd be happy to avoid, and the reason is simple: expectation. I hate Valentine's Day with the red-hot passion of an ordinary mother who can't meet anyone's expectations, let alone her own.

I live in a gently fading Rust Belt town and spend my time homeschooling my offspring in a rambling house and puttering around the church where I work with my husband. I am happily married and the mother of six beautiful children. I love my kids and make every effort to make their lives pleasant by feeding and clothing them, listening to the litany of troubles that crowd their small hearts, explaining the great virtue of dental visits, and helping them construct hand-made valentines—a process that involves glitter glue, bits of paper, and sobbing when the final product ...

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