With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, men everywhere will soon be searching for that perfect gift that says ‘I love you’ to that special lady in their lives. Florists, restaurants, and chocolatiers are rubbing their hands together in eager anticipation of the mad rush to prove that ‘she matters’.
Retailers already have their shelves stocked full of everything Valentine—from rub-on ‘I love you’ tattoos to overpriced, heart-shaped boxes filled with strange concoctions of orange and crème candies covered in various shades of chocolate. There will be giant stuffed bears, pink striped zebras, and even toothy alligators all holding huge hearts imploring her to be your Valentine and declaring your never-ending love for her. Because, well, nothing quite says ‘I love you’ like a last minute, life-sized, purple gorilla with ‘totally ape for you’ plastered across his Buddah belly that you picked up from a roadside vendor on your way home from the airport.
Not! You might as well just get her a Thigh Master and make yourself comfortable in the ol’ doghouse. I’m kidding! Don’t do that either!
So what does she really want?
Here are a few simple but amazing Valentine’s Day ideas that are guaranteed to have her falling in love with you all over again! And, hey, you can tell her you thought it up all yourself. I won’t tell.
- Something. You know the drill. You ask her what she wants, she gives you a very decisive and decidedly useful, ‘Oh…nothing,’ and you make the mistake of actually believing her. Silly husband! She may think she wants nothing. Maybe she even does…in that fleeting moment of Valentine commercialism defiance. But when the candy-coated day actually arrives, you are a hundred miles away, and all of her friends start posting those cuddly selfies of themselves with their very present nine-to-fivers holding huge bouquets of flowers, purple gorillas, and sub-par chocolates, her defiance quickly fades into lonely oblivion. So guys, remember her. A strategically hidden card before you leave on a trip. An early morning phone call telling her she’s your one and only. It doesn’t have to be diamonds and pearls, but something. Just…not nothing, no matter what she said. It’s lonely here without you. There’s nothing like a ‘love’ holiday and some radio silence to remind her just how lonely it can be.
- Time to herself. If you have children, this is a priceless commodity in her life. Instead of flowers that quickly wilt and die, buy (or better yet make) a card and stuff it with a homemade coupon for ‘me time’ along with a Visa gift card. If you are afraid she will spend it all on the kids and dog (I know you, ladies!), then a combination of gift cards for a spa day, a massage, or her favorite boutique will work great. Your job will be to watch the children while she goes out and gets pampered for an entire day. Pilot wife moms are exhausted, overworked, and often misunderstood by our mommy peers. She desperately needs time to get away from the turmoil of life and recharge those batteries. She will return a better wife and mother than when she left.
- Time with you. The one thing your wife craves more than anything else in the entire world is quality time with you. You are apart more than together and she misses you like crazy. Find a sitter, book a night at a hotel room (those hotel points and flight privileges are going to come in handy), turn off your phone, and take her out somewhere nice for a Valentine’s night on the town, sans kids. For one evening, let her enjoy your uninterrupted company without that sink of dishes and the stack of bills calling her name. She can become so overwhelmed with the never-ending grind of motherhood that she forgets how to be anything else but mom. Give her a chance to dress up, put on some perfume, and remember why she fell in love with you in the first place. She will thank you. In fact, you will probably thank you too.
- A clean house. Just about every pilot wife out there is frustrated by the state of her home. Cleaning a house full of children is one of the most ungratifying and never-ending tasks on the planet. And if she works too…forget about it! By the time she gets to the living room, the kitchen looks like she never touched it. Dishes seem to multiply like rats, and don’t even mention the laundry–and most days she doesn’t have her beloved partner to help her out! She’s drowning. This Valentine’s Day, hire a one-time thorough housecleaning from a local maid service and watch her face light up with glee. If you want to really hit it out of the park, hire a once-per-month service for the whole year. And who knows? She just might find something else constructive to do with all of that extra time she has on her hands.
- Words of affirmation. This is huge. If I had a dollar for every time your wives have expressed this need to me… Well, I probably could hire my own house cleaner. Write her a letter. This sounds so simple, yet I know how difficult it can be for some of you. Take time to purchase beautiful stationary and sit down and open up. Be transparent with your emotions. Tell her how much she means to you, what you love about her, how much you appreciate all that she does. Tell her that she matters. I know you think she already knows, but she doubts herself more often than you begin to realize. Flowers die. Chocolate disappears. But your words of affirmation and love will resonate in her heart for a very long time.
- A chocolate stash. It is no secret that most women love chocolate. What most women don’t like, however, are those overpriced, commodity, crème-filled chocolates that come in heart-shaped Valentine’s boxes. Instead of squandering your money on packaging, buy her something she really loves. For the lofty price of the heart-shaped Valentine’s Day boxes, you can purchase a cute decorative box at any hobby store and stock it full of a variety of her favorite treats. Make a label that says ‘Wife Stash,’ and you have a the perfect gift. She will love it more than any heart-shaped box because she will know you gave it some extra special thought just for her. And on those long trips when the dog pukes on the carpet, the tire goes flat, the dishwasher breaks, and junior gets the plague, she will have a stash of sanity from you!
Look guys, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Your wives love you so much. If you heard the way they praise you and constantly dote on you, your hearts would overflow. She’s working hard to figure this side of the pilot life out and keep your home together while you travel, but she desperately needs to know how much she means to you! Oh, and about that purple gorilla…just don’t!
I love you, aviation family. Have a happy Valentine’s Day.
**footnote–I was going to write an equal opportunity blog about what pilots want for Valentine’s Day, but I asked my husband and he said ‘sex’. I couldn’t quite stretch that into a six-point list, so here’s your spotlight. 😉
A Fellow Pilot Wife