Social Pressure

Valentine’s day is just three days away and the social pressure builds up in my daughters’ mind like a broken record asking why there’s no sweetheart, secret friend or letter waiting inside the red and pink decorated school box?

Year after year the dreadful day comes, no matter how much I tried to divert the attention at home, everywhere you go is about red/pink articles and overpriced chocolates.

The best time for fundraising is in February, the student clubs and the PTO manage to arrange fabulous sales: carnations, chocolates, songs, cards, and whatever sale to the “secret crush”, the “soon to be sweetheart”, the “special friend” because everyone loves valentine’s day.

Are you sure? Are you positively sure that everyone loves the social pressure to have a sweetheart by a certain date? To measure yourself by the number of flowers, letters, cards, chocolate, balloons, plush toys, and gifts you receive?

Are you absolutely sure? Of course, I’ve never received a direct answer other than “well, they have to improve their social skills, the more friends the merrier it is.”

My two kids stopped liking Valentine’s day many years ago, elementary was fun they still ache for the handmade cards to each of the classmates highlighting a positive quality about them, “I like that you ___, have a fun Valentine’s day” We recall the long hours actually thinking about why they had fun with such classmates: because they made snarky comments, their goofy hair, a glitter headband, the ultra super cool shoes, a backpack with googly eyes… it was about liking each other and complimenting without any infatuation, just a positive thought.

But years passed and elementary years are long gone, everything is now about the sweetheart, the crush, the asking out, the pressure to attend or not a valentine’s dance without a date.

“It’s just a dance,” I said “You can go with your friends and have fun, and free food” –I honestly thought that throwing in the free pizza they would actually say yes, because who doesn’t love free food right?

But no, no such luck.

Such social pressure to succeed according to specific standards messes up the confidence and self-esteem as much as the criticism on how you look, weight or talk. Valentine’s day is nothing more than a romanticized tradition of what love should look like but is far from it.

Anyway, I’ll have to keep studying and preparing for a long week of rolling eyes and complaints on school dances, mandatory red shirts, and sugar that comes with school bake sales.



Published by Gaby Rendon

My background is in national security and intelligence studies, lots of solving-problem and analytics. When I tried to return to work, all the logical plans failed, and while researching job opportunities I discovered a community of stay-at-home-moms struggling with the same problems as me. For over a year, I've mentored several young women professionals and entrepreneurs. I coach moms who want to become mompreneurs.

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