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A Mother's Valentine's Day

Things change after having a baby!

A Mother's Valentine's Day

Now this may come as a big surprise to you, but it seems the concept of Valentine's Day just isn't quite the same once you have children. Oh, at first it's hard to notice since it doesn't happen all at once. It degrades each year until, before you know it, Valentine's Day evolves from love notes, flowers, and a possible romantic tryst into the tedious task of coercing your child into writing a name legibly on over two dozen tiny cards for his classmates.

Now before you start yelling I'll have you know that, my life being what it is, I still look forward to Valentines Day despite having to threaten my children. But, I can't help noticing that it's lost a certain amount of pizzazz over the years.

Before children: Going out to dinner meant a romantic candle-lit dinner for two, at an upscale restaurant with a view of the ocean.

After children: Going out to dinner means a fast meal for four served on a tray under a heat lamp with a view of the drive through.

Before children: Dressing up meant wearing a brand new evening gown with sequins and a low cut back.

After children: Dressing up means wearing my only pre-maternity dress that zips all the way up without the use of body lotion and power tools.

Before Children: The aroma of expensive perfume wafted seductively through the air.

After Children: The aroma of talcum powder and anti-bacterial soap permeates the air.

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Before Children: I'd give my true love a sentimental Valentine's Day card with a personalized message inside.

After Children: I go to the grocery store and buy four boxes of identical cards with Disney characters on the front.

Before Children: My husband and I would spend the evening holding hands, gazing into each other's eyes, or dancing until dawn.

After Children: My husband and I spend the evening scanning the home shopping channel for good late night sales while eating a bag of microwave popcorn, then dozing off on the sofa.

Before Children: A thong was something I wore to bed on romantic evenings.

After Children: A thong is something I wear on my feet when I go to the beach.

Before Children: In the evening we'd lay on the rug and hold hands in front of a roaring fire.

After Children: In the evening I collapse on the floor somewhere between the chair and the ottoman because I'm too exhausted from chasing after children and picking up toys to hoist my body into an upright position.

READ MORE: 4 ways to keep the romance alive

Before Children: "Sweet nothings" were whispered gently in my ear.

After children: Requests for cups of water are screamed down the stairs.

Before Children: I'd wear fancy negligees made out of silk.

After Children: I wear pink flannel pajamas decorated with little penguins wearing jaunty scarves and matching sweater sets, accented with a pair of matted cat slippers.

Before Children: We were as romantic as Romeo and Juliet.

After Children: We are as romantic as a pair of hibernating stump slugs.

Before Children: I'd worship my husband.

After Children: I worship a reliable baby sitter.

Before Children: I'd receive a dozen roses or expensive jewelry.

After Children: I receive stale candy hearts and homemade macaroni necklaces.

Before Children: I spent Valentine's Day with the person I loved the most.

After Children: I spend Valentine's Day with the people I love the most.

Debbie Farmer is a syndicated columnist and mother of two. Her book "Life in the Fast Food Lane" is  published by Deep South Publishing.