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  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

Finding the Perfect Valentine Mix

By Scott Beller

Daddying blog Editor

With kids in the picture, it's hard for us parents to find time to be just "you and me"

Next month, my wife and I celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. The past 16 years have been focused mostly (and appropriately, I'd say) on the two daughters we've raised together. With our girls getting more independent by the day, it's no secret that I've been thinking more about the future and the shift of dynamics our family will soon take. On occasions like Valentine's Day, specifically, my thoughts turn to finding ways for my wife and I to get back in touch with the couple we used to be.

Of course, it's not easy. There are 100 different reasons to put off planning a regular date night – work schedules (usually hers), kids school and sports schedules, health issues (recently, mostly mine), rare opportunities for family time, cat disaster management and cleanup. But we do need to carve out more room for just the two of us. And not just on special occasions like our anniversary or Valentine's Day.

It's weird though. Because as a work-from-home dad, I feel like things should be easier. I'm always here. Technically, I'm always available. And my wife works from home at least a few days a week. But her daily agenda is much more packed than mine, filled with phone calls, Zoom meetings, and stress. So much stress. We've found syncing up to be even more difficult when working just down the hall from one another. Maybe because working from home means the work pulls at you constantly, which leads to working at all hours.

Hands full, she does it all.

It is exhausting.

With our opportunities for alone time limited, I've decide it's the little moments that have to count more. A hug. A kind word or simple, "how is your day going?" A chore taken off her to-do list. These micro-connections have to carry us until we are able to fully sync up. Even though I know this, I've not been as consistent as I want or she needs me to be.

The bottom line is that I've drifted away from letting Elisabeth know how much she means to me, beyond keeping up my care for our kids and duties around house.

There are many reasons I asked her to marry me. That I wanted to start a family with her. That I care whether she's happy with her life at home and at work. I haven't forgotten those reasons. But it's important that I extract myself from my own daily routine and distractions and find more ways to remind her of them more often. This blog post is but one step in that direction...

Elisabeth, I love you. For your strength and confidence despite everything that's thrown your way every work week. For the sacrifices you continue to make in order to provide what our family needs and then some. For taking care of yourself so you can take care of us. For being the best mom for our daughters while enabling and appreciating my efforts to be an involved dad. For accepting me for who I am. Thank you for the life we've built together, before kids and after.

One of our few recent getaways, New Orleans 2023.

Maybe it feels like too much or corny for me to say this to you every day or even every week, whether directly or on social media. But I think it helps us to center on what's most important. It's why we're here 18 years later. And in case I fail to keep up that standard, in-person, I can express it in other actions and words, including on this small stage of a blog whenever I get a chance.

And because my words often fail me, I have supplemented this post (and the modest Valentine's Day gift I've poorly gift-bagged for you) with an old-school, romantic move. Even though I can show you that I love you through little things in the moments in-between, like cleaning the coffee maker and making a fresh pot, putting away the dishes, or changing out all the HVAC and water filters, I know that saying it is important too. And sometimes, saying "I love you" comes easier (and sounds better) when set to music. So, here's a special Valentine "mix tape" that includes some favorites, including a song or two you may remember from our wedding playlist. Eighteen songs total one for each year since we said, "I do." Happy Valentine's Day:

At our wedding, this was our first dance.

Still dreaming.

On our wedding dinner playlist...and every playlist since.

We've even taken the kids to see them.

From one of the 1st albums we played endlessly when we started dating.

I do.

Another artist she introduced me to when we were dating.

We saw him open at The Birchmere for the Pat McGee Band.


From our friend Justin Roberts, a nice tribute to a

mom's special relationship with her child(ren).

We cut our wedding cake to this - it was delicious.

"It's the little things that make a home..."

No mix is complete in this household without one from...

Yet she keeps me around.

"Everything" is an understatement.

"She's available, it's a miracle..." is something I thought after our 1st date.

We "rented" a Seal album from the W - Union Square concierge

the weekend we got engaged in New York. This song was on it.

From now on...



Call for Entries for the 3rd Annual Daddying Film Festival & Forum (D3F) is LIVE! Check out the D3F website for more details, submission guidelines, and Atticus Award-winning examples from previous years. Students (1st grade through undergrads), Dads/Dad figures, and other indie filmmakers also can head directly to D3F's FilmFreeway page to submit films/videos celebrating the importance of having or being an involved Dad or Dad figure.

Deadline for Submission is March 4th - Daddy on!


Scott Beller is the proud, imperfect dad of two mighty girls, imperfect husband of a rock-star mom, truth teller, former soccer coach and current equipment hauler, part-time driving instructor, photobomber, purveyor of banned books, Editor of the Daddying blog, and Director of Communications for DCG and D3F. He's a seasoned writer and PR agency veteran with more than 30 years of experience helping organizations of all sizes reach audiences and tell their stories. Prior to launching his own creative communications consultancy in 2003, he led PR teams with some of the world’s most respected agencies, including Fleishman-Hillard and The Weber Group. As a consultant, he’s helped launch two other parenting advocacy nonprofits with DCG founder Allan Shedlin. His first book, Beggars or Angels, was a ghostwritten memoir for the nonprofit Devotion to Children's founder Rosemary Tran Lauer. He was formerly known as "Imperfect Dad" and Head Writer for the Raising Nerd blog, which supported parents in inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and creative problem solvers. He earned his BA in Communications from VA Tech.


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