A Working Mom’s Guide To A Recession — Friendly Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. You’re not sure how you feel about it falling on a weekday. Add the state of the economy, and you’re almost certain it won’t be as glamorous as it once was. You remember being giddy with excitement and anticipation, waiting for the gifts, the surprise getaways, the mysterious dinner dates with him staring soulfully into your eyes and you blushing with all your might. Roses. Chocolate. Wine. There was that year when you were still dating when he flew into town that very night just to take you dancing at your favorite club. Ah.

Tomorrow though, you can reasonably predict how the day will go. You will drop the kids off at school and then drive to work. He will listen to the radio on the entire journey. The radio talking heads will probably have valentine-themed programmes and you both will roll your eyes and snicker at their romantic, idealistic suggestions on how to celebrate. “In this recession?”


At work, the topic comes up at lunch time. You’re at the table with Phillipa, the NYSC intern and Lola, the accountant from 5th floor.

Phillipa has community development in the morning, and then afterwards her boyfriend is coming to take her out. He hasn’t revealed his plans except to tell her to dress comfortably and wear sunglasses.

“But I heard him asking someone about boat cruises, so I think he’s planning a getaway to Ilashe or Tarkwa Bay.” She’s grinning widely and you feel the slightest pang of envy.

Lola laughs. “If I were you, I’d get a manicure done too, just in case.”

“Ah, I’m always ready!”

“Manicure for what?” You ask.

“Ah ahn. In case he proposes and she has to put up a picture on Instagram now.”

You shake your head at how ancient you feel. “Is that how they do it these days?”

Lola has a look of mock horror on her face. “Haba, you’ve only been married seven years. Even me that I’ve been married for 13 years, I know these things. See why you should read more Bellanaija?”

“So what are your own plans for Valentine?” You ask.

“Well, the nanny suddenly packed and went back to her village. My sister that usually watches the kids has exams in school so it’s going to be all six of us at home tomorrow. With this recession sef, I don’t think we can afford to go anywhere. So we’ll celebrate it at home.”

“Ehn, how are you going to celebrate it at home?”

“First of all, I’m clearing my desk today to make sure I can close on time tomorrow. I’ve asked Chukwudi to do the same. We’ll do a short movie night with the kids, have a karaoke tournament and then they’re off to bed. That leaves Chukwudi and I with 1 or 2 hours to ourselves. Scented candles. Music. Chinese food. It’s not fancy like that but it’s something.”

Phillipa looks impressed. “I thought being married might be boring but that actually sounds like fun.”


Plan ahead. Even if a surprise is involved, there is an amount of planning that is feasible.

Sort the kids. If they’re older and you don’t have a nanny, they can go for a sleepover, perhaps to a friend’s or relative’s. If all else fails, arrange for an earlier bedtime.

Clear Your Desk Early. #nuffsaid

Enjoy the day.

No matter what happens (or doesn’t happen), there’s a young human (or two, or three, or six) who thinks you’re the best thing in the world and loves you beyond measure