Galentine's Day - the phrase can feel cringe but here are 5 reasons why it's better than V-Day (and the best excuse to meet with mum friends who just get it)

Galentine's Day is the day you can 'share the experience of being confused, imperfect, messy humans trying our best'.

Group of female friends linked arms and laughing
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Galentine's Day is the perfect time for mums to celebrate and indulge the women in their lives - friendships in motherhood are some of the best after all.

Galentine's Day laughs in the face of celebrating your other half, instead it honours those all-important friends, your 'gal pals' and mum friends. Take this as your sign to get together and talk about everything from matrescence to just how much sex parents are getting, and bonding over how to explain the mental load to your partners. And it's for those mates who get it and have support through everything from postnatal depression to how to get through endless sleepless nights, having time put aside to come together and build each other up is vital.

Helen Hazell-English is a registered BACP counsellor and the founder of Mum Therapy. She knows just how important friendships in motherhood are, telling us "When women struggle alone and privately wrestle with self-criticism, it can lead to a belief that they are failing or abnormal, that everyone else is managing to mother better. This contributes to low self-esteem, anxiety, low mood, and relationship difficulties. Trusted friends are crucial for sharing our experience of being confused, imperfect, messy humans trying our best."

Mum-of-two Hannah met some incredible friends at antenatal class, and they've now been great friends for over a decade. Hannah said "When I walked into the antenatal class, three ladies were sat on the only comfy sofa in the room, chatting animatedly. I headed in their direction, assuming they knew each other. They invited me to sit down, and I joined in the conversation in seconds. They didn't already know one another, they'd all just immediately clicked - we all gelled. All of us got on amazingly that day, and not only did I get a seat on the only sofa in the room, I made three friends for life."

5 reasons to celebrate Galentine's Day

1. Spending time with friends releases endorphins

Endorphins make us feel happy, and act as the body's natural painkiller. Research has shown that those who spent good amounts of time with friends are not only happier, but also had increased pain tolerance - friendships really do help take the pain away. Not only that, but those who had positive friendship groups also live for longer. 

Katerina Johnson, a doctoral student in Oxford University's Departments of Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology who carried out the research, said "As a species, we've evolved to thrive in a rich social environment but in this digital era, deficiencies in our social interactions may be one of the overlooked factors contributing to the declining health of our modern society." Having a Galentine's celebration therefore has many scientific benefits!

2. Your confidence will soar

Most mums have those days where everything feels overwhelming, and the self doubt comes creeping in. When you feel like you've completely lost perspective on something, friends can step in to alleviate self-doubt and insecurity. Helen Hazell-English who runs online counselling for mums through Mum Therapy, said "So much of the work of caring for children goes unseen and is undervalued by our patriarchal capitalist society. It can even be hard to find the vocabulary for our tender expert interactions that are all helping to shape a child’s brain."

She added "Friends can cheerlead each other, witness, and celebrate the mother as a hero in her own story. Friends know us and can help us be true to our own values and acknowledge how far we have come." Having friends who support you and building your self-esteem in this way, builds your confidence and gives that much-needed reassurance when you're feeling unsure. 

3. You can be yourself around your friends

When so much time is given to being what everyone else in your household needs you to be, there's often little time to let go and be yourself. Friendships in motherhood allow you to be yourself, and nourish who you really are. Helen said "Mothers give so much of their energy and headspace to their families that they especially benefit from the enrichment of friendships.

As well as support we all need things like inspiration, connection, play, distraction, interest, fun, personal growth. Outside interests, other perspectives and a change of scene are important in this stage of life. The more wholeheartedly the mother lives her life as a person in her own right, the more it benefits her and her family."

Female friends laughing

(Image credit: Getty Images)

4. Friendships offer a practical support network

Although there are benefits to having online friends and remote access to some friends, this type of contact offers little in the way of practicality. When time is short, a connected web of practical support is vital. Helen shared her opinion on this, suggesting "As well as fun, mothers benefit from practical help. This is especially important if she does not have involved family nearby.

Mothers are supported by reciprocal offers of playdates, babysitting, borrowing equipment, passing on hand-me-downs and information sharing about things like local activities and amenities, career development, and parenting ideas." Part of your Galentine's celebration could be setting that date for you to go out with your partner while a friend babysits, and discussing which fabulous items of clothing you can swap with each other.

5. Friendships model important things for children

If your little ones come along for your Galentine's celebration, you can give them first-hand experience of how positive friendships work. If you go alone, you equally demonstrate the importance of how much spending time alone with friends is important, something they'll understand the benefits of in time. 

Helen said "Our friendships show our children another example of healthy relationships. We teach them that we all need other people. Our friendships show our children that we have needs too and that we prioritise and take responsibility for them. We show that we have other parts of our life outside of them. This contributes to inspiring them as to what is possible in life. It also builds a confident sense in them that we are ok, that they are not responsible for us."

Who invented Galentine's Day?

Galentine's Day was actually founded by the fictional character Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) of the sitcom Parks and Recreation. The season two, episode 16 of the show aired in 2010. Aptly titled Galentine’s Day, the episode witnesses Leslie gathering her besties for brunch to honour their friendship. "Every February 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home and we just come and kick it, breakfast style," Leslie explained. 

Still celebrated on February 13 every year since the episode ran,

How to celebrate Galentine's Day

  • Invite your friends over for food - this could be brunch, lunch, dinner, or just to throw a selection of snacks into the middle of the table and graze. Each person can bring something, alleviating the pressure on one person to source everything - there are no rules with Galentine's, and you can set your own and make your own traditions.
  • Join a friend for coffee while she's running errands - there's no need to spend the earth on a Galentine's celebration, and your friend will love your company while the chores are being ticked off.
  • Go for happy hour cocktails - get out early, and get those two-for-one cocktails or mocktails in. You can honour your besties and still be back for an early night.
  • Have a treatment day - this can be anything from getting a manicure together, to spending the day at a spa complete with massage. Go with whatever those budgets and what you fancy allows. 
  • Have a home spa day - you might not be professionals, but there's going to be some laughter in painting each other's nails. Somebody is bound to have a foot spa laying around too.
  • Send some care packages - your best girls might be dotted all over the place, and getting together not possible. If this is the case, you could send them a care package, or something that will make them smile.
  • FaceTime or Skype - there needn't be any cost involved. You can all sit around in your jammies and have a good old laugh and catch up online, if a physical catch up isn't possible.
BACP counsellor Helen Hazell-English
Helen Hazell-English

Helen provides online counselling for mums and mums to be, and her particular interest is normalising mixed feelings about motherhood. She supports her clients with the intensity of the early years by focussing on their own needs and personal development. 

If you've ever wondered about the Valentine's Day origins, we have the full lowdown for you. Inspiration for what to write in a Valentine's Day card can be hard to come by - try out some of our tips. Equally, it's ok if you don't enjoy Valentine's Day and don't participate, you're certainly not alone.

Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.