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5 fun Valentine's Day ideas you need to try if you're a single mom
Hate Valentine's Day? Here are a few ways to make it actually pretty enjoyable. - photo by Shannon Symonds
Do you dread Valentine's day? Have you ever spent it watching everyone else at work get flowers while you look forward to eating your Ben and Jerry's for one?

Although you feel alone, you're actually part of 109 million single Americans over 18 in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Single adults make up 45 percent of the U.S. population.

So don't be so hard on yourself this Valentine's Day. Remember that loving yourself isn't only OK -- it's important.

If you can't do it for yourself, do it for your little ones. Your children are watching. And they'll learn to love themselves by watching you.

Here are some fun ways to celebrate Valentine's Day with those little ones that love you unconditionally:

Valentine's Day pancakes

These Betty Crocker pancakes are a great way to surprise kids and start the day. Simply divide pancake batter between two bowls, color one batch red, and use a cookie cutter heart. Use frosting to write personal notes. After all, it's a holiday!

Family mail boxes

Before Valentine's Day, spend an evening decorating old-fashioned Valentine's Day boxes. Encourage the kids to put notes and gifts in each other's boxes.

You can make notes that say things like, "Good for a trip to the pool," or "Good for a bike ride." Try this fun design, or a simple tissue box with wrapping paper works just fine, too.

Valentine's Day scavenger hunt

Use construction paper hearts and set up a scavenger hunt that ends with treats, love notes, a movie or fun games.

Photo scavenger hunts work well for small children. Take a photo of their favorite toy, a chair, their room, etc. and any other fun places in your home. Start the game by handing your child a photo of their favorite toy. Tell them to go find it. When they find it, they should also find with it a photo of the next item or place to find. The hunt will end with something fun that they enjoy.

My Kids Adventure has fun ideas for older children.

Special delivery

If your children attend school or daycare, sneak a special note or treat into their backpack or lunchbox.

Or, if it's allowed, deliver store-bought balloons or treats for each child in their class. Check with the adults in charge, and make sure you bring enough for everyone.

Don't forget to treat yourself

You can be the best date you've ever had. Spoil yourself with your favorite flowers and goodies. Watch your favorite movie, read a book and take a hot bath.

Don't forget to have flowers, candy or even a singing Valentine delivered to yourself at work. You'll keep everyone wondering, and you know you'll like the surprise -- because it's from you!

And if none of this makes you feel much better, watch Studio C's "The Mad Scientist Ruins Valentine's Day," and remember -- we're all alone in this together.