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This Valentine’s Day – What do Moms Really Want?

If you’ve ever heard of the “five love languages” you probably have Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller “The 5 Love Languages” to thank. The premise is built around a simple truth, which is that relationships improve when we understand each other better. The book suggests that everyone feels and shows evidence of their love differently. By understanding your own love language and your partner’s love language, you’re better able to receive and show love in more meaningful ways, ultimately strengthening your connection and bond. 


  1. Words of Affirmation: Using written or spoken words to affirm others
  2. Acts of Service: Doing something a person finds helpful or meaningful
  3. Quality Time: Devoting your time to someone you care for
  4. Physical Touch: Connecting deeply through touch
  5. Giving/Receiving Gifts: Exchanging special presents to cherish

 These love languages can be applied to every relationship in one’s life, from dating and marriage, to relationships with children, friends or even coworkers. So, this Valentine’s Day, we at Zulily were curious to understand how these love languages may have changed for moms during the pandemic.  

We issued a nationwide survey to moms to better understand how expressions of love have changed following a year when many couples have spent more time together than perhaps ever before. We learned that how we view and define those love languages has changed. Our research also illuminated five additional love languages that have emerged amid the pandemic. Now, unique gestures or activities that may seem mundane have taken on a whole new meaning.

anted to share what we discovered because it may help when it comes to how you prepare and shop for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day. (Spoiler alert: the gift of “me time” still reigns supreme, with the luxury of an at-home spa day, bath bomb and vitamin C serum being preferred over a romantic dinner, roses and chocolates.) How you express your love to those around you might include simple things like cooking meals, baking or sharing funny TikTok videos.

Ultimately, what we learned is that finding joy in the moment is something worth celebrating this Valentine’s Day, whether with our significant other, our friends, relatives or even our colleagues. We hope you find some inspiration and a reason to celebrate in Zulily’s “Guide to Love’s New Normal.”   


When it comes to the 37% of moms we surveyed who say receiving gifts is now their preferred love language, “me time” is the resounding gift of choice. In fact, 52% of moms are more likely to ask for “me time” for a holiday or birthday during COVID-19. After being “on” 24/7, moms everywhere want a respite to recharge their batteries – so much so that 59% of moms feel “me time” makes their relationship stronger. It’s clear moms need a reboot and are looking to their partners for the gift of self-care and down time to reenergize.  

 Moms say:

  • 57% of moms we surveyed say they have proactively scheduled “me time” in their calendar or phone to make sure they take it. 
  • 57% say they have spent “too much” time with their partner in the last year, making it no surprise that the gift of “me time” tops wish lists in 2021.
  • Moms say they would make some serious trades for more “me time,” with 33% of moms saying they would give up their cell phone for a month and nearly the same number (32%) saying they’d give up ALL their PTO for a weekend to themselves, followed by giving up Netflix for a month and their gym membership.  
  • Asked what would help them take more time for themselves, moms answered: more help at home, more time in a day, someone to plan it for them or someone to force them to do it.
  • Taking a relaxing bath or enjoying a skincare routine topped many mom’s wish-lists. 
  • 20% of moms revealed that seven to nine hours could hit the sweet spot for spending enough quality time alone each week.


As a result of the pandemic, 46% of moms we surveyed define Quality Time as their love language. While moms want more quality time with their partner, the definition of that quality time looks a little different. The pandemic has forced couples to be with each other 24/7. At first, the novelty of quarantine may have been fun, but now that we’re almost a year into the pandemic, that time together may have become stale or even strained.  Seventy percent of moms say they crave more true quality time with their partner in light of COVID-19’s impact on their relationship. 

Moms say:

  • 92% of the moms we surveyed say “quality time” includes being in the same room but doing separate activities. 
  • 74% agree that it’s just as important to spend time apart as it is to spend time together in a relationship. 
  • 72% of moms are comfortable being in the same room as their significant other yet not speaking to one another. 


Thirty-five percent of moms we surveyed say their love language has changed since the start of the pandemic, with 30% stating their love language is now “words of affirmation.” And, when it comes to those words, moms know exactly what they want to hear this Valentine’s Day. After months of embracing athleisure, acting as chef, teacher, coach, artist and more, moms are yearning to hear phrases like, “you are beautiful” and “I respect you.” 

 If you’re wondering which phrases moms (and others) hope to hear if their love language is “words of affirmation,” these reaffirming statements below reign supreme and are especially appreciated during this “new normal”:

  1. “You are beautiful.”
  2. “I respect you.”
  3.  “I am proud of you.”
  4. “Thank you for everything you do.”
  5. “Your passion inspires me.”
  6. “You do you.” 
  7. “You challenge me to be better.”

 It’s also no surprise that nearly every holiday in 2020 has been different from years past, but Valentine’s Day presents a special challenge and opportunity. Eighty-two percent of moms we surveyed say they want to hear affirmations related to respect and pride, whether by meme, TikTok or quotable t-shirt. You can celebrate sisterhood and show your support this Valentine’s Day with a gift that says, “You got this.” Share a  sign of encouragement or give a cute coffee mug or wine glass with an inspiring quote.


Thirty-seven percent of moms we surveyed say “acts of service” is their love language, but grand gestures can go by the wayside these days, thanks to quarantine. We’re all mostly indoors in tight quarters, and chores and piles of laundry have built up – not to mention everyone is operating under new school schedules that often seem to conflict with one another. What moms are really appreciating currently is a little help managing household chores and the parenting responsibilities that have come along with the pandemic, with 45% of moms saying that having partners “do household chores” is a new love language they discovered this year.


Life in lockdown has reshaped our relationships. Does it feel like even though we are physically closer, we may be emotionally farther apart? Moms we surveyed say yes, with 43% saying they crave more physical touch now compared to before the pandemic, so scoot closer and cuddle up while you binge the latest Netflix series after the kids go to bed. 

 Moms say:

  • Hugging and handholding (56%) are tied for the most common types of touches moms crave more now compared to before the pandemic.
    • 51% say they crave snuggling more now than compared to before the pandemic.
    • 42% say they crave massages more now to help them feel more relaxed.
    • 32% say they crave sexual intimacy more now compared to before the pandemic.
  • 35% of moms say having less physical touch with others outside the household has impacted their relationship with their significant other/partner by making them more emotionally connected.
    • 21% say it’s made them focus on more serious issues (health, etc.)
    • 20% say it’s made them embrace the “quarantine bod” together.
    • 11% say it’s given them more opportunities to do other things together.


As a result of the ongoing pandemic, moms want to feel the love in new ways. Here are several new love languages Zulily discovered:















  • Laughs Through Likes: Couples find humor in the day-to-day of quarantine by sharing memes (27%) and sending TikTok videos (26%). Share a laugh and send a smile to break up the at-home workday – you may even hear some giggles coming from the home office!
  • Heroic Homemaking: Since we’ve all been stuck at home, nothing makes mom feel more loved than when someone else steps in and tackles some household chores, lightening her load. So, it’s no surprise that moms say making the bed (19%), organizing the closet (16%), and stocking the fridge (11%) are new love languages she’s discovered. Place that online grocery order, fire up your inner Marie Kondo, and sharpen those cooking knives to offer up a little extra help around the house this Valentine’s Day.
  • Gamifying Togetherness: Life doesn’t have to be so serious when in lockdown. Couples entertain themselves at home together and keep the sparks alive by playing video games (28%), watching sports (26%), playing board games (26%) and enjoying trivia (16%).
  • Meal Prep Magic: There’s no better way to say “I love you” than by cooking a meal (or two… or three), according to the 36% of moms who say cooking meals together is a new love language they discovered. Don’t just save your culinary skills for dinnertime – now that most every meal is home-made, sprinkle a little love on every plate, three times a day. 
  • Sweatpant Sweethearts: Though the pandemic has been stressful and oftentimes makes us stir crazy, couples have embraced a more relaxed vibe at home. Dressing down and lounging around is a new custom that couples will cherish throughout the pandemic and beyond. In fact, 41% of moms said “lounging around and doing our own thing in the same room” has made them feel loved, and 25% of couples said they get creative given lockdown parameters to enjoy date nights at home.

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