Posts Categorized: Julie Cole

This Mama of Many is Getting Ready for Back-to-School

The time has finally come. I can hardly believe it. This September, all six of my children will be in school.

Many years ago, I said I was going to host a champagne breakfast on the day that my last child goes to school. It shocks me that my champagne breakfast is in the very near future.

So this is the lay of the land. My little guy starts JK, and the others are going into grades 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8. Six kids in elementary school.

Getting them ready for this season is always a bit of fun. And by fun, I mean not fun. At all.

But, being organized is a must in my busy house. Here’s what we do to get ready.

On the last day of school in June, we salvage what school supplies can be used again the following year. The pencil crayons get sharpened and other items get inspected and cleaned up. I also avoid the back to school shopping when everyone else is doing it. It’s not an August activity for me. Buying off season means you’re more likely to get the items you need without being met with “Sold Out” signs.

For obvious reasons, my kids are extremely well trained at labeling their school gear and also knowing how to hunt things down when they go missing. They pride themselves on never having lost anything to the lost and found closet for more than a few hours. And as this back to school season is upon us, I now have my last little person to train in the labeling department. Six kids means a lot of gear and a lot of expense, so my Mabel’s Labels are my cheap insurance policy.

How trained are your kids about labeling? What have been your lost and found experiences? Share a lost and found story or simply let us know you’d love to get some labels in the comments and you’ll have a shot at winning an Ultimate Back-To-School Combo.

 

***Giveaway is now closed. Thanks for sharing all your stories! Congratulations Meghan!***

A Whale of a Tale

What Happens When Someone is More Worried About Your Kid Than You Are.

Last week while on holidays, my family went on a whale-watching tour. The boat looked very much like a pirate ship, so the kids were fairly impressed. About half way into the adventure, a visibly stressed out older woman went over to my four-year old, took him by the hand and brought him over to where I was sitting with Daddy-o and a friend. She explained that she was worried sick about him going overboard.

At first I didn’t really know what to do with that information. I knew he was not going overboard and there were three adults keeping a very close eye on him. I think in situations like this, the kneejerk reaction is to say, “Why don’t you worry about looking for whales and I’ll worry about my kid.”

Those words didn’t come out of my mouth because I didn’t feel angry or judged. She was genuinely worried, albeit unnecessarily. I wanted her to enjoy the day, so from there on in one of us adults closely followed my fully capable kid around so that she could relax. It’s probably been years since she cared for a small child, and we quickly forget what they do at different stages.

I could relate to how she was feeling. Sometimes other people’s children stress me out.  If I’m at the park and there’s a child running around with a lollipop, I go out of my mind. I completely obsess to the point of ignoring my own children. I’m paralyzed with fear that the child will fall and have the lollipop lodged down their little throat.

My solution?  I either have to leave the park completely, or I explain to the mother that I’m a total crackpot and beg her to humour me and take the lolly away.

While I want to enjoy my time at the park, so did this woman on the ship. It’s easy for parents to get defensive, but I found that by respecting her concerns, we had a day of smooth sailing on the high seas.

Have you ever had anyone show unnecessary concern over your child? How did you respond?

Forgiveness – A Work in Progress

Mabel's Labels Blog

Hanging on a wall in our home is a list of basic principles that our family tries to live by. It’s a visual reminder of how we should treat each other. One of those principles is “Be quick to forgive”, and every now and again, the universe reminds me of just how important that is, too.

When I was in my first year of university, I upset one of my friends. I was mortified and apologized for my action. She forgave me, it seemed, and we moved on. But over the next couple of years, every once in a while she would remind me of that mistake. I got to the point where I just didn’t want to hear about it again and again. I sat her down and said that if she mentioned it one more time, I would have to end our friendship. She was shocked to learn how painful it was for me to be reminded of it, and completely understood. We remain extremely close today and it has never been mentioned since. In fact, so much time has passed I can’t even remember what I did in the first place.

This brings me to an incident that occurred this week. I made a mistake with one of my kids that left him in a potentially dangerous situation. I was horrified, upset and my confidence was completely shaken. I couldn’t sleep for days.

What was remarkable about the situation was that even though I made an outrageous mistake with one of the kids, Daddy-o supported me completely and kept telling me what an amazing mom I am. I found this remarkable because I know what I would have done if it had been him that made the same mistake. I would have been unforgiving. I probably would have told him that he can’t be trusted. I would have made him feel like a complete failure.  But he didn’t do any of that to me.

So it has been a week of big reminders and even bigger lessons for this mama. The most important lesson being that I’m going to pay closer attention to the family principle of being quick to forgive.

Are there double standards of forgiveness in your house?  Are you forgiving with your partner?

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