Posts Categorized: Julie Cole

Valentine’s Day Made Simple

Despite the fact that Valentine’s Day can be a bit of a contrived holiday, kids love it! And with six kids in elementary school, it’s generally a very busy holiday in my household. I try to remember that it’s only a Hallmark holiday – there’s no point in letting it cause stress. So, I have a few easy tips to keep Valentine’s Day in perspective:

1)            Keep it simple: What puts me over the edge is when the kids return home from school with gobs of Valentine’s Day stuff. Gone are the days of the simple card. My children now arrive home with bags of lollies, pencils, stickers and even gift bags! I continue to resist the urge to conform. And when I say “urge”, I use that term VERY loosely.

2)            Card delivery system: Having your kid address each Valentine’s Day card to a specific child turns the process into a delivery nightmare. Instead, simply have them sign his or her name, and then every card can go to any friend. And please, if you’re going to send in cards – for goodness sake, send one in for every kid. No one wants to be left out on a special day.

3)            Keep the romance out of it: There is nothing grosser than seeing romance attached to children. I even get twitchy when I hear parents talking about their five-year-old son’s “girlfriend”. Keep the focus on friendship, not romantic love. And when it comes to picking out cards, we go either gender neutral or I have my kiddos pick what they like based on their own interests, and that’s what everyone gets. Yes, that can mean girls get Valentine’s cards with trucks on them.

4)            Don’t forget the food allergy kids: I’m not sure how people get around the whole “don’t send food into school for other kids” thing on this day. It must drive allergy mamas crazy, unsure of what their kids might be ingesting. Even mamas who don’t want their kids overloaded on junk are guaranteed to have kids return home with sugar highs. My personal take – don’t send in food treats. It’s just not necessary.

5)            What should mama do for her kiddos? Again, I follow my standard rule of keeping it simple. I write a little love note and sneak it into their lunchboxes with a special treat. Because my kids don’t get adoring notes from me daily and aren’t bombarded with treats, this makes it special for them.

How big a deal is Valentine’s Day in your house? Do you go all out, or close your eyes hoping the day will pass without much notice?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six. This Valentine’s Day, say “Be Mine” with a personal touch. Give a fun, cute gift of love with personalized heart Sticky Labels! And stay tuned for a special Valentine’s Day sale!

Facebook Betrayal

There seems to be a Facebook group for everyone about everything. I belong to several local mom Facebook groups, a school moms group and a few others based on my interests. For the most part, these groups are a fabulous resource – somewhere to go to get information from like-minded people, share stories and even get support.

Recently, there have been a few incidents in my mama world that have made me think we should all put a little more thought into what our Facebook “relationships” really are. Over the last couple of weeks, in my groups alone, I’ve observed the following somewhat disturbing situations:

1)      A mom posted on a small community group that her kid had something contagious over the holiday season. She wanted to give all the mamas a “heads up” in case their kids showed symptoms. When her kid went back to school after the holidays, some other children ridiculed the child for having the contagious condition. Yep, clearly a mom in the Facebook group told her children the info the other mom had considerately shared. The result was a child being made fun of and a mother feeling like she betrayed the trust of her child.

2)      A woman had a little rant on a community Facebook group about her husband. Someone on the group notified the husband and shared the content of the rant.

3)      A woman was concerned about how her child’s school was handling a situation and looked to the Facebook group for support and ideas. Someone in the group forwarded her post to the school principal.

People use these groups as a resource, thinking they’re sharing with trusted friends who will keep their confidence. Apparently, this is not the case. It seems you are not chatting or venting to girlfriends. It is important to remember that in social media, anything you post can potentially become public. Even in a private group, you can’t be sure who the other members are.

Let this serve as a warning. You may be sharing with trusted friends, along with friends who have poor judgment. You may actually be sharing with nameless, faceless strangers. While I am a big believer in online communities and participate in many, like any relationships, we must go into them with our eyes wide open.

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six. Happy Hockey season – grab your Hockey Label Combo today!

My Great Parenting Mistakes of 2013

As a general rule, I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. The last thing I really need is to put extra pressure on myself.

But with a new year upon us, I know we all look for a fresh start – and often in the “how to be a better parent” department. We want to yell less, be more patient, feed the kids healthier meals, spend less time on our tech gadgets, read to them more… the list goes on and on and on.

That’s why I’ve taken a look back at 2013 and reflected on my biggest parenting fails, to help me decide what I can do to do better next year.

1)      The time I forgot a kid somewhere. Oh, and I mean FORGOT. It was actually so traumatizing for me that I’m even getting a little twitchy as I’m writing this. Sharing details would be impossible. But, out of that I learned a big lesson about forgiveness. Forgiving myself is still a work in progress.

2)      The time I picked up my kid’s birthday cake from the bakery in the middle of the party. You got it – I didn’t bake AND I didn’t remember to get a birthday cake before the party.

3)      The usual every day fails: delinquent tooth fairy, lazy Elf on the Shelf, the time they had sandwiches for dinner three nights in a row, those days I don’t check the weather forecast and send them to school dressed inappropriately for the weather – just to name a few.

That nonsense aside, 2013 saw a lot of parenting wins. I made a great decision regarding my daughter’s schooling, I had meaningful conversations with my kids, shared loads of love and laughs, taught them lessons and dealt with issues that came up in a way that makes me proud.

So how about we all take it easy on ourselves in the parenting department this year? Let’s learn from our mistakes but celebrate our wins.

Have you set any “parenting goals” for 2014? What have you learned in the last year?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six. Happy Hockey season – grab your Hockey Label Combo today!

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