Posts Categorized: Julie Cole

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!

Cracking the Code: Computer Programming For Kids & Learning Code

I own a web-based business and I’m an avid blogger/social media type. One would assume that I would be quite the tech savvy mama. The truth is… I’m not. Luckily when I’m hanging around the office, there are a plethora of smarty-pant nerd types who can help me out. When I’m at home, I have to pull in the big guns for tech support help. And when I say big guns, I mean my tweens.

Let’s face it, it makes sense that they’re my tech support – kids are on gadgets from a pretty young age. They’re exposed to everything – from iPads to gaming gadgets. And while they indulge in all of these digital pleasures, what do they actually know about building technology?

My best guess is not much. Schools are doing their best, but unless your child’s school has a teacher with a coding background to champion an initiative, they’re not likely to ever see a computer literacy & coding program. Although the job market is desperate for folks trained in computer science, it’s not part of the standard curriculum and continues to be marginalized in the school system.

But not all is lost. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and the Case Foundation are amongst the founding funders of Code.org – a non-profit organization dedicated to growing computer science education degrees by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. And learning to code using Code.org is 100% free and available to anyone.

Mabel’s Labels recently met another advocate, Gillian Gutenberg. Gillian is a software consultant concerned with the lack of programming and coding education for kids in schools. She started helloworldcamp.com to offer kids of all ages the opportunity to learn the basics of coding, how to build robots and the chance to take field trips to tech companies – all in the spirit of striking an interest and appreciation for what goes into the apps and programs we take for granted.

Camps and programs such as helloworldcamp.com exist in many cities. A few great organizations you can check out include:

And now, Mabel’s Labels is helping helloworldcamp.com bring programming to more children by purchasing Robot Kits that can be used in summer camps and PA Day Camps.  The number of children that can participate is limited to the resources available. So, our hope is that Gillian can expand her business to more cities to inspire more children.

We recently hosted a “Learn to Code a Robot” day at Mabel HQ. Staffers and their kiddos had a fabulous day of learning with Gillian. My kids wouldn’t stop talking about it and have been re-thinking their original career plans.

You never know… My tween tech support may one day become the Bill Gates’ of the future!

 

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!

Three’s Company

There have been studies that indicate that three children is the most stressful number of kiddos to have.

Three is no easy feat. As the picture shows, I had my hands very full back when I had only half the number of kids that I have now. As you can see, I’m sitting in my yard, looking happy but a bit tired and maybe like I could use a good meal. That time was a bit of a blur – new baby, a toddler with a broken arm, and a bigger toddler smack dab in the middle of getting an autism diagnosis. Those were trying times.

Despite those trying times, I went on to have three more kids. I guess it goes to show that there’s no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to having kids. So, what makes a parent think they’re ready to go on and have another baby?

There are so many factors in determining how easy or difficult it will be to add another to the family.  The three biggest factors for me included:

1)      How close in age the kids are. Packing them in tight is my preference but it means several consecutive years of diaper changing and night time feeds. Although the years seem to zoom by, trying to get through a day with children after having only a couple hours of sleep can drive a mama towards the edge.

2)      Is there a bigger health or developmental issue to be dealt with? Raising babies is tough enough. Imagine having to go to appointment after appointment, sitting in waiting rooms, having your baby poked and prodded, living in fear of what is going on – all this while possibly dragging small siblings along to all of these appointments.

3)      What is the child’s personality? I’ve often seen first time parents experience the joy and pleasure of a settled and uncomplicated baby. I’ve seen these babies develop into sensible and fairly unadventurous toddlers. Parents of these children take great pride in their parenting savvy, wondering why all parents don’t have the mad parenting skills they have. Then the most amazing thing happens – they have a second child and are faced with the shocking reality that not all kids are the same. Not all the same strategies and tactics work for each of them the same way. I hope it’s not wrong to say that I get a bit of pleasure watching these parents tumble off their parenting high horses when they realize that some little personalities are more difficult to manage than others.

What helped you decide you were ready for another one? Do you have children with very different personalities, making you have to parent each one very differently?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

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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