Posts Tagged: Julie Cole

Surviving the kids’ birthday party.

March is birthday month in my life. March brings birthdays for both me and Mabel’s Labels. I also have a daughter with a birthday this month.

I recently had a parent ask if I had any birthday party activity suggestions. Just thinking about the question exhausted me. In my 15 years of parenthood, I have had countless birthday parties. Actually, it’s not countless – just adding up my children’s ages tells me that by the end of March, I will have hosted 63 children’s birthday parties. It’s no wonder I suffer from a bit of birthday party fatigue.

We’ve done it all – bowling, indoor playgrounds, parks, magicians, reptile guys, musical chairs and the list goes on. Any way you slice it, at this point in my birthday party throwing career, the novelty has long worn off.

This can help you appreciate that six birthday parties a year is a big ask for someone who does not get inspired by Pinterest and has never baked a cake. Birthday party fatigue started kicking in seven years ago after my fifth child was born. Since then I have simplified things.

Here’s my survival strategy:

  • If I have the party at my house, I do not stress about the state of the place. It’s only going to get trashed anyways. But what will the parents doing the drop off think? Yeah, not really caring.
  • No birthday presents. Guests are instructed that no presents or gift cards are allowed. I make it very clear on the invitation and people respect my request. One mother always brings me a bottle of wine. That, I accept.
  • No loot bags. In return for not bringing my kid stuff they don’t need, I refrain from giving our little guests junk too. The result: less going into the landfill and fewer sugar bugs on the teeth. I might chuck a little something at them by the door as a way to notify our friends that it’s time to hit the road and avoid tears.
  • Birthday party timing is key. Book it for the 2:00pm – 4:00pm time slot, which gets you off the hook for having to provide a proper meal. Get some cake and juice in their gobs, and your work is done!

Go on – do the math. How many birthday parties have you hosted? Some mamas LOVE kids’ birthday parties and some are “meh”. Where do you fall on the birthday fatigue spectrum?

 

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.

What I Learned About My Kids on Instagram

For all you social media types, I have to admit I was a little late to the party when it came to Instagram. For those who don’t know what Instagram is, it’s basically like Twitter but with photos – and it’s a favourite social networking site for teens and tweens. Think “selfies” – there is no lack of them on Instagram.

My biggie kids have had Instagram for a while, and although I’d pop on their accounts occasionally and make sure everything they were posting was above board, I mostly left them to their own devices. They’re pretty sensible kids and if something even a little bit sketchy went down, I’m the first person they would tell.

Last week I joined Instagram and learned a few interesting things about my biggie-sized kiddos:

They do weird things together and take pictures of it. In this picture on one of my kiddo’s accounts, I discovered that they like to cover their brother with nuts and let chipmunks eat off his face.

They love their siblings. One daughter posted this photo of her brother when he was on TV sharing his experience with autism. Her comment “awesome job Mack!”

And just when you think they only see their little brothers as annoyances, you find this picture on Instagram with the caption “my brothers are the cutest hockey players ever”.

As much as they love each other, they may love the dog more. One kid has about 60 posts. I’d say about 55 of them are of the dog. Not a human in sight.

They like their parents too, and aren’t afraid to share that with their friends. In this post, my daughter wrote “mommy and me time”.

And this post I found speaks for itself:

Do you have any kiddos on social media?  Have you discovered any surprises – good or bad, when you connected with them online?

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.

Two Key Messages for a Good Start to 2015

I usually write about parenting because I spend a lot of time doing it. With six crazy kids, parenting is a full-time job. But, like most busy moms there are other things going on in my life and I try to keep positive in those areas as well. My perspective is the only thing I can control and it has been my best survival tool.

I thought I’d share a couple of quick “non-parenting” messages that are important to me. If you embrace these simple ideas for 2015, I think you’ll be happy you did.

1)      Be a good friend. On top of sharing great times together and being supportive, I believe the number one thing to practice in your friendships is one of my favourite friendship quotes:

2)      Try not to care what people think. I know it’s hard, but I try to be a lion every day. I put myself out there, and sometimes I cop criticism or get visits from “trolls” about my ideas or opinions. I remind myself that I’m the best qualified to live my life the way I want and raise my family according to what I think is best. People who judge from afar are the sheep. Roar loudly and ignore all the “baa-ing” in the background.

Are you facing the New Year with any key messages you hope to carry with you throughout 2015?

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.

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