Posts Tagged: Parenting

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!

The single most important thing I hope my daughters learn from me.

Guest Post by Mabel’s Labels Copywriter, Heather Dixon

Isn’t it funny how the power and meaning of parenting just creeps up on you sometimes?

One minute you’re in the grocery store looking at a bag of milk and the next you’re sobbing over how incredible your child is because they know how to drink from a sippy cup all of the sudden. They’re just so amazing.

I learned all about this 4 years ago, when I had my first baby girl – and then again 2 years ago when I had my second. Once I had Anna & Lauren, I knew all about this true, incredible love parents just seem to develop immediately and the responsibility that comes along with it.

But my moment of clarity wasn’t in the grocery store. It happened when my Mom and I went to see the musical The Secret Garden while my daughters stayed home with their Dad.

Since it’s a children’s story, there were lots of Moms and Dads and their little kids with them in the theatre. At the end of the row we were sitting in were two little boys. Brothers. Maybe about 6-years old. They looked like they could be twins. One of the boys appeared to have a disability.

Having no personal experience with special needs, I wasn’t sure what his was. All I knew for sure was that he was in a wheelchair – and his parents were very attentive. They watched him closely as he took a sip of his drink. They helped him with his hearing aid when the music was a bit too loud for him.

At one point, near the end of the play, something sort of exciting happened on stage. And when everything went silent, an excited “Whoa!” came from beside us. Everyone nearby turned to see the little boy, no longer in his wheelchair but curled into his Mom’s lap, watching the play intently. It was a sweet moment.

When the play ended, I couldn’t help but want to look over at the little boy again. So I did. And I saw him smiling. Smiling so broadly. His whole body was kind of shaking with excitement.

He was just so… happy.

And I started crying and crying.

I was crying because his parents brought him there. He cuddled into their laps. They rubbed the back of his head with his fuzzy little-boy hair. And they made him incredibly, incredibly happy that day.

That little boy was so clearly and undeniably loved. And that’s what everyone wants, really. We all want to love and be loved.

Seeing that family made me think of my daughters. Sure, I think they’re so cute and funny and smart. I love them more than anything. But I realized in that moment that it’s so incredibly important that they know it.

I realized that I have a huge responsibility to make sure my daughters feels undeniably loved. Life is all about loving these little beings into becoming happy, confident children, filled with the self-esteem and tools they need to be happy and productive adults.

I hope that I’m successful. I hope they always feel adored and self-confident. I hope their lives are happy. Their childhood is happy. I hope they learn from their Dad and I what love is all about.

And more than anything, I hope that they will one day be lucky enough to feel like that little boy felt.

To see the world the way he saw it.

 

 

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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