Posts By: Julie Cole

Mean Girls: Sexist Stereotype or Reality?

My gals live in a drama-free zone!

We’ve all heard the term “mean girls.” It refers to the notion that tween and teen girls are exclusively and irrationally mean to one another. A notion so popular that it was made into a movie, which was so popular they followed it up the sequel, Mean girls 2. Personally, I find the term bothersome – though any generalization, particularly when it targets young women, makes me twitchy.

Sure, I’ve heard some girl bullying stories and I know that friendship, emotions, social lives and defining one’s place in the world are all complicated issues for young people. As they develop into tweens, then teens, it’s no longer about making friendship bracelets for one another and fawning over their pop idol. Sometimes along the journey, kids find themselves acting in a way that might not reflect the kind of person they will be once they mature.

Honestly, with three girls ages 9, 12 and 13, I have had no personal experience with “mean girl” situations. None have them have had any friendship drama, issues with exclusivity, cyber bullying, or experienced general “mean girl” attitudes from their friends and peers about a girls clothing or status.

I tried to reflect on why maybe we’ve been able to avoid this drama that we hear and read so much about.

 

  • Role modeling. My girls don’t see me act petty or gossip about people. I don’t speak badly of my friends or other women. I try to role model good behavior.
  • Resilience. I find that if my girls have a problem with a kid, they tell that kid and move on without holding a grudge. Perhaps that is a result of being a part of a big family. We HAVE to deal with our issues and move on in our family or we couldn’t function otherwise. With so many people in one household and so many personalities there is too much room for conflict. Perhaps my girls have generalized that skill with their social groups outside of the home. I’ve also noticed that if a kid is being a goof, my daughters are not desperate to gain that kid’s acceptance or approval. They simply move on to their other friends. They don’t try to hang out with kids who don’t want to hang out with them.
  • If my girls do tell me about a child at school who is not acting kindly to others, I remind them that something is likely going on with that kid or their parents, at home or otherwise, that is making them feel vulnerable and insecure. Their behaviour may be reflecting that. We need to be patient, but also speak out and self-advocate.

I’m pretty sure there are many mothers out there doing these same things, yet have kids who seem to attract drama and conflict in their social situations. Is the mean girl phenomenon one of many stereotypes or has this been a real issue in your family? What has been your experience and what lessons do you have for how to deal with mean people?

 

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.

A Floor that makes “Cents”?

About a dozen years ago, my siblings talked me into buying a cottage with them. It has worked out great – we share the cost and the work among the four of us, and the property gets a lot of use! On the rare occasion we’re all there at the same time, it makes for eight adults and 12 kids enjoying all the good stuff cottage country has to offer.

Now, I’m not one to blog about home renovation or crafts, because I’m just not very “crafty” or “house-y”. But, I have a sister who is and she recently completed a DIY project at our cottage that is so fabulous and worth sharing.

IN HER WORDS:

Since the penny was being discontinued last year, I wanted to pay it homage with a special DIY home décor project. Our not-so-special bathroom  seemed like the perfect spot where the penny could live in our consciousness long after its demise.

What’s needed?

  • An ugly floor*, preferably vinyl or laminate flooring and small, depending on your commitment to this project
  • Wax stripper
  • Floor cleaner
  • Paint
  • Glue
  • Pennies, but if you’ve got deep pockets, loonies would be cool
  • Polyurethane cuz it’s a hard finish
  • A Sealer – I used BeautiTone Epoxy Clear Coat 2 part Sealer

*pennies also stick to pretty floors

 

How I did it

  • We started with a vinyl floor that was in pretty good shape so I didn’t have to remove it.
  • I stripped it of wax and gave it a good washing. 
  • I then painted it with a flat black paint, but you can use whatever colour you want to show through. 
  • I used Weldbond glue to adhere the pennies to the floor, but any good glue would work – don’t go with the super expensive stuff -  it really isn’t necessary since you’ll be sealing the whole thing down anyway.  The Weldbond was good because it didn’t dry immediately so I was able to fix any oopsies, but once it dried the pennies really stayed put.  Put a small dot in the middle of the penny.
  • If you’re fastidious, the trickiest part is laying that first line of pennies down.  Since it was a cottage, I wasn’t really fussed about the straight lines, and would be putting down quarter round to cover up the rough edges anyway.  If you start off with a straight wall, you’re laughing.  If not, you’ll have to draw a straight line on the floor.  At some point you’re going to have to temporarily remove the toilet in order to get a smooth look to the pennies around it.  Our toilet was raised a couple of millimeters so I was able to slide them under it.
  • Once that first line is down, it’s just a matter of continuing from there. 
  • As far as colour goes, you can wash all your pennies through various means: vinegar & salt, lemon, baking soda, coca cola, etc. to get a nice shine, or just live with their current patina.
  • You can create designs based on the colours of the pennies, but I just laid them down as they came to me.  Some were vandalized, painted red or white, they went down.  Some came from our friendly neighbours to the South, they went down.  We have Irish roots plus English and Australian relations, those pennies, though different sizes, made it into the corners of the floor.  We’ve got Queen Elizabeth from when she was a girl to her current state of being.  We’ve got King Edward.  We’ve got Maple Leafs and Rock Doves (yup, pigeons).  We’ve got a row of pennies representing each child with the year of their birth, tails up.  No matter what you do, it’s bound to be beautiful.
  • Once the pennies were all down, I covered them with a coat of high gloss polyurethane to make it hard and shiny.
  • Then the epoxy sealer.

Staying down there on the floor was hard on the back, but since it was the cottage I did it over the course of a week and took lots of breaks…trickier to do this on a floor that you use every day.  

Just make sure you let each stage thoroughly dry, (which I didn’t mind, because I did my waiting down on the beach.)

 

And there you have it! A floor that makes a lot of “cents”!  So what do you think? Are you ready to beg, borrow and steal pennies to create this thing of beauty in your home? What’s your favourite DIY or home décor project?

Because my sister is not only crafty, but a little crazy – her next “paying homage” DIY project involves a “Good-bye Letterman Clock”. I’ll let you know how that one turns out!

Back-to-school blues or celebration? + Contest!

It’s nearly here. It’s really happening. The day many parents have been waiting for – the day the children return to school. Elementary school, or high school, it makes no difference, this time of year is fraught with mixed emotions. Children and parents everywhere are both excited and nervous.

So, as a mama who has six kids to get out the door, I thought I’d take what I’ve learned over the years and create a FREE e-book to help other parents out. Because let’s face it we all like to get free stuff and we could all use a little help this time of year! Yes there are many free books online but this one is chock full of great advice such as transitioning from summer mode to back to school, how to deal with social issues and of course, some of my favourite products for back to school shopping.

Make this the year that back to school goes smoothly with school organization tips! Download your free Ultimate Back to School Guide here!

 

More free stuff – a contest!

Another product that makes back to school easier of course, are our labels. But if you haven’t already bought your Ultimate Back to School Combo or are in need of another don’t panic! Since time is running out on this combo offered only until Sept 30th, I’ve decided to have a give-away.

Simply comment below and let us know how you’re feeling about sending the kids back to school and you’ll be entered to win your very own Ultimate Back to School Combo!

This contest is open from 8pm EST August 31 to 11:59pm EST September 1, 2014

 

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