I’ve known Julie since 2011. Together with a few other Moms, she runs Mabel’s Labels. We use these labels religiously, to ensure all of our kids shoes, backpacks, and camping gear are labeled. When I started my health journey, I posted a picture of my workout bag and shoes on Facebook. The ladies and Mabel’s Labels noticed I didn’t have labels on my shoes, so they sent me labels for my shoes, and dog tags for my workout bag, all with the #NewBDK hashtag. I was floored. That right there is pretty darn amazing!
11 Questions with… Julie Cole1. Elevator pitch… tell us about yourself.
My name is Julie Cole. I’m the Co-founder of Mabel’s Labels, a parenting blogger, TV contributor and mom of six.
2. Your spouse… tell us about him.
We try to keep Daddy-o’s life a bit private. Thus he’s “Daddy-o”
3. Your kids… tell us about them.
I have six wonderful children between the ages of seven to 17! Maginnis – he is my eldest child. At the age of three, he was diagnosed with autism. That had a huge impact on my parenting style and also my professional life. I am a “recovered lawyer” and started my own business so that I could be there to provide my son with an excellent therapy program. I’m delighted to report that both my business and my son flourished over the years. My son is now a high school student, hockey player, black belt in taekwondo, amazing big brother, incredible friend to many, and lock your doors because he’s even driving!
Posy – A year after my first child was born, he got himself a little sister. Posy is almost 16 and is a smart, athletic and fun teenager. Posy loves hockey, is on a provincial lacrosse team and can outrun most of us! All that chasing her around with a wooden spoon paid off! J
Spencer – A year later again, came another daughter, Spencer. She is 14 and bucks all the traditions of a teenage girl. She loves video games, fishing, animals, being a hockey goalie, manga, art and you’d never catch her at the mall shopping or getting her nails done! The only store she loves is the Bass Pro Shop. She’s got her own mind and lives by her rules, and I couldn’t be more proud.
Jessamy – This daughter is 11-years-old and is my social butterfly. Her friends are always turning up at the house and she’s constantly roaming the neighbourhood with little pals. Jessamy is the ultimate joiner – she signs up for everything and I’m constantly running around after her with all her activities, sports and dance lessons.
Clancy – This 10 year old was born an old man and his favourite activities include telling us the square roots of numbers, reporting on the behaviours of his siblings, and playing with his friends. He’s a polite little gentleman and I’m often asked what charm school I sent him to!
Finian – We don’t call this 7-year-old the Pint-Sized Dictator for nothing. This feisty cutie keeps us all on our toes. He loves trying to keep up with his big siblings, is excited about pending tooth fairy visits and serves up the best cuddles ever.
4. Do you have any pets? Tell us about them.
Three years ago, my kids got a puppy after running a very impressive and professional campaign! They created a powerpoint and puppy propaganda posters explaining how they would take responsibility for a dog. At that point, the youngest was about to turn four, and I felt they were, in fact, ready. We got a little Aussie-Doodle named Ozzy. He is a very loved dog, who is extremely well behaved and well trained. For a mama who was dead set against getting a dog, I wouldn’t be without him now!
5. What have been your biggest challenges as a parent?
There were a few challenges, but none so great that I ever felt entirely overwhelmed or that I couldn’t handle it.
When I had my fifth child, my eldest child was only six years old. As such, it was very busy times. I didn’t get a lot of sleep and I had a lot of children who needed care. It was certainly taxing, but I loved every minute of it.
Also, having six children means you have six different personalities to deal with. This means that you can’t apply one parenting style to all of them – you have to adapt your parenting style to each one based on their needs. Although that can be challenging, it would be boring if they were all the same so I just go with it!
Obviously, when my son was diagnosed with autism, it was a very challenging time. I was so worried about his development and future. But, we all got down to work (including him!) and dealt with what was in front of us. I always say that on my death bed, he will have been my life’s greatest achievement.
6. If you could pick any career in the world for yourself, what would it be, and why?
I became an entrepreneur because of a great business idea combined with a desire to leave the traditional workforce. However, I would have happily worked as a Legal Aid lawyer, working in women’s issues particularly.
7. Growing up, who inspired you the most?
I was very inspired by my women folk, like my mother, grandmother and aunts. They are all positive, strong women who were a great influence. Perhaps the thing I loved most about their attitudes was that they were always grateful and never complained. Being raised by someone who didn’t complain was a gift.
8. How do you balance work life and family life?
I just do my best. If I feel things get out of balance, I make a change. Perhaps the best thing I have going for me is that I don’t mind saying “no” when something doesn’t suit me, I am great at prioritizing, and I can delegate without issue.
9. What advice would your “current self” give to your “just about to have my first child” self?
I’m not sure that I was entirely shocked by parenthood. I knew what I was getting into and looked forward to it. I suppose I might remind myself to trust my gut and my instincts – they’re pretty darn good. (on a side note, I’m sitting with my teenage son right now and he’s reading this. He just said my answer to this question should be “use protection!” LOL)
10. Has there been a piece of advice you were given about parenting that really stuck with you?
My mom always said she didn’t treat me and my siblings the same because we were not the same. We had different needs. To treat your children all the same is to treat them with inequality. I love this – parents get so caught up in trying to treat their children with fairness, they forget to celebrate and accommodate their differences.
11. What advice would you give to new parents?
There is no such thing as the perfect sized family. One kid is perfect and six kids is perfect. Don’t let anyone influence what you think your family should look like.
Get social with Julie!
Be sure to visit Julie’s blog, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Stay tuned for our next “11 Questions with…” feature.
Thanks for reading!
“11 Questions with…” is an on-going feature. I will be interviewing parents with the same 11 questions, who like me, live in the digital world. The goal is to examine different perspectives, advice, challenges, and experiences from how people parent their children, and live a successful work / life / online balance.
There will be no specific frequency for this feature. It will be on-going, and filed under the “Lifestyle” tab, then “11 Questions with…” subtab, so it is easy to find.
With all the challenges of parenting these days, we could all use stories from fellow parents, who may have already gone through a similar experience, or were offered advice that you could use.
If you would like to be interviewed for an upcoming edition, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.