With all the parenting advice floating around the web this time of year between graduation, Mother's Day & Father's Day, I have one piece of parenting advice of my own to share with you:
Do all the princess stuff - ALL OF IT - while you still can.
It's no surprise that our family loves all things Disney. And you also probably know that I'm quite frugal by nature.
So while we took our kids to Disney all the time when they were little, I was always a bit hesitant to spend money.
Don't get me wrong, frugality is good. If I hadn't been careful with our funds, we wouldn't have been able to afford the trips in the first place.
But I'll admit, looking back on those trips, I wish I had done more.
More princess breakfasts. More princess costumes. More princess meet and greets. And yes, even more princess dolls.
(Side note: I don't know if we had any shortage of any of these, but I wish I hadn't stressed about whether or not we should do them as much as I did).
Why the sudden change of heart, you ask?
Next month, my daughter turns 13. The big 13. A teenager!
Do you know what this means?
She doesn't want to eat with princesses anymore. She doesn't want to dress up like a princess anymore. She doesn't want to meet princesses anymore. And no, she doesn't want to play with princess dolls anymore.
(Side note: I'm slightly sickened by the price I sold many of those dolls for at our last garage sale compared to what I originally paid for them).
Do I regret it? NO.
In fact, I'd do it all again, and then some, just to recreate this moment:
or this one:
and especially this one:
(Yes, that is an Ariel dress my mom made her just to meet Ariel)
I could post Ariel photos all day:
Two years ago, she still believed in the magic, and was happy to wait for hours just to catch a glimpse of her favorite princess:
But today, not so much.
Don't get me wrong: she still dreams of Disney. In fact, just this weekend she almost didn't let me out of the car until I promised I would take her before the end of the year.
But... Instead of waiting in long lines to see a princess, she can't wait to walk in the world of Pandora. Instead of dressing up like a princess, she can't wait to trade pins. Instead of princess breakfasts, she wants to immerse herself in Star Wars at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
As for me, I'll always be a princess at heart:
A post shared by Sami Cone (@thesamicone) on Mar 29, 2017 at 2:16pm PDT
but my daughter seems to have reached the end of her princess lifespan.
Don't get me wrong, I am equally excited to do all those things and make new Disney memories with her, but I wish we ate at the castle more, primped at Bippity Boppity Boutique more, and bought more of the Disney PhotoPass photos.
No, this isn't a sponsored post for Disney and no, I'm not suggesting you should spend money you don't have.
What I am saying is that time is fleeting, and the phase your child is in will be over almost as quickly as it started.
I don't want to stop time, but I do wish I could prolong some of these moments a bit:
And make these moments last a little longer:
So go on parents, don't "wait until they're old enough" to book that trip to Disney; some of my favorite moments and photos came from when my kids could barely walk.
And don't wait until they're old enough to "appreciate" the sacrifice you made to take them there; I guarantee they will not be able to comprehend all you did not make a trip like this possible until they have their own kids.
And don't wait for a "special occasion" to make you daughter's princess dreams come true, because if you do, you might just find that moment has passed.
I was the mom that was annoyed that we spent more time standing in lines for characters than we did riding rides. I was the mom that didn't want to fork out money for an autograph book. I was the mom who worried we weren't getting the "full" Disney experience when we spent so much time on the playgrounds and in the pools.
Trust me, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
I'm equally excited to step into the next phase of adventure with my kids and will gladly enmesh myself in whatever it is they're currently passionate about, but I sure do miss that sweet, squishy smile with her flushed cheeks and sweaty brow because she insisted on wearing long-sleeved princess gowns in the middle of the humid, Florida summer.
A post shared by Sami Cone (@thesamicone) on May 30, 2012 at 12:05pm PDT
So go on moms, do the princess stuff, or whatever stuff your kids are in to. Because soon enough, you'll be looking at pictures of those same little ones in a cap and gown and wondering where the time went.