Every parent’s love/hate relationship with stickers

Were you a sticker collector in your youth? I was. I collected Care Bear stickers (no, I’ve never actually been cool), and every time I could save up 50p I would run to the newsagents to buy a new pack of stickers, desperate in the hope I would secure one of the furry ones. The furry ones were the most prestigious of all Care Bear stickers. I’m trying to remember exactly why that was right now. When I completed that sticker album it felt like a real achievement.

Fast forward 33ish (gulp) years, and lo and behold, stickers are back in my life.

I have a love/hate relationship with these clammy little scraps of coloured paper. And I ask myself, why do my kids love stickers so much?stickers

Stickers – The Good

There are some valid reasons to love them. Stickers turned out to be our secret trump card in the potty training days (who knew something so simple could be so persuasive?), occasionally they have bought me ten minutes’ peaceful latte time in a coffee shop and they have entertained our children on long car journeys. To the humble sticker – we have a lot to thank you for. You have preserved our sanity.

Stickers – The Bad

But the trouble is, they get everywhere. They stick to your socks, the soles of your shoes and you find them on your dining chairs. Sometimes they are tricky to remove. You buy them in packs of 400 and even before you’ve blinked, the sticker card is empty, and the pesky stickers turn up days later in your freshly-washed laundry, on the underside of your wash basin, in your hair…

Stickers – The Ugly

But it’s when the stickers intrude on your work persona. The one you try very hard to maintain. The other day, as I was preparing for an important work meeting, I got out my notepad. I was ready. I was prepared to look all professional and conscientious – until I discovered that the notebook was actually a Lego Minifigure sticker book that had somehow found its way into my work handbag. That was a tad embarrassing. Although I was saved by the fact it was Lego, and let’s face it, Lego is always a conversation starter. However, a friend recently told me her woeful sticker tale. It was a day of doing important data ‘stuff’ with one of her senior directors. As she turned the page in her note book she found it covered in Hello Kitty stickers, stating in colourful letters ‘I love numbers!’ How to explain that one….

After remembering my retro Care Bear obsession, I thought I was well and truly over stickers. Until I noticed the huge neon post-it note collection on my desk at work. Perhaps my old sticker fetish lives on?  Perhaps post-it notes are the grown up version of panini stickers? Perhaps our whole lives are controlled by stickers?

I’ll swap my yellow square one for your pink neon one…

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