One of the best things about being a parent is getting to know other ourselves and our kids  on a deeper level. I've learned a lot (still am!), and hope that my journey can help you on yours.

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HI, I'M Mama Mavel

AKA Velma. (Mavel is my first name scrambled, and rhymes with navel.) Prior to parenthood, the extent of my video game experience was playing “Super Mario Brothers” twice as a fifth grader at my neighbor’s house. Now, I'm proud to call myself a gamer, in a family of gamers.


“The iPad is my village,” was one of my reluctant refrains as the mother of a toddler.

Sometimes, putting my son in front of a screen (with Very Educational things, of course) was how I survived as a stay-at-home mom with a high-needs child and no family support or extra income for sitters. It was definitely a love/hate relationship.

I struggled, like a lot of moms, to balance the warnings of screen time limits from the experts with the daily challenges of parenting – trying to get dinner on the table, or the laundry in the wash, with an interruption every two minutes, on very little sleep. Screen time made life easier. Until it was time for screen time to end, then it was a battle zone.

Eventually, I figured out how to ease the transitions…


When my son was eight, I noticed that most (all?) of his classmates played Minecraft. So, in an attempt to keep him from being a social pariah, we bravely entered the land of crafts and mines–together.  He acclimated quickly. Me? Well, not so much.

But I refused to be left behind or shoved out of my son’s life by pixels - so I sat through countless hours of mining, asked thousands of questions (often the same ones over and over), and learned the value of watching gamers on YouTube.

Eventually, two years into the pandemic, I started playing Minecraft with my, then 10-year-old, son. I sucked. (Sorry, but it’s true!) It felt awkward doing something new and challenging. And it was great. Much to my surprise, I not only learned to make a pickaxe and kill a zombie, but I also learned to lighten up and not take myself so seriously.

I learned to play.

On the way, I strengthened my relationship with my son, and created a life where - at least most of the time - video games are a source of fun and connection for the family.

Now, my mission is to teach other parents like you how to stop fighting over video games and bring more cooperation, understanding, and fun to your family.


I found Hand in Hand Parenting in 2012, when my son was 18 months old. Hand in Hand helped me learn how to appreciate my self and how to love my son well in easy, as well as challenging times. I learned how to let him have his emotions without needed to fix them and how to set limits without losing connection.

I am passionate about helping parents thrive, loving children in all their moods, and learning to play to build connection. I have experience with early NICU trauma, supermom syndrome, postpartum depression, separation anxiety, child aggression, and screens. I am a certified Hand in Hand Parenting Instructor, and am a former Executive Director of Hand in Hand Parenting.


Parenting is fun.

Or at least it should be.

We don't have to know all the answers. We don't have to have it all figured out. We can make mistakes, and learn from them.  Showing our children how to make mistakes, recover, reconnect and grow, is one of the best gifts we can give them - and ourselves.

After all, we're all humans, and every single one of us - you included - are doing our absolute best. So, maybe, just maybe, we don't have to take ourselves so seriously all the time.

Play is allowed for parents, too.

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