There is an entire segment of moms that are grossly neglected.
Our kids aren’t in diapers anymore. They barely even drink milk anymore.
Now when they wake up in the middle of the night, they can go potty and tuck themselves back into bed without any assistance from us.
Who are these moms?
We are the moms of middle schoolers.
I am not entirely new to this group. My son is 21, so I’ve been around the middle school rodeo. But it’s been over 10 years ago! That’s not the only difference though. This time my middle school rodeo involves a tween girl, which makes this a whole different type of rodeo.
My daughter started middle school three months ago and I had every intention of writing about every single moment here on the blog. Things have been moving quite rapidly and now that we’re three months in, I want to share some nuggets of wisdom that I’ve learned.
Yes, what I have learned.
Wow, Tiffany, it’s all about you, huh?
Well, it has a lot to do with the both of us but there are many books, articles, blog posts and seminars that teach parents what to expect and how to parent a middle schooler. I know this because I bought a couple of books at the end of the 5th-grade year and pledged to read them during summer vacation. The book topics ranged from ways to get them organized to dealing with the Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde mood swings.
There is very little information on helping the parent deal with their own emotions about parenting this bigger kid. We go through stuff, too!
Here’s what I’ve managed to learn in the first three months of being a new mom of a middle schooler:
Your middle schooler is not you.
Don’t do this, just don’t. Don’t project your unrealized dreams onto your child. I still remember trying out for cheerleading when I was in middle school. I also still remember the slap of rejection when I didn’t make the team.
Looking back, I realize I had no passion for being a cheerleader. My coordination skills are kinda non-existent, I can’t dance! No, not all black people have rhythm.
I wanted to be a cheerleader because they seemed to have fun. A few weeks into my daughter’s middle school year, she told me that her friend was trying out for cheerleading. I patiently waited for her to say “yep, I’m trying out, too!”. She never said it. I wanted to push her to try out so bad but knew that she had no interest in it. This was me trying to live vicariously through her. Since then, I have stepped back and watched her flourish in joining the math competition and training for the track team try-outs.
Get/Stay involved in her life.
Hopefully, I am not being naive but my daughter still enjoys being around me. We still do cool stuff together, like shop and volunteer work.
There are many naysayers that keep telling me that this will soon change. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. I am certain it will change, no denying that. It’s up to me, though, to continue being fully invested in her.
Parenting a middle schooler is interesting because I am watching her develop into a mature young woman. Our conversations are more lively, she seeks my opinion on things and I can easily see everything I’ve taught her to this point shine through.
Get/Stay involved at school.
Just because they are bigger kids, middle schoolers can still benefit from their parents volunteering at their school. Typically, this is when most parents lose their mojo for being actively involved in their child’s school life. I’ll admit, I have to keep reminding myself of my end goal of raising my daughter so that I don’t lose my motivation.
Like many parents, I work full-time outside of the home. After working all day, having to attend Math and Science night at her school isn’t high on my list of how I want to spend my Thursday night. I did put aside my after work exhaustion and truly enjoyed talking and laughing with her math and science teachers. It was great because they shared their observations of my daughter while she is there at school. It shows my daughter that I have a relationship with her teachers so she knows to not try any out of character stuff.
I believe this is when a parent’s mojo should kick into overdrive because the child needs more help with picking certain classes that they may need in high school. Basically, the parenting focus starts to change. Volunteering in middle school no longer means being a room mom but more about running fundraisers and attending or in charge of different PTA events.
Don’t allow other parent’s bad experiences be your experiences.
I almost got sucked into this one when joining the PTA as I always do each school year. There were very few members or even PTA officers, so I became Secretary. During a school event, the PTA President talked about how her perfect daughter was being kicked out of the BETA club for no apparent reason. She went on about how her perfect daughter was being blackballed by the teachers. Weeks later, after feeling a bit more at ease around me, she mentioned that her daughter has a “loose” tongue and can sometimes give backtalk to her teachers.
Aha! For a split second, I almost threw away the great experiences we had and instead adopt the sour attitude of the PTA President.
The lesson here is to talk to your middle schooler and school staff to get the truth if things get out of hand.
It’s only been three months! More to come… Got a middle schooler, be sure to check out my
Pinterest board Middle School Survival Guide
What type of impact did your parents have on your middle school life?