Before becoming a mom I believe that time passed very slowly. It seemed like high school would never end, that getting married would never happen and I’d all but given up on living outside my parent’s home on my own. As a teenager/young adult it felt like time stood still. Here are five tips for middle school moms.
Then I became a mom…at the young age of 19. Each day my baby boy made a new face or cute noise I’d never heard. I found myself actually trying to slow down time. I wanted my baby boy to grow up slowly so that I could ensure that I took it all in.
My baby boy is now 13 years old and in his final middle school year. My daughter is 11 and in her first middle school year. I never was able to slow down time, it didn’t work for either of my children no matter how hard I tried. So, now I’m faced with the reality of having two children in middle school, which means they are over halfway grown up! In less than half the time I’ve held them in my arms they’ll be adults, ready to be out on their own. Just like I used to be what seems to have been so very long ago.
Being the mother of two middle schoolers is not always easy. In fact, this may be the most difficult part of my motherhood journey yet. No longer are they in need of my help to complete most tasks, make meals or even do their school. Yet, I’m still their mother.
Each new stage of motherhood requires mothers to find their new role as a parent. A mother of middle schoolers takes some of the biggest steps required of a mom.
Learning to let go
Middle school aged kids are ready to spread their wings and fly. While we know they truly aren’t ready for life in the real world, we have to let them have a taste of it now and then. Try letting your kids grab a few groceries alone, attend a birthday party or sleepover without you sticking around or even walking downtown to grab a few candies or ice cream on their own.
Let them make their own decisions
Sometimes our kids need to see what happens when they make their own decisions without our help or input. They need to understand there are consequences to bad decisions and we may be surprised to see blessings from good decisions they make. Consider allowing your kids to decide what to do with their allowance, whether or not to attend a friend’s party or choose to stop an activity they previously enjoyed.
Explain the why
It isn’t just good enough to say “Because I said so” anymore. Middle schoolers need to have an explanation as to why they can or cannot do something. When we don’t give them a specific answer we’re creating a divide between us and it could cause them to hide activities or thoughts from us and breakdown our relationship.
Deepen your conversations
After you explain the why or when you need to talk to your middle schooler heart to heart take the time to have a deeper conversation. Don’t just lay it all out for them and run off. We need to encourage our children to talk with us by asking how they feel, what they think and giving them the time and undivided attention they need to share their hears and minds with us. If we find ourselves not understand our kids its probably time to sit down and have a heart to heart chat.
Teach by example
Our kids aren’t little anymore. We can’t live out, “Do what I say, not what I do” with middle schoolers. If we want our kids to do or not do something, we have to ensure that we are being a good example and doing (or not) doing what we’re telling them.
Middle school moms have to start taking steps that can hurt in more ways than we’re prepared for, but it is essential that we begin allowing our children to become the young man and young lade we’ve been raising them to be. We’ve spent years pouring our heart, soul and energy into raising them well, now it is time to watch them begin to fly!
What are your best tips for the motherhood journey through middle school?