I see you, middle school moms! You are the ones trying to figure out exactly how to shift from elementary to middle school in some kind of seamless manner.
You are wondering at exactly what point you may be over-reacting to the lack of information from the school, and why exactly that teacher is not emailing you when your kid has a billion missing assignments. Why do things suddenly seem so different and difficult?
For moms, the transition to middle school can be a bit of a brutal one. I wish someone had told me that the fifth-grade year was going to be as hard as it turned out to be. My son simply was not interested in staying organized. He did not really want to do homework, and the idea of writing things down or doing anything out of school was something he outright rebelled against. Add to this the fact that up until this point, he had not really had to try, and you have a recipe for failure. I struggled to figure out how best to help him without the constant nightly battles. I had to continually log on to check his grades and find ways to encourage him. It absolutely was exhausting.
What I also noticed was that there was quite a difference in the support moms have during these years. Parents of fifth through eighth graders do not seem to connect as much. In the elementary years, I knew what struggles the other moms had. I felt supported and when things were frustrating, I knew I could reach out to others or that I could contact the teacher or a guidance counselor for help. In middle school, there has been less communication from the school, fewer opportunities to volunteer or feel a part of what he was doing, and I really do not seem to know what struggles the other middle school parents have.
It was not until recently that I found some moms that have been open and honest about things they are going through with their middle schoolers, where I realized that we must simply be more afraid to be vulnerable at this stage of the game. Are we worried we will appear to not have it all together? Do we think that other moms are not dealing with the mood swings, the rebelling, and the backtalk? I’m here to tell you that we are all in this together. I certainly do not have the answers on the best parenting at this age, but I know I would benefit from hearing what others are going through. Whether it is how to best deal with the amount of time gaming, or how to explain why I am putting limits on his phone, I have a significant amount of questions and challenges, and I am willing to bet you do, too.
You are not alone in wondering what is best, because heck, most of this we are navigating, having never had any of this when we were kids. We all want what is best for our middle schoolers and are walking the balance between locking them down and letting them have their freedom.
Next year, I start the journey to all of the challenges of high school, but until then, I’m going to try to connect more with other moms and share in the craziness of parenting these middle years. Perhaps you will join me in reaching out, feeling less alone, and laughing at the craziness of it all.