I mentioned recently over on my Facebook page that I am a mid-years mama, a Tween mama if you will. You can find a wealth of knowledge and blogs full of advice on Newborns, Babies, Toddlers and Teens however I’m noticing a serious lack of talking on the Tween phase. It’s almost like we jump from Pre-schoolers to Teens and forget we have to get through the murky middle waters before the teen stage.
With all that in mind and a great deal of thinking on my behalf I thought I’d write a little bit on the things I am learning from my Miss 8 and the crap people forgot to warn me about. I’m hoping it will resonate with some fellow mamas who are at the same stage as me and even if you aren’t then look forward to it or read it and think back on when this was you.
26 Things I’m learning about my Tween
- I am still her favourite person. Until I’m not but I know in an hour or so I will be again. Its ok, I get it. I remember feeling the same with my own mum.
- She hates most the clothes I buy for her. Mainly because I chose them. On shopping trips I keep my mouth shut and pray she chooses wisely. It’s still ok though because I will not buy what I don’t think is appropriate.
- She likes to spend my money and she neeeeeeeds everything. It’s not true.
- She is aware her body is changing and it is confronting and confusing for her. She isn’t sure why some clothes I used to let her wear I now tell her are inappropriate. It’s tough trying to explain.
- She looks older than she acts. I still let her be a child. It is unfair for people to expect such grown up things from her.
- She is a tiny hurricane of turbulent emotions. Pre-puberty mood swings are real and they are taking over her body and she has no idea what the heck is wrong.
- She still needs cuddles. She acts like she doesn’t but deep down she stills craves them. So when she scraps her knee or stubs her toe it is still easily fixed with a big bear hug.
- Unless we are in public. In public I tread carefully. Some days she is unreadable. Some mornings a kiss goodbye is fine but other days I dare not touch her. I am learning it depends on our audience.
- I can’t fight her battles for her. As much as I want to march up to that bully and sort them out with stern words and evil glares. I can’t. I have to trust her to do this for herself. I have to trust that I have taught her to cope with these situations. I know she wants me to rescue her but I also know she would be mortified if I did. It’s tough.
- I can’t choose her friends for her. She has her own ideas and the best thing I can do is get to know them. They are her posse and their influence on her is inevitable, I must know who these girls are.
- She uses my shampoo and body washes in the shower. She swears she doesn’t touch them but she smells just like me.
- She wants to wear my make up. Not smeared on lipstick like her younger sister but properly applied.
- She is still ok when I say no.
- She is starting to doubt herself. Gone is the fearless I can do anything attitude and the worry and self-doubt is coming in its place. It is my job to teach her she was right before. She can do anything.
- She is starting to need privacy. She changes in the bedroom with the door shut and is starting to dread the school swimming changing rooms.
- She can slam her bedroom door with the force of a strong man.
- But she still can’t shut the pantry door.
- She is not me. She is herself. I must let her be her.
- People at school are telling her that Santa, The Easter Bunny and the Tooth fairy aren’t real and she is looking at me for answers. Of course, they’re real. I will cling to this magic of childhood for as long as I can.
- She makes me cry, laugh, feel hopeless and hopeful all in one day. I want to save her and praise her, hug her, kiss her and scold her all at once.
- With every new emotion or mood swing I pray my mother is wrong and the upcoming teen years will not be pay back for how I behaved during my own.
- She has a great sense of humour. She is funny, and smart, and witty. She reassures me I am not.
- She has discovered sarcasm. Its crap and it’s often paired with eye rolling.
- She is still fragile. She may deliver the comebacks but she cannot handle them.
- As much as I want to be her BFF forever I am her Mum first. She is learning this and I am learning how hard it can be to step back from the friend status and be a tough Mama. Some days she tells me she hates me and I have to remind myself that if she didn’t hate me I wouldn’t be doing my job right.
- She still needs her mum. No matter how old she gets, no matter how determined and independent she is, she will still need me and this reassurance will get me through this.
This stage is just as rewarding and tedious as any stage of parenting but that’s parenting in a nutshell really. There are good days and bad days but at the end of the day it’s a journey most of us wouldn’t give up for the world. It is a gift and a rollercoaster of a ride.