Recently, I came across this article about mothering a tween written by Juli Fraga. The title “Being Mom To A Middle Schooler Can Be The Toughest Gig Of All” caught my attention. The author, a psychologist, writes about the challenges of mothering a tween.
On the one hand there are all the new worries one faces with a child who is developing his or her independences: how much freedom to give the child, how much should their online activities be monitored, how much can I trust them to do the right thing and how much do I have to accept that they’ll do something stupid and a) suffer the unpleasant consequences but b) also learn from that experience and – hopefully – avoid worse stupid behavior in the future.
On the other hand there is the missing reward one gets from mothering a baby or small child, all the wet kisses and little arms slung around ones neck, all the snuggles and giggles and happy moments that are being replaced by eye rolls and utterances of “Mom!!” in a way that makes it clear that you – once again – have done/said/expected something so incredible stupid or embarrassing that there are hardly any words for it.
Then there are all the changes going on with the mother itself, physiological such as hormonal changes or psychological when a question comes up along the lines of “I put my career on hold to be a mother. What do I do now?”
This is a difficult time for many women and there is certainly not one answer for all. Some women might be able to restart their careers or get deeply involved with volunteer work or a rewarding hobby but one thing seems clear: doing something other than obsessing over the child is a good place to start. Finding people in similar situations for support can help. Making new friends, doing something meaningful or fun can help.
And here we come full circle to the mission of A Varied Life: adding variety to your life can help, starting something new can help or picking up something you cared about that but fell by the wayside during those years of intensive mothering can help.
I’d love to record your story if you started something new in your life during the challenging time of mothering your tween (or teen). Please share so other women in the same situation can be inspired.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org