Monday, 4 September 2017

Why being mum to a tween is so hard


Building Boys, my favourite new Facebook page, posted an article about how being mums to middle-schoolers (that's 10 year olds to me) is hard. The piece spoke directly to me. I am mum to an 11 year old boy, who is about to start secondary school tomorrow and whilst I am no longer facing issues such as nappy-explosions, feeding stand-offs or other problems a new parent has no choice over, I have done my time there and paid all my dues (I think). Here's why I think being mum to a tween is so hard:

(1) Where are the tween mum blogs? To extrapolate the Building Boys' article , there is a plethora of help and aid for new parents, including hilarious mummy blogs and Facebook pages, but scant few for tween mums. I love those mum blogs, but it puts me off to read titles such as "The ten things you wish you were told as a new mum". I want to read "The ten things you wish you were told as a new mum to a tween". There are a few mummy blogs who cope with this, which I thoroughly enjoy reading (MumOfThreeWorld is one of them) but they are far and few between! I don't want breastfeeding stories, birth recounts, guilty posts about me time ... I want "How to cope with a bloody annoying teenager". Perhaps there are no author-mothers who have come out of the other side of the tween years; maybe they are all Stepford Wives! That article I want to read? I might have to write it myself. 

(2) I am going through hormonal changes at the same time as my son! Whilst my son is starting to sprout hairs on his chin, so am I! His adolescence probably won't give him hot flushes like my perimenopause does, but it doesn't look good for a few years. Maybe better having a boy, I don't know?

(3) Our friendship networks change. I had a fantastic NCT group and am luckily still in touch with some. I always bang on about how much we went through together and I know I wouldn't have coped without their support. One friend in particular, we met up every single weekday for coffee and cake, slowly avoiding the cake, reducing our days when the kids went to nursery and then pre-school.
My boy and his NCT mate
I also met a great gang at nursery; a group chosen by my son rather than us adults. Some of the group attended the same school, but now they will be starting all at different secondary schools. Dropping the school runs as they become more independent renders fewer school-gate friends, however the anxiety faced over secondary schools has thrown a few of us together again (thank heavens for Facebook groups!). Being thanked at the last parent association disco was sad too, but not as traumatic as being asked to leave the primary school Facebook parents' page as my child would no longer be attending the school! Whilst I knew I had to leave, I was kind of trying to eek it out; it hurt, I can tell you. (I actually wanted to say a nice goodbye to everyone and wish them all luck, but after being asked to leave, I just ended it! I don't think that mum realised how much of a big deal it was!) It's going to be much harder to meet up with other mum friends now that we can't possibly even be in the same park as our kids, albeit outside the play area, sat chatting on a bench. Where is the nearest pub or cafe?!


(4) It might be too late already! I read this on one site, apologies for no citation. When the kids are young, you are given lots of advice you might wish to follow. You have a chance to mould your offspring, to change their behaviours into those you would prefer to see. However when they are a tween, you feel that most of the advice refers to what you SHOULD have done already. Tweens know their own minds. They can refuse to share with you. Whilst you can enforce bedtimes and screen times to some extent, they may be able to scam you. Now there's probably no hope at all. The damage is already done. You may as well start filling in prison visit request forms already. Just me then?



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