I am having a little bit of trouble adjusting to life as a mother of a middle-schooler. I vaguely remember talking to mothers with older children when I had toddlers and complaining that I was overwhelmed and tired. I remember them saying “Just wait! It gets much worse!” as they stood next to what seemed like a gigantic child that was clearly self sufficient.
I remember looking at these mothers and thinking “What are they fucking stupid? How hard can it be to take care of a huge giant man-child that you don’t even have to watch??”
There are a million reasons why…..but here are a few:
You have to watch your child…again:
When they are babies and toddlers, you find that you don’t sit down during the daylight hours. You spend your time chasing them around – making sure they down stick their finger in an electrical socket or fall down the stairs or eat a Lego. Then you finally get a reprieve. For the elementary school years – they really don’t need much watching. They are innocent little angels, that when left unattended, will just color or play a game, or in Sam’s case stare at himself in the mirror in different costumes.
But suddenly, middle school age comes about, and you have to watch these motherfuckers again.
They are on their phones and iPads doing God knows what. There’s social media to deflect, there’s homework to get done, there are armpits that need deodorant, and there is a room littered with dirty cleats and legos and at any moment hidden porn magazines. (I already found a Kim Kardashian covered GQ in Michael’s garbage can.)
Just when you are starting to relax – it’s time to be extra-vigilant again. You can’t take your eyes off these little demons. Except now, instead of getting a shock from an electrical outlet – they might be looking at boobs on their phone or walking around town with B.O., which some might say is a bit worse than a little electrical shock.
From now until they are 30 years old – our full-time job is to prevent them from making bad decisions that could ruin their entire lives.
You Are Waking up Way Too Early:
When you have a baby you live your life without sleep. You walk around the world bleary-eyed with your hair in a ponytail, without makeup, feeling like shit – just trying to get through the day.
Your day starts as early as 5:00 AM because your child is an asshole that refuses to sleep late. 5:00 PM comes and you are in the home stretch and then you can put your child to bed by 8:00 PM and then the rest of the night is yours. But you don’t spend your nights out on the town or drinking wine because you know that sleep is like gold and you cannot afford to lose any. You are in pure survival mode.
All you care about is getting into your bed.
As the baby grows, he starts to sleep a little bit later, which means you start to go back to your old self. You start wearing makeup, and drinking wine at a girls’ night out seems manageable. Preschool starts and it starts at 9 AM and you find that it’s difficult to get there on time. After spending years waking up at 5 AM – you can now wake up at 7:30 like a civilized human and maybe even enjoy a few sips of coffee before your day begins.
When kindergarten begins, your day gets even better because you don’t have to even get into the car!! Your children go off on their own at 8 am to the bus stop. You can drink a whole cup of coffee and watch ten minutes of the Today Show! Or if you have to work – you have time to get ready without having to drive your child somewhere – disrupting the morning flow. In my case, I am lucky enough to start most of my work days around 10:30 – so I even got to go to the gym most mornings!
But all of a sudden, just when you are old and you have aged beyond your years, the alarm clock needs to be set for 6:30 AM!!!! Your child needs to be at school at 7:30 and he doesn’t get a bus!!
“What the fuck?! Why as we get older – we have to wake up earlier?” I complained to my best friend. “This doesn’t make any sense? We are going backwards!”
And then in 3 years when Michael goes to highschool- his day will start at 7:10!! How will I live?? I will be 65 years old by the time I don’t have to set an alarm any more. This doesn’t seem right. It’s not fair! It’s cruel and unusual punishment. Once again – I pushed a child out of my vagina and I believed that I just had to get through a few rough years of sleeplessness.
Nobody told me I wouldn’t sleep again until I was 55.
You will spend every penny you have on feeding your child:
Remember when you had a baby and you had to scrape together every penny you had to buy Gentlease formula every 3 days to keep him alive? Yeah. Those were the cheap days.
Now my children eat 2 bacon cheeseburgers for snack and ask what’s for dinner.
Trips to BJ’s fill my SUV with boxes of snacks and drain my bank account, only to be met with empty cupboards by the end of the week.
These children satiated.
And fruit and vegetables?
Those are like air in my children’s stomachs.
Yogurts get chugged down in seconds with little to no satisfaction.
There’s no stopping them.
They will eat and eat and eat until I have lost everything and my bank account is at zero.
And if you aren’t watching them – they will take a whole box of cereal or a gallon of ice cream and just go to town on that shit in front of the television….
I dream of the days when I would put one scoop of Enfamil into some water and my children would shut the fuck up for like 3 straight hours.
And speaking of meals….we are back to chicken nuggets:
So throughout the elementary school years, we have been working on refining the children’s palates. I have fed them fruits and vegetables, hidden kale and beets in their brownies, shoved quinoa and organic greek yogurt down their gullets….
I have made some progress.
They understand the concept of healthy eating…somewhat.
Well apparently, come middle school- the school lunch people don’t care anymore and they have designed an entire menu fit for a highschool student that just smoked a huge blunt.
The school lunch menu that once included veggie wraps and black beans- now offers french toast sticks, fried mozzarella and nachos on the daily.
And quite frankly – so have I.
Eat waffles and chicken nuggets everyday for lunch -I don’t even fucking care anymore.
If it means I don’t have to worry about making you a lunch…..enjoy your NACHOS GRANDE.
You don’t know what the fuck you’re doing:
Elementary school is a fucking breeze. They go off to school and come home with 15 minutes of homework. There’s really nothing to it.
Now suddenly there are hours of homework. Oh and by the way – if your child doesn’t understand the homework – everyone is totally fucked.
Last week – in just the 3rd week of school, Michael asked for help with his math homework. I helped as best I could, with my very limited math skills. Mr. Gaga came home and made him erase everything we did and redo it because he said it was all wrong. I trusted Mr. Gaga – who at one point in his career was a highschool math teacher, and kept quiet.
Well guess what Michael got on his homework assignment?
And guess what he got on the QUIZ that was based on the work done in the homework assignment???
A big fat “F.”
I furiously texted Mr. Gaga at work- telling him that he! got Michael an “F” on his homework and his quiz – because he taught him incorrectly.
This resulted in what can best be described as marital discord.
I mean it’s the 3rd week of school and we are all confused and upset…..we have 3 more years of this.
You are teaching your kids how to speak:
First of all, the days of “speaking for your child” are coming to an end. It’s not really appropriate to call the school every two seconds as the mother of a middle-schooler – so they have to start speaking up if they have questions or concerns.
They also have to speak to other children and make new friends. From what I gather from Michael – it’s a true miracle that boys have any friends at all…ever.
“Did you make any new friends today?” I asked him the other day.
“Oh good! Who?”
“Some kid Jack.” he shrugged.
“I don’t know.”
“What elementary school did he go to?”
“I don’t know.”
“Does he play sports?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, what did you talk about?”
“I don’t know MOM! JEEZ!!” he screams as he runs upstairs to his room.
And then there’s the whole new middle school language. The cool words that people say in middle school can be inappropriate and it is up to us to persuade our children to not repeat these unsavory words –
even though all I say is “fuck this shit” at home and “what the fuck” about 50 times a day.
The first week of school, Michael came home in a bad mood. The middle-school bad mood is frightening and one has to walk on egg shells to determine what it’s all about.
After hours of questioning to no avail, Michael went to bed and then did his favorite 9 PM activity.
“MOOMM!!!!!” he called from the comfort of his bed, just when I had settled in to watch the Real Housewives.
When I went upstairs, I saw that he was in distress.
“What’s wrong?” I said, annoyed that I had been pulled away from the luxurious housewives and their life of decadence and martinis.
“Today in the cafeteria, some kid was rude to me, and then he called me a “dickit. He said “Get out of here – you’re a dickit.” and then he burst into tears.
“But still!!” he cried into his pillow, “What does it mean?”
“It means… that child is very troubled and illiterate and he’s making up words to appear cool.” I answered. “Now next time he speaks to you, just say ‘Until you have a handle on the English language- refrain from speaking to me you fucking moron.”
I have to say – I was always very good with witty retorts – even as a teen.
He peeked up from his pillow, “Can I really say that?” he asked excited at the prospect of being allowed to say the “F” word.
I thought about it for a second -and I realized that a swift resolution meant I could back downstairs and eat Skinny Pop and watch my show.
“Sure.” I shrugged, “Don’t let people call you made-up swear words, for God sakes.”
“Ok!” he smiled and kissed me goodnight.
One middle school crisis down – 500 million to go.
PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS POST! AM I THE ONLY MOTHER STRUGGLING WITH THIS TRANSITION? DOES IT GET WORSE OR BETTER? HELP ME!! XO, LADY GOO GOO GAGA