Congratulations! Despite having only just brought your baby home from the hospital last week, today they’re suddenly ready for middle school! However ready your kiddo is, the chances are good you may find yourself at a loss for how to handle this seeming overnight transition to middle school.
Below are 25 steps you might follow to get yourself ready for middle school:
1- Check your child’s birth certificate. Could they really be old enough for this?
2- Count your gray hairs and wonder how you got to be this old. Verify oldness in the mirror, then smash the mirror and invest in soft lighting.
3- Look at photos of your child in kindergarten. Weep about the time when they wore a princess crown to school every day for a month. Bribe them to wear a princess crown once again for old time’s sake.
4- Debate taking your daughter bra shopping. (I have no idea what the equivalent is for boys. Jockstrap shopping?)
5- Step on your child’s Legos on the floor and stop yourself mid-curse because you’re secretly pleased they still play with Legos.
6- Count your partner’s gray hairs and rejoice that you have fewer.
7- Read a middle school book with your child so you can talk about their anxieties together. (Note some of these easily will trigger your own middle school anxieties. Read them anyway!) Our favorites have been: Roller Girl, Mockingbird, and The 7th Wish.
8- Tour the middle school and wonder how they’ll ever get their locker open on their own because they still can’t manage to find the mustard in the fridge without your help.
9- Take your 6th grader back-to-school shopping and happily buy double the supplies because someone who is not you is going to teach them pre-algebra soon.
10- Leave your child alone at home because they really are old enough for this milestone now.
11- Hand your child an entire basket of laundry to fold because it’s time they did more around the house.
12- Stop yourself from sharing horror stories from your middle school gym class because nobody needs to experience a secondary trauma.
13- Review how to wash your face with your tween.
14- Buy your child deodorant. Remind them to start wearing it.
15- Text everyone you know to get the scoop on your child’s teachers and team assignment
16- Make fun of your child’s team name with your partner late at night. “Team Odyssey?” “Why not Team Stationary? Or Team Rather Stay Home. Team Mediocre Achievements Are Just Fine in Life.”
17- Lecture your child constantly on how to stay safe. For everyone’s fun, vary your safety lectures amongst the following topics: walking down the street alone, Internet safety, kissing and consent, sex (!!), peer pressure, vaping, alcohol use, drinking coffee, drug use, creepy old guys may try to talk to you, parties with friends, mean girls, etc.
18- Remind your child again it’s time to wear deodorant. Really. Every day now. It’s a thing. Also, when was the last time you brushed your hair?!
19- Write an email to your child’s middle school teacher about the summer reading assignment with links to articles about better ways to promote reading. Then DELETE this. Trust me on this, you don’t want to be THAT mom. (My daughter tells me that she doesn’t want me to be THAT mom either.)
20- Lecture your child on changing middle school bodies and prepare them with “period kits” to carry in their backpacks next to the hidden stuffed animal. (Is the boy equivalent a lesson on shaving their peach fuzz?!)
21- Ask, “What do you mean you haven’t showered with soap for a week?”
22- Take your child bra shopping because you hear all her friends have bras even though she doesn’t seem that interested. Instruct her to take out the removable pads.
23- Lament that your baby no longer fits quite so comfortably in your lap, hold her there anyway.
25- Buckle up.
Middle school is going to be a thrill ride with twists, turns, uphill climbs, rapid descents, and some surprises in the dark. I’m sure there’ll be both some laughs and screams along the way for us both. Whatever happens though in the next three years with my soon-to-be teen, I feel lucky as a hell to get to go along for the ride.