February 15, 2016

You Might Be the Mom of a Tween Girl If...

If you read one of my more recent posts (thank you for that, by the way!), you already know whether you're a home schooler or not, courtesy of the brilliant checklist written by my friend, Julie. 

Because I'm not a home schooler, I couldn't write about being one, which is why I brought in Julie with her wit and wisdom. What I can write about, other than how NOT to paint a bedroom floor, is being the mom of a tween girl. I've already been one with my now-teen daughter (who is, thanks for asking, still speaking to me), and I am one RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE with my child who:
  • Is a girl
  • Is between the ages of 8 and 12.
I love being the mom of girls--and of older girls in particular. (I need something to wear! I hate my entire wardrobe! But hey...here's a whole other wardrobe to consider!) 

In fact, I wrote a whole post about how much I love having daughters. I'm crazy about my girls and can hardly believe I get the incredible honor calling them mine.

But since the learning curve on this particular mom gig doesn't look like it's ever going to entirely straighten out, here’s what I'm finding to be true these days--and what might be true for you, too, if you are (or might someday be) the mom of a daughter who dwells in the strange and wonderful world of tweendom.


1. You've heard something like this come out of her mouth at some point: “I hate feelings. First, you’re a girl. Then you have all these feelings. It all gets really messy. The only thing that got me through the day was that I knew I looked really cute.”

2. If anyone needs you, you’ll be in the car. Driving her somewhere, or dropping her off somewhere, or waiting to pick her up somewhere.

3. If anyone needs your daughter, and she’s not at school or at one of the places you’ve driven her to, she’s probably in her room.

4. You blame the hormones. It’s the hormones. It's definitely the hormones.

5. You get it: middle-school cool is a powerful force. But wanting to fit in does not make your daughter any less of an independent, confident, unique individual who is secure in her own self worth. It just means that if her lunch “tote” isn’t acceptable, it’ll never see the light of day. (Or, as the case may be, the fluorescent lights of the cafeteria.)

6. Your daughter amazes, perplexes, awes, frustrates, delights, maddens, inspires, and charms you. Often all in the same 24 hours.

7. White tank tops and black hair ties are items you buy in bulk.

8. There are all the bobby pins that have ever been produced in the history of the world. There are all the bobby pins you’ve bought in the history of your family. There are all the bobby pins under the couch cushions and on the floor of the car and in the laundry. And then there are all the bobby pins you will ever actually be able to find on any given morning. Which is possibly two.

9. When you ask her if she has any math homework, you’ll really, really want the answer to be “no.”

10. Whatever your daughter is reading, it's quite possibly part of a trilogy that takes place in a futuristic dystopian society.

11. #OOTD is a thing. (“Outfit of the day,” apparently.)

12. You've got some ideas for tween versions of those children’s books you used to read to her when she was little. Alexandra Is 12, So Every Day Is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, maybe, or Are You My Mother—And Can You Pretend You’re Not When We’re Out in Public? See also Love You Forever (Even Though I'm Not Entirely Certain How Much I Actually Like You Right Now).

13. You just don’t ask when your daughter spends 45 minutes choosing an outfit and comes out of her room wearing jeggings and a t-shirt. 

14. When she was a baby, you remember thinking you’d catch up on your sleep some day when she was older. Now you recognize that this is not that day. (See #4.)

15. You have accepted that life runs more smoothly if “it” is clean. Whatever “it” is.

16. What you can safely say on a school morning amounts to a pretty short list: 1)yes, I like your hair like that; 2)yes, I like that outfit; 3) yes, I can give you some money.

17. On the other hand, what you might not want to say, according my friend Cristina--wife, mom, educator, Thirty-One consultant, and veteran tween-girl mom--could include the following "depending on the day, time, age, position of the sun, moon, stars, and whether or not you've washed the right clothes or fixed the right meal":
  • How was your day?
  • Did you study for your test?
  • What did you have to do for extra credit?
  • How was practice?
  • What did you do with [insert any friend's name] while you were at her house, while you were in your bedroom, while you were outside, etc.
  • Will you please unload the clean dishes, switch the laundry, load the dishes, put your trash in the trash can, not leave an empty box in the pantry, put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher (especially when it's wide open), clean the bathroom, etc...

18. You see someone across a room and think, "Who is that gorgeous, tall girl?" And then you realize she is your gorgeous, tall girl.

19. You're quickly figuring out that sometimes “fine” means “fine.” And sometimes it doesn’t.

20. You're beyond grateful that ice cream therapy works.

21. Your phone has become a mirror. As in, "Can I borrow your phone so I can take a picture of the back of my hair to make sure it looks okay?"

22. Your tween says something and leaves the room. You and another family member look at each other in silent reference to whatever it was your tween just said. From the other room, she yells, "I can hear you two looking at each other about me!" 

23. You're learning that about 90 percent of tween girl drama is not something you need to get involved in or, even worse, worry yourself sick over. For the most part, it smooths itself out if you just ride it out. (You understand, of course, that taking dark chocolate along for that ride helps a lot.)

24. You've been told that you are "the best mother in the world" on account of late-night laundry service to wash The Only Pair Of Jeans That Will Work With Tomorrow's Outfit. You speed-dial your attorney and ask him to prepare some sort of binding document in which your daughter swears to the validity of this designation. Because you well understand that you are The Best Mom In the World...until you are The Worst Mom In the World.

25. You can't believe how fascinating and beautiful and smart and talented and interesting your daughter is, any more than you can imagine life without her.



Are you (or have you been) in the mom-of-a-tween-daughter club? Add an item to this post in a comment or over on Facebook! And if you're not there yet, know this: being the mom of a tween girl is absolutely something to look forward to. As for those moments when it's a little rocky, well...see#4.


This post may have been a guest at some of these parties that are perfect for introverts.


45 comments:

  1. Been there, done that, three times! They are grown and married and having babies and YES, hormones are totally the blame! Always, 100% of the time. I laughed at many of these. Shook my head many times too. Good news: They really do love you, they really do NEED you and they really do grow up! Keep a lot of wine around, have a good listening pair of ears to vent to and remember, this too shall pass.

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    1. Three times, Michelle?! Wow! You deserve some kind of trophy. ;) Glad my instincts are right on the hormones. Thank you for all the encouraging and wise words...mostly, I LOVE having a tween daughter and I'm thankful she regularly confirms that she does love me back! Thanks for stopping by today!

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  2. Another winner of a post! As a fellow tween daughter mom, I tried to pick my favorites....narrowed it down to 6, 8, 9, 12, 15, 16, 17 , and 25 - and that wasn't easy! ;)

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    1. Oh my goodness, Tracey, you have NO IDEA how much that means to me! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your feedback as a fellow member of this blessed but occasionally bewildering club! A baker's dozen of warm-out-of-the-oven chocolate-chip cookies to you...thank you so, so much! :)

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  3. I love this list. Thank you for educating me on something I know nothing about. You wanna see my list on boys? ;)

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    1. Thank you! You're welcome! Of course I want to see it. Send it forth, my friend. I certainly can't write that one, either! ;)

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  4. As a mom of a teen and a tween I approve this post. I have dealt with every thing on this list and I have two more tween girls to go.

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    1. Well, Natasha, that is good to hear (or, as the case may be, to read)! So what you're saying is, it's not just me? ;) It sounds like you could at least be an officer in the moms-of-tween-daughters club! Blessings on you, mama, and thanks so much for stopping by (and for the approval rating!). :)

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  5. This made me laugh! My daughter will be 9 on Monday, and we're not quite there yet, but I'm sure it's coming! My tween son however? Oh boy!

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    1. Well, if I can make another mom laugh with my brutally honest posts, I feel like I'm accomplishing my mission in life! ;) And who knows: maybe you'll sail right through with your 9-year-old! P.S. I'd love to read a post about being the mom of a tween boy...just to see what I'm missing! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  6. I was there almost a decade ago. I do remember those times. Cell phones were not that in vogue for tweens then. I remember when I got her an I-POD and the earbuds were in her ears all the time.

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    1. Oh, yes, Patrick...I am well acquainted with those earbuds and iPods myself. ;) But it's good to hear from a parent who's been through these tween years and is still standing! ;) Thanks so much for taking time to visit!

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  7. Another gem from you, my dear! I especially liked numbers 12 & 22...they had me cracking up the most, but we'll see just how much I'm laughing when I get there...

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    1. Aw, thanks, Lisa honey! Yup, #22 just happened in our house the other day! But I don't think you should worry a bit...you are such an awesome mom, I am confident you'll sail right through tweendom with nary a hiccup. I'm planning to hang around and stalk you until then so I can see it for myself. <3

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  8. I LOVE this post!! I am now a grandmother of a tween girl and somehow did survive the 4 daughters! Now my daughters are going thru so many of the things you describe. It is funny when you are on the outside looking in. Great post

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    1. Thank you SO much, Pamela! WOW...four daughters! Can I call you for advice? ;) I do absolutely think you've well earned the right to be amused and entertained as you watch your daughters navigating the waters you waded through with them. Someday, I'll do that with mine! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your encouraging words! :)

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  9. I love this, Elizabeth. I'm not quite there yet on the tween girl stage, but I've spent plenty of days with tween girls (I used to teach middle school language arts). I always used to say to my students to be nice to their mom...it may seem like she's out to get you, but you'll thank her someday...They usually laugh it off and dismiss me as uncool (yes, definitely the hormones), but I hope someday they realize what I'm saying is true. Thanks so much for sharing this lovely piece with us on #SHINEbloghop. So happy you could join us this week :)

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    1. Maria, bless your heart and thank you so much! Wow, middle school language arts. Honey, you know a lot more about working with tween girls than I do! ;) Oh, the hormones! I have no doubt you will kill it when you arrive in tweenland. I'll look forward to seeing your posts about it then! :)

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  10. I love this one: "You've got some ideas for tween versions of those children’s books you used to read to her when she was little. Alexandra Is 12, So Every Day Is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, maybe, or Are You My Mother—And Can You Pretend You’re Not When We’re Out in Public? See also Love You Forever (Even Though I'm Not Entirely Certain How Much I Actually Like You Right Now)." I think I will have to write one. I also loved the #OOTD reference. I so identify with the 45 minutes outfit saga. She usually comes out wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Please link up with us at Literacy Musing Mondays this week: http://maryanderingcreatively.com/book-lovers-commenting-contest

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    1. Heehee...thank you so much, Mary! I'd love to see your "alternative literature, tween/teen style" list! ;) And the 45 minutes/jean and a t-shirt thing? Right? So glad it's not just at my house. Thank you for the sweet party invitation...I'll be there!

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  11. Nope, I'm not in the club, Elizabeth. I prayed dearly for a boy and the Lord blessed me with a boy. I have my tween and teen years to thank for not wanting a girl, I had a hard time with no understanding and grace being given. My sister has a girl and some of the stuff she tells me, I'm thankful for not being in the club. :) Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

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    1. Oh, Lori...bless your heart! I'm so sorry. But how wonderful that God said "yes" to your prayers for a son. I am already praying for sons-in-law who will love my girls as Christ loves the church (and who, just maybe, will love their mother-in-law's cooking!). Thank you as always for hosting Thankful Thursdays...you are a blessing to me!

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  12. Hehe, I love this! Especially #2, that's how my dad describes my entire tween/teen years! My daughter's only just turned one so we have a fair way to go yet, but I can kind of foresee it already... :D #FridayFrivolity

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    1. Love it, Jessica! And oh yes, my dad spent a fair amount of time in transit with me, too! ;) Obviously, you don't have to think about the tween years with your sweet girl any time soon, and when you do, it will probably be a different ball game. So when you get there, will you write your own post and send it to me? Thanks so much for stopping by...I love #FridayFrivolity!

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  13. I can say that at least 2,6,and 9 are also the case with tween boys. Happily, Dad gets to deal with the math homework!!

    Our only daughter is 6, and I already see some of these things happening with her. Girls grasp details that fly past the boys. It amazes me. Sometimes that's a good thing, and sometimes it just makes her a bossypants. haha

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    1. Thanks for the view from the boy side of things, Jamie! ;) And I love this: "Sometimes that's a good thing, and sometimes it just makes her a bossypants." You. Nailed. It. Just as I know you'll nail her tween years when you get to them...a loooooooong time from now. Thanks for stopping by, Jamie...have a fabulous weekend!

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  14. It's just started this year in our house. I knew it was coming when she started decorating her room with posters and a lava lamp, and she keeps music on back there with her CD player. Clothes and outfits are also picked with more care, and her brothers need to stay out of her hair every once in a while. And she loves when I send everyone to bed early so that she can have some alone time. It's getting real!

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    1. Oh, yes, Jennifer...and so it begins! ;) Welcome to the land of tween daughters! It's a strange and sometimes bewildering place -- but also a ton of fun and a joy and delight. Blessings on you, fellow mama! Thank you for stopping by!

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  15. Where have you been all my life? I just love, Love, LOVE reading your blog - you bring just the right balance of humor and "Amen!" to them...
    I'm heading over to join your FB group now...while my 2nd daughter is still a tween, I've already been through these years with my oldest - so I'm just hangin' on for the next go-round!!!
    Love you, friend! If you ever stop writing...well, I just don't know what I'll do!

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    1. Oh, Pat, you're such a doll! What would I do without you?! Perish the thought. You have blessed and encouraged me over and over. Thank you so much for your precious words, which mean especially much to me coming from a mom who has BEEN THERE, HONEY! Bless you times a zillion. <3

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  16. Back again from #FridayFrivolity - whenever I see a post of yours on a link-up, I have to go read it again! :)

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    1. Have I mentioned lately how thankful I am for you? You are a gift to me. Hugs times a zillion from my grateful heart.

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  17. Pssst again - you're my feature! ;)

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    1. Awwwwwwwwww, thank you so much! I am so humbled and honored! I feel like I just won an the Pulitzer! I LOVE #FridayFrivolity...it is absolutely one of my all-time favorite parties. You hostesses are a hoot. I'm so glad you got together and invited the rest of us crazies into the frivolity. Can't wait to see what you're cooking up for this week's edition. Thank you and thank you again, my friend. <3

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  18. #22...love it! I had 3 boys before having my now tween daughter. They did not prepare me at all for this, but I cherish every second of this time. I truly do.
    I'm glad I found you on Mommy Moments link up!

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    1. Heehee, Maureen...I know, right?! And that just absolutely happened in my house about 10 minutes before I wrote the post. It sounds as if you feel about your tween daughter as I feel about mine: you love her like crazy even if there are times when the emphasis feels like it's on the crazy! ;) Thanks so much for stopping by from Mommy Moments!

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  19. That was a fun ride. I raised two boys (no girls). I remember tween-dom being fairly smooth BUT teenageland had us wanting them to move into the garage - the detached garage. We got through it and they turned into wonderful men. I now have two granddaughters (still little) so I was HAPPY to forward your post to their parents! Maybe I shouldn't get grinning!

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    1. Grin away, I say! You earned it! ;) And LOL over this: "teenageland had us wanting them to move into the garage - the detached garage." Love. It. So glad to meet you...am off to find your site now!

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  20. And it seems like your vacuum cleaner is the one that finds those missing bobby pins!!! :) Thank you for sharing it on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! :)

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    1. You are SO right about that. And of course, every time I find one, I think, "If I had a nickel..." ;) Thank you so much for HOSTING the Art of Home-Making Mondays. Truly, it is an art!

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  21. Well, I was afraid of my Little Lady becoming a teenager and now I'm feeling more angst over it, lol! ;) Girls and their hormones!

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    1. I know the feeling, but I promise: it will be okay! In fact, so much of the time, it is so much more than okay. It's quite wonderful, actually. (See "something to look forward to," above!):)

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  22. Fun place for your tweens to doodle online.
    Check for online artwork and games.

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  23. I love the graphic for this post. Very cute! I have a tween who is currently being forced to attend Catholic school in a plaid skirt and sweater vest instead of public school in whatever outfit she takes 45 minutes to pick out. She plays sports at the public school where she gets to see her 'real' friends because she is not too fond of her Catholic school classmates. I know in the long run it is still best for her and the transition back to public school will be much easier as a Freshman than a 7th grader, but if is tough to stay resolved when you get told you are ruining someone's life every single day! The saving grace is that she is amazing at math and working a grade ahead in it and only wants help from her grandpa on the rare occasion she needs it.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Crystal...graphics are not my forte (I don't have a "visual arts" piece in my brain...I swapped it out for a bigger chocolate piece), so that means a lot to me! But oh, what a hard deal for you and your tween right now! I'm so sorry...those "in-your-best-interest-in-the-run" decisions are just brutal, aren't they? Thank goodness for sure for that math gene...no small blessing, that. Thank you so much for stopping by. I won't tell you to hang in there, but, well, you know... ;)

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!