Hi Friends! I’m Natalie Mason. I live in Charleston, SC and I am mom to Sterling 12 , Frances Moon 8 and our mini golden doodle Dolly.



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Raising a Pre-Teen is Hard

Oct 13, 2021

Let me preface this by saying this is a lot of random thoughts and a wee bit all the place (also grammar is not my strong suit, I know this and own it).

Sterling, my oldest child started middle school this year and it has been way harder on me and him than I thought it would be. It is always bittersweet to watch your kids get older. I can’t tell you the amount of times in a week when I think man I wish time would slow down. The transition over the last year of my sweet son has been a big one. I swear he went from having a baby face and looking like a child to looking like he is a 16 year old teenager. He has had a major growth spurt that puts him almost taller than me. I hear his voice changing and see puberty approaching rapidly.

I often times feel like I am an imposter, I don’t know how to navigate these new foreign waters and I feel like I am just faking it til I make it. I feel lost, immensely lost. I told my therapist last week I feel like I am in such a weird space right now. Middle School has reiterated the fact that we are rapidly approaching the college years which terrifies me. In 7 short years he will graduate and the thought of my babies leaving home leaves me a complete wreck.

I dropped him off that first day of Middle School and just felt a pain in my heart. My oldest my baby boy was starting middle school. He was going to a strange new school with all new faces. He was going from being the top dog at school to being the bottom dog at a bigger school. I had all the emotions that day. I saw friends on Instagram post pictures of their kids starting kindergarten and I thought to myself, wow it seems like just yesterday he was in kindergarten and now he is off to Middle School. Middle School is hard and I know first hand. Those 3 years at middle school are formative years of growth and you grow into your true self.

When I was in middle school I devoured the pages of YM, Seventeen and Teen Vogue. I didn’t have any technology and my mom would drop us off at the mall for fun. I would compare myself to those few models and gain my inspiration there. Today kids are just exposed to so much and it is frightening to me. There is so much comparison on social media. Adolescence is hard on its on but add in social media, cyber bullying and its an entirely new game. I miss the innocence of my childhood. Now, I feel like all the kids are just trying to grow up way too fast. I frequently tell Sterling just enjoy being 11, there is so much more to come but enjoy this stage in your life. Don’t rush through it. Also, the world is just scary right now, I have so many fears and concerns about this world our kids are growing up in. It is unsettling and spikes my anxiety. I just want to shelter my kids from everything and keep them in a bubble.

There are so many beautiful things about Sterling but one of the main things I admire and love about him is his confidence, ability to make new friends and socialize with others. He is just so sweet and kind to anyone who speaks to him. Sterling is out going and everyone always instantly likes him. He has a special energy around him. I often wish I was as energetic and could warm a room like he can. He is just so personable. He also has a huge heart and would help anyone who needed it. This trait has served him well as he has easily made new friends in middle school, which I know can be hard.

Then there is the major attitude and sass. To me sometimes he can just be so mean and hurtful. I know they say kids are always the meanest to their moms and I find that to be very true. I can’t tell you the amount of times he has told me hates me or I am a bad mom or that his step mom is a better mom (did I mention divorce is fun). I have learned as much as these comments hit hard and sting I have to brush them off and not take them to heart. These past couple of months we have butted heads about so many things. I often worry how the heck will I survive the teenage years with his sass, attitude and witty come backs. But then he will come lay his head on my shoulder and hug me and I forget it all.

The other part I am having a hard time with is the independence. He is still a child so I am having a hard time navigating how much freedom to give him. After school he immediately wants to come home and ride his bike with friends. He wants to be dropped off at middle and high school games. All great things social wise but a vast difference from last year. It is a lot of new friends, so now all new parents I am dealing with, many who don’t communicate well and leave my worrisome mind at bay. You want to give your child freedom to go and do but how much is ok?! Like I said before navigating these new waters is TOUGH. It leaves a pit in my stomach.

I know this will be hard with Frances Moon as well but there is something about going through this with your firstborn. That sweet baby who made me a mom and forever changed my life for the better. Watching them grow up is so darn bittersweet.

As parents we want to give our kids the tools to grow and be self assured and independent. I want them to be good kids, driven, caring, have good hearts and a strong faith in God. I know none of this comes easy and raising good kids is hard! I know this is my most important job. I know each season with our kids is a true gift and blessing and I will look back when he is in high school and miss these days. I am writing this in hopes that I am not alone in all these feelings. That this some how resonates and helps someone else feel not as alone as we charge through these new waters of watching our kids grow up in a crazy world.

xoxo From one very Proud (and anxious) Mom

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