Mama’s lessons learned in 5th grade

June 2018 | by rebeccastewart

We’ve made it through another school year, and as I sit here putting the finishing touches on this year’s trip down memory lane I’m loving summer break already. The girl is on round two of hanging with the cousins since today’s noon dismissal. I’m reveling in this back and forth between the houses that is at its best during the chillaxy-relaxy summer months.

So, it was middle school this year, friends. Middle School. When I first started compiling my list I thought to myself, maybe I don’t need to continue growing the size of the list each year, maybe I should just cap out at nine. Tsk, funny girl! So many lessons in these tumultuous tween years, I had to do some whittling. On that note, here’s this year’s…

Top 10 5th Grade Lessons Learned

10. Orientation is a gift that should not be squandered. We were in that school until the hallways were bare, practicing the locker combination until she could successfully open it three times in a row. Don’t be afraid to spend all of the time, mamas; it’s so worth it to calm some of the nerves.

9. T(w)een mags are still alive and well! Maybe more of an observation than lesson, but this makes me oddly happy that in this digital age girls will still huddle around actual pages of a magazine, taking quizzes about “Girl Power” and “What’s Your School Dance Style?”

8. Lockers are apparently akin to a Mary Poppins-esque bag in ways that I clearly don’t recall. I don’t know how she managed to ever find anything with the sheer volume of things that came home this week. I mean, the kid still had her snowpants in there. She claims next year she’s going to be all about the organization. Fingers crossed.

7. Homework just might be the actual worst. I have never felt more useless in the face of math homework since my own educational days. So many unfortunate flashbacks. Consider me thankful that the hubs and I each have our own strengths and can tag-team. Rumor has it 6th grade involves so much more homework. Hold me.

6. “The Dab” has officially bowed out of the tween scene and in its place is “The Floss.” I’m quite certain no explanation is needed, but just in case you need a visual:


5. Kid pushing for independence = Mom pushing for responsibility. I feel like she might have been more successful than me… Ongoing lesson, this one. But you guys, I can’t tell you how challenging it is to not let battles over completely mismatched ensembles and wonky hair be the hill that I die on. And seriously, why would you not want your editor mother to proofread your writing? More often than not, it’s not worth the fight, and ultimately it’s pretty great witnessing yet another tier in this quest to becoming her own, strong, independent person. I just have to keep reminding myself of that...

4. There is so much drama amongst 5th grade girls. So. Much. Drama. #allthedrama I can’t even. If we’re looking for the bright side, it definitely opens the door to all kinds of conversations, and I hope it’s filling her toolbox for handling these situations in a healthy way.

3. She is so abundantly blessed by her people. Not a school lesson – or a new lesson, but I was struck anew the other day as I watched her say something that made my parents laugh. The obvious joy she gets at having tickled their funny bones, combined with that glorious sound…Magic. I love the way they love her.

2. For whatever battles we’ve started waging in these tween years, we are raising a kind, loving human being. She has this amazing heart and such an amazing capacity for empathy. These moments are a gift - feeling like we’re getting some things right, which, you know, are tempered by the times when I feel utterly clueless, useless, and inept. Parenting. Good times. 

1. This spot is always reserved for my girl’s teacher, and this year is no different. Though being a big 5th grader meant having multiple teachers. I can’t tell you how impressive these people are – and the school at large, they made this “scary” transition smooth. And the support these teachers offer the kids…I heart you teachers, thank you for all of your work, love, and teaching.