To The Middle Season Mamma in May

middle season mama

To The Middle Season Mamma in May,

Happy Mother’s Day!

Do you want to laugh out loud at that sentiment?  Do you kind of want to puke?  What a joke that Mother’s Day is in May!  MAY!  The month that breaks mothers and then sort of backhandedly celebrates us.  At least me and my fellow “Middle Season Mammas.”

To you precious “New Season Mammas” this isn’t for you.  Turn your sweet, sleep deprived eyes away.  I don’t want to spoil anything for you.  I refuse to be the bitter, middle-aged person at your wedding rolling their eyes and saying “just wait…”  Go nurse the baby, sit on the floor with your toddler, cut up some hot dogs, worry about the baby weight, and tell yourself this is the hard part.  We’ll let you.  It’s our Mother’s Day gift to you.

If you have more than 2 children in more than 2 stages… I’m talking to you.  I see you with your toddler having a melt down at the late Jr. High baseball game.  I see you missing the elementary Easter party on “accident” because it’s kid #4 and you literally CAN. NOT. WITH. ANOTHER. EGG HUNT.  I see you trying to figure out after-school schedules like some sort of military commander.  I see you wistfully wave to your friends in the car-pool line knowing it will be a solid month before you catch up.

Happy Mother’s Day.

My 4th baby was born the year my 1st baby started Kindergarten.  Next year I will have 1 in high school, 1 in middle school, and 2 in elementary.  I can’t do the math after that because it is May and my brain is tired.  I can’t do one more fraction, decimal, long division, place value, math fact, or algebra problem.  I also can’t with The Iliad, The Odyssey, any creative writing prompts, egg drops, robotics reports, blank maps, president projects, mock debates, family trees, or “all about me’s”  Nope.  Can’t.

It’s May.

We only thought we were tired when they were babies, right?  We only thought it was exhausting to get up with them in the middle of the night just to hold and rock them.  Ha!

Now, some of them are up at 5:30am for cross-country/basketball/football/2-a-days, and some are still out at 11pm for rehearsals/games/dates/movies. I literally can not stay up later than my kids do.  But when I turn out the light and get under the covers, at least partially at peace with whatever the plan is for the rest of the night, they don’t even notice.  They will walk into my room and talk to me like I am sitting at the breakfast table in the middle of the day.  “Mom, can I borrow your charger?”  “Mom, where’s my baseball stuff?” “Mom, I need money for tomorrow.”  “Mom, did you email Mr. ______ ?”  “Mom, what are we doing next weekend?”

I AM SLEEPING BECAUSE I AM TIRED BECAUSE YOU ARE ALL ALWAYS AWAKE AND IT IS MAAAAAYYY!

May started early this year for us Middle Season Mammas- on April 26th to be exact- when TSwift and The Avengers plotted to keep us up all night!  Half of us were waiting in line to see a 3 hour movie and half of us were watching the countdown on Instagram where the snake turned into a butterfly and we all know who really saves the world (“MEEEEE”)!

(If you don’t understand, it’s ok.  Go enjoy some Mac and Cheese, Paw Patrol, and simplicity.  I told you to turn away.)

Sorry.  I’m sorry.  It’s May and I’m tired.  You New Season Mammas are killing it with your gorgeous Instagram feeds and your advice on date night and self- care.  You’re adorable.

And the whole world is for you.  There are sweet old ladies waiting to hold your babies at church, and college friends flying in for your showers.  Your parents can still handle your life when you need to get away, and it doesn’t take a 20 page spread-sheet to make it through the weekend.  You have things like MOPS, and “Mommy and Me” classes, and Library Story Time, and Play Dates… and your kids take a nap.

Sometimes I want to have another baby just so someone will see me.

Maybe it’s the loneliness of the Middle Season that is the hardest of all.

See, us Middle Season Mammas live in our car.  We eat a lot of fast food and haven’t sat around a table since Christmas.  We live and die by email and GroupMe and literally have 0 control of our own schedules because a teacher/coach/director can change our family’s day/night/weekend in less than 200 characters.  We can make a plan, but chances are good that something will come up and it will change.  We may not need a babysitter anymore to grab drinks with friends or a date with the hubs but we are so tired we’d rather stay home.

See, we’ve aged out of all the cute “Mom” clubs.  We’re on our own.  No one is gushing over our teenagers.  We’re all so busy with our own lives all we can do is send a fist-bump emoji to our friends in solidarity.  We haven’t had a conversation with our husbands in 6 months that doesn’t sound like a board meeting or attack plan for the week.

The only thing we feed on more than Chick-fil-a and coffee is Mom-guilt and worry.  Because unlike our New Season kids, our Middle Season kids remember the fails.  The stakes are high and the expectations are huge.  I used to worry about SIDS.  Now I worry about suicide rates, SAT’s scores,  school shootings, and sexting.

Are we doing enough?  Are we doing too much?  Are they too sheltered?  Too exposed?  Is she mean?  Is he smart?  Will they make it?  Will they ever like each other?  Will they ever like me again?  What are they listening to?  What are they watching?  What are they talking about?

There is a lot less grace passed out to us Middle Season Moms.  I miss the whole, “all you have to do is keep them alive till Daddy gets home” season.  Now it is “all you have to do is make sure they excel in every class, activity, and relationship, monitor every online activity, read every text, be intentional about their mental, spiritual, and physical health, and be available for every call, conversation, and late-night ask” season.

Maybe there is less grace because we are actually invisible.  The moment our kids step out into the world we start fading away; merely the master of the calendar and driver of the car.  But no one really sees us.  We’re like the electricity that keeps it all running.  Invisible.  No one notices until it goes out.

It’s May and I’m about to go out.

So imagine our confusion when one random Sunday amid the deluge of activities and invisibility, there is a holiday dedicated to us.  The teenagers grant us their first smile in months.  The kids slow down for a second and direct a kind word our way.  Long past are the sloppy breakfasts in bed and glittery excitement of crafts celebrating Mommy.  We stumble through the expectations of this day… all of us.  Where do I want to go?  Want to eat?  Want to do? Wait, you can see me?  I am disoriented with the deference.  Mother’s Day in May… how ironic.

What I want for Mother’s Day in the Middle Season is to be sent on a silent retreat because life is incredibly loud and fast.  But I’m lonely so I want my friends to come with me.  And I want there to be mimosas.  (And that cute little bistro set at Target for the courtyard, K Babe?).

Next month I will feel bad for what I said when it was May.  Baseball and ballet will wrap up.  The showcases will stop.  The parties and programs will be over.  The finals will finally end.  Next month I will sit by the pool with my friends.  I will read a bedtime story to my littlest.  I will consume real food and good books.  I will emerge a human and I will Embrace Summer.  I will really celebrate Mother’s Day.  I will remember that the Middle Season is good too.

Hold on Sister.  Remember that they love you though they side-eye and sigh at everything you say.  Remember that you are more than the keeper of the planner and the driver of the car.  Remember that there are thousands of us sitting in the stands, running to the thing, revising the paper at midnight, COUNTING DOWN.

Remember that it is the electricity that warms a family and lights a home.

A fist-bump of solidarity to you all.  See you on the flip side.

 

 

189 thoughts on “To The Middle Season Mamma in May

      1. OMG, this made me laugh! I told my husband recently how I remember how stressful May was… With 3 kids in 3 separate schools and activities, I have no idea looking back #1 how I did it or #2 why I forced myself into such a camp of busy, gotta do it all people. (well I do know why I did it…everyone else was)

        I am, I hate to say it, and you might deem it “final season” (???) mom but that feels too permanent! Lord I hope not! You know, the season where you have some free time and the “grands” are coming on!

        When my babies were babies, I didn’t have help. It was my husband and myself. Now my friends are babysitting their “grands”. So much to say on this front, but I shant b/c I’m forwarding this the the new moms I know and I might be ‘exposed’! HAHA

      2. This brought back memories to this Autumn season mom and that angst is now gone and the juggling of activities for 3 boys is no longer my concern. Now that they are grown and have their own lives I no longer have to worry about their college readiness and life readiness. They all joined me on Mother’s Day and cooked for me, brought me some fine wine and flowers. Their cards expressed the sentiments I do longed to hear during the teenage years when I was the last one they wanted to talk to.
        I found out all those maternal worries are not as earth- shattering as I thought. I also found out that I wasn’t free and clear the day I sent them off to college- so I hate to tell you that you may still be in for a roller coaster ride that makes those earlier concerns small by comparison. Hold onto your hat- the ride is not over, but somehow they straighten themselves out despite us. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

        1. Someone needs to write THIS article!! I don’t think one exists to prepare us for what comes after they’ve grown and flown….except empty nest tears. I know there’s more than that!

        2. So beautifully said, Anne. I love that you called it being an “Autumn Mom.” My last of 3 is off to college and one just got married. Different worries and challenges now than the New or Middle season mom, but different joys too.

      3. Wow! This. My life exactly! Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone! Also thank you for describing every last detail!! I literally stayed up past midnight helping my 16 year old with a paper due today. I literally fell asleep while doing it. Good thing we love them!

      4. Such a hard time of life. But – gotta say it – just like you warned the early season moms, harder days are ahead. I know it’s impossible to believe, but I would love to go back to the crazy times when my child was in high school. Life is far too BUSY with teens and tweens, but you can see and touch them, while making a difference everyday.

    1. Thank you for this. Our six daughters experience similar calendars for life! The others with younger children are going through other feelings…a need for time to themselves and encouragement.

      As a homeschooling mom who lived in the country, there were other challenges that kept me hopping—or napping😙. We all made it through the hard stuff and everyone is thriving today by God’s grace ♥️ Hebrews 12 is my prayer for each one of the nine and their families(

      1. Motherhood is a wonderful rollercoaster ride. I know there were amazing highs and sad lows. It is well worth it when you embrace your grandchildren by spoiling and sending them home.

    2. Love this!!! Any chance you could edit the one statement about is she mean and is he smart to is she smart and is he mean?? I’m just a little sensitive about stereotypes lately…

      1. Beautiful, fantastic, hilarious article. AND the “is she mean, is he smart” line also caught my eye. We should all be sensitive to it and speak up if we see it, so thank you Jdocmom. I’m sure it was 100% unintended. Speaking up respectfully takes courage, as opposed to ignoring it for fear of online retribution. I believe it’s actually part of the “it takes a village” mentality – we’re not calling out wrongs, rather we’re helping each other see what they might not have realized.

    3. Oh my, Middle Season, already suffering loneliness? It gives me great pain to mention this but you seem intelligent maybe you’ve heard of The Empty Nester…. 🤦🏻‍♀️💔😢
      This’ll be 15 years from now. Can’t wait to read your synopsis!! Go, live your life…I’ll wait😉⏳

      1. Wow! Exactly how I feel. Up late last night reviewing my sons high school paper. At the junior high for my daughters performance last night. Figuring out how to sign up for field day at the elementary. Just got done with my daughters preschool graduation. It is nonstop. So I went back to bed, no guilt… Just because I physically could not even do my dishes. Gotta live it up before they all are home all day in the summer. We can do this! 👊

    4. Tired is an understatement. Every season is fantastic and hard all at the same time. Last year I had children graduating from college, high school, 8th grade, and kindergarten. All in May. I only see the people where I physically am. It gets lonely when where you are is where you are physically needed most, with your younger children, and all the other moms are 20 years younger 😉

      1. With 12 children from kindergarten, elementary, secondary, high school, college to job and marriage, I relate to his piece as if you were stalking me. Well done, soldier!

    5. My mother always told me, “the bigger the child, the bigger the problems”. I thought she was ridiculous…she was not.

  1. So fitting. I remember that middle season like it was yesterday. I am 75 and have three grown children in the middle season themselves, with eleven grandchildren from 10-27, and a great grandchild on the way. Sometimes I wonder how I survived🤗… such amazing memories! Your writing was an enjoyable read!

    1. Maybe MOMS are just doing too much and the kids are over scheduled too. Try to embrace minimalism and take your life back instead of constantly giving it away…for what…to whom???

      Moms need to reclaim peace and serenity for our kids. If we don’t demand it, or kids will never feel it and NEVER HAVE TRUE PEACE IN THEIR LIVES! Isn’t that the GREATEST GIFT you can help your child discover and feel….true peace!!!

      Be “CARING” AND CULTIVATE PEACE, stop being a “caretaker” and managing activities your child will soon FORGET!!!

      Take it from a mom who fought breast cancer…your time with your kids is NOT guaranteed!!! Don’t have regrets of not taking control of your own destiny and that of your kids while under your roof…stop letting society (and technology) tell you what is right for YOUR FAMILY!!!

      1. LOVE your comment, Liz. I could hug you! Ownership amidst victimization 🙂 Congrats to you for blasting through breast cancer. xx

      2. Great comment Liz! It is a lifestyle that is uniquely American and uniquely modern- and it causes a great deal of stress for the kids as well. And in the end, it is family relationships and time with extended family and very close friends that will have lasting meaning in their lives. I recently lost a close family member to cancer and it really makes you reevaluate how you invest your time.

      3. Great comment Liz! The best
        example Moms can set is one of living with balance and valuing relationships over achievements. You don’t have to commit to the crazy over-scheduled achievement-oriented lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that is uniquely American and uniquely modern- and it causes a great deal of stress for the kids as well. And in the end, it is family relationships and time with extended family and very close friends that will have lasting meaning in their lives. I recently lost a close family member to cancer and it causes you to realize how precious time is and to consider carefully how you invest your time.

      4. I totally agree! Too much parental involvement in Kids’ projects and too many activities. I teach at the college level and there is so much anxiety it is incredible. Slow down and enjoy your kids.

      5. Liz…YOU nailed it! “Ownership versus victimization!”! Yes. Simplify, people. All that stuff is simply not that important. Cherish your fleeting time with your kids…very few will be college athletes or superstar dancers….

      6. Liz -thank you for putting it so eloquently. It pains me to read articles like this where victimhood and motherhood are combined. So many women loose themselves in parenthood that no wonder all wheels come off in May (or any other month). Living in the true ‘Now’ and appreciating the fits instead of fighting them is challenging. I’m no saint and would never claim so! But I refuse to sink to victimhood mindset. Occasionally I catch myself yelling at my kid -then realize my mental state and pause the moment. I stop and appreciate that I have a healthy child who is doing the best she can. I apologize. We connect and move forward. It was a moment and we worked through it -no attachment. Our life is made of such moments and if we focus, truly focus, on what is actually important -our lives have joy and bring joy to others.
        Thank you, again, Liz, for your comment. Thank you also for your health challenge and the way you handled it 🙏

  2. I think I’m in multiple seasons … Newborn, preschool, elementary, and highschool… What was I thinking? No sleep overnight AND teacher appreciation week, concerts, recitals, etc… I legit don’t care if my kids do homework come May. This is so spot on.

    1. I did that too! My oldest was 17 when my youngest was born. I feel like I have been in every season for 15 years! The youngest is now 17 and the only one at home but my oldest grands turn 12 this summer! Busy mama life!

    2. This is exactly me! Hanging on by a thread here even with two grown daughters who help a lot. Just trying to remember to enjoy every season!

    3. I hear you, sister! I was pregnant last year so mine would range from newborn to 18 but I lost the baby 🙁 I did have 5 kids from newborn to age 8 and a traveling husband and that was intense. Teacher appreciation week needs to stop. Or be like way earlier … JANUARY. There is too much May.

    4. I was in your spot a few years ago Emmy. I had my last baby a month after my oldest graduated high school. Now I have elementary and high school and my third is graduating… Hang in there. We’ll get through it

      1. I had my 5th when my older kids were 23, 22, 21, and 16. I was 45! Talk about stages. My 9 month old at my son’s wedding! But he’s 15 now and is amazing. One Mother’s day when he was like 6 he filled out one of those My Mommy is…forms at school. When he put My mommy is 51 on the form his teacher tried to tell him his mommy was absolutely NOT 51. But yup. I was. I’m 60 now and he’s a freshman. Here we go again. 11 grandkids and a 15 yr old. The stages never end. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  3. As a mother of four, I remember those days very well. Having a strong, loving and supportive father of those children is so very important! The Lord is Good!

    1. A little late for the pick a good baby daddy talk. Fatherly support is the responsibility of the father. Moms do not nead the guilt trip of a nuclear family, because they have absolutely ZERO control over their partner. If the dad is a deadbeat it is no fault of the Middle Season Mother; that would likely be Deadbeat dad’s choice to model his parents parents example of ‘together is better than broken’ and likely misguided guilt trips like this comment. You can’t force someone to care or be involved. And an unsupportive partner sounds like the last thing any middle season mama or child needs weighing them down.
      A child would rather be from a broken home than to live in one. Double fist bump to all the Single Middle Season Moms!👊👊

      1. Oh, so true! As if being a single mom isn’t hard enough, we’re also responsible for fathers who chose not to be responsible. Notthe choice I would have preferred formy children or me. Luckily, we got a second chance with a wonderful husband and father. Thank you, Ed.

      2. She wasn’t giving a guilt trip. She was just stating that a good father is important and valuable. That’s not the same thing making someone feel guilty.

    2. My 5 range from 30 to 5 years old. Plus I have 3 grandchildren 2,4, and 5. I can’t even tell you what season it is. 😂

      1. I understand! My 6 are ages 8-29! And four grands under 6. I am definitely feeling in The Middle. A great post. We’re all feeling it!

  4. Oh my gosh! How right you are! I would always think, “Really… I am expected to spend Mother’s Day with my family when what I really feel like I need on Mother’s Day is a break from my family”, and I felt so guilty for thinking that!

    I will say, though, that I have somehow avoided the overscheduled life of the average child in our current culture. Perhaps this is because I was raised by a single mom who didn’t have time to put me in any activities. Perhaps this is because I am very selfish with my own free time. But, whatever the reason… I don’t have all of those extra things to fit into the day that most parents fit in! And I am still tired as a middle season mama; a homeschooling, selfish with her own hobbies, middle season mama. Bless you all who do everything and more than what I am doing! I feel for you. And can I be invited on the retreat with no kids and Mamosa’ bless you all who do everything and more than what I am doing! I feel for you. And can I be invited on the retreat with no kids and mimosas?

  5. This could not be closer to the absolute truth of life… with kiddos 8,10,14,15 I literally thought who has been secretly riding in my Suburban all week and writing about my life… 🤛🏻

  6. You hit the nail on the head with this one. I love the part where you mention not needing a babysitter to go out but you’re usually too tired so you just stay home. Thanks for saying what we are all feeling!

  7. I am in every season with 6 kids ranging in age from 21 down to 1 month and I feel this SOOOO much. The invisibility of middle season while having a toddler and a newborn so excruciatingly painful and lonely. Fist bump mommas!

  8. Loved your writing. Know the feelings too well. I’ve tried to explain so many times what you just did to my husband, kids, friends and no one seems to get it. I’m definitely invisible and have been for years. Youngest being 16 and oldest 36. Nine children that I love dearly. The last few years my oldest children who now have their own children see me but just to the point of how they still need me to help with their children. Thinking they can do a better job than I did. Christmas is probably the hardest for me. No one noticed that I’m the one sitting without any presents. What I do enjoy is watching them open theirs and see the excitement they show. I’m definitely not on their Christmas list while their expectations are for me to make their holidays the best and most memorable. Don’t misunderstand me though, my kids are good people somehow in the equation I just became the facilitator, the bad guy, the one who’s supposed to make everything happen, make everything better in their worlds while bring completely invisible. I’m a mom and a grandma and long to be noticed for being me. When they get together I’m now the babysitter and not the planner. I’m stuck in season two and three. How I long for season one! Young mothers out there, enjoy it while you can. I would take any of your late nights, diaper changes over being invincible. Again, thank you. It helps to know someone knows how it feels. It’s mother’s day today and all I would love to hear is the sound of being noticed and appreciated not as a duty because of the day it is but because they truly notice ME. 🙂

    1. Ann, yep, mom of 7 they all think it is a task that needs to be reviewed and judged! Nope. I know what I am thinking and doing. I think when we are going to kids for Christmas we will get a present! Until then, I guess we should enjoy watching the kids and make sure we make ourselves coffee Christmas morning.

    2. Me. This is so me. You put it exactly into the words I couldn’t find. I plan, I execute said plans, I do the cooking and cleaning up, I too am invisible, until someone needs something. I love them dearly, but would love to have someone say it to me on a day they hadn’t been reminded to.

  9. Graduated from the middle season as my youngest is 20, but jumped back in and am raising my now 3 yr old grand and hosting a foreign exchange daughter. Thank you for putting into eloquent words what we all think and feel! 👊

  10. Best thing I read in a long time. I was just having this same conversation with my friend. Middle motherhood season is so lonely and so busy and so tiring.

  11. I loved this! My boys are 12, 10, 2, and newborn. We are rapidly approaching the “teenagers and toddlers” season. 😏

  12. yay this! mine are 9, 11, 14, 16 and almost 18 (heading into senior year in the fall and anxiety is real for me as a homeschooling mom who did it all the way through; the ENTIRE THING is on me) … I’ve been going through this for a while with not a whole lot of understanding from a whole lot of people. thank you for your amazing and inspiring post!

    1. You put into eloquent words what I have been feeling (and so alone in!) but have not been able to say. 4 boys here, ages 14, 11, 9 and 4. In the fall I will have a high schooler, middle schooler, elementary schooler and a preschooler. It hurts my brain to even try and figure out how to make it all happen. Thank you for helping me realize that I am not alone and it’s all going to be ok. Mother’s Day was tough because we only spent about 4 hours together due to the crazy schedule and sports. At least we all had dinner together around the table! Fist bump to all the mommas in the middle year’s!

    2. Kerrie, my 5 are almost the same as your spread but now they range 26-16. I miss that time frame you’re in. The business of it all, the laughter, the full home all day because we homeschooled. Only 2 left at home. 2 are already married, one lives in DC and just got engaged. The two that are “home” are rarely so as one is in college and working and the youngest is also very busy and gone a lot. The house is quiet because now they carry around their phones with AirPods in listening to their own music or watching Netflix. Convos are scarce and seems the good ones only happen when Dad is around or when we work together (we have a family side business). Our large dinner table usually only has 3 of us around it now, me, the hubby and my aging mom. I love when people pop in and fill it up. Our place has always been the huge gathering place of their friends. I miss it. Less parties now but I’m energized when we have company. I’m wondering what my extroverted self will do when it’s totally an empty nest. I dread it. It all went so quickly as they say (and we don’t believe it when we’re in it).

  13. Yes to this! I am in middle with 4 kids between grades 2 and 9.

    This blessed Mother’s Day included chasing my teenager through the park barefoot to the public bathroom where he tried to dispose of contraband. I made him dig through the garbage…and then through the toilet bowl…to find everything he was trying to hide. Ewwwwwww. Then I decided to unlock his iPhone and see what else he was hiding. Long story short, I had to take away his phone and computer and deal with 12 hours of attitude.

    But by 10 pm, he curled up on the couch and apologized. That sweet, stubborn little boy I used to chase around the park for entirely different reasons is still in there.

    1. On point in an amazing way. BUT..here to tell there’s MORE…. a season after Middle Season. Don’t want to spoil the story but there’s MORE. I don’t know what to call it but after you’ve survived SATs & AP’s & proms & Drivers Ed & the torture of the absurd college admissions circus, there’s MORE. After you’ve survived majors & minors, dorms, meal plans, Greek life, roommate drama, adaptation of life after they leave only to have them come back, there’s MORE. Watching them ‘adult’ is all the things. Pride, fear, anger, disappointment, joy & non stop self examination as to whether or not you were good enough in the New mom stage & the Middle Season followed by the constant question ‘who the hell am I now & who’s the person I’m married to?’ Get Ready! It’s coming so much sooner than you can imagine.

  14. My wife asked me to read this. I knew it all, all along. I don’t know if I will ever really figure out how to appreciate her so that she is not “invisible.” This is a great piece. Happy Mother’s Day to you, my wife (mostly), my mother (gratefully), and all others that do what I am certain I cannot.

  15. Well I’m 81 years old. My 6 children were spread over 15 years . Yes I went through all the Middle Season Mama stuff for many years and when my last baby was just getting independent in high school, I started over with a new season with grandchildren who needed a “mama”. I was into Joy School, kindergarten, and car seats in my Suburban. I have never regretted those years. I felt blessed that I could be a part of their lives. Having 2 1/2 families in our home for several years stretched me, but I endured. Those families endured and we were all blessed. I’m asked how I ever did it. I don’t know how except for unseen help from above and good friends who had frequent play dates at their homes for my grandkids. And I will never regret any of my seasons. My 6 children, 25 grandchildren and almost (to date) 14 great grandchildren are my greatest blessings. I endured . And I can see that my life is richer because of each of them. Happy Mother’s Day!

  16. Love this!!! I have 19,17 and 10. This year my youngest added ADD and anxiety diagnosis to the mix and the summer work packet came home ( 4 books, papers and 30 math worksheets), I can honestly say I AM
    DONE! I guess we will start the fighting an June over reading… Cheers to summer!

  17. Another view of the Middle Season Momma is what I am going through at this exact moment…My sweet son is graduating high school at the same time I am caring for my elderly parents, especially my dad who is slipping slowly away. It is incredibly hard to want to feel joy and actually living in sadness. Losing two men in my life at the same time. Add to this the fact that my husband is not supportive of any emotions I have about either situation. Mother’s Day could have rolled by me and I would have applauded that. My husband set flowers on the kitchen island and never said anything…

  18. I can relate to being a middle season mom as far as not having younger children but I have twins and twins only. I tried many years for them and tried many more for a sibling. They are 12 now and being tweens presents many more challenges of fairness and inclusion. Be thankful that you’ll have these problems of craziness in a house full of many children. There are some of us out there that read the words more than 2 that don’t feel included in the stages that you speak of. Middle season mom to me means having children out of elementary, no longer in the – oh that’s cute stage, but instead in the don’t talk back, they aren’t your friend, and don’t believe everything you hear stage, and being early middle age. There are those of us who would love your chaos, so be thankful!

    1. Oh goodness, I needed this! I’m at the brink of planning our oldest’s grad party in two weeks, our next child will be a senior and baby will be a freshman. I am absolutely drowning in overwhelmed mixed feelings of excitement ~ excitement about graduating and then having tears randomly bubble up out of nowhere when someone asks where’s he’s heading to college. Not to mention my sister-in-law doubting my ability to plan a grad party (which could be a total flop! we’ll find out soon…) but thru it all I wouldn’t trade it for anything… not for taking 4 jr. high boys to End Game (so what if I fell asleep at the battle scene), not for staying up late and laughing at Impractical Jokers, not for all the late night talks about girls. I miss babies and naps but know this stage of life is just as awesome!

    2. Agreed! My first marriage was a disaster. Let’s just say high school sweethearts (me 14 and a freshman and he was 18 and a senior). We got married after almost 9 years of dating. 4.5 years later it was a divorce. Never wanted kids when I was with him. 2 years later I married a great man who did see me and we were so good together. We tried and tired for kids. Even before we were married we tried. We ended up going the foster/adopt route. Did foster a wonderful little guy for 4 months. He was 4 months old when we got him. He brought us so much joy and even closer as a couple. That same year, 1 month after baby went to live with grandparents and 3 months shy of our 3rd wedding anniversary, my world was shattered into a million pieces as my husband passed away suddenly. With that said, we would have loved to have our house filled with littles. Sadly, that never happened. BUT we did get to know what it felt like to love unconditionally and provide a stable and happy environment for a child, who wasn’t even ours, and know what it was like to be a family, at least for those 4 months. Greatest gift ever! My husband died knowing what it was like to be a dad and I will cherish all those memories we had together.

      Aside from that, Happy Morhers Day to all the moms rock’n it 24/7 365! 👊🏼👊🏼👊🏼

  19. I am knee deep in mid season momma-dom with a high schooler, middle schooler and an elementary schooler…I though for a minute you were in my brain!!! Brilliant and soooooo true! New season mommas…you’re adorable! Ha! Couldn’t love this more!!!

  20. Girl – you couldn’t have say it any better! Thanks for putting into words what’s in my head! 👊🏼

  21. I’m so IN IT right now! My daughter is a freshman in hs, my middle son is in 6th, and my youngest is in 3rd. They all play ball. Three kids…three game, practice, & homework schedules to keep track of. I keep telling myself to enjoy this, they won’t all be living at home at once. But some days…some days, I just need time to breathe! There is always so much to do and you always want to do the best for your kids, but you wonder, HOW?!?
    Thanks so much for this!

  22. Oh my gosh…I am raising a granddaughter so I feel like I have been suspended in middle season. I had no idea it had a name. And I have felt the loneliness because I am also the wrong age for all of that. The biggest blessing/curse is that this week she left the nest driving herself on short jaunts. I feel a return to hanging with my tribe, at the pool. With a mimosa!

  23. Ha! That’s nothing ladies. Just wait. Those kids grow up to be adults. Lol! Then mother’s day is a JOKE.
    Many act like it’s a chore to remember mom. Or they are off doing Mother’s Day with their child and you aren’t even invited. Believe me this state is nothing compared to adults.

    1. I read this tearfully, as a “late season mom” who longs for those days when she actually got to spend time with her children, who are now grown and gone w/ their own families & who now sits here lonely not hearing from them & aching to see her grandkids. No Mother’s day, birthday or any cards, flowers or call…. SO – “middle season” moms – treasure those times you spend with your kids- if you feel lonely now, wait till you are a late season mom & your kids forget all the sacrifices you made!

  24. Totally related to your post. 3 boys (high school, jr high, elementary). I’m definitely in the middle season.

  25. You nailed this article about the middle seasoned momma! I was one many years ago and the memories washed all over me! Now I have two daughters in that season and I encourage, sympathize and cheer them on! Great writing!

  26. What a great read. I cried. I’m remembering those days of that life. It’s past and gone and I’d do it over in a heartbeat! #Mommaof2sons2daughters1dil2grans

  27. Yes!!! This is right where I am and it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing!! And I love your sunglasses if you wouldn’t mind sharing where you got those as well😊

  28. Omg you hit the head on the nail!!! Right on!
    I current have a high schooler ( who plays travel hockey), an 8 th grader( soon to be high school in cheerleading) , and a elementary schooler who is 5. Loorrddd what were we thinking ! Loving and hating at the same time ! Fist 👊🏻 bumb sister! See you on the flip side!

  29. A friend of mine sent this to me and I’m sorry, I know I’m supposed to relate but I read this out loud to my husband and we can’t understand at all. I have two kids, 12 and 14. My kids have been taught since the age of 6 that their homework is their responsibility. Of course we are here to point them in the right direction if they need it but largely, they know it is up to them. We do not run left behind assignments to school, we do not do last minute runs for supplies if they did not plan ahead for a project. We let them fail and make mistakes so they will learn and they do learn not to leave stuff behind the first time someone doesn’t run to their rescue. I just don’t carry half the stress described here and I truly believe that happens because we let them fail and we set boundaries. They are both A and B students and pretty decent people. My children would never THINK to walk into our room at any time or the bathroom (I will never understand mothers who tolerate this). That has been taught since about the age of 3. May is an exciting time in our house. My husband and I are excited to spend more time with our kids, they are excited for a break, camp, time with friends. I’m writing this after going to my 12 year old son’s spring choir concert. It is a pleasure to see them excel and enjoy themselves at these end of the season concerts and sporting events. We sat in the car between events about a week ago eating burritos I got at a drive thru and they played me all their new favorite songs and I made them listen to TLC. May is the best, a culmination of everything they’ve learned and come to love in the past year. Learn to love May ladies. You don’t get that many.

    1. Spot on!!!! Totally agree with you and run my household the same way!!! It brings peace to everyone in the family…not sure when moms are going to see that they are actually “harming” their kids by being “caretakers” and “rescuers”. Care for your kids enough to create kids who responsible, empathetic, and filled with the grit it takes to take on adulthood responsibilities with flying colors!!! They will THANK YOU for it later on in life, and so will their spouses:)

    2. Totally agree with you, Molly. Teach them to be responsible for their own actions and the resulting consequences. Life is not going to stop dishing out consequences when they’re out of the house, so they need to learn now! My kids wouldn’t wake me up at night unless it was an actual emergency. And yes, we don’t get very many Mays with our kids so we need to soak them up! I teared up at my daughter’s dance recital last week, thinking about how far she’s come in a few years.

      For me, life is way better as a middle season mom than an early season mom. I’m SO so so glad those days are behind me. I almost get depressed anytime I hear a baby crying at the store and remember that time of life. Did anyone else have breastfeeding struggles, or remember staying awake pumping after late-night feedings, toddler tantrums at the store?! No thanks. Life is hard no matter what phase you’re in, but I’m enjoying this one so much more.

  30. Fellow middle season mama – I see you. I feel you, hear you and relate to you. I am fist bumping you from somewhere in the cosmos. And I feel less alone now that you published the thoughts in my head. Peace, love and mimosas to you!

  31. I’ve been in the middle for awhile now. Never have I seen it articulated so beautifully!! Thank you!!

  32. I relate to the middle season mom stuff for sure, but feel like I need to defend the moms of babies and preschoolers. Parenting my three was so much harder when they were little. Two of them screamed all of the time as newborns and were fussy babies who barely napped. One of them was constantly trying to run away from me in public places. All three were high energy and strong willed. And we had no family nearby to help. The challenges of the phase we’re in now are definitely easier to deal with for this mama. So take heart, New Season Mamas, it might just get easier!

  33. I had baby number five when my oldest was was graduating high school. Plug three more in between and I don’t know how I made it out of May alive!! Also, Baby #5 doesn’t earn you more help or attention, if it does – it’s fleeting. Everyone’s over it. So don’t be too tempted!

  34. This – 100 times this!!

    You New Season Mammas are killing it with your gorgeous Instagram feeds and your advice on date night and self- care. You’re adorable.

    AGH!!!!

  35. Reading this while I sit in the carpool line waiting to pick up thing #2 from preschool, listening to thing #3 cry in back seat bc she has molars coming in, and replying to thing #1 teachers request for us to provide class snacks for SOLs next week all the while trying up update my husband via text- mostly for reference that “I DID IN FACT TELL YOU” our updated calendar of events for the weekend with family coming in town and thing #1 birthday, sleep over and monster jam event and baseball tournaments and a last minute game reschedules and thing #2 soccer game and end of season party party and DID I MENTION A SLEEPOVER?

    I’m not even middle season yet…

    I want to run away. 👊

  36. Can I play devil’s advocate and put it out there that choosing this lifestyle, because that’s what it is, was your choice for your family? I’ve heard from several over-scheduled mothers about how hard it is because their kids NEED traveling baseball and gymnastics and clubs and everything else. None of us need those things. They are nice extras in the lives of those who can afford the cost, the time, and the energy. But they certainly aren’t a need. Research shows that kids need downtime, family dinners, boundaries, and healthy balance in their lives. We have the opportunity to model that healthy balance in all areas of our lives, rather than set up the circumstances and wear the exhaustion like a badge of honor. You get to choose your attitude about your circumstances, not the other way around.

    1. Yes yes yes! And same with the constantly trying to one up other moms over which parenting stage is harder.

      It is all hard. We are all doing our best. Every stage brings its own unique challenges. You don’t need to dismiss and downplay the challenges of new moms to make your point valid.

      I see this constant competition between moms for who is the most stressed, overworked, exhausted, unseen, unappreciated, as if it is, like you said, “a badge of honor”. We seriously need to stop it. Acknowledge it is all hard and support one another though the season we are in.

      No more of this, “just wait.” This phrase and mentality drives me bonkers.

      1. Nailed it. Every season life is hard. There’s is always someone who will look at your life with envy and there will always be regret. But can I just say all these comments are so insightful and make me realize I need to call my late season mom 😢

  37. Oh my goodness, I so needed to read this today. It made me laugh and then cry just to see someone else understand, actually I’m still crying. I woke up today heavy with thoughts of school projects, baseball, ballet, travel basketball, summer programs and everything in between. All of which I thoroughly love watching my kids do, but how do I possibly do it all for all of them? I try to remember everyday that this season in life will one day be over and I need to cherish everything, but it’s still a lot. Thank you for your words, this Momma is grateful to have read them!

  38. This was a wonderful article! I am now 50 and my kids have passed the toddler stages and the teen years. They are now in their early 20’s. But it was neither of these stages that was the toughest for me. The hardest time of my life was taking care of my elderly, sick parents. That was a kind of tired that I had never before experienced. I had always heard that roles may change when parents get old, but I never realized just how hard it would be, but I would not change a thing.

  39. Can we just add to this the momma who also works full time? And has an extra hour and a half commute each day? I would agree we do have a choice in the matter, but no matter what choices we make, the middle season tends to be an invisible season for most of us. A season of survival. I do believe, though, one day it will be very quiet and we will miss all of this crazy!

  40. I seriously love everything about this post! I am getting ready to turn 40 in a couple of months. I have 5 kids and we are FINALLY out of baby/toddler stage after camping out there for 15 long years. While I am so thrilled, there is also this strange sense of loss. My younger friends are still having babies and I am no longer invited to be part of the club. My 2 oldest are involved in sports and clubs that keep me up later than I have stayed out in years. Everyone in my family can now control their bladder, yet I feel the weight of getting ready to have to let one go when she graduates in just 3 short years. I want to cheer and cry all at the same time! I am totally entering this Middle Momma season and it is so thankful to know my feelings are normal. haha

  41. This is so spot on, I have 4 kids: 12 -B, 11-G, 9-G, and 7-B. What a busy life I’ll officially have 2 in Elementary and 2 in Middle School next fall. On top of all 4 playing soccer we can have up to 4 soccer games in a day. I’m very grateful for grandparents that will tag in when needed, to bring a kid to a game and a very good friend who trades kids with me in order to get her 3 to games, because 3 out of 4 Richards are in her kids grades. I love what I have and wouldn’t change it, but sometimes….. it’s gets to be a lot, it’s nice to hear that I’m not in it alone. 🙂

  42. Honestly Mother’s Day just makes me sad. I got a hug from the youngest teenager (17) when he got up at 11. A text from the eldest (20) at 1pm. And the 19 arrived home after being out the night before with a bunch of flowers. Which is was the sweetest thing ever. But then I was again alone. No nice lunch. No dinner out. No celebration of me. Just the electricity keeping it all running. Invisible. And tired. Fist pump to you all.

  43. I wish I were only a chauffeur, but I am the middle season mom that is single… Divorced… and I do everything. At least mom’s that aren’t divorced have someone to talk to, or to watch the kids when you need to run to the store. I’m sorry I had it easy when I was married. Single parenting, and no I don’t mean he’s gone for a week for work I mean the real deal single parenting is much more brutal! Keep that in mind when you think life is hard.

  44. I had a blog…a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. And if it was still active, I’d add you to my Favorites. This is spot on.

    And, you have inspired me. To start thinking about posting again. For those of us who have passed the “middle season” and moved into the ” Hold it together as your world falls apart” season. In MN, that starts in late Feb. In case you were wondering.

  45. I have been in all of these stages. May is just a hard month. Schools have awards day, field trips , bands concerts, spring games.. On top of all this I’m the mother of three and work full time at our High School so I have my own crazy May. My daughters thought May was a good Month to get married. One has been married 12 and the other 2. My college kids moved home in the middle of May. Five family Birthdays in May. I’m also blessed with three grands. 1,7,11. So we can all run our homes any way we need. There will be crazy times. When your in then final stages of a wedding with one. Your College student is bringing all their dorm stuff in boxes that fill his room. Your oldest is taking more college classes and your baby sitting for her to take finals. ( yes her husband helps he’s a police officer and works long hours). Mothers Day was nice with a meal I did not cook. Close your eyes and breathe…. June will be here soon. So will August!! Great read! Thank You!

  46. And then comes the day when they leave home. When things go silent. When you look at their lives and see your “if onlys.” But the greatest day of all is when they come,individually, and say, Mom, thank you for being my mom. Thank you for all you sacrificed and your love and help as I grew up. I love you, Mom.” That makes it all worth it!

  47. laughing, crying (more crying) and fiercely nodding my head ~ thanks soooo much for this ~ is express more BUT it’s May

  48. I applaud you for bringing to light an overlooked stage of motherhood. But, at the expense of dismissing new moms? You might have forgotten how damn hard that stage is too.

  49. Wow, does this resonate with me, and many of my friends and siblings. Everyone is sharing and commenting on Facebook. Thank you for summing it up so eloquently.

  50. Oh my goodness, this is hilarious and brilliant! Such a fun(ny) read this morning! Baseball-ing and ballet-ing and recital-ing right along with you. Throw in some graduations and sacraments and it’s *almost* too much. I hate to tell you that it will get harder before it gets easier. Parenting older teens and young adults with their many and truly life-changing experiences and choices has been a mental and emotional roller coaster we did not anticipate! We have nine kids, 23 to 6. Our six year old has Down Syndrome so she has been and will stay in an extended toddler-like stage for awhile. It’s wild for sure. I laughed at and loved everything you wrote in your post! Maybe the ‘you’re adorable’ line more than the others. 😃

  51. Nailed it!! What really hit me while reading this is that I am a middle season mama; my ex’s new wife is a new season mama. She has criticized me for my frequent use of email and reliance on google calendars. She has NO clue how challenging it is to be a middle season mama. Maybe I can find a tactful way to share this…

  52. Wow! Me to a tee with four 😅! We have a high schooler in the fall, two will be in elementary and one in preschool. Thank you for the honesty and humor in your article, I do remember my MOPs days with the older one – he got most of the perks lol! My real life advice has been to document moments with small video clips and pictures. The kids laugh at them now that 2 are older. My husband and I remind each other we this middle season will pass and it’s not forever, so let’s ride it as best as we can, laugh at the rest. Date nights moved hours earlier because we fall asleep if we are still in a movie at 10pm lol! Thank you again.

  53. You are more than a fist bump. You are a heart bump. Thank you for putting to words what my soul has been whispering to me this whole year. Thank you for letting us to stop and exhale-nope, so not easy but so not alone. Bravo! brilliant writer. Love this and thank you fiercely for this.

  54. My fave quote from a seasoned mom…” Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems. This year I have a college sophomore, high school senior, freshman, 6th grader and 1st grader I thought, “Finally, all my kids are in all day school!” Wrong! My senior only goes half days now! 🤦‍♀️ I’m worrying about my oldest getting into her college program, senior applying for college, freshman has his first girlfriend and a his drivers license, 6th grader is emontional roller coaster (thank you hormones🙄) and my 7 year old wonders if she will ever have a play date with her friends because we are attending games/plays/pratices everyday! And mamma needs to golf and have her alone time 😊 But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Fist bumps to all the moms out there doing their own thing their own way. ❤️

  55. Loved your story. As a grandmother, all I can say is enjoy every season. They are gone and on there own way to fast. I would gladly do it all over again. I so miss all of it, the good the bad and the ugly. Hopefully you do a good enough job to keep them healthy and happy and instill values that they become well adjusted adults. The hardest for me was letting them go off to college on the opposite side of the country. I loved them enough to let them spread their wings and they eventually fly their way back home. Now I get to enjoy my grandkids!
    Cheers to all moms in all seasons. No one else could do what we do!

  56. Loved it! So true. The only thing you missed, for those who started late or spreaded the kids out even more, is the hot flashes and night sweats that those kids and all the activities trigger!

  57. Oh my gosh…that was an amazing article…I’m way past those days. I’m NANA now, which I LOVE, but I do have two children that fits right into that mold. I watch them and wonder how you do it…then I remember…I did it and so can they…

  58. I cannot even tell you how much I love this post. First of all because I found you through it. My fellow middle season mamma friend sent this to me and a group of our friends. At that point many of us had read it and passed it along as well. Beautifully written and EXACTLY how my life works. Thank you for seeing us. Love, love, love this.

  59. So I’m a new season mama (currently with 3, 2 and 1 year old boys) and I should have turned away because mine haven’t even started pre school yet 😉 but I found this encouraging! Cause man my days are exhausting and so tough and I’ve been in/still am? in survival mode for a long time now 😂 BUT after an especially rough day, I am reminded to enjoy these simple times and my cuddly, precious, baby boys who still think my kisses heal all boo boos..because their problems will get more complex and difficult and fighting their brothers over the purple magnatile will turn into fighting with me, or friends or girl friends. And worrying if I’m tricking them to eat enough vegetables will turn into worrying about them driving a car. And worrying about if I chose the right preschool for next year will turn into picking out colleges. So thank you. Tomorrow I will relish in my new season mamahood 😊

  60. This is really great! Thanks for sharing! I am a multi season mom. I have 3 teens and 2 toddlers! I want to tell you that you dont want to have another baby for attention! Try being taxi mom after being up all night with a newborn… not fun.. And also MOPS has started what they call moms next. For moms with school age kids! I met a great friend that way. I recommend all mid season moms check it out. All moms need other moms, no matter what season you are in!

  61. Omg. I could have written this. Thank you thank you thank you. A single mom with four kids in three different stages, every single word resonates. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. One day I won’t know what to do with all my free time. Thank you.

  62. My youngest of 4 kids is 14, so she gets the worn-out mother who says random things on the way to school like, “You know if someone gives you a pill at school, you don’t take it? Right? It’s illegal.” “Okay, mom.” Just as she’s getting out of the car. “Illegal. Remember that. And have a good day.” When my husband asked what I wanted for mother’s day, instead of saying what I really wanted–an entire weekend at a hotel alone–I said, “Flowers would be great. I love them.” And my 22 year old daughter who came home for the weekend (they get sweeter after 19) said, “What do you want for breakfast, mom? I’m going to make it.” I said, “Well, I only eat yogurt in the mornings or I get bloated for the rest of the day.” TMI, I know. That’s what happens when you’re 48.

  63. My kids wonder why Mom sleeps on the couch every night at 9 to 10. Passed out, with a cup of coffee sitting next to me getting “iced”. I need a nap after reading your wonderful article. My oldest is a busy high school senior on his last week and my baby is finishing 7th grade. Both are multi-sport athletes who go to private parochial school. We volunteer where we can, but both my hubs and I have demanding jobs. But I can happily say as we are going into a new season with my son we didn’t miss much. Every game but two or three in 4 years of 3 varsity sports and the few we missed were so far away that it was ok with him if we didn’t make it. One of us was there. Best wishes to all the other Moms out there. Doing the best we can. I’m glad we’re surviving.

  64. Thank you so much for writing this! It seriously made me cry. It spoke to my heart and soul more than you know. Many things you said hit home but Especially about the electricity… “We’re like the electricity that keeps it all running. Invisible. No one notices until it goes out.”

    Again thank you!!

  65. All this and then they turn into young adults and it’s a whole new ballgame. They’re supposed to be “adults,” right? Should be able to take care of themselves and make good decisions, right?! We have a 4 year old, 15 year, and a 22 year old and I. CAN’T. EVEN. 🤪

  66. Our host read this to our Bunco Group last night. 10 women that have known each other since we met in MOPS 13 years ago cried and laughed, and then laughed until we cried, as she read this. So true! This season is so hard, so exhausting. But it’s fun too. And beautiful. But we’re all hanging onto the frazzled edge in May. Thanks for getting us and thanks for the fist bump. Solidarity!

  67. 👊🏻 👊🏻 👊🏻
    My 15 year old said to me the other day,”wow mom, you sure have been hugging me a lot.” I laughed and squeezed him harder. I just release my 18 year old into the world and I know I only have 3 and 4 years left before my next two fly the coup and it will only be a blink of an eye before I long for May again. So I hug and kiss them all the time and bless their teenage boy hearts, they let me.
    Thanks for this great article. It was so right on and validating!

  68. 👊🏻
    My 15 year old said to me the other day,”wow mom, you sure have been hugging me a lot.” I laughed and squeezed him harder. I just release my 18 year old into the world and I know I only have 3 and 4 years left before my next two fly the coup and it will only be a blink of an eye before I long for May again. So I hug and kiss them all the time and bless their teenage boy hearts, they let me.
    Thanks for this great article. It was so right on and validating!

  69. I guess I’m a “late season mom.” My baby boy, only child, medical miracle from God is at University IN SCOTLAND!! We live in the awful state of California. So, enjoy the spread sheets of activities and Chick fil A. Enjoy them never doing chores on time or correctly. Enjoy being told you don’t know anything (they are kind of right, re: the Iliad). Because some day you’ll walk by their bedroom and cry. You see their pictures on the wall (“back when they were cute”). You will live for the daily text and monthly phone call. But, you’ll also be proud of raising a confident, independent human being. Mine graduates in July (BRAG WARNING: from an Honours Program with a Masters Degree in 4 years) If high school graduation was a preview, I’ll need a whole tissue box for this one.

  70. Great article!! I also have 3 birthdays and our anniversary in May! It’s pure craziness over here and all I want to do is sleep in and rest on mother’s day…in complete solitude!

  71. I’m just now reading this, because May was exhausting and I’m just now catching up on life. You are too right! I’ve been saying for years that Mother’s Day in May is wrong. Not only are we too busy to enjoy the day, but everybody else is too. Usually the morning of Mother’s Day is when everyone starts thinking about how we should celebrate Mother’s Day; that does not make it feel special. I propose an Alternative Mother’s Day! I just need help with the date. I suggest either the 2nd or 4th Sunday of June. (FYI: Father’s Day is the 3rd Sunday.)

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