How Being a “Girl Mom” is Harder

girl mom

My second child is in middle school. I thought I knew the middle school drill, the hills and valleys—I’ve been here before, right? Wrong. Because child number one was a boy, and number two…she’s a girl.

Parenting either gender comes with its own set of unique challenges and joys. {Tweet This} But, without a doubt, there are particular ways in which being a “girl mom” is harder. In this preteen season of childhood, boy moms aren’t debating when to allow the shaving of legs, preparing for the arrival of the “monthly visitor,” or dealing with the increasingly cruel social politics of Girl World.

Sure, boys have challenges in middle school—they battle insecurity and the awkwardness of puberty too; but, most don’t talk/cry about it 172 hours per day. With girls, the emotions are running high and you’re going to hear about it. So as a form of solidarity with “girl moms” everywhere, we’ve outlined several ways in which being a “girl mom” is harder. Checkout our follow-up post: How Being a Boy Mom is Harder.

1. Preparing for periods.

It’s hard to help girls relax about a transition that will show up with little warning and could be embarrassing. Simple fear of the unknown keeps tween girls up at night worrying about when they’ll get their first period and if they’ll be prepared. Some girls don’t want to cross that bridge at all while others are worried that it’s not happening soon enough, especially if lots of her friends have already begun to menstruate. Just do your best to assure her that millions of girls have walked this road before her, and it won’t be as scary or problematic as she fears. Check out our guide to 5 Rites of Passage for Girls for advice on other big changes.

2. Dealing with mean girls.

Maybe it’s just that girls talk more about their social drama more than boys, but coaching a middle school girl on how to take care of herself around mean girls without becoming one herself is tricky. It’s the insecurity that every child feels at this age that brings out the worst in some and makes their victims all the more vulnerable to the slights and exclusion. Do your best to help her find a circle of friends that are low-drama, and listen closely when she’s describing the social skirmishes. These are extremely teachable moments that can be formative for her — helping her to decide what kind of person and friend she ultimately wants to be.

3. Body image issues.

Girls feel the pressure from our culture to look a certain way at a very early age. Even the prettiest girls suffer from some level of insecurity about their looks it seems. When a girl is going through rapid growth spurts and the changes in her shape that come with puberty, she may be happy with her appearance one day and tortured about it the next. Try to move the focus toward good health and away from simple looks, and assure your daughter that her body will continue to grow and change for quite some time. There’s no need to get too upset about how her jeans fit today when she’ll likely wear them very differently in six months.

4. Fashion dilemmas.

With boys, you have about five fashion choices: khakis or jeans, t-shirt or collared shirt, etc. With girls, the choices on the racks are infinite, and many of them are too racy, too tacky, or just too unflattering. Helping your daughter make the transition from little girl styles to the juniors department is like a mine field; helping her to figure out what looks best on her without stirring up a batch of the body image issues we just discussed takes some major diplomatic skill. One survival mechanism is to buy a couple of outfits you find appropriate and bring them home for her to try on. If she hates them or they don’t fit, you can return them. But if something works, you’ve made a purchase without the confusing overload of the mall.

Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness. She is a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for over 18 years.

In The Comments

In what ways do you find girls harder to parent than boys?