Amanda Amanda is a married 30-something with three kids. She previously worked full-time as a clinical social worker in a homeless shelter for young mothers. She earned her masters degree while commuting to school and learned to share parenting and conflicting parenting styles with her husband. Now she is learning to manage her career, marriage, kids, and personal time. Amanda is also a writer, a continuously-trying-to-start-again runner, reader, cook, novice pianist, terrible housekeeper, and amateur juggler. She hates laundry. Contact Amanda by emailing

There’s no room for kidding around with three kids in elementary school. I’ve been out of work due to illness, but even with all this time on my hands, I still find myself scrambling and running around like a mama duck trying to keep her ducklings in order. If I’ve learned nothing in the past year and some odd months, it’s that elementary school is not for the faint of heart. Parenting elementary school kids is hardcore parenting.


Three BIG monkeys climbing in a tree.

Parenting Elementary School Kids

This year I have a fourth grade boy, a third grade girl, and a 1st grade girl. To complicate things, they all wanted to participate in scouting; this means I have a Webelos Cub Scout, a Brownie Girl Scout, and a Daisy Girl Scout. Oh, and I’m a Brownie Girl Scout co-leader. BECA– USE I WANTED TO MAKE LIFE EASY.


We attended a Rosie the Riveter
Guinness World Record event and
Monkey #3 ended up in the newspaper

What has been wonderful this year is that my illness has finally started to ease and I have been regaining my health. As I’ve gotten healthier, I’ve taken advantage of that and volunteered more at my kids’ school and gotten more involved (ie. Brownie co-leader!) with their activities. I’ve been able to facilitate some great events that are coming up, feel like a member of the school community, and watch my children be real people, real live little humans. At home they mostly eat food, hide trash behind the couch, and watch Minecraft YouTube videos. At school or while at activities, they talk, express ideas, tell jokes, listen, and show signs of growing into amazing adults.

Even better, parenting elementary school kids means I could I meet and talk to other parents who give me feedback on my kids. Most give raving reviews that I love hearing and that occasionally surprise me. When I get to know the parents better, I can even get “negative” or totally honest feedback that can help me help my kids.

Age 9 is when they start to get embarrassed
and stop willingly smile for pictures.

Elementary school is a whole new world after preschool and toddlerhood.Parenting elementary school kids means play dates have turned into sleepovers. Saturday mornings when I was once up at the crack of dawn I am now free to spend in bed because the kids just want to watch tv (or Minecraft YouTube videos) and can make their own bowls of cereal. They can completely take care of all their own hygiene and bathroom needs, unless extremely sick. My son is old enough that while camping he can make and start the campfire. All of my kids can use the microwave and toaster. They all have chores that they are required to do. They’re interested in movies, TV shows, books, and activities that my husband and I like.

Life is AMAZING. We are no longer dependent on the needs and wants of tiny, helpless humans. Slowly, we have regained a measure of our own independence with this incredible bonus of watching the most important people in our lives thrive and grow into fascinating human beings.

While driving, I sit and listen to them carry on full, fascinating conversations. They teach ME new, interesting facts about the world around us. When I’m stumped by the XBox or a remote, I ask for one of the to help me. Very often, my husband or I team up with one of them on a household project such as a car repair, yard project, or deep cleaning. Simply put, they’re just not anything close to babies any more.
Monkey #2 OWNED her Rosie the Riveter.

However, with all the amazingness that comes with our babies evolving into middle childhood, comes the growing pains as well. Fear of the dark still creeps in. Kids do stay up too late when mom and dad need to go to sleep. There’s trouble with friends, dental issues, other health problems, school and homework problems, and bully issues. What’s more is I’ve heard fragments of conversations that show body issues (“I’m fat.” “My thighs jiggle.”). They ask questions I don’t know how to answer, they want things we cannot give, and sometimes I ache for the ease and simplicity of the baby and toddler years: eat, poop, cuddle, bath, play, sleep.


First day of school pics.

Partners ’til the end.

I’m loving these years. They will be gone in a blink and my babies, turned children, will be gone. My one solace right now is that not one has yet to outgrow hugs, kisses, or full-on snuggles and cuddles. Plus, all three still love being read to, although now they also enjoy reading to us.

But there’s no two ways about it: elementary school is where the weak are weeded out and only the strong survive.

Editor’s Note: Read all the posts in our Musings on Motherhood series at this link

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