Help! I am Trapped in the Middle School Drama Club!

It hasn’t been much of a secret that I am not completely loving this whole middle school thing.  Missy lives in constant chaos of late assignments, missing homework, sleep deprivation and tears. I am in a 12-step program for my addiction to the online grading system. We both should have been “transitioned” by now, but it has been anything but a smooth ride.

We have revamped her organizational system three times: To Keep or Not to Keep the Trapper Keeper. That is the question.

Her first phone was lost or swiped. Or misplaced and picked up by some other kid who then used it to call our house. (I have always wondered what a kid would do with a found phone and why the parents wouldn’t be like, “Hey, where the hell did that phone come from?”)

The replacement phone was lost during a play practice that resulted in stopping the production. The entire cast and crew searched under the seats and in their backpacks as Missy sobbed. (I’m sure the director was impressed by her theatrics.) Later that night, she found the phone shoved inside one of her folders.

The phone was “stolen” a few weeks later. Fortunately the thief brought it back and put it in the cup holder of our van. It might have been the same robber who returned her Spanish binder to the classroom and colored pencils to the back of her locker. What a coincidence.

She’s come home without coats, hats, homework, books, important papers and pants. Yes, her leggings were swiped/lost while she was at gym class.

And thanks to a few snotty girl comments, Missy lost the most important thing she owned: her confidence. I used it as a Teachable Moment and blurted out that sometimes girls were little bitches in middle school. Not my proudest parenting move and certainly not my last. I was simply at a loss to explain why people get off by being cruel.

But one of the worst days was when she came home in tears because she got in trouble during lunch. Apparently the lunch supervisors have a signal for the kids to stop talking when it’s time to clean up and go to the next class. Missy and her girlfriend were shushing another friend so she wouldn’t get into trouble and they got busted instead.

They had to stand against the wall and were instructed that they were to be seated separately at the Bad Tables for the next five lunch periods. Missy was completely mortified and beside herself. I am not sure what upset her more: the embarrassment of it all or the fact that she couldn’t socialize with her gal pals.

I told her to make the best of it and pack a trashy magazine in her lunch box.

At lunch, she sat down at the Bad Table and started to unpack her food and Tiger Beat. Out of nowhere, one of her buddies slipped into the seat next to her and said, “I don’t care if I get into trouble for sitting with you. We’ll have my mom take it to the principal!”

Missy then ran her magazine to the friend at the other Bad Table so she could have something to pass the time.

The next day, a few more of their friends crossed the Bad Table Picket Line and sat with both girls. Missy was elated by the support. By the end of the week, their group of friends was split between the Bad Tables. Eating their lunch in solidarity with their girlfriends.

And we both learned a big lesson about Middle School.

True friends can’t be lost.

Or stolen.

Or trapped inside a folder.

They are right next to you — giggling at the Bad Table.


A good friend will come and bail you out of jail… but a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, “Damn… that was fun!”

I still have a Visa receipt from bailing my girlfriend out of a police station. We have been friends since we were around Missy’s age…


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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mom-mom-mom.com/2011/11/27/help-i-am-trapped-in-the-middle-school-drama-club/


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  1. Donna

    Loved this one Karen. My youngest will be entering middle school next year and the girl drama does start early. Never really happens to the boys, at least my son who is a Soph. now just blew everything off. You are so right about true friends and I preach this to my daughter too! So, here’s to true friends and Missy finding her confidence! Donna

  2. Ronnie

    I am totally in tears. I had a really tough time in middle school too. Every time I read about Missy’s troubles it sounds just like my experience xx years ago. Thank goodness for true friends.

  3. GiGi

    Missy is lucky to have you as a mom and if she learns anything from you she will see you are wealthy in true friends!

  4. Karen

    Thanks, Donna! It seriously made all the difference to know that her gal pals were by her side. Isn’t it just as true as adults?

  5. Karen

    Aw, I am so sorry that you had to go through the same BS. The hardest part is not fighting her battles for her. I know I won’t be doing her any favors. After the Bad Table experience, I think she’s gonna be okay~

  6. Karen

    Yes I am! And damn lucky to have you as one of them!!!

  7. M. Wiener

    O my dear friend! I could scoop up Missy and hug her for a hour. You’re doing such a good job keeping injustices minimized. Some wrongs have to be dealt with directly, others remotely. She is a darling girl with more heart and soul than most of our other kids combined.
    I am often surprised by what can come out of kids mouths toward other kids. My instincts want to dis ’em all. Then I remember how truly wonderfully ignorant that they all are…teach her to forgive their ignorance, because it will come back and bite them
    I have a confession: I took my kids off of organic milk so that they wouldn’t be delayed (or behind) the other kids in puberty. Now how’s that for good parenting! I’m so ashamed…but!!!! they didn’t have to deal with that problem at 11…
    And lastly, and sorry to ramble, but I heard Missy declare loudly just the other day, that she is VERY street smart and that’s what matters at the end of the day. I’m telling you, that kid has it going on!

  8. Karen

    Thanks for being such a Missy supporter! I just feel so lucky that she has such a great group of friends like your daughter. It’s incredible how they look out for each other at this age.

    (I had to laugh out loud over the “street smarts” comment. There are many days that you can tell that she lives on a cul de sac!)

  9. Arnebya

    How great is that to have your friends support you. It’s so necessary at their age. Which is also my oldest daughter’s age. She started middle school this year as well and believe me, I’m giggling b/c I too immediately told her she needed a Trapper Keeper. Why it’s still in my head after all these years is a wonder to me.

    Thanks for making me laugh today. I’ve gotta go back and read some more, since I first had to click over and read about how your year started (and my daughter is still the “only one without a phone, Mom, it’s so embarrassing, oh my God-uh!”).

  10. Karen

    I’m so glad that you found me — we need to stick together over the next three years to navigate through all of this insanity! Thanks for reading~

  11. Steph

    I love this post… the same thief follows my middle schooler around and has even stolen her violin! Thank goodness our thief was kind enough to turn the violin in to the music teacher.

    I love that your daughter has a good network of friends. I’m hoping that with a little guidance (ok, maybe a swift kick) mine will start to hang more with the friends that treat her well!

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