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Where's the Middle?

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Help! I’m lost. Where’s the middle of the teenage parenting road?

School dance season is upon us. You know, that annual ritual parents go through where we shell out hundreds of dollars on formal wear that our children wear for a few hours while awkwardly standing in a circle of 20 friends they see every day, yelling into a phone streaming live on Instagram?

I didn’t realize how easy I had it with my son. “You wore a red tie last year, wear the blue tie this time.” Done.

Not the case with girls!

Like the other moms of pre-teens, we got to the stores early before all the "good" dresses were gone. It’s either that or order online, wait 10 weeks for an overseas dress that arrives 4 sizes too small.

Her father and I felt the requirements for this middle school dance seemed reasonable: no miniskirts and no strapless dresses. We want to help promote a healthy body image by showing our daughter that being pretty doesn’t have to mean showing skin. Thankfully our school has a dance dress code with the same standards. Thanks for the backup, Mr. Principal!

Our daughter’s dress compromise was “Covered in diamonds…they don’t have to be real.”

Soooooo…yeah. We were off to a great start.

It was the same thing everywhere we went:

“Too baby-ish.” “Too old lady.” “Too OVER MY DEAD BODY.”

This season's style seems to be crop tops with midriffs and miniskirts. She found this one and said, “Too bad for the top of this dress cause the skirt's kind of cute.” I said, “That’s not a dress, that’s a sports bra and a tutu.”

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As I looked at the dress all I could think was…

WHERE’S THE MIDDLE?? You are 13. THIRTEEN!!!

She’s caught right in the middle; too old for the girl’s section and too young for juniors.

Where’s the middle section? Maybe cute, stylish clothing that covers all the body parts? Are jeans without butt lift pads to much to ask? (Yes, in the junior department!)

Is there some middle wonderland between clothing that doesn’t draw teenage eyes to constantly roll and padded bras in little girls’ swimsuits?

Where’s the middle? I want to go there, shop and have victory drinks until my daughter turns 30…

when we start letting her date.

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