“Mom, What are You Doing NOW?”

Posted June 29, 2009 by

Does raising an adolescent ever make you feel like you’re being examined under a microscope?

I find I am in the process of analyzing my own values and behavior all over again, because my pre-teen daughter questions what I do — and always lets me know when I’ve slipped up! My truth-seeking eleven-year-old, who can’t see the pile of clothes on her bedroom floor, will notice even the slightest deviation within Mom’s mood or behavior. Lately her finger seems to have constant tension on the trigger that, when pulled, will fire my own truths at me and knock me to my knees.

Recently, we took a mini-road trip together. She and I and our newest family member, my 16-month-old baby James, traveled by train, bus and auto from Northern California to Phoenix, Arizona over four days.

The trip was challenging on many levels. Not only was I vacillating between states of chasing or restraining James, but my choices were constantly being questioned by my daughter. “Mom,” she’d say, “Why are we eating ice cream? We don’t eat ice cream at home.” Or, “WHAT are you doing, Mom? You’re making a turkey sandwich?”

We’re quasi-vegetarians at home and general health-nuts, but on the road with just me and the two kids, I was plagued by fatigue and, like most other American parents who are chronically worn-out by juggling work, school and home, I was looking for the next comforting thing. In my case, a hot fudge sundae or the convenience of making lunch at my dad’s house.

My daughter’s awareness has me re-analyzing my own values, not just the ones I want to instill in her, but the ones I personally adhere to. Lately I’ve been asking myself, “Am I really an adult worth emulating if I sometimes step outside my own values?”

What is it about the pre-teen age that shakes things up again so completely?  Can anybody else relate to what I’m saying?

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  1. Heather Soderquist (Edit) Report

    Hi Melissa and Elisabeth! Well, in the past six months we’ve made some pretty radical changes to our diet that are proving to be difficult to adhere to 100% of the time, especially since we aren’t being dogmatic about it (slippery slope syndrom).
    On the other hand, it is important for me to demonstrate some sort of balance, that we don’t have to be perfect in our diety choices but strive for what is healthy and make MOST of our decisions based on preventative measures.
    While I don’t like feeling like I’m under a microscope all the time (because then I have to be accountable) I don’t really mind the questioning, when it is sincere, that is. She/they are just looking for guidance. It’s tough to be a grown-up! Isn’t it?!

  2. Elisabeth Wilkins, EP Editor (Edit) Report

    Heather, welcome to the EP Parent Blogger team, and thanks for this great post. Believe it or not, my 6-year-old is also starting to question what we do. It’s interesting — it really makes you stop and think about whether or not you’re being consistent, and what you want to teach your kids about your values, etc. I sometimes go for the “Honey, moms and dads make mistakes sometimes, too.” Though I have to admit, I’m often left tongue-tied by the questioning!
    How did you handle it with your daughter, by the way, when she asked about your food choices?

  3. melissa (Edit) Report

    OMG… it was like looking in a mirror reading that post!
    My boyfriend and I have labeled it the Spanish inquisition…my 12 yr old..
    Everything is a question… down to the most obvious and mundane…Shes driving me crazy! I dont even know how to respond half the time!! And whats worse? I somehow feel obligated to supply her with an answer!! why???



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