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"Mom, What are You Doing NOW?"

Posted by Heather W. Soderquist

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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