Motherhood can be challenging but up to age fifteen, I felt pretty confident about my relationships with my daughters. However, something happened to both of them at this age; I like to call it the “unhinged phase.” Suddenly everything I said was annoying, my cooking was disgusting, and everything was up for debate and any accepted family rules were now viewed as punitive.

Oh, it’s so hard, because they are beautiful young women and when I look at their faces; I still see a trace of the cute toddlers they once were. I remember snuggling in bed at story time and kissing their cheeks. Now I am barely welcome in their bedrooms and I can only kiss them when they deem appropriate. I am a chauffeur, an ATM and personal chef – how did this happen? In the words of the Supremes. ” Where did our love go?”

Now let’s be clear, I have read extensively about the transition and separation that takes place between mothers and daughters – but I think my daughters are Six Sigma, Navy Seal, Ninja trained in mother disdain. Likewise, they believe that I stay up nights trying to think of ways to nag them and ruin their social lives. That clearly is not true, I can barely stay up past eleven o’clock. I have to set the alarm on my phone to wake me up at their curfew. Then I put on my black witch’s hat and robe and meet them at the door to smell their breath and make sure they are wearing bras.

Every expert reminds mothers to not take this behavior personally. What! You go to four malls and spend countless hours searching the internet for prom dresses. Two days later, WWIII breaks out when you ask entitled daughter to walk the dog. Further expert commentary tells you to set firm boundaries, and while they are violently pushing you away – they really want you to stay engaged and need your love.

Psychology Today’s, Carl E. Pickhardt, PHD writes, “Mother/adolescent daughter conflict establishes individuality and independence.” I will translate: your daughter wants to do what she wants to do which is usually the exact opposite of what you as a mother would like her to do. Other experts say, try not to debate or argue, try to be patient and loving in the face of oppositional behavior. I try, but sometimes I snap or hide in my bathroom to avoid the temptation of running down the street screaming, “somebody, help me!” But seriously sometimes we argue and then later an unspoken truce occurs, and we will bake cookies together or go for a walk and laugh or gossip. I truly cherish those moments.

Now the one truth that I cling to is best described in a quote by Oscar Wilde who wrote, “All women become like their mothers. That’s their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.”

That will be my revenge, they will both slowly but surely inherit a good amount of my personality, traits and behaviors – they will become me! I also hope they get stretchmarks when they have children. I will feed my grandchildren candy for breakfast and teach them curse words and watch violent movies. Just kidding, but it feels good to write down my fantasies. No seriously, I love my daughters with an intensity that even shocks me, that’s why it’s such a painful process as we forge a new adult and less codependent relationship. Hang in there moms…. it’s a process.


  • Barbara Polk

    Human Resources and Operations Executive

    Barbara is a business executive and coach with over 25 years of experience in human resources and operations leadership. Happily married to Alex, she is a mother of a blended family with five children (4 girls and 1 boy) and one fat English Lab. A fierce feminist, and believer of karma - she knows positive energy wins over negative every time.