Documentary explores new style of mother-daughter relationship

By 
  • October 12, 2007
{mosimage}TORONTO - Mothers moving in with their adult daughters is the focus of a TVOntario  documentary being filmed.
Mom’s Home explores the challenges and rewards of mothers and daughters living in a  shared household — this time on the daughter’s turf.

“There is often a flip in terms of dependancy and how does that reflect the relationship,” said producer/director Maureen Judge. “It’s a dramatic time. It’s fraught with conflicts, but hopefully it’s also a wonderful time of acceptance and growing. It’s a great stage in life to document.”

Judge said mother and daughters is an emotion-filled topic, one she’s been drawn to in the past as the Genie Award-winning director of Unveiled: The Mother Daughter Relationship as well as the film In My Parents’ Basement about kids returning home to live with their parents.

“We don’t often see older women on camera, and I think it’s important, as our society is getting older... it’s sort of the greying of North America.”

According to Statistics Canada 450,000 grandparents have moved in with their grown children. “It’s something that people in their 40s and 50s are talking about,” said Judge.  

While Judge is still in the researching stage she has already noticed some trends.

“There is a lot of trepidation at first because you bring a lot of baggage to that relationship, but once you set up the perimeters and everyone is given their duties it works out pretty well.”

In one case once the mother started most of the cooking, the family was happier and it lightened the daughter’s full-time work schedule. On the other hand, conflict arose when the grandmother started to give new household rules to her daughter’s kids.

“The mother has to give up some of that sense of being the matriarch,” said Judge. “And the daughter has to realize that just because this is her house, this is still her mother.”

In another situation a 30-year-old daughter and 57-year-old mother agreed to move in together so the mother could help out financially. While the daughter wanted this arrangement, after her mother moved in she started to feel like she couldn’t move ahead with her life, said Judge.   

“In your 30s you want your independence. It’s more difficult than an older daughter, who’s established herself,” she said.

This trend challenges the stereotypical image of aging parents spending their last years in an old folks home. Judge said this is more of a European or Asian trend.

“As new Canadians come here it makes it more of the new Canadian reality. It changes our attitudes.”

While her film does not target families with faith backgrounds Judge said in her previous film In My Parents Basement the parents who opened their homes back up to their kids tended to practise their religion.

“It just happened, I didn’t look for that particularly,” said Judge. “There was a certain grounding in their spiritual sense of community. The focus becomes the family and community so that allows them to deal with their issues.”

Judge is currently interviewing mothers and daughters who are planning to move in together or are already living together. If you are interested in telling your story, contact Judge at (416) 516-1833 or e-mail info@makinmovies.tv.

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