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The Mother-Daughter Relationship, Part III- Middle Aged Daughters and Their Older/Aging Mothers

Updated on December 25, 2012
gmwilliams profile image

Grace loves to write commentaries on psycho-cultural and sociocultural dynamics in their myriad forms.


The Continuing Saga of Mother-Daughter Relationships! Will The Drama Ever Stop!

It is thought that the mother-daughter relationships would come to an amicable solution when both parties reach an advanced stage in life. It is further supposed that once a daughter and mother reach a certain stage in life, there is somewhat a common ground and some type of settlement would be made! If you agree with this philosophy, think again!

Many middle aged women and their older mothers have unresolved and/or continuous issues. It is commonly thought at this stage of life, mothers and daughters would have the maturity and life experience to interface well with each other. Mother an daughter conflict never entirely disappear but metaphorfed into new and different levels whether it is parental, career, and/or lifestyle choices.

Oftentimes, middle aged daughters and their older and/or aging mothers are on different wavelengths and opinions generationally. Middle aged women have more opportunities than their mothers had. While some mothers applaud and understand such opportunities, others cannot phantom such changes!

An older and/or aging mother who has been a housewife for all her married life would find it difficult to understand that her daughter would chose a career over being a housewife and a mother. This mother would consider her daughter to be selfish and unfeminine for wanting a career and nothing else. This mother contend that since she is happy with her lifestyle, why couldn't her daughter do the same? This mother is often of the mindset that a real woman should be content only being a wife and mother and to leave breadwinning to the male of the family.

There are mothers who question why their daughters since they are established in their careers decide to have children at this point in life. They are of the party that women should have children when they are in their twenties or thirties at the latest. When their daughters explain that they want to establish and devote time to their careers, it is Greek to their mothers. They are informed by their mothers either overtly or covertly that they should rush to have children before "it is too late."

When their daughters do establish their careers and decide to have children, their mothers assert to them that at their age, they should not bother having children as they are "too old". These mothers do not realize that healthy women in their forties do have children without difficulty! Furthermore, studies have shown that women can have children healthily and without difficulty until they reach either their late forties or early fifties!

Many mothers and daughters have conflict regarding lifestyle choice. For example, there are women are who happily childfree and their mothers are upset about this situation and at the least, very apologetic. These mothers believe that children are the be all and end all in a woman's life. They further assert that a woman is not fulfilled unless she has children! No matter how much the daughter achieved and how happy and fulfilled she is, she is still considered an incomplete woman by this mother!

There are women whose main purpose in their lives is to be grandmothers. Being a grandmother is the apex and the reason to live. However, if their daughters for one reason or another, elect not to have children, these mothers make their frustration known either overtly or covertly! Many of these mothers are in competition with their friends and relatives to be grandmothers! Not to be a grandmother is analogous to being non-entities to these women!

Many mothers and daughters have parenting differences. There are mothers who are old fashioned and are very disappointed regarding their daughters' parenting methodology. This is often the subject of disagreement and downright argumentation! For example, an authoritarian mother does not or refuses to understand how her more liberal daughter elect to raise her child/children!

There are mothers who are diametrically opposed to their daughters' lifestyles especially if it is an alternative lifestyle. These mothers usually grew up in a time where were a limited amount of acceptable lifestyles as dictated by society. However, with the progression of time and the liberalization of mores, lifestyles which were deemed unacceptable generations ago are now considered legitimate lifestyle choices.

There are many mothers who refuse to accept the alternative lifestyle of their daughters especially if they are lesbian or bisexual. They view their daughters as being unnatural and/or as pariahs. Still other mothers disavow and disown their daughters for such a lifestyle.

Many daughters have careers which are opposite to that of their mothers. These daughters are often in careers which were traditionally classified as male. These mothers often fail to understand why their daughters would chose a nontraditional career while she as the mother was content in a more traditional career. These mothers do not realize that their daughter have more educational and career options than they did! Oftentimes these mothers and daughters are often at crosscurrents with each other!

Middle aged daughters and their aging mothers are often in conflict with each other because of generational mores and differences. These differences range from more educational and career options to lifestyle differences! Oftentimes, these mothers were raised in eras when feminine roles and aspirations were strictly proscribed. On the other hand, their daughters have opportunities that would be considered impossible to the mothers only a few decades ago. These mothers often are unable to understand the differences between their and their daughters' lifestyles!

In summation, the mother and daughter conflict is often frought with conflict. It is usually believed that the older the mother and daughter are, they should have come to a reasonable consensus! However, this is not the case! There is often unresolved conflict from relationships in their younger years. In addition to that, many middle aged daughters and older mothers have divergent and different lifestyles from each others. This difference is often the source of disagreement between the middle aged daughter and her aging mother!


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      3 years ago

      Cindy, I was thinking about you and wodnnrieg how your day was going, before I checked your blog. Your loss is still so recent; and those "firsts" without our loved ones are the hardest, in many ways. I hope your memories will bring you some comfort, today. Take care of yourself and give yourself the time you need, to grieve and to heal. I hope you know that there are many people who love and care about you!

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Thank you for your response, Marie, it is greatly appreciated.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      5 years ago from South Africa

      Very interesting hub about the Mother-Daughter Relationship in the middle-aged/aging category.

      Of course, my mother and I are on totally different wavelengths and our perceptive on most issues differs radically. Yet I love her enough to share a home with her; we are both able to accommodate each other in peace and harmony, accepting and loving each other unconditionally. However, my mother is living with my sister - although in her own granny-flat attached to my sister's home. The two of them are much more in harmony because their personalities are the same.

      This is a very interesting topic of discussion :)


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