Hotel Mom

When Grown-up Children Don´t Move Out

Authors: Dominique Klughammer, Daniela Agostini. Human interest - ZDF - 2005 - 30 min

Nowhere is better, cheaper and more comfortable than home: Hotel Mom can`t be beaten. Why struggle with laundry, shopping and cleaning when the home service offers it as part of the deal? Especially when mom and dad stopped trying to assert their authority years ago. Of course there are one or two disadvantages to still being viewed as a 'child' and told off for not putting your shoes away or coming to dinner too late or not tidying up the tools in the garage. Then there's the problem of not being allowed to listen to loud music, have friends over at will or lock your bedroom door. But apart from all that...

Matthias and Martin R. are 35 and 30 years old, have jobs and love living at home. They get on well with their mother, love the space of the big house and only occasionally have to tidy their rooms themselves. Mom does the rest. For her part, she hopes they will move out sooner rather than later - after all, they're plenty big enough! But Matthias and Martin would rather stay.

In the seventies, young people couldn't get away from the parental home fast enough, but today, that trend has reversed. Young men are particularly happy guests at Hotel Mom. Official statistics show that 47 percent of German males still live with their parents aged 24. By the time they are 30 that figure has dropped to 14 percent, but even that is still far higher than the mere five percent of girls who still live at home at the same age. The reasons for hanging on at home so long are manifold: Long years of study, problems finding accommodation, short-term work contracts, disorientation, existential fears and high expectations. For many it makes sense to live at home and thereby still be able to afford luxuries such as cars, mobile phones, holidays and clothes.

Robert Z. is 32 and has made himself comfortable in the attic of his parents home. He likes it there, just as he likes the feeling of being looked after. His mother takes care of bank business, the household and other troublesome elements of adulthood. Recently his girlfriend, Nicole (19) moved in with him. Mom is trying to show her the ropes of running a home, but they have different takes on just how that should work, and consequently mom is the one who ends up doing the lion's share.

One in every five grown-up children who still live at home has at least spent a period of time living alone. Angelika L. (46) moved home seven years ago after her marriage broke down. She lives in her parent's converted attic with her 11 year-old son, Maximillian. There's often a mood of tension in the house. Her parents, who live by the book of orderliness, find the chaos in Angelika's room hard to take. But for Angelika such strains are a small price to pay for an all-in service which includes on-tap babysitting for her son.