Is that a Millenial or is that My Mom?
Sundays with mom, or ‘Sundays with Susan’ as we call them, consists of anything from going to the farmers market for the best Musubi rice balls Los Angeles has to offer, going shopping for absolutely no reason at all, or just getting coffee. One Sunday, I begged my mom to break out of the Sundays with Susan traditions to take me to a store in North Hollywood to buy film for my Super 8 camera. Being the wonderful mother that she is, she drove her 17-year-old daughter, who not only can drive herself but also has a car, to North Hollywood. While we were there she gave me the ultimate “Susan Tour of NOHO”... which sounded a little something like this:
“Kathy and I go there to get lunch sometimes. They have a great paleo-bowl.”
Since when does she eat paleo-bowls? I thought to myself.
“That place has really good pie! Sometimes there’s live music or people performing open mic.”
My confusion spiraling, why does my mom go to open mics and eat pie?
“There’s the old train station where we can get a Groundworks pour over.”
She gets artisanal coffee from an old train station?
“This amazing French artist is painting this wall outside our office window. He drew these same faces on the Berlin Wall.”
So on and so forth.
It wasn’t until we were in the coffee train station that I had a startling epiphany: my mother lives every Los Angeles aspiring-artist millennial’s ideal life. Yet she’s unique in that she’s worked her entire life to live it.
I’ll give you the rundown. Four years ago, she started an advertising agency for women her age with her friend, Kathy, has a social media consultant, and now runs a blog which she asks me to promote on “social” everyday. She drives an electric-hybrid, works out of a communal office space in NOHO, and wears boyfriend jeans that are cut at the bottom rather than tailored.
She’s currently on a mission to create a plastic-free home, and my dad and I have bags of reusable paper straws in our cars to prove it. And, on any given day you can find her saying one or more of these things to me: “Gotta smash the patriarchy!,” “I’m off to my yoga class,”“You’re ageist," or “I have to charge my car.”
It wasn’t until that afternoon that I realized my mother undoubtedly lives the oddest double life, and I was just learning about all of it. Then came an even more unimaginable thought: did my mom have a life before me?
For most people my age, the thought of our parents having a life before us is incomprehensible; however, the understanding that our mothers are way cooler than we’ll ever be is oddly still present. Paradoxical, I know, but stay with me here. Earlier this year, my English class had a council with the prompt: describe your relationship with your mom. The talking piece slowly made its way around the circle as the tears built up, and over and over I heard my classmates describe their moms as determined, selfless, fierce women; their role model, greatest supporter, and best friend.
So this is for all of the teenagers out there who think their mom is embarrassing, technologically confused, or even has a tendency to share too much of your personal life with her friends (cough, cough). Remember that while moms might be or do all of those things, they are so much more.
Parents raise their children in a world that is entirely different from the world they grew up in, and while they fight for their own sanity in an overwhelmingly, ever-changing culture, they protect and guide us through a society that is just as unfamiliar to them as it is to us. And I know it’s absolutely infuriating when they ask you why someone doesn’t come over for a “playdate” or worse to “hang,” but everything we have is because of them and who we will become (the good and the bad) is a part of them.
And to all the mothers of the world: we are stubborn, stupid, mean, and probably seem ungrateful a large amount of the time. But when it comes to our moms, there will never be enough ways to thank you for the amount of attention, dedication, and badassery that you bring into our lives. Thank you.