Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Mum’s the Word

PittGirl explains why there's no mom quite like a Pittsburgh Mom.



My father spent my childhood years commuting to downtown Pittsburgh in a wood-paneled, boat-like station wagon that today’s hipster would madly covet. My mother’s jaunts to town, however, were limited to dragging my four sisters and me to the basement of Kaufmann’s department store to fill the back-to-school wardrobe gaps left by our money-saving Hills sprees.

We’d pile in the station wagon with Mom at the wheel; her grip tightened as we got closer to the Parkway East. When the front tires hit I-376, she’d visibly tense and quickly turn off the radio. This was her unspoken demand that we give her absolute silence, as if she had been piloting the Millenium Falcon at warp speed through an asteroid storm.

Our conversations about the latest episode of “Greatest American Hero” turned to hushed whispers. There was no whining about elbows in ribs or bothersome jelly-shoe blisters. While we painfully swallowed our sneezes, our mom drove with her chin hovering 3 inches above the steering wheel and her hands locked in a death-grip. She’d hold this position until the wagon was safely parked — which is when she’d exhale and revoke the sacred Writ of Silentium Absolutus.

I didn’t appreciate it then, but I can see it now for what it was: My mother was doing something far outside of her comfort zone so that her girls could have nice clothes (that didn’t scream, “Five kids. One job. Hills is where the toys are.”).

That’s my Pittsburgh Mom. A woman who forewent a new winter coat for years so that we didn’t. A woman who chose to laugh instead of cry when she and my father took us to Long John Silvers for dinner, only to discover the checking-account balance was $12.

My Pittsburgh Mom is a woman who, when the latch broke on the station wagon, drove it with her arm tied to the door with rope, holding it shut as she rounded bends. No Kennywood ride could rival our adrenaline-pumping car trips, during which we would worry that Mom was going to tumble out of the car at any given moment.

She’s a woman who instilled in us a love of Pittsburgh sports — a woman who provided the construction paper and instructions on how to make black-and-gold pom-poms. And for that matter, a woman who could talk smack about every quarterback from Terry Bradshaw to “that idiot” Bubby Brister. A woman who made sure there was always money for Kennywood outings, even if it left a mere $12 in the bank.

A woman who, when our dog was hit by a truck right in front of us while we waited for the school bus, ran down the road in her robe with her hair sticking straight up, scooped up the injured dog and hopped in that stranger’s truck to rush to the animal hospital — but only after reassuring us everything would be fine and putting us, sobbing, on the bus. She really meant it when she’d say, “The only way you’re not going to school is if I’m in a coffin.”

Pittsburgh Dad has sketched out exactly what a Pittsburgh Dad is. But who’s the woman standing beside, not behind, that guy?

If I had to sum her up in one word, I’d go with “sacrifice.” Sacrifices we may never fully know. Sacrificing time, money, sanity and sleep. Sacrificing time to cook the spreads for Steeler Sundays. Sacrificing money to send her kids to Kennywood — or college. Sacrificing sanity as she tries to be all things to all people, deals with our drama and puts up with our Pittsburgh Dad’s ridiculous demands. Sacrificing sleep as she nurses us to health, worries for us, prays for us and hopes for all good things for us.

While your Pittsburgh Dad is teaching you about the ground game, utility conservation, parking-chair laws and grilling outside in February, Pittsburgh Mom is teaching you how to be simultaneously tough and gentle, why being kind pays off, why sacrifices are worth it — and why it’s never wrong to cheat on your diet with ladylocks.

That’s my Pittsburgh Mom. Don’t let another month pass without defining yours.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

From ultra-premium experiences to bargains with great views, here are five perfect places to watch the Pens.

Lawrenceville Distilling Co. Introduces Its Absinthe

Already known for its Parking Chair vodka, the Lawrenceville distillery introduces absinthe named for a haunted house.

What Brought Walt Disney to Pittsburgh

A futuristic attraction at the Allegheny County Fair drew a curious Walt Disney to Pittsburgh — and had a lasting impact on modern transportation.

Writer Damon Young on "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker"

The co-founder of Very Smart Brothas chats about his new memoir — and the state of Pittsburgh.

Makeup Makers: More Beauty Brands are Coming out of Pittsburgh

A pair of local businesses are breaking into the health and beauty business with innovation and tenacity.

How Well Do You Know Pittsburgh?

What do you know about the fountain of youth in North Park? The relics at St. Anthony’s? The history of Pittsburghese? We bring you all this and more in our guide to Pittsburgh lore full of insider info and fun facts. Plus, take our quizzes to test your expertise of all things Pittsburgh.

Are You a Yinzer or a Pretender?

Whether you’ve lived in Pittsburgh your whole life or are a newcomer, there may be things you don’t know about our city — but you should –– so we have these quizzes to test your knowledge of the city’s pop culture, sports, food history and locales.

Restaurant Review: Northeastern Kitchen

The Squirrel Hill restaurant introduces Pittsburgh to Dongbei cuisine.

PM on KD: The Spring Weddings Issue

PM Content Coordinator Jesseca Muslin appears on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to discuss our spring weddings issue.

Pens Need More from Malkin More Than Anything

Given what he’s capable of, and what we’ve too often seen instead, Evgeni Malkin has been the Pens’ most under-achieving player.

Pittsburgh's 12 Essential Restaurants

Step-by-step, these establishments helped build our dining scene. Even better, they still have something to offer today.

Finding a Unique Performer Close to Home

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company searched across the country for a key role in “Savior Samuel.” Then they found Aaliyah Sanders — in Edgewood.

Ten Thoughts While Staring at a Golden Eagle

Reflections upon encountering Autumn, a four-year-old golden eagle now residing at the National Aviary.

Love Thy Neighbor: Donating a Second Chance

Rachelle Jeffers and Allen ‘Bud’ Mitchell went to church together but they weren’t close. That changed when she found out he would die unless he found a liver donor. That’s how Jeffers became one of a growing number of living liver donors.

Our 50 Years: Rules for Dating in Pittsburgh in 1984

We took a serious look at romance. But with advice ranging from making sure restaurants have seductive lighting to the benefits of owning your own mansion, was it really meant to be serious?
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Finding a Unique Performer Close to Home

Finding a Unique Performer Close to Home

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company searched across the country for a key role in “Savior Samuel.” Then they found Aaliyah Sanders — in Edgewood.

Comments

Love at First Bite? Primanti’s Offers to Pay for Your Wedding

Love at First Bite? Primanti’s Offers to Pay for Your Wedding

The offer comes with a few strings attached.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Lawrenceville Distilling Co. Introduces Its Absinthe

Lawrenceville Distilling Co. Introduces Its Absinthe

Already known for its Parking Chair vodka, the Lawrenceville distillery introduces absinthe named for a haunted house.

Comments

Pittsburgh Pizza News: DiAnoia’s to Open Pizzeria Davide

Pittsburgh Pizza News: DiAnoia’s to Open Pizzeria Davide

The popular Strip District eatery is set to expand with a to-go pizza counter.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

From ultra-premium experiences to bargains with great views, here are five perfect places to watch the Pens.

Comments

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Don’t resign yourself to the gym treadmills just yet – fall is one of the best times of the year to get outside and pound the pavement, surrounded by falling leaves and the possibility of grabbing a hot latte on the way home.

Comments


Ten Thoughts While Staring at a Golden Eagle

Ten Thoughts While Staring at a Golden Eagle

Reflections upon encountering Autumn, a four-year-old golden eagle now residing at the National Aviary.

Comments

Landmark Concert Revives Spirituals on the Hill

Landmark Concert Revives Spirituals on the Hill

The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and Ebenezer Baptist Church team up for "Let My People Go! A Spiritual Journey on the Underground Railroad."

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pens Need More from Malkin More Than Anything

Pens Need More from Malkin More Than Anything

Given what he’s capable of, and what we’ve too often seen instead, Evgeni Malkin has been the Pens’ most under-achieving player.

Comments

Even Brady, Belichick Still Take a Back Seat to Lombardi

Even Brady, Belichick Still Take a Back Seat to Lombardi

Appreciating the Patriots requires a healthy dose of historical perspective.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Happy Death Day 2U

The 400-Word Review: Happy Death Day 2U

The horror sequel pivots in unexpected directions, for better and for worse.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Alita: Battle Angel

The 400-Word Review: Alita: Battle Angel

Producer James Cameron and Director Robert Rodriguez team up for a sci-fi epic depressingly similar to a dozen others.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
An Email Spam Filter Delayed their Relationship for Years

An Email Spam Filter Delayed their Relationship for Years

Sometimes, the future love of your life is just around the corner, whether you know it or not.

Comments

How Many Steps Would You Climb for Unique Wedding Photos?

How Many Steps Would You Climb for Unique Wedding Photos?

Pittsburgh has 739 sets of public staircases, and you can get photographs on them that are just as breathtaking as the ones you could get on more iconic spots like Mt. Washington.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Upscale Townhouses Slated for Strip District Near Produce Terminal

Upscale Townhouses Slated for Strip District Near Produce Terminal

Part of a three-phase plan, the 3- and 4-bedroom townhouses range in price from the mid-$600,000s up to $1 million.

Comments

Pittsburgh Textile Designer Launches Chic Wallpaper Line

Pittsburgh Textile Designer Launches Chic Wallpaper Line

Savannah Hayes adds six new wallpaper designs to her line of throw blankets, accessories and tea towels.

Comments