Yesterday my Mom flew back to New Jersey after a seven day stay in the Golden State. I say Golden State and not Los Angeles because within the one week that she visited we were in four cities (LA, Ojai, Dana Point, San Diego) and approx 75 neighborhoods, but I blame her for that; she raised me to be a real over achiever.
Before I dive into my secrets for hosting a mom in the L.A. metro area I need to mention that my mom isn’t your typical tourist. She and my dad lived in L.A. after college and have been visiting ever since. It’s also worth noting that my mom is game for pretty much anything but high heights, really fatty foods and getting a tattoo. That’s good for her the guest because it means she’ll have fun doing most things but bad for me the tour guide because it means my options are absolutely endless. And yet thanks to these previously secret eight moves we managed to have another excellent visit. Here’s how:
9. Get a dog that loves your mom
This will take a little pre-planning but it’s well worth the effort. Not only does the dog provide entertainment for mom when you’re handling a few work items or readying for dinner but he never complains about being in pictures and gives your mom an added angle to her neighborhood shopping – dog toys. So. many. dog. toys.
8. Learn to make one very impressive, very California food item
A few months ago I mastered avocado toast (thick bread, real butter under layer, not-too-smashed ‘cados, sea salt, crushed red pepper, lemon squeeze, lightly fried egg, done). I didn’t learn to make said toast for my mom, but it proved to be a real boon to my breakfast game. Ten minutes later my mom out avocado’d me by making a baked egg inside an avocado with two ingredients in three minutes but she wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t made my avocado toast so it was a win-win.
7. Take her to sushi
Sorry everywhere else but sushi in Los Angeles is really superior to sushi almost everywhere else. If your mom likes sushi in general she will love sushi here, and it will be a real treat for you both. We went to Summer Fish + Rice on the corner of Charlieville and Robertson for an excellent lunch. Order the kale salad with fresh crab. Moms love fresh crab.
6. Organize a day trip somewhere really fab
LA is 90-120 minutes from a million Mom places – Palm Springs, Ojai, Santa Barbara, Laguna Beach, etc. This is a great idea because it gives you an adventure to experience with Mom but also smart because Moms love to A. be in the car alone with you and B. rave to their friends back home about the amazing place they visited in addition to LA. “It’s like a vacation inside my vacation,” they might say. And they will be right.
5. Do some future planning with Mom
This is a serious one. Your mom is visiting for fun, of course, but she’s also here to experience your life. R and I have started to think about house-hunting and decided to bring my mom along to a few open houses in neighborhoods new to her (and, to a certain degree, us). At first I was nervous about that – why should she use her vacay time on our research project? what if she hates these neighborhoods?? But it was helpful to hear her thoughts and so nice to show her places where we might someday live.
4. Take her to super cute stores with flowy tunic-like clothes
If she doesn’t find 100 things she loves for herself she’ll find at least 10 she loves for you. My favorites: Social Butterfly on 3rd Street & William B. wherever.
3. When in doubt, organize around photo opps
One afternoon we had an hour or so to kill around lunch. I went back and forth debating lots of things to do and places to eat but then I landed on a secret roof deck where I knew my mom would go wild for the scenery and the views (aka the photos). So don’t over think it. A pretty spot that results in a really nice Instagram post goes a long way.
2. Try really, really hard to avoid absolutely miserable traffic
We all know it’s impossible to avoid and thanks to the fact that my mom once lived here, she gets it, but super bad traffic in LA is like inviting someone to meet your brand new baby only for the baby to scream during the entire visit. We all know babies cry. It would just be nice if they didn’t cry the entire time you’re trying to show them off. Long story short: Waze.
1. Remember: she’s not your guest, she’s your mom
Don’t go wild planning things: she just wants to be with you. Don’t refuse her treats and little shopping gifts: she just wants to do nice things for you. Don’t feel like every moment has to be perfect: she’s your mom not some investigator here to prove LA isn’t that great a place to live. In other words: you be you and let your mom be your mom. You’re not a tour guide. She’s not a tourist.
Honorable mention: take her to your friend’s beach house in Dana Point where your Dad happens to be on business
Long story, but it didn’t hurt to have a beach getaway close to where my dad happened to be on business for the weekend.
Thank you for another great trip Mom! Next time I’ll take you for sushi with a perfect Instagram view. XO