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5 Life Lessons From 'Lady Bird'!

Written by Melissa Breccia. Published: March 19 2018


Our mothers sacrifice endlessly for us. Regardless, sometimes we end up rolling out of the family car and breaking our arm just to spite them. 


Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated film Lady Bird examines the complex dynamic that mothers share with their children. Throughout the film, protagonist Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) and her mom Marion (Laurie Metcalf) struggle to fully understand one another, but they are always connected through their unconditional love.




Art is rarely witnessed purely for its entertainment value; its commentaries on life allow us to better understand ourselves. Here are some points the film offers to help us better appreciate our moms! [Warning: spoilers ahead!]


1. Our mothers love us a lot.

In response to a comment about how hard her mother is on her, Lady Bird defends with the line, “She loves me a lot.” Lady Bird recognizes that although her mom’s rules are inconvenient, they exist out of love. Every precaution or piece of advice is there for a reason. Moms know what it is to be out in the world and understand the lessons that come with it. “Be careful” is just a mom synonym for “I love you.”


2. Our mothers’ anger at us isn’t necessarily for us.

Marion starts an argument regarding Lady Bird’s jokes about living in a low-income neighborhood, to which Lady Bird retaliates with, “You give me a number for how much it cost to raise me, and I’m going to get older and make a lot of money and write you a check for what I owe you so that I never have to speak to you again.” Marion responds by saying, “I highly doubt that you will be able to get a job good enough to do that.” Although her words cut deep, her frustration stems from an internal grief that is not related to her daughter. Marion is upset that she has not been able to offer her family more, and she yearns for her daughter’s approval as much as Lady Bird wishes for hers.


There are so many issues that our mothers deal with every day. It is impossible for us to see and understand it all, but we must look past their moments of weakness. While we may sometimes be their outlets, we are not the intended targets of their criticism. Realistically, they are concerned that our problems are a reflection of their shortcomings.




3. Our mothers sacrifice silently.

When Lady Bird decides to spend Thanksgiving with another family, her mother is visibly upset. However, the two go dress shopping together and Marion stays up late to tailor their find. She has already been awake for several hours doing household chores and working her shift, yet she refuses to rest until she finishes this task for her daughter.


Mothers lose countless hours of sleep so that our wishes can come true — even the ones they disagree with. Although the favors they do for us seem to appear by magic in the morning, they are the product of sacrifice. Our happiness is worth all of their energy, even if it leaves them with no time for themselves.


4. Our mothers grew up under different circumstances than us.

After Marion gets upset with Lady Bird for not keeping her clothes tidy, Lady Bird asks, “Didn’t you ever go to sleep without putting all your clothes away perfectly? … And don’t you wish your mom hadn’t gotten angry?” Marion states, “My mother was an abusive alcoholic.”


Although we may assume that our mothers have forgotten the trials of youth’s uncertainties, they went through their own battles. Perhaps their mothers were much harder on them, but they rarely speak on it. Every experience that our mothers have gone through has shaped them into the parent they are today, for better or worse. Before questioning their process, we should question their past.




5. Our mothers will never be able to express how much we mean to them.

At the end of the film, Marion struggles to speak to Lady Bird after learning that she is attending a university on the other side of the country. She feels insecure that the life she has given her daughter was never enough and does not know how to face it. Marion attempts to write letters to Lady Bird, but she is never able to complete one. Lady Bird’s father salvages them in secret and puts them into her suitcase. Upon unpacking, Lady Bird finds the letters and reads them, knowing that she cannot tell her mom she has them. They say things like, “Every time I look at you, I can’t believe you’re my daughter,” “When I got pregnant with you it was a miracle,” and words that amount to her inability to declare the range of feelings she has for her child.


Even with all of the affirmations our mothers offer us in life, it will never amount to how powerfully they care. Regardless of what we go through together, we always have their attention; and according to the film, aren’t they “the same thing? Love and attention?”


If you have a loving mother, always remember that you are blessed!


(Image via A24)


- Melissa Breccia, YH Contributing Writer