26 Pics That Prove Your Mom Has Always Been Cooler Than You

One of the best parts of getting older is realizing that your mom is a highly impressive, badass woman who was living a rich, interesting life long before you came along. (But hey, bonus points for raising you.)

With that in mind, we asked our readers to share their favorite old-school pictures of their moms. They did not disappoint. When your mom is this effortlessly cool, it’s an honor and a privilege to be called a chip off the ol’ block. 

Note: Some readers requested that we use only their first names to protect their privacy. Submissions have been edited for style and clarity.

  • 1

    Courtesy of Odessa Fields

    “My mom, Patricia Fields Neubert, was an instructor pilot for the Army at Fort Rucker in Alabama in the 1980s. She had a rule: No cameras in the cockpit. A student of hers took that picture during his flight time. She failed him for the day, but she kept that picture. I love this picture because she still gives me this look! Nobody can say she isn’t a badass.” — Odessa Fields

  • 2

    Courtesy of Michelle Low

    “My mom, Fung, giving you Hana-realness back in ’83.” — Michelle Low

  • 3

    Courtesy of Lisa Vidal

    “This is my mother Lorraine’s high school graduation photo from 1972. I love her hairstyle. She told me it was one of the easiest styles to do. I grew up always seeing my mother as extremely stylish, and this photo only reinforces that she has always taken pride in her look. She is half-black and half-white and French Canadian.” — Lisa Vidal

  • 4

    Courtesy of the Wards of Liverpool and the Johanssons of Karlstad

    “My amazing mum, Ricia, escorting Queen Elizabeth! The photo was taken in Northampton in the late ’90s.” — Magnus

  • 5

    Courtesy of Fatima

    “That’s my mother, Constansa, on the left. The picture was taken in 1969 in Mexico, when she was about to graduate from nursing school. I love seeing her pictures. They take me back in time whenever I go through them.” — Fatima

  • 6

    Courtesy of Thomas Liles

    “This photo of my mom, Dian Liles, was taken in Weiser, Idaho, at the annual Fiddle Festival in 1973 by a family friend. She would have been 22 years old in this photo, long before I was born. I really like this photo because my mother looks genuinely and completely in the moment. Her smile is great and it reminds me that she was (and is) a truly beautiful woman and not just a mom. And it’s nice to be reminded that people can actually get together and enjoy something collectively without recording it for social media. It’s just a little slice of life, you know?” — Thomas Liles

  • 7

    Courtesy of Cat

    “The picture was taken while my mom, Lee, was in business school at the University of Virginia, probably 1987 or 1988. She was celebrating getting passing grades and staying in school! I love that it looks like a John Hughes movie and that we look really similar.” — Cat

  • 8

    Courtesy of Cindy Black

    “This was taken around 1976 at the Ontario Raceway in California. I love it because it includes my mom (to the right) and my soon-to-be husband’s mom (to the left). That’s me in the middle!” — Cindy Black

  • 9


    “This is my mother at her piano back home in Iraq in 1962. Her name is Shamiran Gabriel.” — Ramsin

  • 10

    Courtesy of Olivia

    “The picture is taken right before my mom, Charlotta, and her sister went to a school dance in Västergötland, Sweden, in 1992. She is 20 years old in the picture, the same age I am right now. What I love most about the pic is how happy and beautiful she looks. She’s terminally ill with brain cancer at age 45 and only has a few weeks left. I have this photo saved in my phone so I can look at it in the future when I’m sad and remind myself how beautiful and happy she was.” — Olivia

  • 11

    Courtesy of Ony Dozie

    “My superwoman Joy, aka disco queen.” — Ony Dozie

  • 12

    Courtesy of Laura Coffman

    “Here’s my family hiking the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (before it was a hipster retreat). My mom’s holding a kid on her back and any other random thing given to her — a picture of grace and love as dad sips a cold one wearing his ‘I’m with stupid’ shirt. They’ve been married 50 years.” — Laura Coffman

  • 13

    Courtesy of Alex Whittingham

    “Me and my mom, Marina Smith.” — Alex Whittingham

  • 14

    Courtesy of Anukriti

    “My mother, Anita, in the early ’80s on the day she got her doctorate a year and a half year earlier than her peers. The pic was taken by her very proud parents. She still has the sari saved, and I hope to wear it on the day I finish my doctorate.” — Anukriti 

  • 15

    Courtesy of Isabella Breen

    “Here’s my mother, Brigid, and her sisters in the summer of 1970. She’s on the far left. She was 18 at the time and she’s wearing a dress handmade by her own mother in the 1940s. This beautiful woman has worked so hard to provide for me and my own sister, and I’m proud to have such a groovy mom.” — Isabella Breen

  • 16

    Courtesy of Josh Inkenbrandt

    “The photo of my mom, Patricia, was taken in the late ’70s or early ’80s. I was visiting my parents a couple of summers ago and we were going through old photos, which is where I found this one. I like it because it was before my poor mom got swept up in the fashion of the ’80s and ’90s! After this, it was all big hair and shoulder pads.” — Josh Inkenbrandt 

  • 17

    Courtesy of Maddie Wilson

    “This picture of my mom, Maureen Wilson, was taken around 1974 or ’75 by one of her parents. My momma would have been around 20 or 21. I think she is so beautiful. Her hair was down to her mid-back, and I wish I could grow my hair that long! But I’m actually adopted from birth, so I don’t have her genes.” — Maddie Wilson

  • 18

    Courtesy of Shawna Humphreys

    “Here’s my mom, Jeannie Hester, and my older brother, Derrick Hester. It was taken in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1976.” — Shawna Humphreys

  • 19

    Courtesy of Andrew Moise

    “This is a photo of my mom, Lisa Grimmonpré Palmer, in 1980 after she won the Miss McHenry County (Illinois, just outside of Chicago) beauty pageant at age 18. This photo hangs at the house of my recently passed grandmother. My mom is my favorite woman on this earth and a great friend.” — Andrew Moise

  • 20

    Courtesy of Rachael Williams

    “The picture was taken in 1976 before my mom Sheila’s prom, and I love her radiant smile and, of course, her amazing afro! Growing up seeing her hair natural inspired me to do the same.” — Rachael Williams

  • 21

    Courtesy of Alen Forney

    “The picture was taken of my mom, Karma Forney, somewhere in Casas Grandes, Mexico, in the late ’60s. This is probably one of my favorite pictures of her. She fought breast cancer for over seven years. She had an amazing spirit and lived an incredible life.” — Alen Forney

  • 22

    Courtesy of Alexandra

    “My mother, Tiffany, and her Volvo in the summer of 1989.” — Alexandra

  • 23

    Courtesy of Elizabeth Mutz

    “My mom, Lana Wilson, at 24, with our dog Abby in Algonquin, Illinois. I love this picture because it’s one of very few pictures of my mom from when she was young, and it’s the happiest and only candid of her.” — Elizabeth Mutz

  • 24

    Courtesy of Nathan Hawrot

    “This is my mom Dianna Hawrot’s senior high school picture from 1969. It’s my favorite one of her. I think she looks like a hair model in an advertisement. She was a great person and this photo does her justice.” — Nathan Hawrot

  • 25

    Courtesy of Basma El

    “Here’s my mom, Khadija M., holding my older sister and my dad in 1987.” — Basma El

  • 26

    Courtesy of Toby

    “This is my mom Joyce’s high school graduation pic in the ’50s in Georgia. She had a crooked finger and when she pointed it at us, we’d move it over so the tip was pointed correctly. She couldn’t spank or punish you if you said, ‘But I love you mom.’ She was the warmest mom to me, my sister Cindy and my brother Tony.” — Toby

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