Q&A with mom attending 8th consecutive Moms Weekend


Long-time attender of Moms Weekend, Mary Marik, parties at campus bar with her daughter.

With Moms Weekend quickly approaching, many students and parents may be unsure about how to go about living college life together for a few days. This won’t be an issue for Mary Marik, as this year will mark her eighth consecutive year at Moms Weekend. Marik sat down with The Daily Illini to explain how to make the most of Moms Weekend, and how to ensure both parents and students have a great time.

Daily Illini: We heard that you’ve attended Moms Weekend for what is almost a decade, so how many years exactly have you been coming?

Mary Marik: Well, this year will be my eighth year. My oldest started U of I in 2006, so the first Moms Weekend was in the spring of 2007. I’ve come to every one since then consecutively.

DI: With that being said, how many students have you had or have attending the University?

MM: I’ve had three of my children come through. Two have graduated the University of Illinois. One graduated in 2010, one graduated in 2012, and I have a current student down there.

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DI: Since you’re an expert at this point, what are some of the highlights, or some of your favorite memories from Moms Weekend?

MM: We’ve got this down to a science. We usually do Papa Del’s pizza on Friday night and then hang out. With all the kids being 19 or all 21, we’ve gone to (the bars) KAM’S and White Horse — the students call it ‘White Ho’ — and Brothers. We’ve gone to all the establishments. One of the highlights is that the kids all know I’m coming down, so I cook. Saturday morning it’s usually a huge breakfast for a minimum of 15 kids; I think I’ve gotten up to 25. Saturday night it’s a dinner that I’ve cooked for all the kids, and Sunday we usually do a brunch.

DI: Do you have any favorite places to come back to? Any favorite restaurants, bars or sites?

MM: Papa Del’s, with the pizza, is always a good one. We have to stop at KAM’S because I have an entire set of KAM’S Moms Weekend glasses from 2007 to (the most) current — so I have to get my glass. And basically, it’s wherever the kids want to go because as a parent, the kids have let you into their world.

DI: What are some suggestions that you have for moms coming for the first time? Any must-sees or must-do’s?

MM: There’s a lot going on oncampus … It’s basically you’re down with your kids, so you have a realistic expectation of their world, and you can just enjoy them. If you’re lucky enough where the kids go, ‘Come on Mom, let’s go to KAM’S, let’s go to Joe’s …’ If you’re lucky enough to get let into their world, enjoy your kids.

DI: If you had to give moms and students some advice on how to make the most of Moms Weekend, what would it be?

MM: I think for the moms, have a realistic expectation of your college student and their world, what the types of things are that they do when they go out on the weekends … If you allow your kids to be college students and you go into their world, it’s going to be a more enjoyable experience. For the college kids, your parents want to be part of your world, and it’s important to them. I was always really lucky with my kids. They were like, ‘You’re coming down, you’re staying the whole weekend, we’re gonna have a good time.’ Just enjoy it, because, as a parent, you don’t do this at home … Keep what’s important in mind, and that’s the relationship with your child and accept what their life is down in college. For the kids, remember your parents have been around the block a couple of times, so they have a clue.

Samantha can be reached at [email protected].