Moms play a lot of roles; they’re teachers, chauffeurs, nurses, cooks, and therapists. Moms can be a lot of people in your life: your mom, grandma, sister, aunt, cousin, teacher, and neighbor. And Moms are everywhere every form of fiction and pop culture. While, its true Mom isn’t always portrayed as the best person in fiction – the Wicked Step-Mother is pretty standard – there are wonderful mothers in more recent pop culture.
Claire Huxtable: Played by Phylicia Rashad in The Cosby Show, Claire was the mother of five children, and fostered her step-granddaughter. She was also breaking the mold of TV Moms as a working Mom – a successful lawyer in the 1980s fighting against the glass ceiling. Claire was smart, beautiful, passionate about her husband and children, and the undisputed champion of putting you in your place with the perfect balance of sass and elegance.
Jill Taylor: Played by Patricia Richardson in Home Improvement (Its Tool Time!), Jill was a stay-home-Mom of three boys in a very male-dominated world of cars, tools, and sports. She worked hard to give her boys a well-rounded cultural education with art, ballet, and opera. She made sure her boys (and her husband and his friends) treated women with respect. And when the boys were older she went back to school and balanced earning a graduate psychology degree with taking care of a family.
Roseanne Conner: Played by Roseanne Barr on Roseanne, Roseanne was unique in a lot of ways. The Conners were a working-class family, their kids weren’t perfect, not all of their problems wrapped up neatly in 28 minutes (or even a season), they were more real than any other family America had seen on TV. Roseanne worked at a restaurant, she was sarcastic, she was far from the dainty or elegant Mom people expect to see, and she made mistakes. And she proved time and again that none of that meant she wasn’t a great Mom. She loved her kids – even if they fought sometimes. She was proud of her family and worked hard to give them a better home than the one she grew up in.
Morticia Addams: Played by Carolyn Jones on The Addams Family, Morticia was elegant, well-educated, and easily the wealthiest Mom on our list. Her unusual household included her two children, Grandmamma (Gomez’s mother), Uncle Fester, Lurch (the butler), and Thing. Being a show from the 1960s, The Addams Family had the traditional camp, happy moral values, and easily solved problems, but Morticia stands out from other 50s and 60s TV Moms. Whole episodes were about being directly involved in her children’s hobbies and education, and supporting her children even when she didn’t understand them like when Pugsley joins the Scouts. And she had an openly passionate relationship with her husband (you never see it, but you’re pretty confident there aren’t separate twin beds in the master suite of the Addams mansion).
Marge Simpson: Voiced by Julie Kavner on The Simpsons, Marge may not seem like an obvious choice as a Great TV Mom, but my Simpson-quoting husband informs me she’s the Greatest TV Mom. She’s dedicated to her family, she supports her kids hobbies (even when they include science projects that turn her precocious nine year old into a god), and she microwaves her kids’ underpants so they’re warm on their way to the bus stop in the winter. She’s another example of a Mom that isn’t always perfect, but she’s a Mom that works hard to raise her three kids and lovingly support her husband and be an active member of her community. Again quoting my husband (who I’m sure is using some combination of Simpson quotes, his dominant form of communication): She was the one that wanted to use the money to fix the potholes instead of buying the monorail: and it sure put them on the map!
Amanda Grayson: Played by Jane Wyatt on Star Trek: The Orignal Series “Journey to Babel.” Amanda is Spock’s Mom. Amanda is a human woman married to a Vulcan, the Vulcan Ambassador to the Federation. And in “Journey to Babel” she is shown as logically, but still compassionately supporting her Vulcan husband, fully embracing his culture and position in society. She was responsible for instilling humanity in Spock. She also had hard choices to make as a Mom: how do you raise a child that would not be fully one race or another in world where that defines you? How to you teach them to be proud of both cultural traditions? How do you raise them to be strong enough to face people who would not accept them because they are neither Vulcan nor human? These are questions network TV would have trouble coping with in 2014, and this was in 1964. And of course Amanda, like all Moms regardless of what Ambassador she’s married to, what position in Starfleet her son had achieved, and what Federation-altering party she’s attending, she’s going to regale your friends with embarrassing childhood stories. Because that’s what Moms are for.