There have been lots of television moms on TV in recent years and while most of them are good examples of the ups and downs of motherhood, here are the five that I find myself admiring the most because not only are some of the situations they face extremely unique, but they manage to do it while being positive for their kids. Even when they make mistakes they are brave enough to admit it, verbalizing the notion that some women are afraid to face which is that mothers aren’t perfect; we make mistakes like any other human but we do it always with our child’s best interest in mind. Here are the five mothers that I admire the most, in no particular order.
1) Reba Hart–Reba: Reba was able to make the best of the way her life changed; her husband left her for his dental assistant and rather than the normal ways of divorce and they separated spouses ignore each other, they stayed a constant part of her life. While she had typical and understandable bitterness with her situation, rather than sit around and whine all the time she did the best with what she had been given, even when there was a granddaughter by way of her seventeen year old daughter on the way. She got out of the house and started working after seventeen years of being a stay at home mom when the money started to get rough, even when the job first started out as working for said ex-husband. She was also always there for her family; she took her son-in-law in when his family kicked him out and even occasionally helped her ex and his new wife. She did what a mom is suppose to do which is buckle down and do what needs to be done for the good of the family even when she had to sacrifice something herself. Her situation even bettered itself as time and the series wore on and she ended up being, like her theme song said, a survivor.
2) Joyce Summers–Buffy the Vampire Slayer : Joyce, again a divorcee, moved to California with her daughter after her daughter burned down the gym of her former school. She managed to start a life with her daughter even with the record that was following her. And while it seemed she was completely oblivious to her daughter’s dangerous legacy, on the occasions before she knew she was the Slayer she protected her daughter (such as in season two’s “School Hard” where she knocked Spike with a fire extinguisher when he was attacking Buffy). While critics judged her harshly when she kicked Buffy out at the end of season two, herein lies the mistakes mothers make; she knew her daughter was doing something dangerous and tried to forbid and when Buffy was going to do it anyways tried (in vain) to threaten her to keep her safe. When Buffy came back at the beginning of the next season, Joyce tried to become apart by scheduling work out sessions with her Watcher, bringing her snacks when she was on patrol, and watching out for vampires along with the rest of the Scooby Gang. She did a good job with adjusting to the danger of her daughter’s life and knowing about it while remaining supportive which is hard for any mom because who really wants their child to have a job where their death is a daily threat?
3) Vivian Banks–Fresh Prince of Bel-Air : While technically she was the lead character’s aunt, she did a noble thing and took over a temporary mommy role when he was moved by his real mother to California from the dangerous streets of Philadelphia. She was a very privileged woman with her rich husband and mansion in Beverly Hills but Vivian also tried to teach her children the value of hard work because she did not grow up in the lifestyle she and her husband had made for their children. She knew that money was something you had to work for and didn’t want her children to feel like all the luxuries of life would be handed to them. What I remember the most is that at some point during the series she and her husband made their eldest daughter get a job to make her own money, and said daughter along with her brother both lived in the pool house (separately) at one point with the responsibility of paying rent. She was a mom who knew that sometimes you had to be cruel to be kind so your children would grow up and move out and be able to make it on their own.
4) Marge Simpson–The Simpsons : Marge deserves a lot of props simply because she manages to stay positive and support her husband and son when their shenanigans run rampant, whether it be stealing the head from the statue of the town’s founder, or (in the movie) dumping pig leavings in the town lake causing the town to be quarantined. However she is not afraid to tell them when they are wrong as she has to Homer on a number of occasions, especially when it comes to matters of her faith and how Homer does not want to attend church. She accepts her son’s exploits and punishes him when the matter calls for it and she tries to bond with Lisa even though they clash over a lot of things. Marge is also one of those mothers who will admit when something she thought was wrong as was the case with the episode that introduced Bleeding Gums Murphy. While she initially told Lisa to put on a brave happy face when she saw the pain that was causing her she told her daughter to go ahead and be sad and that she would try to find a way to make her feel better. Marge is one of those moms who patience needs to be accoladed because there are not a lot of mothers, real or not, who could have that husband and that son and not be crazy.
5) Rita Clemens–Rita Rocks : Rita is a new mom to the television world with her series debuting on Lifetime in the last part of 2008 but she is an all encompassing mom. She does it all; she works, she takes care of the house and everyone in it and she even manages to (gasp) have time for herself and her band!! Rita is also a mom who wants better for her daughters because she doesn’t have a college degree and wants her daughters to do well in school so they can get one and not be like her, working at Bed, Bath, and Beyond type store. When her daughter began to work there with her and expressed an interest in staying there the rest of her life, Rita talked to her about not settling and that this is not the life she wants for her working at a job like that, letting bosses demean her when she has the opportunity to do better. One of the best things about Rita is that she manages to balance everything in her life and she realizes her family is important. While a lot of people could criticize that she loses herself, I feel she understands that while your kids are in the house sacrifices need to be made on your part. But she does a good job of balancing everything in her life and getting time for herself and her band and even in the first season finale when she got promoted and was looking to have to quit the band, her family and band mates worked it out so she could still have it all. In that vein Rita does what every mom should aspire to have; a good balance between household responsibilities and a life of your own.
These are the moms I think are good examples of what moms should be. They know when to be easy on their kids and what to let slide, but they also know when they need to lay the law down and be an authority figure. They managed to do one of the hardest and sometimes under appreciated jobs in the world with a smile on their face and the courage to face it everyday.