By Maria Schulz
Mother’s Day is here, and along with it comes a bunch of articles about “The Top TV Moms of All Time.” I always get a kick out of reading those lists. Last night, my husband and I were talking about some of our most unforgettable TV Moms. Here are my favorites:
Edith Bunker from All In the Family
Edith was the all-forgiving, all-loving mom of Gloria, mother-in-law of Mike, grandmother to baby Joey and long-suffering wife of Archie. She had endless patience and a bottomless pit of pithy stories to share with her family, whenever they needed them. Archie called her Dingbat, but Edith was the heart AND the brains in that family.
Shirley Partridge from The Partridge Family
Shirley was a totally cool mom who played percussion in her kids’ band, drove a multicolored bus back and forth from gigs, and never really believed that her kids were innocent when something went wrong. Her kids were, at times, rotten and she was okay with that. She looked great in her velvet pantsuit and was rockin’ short hair long before it was in.
Jessica Tate and Mary Campbell from SOAP
These two sisters were the best moms! Jessica was scatter-brained, but could always be counted on in a pinch. She personally exorcised her grandson in one episode and talked her adopted daughter into understanding how much she loved her by saying, “what matters more – sharing a womb or sharing a life?”
Mary accepted her sons no matter what, even if one was a mobster and the other was the first openly gay character on prime-time television. Mary was a slightly better wife than Jessica (Jessica was known to dabble in affairs) and she even dealt kindly with her husband, who thought he could snap his fingers and disappear.
Kate Lawrence from Family
Kate was a stay-at-home mom who was smart, funny, and always there for her kids and husband. She had a daughter named Nancy, whose marriage unraveled in the first season and who had a small baby that Kate always helped care for. Her son, Willie, was always getting into trouble with his father, Doug, a lawyer who hoped for big things for his future. Her youngest child, Buddy (played by Kristy McNichol) was on the verge of growing up, so she had to deal with things like teen crushes, heartbreaks, and whether or not to “go all the way” with Leif Garrett, a teen heartthrob at the time. Kate faced it all with one raised eyebrow and really great advice for her kids. She seemed to like her husband and he admired her. No matter what her kids did, she accepted it and forged ahead.
Ann Romano from One Day At A Time
“This is it! This is life, the one you get, so go and have a ball!” The theme song used to get me primed for another night of arguments and funny stuff with the Romano family. Newly divorced and single mother of two young girls, Ann Romano had her hands full with daughters Julie and Barbara. Mostly Julie drove her crazy—from running away with her boyfriend, Chuck, to striking up a love affair with a man more than 2 times her age. Barbara used to feel left out, so she would do her share of stupid things, like running off with her friend Bob just to see if her mother would come looking for her. I liked Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin) because she wasn’t above telling her kids how stupid she thought they were being. She also insisted that her children treat their father fairly, dated in midlife, fell in love with a married man, pondered remarriage, and became a grandparent. Ann was a great mom…and I was sorry to hear Bonnie Franklin passed away earlier this year.
Lily Munster from The Munsters
While she might not be the most traditional choice for TV Mom of the year, you have to hand it to Lily. She never lost her head (Herman couldn’t say the same) despite the fact that her husband and father were always getting into trouble. She had a lot of confidence in her appearance and was kind to her “homely” niece, Marilyn. She helped Eddie see Herman as the great father he was when he wished his father was “normal.” And she certainly knew how to entertain a crowd, whether it was a rock-n-roll band that rented her home and used it for a party or “relatives” from the old country that dropped by for a spell. Whether Grandpa was blowing up his basement laboratory or Spot was smashing through the staircase and breathing fire, Lily always had a smile on her face.
Remembering these classic TV Moms made me remember my own mother (as if I needed help in that department). My mom had a lot in common with these TV Moms. For instance:
- Mom rocked any hairstyle
- There was a time when my mother owned lots of velvet pantsuits
- She told a funny story in a way that had you laughing along with her while she told the story
- Mom’s laugh was contagious
- Mom could sing with the best of them
- Mom was the best entertainer this side of the planet
- She welcomed my brother’s rock-n-roll band into our home
- Her smile never wavered, even when our pets broke things or when my grandfather tried to cook and almost blew up the house
- Mom knew that sometimes, her kids were rotten. And she was okay with that
- She demanded that her children respect their father
- She was admired for her brains AND her beauty
- Mom was a champion eyebrow-raiser
- Mom knew that “this is it,” so she went out and had a ball
I joined a club that no one ever wants to join when my mother passed away some years ago. That’s the club that spends Mother’s Day wishing they had to go get a card and a gift for their mom, who is no longer here.
Was my mother perfect? No. Perfect people aren’t very interesting or fun, and my mother was both. While my mother had her faults like anyone else, she certainly made life joyful for the people around her. If I could tell my mom one thing, it would be this: I wish I could be half the mother you were.
On this Mother’s Day, I’d like to wish all the moms out there a very happy, fun-filled day. Don’t worry Dads—I’ll get to you next month.
One of my favorite dishes that my mom would make was Quiche Lorraine. Here’s a recipe that got 4 ½ stars:
So, Hungry Lifers…if you had to choose one of the moms from this list, who would YOUR mom most resemble? Did I miss one that you think fits your Mom better? If you had to pick a TV Mom that represents my mother, who do you think I would choose? Please leave a comment below and let us all know. Thanks!