Tales From A Hungry Life

May 12, 2013

Happy Mother’s Day

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:

The most lovable dingbat on the planet

The most lovable dingbat on the planet

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.

the partridge 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.

Shake your hands, snap your fingers, and you too can disappear

Shake your hands, snap your fingers, and you too can disappear

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, Julie & Barbara Romano

Ann, Julie & Barbara Romano

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.

Sing, Lily! Sing

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.

Knows how to entertain

Knows how to entertain

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.

Maria & Mom

Maria & Mom

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.


I love Quiche Lorraine

I love Quiche Lorraine

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!



  1. wonderful blog! thank you 🙂

    Comment by diana b — May 12, 2013 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  2. I guess you knew Quiche Lorraine was your Mother’s favorite by guests at our New Year’s Eve parties. The funny thing about Mothers is many understand that before they were mothers they were girls who loved to dance, go out eat and have fun and most usually had a lot of fun even if most of the guys they went out on a date with had to be held off from groping them. Those fun loving girls never went away you know, they were generally hidden from most of the world including their husbands in many cases. Too bad because while they were/are wonderful “Mothers” they were wonderful fun loving girls too and they stay that way until the day that they die, and beyond come to think of it.

    Comment by Bglou — May 12, 2013 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

    • Mom was always a fun-loving girl! All you had to say was, “Let’s go out” and she was in the car waiting for you. Thanks for always commenting.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — May 14, 2013 @ 3:27 pm | Reply

  3. I’m sure your mom would be very proud of how you turned out Maria. Happy mothers day!

    Comment by Suzanne Tavel — May 12, 2013 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

  4. Beautiful words for Mothers day ! I love remembering those old TV Moms !

    Comment by Cindy Byrnes- McDonnell — May 12, 2013 @ 8:47 pm | Reply

    • Hey Cindy! Happy Mother’s Day to you! I could have gone on and on about TV Moms — but I thought the ones I chose were my favorites. Which ones are yours?

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — May 14, 2013 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

  5. Your mother is surely smiling down right now and thinking you’re way more than half! Happy Mother’s Day………..

    Comment by Lisa — May 12, 2013 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

  6. Maria — perfect list… though maybe I’d add Florence Henderson from The Brady Bunch! And I’m in the club too –now so grateful that I get to be an imperfect Mom on Mother’s Day. And I know you’re a super –but not perfect — Mom too!! Caroline

    Comment by caroline bock — May 14, 2013 @ 7:45 am | Reply

    • I had a little Brady Bunch vs Partridge Family and Addams Family vs. The Munsters thing going on. In the end, I went with the ones who were a little rougher around the edges because I can identify with them. Thanks for reading & commenting. I think you’re a pretty awesome mom too.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — May 14, 2013 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

  7. Maria – how beautiful was your mom… wow! And you look so much like her.
    Happy Mother’s Day from one mom to another – all we can do is try our best.
    That is good enough…

    Comment by Mary — May 14, 2013 @ 8:19 am | Reply

    • Thanks Mary! I don’t see the resemblance but it’s always nice to hear. Ask my kids, and depending on the day, they may agree that we are all pretty amazing.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — May 14, 2013 @ 3:32 pm | Reply

  8. That’s a beautiful picture of you and your mom. I didn’t see this posting until tonight, so I just read it. I wish I had more time with your mom to get to know her better and see all the wonderful things you listed about her. I always wish I had more time with my own amazing and beautiful mother, my mother had spunk and guts raising 6 children, a great cook and baker, homemaker, wife, fun mom, deeply devout – in love with God – in love with her life and her children’s best advocate at all times, she lost her life way too young. My mom would be of the Donna Reed type… (It’s a Wonderful Life) kind of mom, and her favorite show was All In The Family. God Bless Our Moms!! The two of them stand as my best advocates in Heaven!

    Comment by Anne — May 14, 2013 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

    • I’d say you have two fantastic advocates! There is never enough time, is there? Oh well…thanks for being one of my advocates and always reading my blog.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — May 15, 2013 @ 1:23 pm | Reply

  9. Good list of Mom’s! My favorite is the one you saved for last!

    Comment by Chris — May 14, 2013 @ 10:43 pm | Reply

  10. Yeah for the Mom list – watched the Munsters all the time & that Mom was always too calm. Actually they all were too calm about the crazy crappy things their family did. Hmmm – or maybe my household was too excitable & hysterical. I still find the contrast remarkable that your Mom could hum a tune while cooking in the midst of all the activity of your brothers – while my Mom screamed & yelled like crazy with 4 girls laughing while we burnt dinner again – go figure – ;).

    Comment by PMLawrence — May 15, 2013 @ 11:12 pm | Reply

  11. A great post, Maria! Those were many of my favorite TV moms! What a fun, unique and creative tribute to your mom. 🙂

    Comment by wordimprovisor177 — May 15, 2013 @ 11:16 pm | Reply

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