Being a mother is not easy. In fact, it’s one of the most difficult things that a person can do in this world. Mothers should be applauded for everything they do, and yet they are often met with snarky comments and insults from their ungrateful kids instead. There are plenty of moms on television who remind us every week of the struggles and significance and power of motherhood. If you think about all the things that moms have to do at once, they’re basically real life superheroes. Here are 10 moms from the small screen that we wish had been around to raise us!
10. Jessica Huang
Jessica Huang is a truly wonderful mother. She might be a little tough on her kids, but that’s just because she loves them and wants them to succeed in life. It’s very simple. Eddie might have his problems with obeying the rules and knuckling down at school, but at his core, he is a very good kid. And look at Emery and Evan – they are whip smart and very obedient and the loveliest pair of boys that you could ever meet. She is also paranoid about all the things that the media have made her afraid of, like pedophiles. When Eddie wanted to go to a sleepover at his friend Brock’s house, Jessica wouldn’t let him. Why? “Because pedophiles. I saw it on the nightly news.” Her solution to the problem is very simple: “You can have the sleepover here. I know that we are not pedophiles.” There you have the parental stylings of Jessica Huang summed up in just a few words: she still wants Eddie to have fun, she just doesn’t want him to have any freedom, and she’s way, way too overprotective. But don’t look into it too much. Her heart’s in the right place. She’s a great mother.
9. Francine Smith
Hayley Smith once made a documentary for her film class about how her housewife mother Francine Smith insults powerful women throughout history with her own lifestyle. But what Hayley has lost sight of in this movie is what a fantastic, loving mother she has. She comforts Steve whenever he is bullied. She even acts as a mother figure to Roger, the alien who has lived in the Smiths’ attic since he saved Stan’s life at the Area 51 government facility. Francine has no legal obligations to look after Roger, but she still treats him as a part of the family and loves him and makes him dinner and buys the things that he wants from the grocery store, no matter how much of a jerk he is to her all the time. Remember that episode in which Stan clashes with Francine over their treatment of Roger? Roger keeps saying and doing the most horrible things to Francine and she’s only trying to help him be happy and she manages to last a long time before snapping. And even when she does reach her breaking point, all the things she says to him only serve to help him become a better person in the future. Francine is incredible – she’ll travel across the world and do anything in her power to protect her kids (including the one who came from outer space) and make sure that they are happy and safe.
8. Carmela Soprano
Now, it is not exactly clear how much Carmela Soprano knew about her husband’s various lovers and infidelities. She obviously knew a thing or two about what was going on and she decided to look the other way on a lot of things. But even though she had to spend a lot of nights sleeping alone in her marital bed, not knowing exactly where her husband was or who he was with or what he was doing with them, she never took off, because that would have meant abandoning her kids, A.J. and Meadow, and she wasn’t prepared to do that. Okay, A.J. wasn’t a perfect kid. He wasn’t great in school and he ended up trying to kill himself in the swimming pool in the backyard before a stint at a psychiatric hospital – but he came out the other end of that with a budding career as a movie producer. Meadow was never a problem – she was always a great kid. The brilliant Edie Falco deservingly won three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (in 1999, 2001, and 2003) for her portrayal of Carmela as a conflicted and complex and troubled individual – not to mention a fantastic mother.
7. Claire Dunphy
Claire Dunphy was not raised by a great mother, so she did not really have a great role model to follow when it was her turn to be a mom and raise her three kids: Haley, Alex, and Luke. Still, she has managed to do it, raising an ambitious entrepreneur who has taken a self made approach to success, a truly intelligent, albeit condescending genius, and well, a very sweet, well meaning, if dim young man. Julie Bowen, who has consistently been acclaimed by critics for her portrayal of Claire in the show, has spoken very poignantly and emotionally in recent months about the upcoming final season of the long running, awards laden, very popular sitcom. She said, “We’ll feel very proud of ourselves that we’ve made it through ten seasons, but at the same time, it’s going to be very sad. It will be a hard thing to say goodbye to the daily rhythm of seeing everyone’s faces, and just how fun and loving it’s been.” The feeling is mutual, Julie Bowen, as it will be tough for us millions upon millions of fans across the world to say goodbye to seeing you guys’ wacky and relatable antics on our boxes every week.
6. Rainbow Johnson
Tracee Ellis Ross has always been acclaimed for her role as Rainbow “Bow” Johnson in ABC’s progressive single camera sitcom, and she has always played the character as a terrific mother to all of her kids. When she was asked to comment on the possible departure of series creator Kenya Barris, who has been mulling a jump from ABC to Netflix, her response to the question hinted that she feels like a mother figure in real life to the child actors who play Dre and Bow’s kids, and called the cast a “family.” She said, “Is Kenya an integral part of our show, and did the voice of our show really emerge out of his singular vision? Of course it did, and he is pivotal in that sense. Will I miss him? Yes. But when shows run for long periods of time, the creator doesn’t always stick around. We’ve been going for four years – this is a show that stands on its own. We saw Yara [Shahidi] leave [to star in her own college based spinoff show on the Freeform network]. That was a moment where it was like, ‘Whoa, what’s it going to be like without her?’ You don’t want to lose any member of the family, because it feels like it changes all the dynamics. It’s bumpy at first and feels uncomfortable, and then you continue.”
5. Jackie Goodman
The Netflix synopsis for Friday Night Dinner describes it as a show about a Jewish family led by “an eccentric patriarch.” Make no mistake – Martin Goodman is no patriarch. The Goodman family is a matriarchy, through and through. Jackie is in charge. Every time Martin does something that might upset her, he freaks out and goes to the most ridiculous lengths to make sure that she never finds out. Martin might be cripplingly terrified of his wife, but to her sons Jonny and Adam, she is a lovely mother. Just look at the episode “The Pyjamas,” in which Adam comes to stay at home for a week while he’s feeling sick. She waits on him hand and foot and doesn’t let him lift a finger and gives him the lion’s share of the titular dinner. And he’s not even a kid anymore. She has no obligation to look after him anymore. He’s an adult! She does it because she loves him and doesn’t want him to have to suffer, even in the slightest, and even if it means she has to sacrifice an entire week of her life to take care of him. She’s a scary wife, but she’s a great mother.
4. Peggy Bundy
Peggy Bundy was the ultimate representation of motherhood on television for eleven glorious years and 259 brilliantly funny episodes. Married…with Children was not only a great sitcom that was hilarious, it was also painfully relatable and real. The characters were all such accurate representations of who they were in the family unit. Peggy was essential to the groundwork that was laid for the show, because she was the flip side of her husband Al’s constant negativity and criticism. In a way, she acted like a spin doctor to turn what he said into something nice to make her kids feel better about themselves – she’s a saint! The character was written and designed to be a satire of the pushover TV housewives of the 1960s. Peg was the exact opposite of those characters. She stood up for herself and had a voice of her own and it was fantastic. Katey Sagal’s hilarious and relatable and intimate performance as Peggy Bundy was named the “Biggest Emmy Snub” of all time by Entertainment Weekly. To be fair, it is some kind of crime that she was never awarded with the most prestigious TV award for her work. She was so great as Peggy!
3. Beverly Goldberg
It is often joked that Beverly Goldberg is a “smother,” but that is not a bad thing. Her kids only call her that because of how much she loves them and wants them to be happy and obsesses over cuddling with them and making sure they know how important they are to her. If one of her kids is unhappy with anything at their school, then she will come marching into the principal’s office to fight her case until her kids get what they want. In fact, the whole staff of the school are terrified of her, and when they see her coming, they cower in fear and offer to give the Goldberg kids whatever they want. Beverly would argue that it’s not possible to love your kids too much or to be too protective of them, and you know what, she might just be right. Is there really anything wrong with her overbearing style of parenting? Adam, Erica, and Barry are all great kids who are going to go on to do great things. What makes her even sweeter is that she was based on series creator Adam F. Goldberg’s real life mother, so this smother with a heart of gold is a real person!
2. Marie Barone
Marie Barone is one of the sweetest and most caring and most generous mothers on television. A lot of parents can’t wait for their kids to grow up and move out to leave them alone and give them some privacy, but Marie will let Robert stay at home for as long as he wants. Whenever one of her two sons is upset or stressed, she’s there with open ears and a shoulder to cry on, and of course, some home cooked food. Marie is also a fantastic grandmother as she will never turn down the opportunity to babysit Ray and Debra’s kids and she went out of her way to encourage Robert and Amy to have a baby. She is one of those classic moms who doesn’t think that anyone is good enough to date her kids – especially her youngest, Raymond. We see from both episodes that are set in the present day and flashback episodes set in the past like “How We Met” that Marie has never liked Debra. But that’s nothing personal against Debra, really – it’s just that she was the new woman in Ray’s life who was poised to replace her. If Marie has a major flaw, it’s that she cares to much (well, that and her narcissistic personality).
1. Marge Simpson
It’s kind of a cliché to say that mothers are superheroes, but in some cases, it is true. It doesn’t happen automatically – it has to be earned. It’s mothers like Marge Simpson, who somehow manage to keep their whole family and home in order, that earn the title of superhero. Every morning, Marge makes breakfast for the entire family, feeds Maggie, gets Bart and Lisa ready for the school bus, and then tidies up the house, pays all the bills, cooks dinner for everybody, does the laundry, the dishes, all the household chores – she does literally everything. And she manages to do all of this and come out with hysterically funny lines, too. As a character, she is often overshadowed by the likes of Homer and Bart, but Marge is one of the funniest characters on the show. When she realizes she has a drinking problem after getting drunk at Oktoberfest, she says, “I couldn’t even celebrate the harvest!” with such conviction. Marge would do anything for her kids. She even gives Bart the benefit of the doubt, and never gives up on her “special little guy.” And of course, she has nothing bad to say about Lisa or Maggie.