Mother's Day is this Sunday, and that means it's time to thank the mothers in our lives that helped support us and shape us into the people we are today. For many of us, that means thanking our real-life mamas, but there are plenty of fictional mom's who have also had great influences on the way we think about motherhood and the unique struggles that come along with it. These TV moms have taught us that there are many different ways to be a mother and show love and devotion to your children. Here are a few of our favorites.
Linda Belcher, Bob's Burgers
Linda is a great example of that mom that lets her freak flag fly. Her passions include singing, dinner theater, porcelain baby figurines, Tom Selleck— or men with mustaches, more generally— nautically themed romance novels and prenatal yoga. So yes, with that list of eclectic interests, I’d say Linda's a weirdo. She’s a really wonderful mother, though. Her eccentricities come in handy when the family faces obstacles because she loves finding unconventional ways to tackle them. During family brainstorming sessions, Linda is always reminding the kids, and her husband Bob, that there's no such thing as a bad idea. She’s eternally optimistic, despite her family’s financial struggles. Most importantly, her freak flag definitely rubbed off on her kids in the best possible way. Those of us with awesomely weird-ass moms can appreciate!
Colleen Donaghy, 30 Rock
Most people probably think Colleen is the poster-child for a horrible mother and are probably wondering why she’s even on this list. Her own son, Jack Donaghy, would likely question my judgment here. She’s constantly spouting out offensive things, she guilt-trips her children like it’s an Olympic sport, and she kept the identity of Jack’s father from him for 50 years. So yeah, she’s not exactly nurturing and supportive. However, I find Colleen to be a hilariously accurate depiction of an old-school, hard-ass of a mom. I am often struck by the similarities between her relationship with her son to my grandmother’s relationship to my father. Like a lot of real life mother-child relationships, it’s complicated. Despite her flaws, throughout the season, we see Colleen’s softer side and her deep love for her son Jack. From the time Jack discovers that his mother used to sleep with Frederick August Otto Schwarz (FAO Schwarz) every Christmas just to get presents for her children to the time when Jack confronts his mother about why she doesn’t seem to care that it’s the anniversary of the day his father left them, and she concludes the conversation with the oh-so-touching, “You’re my good boy. I just love you to death.”
Callie Torres and Arizona Robbins, Grey's Anatomy
I’ve recently been re-watching Grey’s Anatomy from the beginning (quite a feat, I know), and I’ve really been stricken by how many depictions of incredible mom’s there are in this show. Dr. Miranda Bailey is not only an incredibly caring mother to her son Tuck, but she also acts as a maternal figure to her interns, teaching them and guiding them through their residency. Even Meredith, who at the beginning of the show was kind of a boring mess, in my opinion, turns into a strong mother to Zola and baby Bailey. The show also explores how damn challenging it is to be a woman dedicated to and in love with her work while also being emotionally available to your children. My two fav moms on the show though are Callie Torres and Arizona Robbins. The couple has to navigate a lot as moms— racism, homophobia, biphobia, trauma— but they're always thinking about what's best for their beyond-adorable daughter Sofia. Callie and Arizona or "Calzona" also go through some pretty intense stuff in their relationship but remain competent co-parents Sofia (for the most part). Oh, and did I mention they're both badass, world-class surgeons?
Sophia Petrillo, Golden Girls
Sophia is another great example of the "tough love" ma. In the show, she's always making a lot of harsh and brazen remarks, but she's almost always right. It's explained that her bluntness may be an effect of the stroke she suffered before moving in with her daughter Dorothy, but I think she's just an honest lady by nature. She never shies away from discussing people's insecurities like Dorothy's singledom, Blanche's promiscuity, and Rose's cluelessness. Despite this, she shows a whole lot of love to Dorothy, always affectionately referring to her as "Pussycat." She was also a true matriarch to the whole Golden Girls gang.
Rainbow Johnson, Black-ish
Rainbow comes from a unique background, having been raised by a bi-racial, hippie couple. Her mother-in-law often questions her mothering competency because of how she was raised and because she is a working mother. Rainbow is a very devoted mother but isn't overbearing since she has important things going on in her own life, like her career as an anesthesiologist. Her husband, Dre, also sometimes disagrees with her liberal views on parenting and is often incredulous over her belief that their children can exist in a colorless society. Unlike many moms from the family sitcoms of yore, Rainbow isn't perfect. She has flaws and insecurities; she seems closer to a real mother than June Cleaver ever did. She also has impeccable fashion sense, which I think is worth noting.
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Olivia’s first sentence was “No talk, just laugh” and since then, she’s made it her business to find the humorous side of life and share her absurd observations with others. She’s a writer, a lover of all things pop culture, and she can’t fall asleep without having 30 Rock on in the background. If you like looking at pictures of food and random dogs, you should check out Olivia’s Instagram.