Ahead of Mother’s Day on Sunday we asked some of our favourite authors to tell us who their fave Mum from pop-culture is!
Do you agree with their picks? Who is your favourite Mum from pop-culture?
Mrs Bennet (with ‘five daughters of marriageable age’) from Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice might date from the late 1700s, but her iconic mother status has never been in doubt. Mrs Bennet is alternately mortifyingly embarrassing (something most daughters could relate to!) and, in terms of her wanting the best for her daughters, loving and caring.
As a mother of six, I often quote Mrs Bennet. ‘You have no compassion on my poor nerves,’ is a useful phrase when teaching children to drive, and when greeting them at the door at three in the morning. And the line, ‘He is such a disagreeable man that it would be quite a misfortune to be liked by him,’ will resonate with many mothers in terms of their teenaged daughter’s boyfriends.
Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate motherhood, and the occasional channelling of Mrs Bennet isn’t a bad way to do it. ‘A little sea-bathing would set me up forever.’ A sun lounge, a long cool cocktail and a lazy Sunday swim in the Whitsundays would suit this mother very well indeed…
My favourite pick would be Mrs Weasley – either in the Harry Potter books or the films.
She dresses like an author – ie. someone who works from home. She has amazing housekeeping skills – she uses magic to get it done (I could do with a bit of that) while she’s busy doing other things. She’s warm, generous, funny and bossy. She gives her kids jumpers to wear that make them cringe – I’m sure that’s good for character development. She’s a soft touch where her family is concerned, but still manages to pull them into line, even when it’s like herding cats (isn’t that familiar?). But she’s a very dangerous woman when someone hurts her family (as Bellatrix Le Strange discovered).
Happy Mothers’ Day!
When I finally chose my favourite pop culture mums I realised I had a theme: Strays. All the mothers or mother figures I have chosen from TV, movies and books are women who have become mother’s to people who are not their own children.
TV Mum – Marion Ross as Marion Cunningham in Happy Days – Marion (or Mrs C) while mother to Richie and Joanie, Mrs C took The Fonz as one of her own very early in the long-running series. A boarder above their garage, The Fonz was already a grown man, but that didn’t stop Marion from giving him guidance, love and a good (and often hilarious) reprimand every now and again. (Who can forget the time The Fonz had to have his tonsils out). She was also the only person who could get away with calling him by his first name, Arthur.
Movie Mum – Shirley MacLaine as Grace in Mrs Winterbourne – Richer than Mrs Croesus, Grace Winterbourne having lost a son in a train wreck, takes in his widow and baby. Tough, feisty and sassy, Grace already hosted another stray, the gay Cuban butler (although sometimes it feels like he is managing her, and not the other way around). When Grace discovers that Patricia (aka Connie) is not her widowed daughter-in-law but a lost mother who wants the best for her baby, Grace forgives her and Connie soon becomes a real daughter when she marries the remaining son played by the lovely Brendan Fraser.
Book mum – Mrs Grady from The Bride Quartet Series by Nora Roberts. – When Parker Brown loses her parents in a plane crash, housekeeper Mrs Grady becomes a surrogate mother to Parker, her brother Del and Parker’s closest girlfriends Laurel, Mac and Emma. While still on the payroll, the widow with no children of her own doles out advice, love and hard truths along with her seemingly endless supply of food for the girls.
Absolutely Mrs Bennet from Pride and Prejudice—in the original book and all the screen adaptations. She’s a legend! She raised five daughters all herself, and while her youngest daughters might still have a lot to learn (Lydia is only 15), Elizabeth is refreshingly self-assured and perfectly capable of standing up for herself, even when arguing with the prideful Mr Darcy. And that’s all thanks to her mother. It’s not as though Mrs Bennet hardly ever lets her husband win an argument, even if she has to suffer a fit of the vapours or take to her bed to get her way. And, yes, Mrs Bennet pushed Elizabeth to marry the odious Mr Collins, but that’s only because she wants Elizabeth to be safe and secure in her future. In fact, Mrs Bennet only ever wants the best for her daughters—and she’s constantly bragging about them to all her friends!
Marmee (Margaret March) from Little Women. With four diverse daughters to raise while her Chaplain husband is away and money is scarce, it takes great strength, patience and forbearance to always be there for whenever her daughters need her.
Michonne from The Walking Dead. Michonne has had a difficult life, especially after losing her young son in the zombie apocalypse. The tragic events made Michonne withdraw into herself but after meeting young Carl and Judith, who had both lost their birth mother, Michonne became their friend and, eventually, mother. Michonne became a biological parent once more and shows all of her children the importance of compassion and strength and not to lose hope in a world that is against them.
My all time favourite pop culture Mother would be Lorelei Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. She’s the kind of mum we all strive to be—one who has not just a great mother-daughter relationship with her child, but also a strong friendship with her and a mutual respect, and when it counts, she’s not afraid to pull the mum card. Despite everything she’s been through, she raised a strong, independent woman and was able to see her off into the real world knowing she’d be okay.