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In Celebration of Unconventional Moms

Does anyone know a mom who even slightly resembles the one in Mother’s Day advertisements? She is the one with the perfectly loving smile and whose clothing ensemble are styled to perfection no matter how casual the outfit. A simple ponytail is exquisitely shaped, bound, and shiny. The better to showcase the no-makeup, makeup look. And of course, her kids (and required husband) are fresh and new with expensive trinket in hand to be given in expectation of a flood of appreciative tears. Really? Well, in celebration of real women and real moms of all shapes and sizes, we highlight the unconventional moms in movies and television. They may not dress impeccably or have uteruses or even given birth to their children, but each are examples of loving moms.

So grab your mom, or mom figure, and check out one of the movies or show listed below. All are available on DVD.

Tough Mamas


Movies: Terminator I and II– Who can debate the toughness of Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor whether it is her growing strength in the first film or full-fledged kick-butt militia attitude in Judgment Day? She inspired two movies and a TV series. This is the mom who birthed, educated, and trained mankind’s resistance leader.

The Sopranos

TV: The Sopranos –Livia Soprano, as played by Nancy Marchand, was not the soft, cushy Italian mom. More like a prickly, hard cactus who rats out her own son in a possible attempt to get him wacked. You don’t think that’s tough? Fuggedaboutit

Perfect Moms (aka Animated Moms)

Movies: The Incredibles – Helen Parr (Holly Hunter) is not only super to her own family, she is a superhero to everyone else as Elastigirl. She truly embodies the superhuman efforts of most moms.

TV: TheSimpsons – Scratchy voice. Big blue hair. Crazy sisters. Marge Simpson (voiced by Julie Kavner) is no futuristic, sexy Jane Jetson and she is definitely not an NC-17 Lois Griffin type. Marge is just a hopefully weary (or wearily hopeful) suburban mom who loves and forgives and possesses infinite patience.

Manly Moms

Movies: Mr. Mom and The Birdcage– Criticism of gender stereotypes aside, Michael Keaton’s character Jack Butler still remains a classic example of a less-involved dad becoming a talented “mom”. Plus it does not involve costumes or special effects. Just plenty of comedy and role reversal 80s style. Looking for costumes, but no special effects? Join the Goldmans (Nathan Lane and Robin Williams) in this sweet-natured romp about identity, pride, and understanding.

TV: My Two Dads – One mom drives most teens batty. What about two dads? After the death of her mother, a teen’s two potential fathers take over. Michael Taylor and Joey Harris (Paul Reiser and Greg Evigan, respectively) struggle with the challenges of raising a newly acquired teenager while working together. A late 1980s hidden gem, this sitcom is charming and amusing.

Homey Moms

Movies: A Christmas Story – Mrs. Parker makes piggy sounds. Mrs. Parker stuffs Randy like a turkey into his snow suit. Mrs. Parker washes Ralphie’s mouth out with soap. Mrs. Parker lovingly kisses Ralphie when he shoots his eye out. Melinda Dillon’s Mrs. Parker is the glue that holds together this funny look at Christmas time for a regular kid from a regular family at a regular time in history.

TV: Roseanne – The character and the actress seemed one in the same. Tart-mouthed and loud, Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr) was the blue-collar mom who broke television taboos. She was sarcastic, worked outside the home, and was fat. She was the most real mom most of us had ever seen. Rough around the edges, but a loving mother and wife. She was an Everymom to millions.

G-Man Moms

Movies: Long Kiss Goodnight – Go to sleep a PTA mom, wake up a CIA assassin. With Samantha Caine and Charly Baltimore on hand you get both. Geena Davis’ amnesiac mom learns to embrace both sides of herself, but not before kicking some booty and saving her family. Who says moms can’t be action heroes?

TV: Alias – Good mom. Bad mom. Good mom. Bad mom. Irina Derevko (Lena Olin) is the Russian spy mom of the Alias heroine. Dangerous and sexy, with wavering maternal instincts, Irina is not anyone’s ideal of an ideal mom. At one time another a betrayer and a savior, Sydney’s mom is the one for which therapy was invented.

Nice Stepmoms (and Aunts)

Movies: Juno – What child of divorce wouldn’t want Allison Janney as stepmom, Brenda MacGuff? She may be a MacGuff, but she takes no guff. Down to earth, sensible, and loving , she is also suspicious and a bit overbearing. In other words, Brenda may not have gestated Juno but she is her mom nonetheless.

TV: The Bernie Mac Show – Maternal love and instinct can be gained. Wanda McCullough as portrayed by Kellita Smith, becomes the defacto mom of her two nieces and one nephew when her sister enters rehab. Wanda heads a new kind of blended family and after a lesson or two, she moves from indulgent aunt to wise, loving and stern.

Birth mom, stepmom, man mom. Mother’s Day is a great time to honor the maternal figure in our lives, especially those that don’t fit inside the stereotypical box.

Submitted by: Anita Williams

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"When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child."
~Sophia Loren

"My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune."
~Graycie Harmon

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