Mother matters

Two of my favorite sitcoms this season are The Middle on ABC and Raising Hope on Fox. Perhaps it’s because they’re as real life as can be, especially when it comes to the mother roles. I also like ABC’s Modern Family and NBC’s Parenthood because they reflect the humorous imperfections alive in families.

This morning I pulled the Parade magazine out of the cellophaned supplements and smiled to find featured the four mothers on these shows. In “The Mom Squad,” the actresses playing popular TV mothers give their takes on motherhood.

Whether or not you’re a mother, I think you’ll see a little bit of yourself in one or more of the characters the actresses portray. I know I did.

“A type A anxious mother . . . a little nuts, a little stubborn.”

“She likes to eat. She likes to drink. She loves her kid, but she’s not focused on being the World’s Greatest Mom . . . She’s not reading the mommy blogs, but she has this gooey center.”

“Works because her family needs the money. But in other ways she’s a lot like Lucy in I Love Lucy—she freaks out about stuff, tries to overcontrol situations, and does harebrained things. And her husband is this calming, sensible force who says, ‘Let’s chill.’”

“A stay-at-home mom, but the kids are getting older and she’s trying to work out who she is now that they don’t need her so much.”

(Another favorite quote from the article is one in which actress Martha Plimpton describes the twins who play her granddaughter on Raising Hope. She says, “the little fat behind the neck is like a fine foie gras.”)

So which modern TV mother are you? Or maybe you’re more of a traditional TV mother like June Cleaver or Edith Bunker. Or a mod 1960s or ‘70s mother like Samantha Stevens or Shirley Partridge. Which one do you wish you were and why?

While we’re on the subject, notice I said TV “mother,” and not “mom.” I have a little peeve about this and what better day to air it than on the eve of Mother’s Day? Notice it’s not Mom’s Day. Mom is a name. Mom is not a noun. In my view, someone is not a mom. She’s a working mother, a stay-at-home mother, a single mother or simply, a mother. Madison Avenue is the worst offender, often producing ad copy that says a product is “preferred by moms.” (Such a claim is also backward for this day and age.)

Some dictionaries have acquiesced a bit, but most define “mom” as informal for “mother.”

In my opinion, it’s all right to refer to “my Mom,” but to use “mom” to refer to any woman with children is sloppy speech. Same goes for “dad.”

Why? Because I said so.

3 Comments

Filed under All Things Wordish, Holidays, Marketing/Advertising/PR, Movies, Television and Radio

3 responses to “Mother matters

  1. anonnickus

    My mother always pulled the “because I said so ” clause out of her apron pocket when she needed extra leverage with her teenagers. It is still a good dialectic tool. Nicely done.

  2. Alyson

    “I’m a MEAN old Mommy!” Got that from Aunt Rebekah, and use it to this day.

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