Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch was one of the first TV moms to mother a blended family. She had three girls - he had three boys, and they came together under one roof with a dog and Alice, the housekeeper. Carol Brady never had a hair out of place. She was a stay at home mom who never lost patience with her children. She and husband, Mike, always joined forces when discipline issues arose. Though Carol Brady had her hands as full as any other mom, she seemed to maneuver through the challenges of motherhood without a self-deprecating thought.
Edith Bunker from All In the Family was the impetus for women’s rights. Archie, her husband, treated her like any chauvinistic husband should. Her voice may have been irritating but her devotion to her husband, despite his bigoted ways, was impressive. Like all good TV moms of the day, Edith was a housewife. While she may have been a “dingbat”, she was also the foundation of her family – a loving and accepting mother devoted to keeping her husband and children happy.
Angela Bower on Who’s The Boss showed us motherhood out of the box. She was a single mother who hired a male housekeeper to help care for her son while she was at work during the day. Tony, the housekeeper, and his daughter lived with Angela and her son, Jonathan. Angela did not cook and clean like other TV moms we have watched, but her devotion to her son – and then to Tony and his daughter – was equally admirable. This ‘out of the box’ family found a rhythm to function in and showed us how to maneuver through life’s lessons along the way.
Clair Huxtable became a symbol for moms who can do it all. She was a sophisticated attorney on The Cosby Show married to Bill Cosby, a doctor. They had five children, and both parents were very involved in – both – their jobs and family life. Bill and Clair were a partnership in teaching their children (and viewers) important values for living good lives. Adding humor to parenthood provided not only some good laughs – but a truthful look at many of the challenges facing parents today.
Who doesn’t love Debra Barone from Everyone Loves Raymond? Now she’s the kind of mom and wife most of us can relate to. Debra balances life with three children, in-laws who intrusively live across the street, and a husband who exemplifies the “difficult” side of all husbands. Debra is not submissive as some of our other TV moms have been. In fact, she is quite the opposite. She is outspoken; she is funny; and she is a great mom. But, like our other TV moms, Debra is dedicated to her family. Her life revolves around her children and her husband – and around making us laugh.
TV watchers have witnessed an evolution of mom roles on TV, and those roles will continue to develop as we head into the future. Our media moms give us an opportunity to laugh at ourselves, to view where we’ve come from and where we are going, and to appreciate the many roles a mother plays in the lives of her children and families.
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