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Honor Thy Mother: Screen Mothers That We Love

| May 16, 2023 | By

May is the month we celebrate mothers. Mothers do all kinds of things for their kids besides giving birth to them. There are different parenting styles, and below are four mothering styles that we’ve seen depicted on TV.

As we watch these women navigate motherhood in different ways, it can help us think about the mothers we have or had, and if we are mothers, the ways in which we should -- or shouldn't -- handle family issues.

And, since these shows are all comedies, mothers and children can take their lessons with a side order of laughter.

Beverly Goldberg – the personification of the helicopter mom

Wendi McLendon-Covey played Beverly Goldberg in the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs for 10 years. She is the epitome of the helicopter mom, aka “smother mother.”

Beverly couldn’t stay out of her kids’ lives, and toward the end of the series she took a job at the school to stay close to her “baby” Adam.

Beverly’s whole life revolved around her three children, who gave her life purpose, to their chagrin. She wanted to be their friend. Actually, she wanted to be their best friend.

Butting in on their conversations, relationships, hobbies, and all parts of their lives was embarrassing for the kids, but Beverly had no compunction about it. She wanted to be front and center in their lives.

For Beverly, her children gave her a reason to live. As the poster mother for “helicopter mom” Beverly was never far from her kids’ sides.


Donna Stone – the typical 1950s housewife/mother

Played by Donna Reed in The Donna Reed Show (1958-1964), Donna Stone was the personification of the old-style mother. She usually wore a dress, her hair was never out of place, and her house was always spotless.

When it came to her children, Donna was always there to pack their lunches, make their dinners, and help with homework. She was sympathetic to her kids’ problems but never overshadowed them. She knew when to take a step back and leave them to their own devices, however when needed, she was there to lend a shoulder to cry on or to give advice.


Carol Brady – the complete mother

Played by Florence Henderson in The Brady Bunch (1969-1974), Carol Brady was the complete mother to her three biological daughters and three stepsons.

After a few episodes the distinction between biology was nonexistent, and all six children were lumped into the same category.

And when Bobby was concerned about being a “step” she marched him to the stairway and said they were the only steps in that family! That was a truly touching scene.

Carol was fun-loving, caring, and, along with her husband, was always available to help the kids. But she was also tough, and doling out punishment for bad behavior was part of her parenting style.

Fairness, although, was how she treated the kids. She listened to all sides and gave her advice, guidance, or in some cases, reprimand.

For Carol Brady, keeping the family together, happy, healthy, and organized was what informed her life. That’s not to say she devoted her life 24/7 to her kids.

She managed to do her own thing and live her life as a well-rounded woman. She was the complete package.


Lorelai Gilmore – the learning mom

Lauren Graham played Lorelai Gilmore for seven years. As a thirty-something single mom to a teenage daughter, Lorelai was not too much older than her daughter Rory. Lorelai learned how to parent as time went by.

Being a parent and a friend to Rory was at times a tricky row to hoe. She knew exactly what her daughter was going through because it wasn’t that long ago that she went through the same things.

But Lorelai’s priority was raising a strong, independent woman, while at the same time she was doing the same for herself.



Being a mother is a balancing act between being a friend, a judge, a keeper of the house, and a woman.

May we always honor all they do!

Image:  Shutterstock

Francine Brokaw is a longtime journalist, covering entertainment, product reviews and travel, and is the host of Beyond the Red Carpet on Village Television and YouTube.

Keep up with Family Theater Productions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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