At some stage during parenting, there'll come a time when moms actually have a moment to sit down and watch TV. While they may choose something without any intelligence in order to unwind, there's also a chance that they could pick a well-written scripted drama or comedy that will entirely captivate their attention. Many of the wonderful series out there have moms in them that many of us can relate to. In fact, some moms will gravitate toward these series because they can understand the journeys that these women are on.
This opens up the door to building an admiration for these moms and ultimately emulating them in some way. After all, many characters on TV can be quite inspiring, energetic, and insightful. But one thing TV watchers should be aware of is that not every mother on television is worth looking up to. In fact, some of them are downright bad parenting role models. Still, there are some incredible fictional women out there that can inspire all of us to be better parents. This list will delve into some of these mothers, as well as the moms that one should absolutely avoid baring any similarities to. Without further ado, here are 10 TV Moms To Look Up To (And 10 To Stay Clear Of).
Let's start with the 10 TV moms to look up to...
20 Claire Dunphy
Don't' get us wrong, in many instances, Claire Dunphy comes across as a very uptight and ultimately very controlling mother; but who isn't? Claire is so unbelievably relatable because she is everything that so many mothers struggle with. But the writers of Modern Family do something even more interesting with her; they make her lovable. While she may be uptight and controlling at times, she is consistently a loving mother to her three kids and even her niece and young step-siblings. She gave up her job for kids and practically devoted everything she had to them as they got older. Even when she started new work, she continued to go above and beyond protocol for her kids. This is a mother that we should all emulate.
19 Cookie Lyon
Empire's Cookie Lyon is the immovable object at the end of the road. This is a woman who will do practically anything to get what she wants. This makes her someone who is more in the grey area than completely good. But she does have a few very notable positive qualities that make her a good person and a fantastic mother. First and foremost, this diva wants her kids to succeed. Sure, she jumped back in their lives after some time, but when she did she had their best interests at heart. At the same time, she instills a love for competition in her boys. She wants them to strive to be the best that they can be. These are important lessons to teach kids, even if Cookie isn't entirely the mom you want to be. Underneath the hard exterior is a good mom.
18 Meredith Grey
Grey's Anatomy fans know that Meredith Grey's mother is easily one of the least awesome moms on television. But they often forget that Meredith herself ended up being a pretty good one herself. This is because she overcame the shadow that was cast over her by her mother. She stopped being like her cold, absentee, workaholic mom and became a doting and affectionate one. When she and her husband adopted Zola, then had her biological son, she showed audiences that a mom could be talented at their job as well as a mom who truly cares for their kids. Therefore, Grey's fans should be thrilled by the lessons that Meredith teaches us.
17 Tami Taylor
While Connie Britton has created a more recent wonderful mom in Rayna James on Nashville, it's her character on Friday Night Lights that should be focused on. Tami Taylor is one of the best mothers to be put on the screen. Not only is she a great mom to her kids, but to the entire football team and their families. She's a leader, first and foremost. She's happy to be an ear, but also one that will tell it as she sees it. She thinks with a rational mind, even when she's burdened by her own emotions. She's capable of making mistakes, but always learns from them and uses these lessons to help others. There's a very good reason why she became a school guidance counselor.
16 Lorelai Gilmore
When it comes to solo mothers, you won't find any better than Lorelai Gilmore. This woman raised her child all on her own against much adversity. Through all of this, she managed to build a connection with her daughter that's truly inspiring. Although she certainly has an untraditional relationship with her daughter Rory, many wish they had the same connection with their kid. Lorelai may cross the line between friend and mother on occasion, but she's always looking out for her kid. She wants the best for her and will go to any length to give her just that. Additionally, we can all learn a thing or two about movie references and all-around wittiness from Lorelai. This is a cool, dedicated, untraditional, and loving mom.
15 Rainbow Johnson
Black-ish Dr. Rainbow Johnson has the wonderful ability to speak to her children like adults even when she's balancing her own issues. For a comedy, Black-ish explores a lot of real-life issues such as marriages coming apart and PPD. Most of these issues Rainbow moves through quiet gracefully, while being a consistent mentor to her kids. She also put aside her amazing job to be a stay-at-home mom for a while. Eventually, she is able to find even more of a balance, allowing a nanny to help with her kids while she continues her role as a doctor. Rainbow shows her kids, and us, that stability is vital and a sense of humor is even more important.
14 Joyce Byers
Stranger Things' Joyce Byers was relentless, to say the least. This solo mother was utterly devoted to finding her son when he went missing. She even allowed herself to consider every option because she knew in her heart that her son was alive somewhere. Eventually, her love for her son paid off. Although, she did learn that she can't always protect her kids from harm's way. Before Will went missing as well as following this, she did her best to support her two sons even though she wasn't handed little in life. She valued traditions and for both of her sons to achieve their desires, even if they weren't what she would have picked for them. Joyce is honestly one of the better mother's on this list by being so loving and such a great role model for her kids.
13 Jessica Huang
Fresh Off The Boat's Jessica Huang wants what most immigrants want for their children, a better life. Her struggle as a mother is so reflective of what immigrant women in her shoes go through on a daily basis in North America and other parts of the world. She wants her kids to adapt to their new environment, find a passion within it, understand it, and love it. But she also wants them to maintain some connection with where they came from and what their culture means. But she does this as a stern pragmatist, which isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it's not a bad thing. If it works, it works and she comes entirely from a good place.
12 Carol Brady
So, Carol Brady definitely made a few odd moves as a mom. She wasn't infallible. But, for the most part, she's one of the best mothers ever depicted on screen. This Brady Bunch star constantly reminded her daughters that they shouldn't let boys get to them. She also made sure to instill a sense of grace and maturity to them, even when they were incapable of it. Carol Brady always told her children to meet their problems head-on and not slink into a hole to avoid them. As a stay at home mom, Carol made sure to constantly keep her self busy making her kids' lives better. But this didn't mean she couldn't make time for herself. Carol also explored her own interests, setting a good example for all of her kids who needed to learn to balance responsibility and desire.
11 All The Moms On Big Little Lies
Big Little Lies makes sure that we know that every mother is capable of positive actions, and incredibly silly ones. However, when it comes to the moms (and step-mom) in HBO's hit show, every mom acts in a way they think will benefit their children.
The most outlandish actions come from Laura Dern's Renata Klein who stops at nothing to find the person responsible for hurting her daughter, even if that means going after the innocent. Then there's Reese Witherspoon's Madeline who struggles to balance being a role model for her determined daughters and living out her own life. Shailene Woodley's Jane moves towns to give her son a better life and restart her own. And finally, Nicole Kidman's Celeste ultimately overturns her life to give her sons, and herself, a shot at safety and happiness. These women represent what it means to be a mom as well as an individual who is capable of making mistakes.
Next, are the 10 TV moms to steer clear of...
10 Kris Jenner
Although Kris Jenner technically isn't a fictional character, she may as well be. Reality television is never entirely real. It's always scripted to an extent. Most importantly, Jenner appears to be acting for the camera, even when she's off-screen. This is because the perception of her and her family is very important to her. For Jenner, it's not about whether she and her kids act responsibly, intelligently, or kindly, it's whether or not they are popular and successful. This Keeping Up With The Kardashians star is everything moms should avoid. She has sold the souls of her kids, as well as her own, for millions. None of these kids had a fair shot at a "normal" life. Additionally, it's clear that none of them have a healthy perspective of themselves). While we certainly don't see everything that Jenner does as a mom, we have seen enough to be able to make a determination.
9 Selina Myer
HBO's VEEP is full of selfish, rude, and downright mean characters. But, perhaps, the most hard-to-admire character is Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Selina Meyer herself. Although she is happy to go after her enemies, her citizens, and her colleagues, it's the way she treats her daughter that might really make you pause. Time and time again, her daughter attempts to build a relationship with her mom as she hopes there's still some good in her. But the fact is, Selina is so self-centered and power-hungry that nobody and nothing else means squat to her. Although she occasionally shows some interest in her daughter, it's always overturned by her desire to be the big boss. This is not a good mom to be like.
8 Cersei Lannister
Cersei Lannister-Baratheon values family above everything. In fact, if you've seen Game of Thrones you'd know that she probably values it a bit too much. However, when it comes to being a mother, she's constantly looking out for her kids. But she also makes sure they are given opportunities even if they don't deserve them. The best example is Joffrey, who she lets run wild and act out all of his least favorable personality traits. Even later on, she loses grasp on both Marcella and Tommen as they form their own desires that lead them down a bad path, albeit different ones than Joffrey. But, above all, Cersei is a monster. She has no issue taking out everyone else children if that means that hers can thrive. This is not a mother anyone should emulate.
7 Betty Draper
Mad Men's Betty Draper can't be a good mother because she's still a child herself. She is the product of a troubled upbringing as well as had kids way before she should have. An example of how bad of a parent she is was when her daughter was running around with a plastic dry cleaner sheet over her head and Betty was only worrying about whether her clothes would get wrinkled. In short, Betty's priorities are askew and her emotional range is narrow at best. Betty also can show how spiteful she can be when it comes to her daughter, a character that clearly represents her younger self before things went wrong. This makes her a pretty bad mom to want to be like.
6 Hermione Lodge
Let's be clear, there really isn't a good parent on Riverdale. Every one of them constantly makes unforgivable mistakes when it comes to parenting. Although some would argue that Betty's mom is just no good, we think that Hermione Lodge takes the cake. She is happy to let Veronica run around like an adult even though she's still a teenager. Veronica has no boundaries and does things that most teenagers would never have the opportunity to do purely because she's rich and connected. But more importantly, she has kept her daughter around her mobster husband ever since she was born. And though she's grown over the years, she has still put her daughter in harm's way enough to prove that she is a downright bad mother.
5 Mrs. Jensen (Clay's Mom)
There are some notable problems when it comes to Netflix's 13 Reasons Why. One of these problems has to do with Clay's mother. Although Mrs. Jensen obviously loves her son, she seemed so removed. She hardly paid him any attention. Clay spent much of the show walking around feeling like utter trash and she practically did nothing to help him. She was trying to figure out how to do this, but she could never come to a conclusion, even though most of them were right in front of her all along. This woman seems to have had blinders on. That, or she's just poorly written. Seriously, how hard is it to suggest that Clay should take medication? We know that Mrs. Jensen's heart was in the right place, but this woman is just out of it.
4 Julie Cooper
The OC's Julie Cooper is the prime example of a mother who should never have had children. This is because she's still a teenager herself. And no, we're not talking about the fact that all of the parents on the show appeared to only be about ten years older than their kids. We're talking about the fact that Julie acted like a teenager. She lived a lifestyle with little to no responsibility and was happy to waste her hours drinking and spending time with her daughter's boyfriends. While this was happening her two kids spiraled into dark places and she did nothing about it. When she lost her daughter, she let her anger get the best of her and actually sent a recent high school graduate to commit a very bad act on her behalf. This mother is downright no good.
3 Carmela Soprano
The Sopranos' Carmella isn't entirely a bad mom, especially when you compare her to Tony's mother, Livia. But we have to include Carmella on this list because she's a more believable bad mom than Livia. Tony's mom went to the extreme to be downright selfish and just not good. But Carmella isn't that way. In fact, she's a nurturer. She's relatable because she does her very best for her kids. She wants to guide them down the right course, allow them to spread their wings, and even cook them a mean ziti. But she also let AJ get away with far more than he should have. This was all under a roof that the mob built. There's little separation between organized crime and their family. Thus, her kids looked up to a man who should have been locked up and a woman who swept it all under the rug.
2 Estelle Costanza
Seinfeld's George Constanza is a selfish, narcissistic, removed individual who only a mother could love in real-life. But there are many reasons why George ended up the way he did, most of which have to do with who his parents are. While we could go into great detail about George's dad, we'd rather spend time with Estelle Constanza, his mom. Estella is the definition of a nag. She's so meddlesome with everyone's lives that we can imagine how hard it would have been to grow up with it. She's also melodramatic and so utterly moody. And then there's her voice... which is enough to drive anyone bonkers. This character is one of the funniest sitcom mother's in history, but she's certainly not a good mother.
1 Lucille Bluth
Most of the bad mothers on this list have a strong basis in reality even if they live in a fantasy world. They make mistakes that common mothers make but on a much larger level making them easier to relate to and therefore do our best to stay clear of. But Arrested Development's Lucille Bluth is an extreme. She is so unbelievably self-centered, focused on drinking, and is happy to go behind her children's backs in some pretty insulting ways. It's all very funny, but every mom should do their best to make sure that they aren't anything like this woman. She is anything but a good mom. Her actions have contributed to how her kids are.