Posts Tagged ‘mothers’

This week has been about recognition of strong women – Thursday was International Women’s Day and today is Mothering Sunday in the UK.

Make no mistake, motherhood is definitely not for sissies; especially for those women who are raising the children (and sometimes, grandchildren) all on their own due to divorce or widowhood. Their grit, persistence and fierce love is inspiring.

Here are just a few examples of tough telly mums:

Louisa Durrell (Keeley Hawes) – The Durrells in Corfu

A widow and mother of four, Louisa takes a leap of faith to start a new life for her family in Greece. It’s a daily struggle to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, never mind maintaining the animal sanctuary her youngest child has established.

Sgt. Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) – Happy Valley

A 47 year old police officer, Catherine is divorced, lives with her sister who’s a recovering heroin addict, has two grown up children; one dead and one who doesn’t speak to her, and a grandson.

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Polly Gray (Helen McCrory) – Peaky Blinders

When she became a widow, Polly had her children removed from her care. She’s recently been reunited with her son Michael who made the choice, contrary to his mother’s wishes, to join of her crime syndicate family.

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DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman)- Broadchurch

Ellie is divorced and a working mother of two. First she had to come to grips with the fact that her husband was a murderer. Then her teenage son starts peddling porn. This mum is not a happy camper.

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Violet Crawley, The Dowager Countess of Grantham (Dame Maggie Smith) – Downton Abbey

The no-nonsense matriarch of an aristocratic family, the Dowager’s main concern is keeping her family’s reputation and fortunes intact. She expresses her love in blunt, but constructive terms.

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On Mother’s Day, one would normally expect to see inspiring tributes to patient, selfless mums.

The Queen and baby Charles image credit diamondjublilee.org

The Queen and baby Charles image credit diamondjublilee.org


But when I started scanning my telly memory for heartwarming mother-child moments, I’m afraid I came up a bit short.  What I kept finding  instead were mothers and their grown children at odds.  From colicky babies to toddler tantrums to teenage rebellion, mothers love their sons and daughters dearly, even when they aren’t very likable.  And in turn, children do exactly as they are supposed to – they grow up and apart which makes us proud and terribly sad simultaneously.

I’ll be honest.  Being a mother has been the most wonderful thing I’ve ever been a part of despite being comprised of some of the most painful, frustrating moments of my life.  So on this Mother’s Day, look at this list and feel better about your relationship with your own children. That’s what we all really want anyway, a little reassurance that we haven’t screwed it all up.

Penny – A posh snob with little patience for Miranda’s choices, deep down Penny wants the best for her…and in her estimation the “best” is a proper job and any man who will marry her awkward daughter.


Agnes Brown – Loud, foul-mouthed mother of five, Mrs. Brown loves her large brood, but her well-meaning ways often get her into trouble.  If she weren’t so nosy, maybe there wouldn’t be misunderstandings like this one.


Petula Gordino – After dropping her off at an orphanage as a child and “forgetting the address”, Bren’s mother is back in her life.  Just as well she wasn’t around when Bren was young. Petula lives in a fantasy world wherein she hobnobs with celebrities and gets engaged to 16 year old boys among other things.  Skip ahead to 3:35 if you want to get right to Petula’s antics.


Tanya – Simon’s mum likes having a famous son. Now that’s he’s left his successful presenting gig , practical Tanya isn’t very understanding about his quest to heal and find himself.


Eddie – Immature, emotional and excessive in all areas of her life, Eddie and her sensible daughter Saffron are constantly at odds.  And while Eddie truly loves her, Saffy is often forced to take on the mothering role in their relationship…except, of course, when it comes to personal grooming!


Of all the telly mothers out there, which one reminds you most of your own mum?  

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Green Queen


I know Mothering Sunday has already passed in the UK, but it is Mother’s Day in America so I wanted to share the great gift I received from my mother-in-law this year.  It is a solar-powered Queen Elizabeth – when the light hits the solar cells in her purse, she waves her gloved hand in a regal manner.  Check out the PBS Signals catalog if you want a mini-monarch of your own. 

In honor of mums everywhere, I decided to compile a list of notable television mothers from the shows I have watched thus far.  

1. The Royle Family‘s Barbara Royle (Sue Johnston)  – long-suffering wife and mother of  two, Barbara emotionally (and financially, at times) supports her family.  She really deserves a fag (cigarette) break on Mother’s Day.  I guess Antony will have to go the shops again! 

2.  Clatterford’s (Jam and Jerusalem in the UK) Sal Vine (Sue Johnston, again)  – a recent widow with two grown children, Sal is still involved in her kids’ lives, whether she wants to be or not.  Being a nurse, many in the village seek her out for comfort and advice.  Let’s give Sal some alone time today. 

3.  My Family‘s Susan Harper (Zoe Wanamaker)  – wife, mother of three and London tour guide, Susan has control of most situations including keeping her grumpy dentist husband, Ben, in check.  Here’s hoping the family takes her out for a nice meal today, especially since she happens to be a horrendous cook! 

4.  Shameless‘ Fiona Gallagher (Anne-Marie Duff) – though Fiona is not actually a mother, she fills in as one for her five younger brothers and sister.  Mom’s done a runner and Dad (Frank) is only good for his unemployment benefit, if he hasn’t drunk away his entire check.  Her siblings know she is the anchor and they wouldn’t even be a family without her.  Her reward?  She’s already gotten a new washing machine and a wonderful car thief boyfriend (James McAvoy).  That should be enough for any woman. 

5.  Gavin and Stacey‘s Pam Shipman (Alison Steadman) and Gwen West (Melanie Walters)  – although from different places in almost every way, both these women are loving, proud and, when necessary, protective mothers.  They were able to overlook their disagreements for the sake of their children.  Now they’re in-laws and I think that’s crackin’. 

A mother’s love is universal so wherever you’re from, thank your mom today.

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