Before I had children I knew exactly the type of parent I was going to be and subsequently I knew exactly the type of children I was going to ‘create’. They would never throw tantrums in the middle of the supermarket aisle like those other kids with parents who had no control. They would never make noise and annoy other diners at a restaurant and would never spill a full glass of soft drink despite repeated warnings. In fact they wouldnt have nor ask for soft drink. They would never have anything dripping from their nose and nor would they ever sit in a dirty nappy for any length of time whotsoever. They would always come when they were called, would learn to iron by 6, give pedicures and facials, cook a roast like a masterchef kid….ok so it wasnt long before the pre children ideology morphed into something more realistic, something less glamourous and somewhat unpredictable, but still found itself sticking to a few basic ideals based on some firmly entrenched values.
When thinking about different parenting styles, I started to think about the role models we may have consiously or sub-consciously modelled ourselves on. It wasnt long before I began to examine all sorts of highly influential people, including those mums we spent hours watching on TV. So role model or pure entertainment value, I thought I would share some famous TV mums with you and whilst you are perusing have a think about which ones:
- best represent your parenting style
- you most admire
- you think got it all wrong
- Marion Cunningham (Happy Days) – good old fashioned back to basics parenting. Always providing a good meal (more than likely meat and 3 veg), a clean house, sound advice, a witty sense of humour and raised nice kids.
- Claire Huxtable (The Cosby Show) – Intelligent and classy, managed to hold an esteemed career as an attorney, organised, loving and able to teach good moral values.
- Peggy Bundy (Married with Children) – Loved her children despite refusing to cook or clean for them, always trying to get the attention of her husband with her big hair, high heels and tight pants. Good for some laughs.
- Marge Simpson (The Simpsons) – Despite dealing with the ridiculous antics of her donut eating husband, trouble making son, over-achieving daughter and dummy sucking toddler, Marge is able to parent with good humour and a sense of pride, most of the time keeping her cool.
- Debra Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond) – Has to deal with difficult husband and in- laws who live next door, she is one of the toughest mums around, saying it how it is, happy to stand up for herself and her family. Teaches her kids that respect for others is far more important than being a good cook.
- Betty Draper (Mad Men) – Often aloof, seemingly spending little time with the children but always looking immaculate!
- Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) – Not the warm and fuzzy kind of mum but still we always learnt a lesson at the end of each episode, as did her family..and more often than not they learnt it the hard way. A low income family, she managed to make the best of every situation with plenty of humour to get them through.
- Lynette Scavo (Desperate Housewives) – The working mum with lots of kids who tries desperately to have it all. A loud and chaotic household, Lynette is the first to admit her mistakes and shortcomings but nonetheless a devoted mother.
- Estelle Costanza (Seinfeld) – George’s mum, whilst often overbearing and obnoxious, allowed us to laugh along with their often dysfunctioning relationsips.
- Miranda Hobbs (Sex in the City) - Loved her high profile career and single life in Manhattan and not afraid to admit that parenting did interfere with a good chunk of that lifestyle, but made the sacrifices to give her child the best upbringing she could.
- Carol Brady (The Brady Bunch) – With Alice to help with the cooking and cleaning, Carol was able to devote her time to the trials and tribulations of the blended family, managing to prevent many disastrous situations as she battled the complexities of young children through to the teenagers.
Well for me, I like to think I have the tolerance of Marge Simpson, the intellect of Claire huxtable, the honesty of Roseanne Barr, the perfectly groomed looks of Betty Draper, the culinary skills of Bree Van Der Camp and the integrity of Debra Barone…however my family may beg to differ! But what it does show however…is that whatever we may think of their parenting skills…there is not always a right way or a wrong way. If it works for you and you create the family life you desire and you stick to the values you see as important, then you are not only a great parent, but also a great role model for your own children.
I know there have been many other great mums out their in TV land, so let me know if you can think of any others that you relate to, admire or leave you shaking your head. Oh and sorry men, there are some great TV dads out there so feel free to share them too! I am sensing a few Homers and the odd Al Bundy out there!