Writer’s Block: Mothers We Can’t Forget

By Corinne Wnek

This weekend we celebrate Mother’s Day, one of those Hallmark holidays that’s pretty hard to pan. Even people who hate to spend money on expensive cards and flowers are willing to break the bank for Mother’s Day. So Let’s hear it for moms everywhere, for the hard work they do for which they don’t get paid, and for all the love they give to their families that could never be repaid.

Real mothers know that it helps to have a sense of humor when it comes to family life and writers for TV and film know this, too. Just look at the gold standard of ‘mothers’ that we have come to love over the years, largely thanks to the media and their version of motherhood and family life. Here are some of my favorites.

One of my all time favorite mother characters is Lucy Ricardo from the “I Love Lucy’ show that originated in the 1950s. It is still going strong in syndication today. Each time I watch an episode of this show, it is still as funny to me today as it was the first time I saw it. Lucy would do anything for Little Ricky, her son, and woe to the person who got in the way. Lucy epitomized a mother’s love gone wild.

I can also remember that as a child I was confused about cleaning day in our house. When we did housework on Saturday mornings, my mother did not wear a dress, high heels or a strand of pearls as she pushed a vacuum cleaner. But June Cleaver, from “Leave It To Beaver”, did. This woman made cleaning the house look like a much sought after activity. What was wrong with my mother that she never wore a dress on Saturday mornings to scrub the bathtub?

But Roseanne Conner of the “Roseanne” show was the first to provide us with a glimpse of blue-collar motherhood. Roseanne was, perhaps, the first dysfunctional mother we got to see on TV and for many of us, it was comforting. Real mothers could identify more with life in the Conner’s home than they could with the wacky interplay of adults in the Ricardo household.

But no mother is more aptly placed in the ‘love to hate her’ column than Joan Crawford of “Mommie Dearest” fame. Portrayed by Faye Dunaway, Crawford is shown as a neurotic, discipline obsessed mother who makes organizations like DYFS worth their weight in gold. Who could forget the creepy line this mother utters to a reporter when they compliment her on the good behavior of her children? “I feel that discipline mixed with love is such a good recipe”, she foreshadows.

This Sunday, I hope my own daughter will reflect positively on me as her mother and at least be grateful that I wasn’t as bad as Joan Crawford.

I hope.

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