Jenerally Speaking: The Mother Lode

Thank You… Mother’s Day, for being a great way to tell Mom, “You gave birth to me. You raised me.  Everything I am is because of you.  Now let me buy you some tulips and a quick brunch and we’ll call it even.”Thank You Notes 2, Jimmy Fallon with the Writers of Late Night

I know this is late for the Mother’s Day Holiday, but I’m a firm believer that moms, stepmoms and grandmothers should be celebrated every day so I’m going to dedicate this post to these awesome women.  As the note above states, we owe the women in our life a lot.

In most cases, moms get the short end of the stick in literature and movies.  In literature there are many examples of terrible moms, and stepmoms get a particularly bad rap.  From Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice to the evil stepmother in Hansel and Gretel who sends her stepchildren out into the woods only to be invited into the home of a cannibalistic witch.  In Disney movies they are either killed in the first five minutes (Finding Nemo, Bambi, Frozen – though Disney switched up and killed both parents in this one) or they kicked the bucket long before the opening scene (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, etc).

That said there are mothers in literature and here is my Top 5:

1.  Molly Weasley, Harry Potter series –  A mother to quite a cast of characters, I have to say what sealed Mrs. Weasley at the top of my list is her instant inclusion of Harry into her family.  Not only is she a caring mother, she is also a formidable witch who will stop at nothing to protect her family.  Bonus props go to Mrs. Weasley for getting two of the most mischievous twins in literature to adulthood without losing her mind.
2.  Caroline Ingalls, Little House series – Two words describe Ma Ingalls for me – kind and loving.  It could not have been easy traveling the country in a covered wagon, building homesteads, feeding your family when the crop failed or surviving the harsh Minnesota winters.  She was a smart woman who valued education, a trait she instilled in her children.  One of which, Laura, became a teacher and wrote her life story in a series of children’s books that have entertained children for many years.
3. Marilla Cuthbert, Anne of Green Gables – At first Marilla was a tough nut to crack.  She did not want Anne to stay at Green Gables with her constant talking.  But Anne grows on her and she becomes a loving adoptive mother who unconditionally loves Anne, comforts her when she is upset over Gilbert Blythe, and defends her to the likes of Mrs. Rachel Lynde.
4.  Mrs. Dorothy Quimby, Ramona series –  There are many moments that endeared Mrs. Quimby to me, but the one that stands out is when she helps Ramona pack her suitcase when she wants to run away.  As a child I was SHOCKED, as I knew (from personal experience) parents did not let their children run away.  But clever Mrs. Quimby packed the suitcase so that it was too heavy to carry and told Ramona that she couldn’t bear living without her.  Mrs. Quimby for the win!
5.  Katie Nolan, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – When I read this as a child, I wasn’t particularly impressed with Katie as she seemed to play favorites with her children.  But as an adult, I’ve come to value her more and recognize that she was indeed a good mother.  She loves both her children immensely and she makes many, many, many sacrifices to make sure they get an education.  She wants a better life for her children – one free of poverty – so she scrimps and saves anything she can to accomplish this.
Honorable Mention goes to:

  • Fairy Godmothers in Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella:  As a kid, I really wanted a fairy godmother who, with a wave of her wand, transformed my outfits into glamorous haute couture designs.  (Even as an adult I still kind of want this.)

Hope all the moms, stepmoms, grandmothers, and godmothers had a lovely Mother’s Day.  You should be celebrated each and every day!

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Jen E.

Jen E. lives and works in Manhattan as a sales rep for the completely awesome Macmillan Children’s Group. When she …

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