If I were to ask you to name some moms that were displayed on television as positive role models when you were growing up, could you do it? My response? Absolutely.
I grew up with Angela Bower from Who’s the Boss, the successful ad-executive who also happened to be single mom portrayed as a hard working woman desperately trying to make a good life for her and her young son. Maggie Seaver from Growing Pains was seen as the warm, compassionate and sometimes frazzled working mom who was very active in her children’s lives. Claire Huxtable is another good example of a mother who balanced a successful full-time career while attending to her children on The Cosby Show. Or Roseanne from Roseanne also comes to mind. Although she was far from perfect, she loved her kids more than anything else and amidst her flaws and snarky personality she was as real as it gets.
Yes, these women certainly had some imperfections but they were ‘real’ moms portrayed on American television in a positive way. If I were to ask you to name some positive role model moms on television today, well that question can’t be answered as easily.
For starters, think about The Real Housewives. I think it’s such a paradox to call this show The Real Housewives because these women live far from reality! Majority of mothers do not live with that kind of income in those kind of homes, nor are we given the same opportunities that the women on these shows display. They have nannies as stay-at-home moms to assist in the parenting department and housekeepers to help maintain the large home on a regular basis so they are free to do “other things” with their time. This isn’t the reality for most of us.
Or how about other moms that are portrayed in the media – dare I say Kate Gosselin? Take a good look at the footage from the first two years of the show. You’ll remember the mom who brought in a chef to help her learn how to cook more organically or the mom who sat down with her eight kids and did crafts with them. She was the mom who planned birthday parties, took many trips with the kids regardless of how troublesome it might have been and reveled in the small milestones they each made along the way. I was a huge Kate fan early on because I thought she always took the hardest job in the world in such stride. I marveled at how she was able to be a mother to eight children day in and day out without hesitation. In those early years, she made me want to be a better mother – I thought if Kate could do it with 8, I sure as hell better do it with 2 – and do it well.
But where is she now? She’s busy launching her new lucrative book deal, learning how to do a split and pirouette on a highly watched television show while adding some hair extensions and speaking on the talk show circuit to let Los Angeles know she is “available.” It makes me wonder how this small town girl could have gotten so wrapped up in fame that eventually would change her so much. Is she that same role model of a mother for the rest of us as she used to be in those early years? Not quite. Moreover, television producers still chase after her and I am left to wonder WHY.
Which brings me to the point – where are the ‘real’ moms? Where is the Angela Bower, Maggie Seaver, Claire Huxtable and Roseanne of today? One of my bloggy friends The Wanna Be WAHM recently wrote a great post about this topic and she referenced the article published by Hybrid Mom in which Jennifer Rawlings clearly adds, “Not since Rosanne has a television show portrayed a mom as a hard working, self assured, flawed, busy, funny, sad and sometimes pathetic human being…a real mom. And not since Rosanne has their been a television show featuring a mom that was as compelling.”
Although I’ve heard the show Parenthood does a decent job of displaying real moms, producers need to wake-up and realize that there is such a lack of positive role models portraying real moms in television today and something needs to be done about it.
Perhaps we need to begin a Theta Mom movement and all share a piece of our blogs – because when I visit each and every one of you I know I am in ‘real’ company.