The origins of “Mother’s Day” started with one woman’s tribute to her mother. Anna Jarvis sent 500 carnations to her mother’s church to honor her in 1908, which generated such an enormous response, President Wilson signed a proclamation declaring the second Sunday of May “a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country,” six years later.
Anna recalled the indelible prayer her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, offered during a Sunday school class the elder Jarvis had taught. Reeves had prayed “I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.”
As Americans celebrate the 101-year-old Mother’s Day tradition of lavish gifts, flowers, chocolates, cards, dinners, and heart-felt thanks to the mothers who shaped their lives, here are 8 fictional moms who are just as authentic, entertaining, and lovable as the real ones.
CLAIR HUXTABLE (Phylicia Rashad)
The Cosby Show
Wife, mother, and lawyer, Clair was the unflappable, calm, and strong mother who hadn’t any problems doling out punishments, whether with a swift tongue or life lessons. Beautiful, successful, and enviably fit after delivering five children, this TV mother earned a top spot on this list.
ELYSE KEATON (Meredith Baxter)
Liberal, tree-hugging wife, and mother of a conservative, republican child who was on the fast track to Wall Street, Elyse supported her children’s aspirations, her husband’s antics, and managed to keep it all together no matter how crazy things became. Funny, calm, and tolerant, this TV mother is certainly unforgettable.
COOKIE LYON (Taraji P. Henson)
New on the TV mom scene, Cookie is an ex-convict and mother of three talented sons. This power-broker mom tows the line between savvy businesswoman and fast-talking, street-smart hustler. Sexy, smart, and outspoken, this TV mother is all about maintaining the legacy of the family empire.
ROSEANNE CONNER (Roseanne Barr)
Roseanne, a blue collar working mother whose candid humor made their family’s struggles more palatable. This mom’s style dripped with sarcasm that her family understood all too well.
VIVIAN BANKS (Janet Hubert)
Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Class, beauty, and down-to-earth describe this wife, mother, and aunt of an upper class household. Vivian Banks didn’t allow her three children and nephew get away with the slightest infraction. She was always on top of everything in her family, from the tiniest lie to her powerful husband’s periodic lapses in judgment.
NORA WALKER (Sally Field)
Brothers & Sisters
Nora was a mother of an eclectic family where she loved each of her adult children unconditionally, with a bit of libation and wit. She certainly was a matriarch representing strength, love, and strong will.
ROCHELLE ROCK (Tichina Arnold)
Everybody Hates Chris
Rochelle was one of the old-school mothers who loved hard and doled out punishment equally. She had a strong hand and look of steel that her children knew not to cross.
JANET KYLE (Tisha Campbell)
My Wife and Kids
This list would not be complete without adding Janet Kyle, the mother of three and wife of a successful businessman but headstrong prankster. She was funny, thoughtful, and supported her children’s goals, no matter how outrageous, often defending them against her husband, who had ideas of his own on how the children should be handled. Marital counseling played a small role in their marriage, but their love seemed to have its own adhesive that no shrink could prescribe.