9 Things Millennial Moms Learned From The TV Moms We Grew Up With
Children of millennials will never get it. Someday, gathered around our kitchens after school, we'll tell our kids and their friends about how we used to have to make sure we tuned in when shows were actually on. If we missed Sabrina the Teenage Witch, we had to hope it would air again before next week's episode or before overhearing spoilers during lunch. Still, there was comfort in the routine. I remember texting a high school crush during The OC, definitely using t9 to share my takes on the infamous Spiderman kiss as quickly as possible.
While the main thing we learned about parents on the OC is that they can get into as much trouble as teenagers, we learned plenty from these TV moms who will always have a place in our Netflix queues and our hearts.
1. Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
As a Connecticut-dwelling single mom and amateur Gilmore Girls scholar, I can't help but make Lorelei Gilmore first on the list. Lorelei, who became a mom at 16 and built her dream life out of basically nothing, can teach us plenty about believing in ourselves. She holds herself to a high standard, and it's based on what she wants for herself, rather than what other people would choose for her.
While she struggles in her relationship with her own parents to varying degrees throughout the series, she usually strikes a good balance between living life on her own terms and letting other people in. She swallows her pride and accepts help from her parents when she knows it will ultimately be a good thing for her daughter- and ultimately herself. She sets boundaries with her often-pushy mom and occasionally-pushy neighbors and friends. She's honest about her feelings. That's why she gets what she wants.
2. Lily van der Woodsen, Gossip Girl
While we're on the topic of badass single moms, let's talk about Lily van der Woodsen. Lily can get it. In season 1, Lily embarks on a series-long struggle to choose between sexy musician Rufus Humphrey and billionaire Bart Bass.
Just as Lily taught Serena the art of being casually aloof, she taught us. Sort of.
Before we move on, a moment of silence for the Lily spinoff that never was.
3. Vivian Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Perhaps because she was played by two different actresses over the course of the series, early Aunt Viv is markedly different than late Aunt Viv. Early on, she's presented as an ambitious, remarkably well-educated career woman who put herself through night school before eventually going on to earn a PhD from UCLA. Later on, she's portrayed as more of a homemaker.
Whether or not we work, whether or not we consider ourselves ambitious, we all exist in both the public and private spheres. Throughout our motherhood journeys and lives, sometimes one takes precedence over the other.
4. Kirsten Cohen, The OC
Just like Aunt Viv, OC mom Kirsten Cohen balances an ambitious, career-driven side with a demanding personal life. She doesn't always handle the balancing act perfectly, but she would be a boring and unrealistic representation of working motherhood if she did.
5. Aunt Hilda and Zelda, Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Through Sabrina's aunts, we're reminded that it's not growing a baby and then eventually evicting said baby from your body that makes you a mom. It's about being there, day in and day out, and teaching a little magic along the way.
6. Tanya Baxter, That's So Raven
Teen psychic Raven needed a strong mom to keep her reined in, and that's exactly what she got in Tanya Baxter. She was definitely firm, but didn't discourage her daughter's psychic abilities. She knows what makes her daughter special.
Tanya was smart. The principal at Raven's school asked her to fill in as an English teacher for awhile. She eventually left to pursue a law degree, which is how she was written off the fourth season.
The true story behind why actress T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh leaves plenty to admire. She walked away from the Disney series to take care of her grandmother, who had Alzheimer's.
7. Liane Cartman, South Park
Thanks to Cartman's mom, we know that overindulgent parenting turns kids into...Cartman. We've been warned.
8. Kitty Forman, That '70s Show
Kitty Forman isn't just a mom to her own family, she's a slightly overbearing substitute mom to her son's entire group of friends. Putting all of those other peoples' needs ahead of her own makes Kitty sort of crazy sometimes. She needs a break! Believe it or not- and Kitty definitely does not believe it- the whole crew would survive if she tapped out for a weekend.
Yes, moms are people too; we don't need Ashton Kutcher to remind us, but as policy I'm never opposed to Ashton Kutcher's face. Carry on, Kelso.
9. Diane "Didi" Kropotkin Kerpackter-Pickles, Rugrats
Because I was born at the very dawn of the 1990s, Rugrats was a huge part of kid culture during my formative years but I remember very little about it. I definitely don't remember the mom, but if this gif is exactly how I feel 2-4 times per week.
If this is how history remembers the Rugrats mom, she'll live on as a boldly accurate portrait of the most overwhelming moments of motherhood. Cheers to your honesty, Rugrats mom.