The 9 Most Iconic TV Moms

Which TV mom do you look up to most? From over the top to super-sarcastic, here are the small screen's most memorable—and relatable!—moms.

THIS IS US - Pictured: Mandy Moore as Rebecca Pearson

Ron Batzdorff/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

TV moms are a reflection of our own parental journeys. When we find a TV mom we relate to, it makes us feel seen. When TV moms are dealing with the terrible twos and sassy teenagers or issues like balancing home and career, keeping the romance alive with their partner, or finding a social life outside of playdates and PTA duties—it helps us feel less alone, find permission to be messy, accept our mistakes, and relish those triumphs. So in honor of Mother's Day, let's pay homage to these iconic TV moms who've inspired us to be more forgiving and paved the way for accepting there's no there's perfect, one-size-fits-all way to parent.

The Dramatic Mom

Moira Rose, Schitt's Creek (Amazon Prime/Hulu)

When we first met former soap queen turned "Jazzagal" Moira Rose, it appeared that perhaps she cared more about her carefully curated wig collection than her "bebes" Alexis and David. Remember when she forgot Alexis' middle name? Even though it took till the series finale to hear her say "I love you" to her kids, Moira is proof that actions speak louder than words. She may be over the top and self-absorbed, but Moira always comes through when her kids needs her the most (and are least expecting it).

The Working Mom

Kate Foster, Workin' Moms (Netflix)

You may think that Kate Foster "has it all." Sure, she's not great at asking for help, is all about instant gratification, and never thinks through the consequences of her actions. Kate usually is her own worst enemy—making her instantly relatable—even though this is the woman who quit her job, launched her own PR firm, and THEN told her husband. But her risk-taking can also be an inspiring reminder we don't have to give up on our dreams, even if they look a little different when they do come true!

The Wise Mom

Nalini Vishwakumar, Never Have I Ever (Netflix)

Nalini may find herself constantly baffled and annoyed by her teenage daughter Devi’s antics. And Devi may think her mom just doesn't understand her struggles with first love, grades, and friendship drama. That’s the beauty of Nalini. She’s quiet in her approach, a stickler for rules, and has high expectations.

But every time Devi gets caught sneaking out, breaking the rules, or hurting her friends, Nalini is there with the right advice and words of wisdom. Sure, Devi doesn’t want to hear it and freaks out when she still gets punished—but Nalini’s words always sink in and make things better for Devi (eventually!).

The Best Friend Mom

Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls (Netflix)

There’s nothing better than saying your mom's your best friend—and meaning it. But Lorelai and Rory Gilmore’s dynamic is next level. After all, Lorelai had Rory when she was just 16. Raising her as a single mom is what created their unbreakable bond.

Lorelai and Rory’s witty banter can feel more sisterly at times, and with enough caffeine, their chats can go on for hours. But their honesty and candor are at the core of their relationship. Lorelai treats Rory like an equal, hearing her out, admitting when she’s wrong and usually taking more advice from her teen daughter than what she doles out to her!

The Unexpected Mom

Aunt Viv, Fresh Prince of Bel Air (Hulu)

Whether you prefer Aunt Viv played by Janet Hubert (in early seasons) or Daphne Maxwell Reid, there’s no denying that the character is a wonderful mom at her core. It takes a special one to raise three kids of your own and then agree to take in your nephew, aka a Fresh Prince named Will. But Aunt Viv loved Will unconditionally and if you didn’t know the backstory, you’d think he was one of her own.

Aunt Viv's also one of the classiest TV moms—with a law degree, impeccable wardrobe, and some truly enviable dance moves! She makes that whole working parent balancing act look easy, and we've all learned the hard way that is definitely not. (But then, of course, not all of us have a Geoffrey to help us handle it all.)

The Every Mom

Rebecca Pearson, This is Us (NBC/Hulu)

On most TV shows, you only see one part of a mom's journey, such as during the toddler years or teenage rebellion. It's rare to be with a TV mom from beginning to end—but that's one of many reasonsThis Is Us is such a gem.

We saw Rebecca give birth to triplets, lose one of her babies and then adopt her son Randall. We wept with her during the tragic house fire that left her a single mom, raising teenagers on her own. We went on an emotional roller coaster watching her kids become adults. And of course, we lost it as her kids—and viewers—(SPOILER ALERT!) shared a memorable goodbye.

We can all see a piece of ourselves in Rebecca as a mother, even if our journeys, situations, and approaches are quite different. She tried hard to prioritize her kids, giving them undivided love and attention yet felt guilty whenever she tried to carve out a life of her own. But no matter what was going on, Rebecca always did the best she could—which all of us can relate to.

The Blunt Mom

Sophia Petrillo, The Golden Girls (Hulu)

For some, the relationship dynamic between Sophia and her daughter Dorothy may feel strained or unsupportive—but that couldn't be further from the truth. Yes, Sophia had no issues telling Dororthy what she really thought about her boyfriends, fashion and overall life choices. But, witty banter and tough love was their love language. Every time Sophia started a story with, "Picture it, Sicily 1922 . . ." you knew she was about to impart an unforgettable life lesson for her "pussy cat" Dorothy.

The Spirited Mom

Rainbow "Bow" Johnson, Black-ish (Hulu/Disney+)

As a busy working mom with four children, Bow Johnson doesn't always have it together—but her attitude would never have you think otherwise. Even when her in-laws are throwing shade, her husband Dre isn't backing her up or the kids are ganging up—Bow is always smiling, always finding the bright side, and always dressed with spirit and flair for an extra boost.

The G.O.A.T.

Carol Brady, The Brady Bunch (Pluto TV)

There are many reasons why Carol Brady is the G.O.A.T of TV moms. For starters, she is a trailblazer in the delicate art of blending families. It's easy to forget that Greg, Peter, and Bobby are not her biological sons. Carol's the master of settling petty arguments among daughters Marsha, Jan, and Cindy and she made it okay to ask for help (enter the Brady family's beloved housekeeper Alice).

Carol is also a woman who was way ahead of her time. Just re-watch the episode where she gets into a minor fender bender with a man who takes advantage of her simply because she's a woman driver! PS: Carol did not let him get away with it—setting an amazing example for all her kids as always!

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