Piece of cake, right? Well, if you were a working mom on a TV sitcom in the 80's and 90's, it was that easy. Case in point: Clair Huxtable. She was a high-powered lawyer, married to a well-loved doctor, raised 5 happy, healthy kids, and always had things under control. She never really even got mad, for goodness sake. She just spoke calmly and evenly, and won every argument without raising her voice. Totally realistic, right?
And she’s not the only Super Mom we grew up with on TV. What about Maggie Seaver? Loving mom to Carol, Mike, Ben, sometimes Luke (the young Leo, hot stuff) and later Chrissy. The youngest Seaver child just popped out one day halfway through the series, magically grew up overnight, and poof! everything was back to normal. Maggie had a happy family, blossoming career and no real drama.
If you look back, those awesomely 80's shows we all know and love were riddled with Super Moms (and Dads—I’m looking at you, Danny Tanner) who could juggle careers, family, chores and big life lessons without even batting an eye. Sure, it’s a nice idea, but is it realistic? Not really. At least not now. So it’s no wonder that the days of these miraculous mothers are long gone.
And that’s exactly the point of The Hollywood Reporter’s recent article “The Rise of TV’s Anti-Mom”. Today’s TV moms are as real as it gets. Tired, struggling, neurotic, depressed, anxious, obsessive. Sure, they’re not pretty traits on paper, but they’re real and much easier to relate to. And in today’s society, that’s what counts. Working moms, and heck, even stay-at-home moms, don’t always have it all together, especially these days. TV is a reflection of our culture, so it’s only natural that TV moms feel the real pressures and stresses that real women face every single day.
Women no longer want to look up to fictional moms who do everything perfectly, setting up an image that’s impossible to achieve. They want to see characters who have faults, fears and pressures, just like them. For example, remember when Pam (Beasley) Halpert was so exhausted from late nights with baby CeCe that she fell asleep at her desk? Haven’t we all been there before?
Or what about Claire Dunphy who, despite being a stay-at-home mom, has her hands full all the time with her family's high jinks and hilarity. Remember when she tried to show off her fabulous mustache-wearing husband and Jager-covered kids to impress her old coworker? Or when she fell asleep instead of getting Phil his iPad? Or what about the romantic Valentine's Day role-playing game that went horribly and embarrassingly wrong? The list goes on and on, and honestly it makes me laugh even thinking about them. But they're real-life situations and real-life feelings that today’s women can identify with, and that’s what makes for good TV.
So what do you think, Working Girls? Do you miss the days of 80's and 90's Super Moms? Or do you appreciate today’s real-life Anti-Moms? Do you think today's shows portray women in a negative light? Was it okay for woman to try to be perfect and have it all, like Clair Huxtable and Maggie Seaver? Let’s hear what you think!