First up is Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) from mother-daughter based drama Gilmore Girls. This caffeine-addicted and quick-witted single mother wasn’t your regular mother as we watch her raise her daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) in the small town of Stars Hollow. Away from her over-bearing parents, Lorelai raised Rory alone after a sudden teen pregnancy, which she used to escape from the snobbery of the Gilmore household. Although Lorelai did some questionable things throughout the seven-season run, she always encouraged Rory to pursue her academic talent, supporting her as she struggled with class differences at school and later while a student at Yale University. She also didn’t hold back when she knew that Rory was wrong, offering her help when she temporarily dropped out of Yale believing she wasn’t good enough. What sets Lorelai apart is her fast-paced dialogue and pop culture references, making her “not a regular mom” but a “cool mom”.
In The Big Bang Theory, my favourite episodes are always those with Mary Cooper (Laurie Metcalf), Sheldon’s mother. A religious Texan with a feisty attitude, she never fails to make me laugh, whether that be when she visits Sheldon or vice versa. Mary is also a hit with Sheldon’s friends because of her moral philosophies and her motherly nature, something appreciated by Leonard whose own failed to get any sort of affection from his mother. Although Sheldon and Mary often butt heads over their conflicting views, with Sheldon favouring science over Mary’s religious beliefs, they always come to each other when they need each other most.
Joyce’s determination in finding her son whilst everyone tells her to stop shows her innate motherly instinct.
Moving over to the supernatural now is Stranger Things’ Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder). Another single mother raising her two sons in the small and mysterious town of Hawkins, Joyce stops at nothing after Will’s sudden disappearance. Never has a woman talking to a ball of Christmas lights been so emotional. Refusing to believe Will is dead, Joyce’s determination in finding her son whilst everyone tells her to stop shows her innate motherly instinct. This is passed on beyond her sons, shown when she comforts Eleven when she connects to the Upside Down and taking her in following Hopper’s supposed death at the end of season three.
Although there are many others we could talk about, these women stand out as some of the most memorable and supporting mothers in television.