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Mom Talk: What I Learned From TV Moms

Jill Taylor, Edna Garrett, Clair Huxtable and Debra Barone helped shape the parenting of Trish Neild Barry.

It’s May and that means Mother’s Day is coming.  It is making me think of all the attributes of the mothers that I have known so well over the years.  The ones that I have learned from and have tried to take little bits from to make me “Mother of the Year” Mom that I am. 

I am not referring to real women; I will discuss the actual women who helped shape me in the next article. I am referring to the moms from television; the women from sitcoms who don’t really exist except in our living rooms.

So, join me in my surreal world and cross into sitcom-land… won’t you?

First I would like to thank Jill Taylor from Home Improvement.  I would like to thank her for raising three boys on television.   When my one son is trying to stick his fingers into outlets, eating crayons, and drawing in marker on Nana’s kitchen walls, I remember that she raised three sons… for nine seasons anyway, with all their limbs intact.  Before I had children I used to think I wanted to be like Jill Taylor and have three boys.  Now, I think things were right to have two girls first and then our son.

Thank you to Mrs. Garrett in The Facts of Life.  From this woman I have learned how to yell, “Girls!” really loud, and then just look at my daughters and have them feeling guilty for whatever it is they did wrong.  No, she wasn’t technically their “mother” but she was their mother figure while Blair, Jo and Tootie were going through the good and bad of puberty. Lessons from Mrs. Garrett will be used with our daughters, of this I have no doubt.

Clair Huxtable in The Cosby Show was an attorney and her kids didn’t get away with anything.  I will admit that I have not figured out how she was able to so seamlessly balance working full time and 5 kids at home, and having Bill Cosby as a husband… but I guess when you can just walk off set and someone else is responsible for feeding Rudy and making sure that Venessa does her chapter reading for the evening… it is a little easier. 

Finally, Debra Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond is the woman in a sitcom that probably most closely resembles me.  Actually my husband and I laugh about how much the show can sometimes resemble our lives.  The relationship between the couple, is eerily reminiscent of our relationship.  I am in charge of the house, until he feels that he needs to be in charge, and I let him pretend that he is.  Then I take charge again.  I can’t cook, we have an untidy home, and we have three kids.  He has been known to call me a, “cranky uptight yell machine.” I would disagree, but usually pretty on the mark when he does it.  She tries to keep the kids off the television, unless she is tired, and then she is ok with it.  I don’t know how much I have learned from the character of Debra except maybe that I am okay with who I am as a mom.  Because, heck, they pretty much made a television show with a character just like me in it, and it lasted ten seasons, and the actress playing the mom won two Emmy Awards. 

So thank you television sitcom moms for helping to mold me into who I have become.  You have educated me while you entertained me. 

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