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Television mothers throughout the years have been many things. They’ve comforted, guided, scolded, been their children’s undying heroes, and sometimes ripped families apart. Every decade saw changes in the way moms were portrayed, a reflection of how women have evolved in real life in subtle or decidedly more obvious ways. Whatever the case, these small screen moms have been surrogate mothers to viewers all over the world, with many holding their fictional families together with little more than kids’ glue, a band-aid or a kiss.

1. We All Love The Golden Age Of TV Moms Even Though They Weren’t Very Realistic

TV moms’ golden age was probably the ’50s. “Donna Stone” on The Donna Reed Show, Leave it to Beaver’s matriarch “June Cleaver” played by Barbara Billingsley, Lucille Ball’s depiction of “Lucy Ricardo” on I Love Lucy, and “Harriet Nelson” on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet are great examples of this. With their perfect smiles, crisp aprons and shiny pearls, their wholesome advice was always just right. Their ability to keep their households in order with the snap of a finger might not ring true to today’s beleaguered moms, but they gave us something lofty to aspire to. And really, a fresh baked apple pie can solve a lot of problems.

Harriet Nelson
June Cleaver

2. Watch Out for a Mother’s Bewitching Wiles

There was a new twist to TV moms in the ’60s, with characters like “Samantha Stephens,” a role Elizabeth Montgomery owned on Bewitched, taking to screens to show another side of motherhood. These empowered moms were just as capable as their pearl-toting counterparts, but now they had supernatural powers, or were just a little more outside the box. Others include the incomparable Carolyn Jones as “Morticia Addams” on The Addams Family and Yvonne De Carlo, as “Lily Munster” on popular show The Munsters.

Samantha Stephens

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