I love a good movie. So as Mother’s Day approaches, here’s my homage to some classic film mothers and things we can learn (or not learn) from them.
Pride and Prejudice (The BBC version with Jennifer Ehle!): Mrs. Bennett
God bless her, Mrs. Bennett stresses herself out for her own amusement. She complains and nags and mettles. She’s a great study in how best to embarrass one’s children. So, on the whole, not an idealistic role model for mothers, but boy, is she entertaining! The best lesson I can take from her is that moms should keep their smelling salts around. Because sometimes your kids will shock you. And also it’s fun to call for someone to “bring me my smelling salts! I feel a faintness coming on!”
What About Bob?: Faye Marvin
Fay’s such a good-hearted, hospitable woman who loves her family and nurtures her kids. She teaches us all to be optimistic and hopeful, even if everyone around you needs some…err…help. Best lesson from Faye: Don’t keep around a house guest that will drive your husband to hysteria. Even if it’s Bill Murray and he loves your cooking. Also, you should sing when you are doing the dishes because it makes chores more fun. “Singin’ in the rain…I’m walking to the kitchen, with a bowl full of chicken…” Classic. Never gets old.
Steel Magnolias: M’Lynn Eatenton
Who doesn’t love Sally Field playing the part of someone’s mother? Best lesson from this movie mom is that moms need friends. Friends to cry with, laugh with, grieve with, love with. Moms need friends. And hey, it’s okay to be a protective, loving mother as long as you eventually let go and let your kids make their own choices. Also, if “football helmet” hair is your thing, just go for it. All in, baby.
Date Night: Claire Foster
Best lesson from Tina Fey’s character is don’t forget to make time for your hubby! Make some memories. Go on an adventure together (provided you survive). Check-in with the babysitter when you are out (particularly if mobsters are after you and know your address.) And also, it’s okay to tie part of your dress skirt around your neck to look like a hipster.
Father of the Bride I&II: Nina Banks
While the bulk of this movie focuses on George Banks, whom his dependable, calm wife must bail out of jail from a stress-induced hot dog situation at the grocery store, Mrs. Banks is not to be overlooked. She teaches us to take even the biggest surprises with grace and courage. And also, she teaches all mothers everywhere that the best thing to do when planning a wedding or baby shower for your child is to hire Frank. He will make sure everyone is “refreshed, replenished, and ro -roahring to go!” Even if you choose to go with the “sheeper shicken.”
My Big Fat Greek Wedding: Maria Portokalos
Mrs. Portokalos’ love for her family knows no bounds. She helps get her daughter into college, and she supports her when she finds love in a non-Greek boy. She is a mama-role-model for how hard work is important and family comes first. But also, she cooks. And cooks. And cooks. (Even if she is not a baker of Bundt cakes.) Mamas all need to have at least one recipe their kids will love, I think.
The Incredibles: Helen Parr/Elastigirl
Helen proves that mothers who can be flexible are superheroes. And also you are never officially moved in to a new house until the very last box is unpacked. I kind of want to go watch this movie now…
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Ellen Griswold
In one of the funniest movies ever, Beverly D’Angelo plays a great foil to Chevy Chase’s crazy Clark. And she graciously hosts ALL the family for the holidays. For a long time. My lessons from this famous movie mother are: don’t hold too tightly to worldly possessions because they don’t last very long, patience is a virtue, and even if your family is driving you crazy, you should still dress up for Christmas dinner. Also, mothers should be knowledgeable about the inner workings of the electrical circuitry of their houses.
Okay, so the world of entertainment can’t fully encapsulate all the best of what mothers should be, but the Bible tells us that “a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done.” (Proverbs 31: 30-31) I’ve learned the most about being a mom from my own mother who has always manifested unconditional love for all of her children, who has shown us what it means to be humble before God and deeply in love with Him and dependent on Him for ALL our need, and who intuitively knows whether she should dig deep in conversation or break in with a lighthearted movie quote. I’m so thankful for the mother God gave me, for the grandmothers He gave my children, and for the mother He is shaping me to be each day. May all of our hearts fall ever deeper in love with our Maker, our Savior, the Lover of our soul today.
If I’ve inspired you to watch a super cool fun movie on Mother’s Day, you are welcome. 😉