May 12, 2013 by Heidi
I know I’m lucky. I was raised by a family that loves to read, and books have been a part of my life for longer than I can remember. Because my mother was a 3rd and 4th grade teacher throughout my childhood, I never questioned my love of reading books for children as well as adults. Children’s books populate at least a part of every bookshelf in my parent’s house, and to this day I realize how wonderful it is that when I read any book that I love I can pass it along to my mother knowing she gives as little regard to intended age or genre as I do. Without my mom, there are so many wonderful characters and worlds I never would have discovered–I credit her solely with my love of Harry Potter, an audiobook she picked up for a family road trip even though stubborn middle school me wanted nothing to do with the young wizard.
So, in honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share some of my favorite fictional moms. The following women mark some of the best in my book–the type of mom’s that remind me in places of my own, or are something I hope to one day emulate with my own kids.
Marmee (Mrs. March) from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
If my house were on fire and I could only grab one book before leaving, it would be my copy of Little Women. I recieved it as a girl in my Easter basket one year, an inscription from my mother inside the cover that means the world to me to this day–more than any of the many author-signed volumes on my shelves. So, it should come as no surprise that Mrs. March–Marmee, ranks among my favorite literary moms. Marmee has the burden and responsibility of raising four young women while her husband fights in the Civil War. Despite predominant social conventions, she raises her girls to think for themselves, stick to their convictions, and never think or hope for less of themselves because they are women.
Marilla Cuthbert from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Marilla Cuthbert didn’t ask for Anne Shirley to come into her life, what she wanted was a boy to help around Green Gables, but as Anne chips away at Marilla’s heart, Marilla worms her way into mine. Yes, she is proud, stubborn, and no-frills (or puffy sleeves), but Marilla and Anne find a balance in one another, meeting in the middle. Without Marilla, Anne may have grown to be a flibbertigibbet, but as a mother Marilla gives Anne drive, scope, and a rock to lean on.
Kate Daniels from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
Kate Daniels is another unconventional mother. Unconventional in that she never really signed up to be a parent, but when Julie fell into her life, she accepted the responsibility without any question. Kate rocks because she would go (and has gone) to extreme lengths to help any child in need. She pulls Julie out of a bad place, and accepts responsibility for her giving her a home, family, schooling, and training necessary to make it as an independent woman in her Atlanta. And to Kate’s credit, she does it with a kinder hand and greater affect than her own childhood bore.
Ma (Caroline Ingalls) from Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Oh how I love the Little House books, and even though they’re very much the ‘this is what happened and how we did it’ type books rather than anything focused on character development, I had to include Ma Ingalls in this list. Ma, another woman raising a small herd of little girls, teaches them everything both fun and practical. I love the small scenes we get from Laura’s eyes watching Caroline get ready for parties and realizing that her mother is a person too. Living a life that was rough on women, Ma never flinched at doing what needed to be done for the family.
Molly Weasley from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Without contest, my favorite literary mom of all time goes to Molly Weasley. Yes, the Harry Potter series boasts a number of arguably good moms–Lily Potter, Neville’s Gran, heck, even Narcissa Malfoy puts her son first, but Molly–Molly is the end-all-be-all of motherhood. She’s no pushover, she don’t take no guff, but her love of family is #1, and once you’ve made your way into her heart you’re hers forever. Molly knows how to have fun, how to take care of business, and how to show that she cares. Quite frankly, I adore her (and the repeated fist-pumping she incites).