Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Sara and Melissa Talk About...Moms in Media

We've been running a column series to get more personal with our readers. This month, in honor of Mother's Day, we're talking about our favorite stories about moms, whether they're in books, movies, or TV shows. We'd love to hear what your favorites are in any of these categories.

We're always open to topic suggestions, so please don't hesitate to share those in the comments. We'd also love to know if you can relate to anything we've said or hear your own thoughts on the topic. So don't be shy. :) We look forward to getting to know you as much as we're letting you get to know us. You can find our previous columns here, in case you missed them.

Sara Steven:

A large chunk of my life has been defined by the designation of “Mother,” or more appropriately, “Mommy,” then “Mom,” and lately, “Bruh.” Over the years, I’ve noticed that my emotional attachments to the wonderfully emotional stories that are written or portrayed about motherhood have taken slight (or heavy) turns into the insanely funny, the comically painful, and the downright truthful and honest representation of what it’s like--not just the pretty, but the ill-favored, too. Media has been an important outlet for me, getting me through the various milestones or passages of time, depending on where my children are at in any given moment, and I’d like to share a few of the movies, television shows, and books that remind me that I’m more than just a “Bruh.” I’m actually somebody’s mother!


Stepmom: It’s a tear-jerker. I wasn’t a mother yet when I saw Stepmom for the first time, but it really touched me. Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts were at the heart of the film, and I dare anyone to see them in action and it not bring a tear to your eye!

Bad Moms franchise: Mothers behaving badly--it’s not acceptable. But, Bad Moms made it acceptable to alter conventional responsibilities, to bring store-bought cookies to the bake sale, and to say, “Hey, you know what? You’ll eat those cookies, and you’ll like it.”

Life of the Party: Melissa McCarthy is a stay-at-home mom who ends up going back to college, and while I haven’t personally done most of the shenanigans she finds herself in, I can relate to her need for higher learning, and going back to school after a decades-long hiatus.


Emily, Gone by Bette Lee Crosby: While thinking of books on motherhood, this was the first book that had come to mind for me. I’d read and reviewed the book for CLC, inspired and pained by the minutiae of motherhood. 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: It’s been turned into an award-winning television show, but I first learned about the three mothers from this story after reading Moriarty’s masterpiece. 

The Summer Seekers by Sarah Morgan: I recently finished The Summer Seekers, and I loved the dynamics between three women who are mothers, grandmothers, and/or feel ruled by motherhood.

TV Shows:

Workin’ Moms: I’m so glad Melissa and I are both interested in Workin’ Moms, and have yet another show we can talk about! Nothing is held back, even when it induces seriously cringeworthy moments.

Mrs. Fletcher:  The miniseries takes a look at one woman’s life after her son goes off to college, finding that many facets awaken in intriguing and unusual ways.

Fuller House: I was a huge fan of Full House, back in the day, and loved how the premise felt like it had come full circle (or, fuller circle) when D.J. became the family matriarch, fitting nicely into her father Danny’s shoes.  

In prior years, the mothers in my life would gather together at an olive mill in Queen Creek, Arizona, celebrating motherhood with family. We’re unable to do that this year for various reasons, but I know we’re all together, in spirit. For those who are celebrating, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.

Melissa Amster:

I'm just sharing five books, movies, and TV shows about motherhood that I love. There are so many out there I enjoy. that it was hard to choose!

Books about moms:

The Seven Day Switch by Kelly Harms: It publishes in July and you will definitely want it on your TBR right away. It's a Freaky Friday tale about two very different moms. I'll be reviewing this with Jenny at Book Coffee Happy this summer.

Links are to reviews for the following:

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain: One of my favorite novels of 2018. It's a time travel story about the love of a mother for her daughter. 

Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin: It's a comedic novel about the stresses moms go through. It reminds me of Workin' Moms in some ways.

Versions of Her by Andrea Lochen: Two sisters get to know their mom through a portal into the past. Really well told and heartfelt. If you like this one, you'll also like Faye, Faraway.

No Time to Blink by Dina Silver: This book is perfect for fans of Not Without My Daughter. And although I never read that book or saw the movie, I really liked this story.

Movies about moms:

Where the Heart Is: I've mentioned this movie a few times as one of my all-time favorites. It's about a girl who becomes a mother at a young age and has her baby inside a Walmart. Then it's about how a small town embraces her and her child. So, so, so good!

Troop Beverly Hills: Such a fun, classic eighties movie. I enjoy watching it even more as an adult and seeing it through Phyllis's perspective. And the cookie song is so much fun. 

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead: Technically, Sue Ellen has to take over the role of mom for a summer, but she's right on top of that. 

Freaky Friday (the 2003 version with Jamie Lee Curtis): I always manage to cry from this one. 

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again: I liked it way more than the first movie and enjoyed getting to know Donna when she was younger, as well as seeing Sophie on the brink of motherhood. 

TV shows about moms:

This is Us: I don't think I need to explain this one. I love how they go back and forth in time though. 

Parenthood: I don't need to explain this one either. ;)

Modern Family: I am basically Claire Dunphy, in terms of my parenting style.

Workin' Moms: I just got into this show a few months ago, thanks to a recommendation from Sara, and I can't wait for season five to land on Netflix! More thoughts on it can be found here

One Day at a Time: I loved seeing Penelope navigate single motherhood while living with her mom, played by the fabulous Rita Moreno. More thoughts on it can be found here.  

Since Sara shared a picture with the mothers in her life, I would be remiss not to share one that was taken with the mothers in my life. This was taken back in 2005, as everyone lives in separate parts of the country and we don't normally take photos together when we're all in the same place at the same time. I was a new mom in this photo. My mother-in-law is in the middle and my mom is on the right. 

Tell us your favorite books, TV shows, and movies about motherhood. Do we have any in common with you?

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