A Few of My Favorite TV Moms
by Carol Rucker,
I'm what some young mothers might call "Old School;" but I don't mind at all. Being Old School means both my kids are grown and my days and nights are far more peaceful. And it means a few more decades of television to think about when it comes to my favorite moms.
Julia - "Julia"
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a nurse; and Julia, played by Dianne Carroll, was not only one of my favorite television moms but she was a nurse as well. She was a rare first for sixties television, a Black woman with the title role in her own television show.
Julia was a nurse in the days when all nurses wore perfect white dresses, comfortable white shoes and starched caps. She played a widow and a single mom, also a rarity in sixties TV land.
At a time when women had just begun to fight for the right to be something more than housewives, her character spoke to the independence in me. Watching Julia, so professional at work, so caring a mother to her young son at home, always hugging and kissing him, she became a symbol of strong and self sufficient women that could have a career and be a mother too.
After all these years, I still carry a little bit of Julia in my heart.
June Cleaver - "Leave It To Beaver"
Even as a young child in the sixties, I could tell June Cleaver, played by Barbara Billingsley, was the coolest mom of all. She was a housewife, like many moms were back then, so she must have been cooking and cleaning all day; but whenever she came on screen she was perfectly dressed from head to toe.
June was soft spoken with her husband and two teenage sons even when matters got serious. She was stylish every day, in pretty dresses with high heeled pumps. Her hair was always done to perfection. But it was the pearls I connected with most of all. June Cleaver always wore beautiful strands of pearls. I make jewelry; and to this day, whenever I work with pearls, I think of June Cleaver.
Lucy - "I Love Lucy"
Lucille Ball was a regular on television for many years and she was always one of my favorites; but the Lucy I relate to is the one from "I Love Lucy." Ricky's wife. She was a housewife, but was always trying to be something more, no matter what her husband had to say about it. As husband and wife, she and Ricky slept in separate beds; still she was the first woman to acknowledge a pregnancy, carry it to term and include the whole thing in a television plot line, maternity dresses and all. Her son, Little Ricky, became the perfect little kid growing up on television.
As a wife and mother, Lucy was daring and bold. She would try anything once and balanced her antics with a silly side that let you know it was okay to laugh at yourself. Her humor made her one of my favorite TV mothers.
Claire Huxtable - "The Cosby Show"
Claire Huxtable had it all, looks, a legal career and a savvy personality that came across every time she stepped onto the small screen. As the mother of five children, she blended career and home duties beautifully and looked good doing it.
By the time Claire and Cliff became the television "First Couple," I had been divorced for a few years; and while I admired the TV couple's ability to juggle the trials and tribulations of life with five children and later grandchildren and a step child, I was most impressed with Claire's romantic connection with her husband and their ability to keep the romance going regardless of what crisis befell them. (Okay, they would never have made it through the Cosby Crisis 2018, but we’re talking about TV folks.)