18 Lovable TV Moms Who Are Downright Real (PHOTOS)

Dwyer Frame | Jan 11, 2016 TV

The TV gods have taken note that real moms don't want to see perfection; we want something we can relate to, and several shows center around moms who are nothing if not real. Rather than personify a stereotype of what mothers "should be," these TV moms are downright real, and we love their characters for it. 



Even though they aren't perfect (because hey, who is?), we still look up to these 18 moms because they show us that parenthood is both messy and complicated — and that's precisely what makes the ride such a thrill.


Image via Trae Patton/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

  • Claire Dunphy, 'Modern Family'


    Image via ABC/Bob D’Amico

    Verbal diarrhea comes to mind when thinking about helicopter mom Claire Dunphy. She loves her modern family and lets them know it with her brutal honesty daily. "If I say something that everyone else is thinking, does that make me a bad person?"

  • Joan Harris, 'Mad Men'


    Image via Carin Baer/AMC

    Being a single working mom, especially in the 1960s, was no easy feat. But Joan doesn't let the men she works with see her sweat. She is determined to make it in the men's "mad" world, and she won't apologize for it. Amen!

  • Miranda Hobbes, 'Sex & the City'


    Image via Splash News/Corbis

    Let's just say she wasn't thrilled about getting pregnant with her ex's baby, but Miranda didn't let the major life change affect her career or her friendship with her single friends. As we know, life post-baby can be tough, and Miranda kept it real by highlighting the daily struggles of trying to have it all. 

  • Lucille Bluth, 'Arrested Development'


    Image via F. Scott Schafer/Netflix

    She might be a judgmental drunk, but that doesn't keep us from loving Lucille's snappy one-liners. Her sayings are so brazen there's even a quiz to see who said it, her or Donald Trump!

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  • Rainbow Johnson, 'Black-ish'


    Image via ABC

    Rainbow coddles her children and is even willing to bend the rules so her children benefit. When her son broke the "no hate speech" school rule she insisted upon, she asks the school to make an exception — with a straight face. She has his back, even when it makes her look foolish. 

  • Mellie Grant, 'Scandal'


    Image via ABC

    No one will stand in Mellie's way on Scandal. She is not afraid to tell her presidential husband and his mistress, Olivia, exactly what she thinks. Rather than take their affair lying down, she grows more independent, even after the death of one of her children. Mellie is one tough cookie who's not afraid to tell it like it is.

  • Jessica Huang, 'Fresh Off the Boat'


    Image via ABC/Bob D’Amico

    Tiger moms beware! Jessica runs a tight ship and is a fierce competitor. She always gets her way, even when it comes to bargaining in the grocery store. She knows that she does a stand-up job — she just wants some recognition, declaring once, "No one seems to appreciate how good I am at everything I do."

  • Lorelai Gilmore, 'Gilmore Girls'


    Image via Warner Bros. 

    Just because Lorelai was her daughter's BFF didn't mean she didn't have her overly dramatic moments — there were even a few that her daughter had to talk her down from. If Lorelai was anything, it was perhaps a little too real with her daughter at times. 

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  • Bonnie Plunkett, 'Mom'


    Image via Trae Patton/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

    She's had her struggles with addiction, but Bonnie doesn't let her personal trauma get in the way of her relationship with her daughter —ha! Of course, we lied (she totally does that), but she is so authentic that we love her even more for it. 

  • Claire Huxtable, 'The Cosby Show'


    Image via Jacques M. Chenet/CORBIS

    Who didn't want to be Claire Huxtable when they grew up? She worked hard and loved her family, but she wasn't afraid to give them a reality check when they needed it. Plus they all knew she was the boss!

  • Gloria Pritchett, 'Modern Family'


    Image via ABC/Bob D’Amico

    When it comes to her boys, Gloria has no shame telling them (loudly!) they are the best at everything they do. She supports their choices even when she knows better (like when she let Manny wear a poncho to school). But she's far from a passive, kept woman. She shows Manny that a woman is truly a man's equal, even when she's young, beautiful, and married to a rich older man. 

  • Lynette Scavo, 'Desperate Housewives'


     Image via ABC

    We're all secretly envious of the drastic measures Lynette used to get her family to notice her. Case in point: releasing rats in the home to get her husband to realize they need to tidy up!

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  • Beverly Goldberg, 'The Goldbergs'


    Image via ABC

    Guilt-tripping her children into doing things with her is Beverly's favorite pastime (hey, whatever it takes). Although her children might say she smothers them, she ALWAYS has their back, saying to her son, "Who hurt you? Tell me and I will hurt them tenfold."

  • Frankie Heck, 'The Middle'


    Image via ABC

    The Hecks are a blue-collar, Midwestern family trying to make ends meet. Frankie does her best to keep up with her full-time job and motherly duties, but sometimes she just doesn't want the fam around her all the time. I think we've all been there once or twice! 

  • Christine Campbell, 'The New Adventures of Old Christine'


    Image via Robert Voets/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

    When the divorced mom isn't trying to fit in with the mean moms at school, she's trying to take care of her son, but she often misses a beat, like when she ran over him accidentally with her car!  

  • Sarah Braverman, 'Parenthood'


    Image via Colleen Hayes/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

    She may have been more of a friend to her two children, but that doesn't mean she loved them any less. When her own daughter gets pregnant young, Sarah blames herself to help ease her daughter's anxiety. "It's my fault anyway, I let you watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High too early."

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  • Marge Simpson, 'The Simpsons'


    Image via Fox

    Poor Marge, the OG of the real moms. Marge just wants a little recognition from her ungrateful family. She tries to keep it all together, but every once in a while her darker and more honest side comes out. "Listen to your mother, kids. Aim low. Aim so low no one will even care if you succeed."

  • Marie Barone, 'Everybody Loves Raymond'


    Image via Spike Nannarello/CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

    Okay, she may drive Ray's wife crazy, but come on, what mother-in-law doesn't? Marie means well. She wants to provide the best advice she can to her sons — even if that means stepping on some toes along the way. 

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