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10 Famous mother figures

Allison Lee

BY Allison Lee

13th Mar 2023 Life

10 Famous mother figures

From Hollywood actresses to political leaders, these mothers have impacted the world and continue to inspire us with their wisdom and dedication to their families and causes

All our lives, mothers have showered us with love, guidance, and support without asking for anything in return. No matter fictional or real-life, mothers continue to inspire us with their unwavering resilience and wisdom, and their impact is felt all around the world. Here are ten mothers whose legacies will be told for ages to come. 

1. Lorelai Gilmore

10 Famous mother figures - Lorelai and Rory Gilmore sitting on the couch snackingCredit: Warner Bros.

At first glance, Lorelai from Gilmore Girls does not check the boxes for what a mother looks like; she can barely cook, indulges in unhealthy food with her daughter, and makes jokes at inappropriate times. Yet, she is a living testament that no two mothers are the same, and her unique parenting has led to a strong bond with her daughter, Rory.

Since Rory’s birth, Lorelai has manoeuvred her life with her daughter at the forefront of her mind, overcoming every hurdle posed to single mothers. She left her wealthy and privileged upbringing behind to create a better life for Rory and never stopped cheering on her daughter to pursue her passions.

Fans adore Lorelai for her witty humour, willingness to learn from mistakes, self-independence, and the respect she always has for others—all of which makes her the ultimate role model for her daughter.

2. Princess Diana

10 Famous mother figures - Princess Diana running barefoot at Prince Harry's Sports DayCredit: David Hartley 

Nicknamed the People’s Princess, the late Princess Diana needs no introduction and remains beloved by all for the hats she wears: fashionista, humanitarian, advocate, and mother to Prince William and Prince Harry. Despite her royal status, she was set on raising the two brothers closely and often went above and beyond to shelter them from the media that loomed over her family.

It was evident to the public that Princess Diana prioritised her role as a mother. In 1991, the Princess broke royal protocol when she ditched her shoes and ran in a skirt during Prince Harry’s sports day. In public, royals must keep their shoes on, but Princess Diana just wanted to have fun with her son.

"In 1991, Princess Diana broke royal protocol when she ditched her shoes and ran in a skirt"

Over her lifetime, the Princess passionately advocated for humanitarian causes, bringing awareness to HIV, AIDS, homelessness, and mental health. She showed the world kindness and positivity despite challenges in her personal life and instilled the same values in her sons.

3. Sojourner Truth

10 Famous mother figures - A photo of Sojourner Truth
Credit: Randall Studio

Sojourner Truth was an African American abolitionist and women’s rights activist in the 19th century. Sojourner was known for her restless speeches and unyielding determination to end slavery and promote equality, all while being a mother.

Sojourner thought the nightmare had ended after she had escaped slavery with her daughter in 1826. That is until she received news that her son, who had been born free, had been illegally sold to Alabama. Hearing this, Sojourner wasted no time gathering money to hire a lawyer and took to court to fight for her son’s freedom. As it went down in history, Sojourner won the case, and it proved to be a landmark victory for the abolitionist movement.

4. Molly Weasley

Is there another fictional mother who could rival Molly Weasley’s devotion to her children? Despite the dangers that loom over the wizarding world, Molly has always been set on nurturing her seven children and providing them with a stable home. Her motherly instincts even go beyond her own children, evident by her taking Harry Potter under the Weasley wing.

In a wizarding world where there is a constant grapple for power, Molly passes her moral compass onto her children, teaching them to fight for what is right, which is best exemplified by Ron in the chess game of the first book. And who can ever forget when Molly famously defended her daughter against the zapping spells of Bellatrix?

5. Judith Love Cohen

Thanks to his roles in many films, Jack Black has quickly become a household name, but you might be more blown away by the achievements of his mother, Judith Love Cohen. Aside from being a mother who clearly did a fantastic job at raising Jack, Judith spent her life dancing with the New York Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company and even writing children’s books.

The most impressive of them all, however, has to be her work as an engineer in the space program. In the programme, Judith was part of the team that architected the Abort-Guidance System that allowed the safe return of the Apollo 13 crew when an oxygen tank exploded on the spacecraft.

"Judith was part of the team that architected the Abort-Guidance System that allowed the safe return of the Apollo 13 crew"

Judith was so committed to her work that she had been working on a printout problem when she went into labour. Later that day, she gave birth not only to Jack Black but also the solution.

6. Angelina Jolie

10 Famous mother figures - Angelina Jolie and her children on the red carpet of EternalsCredit: David Fisher

Who is an actress, director, humanitarian, and mother of six? Angelina Jolie, of course. Despite the star’s packed schedule between films and philanthropic endeavours, Angelina has made it abundantly clear that being a mother is the proudest role she has played.

Angelina is also not one to shy away from sharing all the motherly love she has. Three of her six children are adopted from Cambodia, Vietnam and Ethiopia, respectively, and she gives all of them the same patience, exposure, and opportunity to the best of her abilities, making her one of the most famous mothers in Hollywood.   

7. Marie Curie

Marie Curie was not only the mother of modern physics but also a mother to Irène and Ève Curie. What is worth a standing ovation and respect is that Marie single-handedly raised her daughters after her husband’s passing.

Striking a balance between time spent at home and at the lab, Marie would often bring her daughters to the lab and introduce them to what she did. Irène would go on to win a Nobel Prize herself and credit her mother for instilling values of hard work and flexibility in her and her sister.

Not only did Marie show the world that it was possible to have both a successful career in a male-dominated industry and a loving family, but her insistence on exposing her daughters to the scientific world also paved the way for generations of women in science to come.

8. Michelle Obama

10 Famous mother figures - Official portrait of the Obama family in the Oval OfficeCredit: Pete Souza

When the Obama family lived in the White House, they were the perfect picture of an American family, with Michelle Obama as the ever-supportive mother. Just like many others mentioned in this article, Michelle was tasked with raising her daughters, Malia and Sasha, in the public eye, and she did a stellar job of it.

Alongside her duties as former First Lady of the United States, Michelle focused on her family and always carved out time for her daughters. Her role as a mother led her to see how important family is, and she advocated for policies that would provide support to families and children alike across the country.

9. Mary Wollstonecraft

10 Famous mother figures - Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie
Credit: John Opie

Meet the mother of the mother of Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft. As a pioneering feminist writer and philosopher who had a hand in the fight for women’s rights and education, Wollstonecraft wrote extensively about women’s education, her views strongly influenced by her experiences as a mother.

"Wollstonecraft wrote extensively about women’s education, her views strongly influenced by her experiences as a mother"

Wollstonecraft did everything she could to secure an education for her daughters and encouraged them to pursue their interests outside of social norms. Lo and behold, one of her daughters, Mary Shelley, became an accomplished writer in her own right with Frankenstein.

10. Helen Parr

Credit: Pixar Animation Studios

Nobody ever said you couldn’t be a superhero and a mother at the same time. Outside of her crime-fighting days, Elastigirl is simply Helen Parr, mother to three beautiful children.

Helen goes above and beyond to shelter her children from her shaky marriage and the evil forces that wreak havoc on their city. Throughout their adventures, Helen has found caves to safely hide her children in and even transformed herself into a parachute and boat to bring them to shore after a plane crash. She truly is a testament to the fact that all mothers are superheroes.

Banner credit: Warner Bros.

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