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Mother’s Day: PopCrush Honors Three of the Best Moms on TV

Tami Taylor Jo McGuire Lorelai Gilmore
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images/ YouTube/ Kevin Winter, Getty Images.

From June Cleaver to Claire Dunphy, TV moms are a modern day superhero of sorts. These ladies balance it all: kids, a spouse and whatever on-screen hijinks come their way.

In honor of mothers everywhere, the PopCrush staff decided to honor our three favorite TV moms of all time. These ladies all have determination, generosity and, most importantly, an infinite love for their kids.

No matter what struggles befall them, Tami Taylor (‘Friday Night Lights’), Jo McGuire (‘Lizzie McGuire’) and Lorelai Gilmore (‘Gilmore Girls’) prove time and time again that they are stellar moms.

Check out the staff’s three favorite TV moms and be sure to share your pick in the comments or at @PopCrush.

Tami Taylor, ‘Friday Night Lights’

If Tami Taylor doesn’t come to mind when thinking of best television moms, you probably aren’t a ‘Friday Night Lights’ fan! The gorgeous blonde has an impressive track record of handling the crazy and unexpected situations her family gets into with a cool, collected, and empathetic attitude.

The Taylors live a somewhat stressful life in the tiny town of Dillon, Texas. Tami’s husband is the local high school’s football coach, a position of the utmost importance and respect (if the team is winning). The role makes the family pseudo-celebrities, meaning they’re constantly in the community’s spotlight. Tami not only helps her husband deal with the high-stress job, but she’s unfailingly supportive of her teenage daughter, Julie, who is adjusting to their new small-town life.

One of the biggest reasons Tami is such a great mom is that she knows exactly what to say in pretty much any situation. She does have the occasional minor meltdown — what mom doesn’t — but she always returns after she’s cooled off to handle it the Tami way.

When underage Julie shows up with a tattoo on her ankle, her and Tami have a heart-to-heart where the teen’s mom expresses her concern over her daughter heading down a bad path. Tami is calm and open to discussion, and even allows Julie to keep the (frankly ugly) tattoo. Pretty cool mom, don’t you think?

One of Tami’s best moments is during the good ole ‘birds and the bees’ chat she has with Julie. Has that conversation ever, in the history of human beings, not been awkward? Somehow, Tami makes it work. She’s informative, supportive, and honest without being preachy or controlling. Rather than telling Julie what to do, she provides her daughter with the best knowledge she can and trusts that Julie will make the decisions she feels are best.

What’s also impressive, not just as a mom but also as a woman, is that Tami is the Dillon High Principal. She’s juggling a demanding job while raising her newborn baby and Julie, and it never appears that Tami is neglecting one to focus on the other. Despite her position, Tami is still there to support and advise Julie in every drama-filled circumstance in which the high schooler finds herself.

To put it simply, Tami is just so cool. She strikes a balance between asserting herself as a parent and remembering that kids are kids, that they’ll make mistakes and going bananas when they do won’t help anything. Her ability to handle everything thrown her way is impressive, but her ability to do so with poise and understanding is a serious talent that lands her as one of the best TV moms.

Jo McGuire, ‘Lizzie McGuire’

Although she never dealt with the intense, primetime drama of other TV moms, Jo McGuire proved to be a pretty rockin’ matriarch. Yep, that’s right – Hilary Duff’s mom on ‘Lizzie McGuire.’

As anyone who was a tween in the early 2000s can attest, Lizzie was “the” coolest and there is no doubt she got it from her mom. Whether it was Lizzie’s unfalteringly bold fashion choices or her ability to always see the best in people, this teen owed it to Jo for setting such a great example.

With any Disney Channel show comes the requisite heartfelt relationship between kids and their parents. ‘Lizzie McGuire’ played into this, but also showed Jo’s true efforts to understand Lizzie, even when the viewer couldn’t keep up with the precocious drama queen.

Remember when Lizzie thought she had to wear a glammed-out pair of hip-huggers to be cool in school? Jo stepped in and showed her how to bargain hunt and still look like a million bucks. Nope, it’s not a deeply moving plotline, but for the show’s teen audience, it proved that even a style maven such as Lizzie could work discounted clothes. All thanks to Jo.

Jo was there for some of Lizzie’s biggest moments – including helping her buy her first bra. Was it awkward? Absolutely! But like every mom, Jo had to field her way through her children’s adolescent moments. It wasn’t perfect, but it was realistic.

As viewers watched Lizzie grow up and even go to Europe for the first time, it was clear that Jo’s influence played a huge part in shaping her as a woman. For the tween audience of ‘Lizzie McGuire,’ Lizzie’s relationship with her mom was a strong example for how to wade through the murky waters of growing up.  ‘Lizzie McGuire’ didn’t need the over-the-top drama in some teen shows to communicate one thing: That Jo was one amazing mother.

Lorelai Gilmore, ‘Gilmore Girls’

When you think of awesome TV moms, you have to admit that the fast-talking, coffee-guzzling, quirky Lorelai Gilmore is one of the first to pop into your head. From her kickass fashion sense (well, minus that one time she brought Rory to Chilton wearing only a pink tie-dyed tee and some Daisy Dukes) to her totally atypical but well-meaning motherly advice, Lorelai embodies what it truly means to be a “cool mom.”

Before shows like ’16 & Pregnant,’ Lauren Graham’s Lorelai Gilmore was the original teen mom. And while she was always quick to remind Rory not to go through the same situations she did as a teen, the fact that only 16 years separated mother and daughter in age made for one tight-knit and unbreakable bond. As the Gilmore Girls’ relationship ebbed and flowed throughout seven seasons, Lorelai was always there for Rory, teaching her to “wallow” after her devastating breakup with Dean to sleeping in her dorm room at Yale during Rory’s first night away from home. And while fans were seriously unhappy about the fight between Lorelai and Rory that led to them not speaking for months during the show’s sixth season, the program didn’t try to sugarcoat the relationship between mother and daughter. Lorelai and Rory’s blowout fights and disagreements made sense — they depicted reality. It’s normal for mothers and daughters to argue, and as close as the Gilmore Girls are, they were no exception to that rule.

As Lorelai worked her way up as a businesswoman, going from working at an inn to opening her own, she instilled in Rory the meaning of hard work. While Rory had a higher (and more prestigious) education than her mom, Lorelai never showed it, working her butt off in business school and demonstrating her smarts everywhere from engaging with Luke at the diner to peppering conversations with the kind of words you’d need a thesaurus for. And no doubt that Lorelai’s example — starting over in a sleepy, off-beat town and earning the life she made for her and her daughter — rubbed off on Rory, who followed her own path, going after what it was that she wanted whether or not others (including her mom) agreed with it. And that’s the mark of a good mom: giving your kids the freedom and knowledge to make their own decisions, even if it means letting go. They’ll come back.

Next: In Defense of Joel on 'Parenthood'

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