As I get older, Mother’s Day always gets a little more emotional for me. I see less pictures of my friends with their own mothers, and more pictures of my friends being mothers- it still blows my mind.
Now that I’ve been married for over a year, I’m constantly bombarded by questions from well-meaning family, friends, and coworkers, of when I’m planning to become a parent myself. And the answer is, I just don’t know. Of course, I would love to have a little prince or princess to love unconditionally and take heart-warming pictures with. The truth is, I’m just not emotionally or financially ready to have kids.
Then again, I’m constantly fearful of being an “old mom.” I feel pressured, and like I’m running out of time. I wish I could stop time until I was ready.
In the meantime, I deal a lot with what’s called “mommyjacking.” I’ll say something innocent, like “I’m tired today,” and fellow moms, whether they be coworkers or friends, will smile knowingly and say, “Just wait until you have kids. You won’t have any time for rest!”
Like, wait, what? They hijacked my sentence! I know that! I wasn’t even referring to the exhaustion that comes with being a mother! “Mommyjacking” is when a mother tries to trump your issues by insisting that motherhood is just so, so demanding. Of course, I know this, and I feel for them, and appreciate all the moms out there and all the hard work they do…but I wish sometimes I could make an innocent statement without someone jumping down my throat.
Another example is when I try to talk about publishing a book, and someone else (usually a coworker), will pipe in with, “Just wait until you have a child! That’s the greatest accomplishment of all!” or “Well, you better write while you can- when you have kids, you’ll never have the time!”
Well, we’ll just see about that! If mothers I know can be wonderful parents and still find the time to go on European vacations and cruises and fancy dinners and what have you (while I’m childless and have never been to Europe), then I think I might be able to find the time to write every so often.
Don’t get me wrong though- I can’t wait to be a mother! Just not right now, and maybe when I’m not under so much pressure.
Anyway, to quiet my fears and get back on topic, here are a few Disney mothers (and one mother-like figure) that inspire me the most:
First, I love Sarabi and Mufasa as parents, even though we only see one scene with the two of them together, when Simba wakes them up early. This exchange pulls on my heart strings:
“Your son is awake.” – Sarabi
“Before sunrise he’s YOUR son.” – Mufasa
For real, my husband and I say this all the time about our dog- he likes to wake my husband up early for walks. I feel like we would say this when we have actual kids.
This exchange just paints the picture of the two of them as loving parents with a fun sense of humor. Sarabi is slightly strict with Simba when he’s a cub, allowing him to go to the water hole “as long as Zazu goes with you,” and is clearly a proud mother when Simba returns at the end, this time as a grown lion, come back to take his place as king. Sarabi had to remain strong and resist Scar after her mate’s death, and under the belief that her son was dead. I wish we had gotten to see more of her and Mufasa- she seems like a loving character who not only demands respect, but shows fierce loyalty to her tribe as well.
In the original 1950’s Cinderella, we didn’t see the mother at all, and we learn early on that her father dies as well, but not before marrying the wicked stepmother.
However, in the live action 2015 film, we get to learn more about Ella’s mother and their relationship. Ella’s mom (we don’t learn her name) is sweet and patient, and teaches Cinderella how to show kindness to all living things. For example, we see young Ella caring for all the animals in her garden, even the mice and the geese. Ella’s mom asks if Ella thinks they can understand her, and Ella says “don’t they, mother?” Her mom replies, “Oh yes, I believe that animals listen and speak to us if we only have the ear for it. That’s how we learn to look after them.”
She doesn’t mock Ella for talking to the animals even if it seems nonsensical- she then goes on to teach Ella about Fairy Godmothers. Ella asks incredulously, “And do you believe in them?” Ella’s mom replies enthusiastically, “I believe in everything!” Ella smiles and replies, “Then I believe in everything too!”
Ella’s mom teaches her daughter about belief, kindness, and even magic. She uses her last breaths to tell Ella “a great secret”- to have courage and be kind. She insists that “when there is kindness, there is goodness, and when there is goodness, there is magic.” This is something that Ella holds dear to her heart throughout her life, and it indeed sees her through all the trials and tribulations she endures with her stepmother. Eventually, kindness and hope win in the end, just as her mother promised. This movie taught me that kindness has power.
Helen is both a mom and a superhero- some would say that those two are one and the same. She has a big responsibility to protect her children without hindering their abilities. She struggles with this a bit at the beginning, when her son Dash gets into trouble at school for his super speed. He insists that she’s always telling them to be special, but she doesn’t really mean it. Helen sighs and replies “Everyone is special, Dash.” Dash grumbles, “Which is another way of saying no one is.”
When her husband, Mr. Incredible, gets into trouble, she goes to rescue him from the evil Syndrome, and her children, Violet and Dash, stow away for the adventure (Helen unwillingly lets them come after they narrowly escape a plane crash). She is stern with them, and tries to force Violet into using her powers suddenly after years of making her suppress them. She soon realizes her mistake, however, and apologizes to Violet for being “unfair.” However, she also teaches her a lesson in learning not to doubt herself- that Violet can do amazing things with her powers.
“Don’t worry. When the time comes, you’ll be ready,” she assures her daughter, tucking a strand of black hair behind her ears.
Violet and Dash both learn how to use their powers and protect their identities, and learn how to not deny and suppress their special abilities. Helen is realistic as a mother figure, even though she’s a superhero- she’s not the perfect parent, but she stands by her family…and they all end up saving the day in the end.
True, Nani is not a mother. She’s Lilo’s older sister who takes on the role of being a mother after their parents die. She clearly tries her best to care for Lilo; she constantly tries to prove herself worthy with the persistent social worker, she’s relentless when it comes to finding a job and keeping their family from being torn apart even more, and when she hears Lilo wishing for a friend, she brings her to the dog adoption agency- and Stitch comes into their lives!
I relate to Nani, both as an older sister myself, and a mother figure to others. Sometimes the sisters fight, but at the end, they always have each other’s backs. As Lilo reminds Nani after a bad fight, we’re sisters, “it’s our job.” She likes Nani better as a sister than as a mother, and in the end Nani does learn how to adopt that delicate balance between being a sibling and caring for Lilo as a mother would.
She’s a single mom raising two kids, and Andy turns out to be a cool guy at the end of the third movie. He’s kind, cares for his family, and takes time to give his precious toys a good new home with the adorable Bonnie. We can only assume that this is due to Andy’s mom showing Andy how to be compassionate, and I don’t know about anyone else, but I teared up at the end right before Any went off to college and his mom started to get emotional over her son leaving the nest.
Andy’s mom is a rare Disney character in the fact that she’s a single mother, yet she is such a positive role model. In the beginning, she supports Andy’s imagination and protects his toys (I love the way she refused to sell Woody to Al from Al’s Toy Barn, even after the guy offered $50 bucks for him). In the end, she makes sure Andy is all ready for his next adventure and helps him transition into adulthood, as any good mother would. As the toys would say, go Andy’s mom!
So there you have my list! Of course there are other, though not many, Disney moms out there that I adore, but these are my top five. I also love the mom from Inside Out, Kala from Tarzen, Mrs. Potts, the parents from Tangled- the list goes on. Disney mothers are so important, because they raised my favorite heroines and heroes whom I look up to all the time.
I couldn’t end this post without giving a shout out to my own mother, who I love dearly; my sister, who I will always protect even when my mom is not there; my sister in law, who has shown me that you can be a great mother at any age, and all of my friends who have become mothers (even if all I see are baby pics all day, every day). You ladies are all wonderful!
Hugs and fishes,