7 Movies about motherhood that totally get it

Jun 9, 2014 at 11:28 p.m. ET
Image: KidStock/Blend Images/Getty Images

To be a mother, no matter what road got you there, is to be a part of a special community. We celebrate seven movies that totally capture the essence of being a member of the motherhood.

Mother and daughter hugging

Photo credit: KidStock/Blend Images/Getty images

1. Stepmom


Full disclosure: You're going to need a box of tissues handy to watch this one, but it's totally worth the puffy eyes. This movie captures motherhood on so many levels — what it is like to become a mother through marriage, what it is like to be a mother fiercely fighting to hang onto the relationship you have with your babies and, heartrendingly, what it is like to face saying goodbye to those precious little beings you brought into the world. When Jackie, played by Susan Sarandon, says, "The thing is, they don't have to choose. They can have us both. I have their past, you can have their future," we die a little inside.

2. Steel Magnolias


Whether you're from the South or not, this story of a group of Southern mothers supporting each other in good times and bad will resonate with you. It will make you laugh — hysterically, at times — and it will most certainly make you cry. And, importantly, it will bring to light one of the truths of motherhood that is so rarely talked about: the utter importance of surrounding yourself with women who understand the beautiful agony that is being a mom... of having your heart beat outside of your chest in the form of your kids.

3. Parenthood


Pretty much everything you need to know about motherhood can be summed up by this quote from Grandma in the movie Parenthood: "You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride! I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it." Get it? So did Mary Steenburgen's character, Karen.

4. What to Expect When You're Expecting


Motherhood, as we all know, starts long before you're holding that baby in your arms. It starts when you feel that baby flutter in your belly for the first time (or when it kicks you in the ribs). One of the funniest, most apropos recent movies to capture the insanity that is pregnancy and new motherhood is What to Expect When You're Expecting. Seriously, when Elizabeth Banks's character gave her TMI speech about what pregnancy is really like, we almost peed our pants. And we're not pregnant right now.

5. The Blind Side


This semi-autobiographical film with Sandra Bullock at the helm tells the story of the love that sprouted up in Leigh Anne Tuohy's life quite unexpectedly for then-homeless Michael Oher. We adore this story in particular for the way Tuohy illustrates the boundlessness of motherhood — she would walk to the ends of the earth or, in this case, a very sketchy neighborhood, to help her son. Now, Oher's a famous football player in the NFL, which just goes to show that a mother's love can do a world of good in the life of a young person.

6. I Don't Know How She Does It


This film may not have gotten rave reviews from the critics when it hit theaters in 2011, but we don't care. We think it's fabulous. Why? Because it so perfectly captures the harried, frenetic master of multi-tasking that the working mom today has to be. It paints a realistic — sometimes far from pretty — picture of the woman trying to juggle it all without dropping any balls. Plus, the lice bits are hilarious.

7. Because I Said So


Daphne, played by Diane Keaton, loves her three daughters. Which, naturally, means she worries about them with every breath she takes and, subsequently, smothers them with motherly concern and affection. If you ever, like us, claimed pre-motherhood that you'd never be one of those moms who responded with "because I said so," this film will make you feel better about having now become a mom who says it several times a day.

More on motherhood

What motherhood looks like on a bad day
Genuine images of motherhood
What it means to be a career mom over 40 

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