In honor of Mother’s Day, SheKnows would like to give a nod to the women who first inspired us to be courageous and progressive, yet still loving and kind. While they weren’t always perfect (or human), they epitomized the mothers we knew we wanted to be, even when we were just little girls. They weren’t like the mothers we knew in life. They were unusual, and remarkable, and made us believe we could be that way too one day when we had children of our own.
That’s right, we’re talking about Disney moms, but not just any Disney moms — the ones who really stood out as out-of-the-box thinkers and who went far above and beyond the traditional mother role. Here’s a collection of our favorites.
1. Mrs. Banks – Mary Poppins
Mrs. Banks was never not fighting for a cause, whether it was the Suffragette movement or reminding her husband that their children are children, not bank employees. Sure, she could get a bit flighty, but she was a political trailblazer through and through and truly loving to her family when it mattered most.
2. Eudora — The Princess and the Frog
A working single mother raising her teenage daughter in the tumultuous city of New Orleans? Enough said.
3. The Duchess — The Aristocats
This cat mom has it all — three adorable kitten babies, a handsome alley cat boyfriend and some serious accessorizing skills. She also never fails to encourage her children to embrace their artistic inclinations. Let’s just give her the Swinging-est Mother of the Year award now.
4. Elinor — Brave
Now this Scottish queen mum may start out sort of strict, but boy does she transform throughout the story, and not just on the outside. Her time as a bear opens her up significantly, and she becomes a much more understanding, much less by-the-book parent.
5. Kala — Tarzan
Kala adopted Tarzan even though he wasn’t the same species as her, made him feel like he was just like her and spent his adolescence doing everything she could to make her gorilla clan accept him. That’s what we call a progressive mom to the nth degree!
6. Helen Parr — The Incredibles
Also known as Elastigirl, Helen is a freaking superhero, so she’s automatically the coolest mom of all time. Before she got married, she considered herself an aggressive feminist determined to break through the “glass ceiling” of superhero-ing (as it’s a predominantly male profession). While she did settle down somewhat when she married Mr. Incredible, that bug to be a badass never died (as the movie so vibrantly shows us).
7. Mrs. Potts — Beauty and the Beast
This woman did everything for everyone. She was a full-time chef, groomed a giant beast on the regular, constantly encouraged Belle not to give up on him and organized a full-scale ball for just the two of them. All that, and she still somehow found time to convince her little boy Chip that he’s capable of anything, even if he doesn’t look like everyone else. Not to mention she was a tea kettle the whole time.
8. Sarabi — The Lion King
As with actual female lions, the queen lion Sarabi was the leader of the hunting pack, meaning she’s the reason all the rest of the lions (including the men) stayed alive. But she wasn’t all hardcore — she was also always a loving, supportive (if not sometimes strict) mother to Simba, and never stopped encouraging him to achieve greatness. Simply put, if Beyoncé were a lion, she would be Sarabi — the fiercest of mother lions in every sense of the word.
9. Grandmother Willow — Pocahontas
While not technically Pocahontas’ mother (or grandmother for that matter), Grandmother Willow certainly had us all fooled with her loving remarks and sound advice. And even though she’s just a spirit in a tree, she’s no pushover. There’s still plenty of “snap in her old vines” as she puts it. She also helps Pocahontas and John Smith get together, but not before she makes a play for him herself. Who else can say they have such an impetuous grandmother?
While there aren’t a ton of moms in the Disney repertoire, the ones we get are unforgettable female forces with which to be reckoned. Their presence in Disney movies will hopefully have an impact on new moms and moms-to-be for decades to come.
This post was sponsored by Alice Through the Looking Glass, in theaters May 27. Get your tickets now!