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The best TV moms to watch on Mother’s Day

Rainbow Johnson in Black-ish; Marge Simpson in The Simpsons; Rebecca Pearson in This Is Us
(Image credit: ABC; Fox; NBC)

Happy Mother’s Day, even to fictional TV moms. Celebrate the holiday with a binge-watch of some of our favorite TV moms on streaming. These memorable matriarchs have taught us valuable lessons, just like our real-life mothers.

Just like their counterparts, TV dads, TV moms are incredible role models, while others … well, they tried their best. No parent is perfect! There are moms of every type on our list, from inspiring and supportive to funny and badass. 

Here are great TV moms you can watch on Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Hulu and other streaming services. Name your favorites in the comments!

Rebecca Pearson, This Is Us

Super mom Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore) is more than a match for super dad Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia). She helped raise three children of the same age, twins Kate and Kevin and adopted son Randall. One baby is a lot of work; three of them might make anybody break with reality. Rebecca also lent them her strength through the devastating loss of their father as teens, and has supported them in their own parental journeys. She has truly been the rock of this big, often messy family. We don't know where they'd be without her — though they're going to find out soon. an entire box of tissues won’t stem the tide of tears. Is it really This Is Us if it’s not making us ugly cry? - Kelly Woo

Stream This Is Us on Hulu (opens in new tab)

Marge Simpson, The Simpsons

The quintessential sitcom mom, Marge Simpson has seen and done it all over the years. She’s been a TV critic and a stage actress; she’s been a police officer and a prisoner; she’s been a therapy patient and a “listen lady.” Most of all, though, she’s been the backbone of a chaotic, dysfunctional and oddly lovable family. As the wife of Homer and mother to Bart, Lisa and Maggie, Marge is a supportive spouse and a patient parent, constantly bringing her family back from the brink of total collapse. We all know a mom like Marge — and if we’re extremely lucky, the mom in question is our own. - Marshall Honorof

Stream The Simpsons on Disney Plus (opens in new tab)

Rainbow Johnson, Black-ish

If anybody deserves a Mother of the Century prize, it’s Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross). She makes parenting look effortless, though she clearly puts a lot of work into raising five kids (including a baby), and corralling her very extra man-child of a husband Dre (Anthony Anderson). Plus, Rainbow has a successful career as an anesthesiologist, no big deal! She handles challenges like racism, marital strife and postpartum depression with grace, while never forgetting to have fun (the woman can really pull off a prank). And she manages this juggling act while always looking fabulous. - KW

Stream Black-ish on Disney Plus (opens in new tab)

Moira Rose, Schitt’s Creek

Moira Rose isn’t an obvious choice for mom of the year in the first season of Schitts Creek, but like a fine glass of the Moira Rose Herb Ertlinger Fruit Wine, her true character shines through over time. On the surface, Catherine O’Hara’s Moira is a washed-up soap star with an eccentric, unplaceable accent, a host of iconic wigs, and a removed relationship with her kids, David and Alexis. Like all of the characters in Schitt’s Creek, the town changes her, and although she’s still wearing Alexander McQueen rather than the Blouse Barn’s finest, by the final season you see Moira for who she really is — a devoted wife to her husband, a true friend to her Jazza Gals, and the ultimate cheerleader to her two bébé’s. - Jane McGuire 

Stream Schitt’s Creek on Netflix (opens in new tab)

Tami Taylor, Friday Night Lights 

The motto “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” is best embodied by Tami Taylor (Connie Britton). She’s a loving, supportive wife to football coach Eric (Kyle Chandler); the Taylors are relationship goals for a lot of people, including myself. She’s an understanding and wise pillar of strength to teen daughter Julie (Aimee Teegarden), and a surrogate maternal figure to many students in her roles as guidance counselor and principal. Nobody gives as good advice as Tami Taylor. She’s right 100 percent of the time — just ask her husband. And y'all, nobody has a more enviable head of hair. - Kelly Woo

Stream Friday Night Lights on Netflix (opens in new tab) or Hulu (opens in new tab)

Joyce Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joyce Summers (Kristine Sutherland) is just a regular human, but she holds her own against every vampire, demon, witch and hell-god that comes her way. When Joyce first moves to Sunnydale, CA, she’s unaware that her daughter, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), has a double-life as the mythical Slayer. That means that in addition to doing homework and dealing with crushes, Buffy has to fight the forces of evil and coordinate a team of like-minded adventurers. As the show progresses, Joyce becomes her daughter’s biggest cheerleader, helping Buffy manage the normal and paranormal aspects of her chaotic life. Joyce’s complicated and earnest relationship with Buffy is one of the most heartfelt in the show. - MH

Stream Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Prime Video (opens in new tab)

Caroline Collingwood, Succession

Sure, Caroline aka Lady Collingwood, doesn't have many scenes in Succession, but Harriet Walter makes the most of the scenes she gets. Not only does she provide excellent dry dissections of all family members on her bad side (which is most of them), but she sure knows how to make an impact. For example, don't forget that it was one of her minor asides that gave us the phrase "Greg The Egg," which is one of the most-classic nicknames of the series. Her role in the season 3 finale, shocking her children with a surprise alliance, is not to be understated either. - Henry T. Casey

Stream Succession on HBO Max (opens in new tab)

Linda Belcher, Bob's Burgers

Much like the rest of her family, Linda Belcher is a lovable screw-up. She breaks into song at inopportune moments; she pursues crazy plans on a whim, often out of spite; she alternates between coddling her kids and not helping them enough. And yet, Linda’s good heart and vivacious personality always shine through. She adores her husband, Bob, and her kids, Tina, Gene and Louise. She works hard to keep Bob’s Burgers afloat, and displays endless patience for her oddball sister Gayle. In fact, Linda might be one of the most relatable TV moms on the list: harried and overworked, but with enough good humor and positivity to keep the whole family going. - MH

Stream Bob’s Burgers on Hulu (opens in new tab)

Jane Villanueva, Jane the Virgin

Life is truly like a telenovela for Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez), who was saving herself for marriage but became pregnant via an accidental artificial insemination. Even crazier? The father is Rafael Solano (Justin Baldoni), her very handsome crush and the owner of the hotel where Jane works. Still, she takes unplanned parenthood in stride and serves as an inspiring example of modern motherhood, balancing raising son Mateo with her writing aspirations and romantic relationships. And as they say, it takes a village, and Jane gets help, support and advice from her role models, mom Xiomara (Andrea Navedo) and abuela Alba (Ivonne Coll). This family is a true matriarchy. - KW

Stream Jane the Virgin on Netflix (opens in new tab)

Beverly Crusher, Star Trek: The Next Generation

Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) demonstrates that working moms are an integral part of our future. As the chief medical officer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise-D, Dr. Crusher has to keep more than a thousand passengers and crew members alive and thriving. That’s not easy to do when the Enterprise seems to encounter a new belligerent warship, deadly technology or space-time anomaly every week. Her son, Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton), quickly proves his worth as a bridge officer, which means that Beverly has to walk a fine line between being a mother, being a commanding officer and being a ship’s doctor. The fact that she walks it so well is a testament to her character. - MH

Stream Star Trek: The Next Generation on Paramount Plus (opens in new tab)

Jessica Huang, Fresh Off the Boat

Before the term Tiger Mom was coined, 1980s mom Jessica Huang (Constance Wu) embodies many of the characteristics, including a determination to see her family succeed. Fresh Off the Boat, one of the few Asian-American-led shows in TV history, follows the Taiwanese-American Huangs after they move to Florida so that dad Louis (Randall Park) can open a restaurant. Jessica’s primary focus is her children, but she’s got her own side hustles going on, such as novel writing and real estate sales. Her brutal honesty results in hilarious zingers like, “I don’t have to say ‘I’m sorry’ to him, Louis. I gave birth to him.” - KW

Stream Fresh Off the Boat on Hulu (opens in new tab)

Joyce Byers, Stranger Things

Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) is the epitome of the selfless mom, putting her sons’ welfare before her own at every opportunity. And in Hawkins, Indiana, those opportunities are frequent. Despite a tough life, a poor marriage, the trauma of her youngest, Will, going missing, and then further tragedy (twice) just when it looks like she’s found happiness, she refuses to give up or be ground down by what life’s thrown at her. Instead, she just grits her teeth and sets about doing whatever it takes to save her boys. With Joyce Byers as your mom, you would never fear danger. We could speculate that she might get a smoother ride of it in the forthcoming Stranger Things season 4, but let’s face it, that won’t happen. Here’s hoping that she gets a happy ending in S5 instead. - Marc McLaren 

Stream Stranger Things on Netflix (opens in new tab)

Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls

Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) is the mom who is also her child’s best friend. She’s fun, knows all the pop culture references, eats dessert for dinner and enjoys a good binge-watch. She’s passed down her fast-talking style, coffee addiction and fashion sense to teen daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel). But Lorelai isn’t just a good-time gal; she’s also a hard-working single mom who scrapes pennies to give her smart daughter the best educational opportunities. While she’d never admit it, Lorelai gets that iron will from her own mother, Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop). Gilmore girls always get what they want. - KW

Stream Gilmore Girls on Netflix (opens in new tab)

For more binge recommendations, we've got a guide to the new movies and shows to watch this weekend. In entertainment news, Cobra Kai season 5 release date is set and House of the Dragon has a new trailer.

Kelly Woo
Senior Writer

Kelly is a senior writer covering streaming media for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.