Disney movies aren’t exactly known for their mother figure…in fact, it’s become something of a running joke that the worst fate you could have is to be a mom in a Disney film. If they exist at all, they usually meet a not-so-great fate. Some of them, though, had moms that really stole the show.
Elastigirl tops our list because she shows just how hard it can be to maintain an identity and be a mother. Often moms feel like they live double lives. We are ‘mom’ first and wouldn’t have it any other way, but we are still the person we were before, and it can be hard to keep that in balance. Helen Parr shows this all too well in The Incredibles. From breaking up fights between siblings to fighting bad guys, Elastigirl finds a way (no matter how difficult) to have it all.
Brave is a fantastic story of mothers and daughters and the balance that has to be struck between them. Mothers have dreams for their children. Children often have…different dreams. It can be hard to let go of the kid you wanted and embrace the kid you have. Queen Elinor and Merida show this in such a rich and in-depth way. Hopefully, no one has ever turned their mother into a bear in order to gain acceptance, but we’ve all faced the challenge of letting go.
Has there ever been a more loving example of motherhood than Mrs. Potts? She exudes motherly instinct and comfort. From gently guiding Chip to offering wise words of wisdom to anyone who needs it, Mrs. Potts is one of our favorite Disney moms. Just like any mother, it’s not all sugar and spice. She also isn’t afraid to get down to business and defend her home and those she moves from Gaston and the angry mob.
Of course, the only Disney Princess to be a mother would make our list! In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Ariel struggles with a very real part of motherhood: regret. After Melody defies her parents and goes to the sea, Ariel has to search for her and regrets not sharing their heritage with Melody. It was done to protect Melody (Ursela’s sister had vowed to exact revenge), but Ariel still questions whether it was right or not. We’ve all been there, wondering if we made the right call. Motherhood, unfortunately, doesn’t come with a handbook. However, Ariel handles it with all of the grace and dignity of a Disney Princess. The film wasn’t well received, it has an average rating of 3.8/10, but Ariel gets a 10 from us on her mothering skills.
Nani reminds us that not all moms gave birth. Siblings, aunts, grandmothers, step parents and adoptive parents can all be mothers. Nani also reminds us that motherhood doesn’t wait until you’re ready. After their parents car accident, Nani was all Lilo had left. Despite not knowing how to be a mother, Nani stepped up and raised her sister as best as she could. She gave her heart and soul to Lilo and was as much a mom to her as anyone could be.
Disney Parks Moms
Disney movies are great, but the real heroes are the moms who brave the Parks with their little ones. We pack diaper bags and backpacks and push the strollers and get an aching back and swollen feet to give our kids the magic of Disney. Their smiles keep us coming back (ok, the Dole Whips do too…and the Castle…and the rides…and….). The moms of Disney Parks truly pull double duty: magic maker and magic experiencer.
After practically growing up at Disney World, I thought nothing could surprise me anymore. I was an expert. I also thought I loved it. I was a true Disney Adult. Then my son was born, and I got to wear another hat: Disney mom. It was only then that I realized the full magic of Disney. What it does for me is nothing compared to the wonder on my child’s face seeing him experience it. Now as a new mom again, I can’t wait til my baby’s first Disney trip (which I may or may not but definitely am already planning).
Here’s to Disney Moms everywhere!
May we know them,
May we be them,
May we be raised by them