by Michael of ThinkingMichael.com
There’s a disappointment that comes with growing up, and that is learning just how much the world needs fixing. Throughout my years blogging, I’ve talked a great deal about the importance of family, of children, and of properly raising children. Although the majority of the quality of one’s childhood is contingent on their parents, in part it is also on the society surrounding them. Entertainment has an impact on how kids turn out. Growing up, I gradually realized that so many parents shouldn’t have had kids, including and especially my own mother. (Yes, I’m aware that means I would have never been born.)
I want to talk about some fictional mothers whom had an impact on me as I was growing up. Fictional mothers I never consciously realized influenced me so much, inadvertently fooling me into believing all mothers are great. These fictional mothers I’ve come to appreciate tremendously now, because seeing good mothers these days is so rare. Mothers these days leave their kids’ fathers for petty and selfish reasons, steal their kids from their fathers, coax the government to steal their father’s money and live off welfare as well, and are just generally nowhere near as great as I grew up believing mothers are. Here is a list of fictional mothers whom I think real-world mothers can learn a great deal from…
Sarabi (The Lion King)
You’ll notice all the mothers on this list aren’t prominent characters in their films. This is probably why I wasn’t aware of the impact they had on me as a child. They don’t have much to say or do in their films, but they (subconsciously) stood out to me as a child regardless. Sarabi is no exception. I’d say she’s probably the most majestic of the mothers on this list, which is why I put her as #1.
“Your son’s awake,” she said to Mufasa at the beginning of The Lion King. Even as a child, I understood what Sarabi meant by this. She was talking about Simba, who is of course her own son, but I understood it as a banter. A joke. She wasn’t saying she didn’t want to get up. In fact, she got up with Mufasa and Simba, even though she would be excluded from their morning plans. It’s just how loving wives talk. They’re both strong and they’re playful, even when sleepy, and Sarabi’s playful side shows here.
When Simba plans on taking Nala to the elephant graveyard and he says he knows of ‘a really cool place,’ Sarabi says, “So, where is this ‘really cool place’?” I like that line because it shows her skepticism and therefore intelligence. She doesn’t suspect Simba would do something awful like take his friend into hyena territory, because she believes in her son’s character, however flawed her judgment ultimately is here. I love Sarabi’s next line, when Nala says she’s in the middle of a bath, and Sarabi tells Simba, “And it’s time for yours!” and just up and starts bathing him even though he resists. That is what a strong mother does. She doesn’t back down when her child doesn’t want to do something that needs to be done, like taking a bath. But Sarabi doesn’t overdue his bath, either; she bathes Simba just enough to get the job done without him getting too angry about it. Wise compromise.
I think Sarabi really shines most as a mother after she believes Mufasa and her son are dead. She remains strong and doesn’t allow herself to have a broken spirit. She’s stronger than I am in this regard. Sarabi is still leader of the lionesses, who hunt the food for those who live at Pride Rock. In the spirit of a mother, she still takes care of her people even after losing her mate and son. Oh, I didn’t mention the fact that she’s the leader of the hunters, and by extension, Pride Rock’s lion army, but there you go. This is all further testament to her strength as a mother. Yes, I’m aware this is what lionesses do in real life, but that fact doesn’t negate my point any.
Sarabi’s not afraid to tell Scar he’s not even half the king Mufasa was. And best of all, she’s at the front lines when Simba returns and war breaks out between Simba and Scar. Sarabi is a prime example of what a mother should be. She’s not entitled, she doesn’t wait around for others to do what needs to be done, she is deeply devoted to her family and people – even in loss, even when outnumbered, and even after getting beat down.
To any of my points about Sarabi, you might be thinking you or someone you know has that trait as well. But I highly doubt it’s common for mothers to have all of Sarabi’s traits. From what I’ve seen, most real-life mothers certainly, undeniably do not.
Sarabi is a prime role model for both boys and girls. A true queen. And she didn’t do a damn bit of it for attention or selfish gain. Remember, she was just a background character for the most part throughout The Lion King.
Chicha (The Emperor’s New Groove)
A close second to Sarabi is Chicha, the wife of Pacha from The Emperor’s New Groove. She’s strong like Sarabi, but has a noticeably different personality. In her first scene, you see her simply being a mother, bonding with her kids. Then, when her husband comes home, she says, “Stand aside, lady with a baby coming through!” just to give her husband a kiss. When Pacha says that the emperor couldn’t see him, she gets angry at how rude that is. She’s emotionally invested in the fact that someone wasted so much of her husband’s time, and that it was immoral. “It’s called common courtesy,” she says. This demonstrates she’s a highly principled person.
Throughout the movie, we see that Pacha’s house really belongs to Chicha, in practice. But she doesn’t try to outright dominate her husband, nor does she treat the house like it literally belongs to her. She’s not possessive or domineering, she is just simply the master of the house by simply being strong. It’s a fact about her, not an official title.
Chicha is pregnant, just about ready to pop, and yet she is still a hard worker. She is always hard at work being a mother, despite being nearly ready to pop. She’s washing the dishes, she’s cleaning up, she’s keeping up with her kids’ high-strung energy levels, she wakes up in the middle of the night when her son Tipo has a nightmare … all while being so pregnant she can hardly move. And you can see that none of it bothers her. She doesn’t complain, nor even think to. She doesn’t even show any kind of bitterness about it all. She still runs the house, she is still a wonderful wife and a wonderful mother.
A queen, like Sarabi, in her own regard. And she doesn’t just run her castle, she defends it like a warrior. Catch when Pacha told Emperor Kuzco that his family can handle themselves? I have no doubt that was because Chicha could handle herself, and she made sure her children could as well. Remember when Kuzco simply said, “Hey there!” and out of pure reflex Chicha knocked him out with a pan? Damn, woman!
Plio, from Dinosaur (also a Disney movie). She, a mammal, adopted a dinosaur, who of course 100 times her size, and raised him to be good, not knowing for sure whether he’d turn out to be a carnivore or not. Despite being so small compared to Aladar, he still respects his adoptive mother so much that he always listens to her instruction, and Plio deserves that respect. She’s always calm, always looking out for her family, and always staying strong.
Queenie, from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Also adopted a child not of her kind, though Benjamin was merely a different race, not species. Queenie loved Benjamin like he formed in her own womb. She always provided equal parts instruction and affection. She didn’t just take care of Benjamin (who was born decrepit and hideously ugly), she also took care of many other adults in her very home. Lots of love to give; endless. Every time I watch this movie, I think to myself how much I would have loved to have had a mother like Queenie.
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