Created By: Indigo on January 30, 2008

Missing Mom

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Do We Have This One??

I did some searching but nothing came up that seems to fit.

Mom is missing.

We may or may not know what happened to her, but Dad seems to have raised this son or daughter [or multiple children] on his own. And mom's absence is either ignored altogether, or her absence is a significant factor in the life of the remaining family. Happens most frequently in animated series, but other media are not immune.


  • Psych: Shawn Spencer's mother is absent, but we find out from a
bitter remark on Henry's part that she left.
  • Starman [the TV series]: We know Jenny Hayden freaked out shortly after
birthing her half-alien child and ran off. title.
  • Family Affair: another dead mother, I believe.
  • Diff'rentStrokes: another dead mother, I believe.

Disney movies are rife with this.
  • The Little Mermaid: No mother for Ariel. No mention of what became of her.
  • Cinderella: Mother is dead, hence the stepmother.
  • Beauty and the Beast: I don't recall if there was any mention of what
happened to Maurice's wife.
  • Aladdin: Nor do I recall if there was any mention of what happened to
the Sultan's wife.
  • Enchanted: Morgan's mother left. We had the explanation, and it was significant.

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Subverted, in that Katara's mother was killed by
the Fire Nation. Then her dad left to go fight the war, leaving her to be raised by her Gran-Gran.
  • The crippled faux Airbender also lost his mother, leaving his
Mad Scientist father to raise him.
  • Rocket Power: The first Mrs. Raymundo Rocket is dead.
  • Rugrats: Chuckie's birth mother is know, I'm not sure if she's
dead or just out of the picture. had believed to be dead is alive, but has amnesia. Inverted, in that it's their father who actually is the one genuinely missing because he's dead. is family of some sort in Hong Kong, but we don't know if it's one or both parents.
  • Oban Star-Racers: Eva is abandoned to boarding school by the death of her
mother in a particularly extreme example.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Radical Edward/Francoise has a father, but no mother. And
her father's no prize either.

Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • January 30, 2008
    For Rugrats, it turns out in one episode that Chuckie's Mom is dead. Has a Golden Moment or something to smooth over the discovery.

    In Jackie Chan Adventures on the other hand, Jade's parents are both still alive and together, as revealed in an episode later in the series.

    And for the fourth time today, I end up mentioning Dark Cloud 2... Finding Max's mother is a fairly major plot point. Is there any other RP Gs that use this trope? Because I'm pretty sure it wasn't unique to that game...
  • January 30, 2008
    Card Captor Sakura has a dead mother.
  • January 30, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Is this a subsection of Parental Abandonment, and how is it set apart?
  • January 30, 2008
    It's set apart, IMO, by the fact that the other parent isn't abandoning said kid.

    The dad is still there, dutiful, sometimes doting, even dotty. But he's there, doing the best job he can to raise his kid[s] all alone, even if he's nursing bitterness over the loss of the woman who should be with him in an ideal world.

    Also, in the case of Missing Mom, there's no emotional distance involved; a living Mom who doesn't get along [or will kill] with dad and kid[s] doesn't count. The Mom is genuinely gone through physical distance or death.

    Ok, I can see how it fits as a subtrope of Parental Abandonment, but how would we go about editing it? It's a huge, huge entry.

  • January 30, 2008
    Native Jovian
    Sounds like Parental Abandonment to me. Or at least deserving of an edit to Parental Abandonment rather than an entirely separate trope.
  • January 30, 2008
    In Yes! Precure 5, Urara's mother is dead. (One gets the impression she'd have preferred Dad to vanish and turn it completely into Parental Abandonment and to please take Grandpa with him, but they have indeed raised her, even after they supposedly turned her care over to Washio, her manager.)
  • January 30, 2008
    Sometimes the death is a result of Death By Childbirth.
  • January 30, 2008
    Rogue 7
    In Harry Potter, Luna Lovegood's mother died, though she seemed to be quite a bit like Mr. Lovegood and her daughter.

    And don't forget Zuko's mom.
  • January 30, 2008
    I've seen lots of instances where the father is the absent one and the mother is raising the children alone; I had planned to try to blend it all together into a Single Parent trope.
  • January 31, 2008
    Rogue7 Good point about Luna. I think Ursa's an exception. She clearly loved Zuko very much, preferred him over Azula, tried to turn Azula into not-a-monster. But she left because she felt she had no choice, but one could not really describe Fire Lord Ozin as having raised Zuko, and/or loving him. The trope would fit Azula, but not Zuko.

    It'd fit Zuko for Iroh, though, which is weird, because of the surrogate thing. But Iroh must've had a wife once.
  • January 31, 2008
    Gadget's father Geegaw, while lost, at least gets a picture, a mention, and sorrow at his loss. Her mother, however... no mention.
  • January 31, 2008
    Ugh, I know we have this. We've had it for years. I can't find it. x.x
  • January 31, 2008
    Supernatural's mom is significantly dead.
  • January 31, 2008
    Rogue 7
    Perhaps it was lost in the Crash.

    I'd still say Ursa should be in there. She left when Zuko was what, 7, 8? Been a while since I watched Zuko Alone. Mom's absence is most certainly a factor in Zuko's life, if not Ozai's or Azula's. Anyways, from what I can tell, the trope is about where a missing mother is significant, and both the circumstances of her disappearance (she seems to have killed Azulon, for god's sake) and her effect on Zuko are still fairly strong. Sure, to quote Austin Powers, "Daddy wasn't there", but that's largely because he's a dick. I'd personally say that this is one of the stronger examples.
  • January 31, 2008
    The condition I was making about the trope was that when the mom leaves, the dad does his best to raise the child without her. That's why I was saying it works for Azula [no Ursa, Azula was somewhat affected by it, and Ozai raised her fine], but not for Zuko [because he doesn't meet the third condition]. So I guess we call it a subversion for him and a play-it-straight for Azula]. The question is, how do I go about launching it as a subtrope?
  • January 31, 2008
    I want to say this is somewhat related to The Smurfette Principlebecause in the reverse with a series that has a missing father, it's because of one of three things: 1. Killed by the evil overlord 2. Out adventuring 3. A deadbeat

    Whereas if it's a mom: 1. Killed/dead 2. A deadbeat 3. (very, very remote) out adventuring 4. Captured like a Distressed Damsel
  • January 31, 2008
    It may not be the most accurate name for this, but the convention here is to use Parental Abandonment for this, as far as I can tell. This would be a split, I think, of "missing parent" from "parents who up and left".

    By the way, someone made Anime Missing Parent Syndrome, but it was axed in favor of Parental Abandonment.
  • February 1, 2008
    "Perhaps it was lost in the Crash."

    That was my point in saying "we had it for years". It's one of the oldest ones in the Sit Com book. My Three Sons, The Courtship Of Eddies Father, and basically a million other only-one-parent sitcoms.
  • February 1, 2008

    I've seen the subtrope thing happen, but I don't know the code woogery to set it up properly. Anyone want to help me figure out how to launch it as such?
  • February 3, 2008
    @ Indigo: Write it up. Press launch. Follow the instructions. Try to learn the page formatting conventions, but if you do it wrong, it'll be cleaned up soon.
  • February 4, 2008
    I really don't get how Katara from Avatar is a subversion.
  • February 4, 2008
    @Meems: I meant subverted because Katara didn't end up raised by her father. She ended up being raised by Gran-Gran because after Mother Water Tribe died, Father Water Tribe took off to fight. Maybe it's more accurate to say "played with" rather than outright subverted.

    @Adam850: Thanks!