Glamorous Single Mother
In Real Life
, being a single mother isn't easy. Let's be honest here. Children kind of need a lot of attention. It can be an overwhelming task for two parents, let alone one who also needs to have a day-job just so she can put food on the table.
Because viewing audiences tend not to like being reminded of how tough things can be, TV land has given us the Glamorous Single Mother — a character who juggles children, personal life, and work life expertly with little trouble or complications. In particularly extreme examples, her life will be indistinguishable from those of similar characters who do not have kids — they'll be little more than an adorable little Plot Device
every few episodes.
This trope, coupled with Babies Make Everything Better
, can create some dastardly Unfortunate Implications
in that they make getting pregnant appear to be a substantially less physically and emotionally draining task than it really is. It's probably not coincidental that this trope almost always involves upper-middle-class women, as opposed to the working poor. Contrast Single Mom Stripper
See also "Friends" Rent Control
Anime and Manga
- Ash Ketchum's mom from Pokémon fits this trope somewhat. While she is a very good mom, Ash left his home at ten to commence his journey as most young men and women around his age do. She is always there to welcome him back at the end of a journey. It's also said she works at a diner of some sort.
- Syaoran's mom from Cardcaptor Sakura. Justified because her husband left her a lot of money, social status, and a Big Fancy House when he passed.
- Bulma of Dragon Ball Z was this for a little while, as Vegeta left sometime before Trunks was born and did not particularly care about his son until after the Cell Games. Justified as she is the wealthiest woman in the world due to her family owning Capsule Corp. The Abridged Series even hung a lampshade on it.
- Probably the most famous invocation of this trope is the title character on Murphy Brown. Dan Quayle famously attempted to question the Unfortunate Implications this trope creates - and ended up the target of ridicule (in Real Life and on the show itself) for suggesting that television could influence people like that. Interestingly, Candice Bergen herself thought Quayle had a point.
- Gilmore Girls uses this, but not in the backstory when Lorelai and the infant Rory were taken in by the owner of the Independence Inn, Mia, where Lorelai became a maid. When they first came to Stars Hollow, Lorelai and Rory lived in the inn's potting shed, and it took Lorelai years to work her way up from being one of the maids to being the manager. When the show starts proper, daughter Rory is a teenager and the relatively easy time Lorelei has raising her can be rationalized along those lines. (And of course, Rory was the world's most well-behaved girl to begin with.) It's said by a few people in-series that Lorelai got lucky with Rory, who was never difficult to deal with.
- Lampshaded in an episode where Lorelei is invited to speak at the local highschool's career day about being a successful local business woman. The girls in the class assault her with questions about her infamous teen pregnancy instead of letting her give the speech she prepared. She ends up having to state outright that even though she sometimes wonders how her life could have turned out differently, she would not change what happened even if she could (because she would not trade Rory for anything). She even tries to make it clear that she considers herself very lucky in terms of how things have worked out for her despite her pregnancy preventing her from going to college. Later, the mothers of the girls don't care about the nuance of her response (which hinged on loving her daughter) and ambush her for supposedly "glorifying" teen pregnancy to their daughters. Lorelei doesn't take kindly to the implication that she should have said she regrets her daughter.
- Averted on CSI. Catherine notoriously has trouble balancing finding time for Lindsey with working nights at the crime lab. It is shown that her mother often looks after her daughter when she is at work. Things get better after she's transferred to day shift.
- Mia from Degrassi started out as a subversion of this. Then they had her mom somehow find a way to stay home with the kid while Mia became a model.
- Rachel on Friends is more of a subversion. She is single during her pregnancy and after Emma is born, while maintaining a high-profile job. However, Ross (Emma's father) is a consistent presence throughout it all - even taking off work for a time to help raise her. The trope is even Lampshaded during her baby shower, where Rachel is starting to panic that she won't be able to handle it. Ross points out that she has overcome adversity before, but also has the benefit of him (already an experienced parent).
- Not to mention she has a very strong support group around her, who all live locally and are happy to help out. In fact the ever-dependable Monica and Chandler seem to spend more time with Emma than Ross and Rachel do.
- Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife is a high powered lawyer, often working incredibly long hours. She is still married, but her husband's not there (he's in prison early in the series; later they're separated) so she acts as single mother. On the other hand, her children are teenagers so they're more independent, but the only problems she ever has with them are about them mildly rebelling.
- Mad Men
- Subverted with Joan Harris on who is gorgeous and well-dressed, and as of Season 5, becomes a Ad Agency Partner. But it's shown that she has to depend on her irritating mother for childcare and that she had to make the infamous deal for her and Kevin's livelihood.
- Averted with Peggy Olson, who gains in confidence and workplace prominence throughout the series, but as a trade-off had to give up the child she conceived with the married Pete Campbell for adoption.
- Virginia Johnson on Masters of Sex. We don't see her children every episode, especially since both she and Masters conceal considerable portions of their personal lives from each other (he less than she).
- In season 3 this is deconstructed, with her now-teenage daughter arguing with her and outright calling her a bad mother, claiming that she left the kids to raise themselves while she was focusing on the study.
- Naomi Sandburg in The Sentinel travels constantly all over the world, has nice clothes, etc. in spite of being an ex-flowerchild with a son whose father she's not sure of (or won't admit.)
- Fanfiction often speculates that she comes from a well-to-do family and has a trust fund.
- Lisa from Supernatural. She also has a ridiculously nice house, even though she doesn't have an especially good job and is raising a kid on her own.
- Subverted with Kristin Baxter in Last Man Standing. She is constantly shown to be stressed out and overworked. It's established that the only reason she is able to do it is because her parents and sisters help her.
- The Scout's mom in Team Fortress 2. Although she's suggested to be lower-income and live in a rough neighborhood, she's still quite glam-looking.
- This seemed to be justified by having her son and and her boyfriend, the Spy, work as mercenaries for several wealthy international companies, until it was shown that she and Spy apparently kept their finances separate, and Scout spent all of his money on Tom Jones memorabilia, which only turned out to be a wise investment after several years.