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Remarrying for Your Kids

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"Aunt Polly, you know what it's been like since Martha died. […] Truth is, my kids have been running bloody rings around me. Running barefoot with the dogs until all hours. […] What the kids need is a mother. So that's why I'm getting married."
John Shelby, Peaky Blinders

Having a single parent in a work isn't uncommon in the slightest. If a character's Missing Mom or Disappeared Dad is explained as being a product of death or Parental Abandonment, though, it's unusually likely for the single parent to be paired up with another character by the end. This can be used to resolve the lack of spouse and parent in one swoop.

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This will often be a sub-plot within a story, often with the children as main characters. The character may intentionally be looking for a spouse/partner throughout the story, but this often isn't the case. The popularity of this trope may lead one to assume that anytime a widowed parent appears, they will be paired off in the end. If there are two single parents whose children are friendly it's doubly likely.

May involve a plot that features Parent with New Paramour, though those cases are not always for the children's sake. Contrast Glamorous Single Mother, who makes being a single parent look easy. Compare Give the Baby a Father, which is when a pregnant woman gets married so she won't be a single parent in the first place.


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Examples:

Fan Works

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Film

  • A major plot point of Nanny McPhee is Cedric Brown's necessity to get remarried after his wife's death, due to pressure put on him by the great aunt. By the end of the movie, he marries Evangeline.
  • Love Actually. Liam Neeson's character's wife dies at the beginning of the movie and he is forced to raise their child alone. By the end, he is paired up with another woman, be this is an unusual variant of the trope, considering the son is his by marriage.
  • Averted in Treasure Planet. Jim's lack of father is given an explicit explantation, but Mrs. Dawkins never enters another relationship.
  • The Aristocats. O'Malley says that the kittens need a father around, but it's more of an indirect way of telling Duchess he wants to be with her than him genuinely believing they do. Duchess agrees, but at this point, her attraction to O'Malley has been very well established. So it's more of a "remarrying for ourselves, but won't it be great for the kids?" type of thing. (The kittens' lack of a biological father is never mentioned or explained.)
  • In Disney's Enchanted, Robert has an extended relationship with Nancy, but end up with Giselle in the end. Morgan's mother is explicitly mentioned to have 'left,' which is actually pretty dark for a kid's movie.
  • Rugrats in Paris has Chuckie's father decide to remarry because he wants to provide a mom for his son. Unfortunately, he's not very good at telling that Chuckie is terrified of his new girlfriend Coco. At the end Chaz marries a different woman, Kira, who too is a single parent.
  • In Ever After, Danielle's father remarries when she is eight, shortly after he dies. Unfortunately, her stepmother turns out to be a wicked one
  • David Copperfield (1993) features this. Clara's own words were that Mr. Murdstone was "Just the man to give David a proper upbringing." It's at least implied that she wised up because she made a new will leaving everything to David rather than her husband two days before she died from her illness.The implication is driven home by David early on when he frustratedly states "Mother doesn't love Him. She thinks I need a Father. THAT'S why she married him."

Legend

  • Min Ziqian was a Chinese model of filial piety. After his father discovered that his Wicked Stepmother was dressing her own children warmly, and not his first son, he told her he had married her to have someone to look after his son, and she is not doing it, so he would divorce her. Only Min Ziqian's intervention, reminding him that without her there, none of the children would be looked after, saved her.
  • In The Green Knight, the king remarries because his daughter begs him to.

Literature

  • Deconstructed a bit in Wives and Daughters, Molly's mother dies when she's a little girl. When she's teenaged, her father thinks she really needs a mother-figure and marries because of it. However, while not being exactly Wicked Stepmother, she's a difficult woman and not helpful at all.
  • Annie marries Philip in Enoch Arden largely for her children's sake, and also because he reveals that he has loved her for a long time. She comes to return his affection later.
  • In the second Deverry book, a middle-aged widower marries a woman who was divorced by her husband for barrenness because she needs a new home and he needs a wife to help raise the children from his first marriage (whose existence means that her inability to conceive children isn't an issue). In the following book, she gives birth to a son, which causes a great deal of political difficulty, because it implies that her first husband was the sterile one, which means that his lands could be up for grabs once he dies...

Live-Action Television

  • Used in Glee. Kurt originally tried to pair up his dad and Finn's mom so he would have an excuse to spend more time with Finn. They eventually married, quite appropriate, considering they had both been widowed.
  • Peaky Blinders: John Shelby cites his kids as the main reason he needs to remarry.
    John: All right? Because, I need someone. All right, the kids need someone.
  • The case for King Leopold (Snow White's father) in Once Upon a Time. He's very much still in love with his late wife Queen Eva, but when Regina saves young Snow White from a charging horse, he offers her himself as Standard Hero Reward, thinking that someone who would risk their life to save his daughter would be proper stepmother material. Of course, Regina's social climbing bitch of a mother, Queen Cora, is gleeful about this. (It's also possible that, given Leopold's history with Regina's mother, he was trying to get Regina away from said social climbing bitch) Regina really wants to marry a stablehand instead, but Cora tricks Snow into leading her to the stablehand, which gets him killed. Regina blames Snow White instead of putting the blame where it belongs (leading to Regina being the Trope Codifier Evil Stepmother), and proceeds to take out her anger on everyone, including getting Leopold killed.
  • In Poldark: When explaining to Ross why she has decided to marry his Arch-Enemy George, Elizabeth uses this as one of the reasons. George is rich and can financially provide for her son, Geoffrey Charles.
    Elizabeth: What seems like disloyalty to you now, is actually loyalty to my ''son.'

Stand-Up Comedy

Webcomics

  • The Order of the Stick: Quirky Bard Elan faces a Lotus-Eater Machine scenario where his mother remarries his Evil Overlord father to give him the happy family he always wanted. The scenario falls apart when Elan remembers that his mother ended their marriage to protect him from his viciously evil father in the first place, and accepts that his family is irretrievably broken.

Western Animation

  • In Rocket Power, the Missing Mom's disappearance was eventually explained, saying that she died when the kids were really young. Ray ends up getting remarried in the series finale to a woman named Noelani, who's a cousin of his friend, Tito, and who also happened to have been very close friends with their mom when she was still alive.

Real Life

  • Abraham Lincoln's mother died of milk sickness when he was nine. A short time later his father went off for a week and brought home a Widow Woman specifically to be the new mother to his children. The new Mrs. Lincoln already had three children of her own, so the replacement went both directions.
    Thomas Lincoln: "I have no wife and you no husband. I came a-purpose to marry you. I knowed you from a gal and you knowed me from a boy. I've no time to lose: and if you're willin' let it be done straight off."
  • There was an incident in Alberta, Canada where a man hears of a recently widowed woman who was having trouble supporting herself and her children after the death of her husband—feeling sorry for the woman, the man (who had apparently been a bachelor for a long time) offered to marry her so that she'd at least have a husband to help support her family and a man to act as a fatherly-figure to her kids.
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