It’s Mother’s Day in the UK today, and I’ve been thinking about fictional Mums.
I think I under use the mother-daughter (or mother-son for that matter) relationship in a lot of my projects. It is, by its very nature, a breeding ground for conflict of pretty much every sort. Just for starters, there’s the aspirational mother, who expects great things of their child and will never be satisfied with anything less than perfection. There’s the absent mother, who cares more about their own life than their child’s. There’s even the loving mother, who, even if she’s great in pretty much every way, will still have her own values and expectations – and if the child truly loves and adores her, it’s even more heartbreaking to let her down.
In the book I’m editing at the moment, Mum isn’t a huge feature in my heroine’s life. She has a much closer relationship with her Dad. But given that the father-daughter relationship is torn apart as part of the plot, I think I need to weave in a growing relationship with Mum as the one with Dad begins to disintegrate.
In a lot of fiction, it’s easier to have parents as a distant inconvenience, or gone completely. If they’re present in the plot, they’re usually causing trouble for the protagonists. Maybe in my next project, I’ll write a loving, supportive mother, just like mine. One my heroine will be devastated to let down – only to discover that Mum still loves her anyway. Because that’s what mothers do.
What about you? Who are your favourite fictional mothers? And how do you use Mums in your books?