Mrs. Weasley (Harry Potter books, mother of HP's best friend Ron): If ever there was a mom in literature who fiercely loved her family, Molly Weasley is it. She has a clock that tells her where her precious brood is at any one time, mothers her children's friends as if they were her own, whips up feasts and keeps a cozy house (albeit with some magical aid), and boy howdy--when someone goes after one of her own--Molly Weasley, um, well, the she-bear comes OUT. (Brandy and I aren't the only ones in awe of Molly. I read a blog post just this morning that mentions some of these same wonderful traits).
Marilla Cuthbert (Anne of Green Gables): OK, Marilla is not technically a "mom" in the traditional sense, but she is a perfect mother to Anne. She grows into her role despite herself and sticks by Anne loyally through all of Anne's scrapes. One of those characters you love and admire almost without realizing it. At the end of the series, you are just as much a fan of Marilla in some ways as of Anne herself.
Frances's Mom (Frances books): This lovable badger manages to be all-wise/knowing as far as her young daughters are concerned, but she doesn't micromanage. She lets Frances figure out some life lessons the hard way (such as in A Bargain for Frances). She also doesn't entertain Frances, but lets Frances figure out how to entertain herself. Her disciplinary wisdom is wonderful (such as in Bread and Jam for Frances). She's just an all around great mom.
Mrs. Sowerby (Dickon's mom in The Secret Garden): ahh... another amazing mother (didn't she have 12 children?!) who manages to mother the extras brought under her wing, too. She raises such great kids as Dickon and Martha, and she extends that mothering wisdom to her nurturing of Colin and Mary. She's a force behind the scenes in this book, and the garden wouldn't have happened without her mothering of Colin and Mary.
Cassie's Mom (Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry): I can't remember their last name, but I do remember always being amazed at Cassie's mom's strength in this book. Her family is facing serious danger, yet she remains calm, cool, and collected. She protects her family, is wise in her counsel, and doesn't let fear paralyze her. Another mom who faces danger and keeps it together for her family is the mother in Between Shades of Gray--wow. That's all I can say about her.
Mrs. Murry (Wrinkle in Time): Smart! And still a great mom. Many literary moms are great moms in the typical sense, but Mrs. Murry is a different breed. She's a great mom for Meg, but she's not the sort slaving away in the kitchen cooking up chocolate chip cookies for her kids when they come home from school. More likely, she's messing around in her lab with some pot of something edible bubbling away on a Bunsen burner. Still, she's there for Meg and mothers her in other, more important ways.
Mary Curtis (Bright Island): I just read this book for the first time (review coming soon), but I was amazed at this mom of multiple children who had to be fairly self-sustaining on an island. She cans enough food for an army, homeschooled her children expertly, lets her children roam with just the right amount of tether, and is one of those moms who truly sets the tone for her household; she's their rock even while being unobtrusive about it. And yet, she allows her own daughter to segue into the same role, having done a terrific job of fostering Thankful's independence as well as instructing her in how to run a home. This makes her sound rather "Little House on the Prairie," but that's not quite the right impression of the intrepid Scotswoman here.
Dottie Willis and Hyacinth: (100 Cupboards Trilogy) Dottie is Henry York's first real "mother" in the sense of what we think mothers should be like. And, similar to Mrs. Weasley, she really rises to the occasion. Hyacinth is a mother we meet eventually in this series, and I can't tell you too much about her without spoiling some of the story. But she's a rock, as well. And, they both love and respect their husbands--without being cheesy or simpering about it.☺
The General "Nurturing" Mom: These are the moms in books who are great moms, but who sort of run together in my mind--all contributing to the general image of "nurturer." Examples are Marmee (Little Women), Mrs. Pepper (Five Little Peppers), the mother in All-of-a-Kind-Family, Ma Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie), and others. Making do with little, loving each of their children, creating a nurturing home, etc.
The Mothering Type: These are the women who aren't mothers in the traditional sense (nor even in the adoptive sense like Marilla Cuthbert), but who step in and "mother" children. Mary Poppins, Miss Penelope Lumley (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place), Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and others fall into this category. In a sense, some more astute fairy godmothers also fall into this camp as well!
Who do YOU admire? Who should we add to this list?