5 things I learned about being a Mom, from Peg Bundy Danielle Hampton

Married With Children was one of those shows that my Mom wouldn’t let me watch growing up, alongside The Simpsons and Beavis and Butthead. But sorry Mom, a girl wants what a girl can’t have, and over those years living at home I secretly watched hundreds of episodes, amassing a veritable vault of Bundy knowledge that can be applied to all aspects of life. And to this day, I still get a little thrill when I successfully make it through an entire episode of Married With Children without flipping quickly to PBS when someone walks into the room.

If we’re going on style and attitude, Peg Bundy may be the best television Mom of all time, and I (half-jokingly) can credit some of my Mom knowledge to this impeccably dressed, immeasurably funny woman. In future columns I’ll be discussing the legacies of many other favorite television mamas, but today, it’s all about Peggy.

So, here are 5 things I learned about being a Mom, from Peg Bundy.

1. You have to look good, to feel good. High heels, huge hair, and tight pants worked for Peggy, and they work for me too. On days when I feel like I got run over by a two-ton truck and need about seven more hours of sleep, if I just put a little time in with the blush brush or curling iron, I feel like a million bucks. Even if I’m just hanging out at home with my son, a little red lipstick can go a long way.  And seriously, I’m sure you fellow mamas can relate- it’s so easy to fall into a rut, and taking a couple of minutes to feel beautiful always puts a little pep in my step.

2. A little indulgence never hurt anyone. Now, I’m not advocating smoking here (I think it’s disgusting), but Peg knew what worked for her- and let herself really enjoy it!  For me, it’s dark chocolate and the occasional ice cream cone. They keep me going. At the end of a long day, once my son has gone to bed, curling up on the couch with a delicious chunk (okay, entire bar) of dark chocolate with sea salt is my own little slice of heaven. For Peg, it was cigarettes for a while, always shoes, a new tube of lipstick- really anything and everything her heart desired. Peg always put Peg first, and while that isn’t really my style, I do like to put me first every once in a while. Peg reminds me to do this.

3. Keep your girlfriends close. Peg and Marcy may have had their squabbles, but Peggy knew that when life got tough with the ever-grumpy, sex-refusing, wallet-closing, insult-throwing Al, Marcy would be there for her. Their friendship got them through a lot, and with me it’s no different. Some days you just need your girlfriends, whether it be a long phone conversation full of laughter, or a fun night out on the town. We all need a little Marcy D’Arcy in our lives.

4. It’s never as bad as it seems. Peg always takes everything in stride. Seriously. From Kelly’s escapades with every guy in town, to Bud’s incessant whining, to Al’s crass remarks, Peg knew when to shrug it off (and go shopping!).  On days when she felt like she couldn’t get ahead, Peg always managed to come out on top and realize that it could definitely be worse (but not much worse).  Being a Mom and wife could get tough at times, but Peggy never got down for too long, and truly realized that it wasn’t ever as bad as it seems. Sometimes when I’m feeling not-so-happy I need to remember this. Whatever sad or bad mood I’m in, it would be good to take a look at the way Peg lives her life (some of it at least) and realize that this too shall pass.

5. Laughter is always the best medicine. Life in the Bundy household may be a bit more vulgar/extreme/ridiculous than most, but the common thread is laughter. Sure, my husband Hank doesn’t make jokes about not being about to distinguish my chest from my stomach or constantly put me down for not working outside the home, but we do joke a lot. Laughter abounds in our house, and even when life seem a little dismal or when things aren’t the best, we always seem to find the humor in situations. This has helped us get through many hard times, and being able to rely on the other to make us laugh is the best. My husband is definitely no Al, but we’ve absolutely taken a page out of the Bundy book in terms of infusing humor into our day-t0-day.

With that said, what television Moms do you love?  I’ve been known to do a little admiring of Claire Huxtable, and who can forget Vicki’s Mom, Mrs. Lawson, of Small Wonder fame? (She always treated V. like a real girl).
So do tell, who are your fave T.V. mamas? I’m looking forward to discussing more of them, from Roseanne Conner to Mona Robinson (points if you know who that is!).

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  1. Lorelei from Gilmore Girls. She is a single mom who was pregnant at 16 who owns a house, never has to cook (thanks to Luke). She comes from money, yet only accepted it to help her daughter go to private school to help her get into Yale. She is a real woman, with real modern issues who handles it with humor, honesty and sometimes even a bit of immaturity.

  2. i ‘second’ Lorelai Gillmore from Gillmore Girls… but on the flipside, I kind of always wished Mrs. Seaver from Growing Pains was my mom… the career woman/down to earth mom always seemed cool.

  3. I’m gonna have to go with Sofia Petrillo…She totally kept Dorthy in check even as adult, yet kept her sauciness as well. Totally what I aspire to when I hit old age. I kinda even want the whorish Blanch type roommate so I will never run out of fuel for the funny fire!

  4. Such a good article Danielle! I too love Peg Bundy!!

  5. I’d have to say Clair Huxtable, hands down. My husband and I love watching re-runs of The Cosby Show.

  6. Mrs.Garrison from “The Facts Of Life”! She wasn’t really a mom but a mother figure none the less.

  7. It is a new show, so nothing old school here but Frankie Heck from The Middle! Patrician Heaton who also played Ray’s wife on Everybody Loves Raymond – she is so great in the Middle! So funny and frazzled but always manages to maintain a positive outlook! It isn’t one of these shows with a family where they never have to worry about money (even though no one ever seems to work) and they always look so glamours! You won’t find anything phony like that in The Middle!!!

  8. Lucille Bluth, mother of the year.

  9. Who knew Peg Bundy to be so wise?! haha! This really s a great list, though. Thanks for interpreting!

  10. Not a mom, but my favorite TV parent is Keith Mars, the dad on Veronica Mars

  11. but on a serious note, i just thought of this – i really like gemma in sons of anarchy. she’s a super awesome mom and holds everything together and sacrifices so much. i know she’s flawed too, but look at what she has to deal with on a daily basis.

  12. omg yes. roseanne. i love the hell out of her. even in real life too.

  13. Growing up we watching Roseanne, my mom, sister and I watched Roseanne as a family and more recently my fiancee and I have started re-watching the show on Netflix and it just reminds me how much my family and I can relate to it. We watched a lot of Married… with Children but I’ve grown to relate more to Katy Segal’s Gemma on Sons of Anarchy more than her Peg Bundy. She’s just a brilliant “mom”!

  14. Loved this! My favorites are Kitty Forman (That ’70s Show) and Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls).

    …and Lucille Bluth (Arrested Development).

    • GOL Totally agree!!! i’d also like to add Lois from Malcom in the Middle. Sure she was an overbearing mom but who doesnt love a dysfunctional family :D

  15. This was brilliant! Gosh, my favorite TV moms would have to be Donna Stone from The Donna Reed Show, Jill Taylor from Home Improvement, Laura Petrie from The Dick Van Dyke Show, Jean Weir from Freaks and Geeks, Frankie Heck from The Middle, and Peggy Hill.

  16. Love this. Oh and for #2, remember Peg always indulged in bon-bons! And as for tv moms, I love Norma Arnold and Kitty Forman and Marge Simpson.

  17. One of my favorite TV moms is actually on a show that is out now. I love Frankie on the show “The Middle”. She is fantastic. Her house isn’t perfect, her life isn’t perfect, her job sucks but she deals with it ( just like most of us), she has an amazing sense of humor to battle whatever crappy thing rolls their way, if she screws something up in the end she bites the bullet and fesses up, her marriage isn’t perfect but they know how to laugh and roll with the punches, and even though her family isn’t perfect… her kids are alright. I LOVE her character!

  18. haha love this post…. I liked Mona, she reminded me to my grandma, all modern, elegant and funny.

  19. I love Peggy! Her style was fearless!! I loved Roseanne. As wild as she could be, she really loved all of her children, and it was a very realistic kind of love – not always pretty but unconditional.

  20. Mona…Angela’s mother on Who’s the Boss…who could forget about Mona?! She was the best!