9 Things We Learned From ‘90s Sitcom Moms

These TV moms ran the show.

by Amanda Bell

Fact: Moms rule. Which is exactly why this Mother’s Day, VH1 will be paying special tribute to all the real-life mamas who make it happen with the first-ever “Dear Mama” special, hosted by Anthony Anderson and featuring celebrity guest stars like Queen Latifah, Jaden and Willow Smith, Alicia Keys, and Alessia Cara. Brace for the happiest of feels when that airs Sunday, May 8.

Until then, though, we also wanted to give a big nod-slash-virtual hug to all the fictional mothers from our youth who dished out key intel on mom-age and life in general on a weekly basis. Thanks to them, our TV time was anything but adolescent brain-rot ’cause these ladies were keeping us right in line just as well as anyone.

Here are a few of the key lessons we (and our real moms probably) can thank sitcom moms of the ’90s for teaching us.

  1. The arms-crossed “mmmhmm” maneuver means you’ve already been caught.

    ABC

    Nobody had her kids figured out quicker than Harriette Winslow on Family Matters. Nobody. Steve Urkel had it right when he just fessed up right away with all his “did I do that?” blush business because she already KNEW what was what. (That goes for Dad, too, by the way.)

  2. Moms multitask better than anyone in the world. Fact.

    ABC

    Lisa Landry from Sister, Sister had both her hands filled with teenaged twins, so she knew how to stretch her time like a QUEEN. Somebody give this woman a medal for her ingenuity (and all the prizes for her fashion savvy, too).

  3. Don’t doubt her when she says she’s got this.

    NBC

    Aunt Viv didn’t play on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, so when she told her kids (and nephew) she could do something, ANYTHING, the doubters in the room were wrong. Always.

    Take, for example, this iconic Season 2 moment when she auditioned for a modern dance recital and got side-eyed for days by her competitors but ended up owning so hard she literally snapped back in their faces. MOM = QUEEN.

  4. You act/look/sound more like your mom than you know.

    CBS

    Fran from The Nanny was third generation in the bouffant brigade, and no matter how much she tried to act like she was a cut above her Long Island heritage it was always right there in view.

  5. Don’t break her sh-t. Period.

    ABC

    Home Improvement’s Jill Taylor was a goddamn saint most of the time and tolerated about as much as anybody could ever be expected to from Tim “The Toolman” and all his face-palmy mechanical missteps (not to mention, three boys following in his footsteps). But where she drew the line was when her stuff got caught in the cross-hairs of their shenanigans. BIG no-no.

  6. When in doubt, check it out.

    ABC

    Mom has all the answers. As little Morgan (and her big bros, Eric and Cory) learned time and time again on Boy Meets World, asking mom first avoids many, many disasters.

  7. Never ever let her catch you treating your body “like an amusement park.”

    NBC

    George Constaza’s mom was a regular source of hilarious son-shaming on Seinfeld, but the most cringe-y moment of all (saying a lot right there) happened when she accidentally walked in on Georgie going to town on himself with an issue of Glamour Magazine.

    If that were the end of it it’d be horrifying enough, but she proceeded to gasp-fall and wind up in the hospital, insist he seek a psychiatrist, and then endlessly rub his nose in the embarrassing moment. Lesson, consider yourself LEARNED.

  8. Sorry, but your parents probably still have sex.

    WB/NBC

    Some parents (mercifully) try to keep their bedroom behavior undercover, even after their kids are full-grown, because (1) ew and (2) NO. But Judy Geller and her husband Jack were not those kind of parents.

    As Monica learned time and time again throughout the course of Friends, her parents got busy often and proudly, and her mom had no reservations about making dirty innuendos about their conquests or the resemblance of his male parts to that penis cake Rachel accidentally ordered. Hell, they even taped over Monica’s prom video with some beneath-the-sheets action. Scream (but also 👏👏👏).

  9. She’ll understand if you want to go your own road, so chill.

    ABC

    Becky (not *that* Becky) might have been a girly girl, but Darlene rejected ponies and lipstick with a hand-me-down-inspired hissy, but Roseanne didn’t blink. She should’ve trusted her to understand because “do you” was the war cry of Mrs. Conner.