Parenting Icons - Why I Love Lois

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One mom talks about TV's iconic moms - especially her love of the mother from the TV show, Malcolm in the Middle

Over the summer while perusing one of the online parenting sites, I came across a fluffy little article about TV moms. “Which mom are you most like?” There was a poll with choices ranging from Carol Brady to the dittsy but loveable, Sarah Braverman from Parenthood.
“Where’s Lois?” I asked my computer? “How the hell could they forget Lois!?” Lois, is of course, Lois Wilkerson, the famously loud, overbearing mother from the series, Malcolm in the Middle. I was disappointed but not surprised. It would be hard find to a character less likely to be included among the icons of modern motherhood. She is strident, opinionated, manipulative and loud. Boy, is she loud! Drill sergeants come to mind. She is prone to explosions and her family, Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, Jamie and husband Hal live in fear of her wrath. In one episode the boys are involved in a standoff with police when they refuse to come down from a billboard. They are more afraid of Lois than the law.
It sounds bad, I admit and yet there’s something so compelling about her. I love her Machiavellian intelligence, her ability to stay two or three steps ahead of the game. So many episodes revolve around the boys’ attempts to keep Lois from finding out about something they’ve done. They bargain and scheme but in the end it turns out she knew all along and was content to sit back and watch them burn through their options until at last they were forced to come clean, fess up and take responsibility.
Lois is proud and yet shameless, practical and yet fanciful. She’s vulnerable and sometimes insecure but she’s also resilient and strong. She’s even sexy, at least in Hal’s eyes. One subplot involves Hals’s campaign to sabotage Lois’s diet because he is so enamored with the size of her butt.
Most of all Lois is loving – fiercely loving. For all the conflict and chaos there is never any doubt that Lois loves her family above all else and woe to anyone with less than benevolent intentions.
The clip above is from the very last episode of the series. The family is covered in sewage after Reese’s plan to sabotage Malcolm’s graduation ceremony goes horribly wrong. Malcolm is bound for Harvard after Lois forces him to reject a six-figure job offer from a Microsoft-ish computer company. Lois reveals Malcolm’s destiny to him a speech so audacious it would make an Amy Chua style “Chinese mother” blush. And yet it always brings tears to my eyes because as obnoxious and presumptuous as she is, Lois is absolutely right – and there’s no doubt that however crazy and extreme, everything she says comes straight from the heart.
Lois’s "parenting style "may well seem beyond the pale and yet, it’s hard to imagine things any other way. Lois reminds me that parenting style isn’t some external system we apply to our family life. It evolves organically out of our specific relationships and situations. The beauty of Lois is that she is fully engaged with her family and manages to keep her priorities straight. It's a terrible cliche, but even though the Wilkersons are covered in sewage, when it comes to Malcolm and all her kids, Lois is gazing at the stars. I love Lois.
Nancy