Best Single Moms From 2000s TV, Ranked

It’s the time of year when we celebrate a different kind of superhero – the single mom. These women raise and care for their children without a partner, often while balancing their own careers, relationships, and family dynamics. They praise their kids for their successes, support them through their losses, put their foot down when they need to, and prove their strength time and time again.

There are countless examples of fantastic single moms on television today, like Christy Plunkett (Anna Faris), who is raising two kids while trying to stay sober on MomJane Chapman (Shailene Woodley) who must protect her child from the dramatics of the families around her on Big Little Liesand Annie Marks (Mae Whitman) from Good Girls, who fully supports her son when he comes out as transgender. Coincidentally, Whitman also played Amber on Parenthood, who was raised by single mother Sarah (Lauren Graham), who is on this list for a different role!

Despite these tremendous performances of motherhood, nothing quite beats the feel-good nostalgia of the aughtsso let’s travel back in time and highlight the powerful women who ran that world.

Here are the six best single moms of 2000s TV, ranked.

Related: These Are The Most Iconic Movies About Motherhood

6 Karen Roe – One Tree Hill (2003-2012)

One Tree Hill follows teenage basketball player Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) and his half-brother Nathan Scott (James Lafferty), as they compete with each other on and off the court. Karen Roe (Moira Kelly) is Lucas’ mother, who was abandoned by his father, Dan Scott (Paul Johansson) when she became pregnant at the end of high school. She was then forced to raise her son alone, though Dan’s brother Keith (Craig Sheffer) was a huge support to her. It is difficult for both Karen and her son Lucas to come to terms with Dan’s abandonment, especially when he has such a hands-on role with his other son, Nathan. Karen does her best to support her son as he deals with their complicated family dynamics and his burgeoning love life while balancing her own career and relationships. Out of all the parents of One Tree Hillit is Karen who truly succeeded in raising a smart, caring, well-adjusted son all on her own.

5 Miranda Hobbes – Sex and the City (1998-2004)

Sex and the Citys Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) is the ultimate career woman. She is a high-powered attorney in NYC who does not let anyone or anything stand in the way of her goals. Miranda is forced to adjust her workaholic lifestyle when she becomes unexpectedly pregnant by her on-again-off-again boyfriend Steve Brady (David Eigenberg), but she has no qualms about raising a child on her own and does not expect any financial support . Although she does eventually get married to her child’s father, Miranda spends the early days of her son’s life solo and proves that she does not need a partner in order to be a good parent. Of course, Miranda does struggle to maintain a work-life balance as many working mothers do, but she continues to strive for her professional goals and stays dedicated to her son even when it’s difficult. Miranda’s tenacity and determination was one of the reasons her character became a fan favorite in the original series, and even if that feeling did not translate to the rebootshe should still be recognized for her triumph as a mother.

4 Amy Gray – Judging Amy (1999-2005)

If there was any woman who understood the intricacies and complications of family life, it would be the woman at the heart of Judging Amy. The show follows the successful Judge Amy Gray (Amy Brenneman) who, following a divorce, takes her young daughter back to her hometown and moves in with her mother. As a family court judge, Amy is constantly dealing with complicated family dynamics which influence the relationships within her own family. She tries to help her daughter adjust to their new life along with her own mother Maxine (Tyne Daly), who is a social worker, and reunites with her two brothers and becomes invested in their families as well. Amy is able to juggle a brand new high-intensity job, reconnecting with her family, taking care of her daughter, and reentering the dating world, all at the same time. It’s not easy by any means, but she continues to move forward no matter what gets thrown her way.

3 Lorelai Gilmore – Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)

The relationship between Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alex Bledel) on Gilmore Girls was the ideal mother / daughter relationship for many girls and women who grew up watching the show. There was an unbreakable bond between the two and mutual support that’s admirable. Sure, sometimes Lorelai was more of a friend to her daughter than a mom, but she was always there with an open ear and lots of encouragement. Lorelai never regretted having a child at a young age, and she proved that she did not need a man to help her raise a smart, thoughtful, and strong-willed daughter – and have a career to boot. Lorelai was able to work her way up from a maid to a manager at the Independence Inn, before opening up The Dragonfly with her best friend Sookie (Melissa McCarthy), and taking business classes at night. She proved that you do not have to take a traditional path in order to succeed, and there was no one prouder of her than the person who’d been by her side the entire time – her daughter Rory.

Related: Mothers and Daughters: Gilmore Girls and Women in Television

2 Reba Hart – Reba (2001-2007)

Watching country music icon Reba McEntire play a suburban mom on a sitcom named after herself was a treat for anyone who was a fan of her before and a fun introduction for those that were not. Reba (the character, not the actress) was put in an extremely difficult situation and handled it with humor and grace. She was left by her husband Brock (Christopher Rich), who impregnated and then married his younger, ditzy, dental hygienist Barbara Jean (Melissa Peterman). Reba was left to wrangle a houseful of kids, including her pregnant teenage daughter Cheyenne (JoAnna Garcia) and her high-school sweetheart Van (Steve Howey), her sarcastic and rebellious middle child Kyra (Scarlett Pomers), and younger son Jake (Mitch Holleman). Not only did Reba have to support the family and deal with her children’s many mishaps, but she also had to continuously entertain Barbara Jean, who attached herself to Reba and absolutely could not read a room. The average American viewer could easily find something to relate to in Reba, and the character earned respect as a woman who managed to do it all.

1 Hilda Suarez – Ugly Betty (2006-2010)

Betty’s older sister Hilda (Ana Ortiz) was a favorite among fans of Ugly Betty. She was sassy, ​​smart, hard-headed, and hilarious. She was also a fierce defender of her family – especially her son Justin (Mark Indelicato). The two lived under the same roof as Betty (America Ferrara) and the girls’ father Ignacio, so Justin was able to benefit from the influence of family around him since his father was largely absent. Hilda’s life was sometimes dramatic, particularly when it came to her many complicated romantic relationships, but she always put her role as a mother first when it counted. Justin showed great interest in both theater and fashion, and Hilda always encouraged her son’s passions, even when others did not. When Justin eventually came out as gay, Hilda did not judge him or try to change him. She just accepted her son exactly as he was. Hilda’s response was one of utmost support and compassion, and she became the ideal vision of how a parent should support their child as Ugly Betty celebrated this heartwarming LGBTQ + character.

Liz Sheridan

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