Mother's Day 2013: The Ten Best Pop Culture Moms of the Year

Mother's Day is a holiday to reflect on the true meaning of motherhood, to be thankful for the courage and sacrifice it takes to bring a child into the world, and to celebrate the special bond found only between a mom and her kids.

Also, it's a pretty great day for judging celebrities.

So as you and your mother struggle awkwardly though yet another Mother's Day brunch -- you do have reservations, don't you? -- try this topic on for size: the best mothers in pop culture this year. Here are our picks to get you started.

10. Shakira

Shakira -- or, as Blake Shelton insists on calling her, "SHAK-ur-a" -- gave birth to son Milan Piqué Mebarak in January. But her most prominent parental role in pop culture is on The Voice, mothering music star hopefuls on the path to their dreams of getting through an entire season of the show before falling into obscurity.

This week, Shakira told one singer that her performance was the best she'd ever heard. Not the best in The Voice history. Not the best in all the karaoke bars in the world. No, just the best singing voice ever, period. That's the kind of bald-faced lie that only a loving mother can tell.

9. Les Miserables' Fantine

Maybe you hate musicals. Maybe you fell asleep when your parents dragged you to see Les Mis on the stage as a kid. Maybe you think Anne Hathaway looks like the love child of an alien and a Bratz doll.

Doesn't matter. When Fantine sings "I Dreamed a Dream" in the 2012 movie, you are going to cry. You are going to cry a TON. And then you are going to call your mother and thank her for all the sacrifices she made so that you could afford to be snarky enough to hate on Anne Hathaway in the first place.

8. Girls' Loreen Horvath

Lena Dunham's Girls is a show that requires its audience to find its own humor in the lives of its characters. The humor is definitely there -- these are privileged twentysomethings; everyone is inherently stupid at that age -- but Hannah Horvath and her friends are too busy taking themselves very, very seriously to wink at the audience at home.

But when Hannah's mom Loreen shows up, played by Becky Ann Baker, we all get a breather. Instead of making our own internal judgment when Hannah asks her parents to pay her rent or passes out on drugs in their hotel room, we can count on Loreen's face to do the work for us.

7. Parks and Recreation's Diane

Only a true warrior princess could convince Ron Swanson to wear makeup and eat a banana.

6. Breaking Bad's Skyler White

Season one's Skylar White was just your stereotypical, clueless TV mom. Season five's Skylar White easily breaks Season One Skylar over her knee like a twig, loads baby Holly into the carseat, drives the body to the dump, then cooks the books to cover her gas expenses.

5. Kate Middleton

No list of modern day moms is complete without the addition of Kate Middleton. She hasn't even given birth yet, but MI6 would probably take us out if we didn't include her. So, here we are. Kate Middleton, everybody!

4. 30 Rock Liz Lemon

Was Liz Lemon a better character as a childless, single, unfulfilled slave to NBC? Of course she was. Liz's quest for kids effectively shut down 30 Rock's storyline; a Liz Lemon who shows up on our TV screens every week is better than the imaginary Liz in our heads mothering tiny versions of of Tracy Jordan and Jenna Maroney. Hell, if the stuff we made up in our heads was as entertaining as real-life Tina Fey, we'd just quit our jobs, stock up on Depends, and lay around laughing until we get evicted.

Still, Liz Lemon in any form > almost anyone else.

3. Beyonce

New mom Beyonce has given her daughter the greatest gift on earth. No, not that diamond-encrusted pacifier, or House of Dereon's entire line of onesies. It's a front-row seat to the greatest show on earth: Beyonce herself.

Oh yeah -- also, Blue Ivy will never have to work a day in her life. Thanks, mom!

2. Game of Thrones' Daenerys Targaryen

Next time your mother tries to guilt trip you with stories about the hours she spent in difficult labor trying to bring you into this world, remind her of the Khaleesi, who literally set herself on fire to give birth to her triplets. That'll go over really well at home.

1. Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess

She nags. She's passive-aggressive. She schemes and manipulates. And despite all this, you love her deeply. The Dowager Countess, epitome of motherhood.

Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.

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Ciara LaVelle is New Times' former arts and culture editor. She earned her BS in journalism at Boston University and moved to Florida in 2004. She joined New Times' staff in 2011.
Contact: Ciara LaVelle