my woman of the year (and this week’s column)

You’ve got to love a mother who says “I brought you a tuna sandwich. They say it’s brain food. I guess because there’s so much dolphin in it, and you know how smart they are.”
On the fourteenth of January, television’s pre-eminent family, The Simpsons, celebrated their 20th anniversary on air. While Bart and Simpson have been the show’s big draw for many, I’ve always loved the long suffering, blue beehive sporting matriarch Marge. It is a fondness that has only grown since becoming a mother myself.
As a ‘happy homemaker and mother of three’ Marge Simpson is the epitome of a good mother and wife. She is supportive, sensitive and loving to a fault. A good neighbour, daughter-in-law and sister. Her patience with her donut eating husband Homer and son Bart alone should be enough to have her canonised. And she is the moral compass not only of her own family but often serves as one for the entire town of Springfield. She’s perfect. Almost. And that’s why I love her.
Marge is as flawed and human as the rest of us and that’s what saves her from being just another utopian television mom.
Whether she is at the threshold of infidelity with a devilish French bowling instructor (though I wish she’s just gone ahead and had that fling) or wrestling with her gambling addiction, Marge shows that even the most boring suburban life can have its fair share of spice and secret. The pressures of having to raise three children with little help from Homer gets to her too, so much so that in one episode her frustration erupts in road rage, captured by the local news station with the bulletin: “An overworked and under-appreciated housewife has snapped.” How many of us can relate to that? I know I can.
Like many of us struggling to decide whether to stay at home or return to work, Marge has often echoed the voice in our head. Though Marge has been a stay at home mother for most of the last twenty years, and has never really expressed discontent with her role as a homemaker, she has become bored with it and has had a number of episode long careers that are dazzling in their variety. From working as a nuclear technician alongside Homer at Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, to owning her own pretzel business and working at an erotic bakery in “Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes”, Marge can also add actor, waitress, teacher, estate agent, marriage counsellor, carpenter and police office to her resume. In October of last year she even made it to the cover of Playboy, though I wonder what feminist daughter Lisa had to say about that.
And as a mother struggling to find a look that is stylish and practical, one has to commend Marge on her hairstyle and sartorial look. Her retro beehive, strapless sheath dress and classic string of pearls may not be a look out of Vogue, but then it’s a look that hasn’t dated since she first debuted it two decades ago.
I can see why Marge is a regular fixture on ‘TV’s Best Moms’ lists time after time. Here’s to another twenty years as good mother, forgiving wife, helpful neighbour, zealous police officer and who knows what next?

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