O Mother, Which Art Thou?
It’s Mother’s Day, so time to find out which maternal archetype you most resemble
Mrs Bennet (Alison Steadman): silly, frivolous and possibly in the early stages of dementia, you are the type of long-suffering mother that everyone knows too well
Marmee March (Susan Sarandon): you are the envy and scourge of other mothers, a stay-at-home mum who has an endless well of patience and love when it comes to childrearing
Emma Bovary (Isabelle Huppert): highly volatile and no stranger to hysteria, you are not responsible enough to look after children when you’re in distress and have been known to cause physical harm on occasion
The Wicked Queen: cold, cruel and extremely vain, you are not possessed of natural maternal instincts
“I want to be above the little meannesses and follies and faults that spoil so many women. I’m far from it now, but I do my best, and hope in time to be what Mother is.” (Little Women)
Take our personality test and find out which type of literary mother you most resemble.
1. A mother’s primary function is to:
a) Marry her children off as quickly as possible
b) Look in the mirror all day long
c) Have affairs
d) Encourage her children to be the best version of themselves
2. How much quality time do you spend with your children?
a) They seem to avoid you in social situations
b) The dark arts are pretty time-consuming
c) My daughter prefers the nurse
d) My children are my life
3. If your child talks back to you, do you:
a) Complain loudly to anyone who will listen
b) The huntsman is on speed dial
c) She rarely opens her mouth
d) They love you far too much to do that
4. Which of these best describes your parenting technique?
b) Zero tolerance
5. On your child’s first day of school, you feel:
a) Hopeful they might meet a nice rich boy
b) Confident they won’t be coming back
c) Disappointed, for a change
d) So proud of each and every one of your children
6. The parent-teacher meeting has not gone well. Do you:
a) Tell your husband to deal with his daughters
b) Bring out the poisoned apple
c) The meetings were a ruse to meet your lover
d) Home school them instead
7. You’re cooking for the family tonight. What’s for dinner?
a) Soup 50 times better than the one at the Lucas’s
b) Lungs and liver
c) Lobster, fresh fruit, quail, pomegranates, pineapples and truffles
d) You gave it to your less fortunate neighbours
8. Why did you have children anyway?
a) You wanted sons to provide for you
b) Unwanted legacy
c) To give yourself something to do in between affairs
d) Because you were born to do it
9. What would make you a better mother?
b) A better huntsman
c) The right husband
d) Nothing. You are a wise, patient, loving and scarcely credible mother
Mrs Bennet: On some level you must mean well, but you talk so much nonsense that it gets lost in translation. Silly, frivolous and possibly in the early stages of dementia, you are the type of long-suffering mother that everyone knows too well. You are to be commended for your two fine elder daughters, less so for spoiling the youngest and for encouraging her flighty and idiotic notions. We wonder where she gets them from. Relations with your husband are strained, which can’t make looking after all those daughters easy, and you are a dab hand at giving orders in the kitchen. For all your faults, your children seem to love you and don’t resent your harmful meddling in their affairs. If only one of them was a son.
Wicked Queen: Cold, cruel and extremely vain, you are not possessed of natural maternal instincts. In fairness, it’s not as if you pretended otherwise. That pale-skinned creature was already in situ when you arrived at the castle and your plan to ignore her would have worked out fine if she hadn’t grown up beautiful. While you have a tendency to plot murderous schemes, you foster a healthy sense of independence in young adults by urging them out into the world alone. If you let your hair down once in a while, your love of role play and dress-up would be appreciated by children and your skills in the magic arts would no doubt impress at many a party. To fully embrace motherhood, you would have to work on your prejudices towards little people.
Emma Bovary: Fantasists and narcissists often find motherhood disappointing but if you do fall pregnant, you can escape the mundane realities – feedings, changings, displays of affection – by sending your baby to live in the nurse’s house. Prone to bouts of guilt and depression, you make an effort from time to time, particularly when it comes to dressing your child. Showing sporadic interest in her development, before dropping her again when the next man comes along, will lead to future emotional scarring. Highly volatile and no stranger to hysteria, you are not responsible enough to look after children when you’re in distress and have been known to cause physical harm on occasion. You are also not to be trusted with the college fund. And if your daughter ever brought home a boyfriend, the same would apply. Conclusion: Not mother material.
Marmee March: You are the envy and scourge of other mothers, a stay-at-home mum who has an endless well of patience and love when it comes to childrearing. An excellent cook and deft seamstress, you provide such a happy and stabilising force in your children’s lives that they are unaware of how poor they actually are. The fulcrum around which everyone else rotates, you prize virtue over wealth and family above all. Your Puritan background means that you view hard work not as a means to an end but as a route to inner strength and peace. This makes your children love you even more. It makes other mothers want to vomit.