Like you, I have been bombarded with images of wholesome mothers for at least the last month: wholesome mothers opening jewelry boxes, wholesome mothers smiling at cars with big red bows, wholesome mothers in wholesome blouses opening wholesome cards.
I’ve been so bored of Mother’s Day advertisements filled with clones of the same fake mom, that it has me thinking about the most unforgettable, unwholesome mom in the history of fake moms: June George, Regina George’s mother.
When Mean Girls came out in 2004, Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) and Regina George (Rachel McAdams) were meant to be the film’s stars, but Regina’s mother (Amy Poehler)—flaunting hard nipples as an accessory underneath her baby pink velour Juicy tracksuit—stole the show.
“I’m not like a regular mom, I’m a cool mom,” she tells Cady and The Plastics to Regina’s embarrassment. Throughout the film we watch as Mrs. George tries extremely hard to be exactly that. She tells the girls she’ll provide them with alcohol so long as they drink it in the house, offers Regina a condom while she’s literally in the middle of hooking up with a guy, and giddily takes photos of Regina’s sexy Playboy Bunny Halloween costume, nudging her uncomfortable husband, “Doesn’t she look great, honey?!”
It feels like we’re supposed to get the idea that while Mrs. George might be a cool mom, she’s too superficial, too lax to be a good mom. But that was 2004.
What might have been interpreted then as Mrs. George condoning or encouraging her daughter’s promiscuity is now more clearly Mrs. George establishing an environment where her daughter feels encouraged to discuss sex with her mom. Where a “good mom” might have at least asked Regina to change her Halloween outfit (if not slut-shamed her), Mrs. George takes doting photos of her daughter. And while some moms may have freaked out at their daughter after finding her pinned down under a high school boy—likely only encouraging them to hook-up elsewhere—Mrs. George ensures that if her daughter does have sex, it is with a condom.
If Mrs. George existed outside of Mean Girls, she’d be both the envy and pity of Wholesome Moms. She’d invite them in for martinis at 2 pm in hopes they’d divulge gossip-worthy information that might win her brownie points with Regina; she’d flirt with teachers at school events for which she’d never dress appropriately; and she’d be the subject of disapproving suburban mom gossip—even though they’d all be secretly jealous of her honest relationship with Regina.
But Mrs. George does exist outside of Mean Girls. We’ve all come across a middle-aged mom who’s a little more interested in being her kids’ friend than their parent. And if we had a Mrs. George as our own mom or as a friend’s mom, we know that having the “cool” mom isn’t actually always the coolest.
Mrs. George is, after all, mother to the notoriously cruel Regina George—and it’s probably not a total coincidence that her daughter’s an entitled brat. “There are no rules in this house,” Mrs. George tells Cady when she first meets her. And despite her mother’s efforts to win her approval, Regina makes no effort to hide the fact that she finds her mom embarrassing.
“Cool” moms get a bad rap for trying too hard, but they don’t deserve to be treated poorly by the very kids that they’re putting every ounce of their effort into. Mrs. George may not have been perfect, but she deserved more from Regina. If you have an over-the-top June George type of mom, try laughing at her unconventional tactics instead of feeling embarrassed. Whatever you do, don’t treat her like Regina treated Mrs. George—not everyone is lucky enough to have a “cool” mom.