Mothers: The Good, the Bad, and the Truly Terrible

How was yours?

Judy Millar
3 min readMay 1, 2022


A “retro” image of a small boy affixing a red-ribboned, gold medal around the neck of his perfectly coiffed, 1960s-era mother.
Free for commercial use at Pixabay

“World’s Best Mom,” proclaim a good number of the greeting card choices on my local supermarket’s racks these days. With North American Mother’s Day fast approaching, greeting card companies seem to believe there are many qualifiers for the “World’s Best” title.

Some famous, fabulous moms

Scientist Marie Curie would certainly qualify as an extraordinary mother. The first woman to win a Nobel Prize, she also raised two daughters alone after the sudden death of her husband. One of her daughters went on to co-win a Nobel Prize of her own.

Indira Gandhi, India’s first female Prime Minister, promoted education and launched her country’s “green revolution,” all while raising two sons — one of whom became India’s PM after her assassination.

Dame Julie Andrews, known for her film roles as Mary Poppins and Maria Von Trapp (characters who were also surrogate moms of sorts), was a very “hands-on” mom. According to her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton,“even in her busiest days as an actress, [she] would still find time to make us eggs for breakfast.”

Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins. Public Domain. Wiki Commons.

A not-so-good, and a truly terrible, mom

P.L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books on which the movie was based, was not such a great mom according to her sons. She never married, but adopted an Irish boy she named Camillus. At the age of 17, Camillus was enraged to learn he had a brother, a twin named Anthony, whom his mother had failed to adopt, or ever mention.

However, P.L. Travers was a saint compared to a truly terrible mother named Belle Gunness. Belle earned her nickname, Hell’s Belle, by murdering at least 14 people — mainly potential suitors she lured to her Indiana property — but also some of her own children and foster children.



Judy Millar

Canadian humour writer. Comedic storyteller. Overthinker. 😂 Words in Reader’s Digest 🇨🇦, Writer’s Digest, Medium + Twitter: @judymillar