16 Of The Worst TV Moms Of All-Time

We’ve all felt like a shitty mom at least once or twice, right? Some days I feel like the worst mom in the world, tbh. It’s a lot to handle! But if you ever want to feel validated in your success as a mom, just turn on your TV. Not just for entertainment, but to know that no matter how bad you miffed the day, at least you weren’t as bad as the moms on our list of the 16 worst TV moms of all-time. Sure, you might have made your kid cry today. But did you kill his wife? No? Then you’re good!

The worst TV moms of all time have quite a bit in common: they will throw anyone under the bus who dares stand in their way, they aren’t above breaking the law a little (or a lot) to get what they want, and they make all of our bad days look a little less … bad. There are plenty of ways we can mess up when it comes to being a mom. But really, forgetting your kid’s lunch or school assembly is a far cry from actually trying to murder them. We’re good, you guys.

1st on the list of worst TV moms: Julie Cooper from The O.C.

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Julie Cooper took gold-digging to new heights on The O.C. Julie came from the “wrong side of the tracks”, and cemented her spot in the upper echelons of Orange County when she married financial planner Jimmy Cooper. But don’t think Julie was in it for love – Jimmy had a lot of zeroes in his bank balance, and Julie nabbed him with a pregnancy at pregnancy when she was just 18. Becoming a mother didn’t exactly change her, though. At various points during the show, she slept with her daughter’s ex-boyfriend, married her friend’s dad, and keeps clawing her way back to the top, where she thinks she belongs.

Betty Draper on Mad Men

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When your kid needs a psychiatrist, and you see the SAME psychiatrist, maybe shit is not right. Betty wasn’t meant to be a mother, that’s for damn sure. But we feel for Betty. She was stuck between wanting to fulfill her role as beautiful, devoted wife and mother, and get out of dodge and away from her crappy marriage. She seems to try desperately to understand (and be understood) by her kids, but it’s hard to be a mom when you’re not even sure who you are as a person, you know? Betty oozed glamour and sophistication, but is a classic example of living a facade. 

Gemma Teller Morrow on Sons of Anarchy

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Devotion to your kids is one thing. Murdering your son’s wife to protect him is…quite another. Gemma lead the Sons of Anarchy Motorcyle Club with an iron fist, and sometimes that fist got her in trouble. Like, a lot of trouble. She has quite a few bodies to her name, and has no qualms about doing everything she can to protect her family (both real and gang). But Gemma gets in over her head, and ends on murdering Tara to protect her secret, which leads to HER OWN SON killing her in the final season. When you’re murdered by your son in retaliation for murdering his wife, you have probably gone astray as a mom somewhere along the line. 

Constance Langdon on American Horror Story

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Image: Instagram / @ahsfx

Where to start? Constance is your typical faded Southern Belle, but with a bit of a … dark side. Saving your daughter from being raped by your husband? Great work. Killing them both and then feeding your husband’s body to the dogs? Maybe not the way to go. Constance had four children, and all of them died under tragic circumstances. But it’s OK! Because she collects their souls to live with her forever in the Murder House. She even goes so far as to drag her daughter’s mangled corpse to the house after she was hit by a car, in an attempt to trap her ghost there. Moms, am I right? 

5. Livia Soprano on The Sopranos

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Image: HBO

Nothing shows the love a mother has for her son like trying to have him whacked. More than once. But Livia’s disdain for Tony and his siblings was evident long before she attempted to have one of her children killed. She was abusive to all of her kids, but for some reason, Tony really pissed her off. It certainly didn’t help that he had put her in a nursing home (in his defense, it was a pretty nice home!). Livia enlisted the help of Tony’s own uncle to off him, and continuously made an issue of Tony seeing a psychiatrist. When Junior didn’t take the bait, she told Artie that Tony burned his restaurant down, probably hoping that he would do what Junior couldn’t. Livia died alone, which is probably how she wanted it anyway.

Gillian Darmody on Boardwalk Empire

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Image: HBO

There’s inappropriate, and then there’s seducing your son into a sexual relationship. Guess where Gillian fell on that scale? Gillian had a horrific childhood and adolescence, and became pregnant with son Jimmy when she was just shy of 13 years old. But her often questionable (and sometimes downright disturbing) behavior continued throughout his childhood. It doesn’t get much better. Gillian has an incestuous encounter with her own son, pits him against rival gangsters, has a hand in the murder of Jimmy’s wife, and eventually gets her own son killed by the man who raised him. All the while, she maintains a calm and collected demeanor. 

Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones

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Image: HBO

You’d be hard-pressed to find a worst TV mom, tbh. Look no further than Joffrey to understand the kind of mother Cersei is. I mean, when she’s not boinking her brother, anyway. Cersei’s relationship with Jaime is certainly one of the most titillating parts of the show, but it’s her role as a mother that leaves us scratching our heads. She doesn’t seem to genuinely love her children, which could have something to do with the fact that their dad is their uncle. There are many, many ways in which Cersei completely fails as a parent, but having rough sex with her brother while her son’s dead body lies feet away might top the list. 

Nancy Botwin on Weeds

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Image: Showtime

We get it, being a single mom is hard. Selling drugs, holding your kids back in life, and then having one arrested for working for a rival probably isn’t the best way to get ahead. The loss of her husband forced Nancy to think outside of the box, although becoming a drug dealer is probably a little farther outside of the box than most of us are willing to go. You want to like Nancy, but she makes it so goddamn hard! She’s selfish and reckless in her pursuit of success, and in the end, she winds up alone, her family having chosen their own paths that led far away from her. She may have started out doing what she needed to do, but she got too caught up and lost it all. 

Norma Bates on Bates Motel

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Image: A&E

Sometimes kids just turn out bad. And sometimes, kids turn into psycho killers because of how you raised them. Happens to the best of us! Looking back, it’s clear that Norman needed help from a very early age. But Norma never stuck to her guns, and how did she end up? Dead from carbon monoxide poisoning, her corpse stolen from the cemetery, and kept in the hotel while her son pretended she was still alive. Listen, if you don’t want your kid to ever have to superglue your eyes open in order to make you look alive, maybe don’t follow the same path dear Norma took as a mother. 

Estelle Costanza on Seinfeld

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Estelle took overbearing to new heights as the matriarch of the Costanza family. Her hospitalization after walking in on George masturbating was prime Drama Mama shit. It’s not that Estelle was a bad person. She was just … A LOT. Her constant screeching, complaining, and insulting everything her husband and son do made her almost unbearable. She obviously loved George, but sometimes people show their love in very strange and suffocating ways. It’s no wonder George was an neurotic and messed up as he was – can you imagine having a mom who couldn’t pass up an opportunity to complete humiliate you? 

Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development

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OK, yes. Lucille Bluth is a terrible mother. But she’s also my favorite character ever. Whether she’s guilt-tripping her kids into loving her or losing her adopted Korean son in the walls, Lucille does it all with style and wit. Lucille is very much an alcoholic, and as a mom, she’s had some pretty big misses. She hates G.O.B. (justified), tolerates Michael, and while she clearly loves Lindsay, she’s extremely critical of her and everything she does. But its her relationship with Buster that really takes the cake. He’s basically a pet or companion to her. Then, she adopts a Korean child, but gets tired of him very quickly, and ships him off to boarding school.

Evelyn Harper on Two and a Half Men

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Image: CBS

The best evidence of Evelyn being a pretty terrible mother (and person): when Charlie died, she talked about selling his house. AT HIS FUNERAL. With moms like these, right? Evelyn seems to genuinely despise her sons, and the feeling is very mutual. Everyone goes out of their way to avoid her. And for good reason! There was the time she started a relationship with son Charlie’s ex-girlfriend who was now a man. Or what about the time Charlie sets Evelyn up on a date, but her date brings a date, so Evelyn then had sex with her date’ date? And then there was the time Alan was in the hospital after Charlie died, and Evelyn told him she didn’t want to lose him because she’d already lost her good son. Gee, thanks, mom!

Liane Cartman and Sheila Broflovski on South Park

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Image: Comedy Central

So you probably have to look pretty deep to find any parental role models on South Park (seriously, do Kenny’s parents EVER mourn his deaths?!), but Liane and Sheila are a pair to be reckoned with. Liane’s, uh, extracurricular activities are a big part of why Cartman is such an insufferable little shit. Well, that and the fact that Cartman learns his racist, antisemitic, and generally pretty offensive beliefs. Sheila is the town morality police, and tries to shut down anything and everything she finds offensive (leading Cartman to come up with an actual song called “Kyle’s Mom’s a Bitch”). Opposite ends of the worst TV moms spectrum, these two.

Mags Bennett on Justified

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Image: YouTube

Mags forced her sons into the drug trade, and then pulverized one of their hands with a hammer when he didn’t fall in line. Mother’s Day was probably really awkward that year. But she also killed a man who alerted the authorities that one of her employee’s assaulted his daughter. She then takes in the dead guy’s daughter, Loretta, tell her that her dad went to Texas to find work. Loretta eventually finds out the truth, and ends up shooting Mags in a fit of rage. Mags takes her own life, by drinking some of her special poison apple pie moonshine. Not exactly Mother of the Year material.

Lois Griffin on Family Guy

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Image: FOX

We don’t blame Lois for her short fuse and general disdain for her family; she’s married to an oaf and her baby is the Antichrist. But we also know she would sell Meg to gypsies in a heartbeat if given the chance. She tries really hard to be supportive of Peter and proud of her kids. But most of the time, Chris ends up a failure, Stewie causes more problems than she can handle, and Meg is, well, Meg. It’s got to be hard to look back at her gilded childhood and then look at where she ended up. She rarely misses a chance to tell her kids that she never wanted to be a mom, which is a really shitty thing FOR A MOM TO TELL HER KIDS.

Peg Bundy from Married with Children

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Image: FOX

Peg doesn’t murder anyone or force her kids to commit crimes on her behalf. But she’s quite possibly the laziest TV mom of all time. Does it make her one of the worst TV moms? We’re going with yes. At least some of the other moms showed some interest in their kids (albeit criminal and/or psychopathic). Peg, on the other hand, probably wouldn’t even notice if her kids were gone for days at a time! Unless of course she needed something from the kitchen and Al was at work.

The worst TV moms are here to make us feel better about ourselves. They also scare us, infuriate us, and yes, make us laugh out loud. Bad moms aren’t nearly as funny in real life, we know. But we all need to escape reality once in a while, and these ladies make it happen. Did we include your favorite worst mom? Tell us in the comments!

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