Was I the only sucker who watched "America's Favorite Mom" Sunday night? As I witnessed hosts Donnie and Marie Osmond treat a succession of misty American moms to gifts of heart pendants, corny medleys and pink Teleflora bouquets, I had the sneaking suspicion that I was the one person in the entire country who just couldn't be bothered to turn the channel before "The Office" finale. Anyway, America's favorite mom turns out to be (spoiler alert!) Patty something-or-other, whose son is stationed in Iraq. I had $50 riding on a perky, blue-pantsuited widow from Iowa. Goddamn you, Patty!
The idea of ranking mothers in the first place is, of course, patently absurd. It's like ranking kitty cats. (Also absurd, because as everyone knows, mine is the best.) But since this is competitive America, we can turn even something as sacred as motherhood into a cutthroat contest for the most text messages. Too bad for the rest of you mothers. Please go home and suck an egg.
Meanwhile, Time magazine offered a different kind of ranking -- a Top 10 list of the best and worst moms ever, mostly drawn from pop culture. The list of good mothers includes old-time favorites such as Mother Earth, Florida Evans from "Good Times" and the woman who would get my vote for America's favorite mom -- Marge Simpson. The more exciting list, of course, is the Top 10 worst moms. Winners include (naturally!) Joan Crawford, aka "Mommie Dearest," Mrs. Robinson, Livia from "The Sopranos," Gertrude from "Hamlet" and Medea.
If that list seems a little thin to you, here's one that's more substantive, as recently reported on NPR: Save the Children released its annual list of best and worst places to be a mother. Once again coming out on top? Sweden, where new moms get one year (!) of paid leave and domestic help is tax-deductible. America? Well, we ranked No. 27. Sorry, Patty something-or-other. You may be America's favorite mom, but someone in Stockholm totally trumped you.