Motherhood hasn’t always been portrayed as a glamorous life choice in the media. Maybe that’s because it’s not. Still, that doesn’t mean that moms can’t be multi-dimensional people with interesting stories all on their own (cause seriously, we are!) Especially in recent years, we’ve seen an uptick in well-written mom characters, including many Latina moms on television. It’s certainly refreshing and a long way from Leave It To Beaver or even Growing Pains. For those of you currently changing diapers, struggling with nap times, or dealing with the rest of motherhood, look to these amazing Latina TV moms for inspiration and solidarity.
Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez on Jane the Virgin)
Any Latina mom raising a young child right now can certainly relate to this Jane the Virgin star. She’s quirky, a little old school (how many 20-something-year-old virgins do you know?), big on romance, and more importantly, extremely driven—especially once her son is born. Jane’s focus as a mom is always doing what’s best for her son (even when that means temporarily cutting ties with the love of her life).
Dr. Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez on Grey’s Anatomy)
I’ll admit, I wasn’t a Callie fan in the early seasons of Grey’s Anatomy (especially while she was married to George). But this queer Latina quickly became a fave and proved to also be a strong AF badass mama. She somehow managed to get her life in order for her child despite her best friend slash baby daddy dying AND having to amputate her wife’s leg to save her life (and then dealing with all the baggage that came with). And while she left the show, she’s still among my favorite cast members ever.
Juana Pena (Que Pasa USA – Ana Margarita Martinez-Casado)
For those who grew up watching (reruns of) Que Pasa USA?, you may recall the level-headed but still open-minded Juana Pena. One of the original Latina matriarchs of television, Juana was the sort who would make her partner dinner but would still call him out on his nonsense. She was the mom who was willing to try yoga with her teenage offspring and who listened to her daughter who told her an education was more important than marriage. As an immigrant mom caught in between the old and new cultures, Juana is still a fave.
Gloria Mendoza (Selenis Leyva on Orange Is The New Black)
Sure, Orange Is The New Black’s Gloria Mendoza made a few bad choices that landed her behind bars, but she’s also among the best mothers on the show. Unlike Aleida (who tends to give her daughter all kinds of terrible advice), Gloria has a solid head on her shoulders and is always looking out for her people at Litchfield. She worries about her kids (as any good mother would), and literally does all she can to get in touch when she finds out her kid needs surgery in the last season (including nearly sell out the other inmates—but hey, what mom wouldn’t?)
Penelope Alvarez (Justina Machado on One Day At A Time)
One Day At A Time’s Penelope isn’t just a mom, she’s a single mom. And she isn’t just a single mom, she’s also a war veteran dealing with PTSD. Plus she lives with her own mother (we all know how complicated that is once you’re a mother yourself, even if your mom is played by Rita Moreno) and takes care of everyone in her family (even, occasionally, her quirky neighbor). She’s incredibly resilient, not afraid to speak her mind, an extremely hard worker, and wholly accepting of her two children (including when her daughter comes out as a lesbian). Seriously, if this character isn’t mom-goals, I don’t know who is.