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Special Issues & Guides » Modern Moms

Top Five Most Underrated Moms

Marie Curie, sure. But what about Tina Turner?

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History is rarely made by well-behaved single moms. Someone really should make a bumper sticker of that. The Source gives five top choices for our favorite, historical single moms:

Sacagawea (1788—1812): While Lewis & Clark & Company complained the whole way westward (Oh, Meriwether, my feet hurt. Oh, William, how much further? Jeez, Meriwether, you couldn't have gone at our last stop?), the Shoshone mother was the true stoic hero of the Corps of Discovery—leading the men and all the while carrying her baby boy on her back. In 2001, she was finally given some due recognition when President Bill Clinton gave her the title of Honorary Sergeant, Regular Army.

Grandma Moses (1860—1961): A mother of 10 (five who died in infancy), Anna Mary Robertson was a farmer in upstate New York even decades after her husband died. Her painting career didn't take off until she was 70, but when it did, her work led to record-breaking attendance at museums across the world. In 1950, the National Press Club cited her as one of the five most newsworthy women, and the National Association of House Dress Manufacturers honored her as their 1951 Woman of the Year. Mademoiselle magazine named Grandma Moses a "Young Woman of the Year" when she was 88. An icon of persistence and passion.

Tina Turner (Born 1939): From Mad Max to "What's Love Got to Do With It," this mom's career (she had two sons prior to her marriage to Ike, one son with Ike and helped raised two other sons from one of Ike's previous relationships) proves what can be attained with independence and a bounce back from high-profile physical abuse: a trifecta—bountiful energy, powerful pipes and a pair of legs that just won't quit.

Elizabeth Warren (born 1949): First female Senator from Massachusetts, Harvard Law professor, consumer protection advocate, mother of two. (Honorable mention, as Warren remarried.)

Erin Brockovich (born 1960): Gained national attention first for the $333 million environmental lawsuit, that she won for a Southern California town. Julia Roberts' depiction of her in the 2000 film followed the single mom's successful crusade against Pacific Gas and Electric.

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