Whether Vulcan, Klingon, human or another species, the majority of mothers we meet in Star Trek are all fascinating characters who care about their children. That’s not to say they all have easy relationships with their kids, but it’s the fact that the moms on Star Trek have different personalities, motivations and goals that make so many of them unforgettable.
The mothers we meet in the series are intelligent women who leave an impact on the characters around them and in the wider Trek universe. This happens on multiple levels from changing whole societies to keeping the peace among relatives. There’s a lot to love about these moms, and that’s why for Mother's Day I decided to look back at a few of the most memorable moms in the franchise. Here’s my list of Star Trek’s top moms and what makes them stand out!
Amanda Grayson married the Vulcan ambassador Sarek and raised her half-human, half-Vulcan son in the Vulcan way, but she never gave up her own emotions and made sure Spock never really forgot his human side either. In The Voyage Home, when Spock returned from death, we see her take the time to explain to her son why the computer asked how he felt. She talks to him about his human half, friendship, and what his friends did for him. Through her appearances in the films and The Original Series, we see Amanda was warm, supportive, and loving to her family as well as kind to those around her. Things weren’t easy between her husband and son, but she tried to help them get along and help each understand where the other might be coming. Considering she had a unique understanding of both Vulcan and human culture, she was able to navigate such situations well. The two may not have always been able to show appreciation for her efforts, but there was never any doubt that they loved and treasured her in return as illogical as her emotions may have seemed!
Dr. Carol Marcus is a scientist we meet in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. A smart woman who was dedicated to her work, she led a team on the impressive Project Genesis. With her on the project was her son David, a fellow scientist who looked up to his mother even if he thought she should be more suspicious of Starfleet’s intentions. Still, even if Carol was not quite as suspicious as her son, she never let anyone push her around. When Chekov calls from the Reliant to say they’re on the way and will be taking all their research, equipment, and materials on board, Carol doesn’t give in. When she can’t reach Kirk to confirm, she takes the device underground and that’s where Kirk finds her and David when he arrives. We learn that Kirk is David’s father and the two agreed Kirk would stay away when Carol asked him to. Since they were both from separate worlds and wouldn’t be together, this seemed to be the best arrangement especially since Carol was sure she wanted her son in her life and not off chasing Kirk. Carol took on single motherhood while remaining dedicated to her job and shared her love of science with her son. From what we see of David, it’s clear she did a good job raising her son while also maintaining groundbreaking work in her field.
In The Next Generation TV show and films, Dr. Beverly Crusher shows she’s an amazing doctor time and time again as the chief medical officer of the Enterprise. She’s an intelligent woman who comes up with solutions to numerous medical challenges the ship faces in its travels. Crusher always seems up for a challenge and her skills allow her to find solutions where others might see none. If there’s anything she can do to save a life or help people, she’ll try her best to do it. That compassion is something she passed on to her son Wesley. Crusher balanced her duties with raising a son as a single parent ever since the death her husband Jack. Wesley joined her on the Enterprise which led to all new challenges as she had to look out for her son as well during all the adventures and dangers the crew faced. The two seemed to maintain a close relationship through everything that happened though. Crusher was an interesting character that unfortunately the show didn't do more with while on the air.
Lwaxana Troi is one of the most unforgettable characters overall in Star Trek. The Betazoid ambassador has a loud, confident, and vibrant presence wherever she goes when we see her in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Lwaxana had no problem being forward with people or flirting with anyone she was interested in. This behavior led to some embarrassment for her daughter Deanna, one of her three children. Motherhood resulted in both joy and hardship for Lwaxana. Kestra, her first daughter with human Starfleet officer Ian Troi, drowned and later while pregnant with her son, she had to figure out a way to get out of her marriage to Jeyal or she wouldn’t be able to see her child for years. Her relationship with Deanna was rocky as her behavior often mortified her daughter and she could be protective of Deanna in a way that made her daughter seem to want to get away more than getting closer to her mother. Through it all though, it’s obvious Lwaxana loves Deanna and even with their difficulties, the two cared about each other and would always be there if the other needed anything.
We’re first introduced to Worf’s mother in The Next Generation episode “Family.” As Helena talks to her son and tells other crew members about his childhood, it becomes clear how much she loves him and the challenges she faced and continues to face as the human mom of a Klingon. She admits to Worf that she knows she and his father go too far sometimes when he says he wishes they would be more reserved, but it’s all done out of love for their son. Her caring comes through in how she talks about Worf, asks him questions, tells him they are with him no matter what, how proud they are of him, and how she reminds her husband they’re there to see Worf and not the ship. While she might not have a complete grasp on Klingon traditions and culture, she allowed him to explore his heritage as a child and learned to make him Klingon food like Rokeg blood pie! It’s great to see how Helena also feels like she can be honest with her son. While it’s evident that she loved taking care of her grandson Alexander while he was little, when things get difficult she tells Worf all about it in the episode “New Ground” and how she believes Alexander needs his father and for them to just be grandparents.
K'Ehleyr is a half-human, half-Klingon Federation special emissary who has a rocky past with Worf when we meet her in The Next Generation episode “The Emissary.” She has a bad temper, can be a bit stubborn, and has a great sense of humor. K'Ehleyr is also good at her job. That all continues when she returns to the show in “Reunion” and reveals that she’s actually had a son, Alexander, who she’s devoted to as much as her work. K'Ehleyr never liked the Klingon ways and their extreme dedication to honor, and by extension, she hasn’t forced Alexander into those ways either. This upsets Worf, but she insists Alexander is her son, she’s half-human, and so she’s going to let Alexander find his own way. While it looks like the three might be able to be a family, in the end, K'Ehleyr is tragically killed in the line of duty. It would have been nice to see more of her character instead of losing her here. K'Ehleyr was a dynamic, funny, and strong character who loved her son and it was great to see her defending her son’s right to find himself to Worf.
Keiko was a talented botanist who eventually married Miles O’Brien on The Next Generation. She continued her important work abroad the Enterprise as the two also decided to start a family, navigating the challenges that entails on a starship such as giving birth to Molly while the ship’s systems had failed! The challenges continued when she went with Miles to Deep Space 9 and discovered her botany skills weren’t in high demand. She managed to be flexible though and create a job that could be useful and also help her daughter. She started a school and became a teacher for a time, making a difference in the lives of all the kids on the station not just her own. She was ultimately able to use her botany background again on Bajor before being thrown into a new challenge when becoming injured while pregnant resulted in her baby being transferred to Major Kira, who gave birth to Yoshi. Keiko not only had to deal with balancing her work and family during all this but then war with the Dominion was added to the mix and their safety became another concern. It was a lot for her to deal with yet she handled it all quite well as she cared for her family and continued to pursue meaningful work.
The mother of Quark and Rom, referred to often by her sons as Moogie, was a really fun character on Deep Space Nine. Despite living in a society that required females to not wear clothes, not earn a profit, and not speak to strangers among following other oppressive rules, Ishka knew she had the lobes for business and pursued it. Her earning profit caused problems for her sons, but it becomes clear in multiple episodes that she’s an intelligent, quick-thinking woman who shouldn’t be held back by Ferengi society even if it makes things a bit more difficult. She has very different relationships with her two sons. Rom supports her and the two are very affectionate towards one another with Ishka believing there’s more to Rom than what many see, while Quark usually argues with her and the two don’t seem to agree on anything which may be due to how similar the mother and son actually are! Things only get more complicated when she starts a relationship with the Grand Nagus and the two begin to change the way Ferengi society treats women. Ishka loves both of her children though and is willing to do whatever she can for them. It's something the two sons reciprocate, even if it takes Quark awhile to get there!
Ensign Samantha Wildman informs Captain Janeway in the first Voyager episode we meet her in, “Elogium,” that her Ktarian husband is back on Deep Space 9 and she recently discovered she’s pregnant. From there, we see Wildman and the crew try and figure out how to have a child aboard the starship when they’re so far from home. Wildman though faces the prospect of being the first to give birth and raise a kid on Voyager bravely. It had to be quite stressful facing that future given all the dangers in the Delta Quadrant, but luckily Wildman had help as the crew considered her family and by extension her daughter Naomi as well. As the show progresses, Wildman is determined to do whatever it takes to be there for her daughter while also fulfilling her duties on Voyager. We see that Wildman is very knowledgeable in her field and a hard worker. Even when very pregnant she’s more than willing to help Neelix with the technology troubles he’s having until she starts to go into labor! She successfully balances work and raising Naomi, clearly proud of her daughter and who she is growing up to be on the ship.
T’Pol takes Trip with her to Vulcan where they stay with her mother T’Les in the Enterprise episode “Home.” From the conversations between mother and daughter, the two seem to have a rather bumpy relationship mostly due to T’Pol’s continuing work with Enterprise. T’Les knows that T’Pol has struggled with her emotions and is concerned about her daughter potentially continuing a career with Starfleet instead of returning to Vulcan. To her, T’Pol has changed too much and forgotten what was expected of her. She also sees how T’Pol and Trip feel about each other and doesn’t shy away from saying it would be shameful if they were together. Even with believing this though, it becomes clear T’Les truly loves T’Pol. She didn’t tell her daughter she retired from her position at the Vulcan science academy because they were going to investigate her due to false accusations made to hurt T’Pol. T’Les also tells Trip he should admit his love for her daughter despite her disapproval so that her daughter can have all the facts. T’Les is also revealed to be more open and not as rigidly accepting of Vulcan ways in future episodes where she’s joined the Syrrannites. As she’s dying from an attack on the group, she tells T’Pol she joined to help her and that she was always proud of her. In the end, T’Les tried to do what she could to help her daughter and obviously cared about her a great deal even if she didn’t tell T’Pol all the time.
What do you admire about these Star Trek moms? Let us know in the comments!