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Motherhood lessons you can learn from animated films like 'Turning Red' and 'Wind'

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published May 04, 2023 2:42 pm

There's nothing like the relationship between a mother and her child.

A mommy-daughter bond holds a lot of touching stories that will have you reflecting on the importance of having such a strong and protective woman in your life.

Animated movies have shined a light on what it truly means to be a mother with their heartwarming lessons and messages. Here are some short and feature-length films that could leave a lasting impression on you about this wondrous thing called motherhood.

Your older sister could be the best mother you can have — Lilo & Stitch
Lilo & Stitch (Disney)

When tragedy strikes, older sisters have no choice but to put on their big girl shoes and take care of their younger siblings. Oftentimes, this puts a strain on their well-being, as they are left with the responsibility of guiding, nurturing, and protecting their younger siblings who still have much to learn about the world—despite needing a guiding figure of their own.

Nani Pelakai of the 2002 animated science-fiction film Lilo and Stitch is a perfect example of this. The story has her stepping up as the legal guardian of her spirited and eccentric sister Lilo after their parents passed away in a tragic car accident. Nani takes on the role of being the breadwinner for the two of them to stay together, resulting in her often getting stressed and busy. 

It doesn't help that Lilo had adopted Stitch, an alien who had crash-landed on Earth and who has further worsened things for Nani because of his destructive behavior. Despite the sisters' rocky relationship, it can't be denied that the love between them is unbreakable, which goes to show how older sisters can sometimes be the best mother you could ever hope for.

Mothers have to let their kids grow on their own — Turning Red
Turning Red (Pixar)

"Mothers know best," they say. But sometimes, it could be different, especially if mothers are making decisions that are already invading their children's spaces. That is the predicament of Mei Lee, a 13-year-old girl who lives with her parents in a temple dedicated to their ancestors.

As she enters her adolescent years, Mei starts to want to explore her surroundings more. This, however, is hindered by her strict and extremely overprotective mother Ming—"extremely" being an understatement as Ming tends to be overbearing to the point that Mei is pressured to become a perfect, dutiful daughter to her. 

Their relationship gets tested when Mei awakens her so-called "red panda spirit" in which she transforms into a giant red panda whenever she is in a state of high emotion. Mei's desire to be her true self ultimately clashes with her mother's expectations of her, and the film uses this conflict to show that mothers must need to let their kids grow on their own, too.

Mothers need to let their children be children — The Little Prince
The Little Prince (Paramount Pictures)

Given how harsh life is as an adult, some parents choose to prepare their children for the "real world" at an early age, putting much pressure on their shoulders to think about their future when they should still be enjoying their youth.

The Little Prince, a 2015 fantasy drama film based on the classic novel of the same name, tries to imbue the lesson of letting children be children with its story of an unnamed little girl who had been imposed with a coaching life plan by her mother. While it was for her own good—particularly to get her accepted at a prestigious academy—this leaves her no time to play or make friends.

The girl then meets an eccentric and retired aviator who met the titular Little Prince in the past, and proceeds to help her realize the importance of her childhood and the things that really matter through the story of the young prince.

Motherhood means letting your children go one day — Bao
Bao (Pixar)

Becoming a mother is both a wondrous and melancholic journey. It's a joyful feeling to care for your little ray of sunshine as you cradle them in your arms. You would then watch them get more and more independent over the years until the day finally comes when they're ready to spread their wings and fly on their own.

Mothers can't help but feel a pang of loneliness watching their children move out of the family home. This is perfectly portrayed in Bao, a 2018 animated short film that tells the story of a Chinese-Canadian mother who gets the shock of her life when one of the baozi she cooked comes to life.

As she raises it like a real child, conflict soon arises when the steamed bun starts to manifest independence from her, and her efforts to make him stay with her only result in increased tensions. 

The undying love and adoration of grandmothers are unlike anything else — Wind
Wind (Pixar)

Grandmothers not only possess a wealth of wisdom brought about by their age, but they also carry an undying love for their grandchildren. Even if they become weak as they get older and older, the love coming from these warmhearted women only continues to grow stronger, deeper, and more impossible to break.

This is exemplified by the 2019 animated short film Wind. It boasts a rather unusual plot as it tells the story of a grandmother and her grandchild named Ellis who reside in a mysterious sinkhole permeated by floating rocks and debris of obsolete items and machines. They manage to survive by using these items to build a small home for themselves and grow potatoes for survival.

The two eventually find an abandoned place that they can use to escape from the place they're in and into the bright light at the top. While the feat proves immensely difficult, Ellis' grandmother is there to support him all the way, showing just how much unconditional love she has for him.