With Disney’s live action remake of Beauty and the Beast just out and in theaters, both my daughter and I are experiencing a revival of our love for Belle, her books, and the Beast. There is so much to cherish about this movie. A bookish intelligent girl who shuns societal expectations to go her own way, sacrificial and patient love, friends who are really more like family. It’s an all-around win.
But my very favorite part of this movie is Mrs. Potts.
No, for real. I love her so much. She is my #goalmom and gentle parenting hero. Let’s break down why this minor Disney character is my leading lady when it comes to parenting.
She’s warm and cheerful despite harrowing circumstances
Given that she’s lost her humanity and is under a spell, doomed to spend forever as a rotund tea kettle until true love breaks the curse, she’s awfully warm and optimistic. She seems able to stay in the moment, be mindful, and see what is right in front of her without getting overwhelmed by “what ifs.”
I could really use a bit of her spark in my own life when it comes to just staying focused on my children in front of me instead of the million things that are stressing me out. This is a skill for which I have no natural aptitude and I have to work at daily.
Mrs. Potts isn’t just Chip’s mama; she’s everyone’s mama. She focuses on the people around her and not their difficult circumstances. What I love is her voice. It’s always warm and bubbly. She seems always ready to find the tenderness in the moment. Her ability to make everyone feel safe, loved, and cared for even amidst stress and struggle is definitely a skill I admire.
She gives her son “Chip” enough rope to explore and play without being permissive.
A quick summation of her actual lines in the movies finds quite a few directives and admonitions towards her son. In fact, she’s very firm with him at times. But when you watch her in the movie with him, you don’t really sense that. She just seems motherly and watchful. I think this is due entirely to the way she speaks to Chip and her gentle tone. She doesn’t try to squash his spirit, allows him to jump and play, take part in adult conversations when appropriate, and have a role in the affairs of the house. She’s also not afraid to redirect him when those things are not appropriate. I hope that I can be an intuitive parent who is able to both direct and give freedom to evolve, as needed.
She enjoys his silliness. She’s a playful parent.
Mrs. Potts laughs. She smiles at her boy and enjoys his little boy antics and silliness. She doesn’t dismiss his need for play, input, or involvement. She appreciates who he is. For me, in the new movie, the most heartwarming scene was at the end on the steps where they were bear hugging and laughing together, and just enjoying that moment. Many experts say that the thing a child needs the most from his parents is for their face to light up when they see him. To be truly enjoyed is a great need of the human heart. I hope my babies know that I take delight in them and enjoy them.
She’s a diffuser, not a react-er.
In times of conflict, Mrs. Potts is always there to offer calm and empathy instead of adding fuel to the fire. She encourages the Beast to remember what Belle is feeling and to be gentle with her. She encourages Belle to try to see past the Beast’s behavior to who he really is inside. She encourages her fellow servants to join her in a quest to help Belle see the good in the Beast. She tries to diffuse situations instead igniting them further. She’s responsive, rather than reactive. This is something I desperately want in my tool bag for “momming.” When things start revving up in my house or we are enduring struggle big and small, I want to be able to stop and try to encourage empathy and peace instead of allowing myself to get caught up in the tantrums and frustrations of every day. Mrs. Potts reminds me that reactivity doesn’t make anything better, but being responsive does.
She hopes against hope, even with evidence to the contrary.
The thing that I love the most about Mrs. Potts is her utter resilience. Even when it looks like all is lost; the petals are dropping and Belle has left the castle, still it is Mrs. Potts who bravely believes that it may still work out. She doesn’t have much evidence to suggest that. In fact it looks like the odds are squarely in favor of the curse. But she just refuses to give up hope because she believes in love. She scans the horizon for that silver lining. Being able to cling to hope, believing that the universe is not all bad, is a great gift we can give our children as we build their worldview. Hope is caught, not taught. As we teach them to believe that the good will come to them, we open and expand their world and their view of other humans.
Mrs. Potts is truly, exactly, the kind of mother I want to be. She’s intuitive, firm but loving, present, hopeful, gentle, and as kind as anyone ever was. Which Disney moms inspire you?
Lauren resides in Oklahoma with her husband and two children. She is a birth worker and an aspiring writer. In her spare time, she loves to work out and spend time perusing old and new bookstores.