Please take note that this is my own very biased opinion. Feel free to disagree with me, as this was written to inspire discussion.
Worst: Wanda MacPherson (Baby Blues)
I've felt ambivalent about Wanda from the moment that she said her reason for not using cloth diapers is that she didn't want to get her hands icky. I understand not having the time, I understand not having the resources, I understand not having a washing machine that can handle it. But if you think that "it's just gross" is a valid reason, then I'll have to agree with the environmental nut who was scolding you for polluting the planet.
And after she admitted using disposable diapers just because they were convenient, she looked SMUG about her decision. Nope. Lady, it's that attitude that has the environment in the crapper. Call me a bleeding heart hippie if you want, but you're one of the privileged people who can actually afford to be environmentally conscious and yet you're happy to ignore that most of the time.
Also, she's been feeding her babies CANDY. As in, Zoe was eating caramels before she could walk and talk.
I feel that she has little spine when it comes to her children. Especially when it comes to meals: she would rather make processed macaroni and cheese six times a week than argue with her toddlers.
They are two and four years old, they are completely incapable of preparing a meal for themselves. They will have to eat whatever she cooks despite how much they whine about it. Does she not realize this?
Why does she cater to them and make them sandwiches with the crusts cut off? Why does she use healthy vegetables as punishment? All of this is just setting up terrible eating habits for all her children.
Her good side: after Zoe, she became a big advocate of breastfeeding and wouldn't be told otherwise by anybody. She's also a very dedicated mother who pays lots of attention to her children and tries her best. Though she has moments of frustration, she has never been shown to resent her children. She also gets points for protesting loudly when her daughter Zoe said "men are firemen and women are ballerinas!" though most of the time she seems to advocate binary gender roles (buying pink for Zoe and blue for Hammie while they were babies).
Bad: Elly Patterson (For Better or For Worse)
Oh Elly. I think her main problem is that she perpetually lives in the 70's while her children live in the 90's and her husband lives in the 50's. While I don't find her to be a malicious person, I don't think she ever tries too hard to connect with any of her immediate family. She doesn't look into her children's hobbies beyond driving them to practice and attending their rehearsals. She's always too busy doing nothing to care about the lives of the people around her and somehow she misses her own life too. Elly strikes me as the kind of person who has a really hard time getting emotionally close to someone, and because she's scared of getting hurt, she doesn't try. I think we can blame her parents for not raising her to reality, she seems to think "I have the house, the kids, the employed husband, two cars and the dog. Where's the fulfillment I was promised?" She inspires pity, because nobody wants to turn into a bitter adult like that.
Her good side: Elly gets points for not trying to be a Stepford Wife. Bottling up your feelings of resentment and frustration is never a good idea. She also does show more empathy and understanding for her children than John ever did. When she remembers she actually likes her kids, she's not a bad mom. Her moments of vulnerability and self-doubt (such as when she was wondering if she's a good parent, or if she's too strict) make her character more believable. She also spoils her children much, much less than Wanda.
Mediocre: Connie Duncan (Zits)
I gave Connie a bad grade because of how much she lets Jeremy walk all over her. She buys him expensive electronics, drives his forgotten lunch to high school and still takes a lot of attitude from him. She quit her job as a child psychiatrist to be a full time home maker? Isn't that sort of the opposite of what parents do when they have one child in university and the other one graduating high school within two years?
Like Elly, Connie simultaneously suffers from having too much time on her hands and not enough. I've always felt that it would benefit her and Jeremy if she had a hobby, as Jeremy would become more independent if she wasn't at his beck and call.
Her good side: Connie may complain about having to clean up after Jeremy, but her complaints are often legitimate because a 16-year-old should know better. She misses the connection she had with her kids when they were little, but she realizes she cannot have the same relationship with her almost-a-legal-adult son. It doesn't stop her from trying and it doesn't stop her from asking questions, even when she's afraid of what she might find out (such as her son's sexual interests). While she's generally a pushover, when she says no, she means no and Jeremy knows there's a line that he is not allowed to cross.
Good: Alison Fisher (Fisher)
Alison might be harsh with her husband Tom (and sometimes Tom deserves it), but she has always been sweet and caring to her son Paul. She might have high expectations, but she also knows how to face reality and deal with it. She does her best to motivate Paul to learn and grow without being too strict or too coddling. She's not a perfect character by far, but she's very down to earth. Her sarcastic wit is one of her best features.
Better: Andrea "Andy" Fox (Foxtrot)
Andy is high on this list because she does not take crap from her kids. Peter, Paige and Jason know very well that getting in trouble with Andy means getting in serious trouble and that's a good thing. Children always need clear boundaries, especially when they have crazy siblings like the Fox children. She cooks healthy meals for her family despite their complaints. Also, she is always there when her kids need emotional support or even advice on how to deal with life.
As any good character, she has her flaws. In the first few years of the strip it was clear she favoured Jason over her older children (though this got better over time). She can easily get obsessed with buying cute things (like Bitty Babies or iFruits) or playing the same videogames she banned her son from buying. I find her one of the more reasonable characters in the strip and definitely one of the better comic moms.
Better: Jill Kaplan (Pajama Diaries)
Jill is one of the few comic moms that talks openly about the stress of having a full-time job and raising two children at the same time. I find Jill's honesty really refreshing as she doesn't even try to pretend that she'll be anything like the mothers of generations past. She acknowledges she lives in a modern world and does her best to adapt to it. She juggles working with instilling her daughters with a sense of morality, values and self-respect and teaching them about their Jewish heritage. Her hard work is easy to appreciate.
Better: Madeline Otterloop (Cul de Sac)
I absolutely love Madeline. She's imaginative, caring and witty. She knows how to deal with her eccentric son Petey and her energetic daughter Alice, two kids who couldn't be more opposite from each other. She is strict when necessary, but she always tries to make life a fun game for her kids. Sometimes her sense of humor flies over her kids' heads but not over the reader.
Best: Calvin's mom (Calvin & Hobbes)
What better compliment to give this woman other than putting up with Calvin on a daily basis without going insane? I think Calvin's mom ranked highest because she's the most like a real-life mother: making ugly faces when she's angry, smiling when she is proud and surviving the chaos of childhood. She's the one that feels like a real person the most.
Like I said at the beginning, feel free to disagree and tell me who you think are the best and worst!
ETA: Here are some comic moms that have been suggested, but I'm too familiar with them. If anyone wants to write about them please feel free to do so!
Dennis the menace
Hi and Lois
Retail (Marla recently gave birth to her daughter Fiona)
Adam at Home