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Instant Mom

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Instant Mom TV Poster Image
Funny family sitcom appeals to older kids and adults.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series makes light of the flawed nature of family life and the struggles of blended families. Nobody's perfect, and mistakes and misbehavior always have consequences, even if they pack less of a punch here than they do in the real world. Through compromise and patience, family can be the greatest source of strength.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Being a full-time mom isn't what Stephanie signed up for, as she often reminds her husband. Adjusting to her new role is stressful, but she quickly makes it her priority and does her best. Her naivete at times allows the kids to manipulate her, which they do for their own gain. When they need guidance, though, they have two caring parents (and, to some degree, a grandparent figure).


A married couple cuddles and kisses in bed, usually with the woman dressed in lingerie. Dialogue suggests that sex will follow, with the partners exchanging come-ons such as, "Do you want to get this?"


"Butt" and "Oh, my God" are as strong as it gets.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink wine at home to relax, especially when they're stressed out over one kid or another. Stephanie's mom often pushes drinking for this purpose as well. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Instant Mom is a mostly family-friendly sitcom that has fun with typical family issues like sibling spats, teen rebellion, and the frustrations of parenting. Kids' and parents' missteps usually have consequences (though they're less serious than they'd be in the real world), and love is always shown to conquer all. Expect some mild foreplay in the parents' bedroom (lingerie, suggestive comments, and some cuddling) and a fair amount of grown-up drinking, especially when the stresses of parenting prove too much for stepmom Stephanie.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 and 11 year old Written byNCmomoftwo September 30, 2013

Good messages overshadowed by drinking/alcohol/sex references

My 10 and 11 year old just watched this and I think it's too old for them. The episode I saw, one of the teenage children snuck out to a party where there... Continue reading
Adult Written byKCMOM0908 October 2, 2013


I work in substance abuse prevention, and what I watched on episode 1 is the reason I have a job. The main character teaches the young children how to play qua... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byslyfox432 September 24, 2013

My Review

I saw the commercial on my T.V., it it seems like it is just like every family comedy, nothing different...
Kid, 11 years old September 1, 2015

More oversensitive parents.

I facepalmed so hard when I saw the parents reviews. What makes ANYONE think drinking is too innapropriate for 9-11 year olds? Overprotective parenting is all t... Continue reading

What's the story?

INSTANT MOM stars Tia Mowry-Hardrict at Stephanie, a longtime-party-girl-turned-full-time-parent when she marries Charlie (Michael Boatman) and becomes stepmom to his three kids: Gabby (Sydney Park), James (Tylen Williams), and Aaron (Damarr Calhoun). The transition isn't an easy one, especially given the kids' knack for always being one step ahead of her in their schemes, but, as time goes on, she proves she's up to the challenge. Also, when things get too hairy for Stephanie, her mom, Maggie (Sheryl Lee Ralph), is all too happy to put in her two cents on raising kids and being a good wife.

Is it any good?

Instant Mom is a funny family sitcom with a little something for everyone. Kids are sure to chuckle over the siblings' antics that may or may not reflect what goes on in their own homes. Be it Gabby's attempts to shed childhood and become a full-fledged teen (much to her father's chagrin) or James' ploys to turn a profit on others' needs, there's never a dull moment in this household. Parents, on the other hand, may take a different view, empathizing with inexperienced Stephanie and her trial by fire of her savvy step-kids.

The show is predictably fluffy and presents a very sanitary view of life. No one's problems are particularly stressful, and every loose end is neatly tied up by the show's culmination, in keeping with the sitcom tradition. Still, there are some feel-good takeaways that reflect the bonds of families of all sizes and shapes, and the characters (both kids and adults alike) do learn something from the chaos they live through. All in all, this is not a bad choice for families looking for a show to enjoy together. Given the frequent allusions to the parents' bedroom play, though, it's best to wait until the little kids are asleep.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this TV family compares to theirs. Do their problems seem realistic? Do they deal with them in relatable ways? How do your relationships with your siblings stack up? Do you ever bicker? Why?

  • This family isn't a traditional one, but they are very close. Is there a one-size-fits-all definition of what a family is? Do all members have to be related? Are there people in your life who aren't relatives but whom you consider to be family?

  • Discuss the family rules that are addressed (and sometimes broken) in each episode and relate them to their own. Why do they exist? Are they respected? What are the consequences when they're disregarded?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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