Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is one of the biggest hits of the new TV season so far. Although this baffles many critics, millions still love tuning in to TLC on Wednesdays to catch the daily life of young Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson and her unapologetically redneck clan.
Although Honey Boo Boo is the star, her mom, “Mama June” Shannon, is becoming as much of a celebrity as her beauty-queen daughter. Why? Maybe it’s her what-you-see-is-what-you-get nature. She’s 300 pounds. She burps and scratches with abandon. She has four daughters by four different fathers, plus a grandchild. Her favorite “sports” are bingo and extreme couponing.
But there isn’t an ounce of snobbery or pretentiousness about June. She’s the kind of person who’d have you in for a cup of coffee or help collect canned goods for families less fortunate than hers. And she wouldn’t judge you if your barn’s exterior could use a fresh coat of paint, to use a June-ism (though she might warn you that letting your vajiggle-jaggle arm fat show under your tank top isn’t very beautimous).
Most of all, she just happens to be a good mother to Alana , Anna (“Chickadee”), Jessica (“Chubbs”) and Lauryn (“Pumpkin”), which is her top priority. True, she could do better in the nutrition, exercise and etiquette departments, and not everyone agrees that moms should let their children compete in beauty pageants. Yet she has it together in other important areas, such as love, communication and acceptance. And like the rest of us, she’s doing her best to raise her children to be good people – farting, mud bogging and all.
Here are some of the ways in which Mama June is a “honey” of a mom. Think about them when you watch the new episode tonight!
She adores her children 1 of 10Make no mistake: Mama June takes her title seriously. "I am a parent, first and foremost," she said in an interview. "I am my children's best friend. If you sit down and talk to me, you realize we're not crazy."
Here are June's thoughts on parenthood.
She teaches self-acceptance 2 of 10June is an unpretentious mom who likes herself and her redneck lifestyle just fine. Don't like her? That's your problem, not hers. That attitude, in turn, will help Alana and her sisters grow to be self-confident women.
Here's what June has to say about the "haters."
She’s open about her flaws 3 of 10A good mom lets her children know she's not perfect - and changes her ways when necessary. June is open about her regrets, including her "one-time" lapse in judgment in giving Honey Boo Boo a sugar- and caffeine-laden "Go-Go Juice" mixture to keep her peppy at a pageant.
Here's what June has to say about her past.
She teaches her children compassion 4 of 10June may not be rich (though the fee she gets for the show doesn't hurt), but she has a heart for those less fortunate. Last Christmas, she took part in a charity food drive that helped more than 100 families in her rural Georgia town. And when her boyfriend Mike developed an infection in his leg, she brought the whole family to his bedside - complete with pillows to keep them comfy.
More about Mike's injury here.
She doesn’t judge her kids 5 of 10June's oldest daughter, Anna "Chickadee," is a teen mom, having given birth to a baby girl this summer. But rather than lecturing or shunning her child, she supported Chickadee all the way, accompanying her to doctors' appointments and helping raise Kaitlyn while Anna finishes school. (June was a teen mother herself, so she understands the challenges.) And the fact that little Kaitlyn has two thumbs on one hand? "It just makes her more special to us," says the proud grandma.
Here's what June has to say about her new grandchild.
She believes in family togetherness 6 of 10Mama June genuinely enjoys doing things with her daughters, whether it's bringing Honey Boo Boo to her weekly bingo game, going out for a family barbecue dinner or cheering on the girls as they participate in the Summer Redneck Games.
Watch Alana and her mom enjoying one of her "sports."
She doesn’t mind pets 7 of 10Okay, maybe it wasn't the best move to bring a miniature pig into the house. But even though Glitzy isn't a part of the family anymore, June knows that animals can enrich a child's life.
See a tribute to Glitzy.
She encourages her daughter’s dream 8 of 10Alana loves participating in kiddie beauty pageants, and June is happy to help her pursue the dream of an Ultimate Grand Supreme crown. June's thrifty shopping habits - extreme couponing and grocery auctions - help her save enough for such necessities as hairpieces, costumes and coaches.
Here's Alana competing in a pageant.
She doesn’t freak out over dirt 9 of 10Some mothers are so clean-obsessed that they have a conniption if their children even look at a puddle or dust patch. Not Mama June. She's all for having her kids enjoy a little messy fun, whether it's riding a 4-wheeler or belly-flopping in a patch of mud.
Learn more about the Summer Redneck Games.
She won’t let success go to her kids’ heads 10 of 10"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" is a ratings smash. But despite the sudden fame and publicity, June insists they're "just common everyday people," and it's not likely she'll trade her modest Georgia home and ramen-noodle dinners for a splashy Hollywood mansion and four-star restaurants. Sticking to the simple life will help Alana stay humble - although she might still go out in fancy heels every so often.
Read what June and Alana say about fame.
[Photos: courtesy TLC]
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