Florence Henderson was America’s beloved television mom viewers couldn’t get enough of. Fans looked forward to seeing her play Carol Brady as the cherished matriarch of the Brady clan. Off the set, Henderson had quite a full house with four of her own children: Barbara, Elizabeth, Robert, and Joseph.
In her conversations with the Television Academy Foundation, Henderson discussed what it was like juggling her role of Carol Brady while being a mom off the set. During her tenure of “The Brady Bunch,” Henderson’s children often found themselves jealous of her on-screen children.
“When they were smaller, they’d go, ‘how come you don’t scream at those kids on television?’ I go ‘because they won’t let me otherwise I would,'” Hendeson said. “We had certain codes on television. You couldn’t raise your voice above a certain level. You couldn’t whack a kid across the behind, it wasn’t allowed on television.”
At 40, Florence Henderson began her “Brady Bunch” journey with the support of her husband, Ira Bernstein, and their children. As young children, Henderson says it was confusing for them to see their mom portray her character as a mother.
Florence Henderson On Her Role As America’s TV Mom: ‘I Tried Not To Bring That Home’
In addition, the late actress also added that her children and their peers had a tough time understanding Henderson’s role. “I think sometimes it was hard for them at school because their classmates wanted very much to know me, Henderson said. “Their peers had confused ideas of who I was or what I was.”
As her children became more accustomed to having a “TV mom,” Henderson said they learned that it was merely just a role she was playing. “I think my kids pretty much knew that I was acting and that it was a role I was playing. I tried not to bring that home or be anything other than what I was at home, which was their mother.”
For five years, fans at home would fall in love with Florence Henderson’s iconic motherly smile and soft-spoken mannerisms. The life lessons she gave her on-screen children stayed with viewers long after the show went off the air. As a mother herself, it also makes sense as to why she’s known as one of the best television mothers in history.