By Peter Castro
Updated May 13, 1991 12:00 PM


Here’s a story about Florence Henderson, who reigned as prime time’s quintessential mom on The Brady Hunch from 1969 to 1974. She remembers that during that period one of her television sons, Barry Williams (who played Greg Brady), briefly had an Oedipus complex. “He had a crush on me, and he asked me out for a date, which I II never forget, says Henderson, 57, whose real family includes four grown children. “He was too young to drive, so his older brother brought him to my hotel, and then I drove us to the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where we saw a singer. It was so sweet because Barry made sure we had a good table. After the show, his brother picked him up and took him home. The crush was a very serious thing for him, so I was never condescending. I certainly liked him too, but I wasn’t exactly the Cher of the TV mom set.”


Her kids’ sleeping habits gave early rise to problems in Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder’s household. “I always had wonderful children who never needed sleep and who had a habit of getting up at dawn. like chirping birds. I even tried painting their windows black once,” says Schroeder, 50, a longtime legislative activist on family issues and the mother of daughter Jamie, 20. and son Scott, 24. “I’d complain to the pediatrician, and he’d say things like, ‘Einstein only needed four hours of sleep.’ And I’d say, ‘Yeah, but what happened to his mother?’ ”


“The toughest part of motherhood is the inner worrying and not showing it,” says Audrey Hepburn, 62, who has one son from each of her two marriages: Sean Ferrer, 30 (his father is actor Mel Ferrer), and Luca Dotti, 21 (Dad is Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti). “There’s nothing worse than a worrying, fussing mother. To see your young son go off on a motor scooter, with you pretending it’s a breeze and hoping he comes home in one piece, well, the thing is not to burden your children with your own sense of responsibility and concern, because that drives them up the wall. But my boys understand my concern, and they never let me be without a phone number for them. I won’t bother them, but I want to know where they are at all times.”


Songs about how Mama tried are always in favor with country music writers. “That’s because country, I believe, is predominantly, maybe 75 percent, male,” says singer Garth Brooks, 29, who was named Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music last month. “And you know boys don’t grow up, they just get bigger. So your mom is usually a huge part of everything. And the musical tributes are just a weak way to try and say, even though we never said it as a kid, ‘Mom, I love you and I thank you for what you did for me, but I’ll never tell you, so I’ll have to put it in a song.’ ”