“Mother’s Day“, also known as the “Rugrats Mother’s Day Special“ or “Rugrats Mother’s Day“, is the second episode of the fourth season of the American animated television series Rugrats and the show’s 67th episode overall. Released as a 1997 Mother’s Day special, it revolves around the holiday from the perspective of a group of babies—Tommy Pickles, Chuckie Finster, and Phil and Lil Deville. Tommy, Phil, and Lil attempt to find the perfect mother for Chuckie (who is raised only by his father Chas) while sharing their favorite memories about their moms.
At the end of the episode, Chuckie’s mother is revealed to have died of a terminal illness. It concludes with Chuckie and Chas looking through a box of her belongings, including a poem she had written for her son. Meanwhile, Didi Pickles tries to plan the perfect Mother’s Day with her mom Minka, while Betty DeVille helps Stu Pickles with his invention to help mothers.
Norton Virgin and Toni Vian directed the episode from a script by Jon Cooksey, Ali Marie Matheson, J. David Stem, David N. Weiss, Susan Hood, and Ed Resto. Series co-creator Paul Germain had pitched two potential storylines to explain the absence of Chuckie’s mother, but Nickelodeon executives rejected his proposed idea that the mother was either divorced from Chas or had died. Before “Mother’s Day” premiered, only minor references to Chuckie’s mother had been made. Germain left the show in 1993, and several new writers replaced him. The concept was later revised and approved as a Mother’s Day special. Germain said that he was disappointed at being unable to cover the topic during his time on the series.
Broadcast on May 6, 1997, in the United States, “Mother’s Day” was one of several half-hour specials that Nickelodeon commissioned for Rugrats. The episode was featured on the 1998 VHS release Rugrats: Mommy Mania and was later made available for digital download along with the rest of the fourth season. “Mother’s Day” was praised by critics and has been the subject of several retrospective reviews for its treatment of the death of a parent. It was also praised for its positive representation of breastfeeding and expansion on the definition of motherhood. It won the CableACE Award for Writing a Children’s Special or Series and was nominated for the Humanitas Prize for the Children’s Animation Category. The series received a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program for the 49th Primetime Emmy Awards after Nickelodeon submitted “Mother’s Day” for consideration.