Moominmamma, a calm and comforting caregiver

Moominmamma is the gentle and nurturing heart of the Moomin family. She has a special skill for ensuring that people feel cared for and welcome to be themselves.

Moominmamma’s housekeeping might seem unusual to some – she’d rather leave the dishes out in the rain than wash them herself – and she has a rebellious streak and a great love of fun. Nature is very important to her, and she tends her garden with the same care as she tends to her family. Moominmamma is never seen without her handbag, which contains the solution to many problems – along with dry socks, string, bark, sweets and tummy powder!

Moominmamma takes particular care with other people’s emotions, knowing how important it is to feel respected and loved and free to be oneself. For example, when Moominpappa accidentally breaks a plate, she reassures him that she’s glad because it was ugly and she never liked it anyway. She is very patient – she knows that sometimes it takes a terribly long time before things sort themselves out, but that they always do, eventually – and she is calm in a crisis. When a comet is headed for Moominvalley, Moominmamma ensures the family pack everything they need, from pudding and radishes to string and newspaper.

“Moominmamma has a rebellious side.”

Nothing that takes place at the Moominhouse escapes Moominmamma’s attention – as soon as she wakes up from her long winter sleep, she can tell that someone has been up to tricks with her silver tea tray! And she has a rebellious side herself – she loves a party and has a soft spot for Stinky, the most notorious criminal of Moominvalley, who she has even been known to hide from the police on occasion… 

Moominmamma loves nature and the garden is her pride and joy. She can often be found tending vegetables or rearranging seashells around the flower beds. Occasionally she is taken for granted by her family, and she feels rather lost in Moominpappa at Sea (1965) when Moominpappa is determined to take care of everything all by himself. She begins to paint as a way of coping with the situation and discovers that she is very talented – she covers the walls with beautiful roses, marigolds, pansies, and peonies, which helps her to escape the temporary troubles the family is facing. 


Moominmamma first appears in the very first Moomin story, The Moomins and the Great Flood (1945). In this story, she and Moomintroll are searching for a lost Moominpappa, who they are happily reunited with in Moominvalley

Does Moominmamma have any special skills? 

Moominmamma has an excellent memory, especially for birthdays. If someone has a birthday whilst staying at the Moominhouse, she will always arrange for them to have their favourite pudding after dinner. 

What does she keep in her handbag? 

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Moominmamma’s handbag. It contains the solution to any and every problem that could possibly occur – along with dry socks, string, bark, sweets and tummy powder. It also acts as a symbol for the character herself. When her handbag goes missing, Moominmamma is quite distraught. A grand party is held for all the residents of Moominvalley on its safe return.

A little-known fact about Moominmamma:

Moominmamma is one of the characters inspired by people from Tove Jansson’s life. She is based on Tove’s own mother, the graphic artist Signe Hammarsten-Jansson, known to the family as ‘Ham’.

Moominmamma quotes:

  • “Moomintroll thought how frightened the earth must be feeling with that great ball of fire coming…without them all, and this made him feel very, very sad. But after a while he stopped worrying. “Mamma will know what to do,” (Moomintroll in Comet in Moominland, 1946)
  • ‘“Yes, it’s over, my little Moomin-child,” said his mother. “Now everything is all right, and you must go to sleep. You must all go to sleep, my dears. Don’t cry Sniff, there’s no danger now.”’ (Comet in Moominland, 1946) 
  • ‘“There’s a lot of things one can’t understand,” Moominmamma said to herself. “But why should everything be exactly as one is used to having it.”’ (Moominsummer Madness, 1954) 
  • ‘“Flee!” cried Moominmamma. “The police are here!” She didn’t know what her Moomintroll had done, but she was convinced that she approved of it.’ (Moominsummer Madness, 1954)
  • “All nice things are good for you” (The Exploits of Moominpappa, 1950)
  • ‘‘It’s strange,’ Moominmamma thought. ‘Strange that people can be sad, and even angry because life is too easy.’’ (Moominpappa at Sea, 1965)