Can We Please Put These HIMYM Theories To Rest? (Top 5 List)

Click here for a compilation of all the clues and theories about The Mother!

Look, the many theories about How I Met Your Mother are part of what make it so legendary. It’s also the main driving force behind my blog traffic, so I’m certainly not suggesting that we stop with the guessing and theorizing and speculation. Buuuut there are a few persistent ideas out there that just really don’t make any sense, so I’m going to offer up a list of HIMYM possibilities that I think we all need to just take a step back from:

1. Robin is the mother.

No, she’s not. This theory has been fading in popularity, from what I can tell. This is likely because it has been disproved in so many different ways. I don’t need to get into the details – fans know that Robin is NOT THE MAMA. But, if you’re not convinced, remember that the mother is Cindy’s roommate, and Robin was certainly not secretly living with a grad student and taking econ classes at the local university. PS: look I made a meme!!

2. The kids are adopted.

We don’t have hard evidence to prove that the kids are Ted’s biological children, and honestly it doesn’t actually matter that much. It’s still a story about how their dad met their mother – simple as that. It’s not called How I Impregnated Your Mother, or How I Met Your Mother’s Uterus – it’s just how he met their mother. I think most of us are at a point now where we understand that adopted kids are just as legitimate as biological children, so I say this is a non-issue.

That being said – Robin will have to adopt if she ends up with children. Since I believe that her and Barney will marry and want a mini-me or two, this means that Barney and Robin will both be adopting. Also, Barney’s brother James has two adopted children with his husband. (Maybe they used a surrogate? I’m actually not sure, will research later). Point being, they’re already covering that ground with other main and secondary characters. There really isn’t a need, plot-wise, for Ted’s kids to be adopted as well.

Beyond that, we see Ted’s daughter as an infant in the recent episode “Trilogy Time”. The timeline is already pretty tight, given that the kids are teenagers in 2030. As of right now, there is just enough time for Ted to meet, court, marry, and impregnate the mother. Adoptions often take more time than making a baby the old-fashioned way, and that’s assuming that Ted and his wife would be approved to get a baby. Anyway, I went off on a bit of a tangent there, but that’s what I think about that!

3. The mother is dead.

I understand the appeal of this theory, and I can’t say for sure that it’s incorrect – but it really bugs me. It doesn’t make any sense! Think of it from the beginning – if these kids had a dead mother, wouldn’t they be (hopefully) sad, interested, or at least respectful of the story? These kids are Mosbys, for God’s sake! They probably pronounce things in the most douchey way possible (and that’s douchey, not douché), and love pro/con lists, and quote poetry, but do you really think a child of Ted Mosby would be so flippant about their mom being dead?

Yeah they’re teenagers, but that’s no reason to assume they would be assholes about it. Sighing in exasperation, asking dad to get on with it, asking dad if the story is finally over, etc. Makes no sense. Also if the mom did end up being dead at this point in the story, it would seriously piss off the fans. So let’s move on, shall we? PS: I made another meme! Look at me go.

Sigh. I was wrong. This theory is right. Woe is me. :)

4. The kids are a figment of Ted’s imagination.

This one gained a smidgen of credibility after the episode with Robin and Barney’s imaginary kids (“Symphony of Illumination”). But, again, how pissed off would fans be after we hung in there through so many seasons? For me, enjoying the show is about much, much more than just wondering who the mother is. BUT if they end it with some crappy cop-out ZOMG so meta conclusion I. Will. Be. Pissed. And I bet you will too! I still get annoyed thinking about the ridiculous ending that Seinfeld left us with. Similarly, a good show ending makes me happy for a long time. I think back fondly on the final episodes of Queer as Folk, and I’m still conflicted on the ending of That 70’s Show (I was so happy that Eric came back and him and Donna will be together, still pissed that Jackie ended up with Fez instead of Hyde. WTF was that about?! Okay, gotta let it go lol!). Anyway, as Barney would say, that is so not Raven!

5. The mother is Victoria, Stella, Karen, Blah Blah, or any of Ted’s other exes…

These have already been eliminated, based on their personal stories, Ted’s clues about the mother, and common sense. I know some of us were really attached to one potential mother or the other at some point in the past, but it’s time to move on. There is nothing indicating that the mother will be anyone that we’ve already met yet. And by “met”, I mean a character that has been on-screen (not just pics), and we have been told her name.

There you have it – five theories that I think need to be taken out of rotation. But I don’t want to end on a negative note, so here are some viable theories that we can keep focusing on:

Ted marries Barney’s half-sister Carly

Ted meets Carly at Barney’s wedding, where she is a guest and/or playing bass in the band

The Tracy theory

Lily and Marshall’s son will be named Marvin Jr (complication – one of Marshall’s brothers – probably Marvin Jr himself – already has a son named Marvin Jr. Maybe he is Marvin the 3rd? Not sure, but it would be weird if the baby had the exact same name as his cousin, right? See episode “Belly Full of Turkey”)

New potential name (and my vote for best Eriksen baby name): Aldrin Marvin Eriksen

Ted is the best man for both Barney and Robin (see episode “False Positive”)

The mother is Zoey’s step-daughter/The Captain’s daughter Hannah (see episode “Blitzgiving”)

The mother is the missed connection from the “Milk” episode

The mother is the “bump girl” in the club on St. Patrick’s Day (see episode “No Tomorrow”)

For what it’s worth, I think that the mother is almost ALL of those people: Carly Whittaker, guest/wedding band member, missed connection from “Milk”, St. Patrick’s Day girl from “No Tomorrow”, and, of course, Cindy’s roommate/student in the econ class Ted mistakenly tries to teach/owner of the yellow umbrella. The more connections there are, the more exciting it will be, and the more it will seem that they are truly soulmates. I don’t understand why so many people think it can ONLY be one of these possibilities – there’s no reason it can’t be more!

Okay guys, thoughts? Questions, comments, concerns?

68 thoughts on “Can We Please Put These HIMYM Theories To Rest? (Top 5 List)

  1. In the first episode, Ted tells his kids that that is how he met their “Aunt Robin”, so that ruled her out of being the mother

    1. I know right?! But still there are people all the time that are convinced that Robin is the mother. I understand – I tend to be a purist about these things, wanting the initial couple to hook up regardless of circumstances. So if I’ve managed to let it go, everyone else should be able to as well. :)

      1. I think that we’ve seen…like literaly seen the mother here and there but they’ve been hiding her so well that we wouldn’t pay much attention to her.
        For instance look at the very first episode!when ted meets robin she tells him that one of her friends just got dumped and what follows is a short sequence in which we see the girls…the one with the bang looks an aweful lot like the one at the st patricksday party…another possible reason why ted tells the story starting on that exact day

        1. Oh I never considered that! I was thinking that perhaps Trudy’s friends deserved a second look for that same reason. I would love it if the mother popped up in those scenarios as well :)

  2. Love your logic! The only thing I disagree with is the idea that Barney and Robin may adopt-if adopted kids are as real to the parents as biological kids (which I believe 100%) then “Robin never became a pole valuter” means she was never a mother to any children, biological or not.

    1. Ahhh, good point, I think I blocked that out because I want to see some Barney & Robin kidlets so bad! Sidenote how sad was that episode? It just about broke my heart :(

      1. I don’t think Ted knows that Robin was talking about not having kids when she said she couldn’t be a pole vaulter and Future Ted still isn’t aware there were any concerns. The whole narrative of that episode was Robin speaking in the present to her future children that she believes will not exist. Ted’s narration only comes in at the very end so he was not telling his kids that Robin couldn’t have kids. I think there is hope for a child for Barney and Robin.

        1. I really like that idea :) I also like thinking of it as her never getting pregnant, which doesn’t mean she for sure won’t have kids. Maybe they can have lily incubate the babies for them :)

          Sent from my iPhone

    1. I wasn’t sure about that either, but my best guess is that they could just have another brunette actress and say that was her. I would be content with that! Not perfect but I would like them to factor that character in, instead of having her just as a red herring to throw people off.

  3. Two Predictions:
    1. Carly Whittaker is the mother
    Everything we know bout the mother fits, she has been mentioned but not shown, it’s cute and very HIMYM-ish

    2. Robin does not marry Barney
    We find out who Barney marries next episode. I just don’t see it happening. The only hard evidence I have to support my theory is Robin’s crush from the episode “Hopeless”. Future Ted tells us that it wasn’t the end of the story beween Robin and ‘Her Crush’.

    1. That actor was cast in another show and the writers said they weren’t sure if they could bring him back. Also I think next week we find out who Barney proposes to, but not necessarily who he marries. I still think he will propose to Quinn but change his mind and marry Robin at the last minute. Not all that logical for real life but perfectly in line with sitcom life in general and this show in particular! Anyway from what I understand next week has Ted and Robin distracting Lily with 22 stories from their past – 1 per minute of the show. So to see Barney’s wedding it will have to be a super fast flashback in the beginning or end of the show, which is a possibility. You just never know with these guys!

      Also I agree 100% about Ted and Carly :)

      Sent from my iPad

  4. I am not trying to be contradictory (I loved your post and your theories!) but I am pretty sure that in “Belly Full of Turkey” Marshall’s mother refers to the huge baby as “little Martin” instead of “little Marvin.” I say this because I’ve been thinking lots about the baby name, too; however, I still think Marvin Jr. would get dibs on that prestige.

    1. Ah, little Martin would certainly make sense. Though that does leave the door open for them naming their kid Marvin, which I personally think is not the cutest of names. But what Big Fudge wants, Big Fudge gets! (as long as Lilypad agrees, of course). I’m going to research to find out for sure and then update later. Thanks!

  5. You spoiled That 70’s Show for me… my desire to finish the last two seasons is greatly diminished.

    1. Oh no I’m sorry! The last 2 seasons kinda blew anyway, but trust me, I understand how you feel. Basically every cool movie that could have the plot spoiled (Fight Club, The Usual Suspects, The Sixth Sense, etc) was ruined for me before I saw it. :(

      1. haha it’s chill, I just had nothing to add to your legitimate thoughts about HIMYM, because they were all so legitimate, that the only thing I could think after reading this was, “Why isn’t Jackie with Hyde?! THEY’RE PERFECT TOGETHER!”

        1. It was a horrible way to cap off an otherwise amazing show. The last season was extra sucky, in part because Topher Grace took off, but they could have easily continued without bringing in Randy. If you haven’t gotten to him yet, mark my words, Randy BLOWS. He is useless. And Jackie and Hyde never even have a good, closure bringing breakup, it’s very strangely done. But the last 5 minutes of the series had me crying like a baby (tears of joy I guess, bittersweet) so I guess it could have been worse.

    1. Thank you so much! I’m really looking forward to checking out your blog as well. I suspect I will be saying the same thing about your posts :)

      Sent from my iPad

  6. Well now we know that Barney proposed to Quinn but marries Robin even though it was ridiculously obvious I was happy :) I’m almost positive the mother is Carly because it was mentioned she was studying at college and we know the mother is/was and Ted refers to Barney and Robin as Aunt and Uncle so with the marriage between them this would make the children the niece and nephew of Barney and Robin :) Plus he met the mother at Barney’s wedding so of course his half sister would be at the wedding!

  7. I don’t think it’s Hannah. First of all, that would make Ted’s ex’s ex’s daughter his wife… Secondly, assuming from this connection they might actually still be in contact with Zoey, wouldn’t Ted have remembered Honey’s name?

  8. I agree about putting these theories to rest. I’ve just developed a new one which has been mentioned in previous comments:
    What do you think about it?

    1. I’m going to comment on your post so it all makes sense. But, suffice it to say that I have also been intrigued by Robin’s mystery friends that were never seen again! More later at your place :)

  9. I’m still of a mind that Robin and Ted end up together. True, the show is called ‘How I Met Your Mother’, but I don’t recall Ted actually saying (in no uncertain terms) that HE is the father of the two children on the couch. Saying things like, “If I hadn’t, you never would have been born,” is not the same thing. Perhaps these are Barney’s kids, and Ted and Robin sadly were not able to have any of their own.

    Sorry, I don’t mean to butt in. I just watched the entire series up to the present in the last week or so and couldn’t resist adding my two cents. Nice website, Corina!

    1. You’re not butting in at all! Blogs were made for commenting :) That being said, I 100% disagree that Robin could possibly be the mother. It has been refuted in too many ways and I don’t think the writers would disappoint everyone like that. Buuut you never know, so we will have to wait and see for sure!

      1. Er…yeah, I just caught all the way up with the series. When I left my previous comment I still had about ten episodes to go. Guess Robin and Ted really are over. I can’t fathom why the writers kept stirring things up with those two if they weren’t meant to be together. If the real mother does come along near the end of the series, how can she hold a candle to Robin after everything she and Ted have been through?

        Part of me still wants to argue that just because the mother is another woman, it doesn’t mean Ted and Robin don’t end up together… I can be stubborn like that. But, alas, I admit defeat.

        1. I am equally bothered by all the time and energy devoted to a couple that we know won’t end up together. It really annoyed me last season when Ted went through his whole I love you bit with her despite all their prior ups and downs. It felt like a crappy thing to do to fans that are watching for new storylines, not recycled plots from the first two seasons!

  10. There’s gotta be something that comes up at some point between Barney, Ted, and Robin. Remember the end of “Ducky Tie,” Victoria says that staying friends with Barney and Robin won’t work because of their history. Future Ted says that she’s right. I really think there will be some type of falling out, that could have to do with the mother (Barney upset at Ted breaking the Bro Code by hooking up with his sister? Ted has a wrapped up wrist at the wedding).

    1. That’s one of the prevailing theories as to what happens to his hand, at least among those who support the idea of Carly as the mother. I think it’s perfectly plausable, but I’m not sure it’s the best of all options. Barney really has no room to talk, what with his time spent with Ted’s mom, but emotions are heightened during weddings. Maybe Ted has to throw down with a well-meaning security person just to get into the wedding. Or maybe he gets in a tussle with the band roadie? I’m excited to find out…

  11. I actally have my own theory behind who may be the mother but it is a tad out there.I feel that the mother is going to be Michelle Tanner from Full House. I have evidence but it is quite a large post to type but I actually finished typing it up on my blog before I stumbled upon this, here it is.

    1. That is original! I’ve never heard such a theory. Your points about the connections between the 2 shows were interesting – I was thinking of something similar when I saw that Josh Radnor was costarring in Liberal Arts with Elizabeth Olsen. But, I don’t think I can quite make the leap to believing that Michelle Tanner ends up as The Mother. Aside from how it would be an amazing wtf moment in TV history, the age doesn’t seem quite right to me. I grew up on Full House and Michelle was always quite a bit younger than me, while Stephanie and I were right about the same age. As such, if it’s going to be a member of the Tanner fam, I vote for Stephanie. Buuut then again all the Tanner girls were blondes, and I am convinced The Mother has brown hair.

      1. As of tonight, my theory is still alive since they did end up going with the band, and we know that band is the one of the mothers. Im just excited to see where it takes us in the coming weeks. Im really not convinced either way, I just want to see how it plays out, I saw some of this info somewhere and I took a few more steps when I saw some other similarities and possible connections. Everyone has their own theory out there (at least within my group of HIMYM watchers) so that whoever is right has the bragging rights afterwards xD

        1. I really don’t think Michelle Tanner or Full House will be connected in any way but I am going to update my mega-post of fan theories to include your idea. I will link to your blog so others can find the source. Right now I’m feeling a bit pleased with myself because I’ve been saying for a long time that when he sees The Mother and when he meets The Mother do NOT have to be at the same moment, and we finally have proof of that based on the end of “Band or DJ?” So I’m enjoying a mini moment of bragging rights with that one, even though it’s not the real mystery. :) Keep posting with more theories and details, I’m intrigued by your ideas!

  12. i don’t think the kids can be Barney’s because hasn’t he said a million times “Your Uncle Barney” to them? (Your Aunt Robin, Your Uncle Marshall, Your Aunt Lily). i don’t think those kids can belong to anyone other than Ted.

    1. Oh yes Ted says that all the time, and other conversations between Future Ted and the kids make it 100% clear that they are in fact Ted’s children. I’m not sure why some people are still hanging on to the idea that Ted is dead/they’re Barney’s kids/they’re adopted/etc, but personally I don’t believe any of those.

  13. it drives me nuts when people insist on believing Robin is the mother when we were told otherwise IN THE FIRST EPISODE!! i liked the theory of Carly being the mother and kinda wish it were true but I also like the episode that disproves it anyway. The theory about Ted’s kids being adopted or the mother being dead exist beause people really badly want hi to end up with Robin. If the kids are adopted, it doesn’t matter because the story is about how he met his wife. The whole thing is played like a romantic comedy, why would the title refer to the biological mother if they were adopted? it’s about how Ted met the love of his life, not how he met the person that gave birth to his kids.

    1. I think some people just really want it to be something crazy and unexpected, for the shock value. Nevermind that those theories rarely make sense :) I prefer the theories that I can logically follow, but I will admit to being blinded a bit. I really liked The Carly Theory, and I didn’t let that one go until I saw that Ashley Benson had been cast. I will be super sad to see the Milk/Matchmaker Theory go, if that ends up happening.

      Honestly, I do want some “stunt casting” for The Mother. I think there has to be more connections than just the umbrella; seriously, this is supposed to be the BEST love story ever, and I need more serendipity than that. But, I love romance novels and rom-coms so my expectations are set unreasonably high. Some actresses would be a major let down (Major Let Down, reporting for duty!) – if they had made Britney Spears The Mother, for example. But others would be awesome! Here are some of the women I would be happy with as The Mother:

      Alison Brie
      Felicia Day
      Eliza Dushku
      Sarah Michelle Geller
      Summer Glau
      Gillian Jacobs
      Anna Kendrick
      Michelle Williams
      Mary Elizabeth Winstead

      Post with pictures and reasons to follow!

  14. I think it was mostly the fact that Robin or Barney never showed up in any of the future scenes that allowed people to hold on to the Robin/Ted theory for so long. I still can’t think of any reason why they wouldn’t be hanging out with everyone all those years later. We know Robin is supposed to travel a lot, so maybe that’s why? That still feels like a weak reason to me, though.

    And I feel like they wrote in Carly just to crush that particular theory. It seems like the writers want there to be absolutely no hints and no loose ends about who the mother could be before she’s revealed.

    1. I agree about Carly, she probably never would have been mentioned again otherwise. Or she would have shown up as a guest at the wedding but they wouldn’t really delve into her character. I appreciate them tying up loose ends but I want some more clues to ponder! I did like that Ted didn’t meet Carly through Barney – he met her via destiny, serendipity, whatever. There were some people against The Carly Theory that said no way Ted would meet her on his own. She’s Barney’s sister, so of course Ted would have to meet her through Barney. So maybe they were throwing the fans a small bone with that one? I hope so :)

  15. Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog today. After watching the season 8 finale where we finally saw the mothers face, I decided to search across the web to see if anyone’s predictions have been affected since then.

    Before this season the 2 most popular theories i heard about the mother’s identity were either Barney’s sister or the Captain’s daughter. Obviously, the possibility of her being Barney’s sister died after a recent episode this year, but i haven’t given up on her being the Captain’s daughter just yet.

    I know a previous comment said that it would be weird for Ted to be involved with the daughter of his former girlfriend’s ex husband, but this theory still makes the most sense to me. Mainly, because it would give Zoey a real purpose in the bigger picture. Think about all of Ted’s other gfs (Robin, Victoria, Stella, Cindy), and how they played a role in Ted’s journey to the mother. But Ted was with Zoey for most of the 6th season, and to this point she still just seems like a throw-in character to keep Ted busy while we focus on the other characters’ development.

    I apologize for the length of this post, but this is my fist time commenting on your blog. Keep up the good work, I already liked you FB page and bookmarked your blog. =]

    1. Never apologize for posting a long comment! I love hearing from other fans. And thank you for clicking like and bookmarking. :)

      I just updated my main theory/mother info post with details on “The Hannah Theory”. I agree with you on how Zoey felt like a throwaway storyline that could have been skipped altogether. I just really did not like any of that business at all. It would make much more sense if we discover that Zoey and/or the Van Smoots are in fact connected to The Mother.

      1. “Never apologize”

        thanks, because i know the comment i left on your Patrice blog was even longer. haha!

  16. FWIW…I just stumbled upon this too, and want to puzzle this all out.

    I don’t have a link, but read and distincly remember from a year or so ago that “Zoey is integral to Ted meeting the mother”.

    1. i remember reading about that too, and that’s what sold me on possibility of the mother being the captain’s daughter. i wanted to mention that in my first comment, but i couldn’t find the link to prove it either.

    1. I will search for that bit of info, but please let me know if you find the link. That could be very intriguing information at this stage in the game!

    1. in my opinion, season 5 was the worst, but that’s not a diss because i think they were all great. the only reason i say that is because it felt like it was dragging on, and the only pivotal episode was the one where he met cindy. aside from that, they rest mostly seem like filler to me. i mean, the filler episodes in season 5 were still funny, but they didn’t create much progress in the bigger picture.

      1. That’s a good point, many of those episodes seemed like filler. I forget that because the Cindy episode was so important that it overshadows the rest of the season! But I did enjoy most of those at least. Everything associated with Zoey/season 6 I pretty much hated except for “Natural History” and of course “Glitter”.

        1. i’m not a fan of zoey either because like i said in a previous comment, she just seems like a throw-in character unless her step daughter really is the mother.

          season 6 wasn’t great either (again, not a diss), but i give it a pass because that’s when we started to get a picture of the endgame. the first episode gave us the very first glimpse of barney & robin’s wedding, and the finale revealed that barney was the groom.

          and yes, i enjoyed all 4 robin sparkles episodes. haha!

          1. Zoey did seem almost like an afterthought, which is weird because she was on for a fair number of episodes. I suspect that I dislike her mainly because I hate how that actress looks with blonde hair. I just think she is meant to have darker hair and it’s the first thing I think whenever I see her. So every episode I would be distracted. Season 6 was a decent season, and I will credit season 7 with clearing up a ton of previously unsolved mysteries.

            Sorry if I already addressed any of this in previous comments – I’ve been super busy with freelance writing assignments so I haven’t had much time to attend to my own writing these days!

    2. No, she’s not the wife :) But I respect you holding firm despite all proof to the contrary! I’m not sure which season I disliked the most but I’m leaning towards 7 at the moment.

  17. I saw “The Pineapple Incident” yesterday, and I remembered how some people thought Trudy was the mother. The reason is because the actress Danica McKellar played Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years, and some fans of the show consider her “the perfect girlfriend”. I wouldn’t understand why Winnie is considered the perfect girlfriend though, since The Wonder Years is a little before my time. But I guess those people thought a grown up version of Winnie would be the perfect person for Ted to marry. I don’t know if you ever heard that one before, but it seemed really similar to the Michelle Tanner theory.

    1. Oh GOD Wonder Years was one of my first experiences being aware that I was living vicariously through a fictional character. My deepest, most heartfelt childhood crush was on Fred Savage, so I was an extremely devoted fan. The relationship between Winnie and Kevin was basically everything that is good and pure and exciting and beautiful about puppy love, your first love, your first heartbreak, etc. I am seriously about to cry because I just remember how truly well orchestrated the whole show was. It made me sentimental for an era that I never even lived in…but it portrayed it so well that I felt like I was right there with them in the 60s. That 70s Show did the same for me for the 70s (see also: Dazed and Confused).

      ANYWAY, I will now stop my flashback to elementary school but please note that I had a life size poster of Fred Savage on my wall in second grade. I may or may not have kissed it goodnight regularly and that is all.

      With all that being said – I think it was pretty clear when the episode (The Pineapple Incident) aired that Trudy was not the mom. I believe Future Ted originally says that he never saw her again, so that eliminated her as a Mother option. But then of course he did see her again, when he pursued the belt in “Third Wheel”. Perhaps Future Ted still had a sense of decorum at that point and didn’t think it appropriate to mention his threesome to his kids. :)

    1. I knoooooow and it kills me lol. Every time I think of this article I’m 50% mad at the writers for constructing that ending, and 50% mad at myself for not seeing the very obvious writing on the wall!


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