How I Met Your Mother Has A Built-In End Date For Finding The Mother

How I Met Your Mother "kids" the year 2030

With How I Met Your Mother on hiatus until next week, I’ve had some time to ruminate on the show’s central mystery: The identity of The Mother, and when we’ll actually meet her. The show has run nearly seven years on doling out only a handful of hints — the yellow umbrella, glimpsing The Mother’s foot about 50 episodes ago — but we’re starting to really get impatient.

But then it hit me: The show takes place in 2030, as you can see from the above shot at the beginning of every episode. Back when the show began in 2005 that was a hell of a ways off, but now in 2012, it’s not so distant. Especially because Ted doesn’t meet The Mother in 2030; he tells his teenage kids the story in 2030.

Yesterday I saw this tweet from @PhysicistLisa, which corroborates a line of thinking I’d gone down recently:

i just did some math… HIMYM’s Ted needs to find the mother soon. If you assume his older kid is 14, she’d have to be born in 2016.

My thoughts exactly! Creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas could have set the show in modern times without stamping it with a date, but they’ve done the opposite: Over the seasons they’ve planted very exact points on a canonical timeline. If they said 2030, they meant it. (Television Without Pity has helpfully constructed this timeline that tracks the gang’s comings and goings over the series, though it’s light on The Mother hints.)

Let’s consider Ted’s kids. David Henrie, 22, was 15 around the time of the pilot; Lyndsy Fonseca, 25, was 18 at the time. If we’re going by her exact age, then Ted’s daughter would be born now, in 2012. I think it’s more likely that she was meant to be 14-15 in the pilot (and her brother is a year or so behind her), which means Ted needs to be married and impregnating The Mother in 2015 or 2016.

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    • Reed

      It was episode 1 or 2 of the show that Ted(Bob Saget) said this is how i met your aunt robin. And as to the end of this article, it can’t be robin bc she can’t have kids. Here is the thing, the wife is going to be someone else because it is Rachel Bilson’s roommate.Spinning that to being Robin is nearly impossible. And also, you know the mother was in Ted’s “class” when he was in the wrong room, teaching architecture to the economics student, his first day teaching. So there is no indication it’s Robin; that’d be an idiotic ending.
      My theory: It’s Barney’s half-sister. He will meet her at Barney’s wedding, that’s why they keep showing flashes of it and have been for the last two to three seasons. Why else have they not introduced her? She is a college student, in the NY area… it just makes sense. Remember Ted keeps saying that Barney, even though he is immature, turns Ted into the man he had to be to meet the kids mother. If Barney marries Quinn, we will meet the mother at the end of season 8 most likely, giving them one trial season (9) where the mother is part of the group. If it works and ratings rise, the show will continue.

    • NotThumper

      My husband and I had a theory that the mother was Robin’s sister, Katie. I think it is iffy but we did make some pretty cool connections which would be incredibly subtle and awesome if they were true.

      In the episode where Ted’s in Rachel Bilson’s room and he picks out the three things that belong to the mother one of them is a CD by the Unicorns, a Canadian band. While re-watching the one episode Katie is in the shirt she was wearing looked suspiciously like a unicorn, though her hair was blocking most of the view so I’m not positive.

      If it isn’t Katie (which it probably isn’t despite the cool connection) I’ve always thought it was Barney’s half sister, but then again that seems too easy given what we know of her.

    • andrew

      Robin will not be the mother.
      If you were paying any attention to the series, She. Cannot. Have. Children.
      In the pilot episode. “And that, is how I met your Aunt Robin.”

      Also, in the pilot script, as well as a few other How I Met Your Mother articles/websites, the daughter is listed as 16, not 14, which puts your impregnation deadline forward 2 years.

      The horse known as “can’t it just be Robin?” was beaten to death in the Pilot episode, why are people still beating it 7 years later?

    • Freddy Alvarez

      It CANT be Robin. On the Pilot, he introduces Robin as AUNT Robin to the kids and so, it can’t be her.

    • AY YO

      dudde, barney has been in love with Robin FOR EVER. and they’re so perfect for each other. Plus, Ted is the best man, but the bride asks for him too. I mean, lets be real. Barney and Robin are DEFINATELY getting married.

    • Reed

      Not to discredit anyone, because i also said it can’t be Robin. Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have admitted that there have been three fail-safe mothers. In the first few seasons there wasn’t a contract, so the writers didn’t know if they’d get cancelled. Robin was the first, if they got cancelled on season 2. Victoria was the 2nd, and Stella was the 3rd. The show would’ve ended on the “two minute date.” Knowing that robin was a “fail safe” further proves that she can’t be the mother.

    • Rhiannon

      On the Season Six DVD set, there is a special feature called “What we know about your mother”. In it, Future Ted list all the women it could not be, from Robin to Zoey, talks about the yellow umbrella, and then talks about the woman in the coffee shop who got the orchid that was meant for Zoey. He states while that the woman was not the mother, he list some new information about her. First, the mother tends not to finish her sandwiches and asks to have all her unfinished food (even butter) to get wrapped up. She befriends waitresses to get free dessert (which, according to Future Ted, happens all the time), and her favorite flowers are lilacs, which is the first flower Ted gave her when they met, and hates orchids.

    • Nicole

      I read somewhere that after Ted’s wife is finally revealed they are changing the name of the show to “After I Met Your Mother.” It allows it to keep going on without much change.

    • Sonaska

      Let it be ROBIN-TED endgame !! Please !

    • Miguel

      If its Robin, then watching the whole show has been a waste.. She’s already Aunt Robin anyway.. and she doesn’t carry a yellow umbrella and she wasnt that girls roommate.. so no robin..