Mothers do so much good for their kids that much of it inevitably -- and unfortunately -- goes unnoticed.

But some famous mom feats rise up to the point where nothing can overshadow them. Such monumental efforts can quickly elevate a mom to the Mother's Hall of Fame level.

If we had our way, such a group would include moms of all kinds, from well-known mothers such as Toni Morrison, Rose Kennedy and, yes, even Angelina Jolie down to the soccer mom struggling with a SUV full of feisty kids headed to practice.

However, with Mother's Day nearly here, we forced ourselves to settle on five iconic mothers who would be among our first choices for moms who famously went above and beyond the call of duty -- in addition to our own dear sweet moms, of course.

Sports category: Dara Torres

It's fitting that Dara Torres titled her 2009 memoir "Age is Just a Number." After all, the Olympic swimmer has made a career of proving that saying true.

At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Torres, then 33, was already the oldest American swimmer. She ended up taking home five medals in what was already her fourth Olympics.

Eight years later, she returned for the Beijing Olympics, becoming, at age 41, the oldest swimmer to ever earn a spot on the U.S. team.

Balancing swimming with being the mother of a 2-year-old, Torres took silver in all three of her 2008 events, including setting a new American record in the women's 50-meter freestyle, just 0.01 of a second behind the winner, Britta Steffen, 17 years Torres' junior.

Apparently she's not done yet, either. She hopes to swim at the 2012 Olympics in London in a bid to add to her 12 medals so far.

Entertainment category: Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball didn't always see eye-to-eye with her two children, Lucie and Desi Arnaz Jr.

Lucie has, on occasion, described her mother's "controlling" nature, and Ball famously objected to Desi Jr.'s relationship with Liza Minnelli. But, then again, sometimes being a good mother involves setting limits.

But, what earns Ball her spot on our list is the way the then-40-year-old TV star broke ground by incorporating her pregnancy with Desi Jr. into "I Love Lucy."

It may seem insignificant today, but in 1952, Ball and Desi Arnaz battled executives who wanted nothing to do with showing a pregnant character on television. Scripts weren't even allowed to use the word pregnant, instead referring to Lucy Ricardo as "expecting."

Ball's real-life pregnancy was so ingrained in the show that she and her character gave birth on the same day. Later, Ball went even further, casting her children to play her character's kids in her third network television sitcom, "Here's Lucy."

Activism category: Candy Lightner

How do you deal with the tragic death of a child? That's the question Candy Lightner faced in May 1980 after her 13-year-old daughter, Cari, was struck and killed by a drunken driver while walking down a suburban California street.

The driver had three prior drunken driving convictions and was out on bail from a hit-and-run arrest two days earlier.

Shocked by the leniency shown convicted drunken drivers, Lightner decided to do something about it. Days after her daughter's death, she set up an office in Cari's still-decorated bedroom and founded Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, which eventually became Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

By 1982, MADD had 100 chapters across the United States, a figure that would climb to 330 chapters just two years later.

Before leaving the group in 1985, Lightner fought tirelessly to raise awareness about the dangers of drunken driving and pushed for tough new legislation that has helped reduce drunken driving deaths.

Science category: Marie Curie

Nearly everybody knows the name Madame Curie, but do you know exactly what Marie Curie was famous for?

The famous physicist-chemist discovered two elements, came up with the theory of radioactivity (a term she coined) and was the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes.