Realities of being a working mom

Eileen McCormick / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
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‘Workin’ Moms’ was created by Catherine Reitman, a Canadian actress, comedian, producer, writer and director. The series has been nominated for International Emmy, a dozen Canadian Screen Award nominations, and has 20 percent higher audience retention rate than the average series on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). So, it’s really no wonder Netflix picked up the series for a global audience to binge watch.

‘Workin’ Moms’ comes from Reitman’s own life. She’s a mother to two young sons. When her oldest son was six weeks old, Reitman was shooting an indie film on location, where she spent her first Mother’s Day.

An emotional breakdown took place when she was on the phone with her husband Philip Sternberg (who now plays her husband Nathan on ‘Workin’ Moms’ and is an executive producer). Both trying to get through the situation thought they had the groundwork to a potentially cutting-edge show.The idea of “having it all” as a new mother is a complete and utter bull****; but that doesn’t mean that moms don’t constantly feel overwhelmed and guilty that they want to go back to work. The Canadian comedy ‘Workin’ Moms’ gives as realistic a picture of this.

Life is definitely hard. But it’s a different story for working mothers. Photo: Netflix

Some argue that the show focuses too much on rich privileged working moms so the concept of “having it all” possibly from the perspective of these group of women compared to a broader spectrum of women might be different. Nevertheless, the trials and tribulations they go through still apply to every mom everywhere.

I am a working mom myself in Cambodia. But while my experience is not the same with others, I can say for sure that this show made me laugh at my own experiences of going back to work. One scene in the show has the main character crying as she hands her son to the nanny before leaving for work. For me, I cried inside a coffee shop as I handed over my son to his nanny. Truly, the struggle is real.

The show deals with female perspectives of different moms who are going back to work after their maternity leave (in Canada, it’s a generous eight months to a year). The four main characters meet regularly as part of a “Mommy and Me” class, where mothers bring their infants to play, learn, and discuss their experiences.

In the pilot episode, the first thing we see is all of them from their (naked) shoulders up: three women sitting cross-legged in a Mommy-and-Me class circle, looking down at their own breasts and each other’s.

They are all talking about how their breasts are holding up after breastfeeding. When the leader of their moms’ group (who looks like a made up character Amy Poller would play) tells them to “put yourselves away,” we see that all of them have their breasts out, despite the fact that they don’t have their kids with them.

“I feel like a proud show dog that didn’t understand her days were numbered,” says Frankie (Juno Rinaldi), a real estate agent. “Look at these things. It’s like chicken skin.”

Anne (Dani Kind), a psychiatrist, replies, “What are you talking about? Yours are OK.”

Kate (Catherine Reitman), a PR rep, says about hers, “They’re not winning any blue ribbons. But they stuck in there. They might be a little deflated, but they’re not throwing in the towel. I like them.”

“I’m with you,” Anne says. “I breastfed my first for five months. This is where they landed.”

In my opinion, the heart of the series is the friendship between Reitman’s Catherine and Kind’s Anne characters. While the series has back stories and bonding moments between all four of them, the most authentic friendship seems to come between these two. Both have a no holds f*** it way of dealing with life.

However, the group as a whole allows for the viewer to binge watch on their sexual misadventures, impossible familial demands, beating the clock. ‘Workin’ Moms’ is all about family and career life, plus everything in-between.

Yes, there are serious issues on the table. The pressing issues such as depression and job versus family are the same from what we’ve seen since forever. I think most women have had a lot of those feelings and discussions. In these high stake life-changing moments, the show is able to tastefully make post postpartum depression and other challenges laughable – and somehow bearable.

This show allows working moms to bring honesty, humour and open minds to their job as a wife, mother and career woman.

Dani Kind plays Anne, an unapologetically frank psychiatrist who gets pregnant for the third time unexpectedly. Photo: Netflix

Another unique story line that I don’t think I have seen covered in any other “modern family” type of show is that of psychiatrist Anne Carlson (Dani Kind). She is alarmed to find out she’s pregnant again, only eight months after having her second child.

She’s not sure whether she’s going to tell her husband Lionel (Ryan Belleville) because they were “two and through”, and she’s not sure he can handle having three. Her husband is very supportive of the unexpected surprise.

The show’s focus on abortion for single women who are not ready to raise a child goes to a higher level. We see that a white wealthy family discusses the topic openly. Yes, that’s surprising.

So parents everywhere, rejoice! And if you’re not in that rocky boat yet, still rejoice as you binge watch this week’s pick ‘Workin’ Moms’. This hilarious series will have you crying with laughter as you are guided through the life of modern working moms.

It’s crass, in-your-face – some might even say offensive – kind of show that will make you realise the realities of being a mother. Invite the moms in your life around and check out ‘Workin’ Moms’ on Netflix.

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