We often think of our mothers as sorted human beings who know exactly what they are doing. That motherhood came naturally to them; that they were always hands-on, well-equipped. Today, as grown individuals, we may not be on the same page as them, but even at the slightest discomfort, we think of them. That’s because we view them from the prism of perfection. That mothers can be anything but, is an idea that does not sit well with a lot of us.
Netflix’s Workin’ Moms — three seasons old as of date — has started a dialogue around parenthood and honest portrayals of working mothers. Created by Catherine Reitman, who also stars in this Canadian comedy-drama, the show explores the lives of some urban women who juggle family life and careers, while also remembering to foster healthy friendships, growing and learning along the way. And with nuggets of humour thrown in, the show comes across as insanely relatable and expertly presented.
Kate Foster is a gifted PR professional who is ambitious and career-driven. She has a son, and a husband, Nathan, who tries to support her unconditionally, but slips and jeopardizes their relationship. Kate’s long-time friend and oldest confidante Anne Carlson is her personal cheerleader. Anne is a no-nonsense psychiatrist who has a lot on her plate, too. For starters, her teenage daughter is beginning to show a rebellious streak as she deals with bodily changes and other teen issues. Her ex-husband is a predator who uses hypnotherapy to manipulate his female patients, including Anne.
Anne and Kate are part of a moms’ group, wherein new mothers come together to learn about creating healthy and happy environments for themselves and their babies. Along the way, we meet other parents, single fathers, mothers with postpartum depression, who show us that life is not to be viewed in monochrome, or obliquely.
The show has been officially renewed for a fourth season. The reason Workin’ Moms has managed to stay germane, is because it doesn’t try too hard to justify its characters, or get preachy. Flaws, rawness, imperfections, Kate, Anne and the rest of the mom squad wear them all like a badge of honour. They don’t want to please viewers by sugar-coating their actions. They assume the role of mothers and take the responsibilities that come with it, while also thinking about their own happiness and well-being. The icing on the cake is, there’s absolutely no judgement.
From infidelity to resentment and a feeling of emptiness, the mothers (and their partners) go through it all.
One of the show’s most powerful scenes is in season one, wherein Kate — who is on maternity leave — takes her son to one of her jogging sessions in the wilderness. The duo encounters a bear, and an overwhelmed Kate yells at the animal till it leaves them alone. As if to say, “I will go to any length to protect my child.”