I have always gravitated towards shows that follow babies or being pregnant, so naturally, the new Netflix show Workin’ Moms appealed to me. The show’s description reads, “Maternity leave is over and it's time for these four moms to return to work while navigating kids, bosses, love, and life in modern-day Toronto.” As a working mother myself, I find this show and its characters and their unique struggles both relatable and funny, and also overwhelmingly honest.
Being a new mom comes with so many challenges. There are hormonal changes, body changes, mental changes, personal and social changes. It can be a lot to handle and very confusing. Shows like Workin’ Moms can help us remember that we are not alone in this experience and help us find humor in the day-to-day challenges we face.
"There's a repression against mothers where we're expected to be full-time workers and pretend we're not mothers, and then expected to be full-time mothers who pretend we're not working. Simultaneously, within the hours of the week that exist," the show’s creator Catherine Reitman told Variety.
These are the four things all parents can learn from Kate, Anne, Jenny, and Frankie of Workin’ Moms:
Take care of yourself
When you become a new mommy, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself with all of the scheduled feedings, diaper changes, nap schedules, pumping etc. Taking care of yourself seems like a distant memory.
In Workin’ Moms, Frankie neglects her own disconnected feelings for a while until she has a wake-up call and has to face the fact that she is dealing with postpartum depression. The thing is, many women experience postpartum depression and or anxiety and do not take the time, energy, or focus needed to help themselves. If left untreated, you may find yourself down a rabbit hole one day and have no clue how you got there and even less of a clue how to fix it.
Be mindful of your own thoughts and feelings, give yourself a break, and realize this uncharted territory, even if this is not your first, or second birth. Being a first-time mommy, or a first-time mommy to two is a BIG change. As moms, we put too much pressure on ourselves to get it right, but it is more important to feel right so we can be present for our babies.
Entering the workforce again is a journey, so be prepared to roll with the punches
One of the most iconic scenes of the show is when Kate is pumping in the restroom at her male-dominated place of work. She finds herself needing to pump, juggling meetings, trying to stay connected to her son, all the while adjusting to a new guy who took the leave during her absence.
Some of us can’t wait to get back to work, to settle into normalcy and have somewhat of our old routine back, while others simply can’t see any way of returning. Whatever the case may be, it is a journey and it is important to be flexible, understand you may be coming back to something different, and to try to roll with the punches. Your workplace dynamic could have changed drastically while you were out, and others may have taken over some of your previous responsibilities. It is important to mentally prepare for the fact that returning to work may be an adjustment for multiple people and allow yourself a few weeks to settle back in.
Finding the right person to care for your child is no walk in the park
Some may choose daycares and preschools, while others may hire a nanny or use a family member. Whatever the case may be, they all come with their own unique set of challenges. Ultimately, it is important to lay down the line, in the beginning, decide what is right for your family, and stick to your guns.
Kate finds herself in a power struggle with her nanny, who made the decision to supplement with formula without consulting her. Kate then decides to ask her mom for help, which leads to a whole other slew of issues. If you do not feel comfortable with your nanny and see that they are overstepping their boundaries, it is okay to talk with them or find someone you DO feel comfortable with. Using a family member, such as your mother or mother-in-law, is a great way to build special bonds, but it may come with some complicated navigation along the way. To prevent uncomfortable situations, miscommunications, and hurt feelings, think about what is most important to you and what is best for your family.
Relationships may change, and that’s okay
Be understanding of the fact that your relationship with your significant other may change after a baby. Change and evolution in a relationship are normal and healthy, but it is important to stay connected and on the same page.
Frankie finds herself feeling disconnected from her partner and struggles with her partner finding the balance of full-time mommy and intimacy. Be sensitive to your needs and the needs of your significant other. Understand that hormones play a big role in the first few months of becoming a mother, especially if you are breastfeeding, and know this too will change.
Carve out time for your relationship, even if it’s just a few minutes in the beginning or end of the day to reconnect. Do something together that will boost you mentally and emotionally (it can be as simple as taking the time to talk about your day while cuddling on the couch).