As an employed adult who's also raising a human for the first time, I say confidently that this new identity of mine — working person who is responsible for another life — is a shift unlike any other. It's nothing like being on the hook for traditional adult things, like a wine club membership or rescuing a dog. The emotional magnitude of being catapulted into a new world brimming with life-or-death demands is unending; there's no day where the baby looks at you and says, "Hey, it's Saturday. I got this." And while every mother's journey differs, it restores my soul to see a bit of myself portrayed on TV. This is exactly how I felt after watching three episodes of Netflix's new comedy, Workin' Moms.
The first three episodes touch on a number of honest themes to happen to moms, and as someone experiencing motherhood for the first time, I couldn't help but connect to the following plots.
Returning to work after maternity leave is hard
First-time mom Kate works at an ad agency, and while the seemingly corporate nature of her workplace differs from mine, I nodded when I saw how unsure she was of herself upon returning. On her first day back she may have left her flannel at home and dressed the part, but when she found two new hires at her company you could tell she lost her confidence. People say it takes a few weeks to adjust back to the normal pace of work life — I certainly did not feel mentally sharp when I first returned — and I appreciated her struggle.
When new mom Jenny returns to her IT job after her 8-month hiatus, she doesn't feel ready either, saying that soldiers with PTSD get way more time to recover.
Breast pumping at work is a mess
I'm fortunate to work at a company that provides all working moms with adequate privacy to pump and store breast milk, but there's an inescapable awkwardness in the befores and afters of it all that I loved seeing Kate go through (that's her pumping in a stall above). In episode 1 we see her walking down the hallway with two bottles filled with her breast milk. You may get to pump in privacy, but if you're going to wash those bottles they're out for everyone to see. Pump during lunch? You'll be washing those bottles while your coworker reheats soup at the microwave. Kate doesn't know what to do with her filled bottles so she mistakingly puts them on her desk, and then they spill, and because breastmilk is precious she uses her hands to scoop it back into the bottle. Hard not to laugh at this scene.
No one cares about your schedule — not even your own mom
When Kate leaves for her first day, she leaves a very detailed schedule for the nanny Rebecca, one that includes strict rules surrounding things like naps and formula. It doesn't take long for her to fire her nanny and lean on her mom for caretaking support. But then what do you do when your own mom ignores your baby's schedule? Things get real when Kate has to fire her own mom.
Postpartum comes when you lease expect it
While it's all set in a comedic landscape, when new mom Frankie reveals she might have postpartum to her parenting group, the group leader's eyes widen. By episode three we Frankie teetering on a very dark place while in the bath with her newborn. She seeks help thanks to some tough love from her partner, and it's an important storyline to highlight. Not everyone is able to get the help they need, or can make sense of what they're experiencing. Sometimes we talk ourselves out of what we're feeling and tell ourselves it's all "fine," when in fact it just isn't. It's helpful to see how this self-talk affects mothers' interpretation of what's really happening to us.
Moms are downright terrified to get pregnant again
I shook my head when third-time mom Anne learned she was pregnant again. She couldn't believe it either, saying to the doctor, "Can you check again because I had a baby 8 months ago, she's barely alive yet."
I'm hardly a quarter of the way through the series and can't wait to see whatever real moments the show tackles.