I remember the first bowel movement I had after giving birth. I thought I was going to collapse on the bathroom floor. I’d heard warnings about requiring a blow-up toilet seat, and I knew I’d be wearing enormous diaper-like pads for a couple weeks, but no one told me about the shit that would nearly kill me. What was worse is that there was a friend of my husband’s in our basement, who was chillin’ for a little too long, and when I stumbled down the stairs crying, “I NEED STOOL SOFTENERS RIGHT NOW!!!” he jumped into the conversation to tell me a long-winded story about how he once had hemorrhoids, and how he understood my pain. I wanted to scream, “WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE RIGHT NOW???” but he had delivered extremely delicious cheesecake, for which I was super grateful, as I’d never been hungrier in my life.
Cheesecake, bowel movements, hemorrhoids: these are three things I never thought I’d combine in the same sentence, let alone in an article about my postnatal experience, but that moment all came flying back to me while I was laughing hysterically during episode 1 of Workin’ Moms Season 3, which premieres January 10 at 9:00 p.m.
Honestly, no show has ever tackled the (literal) shit that Workin’ Moms has, and there is no other comedy that moves me to tears. “You’re not alone, ” says creator and star Catherine Reitman when I explained to her the rollercoaster of emotions I have while watching Workin’ Moms. “We get that a lot. We’re conscious of creating the waves. We were never making a hard comedy; I don’t think it would be doing this topic justice if we did. Creating an experience where you can laugh and cry felt like the most honest experience to create for a show about this.”
As a mother of two boys, who are 2 and 5, Catherine is very much, as the saying goes, “still in the weeds,” which is probably why Workin’ Moms resonates so deeply. “I’m walking the walk here, as far as the stories I’m telling—I’m living. Not all of them, but many of them.” She admits that when she thinks back to her first year as a mom, she was not nearly as confident as lead role Kate is in the show. “Kate’s ambition is super human. I think I’m a blend of all four ladies, to be honest. I felt a lot of Frankie [who suffered postpartum depression in Season 1], because I had pretty bad postpartum; then I had an identity crisis of Jenny.” Writing Workin’ Moms was a way Catherine was able to gain back the confidence that felt shattered after giving birth to her first kid.
“Having any kind of direction, whether you’re a stay-at-home mother or a working mother—having something that is just yours—is such a gift. You are so selfless all the time; to have something that you can tap into, where you can practice your voice, is so important.” With an Emmy Award nomination, and the latest news that Workin’ Moms will soon be available worldwide on Netflix, the voice that Catherine found and continues to grow with Workin’ Moms is having a powerful effect; it’s the show we didn’t realize we desperately needed.
Season 2 ended with an unexpected twist, when Kate discovered that her husband, Nathan (played by real-life husband, Philip Sternberg), was having an affair with the nanny (Jess Salgueiro). For those of us invested in the Workin’ Moms characters, it was a shocking punch to the gut. Now, at the beginning of Season 3, with Kate giving birth to her second child and her marriage crumbling, the stakes are much higher, but the story gives the writers lots to play with: “I see it as a liberating season. Kate has freedom, and has fun in a way that she hasn’t before. This season has some really funny turns in it. I cannot wait for people to see it.”
With so much accomplished in a few short years, I ask Catherine what she’s most proud of. “I feel really good that I’m still operating each day. What we’re being taught—to go after it and have it all—is incredibly difficult. It’s hard to do all of this. I can’t pretend that it’s as glamorous as the show presents all the time. It’s really hard work, and it requires a lot of sacrifice. To anyone doing it: we need to support each other. I’m proud to still be standing and love what I do.”
Season 3 premieres Thursday, January 10 at 9:00 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC with a special double episode. If you need to catch up on Season 1 or 2, head to the Workin’ Moms site.