Despite the on-the-nose title of her new CBC show, Catherine Reitman says Workin’ Moms is not just for, well, working mothers.
“Most humans have felt an identity crisis at some point in their lives,” Reitman says in an interview at a downtown Toronto restaurant. “This is about people returning to work after a dramatic event.”
Reitman is speaking from experience: she created, wrote and starred in all 13 episodes of Workin’ Moms’ debut season while raising her two boys, one three, the other seven months old. When she went back to work as an actor after her first child was born, she recognized how topsy-turvy her life had become in juggling these two major responsibilities.
“And when I spoke to my husband, we realized there wasn’t a show like this for Canadians,” she recalls.
She and her husband, Philip Sternberg, launched a production company through which they created and pitched Workin’ Moms and CBC soon became their ideal network suitor. “Little did I know, but practically all of CBC is made up of working moms, so they could relate,” Reitman says.
‘Most humans have felt an identity crisis at some point in their lives. this is about people returning to work after a dramatic event’
As the daughter of famed director Ivan Reitman and the brother of Jason Reitman, Catherine was familiar with the writing and directing process, but noted that it times it still became overwhelming. She says wearing many hats once again circles back to being a mother. “Sorry to sound cliché, but as a working mom, I was always multitasking and always torn in many directions.”
Workin’ Moms follows the story lines of four mothers neck-deep in parental and career responsibilities. The show aims to shine a spotlight on the struggles and joys of parenting while embarking on a career, all with a comedic flare.
“I want the show to be entertaining,” Reitman says, “but it can also serve as a reminder to love ourselves. Mothers are facing constant judgment, from outside and from themselves, and this show should remind us that we have to nurture ourselves too.“
Reitman is best known for roles in Black-ish, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the film Knocked Up and a web series where she reviewed films. But it was when she had two kids and began to look at herself both literally and figuratively, that she found a home for all these ideas swirling in her head.
“When I became pregnant both times, I was asking myself, do I have what it takes? Am I still smart and capable and sexy and have the things I once had and felt so confident about? That’s what soul-searching is, and men and women alike would relate to that.”
Undertaking this project also meant collecting as much advice as possible from her showbiz family.
“The best words of wisdom from my brother were to listen to my own voice. Be stubborn about that. And I really welcomed that advice, since this show is so personal to me.”
Workin’ Moms airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.