Catherine Reitman mines her own life as a parent for CBC's 'Workin' Moms' - InfoNews

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Catherine Reitman mines her own life as a parent for CBC's 'Workin' Moms'

Catherine Reitman is shown in this undated handout image provided by the CBC. Six weeks after having her now-three-year-old son, Catherine Reitman returned to her career as an actor, writer and director in the comedy world.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CBC
January 08, 2017 - 2:30 PM

TORONTO - Six weeks after having her now-three-year-old son, Catherine Reitman returned to her career as an actor, writer and director in the comedy world.

"I really enjoy working, I really enjoy telling stories, I really enjoy acting," she says. "The idea that I would have a baby and stop doing that was unrealistic to me."

But the move was "probably too soon," she adds, noting she "suffered from some pretty bad postpartum depression."

The situation hit her hard while she was on set for the comedy series "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." It was Mother's Day, her first, and a group of male actors started joking about how she wasn't home for it.

"They were being really funny but I couldn't take the swings anymore and I started crying," recalls Reitman, daughter of Canadian Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ivan Reitman.

"This moment ... was so dark, it was so real — but there was something really funny about it."

Reitman's actor-husband, Philip Sternberg, convinced her to write about her experiences. The result is the couple's new Toronto-shot comedy series "Workin' Moms," debuting Tuesday on CBC-TV.

"Almost every moment you see on the show, and I mean it, is based off of something that's real that happened, if not to me then one of the women in our writers' room," says Reitman, who has since had a second child.

"It's a pretty accurate show."

Reitman also co-produces and stars in the series as Kate, a PR executive who encounters hilarious and heartbreaking challenges when she returns from maternity leave — from having to pump milk in the car and office bathroom, to lactating onto her blouse, and missing hearing her child's first word.

Sternberg co-produces and plays her husband, who is sometimes on a different page when it comes to parenting.

Co-stars include Dani Kind as Anne, a psychiatrist whose family is expanding more rapidly than she's comfortable with. Juno Rinaldi plays Frankie, a real-estate agent struggling with hormone issues. And Jessalyn Wanlim plays Jenny, a new mom who reluctantly returns to work on the insistence of her husband.

The series kicks off with a scene of the stars topless, comparing breasts and talking parenting issues at a mommy class.

"Part of being a mother, part of the comedy of it, anyway, is what happens to your body," says Reitman.

"It's a very humbling process. I've done it twice now and everything changes. Your skin changes, your breasts change, your hips, your face, everything.

"In many ways it's humiliating and in some ways it's really empowering. It was very empowering for me as a showrunner and a writer to sit there with these two actresses, the three of us all mothers of two boys ... and show ourselves in an unapologetic way. That was potent to me."

Sternberg says Reitman was "fearless" throughout the production process.

"Fearless to the point — as being her husband — that I've been like, 'Are you sure we're going to do that? Is that what we're going to do?'" he adds with a laugh.

Reitman says her goal was to present real, authentic stories about parenting and all the sacrifices that come with it.

"It's messy and beautiful and painful and I don't think I would live any other way," she says. "Are there days where I wish I was just at home with my kids? Yeah, most days.

"But then I look at our accomplishments and I feel alive, I feel so proud of myself. So it's a very confusing thing, to be a working parent.

"By the way — it's a very confusing and challenging thing to be a stay-at-home parent. That's probably harder, in many ways. I've done both and I just have an incredible amount of compassion for parents."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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