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Surviving Motherhood

“Surviving Motherhood� is a show on the TLC network that shows 5 mothers with their young children who meet in a coffee shop to give each other parenting advice. The show has some old-fashioned information about parenting but is a “refreshing blend of information, bold discussion, and real-life stories�. Along with advice from fellow mothers, there are renowned therapists and childcare experts in every field that give advice throughout the program.

The title of this particular episode was “Busy Working Mom� and it focused on a working mother of three, Rosalie. Rosalie is a University professor and her husband also works outside of the home. Her main concern is learning how to manage her time better. The other mothers sympathize with her but explain how it is impossible and okay to let some things go. Everything can not be done right away so you need to have some priorities. While she works long days and then comes home to help with the kids, she says that she “can’t ask [her husband] to do more�. I found this very interesting because she mentions how he cooks dinner every night and that is her idea of him pulling his weight. Rosalie gets home from a long day, helps her children with their homework, gives the baby a bath, reads them a story, finishes her own work from the University, and then goes to sleep. She does not make time for herself and seems to be doing more than her husband. There is an EXPERT MOMENT in every show and this one was from Dr. Kimberly Flemke, Family Therapist. She mentions how you should not have this “Super Mommy Ideal� because you will set yourself up for failure. You need to let some things go and then give yourself some time to recharge your battery; have mommy time (i.e. go for a walk, exercise, have a bubble bath, read a book, have a nap, etc.). By taking this time for yourself, the rest of the time spent with your family will have better quality.
The intended audience for this program is mainly mothers. The show airs on TLC at 9:00 am Monday through Friday. This seems like an appropriate time because mothers who work at home would most likely be around at this time. The commercials are also geared towards this audience: Tickle Me Elmo, Pampers Cruisers, Tide with Bleach, Olay Eye Care, Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Shampoo, etc.
“Surviving Motherhood� is for TLC by Banyan Productions. Lisa Lucas is the executive producer for TLC and Dawn Lorenzo is the executive producer for Banyan Productions. Other shows for Banyan Productions include “Trading Spaces� and “Day of Weddings�. Furthermore, Banyan is the production company for networks including TLC, NBC/Discovery Kids, Discovery Channel, Nick @ Nite, Discovery Health, Lifetime, Sony International, Oxygen, The Food Network, Travel Channel, PBS, Style, and HGTV.Com. Banyan Productions seems to be geared towards women and reality television … ideal for this course!
The main focus for this particular episode was working mothers and how they should balance their lives. According to Audrey Vandenheuvel, author of “Women’s Roles after First Birth: Variable or Stable?� from Gender and Society, society is “dominated by the idea that women can be sorted into two groups, namely those for whom labor force participation is primary and those for whom family is primary� (357). Rosalie does not fit into this dichotomy because she is a married woman, mother of three, and still chooses to work outside of the home in a very demanding job. While women have been in the work place for some time now, women are still faced with the decision whether to work or have children. It is difficult to decide on both. Society encourages women to have children before having careers; men are not presented with this dilemma. In “20/20 Vision, A Perspective on Women’s Changing Roles and the Structure of American Families, Past and Future� from Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, author Susan D. Tollier explains how many “women entering the job market with the notion of working for only a few years and then ‘retiring’ to start a family may postpone or alter their plans if the rewards of their job are great – if the work is fulfilling and enjoyable� (30). For me, “Surviving Motherhood� is a wonderful program because it shows all types of mothers (i.e. working, single, young, old, first time, etc.) and it allows women to make educated decisions on what they should do with their lives. Rosalie is a great example on how you can have a successful career and still be a mother that is highly involved in the lives of your children.