Catherine Reitman has it all: two children aged one-and-a-half and four; a loving husband and supportive parents; even her own TV series, CBC’s “Workin’ Moms.”
And it’s killing her. Well, not literally, but Reitman, 36, is not afraid to tell it like it is when it comes to juggling kids and a busy career.
“I don’t really hang out with friends anymore and all I do lately is work and be a parent,” says Reitman, interviewed a few weeks ago in Toronto while promoting her series. A special new preview episode of the show airs Tuesday before season 2 officially launches Jan. 9.
For Reitman, having young children at home is a double-edged soother.
“There’s no lack of story,” she says, admitting to taking notes on her tots for TV tales. What there is, however, is a lack of sleep.
“I love my kids more than anything. I love them more than me in some ways,” she says. “I’m also frustrated. I’m exhausted. I don’t always look so beautiful. I don’t have a perfect meal on the table most nights. Any night!”
Still, this daughter of director Ivan Reitman (“Ghostbusters,” “Kindergarten Cop”) and sister of director Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air,” “Juno”) seems just as dedicated to “Workin’ Moms” as she is to motherhood. Besides her own series, shot in Toronto, she continues to fly to L.A. every now and then to appear as recurring characters on sitcoms “Black-ish” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
Reitman was born and raised in Los Angeles but she and her husband Philip Sternberg moved to Toronto two years ago for “Workin’ Moms.” Sternberg is an executive producer on the series and also plays onscreen hubby Nathan Foster.
“We love it,” says Reitman of Toronto. “Our kids are in the school system, my aunts and uncles and cousins are here — it’s a big deal.”
Good or bad, there’s a lot of herself in her series, says Reitman. She came out of season 1 hoping viewers would relate to the young working mom characters “because it’s really vulnerable for me. I talk about postpartum depression and all these things I don’t hear a lot of women talking about on TV.”
She was happy, then, when women did approach her and some even thanked her for dealing with thorny issues that were part of their own lives. It drives her even farther to “make sure I’m telling a really authentic story.”
Not that season 2 is any less outrageous. The preview episode flashes back to the wedding of Kate’s friend Anne (Dani Kind). We start out seeing the two young women in the back of a limo in all their post-college glory.
Guest starring is Jann Arden as Anne’s mother. Reitman says the Calgary-born singer-songwriter nails it.
“I didn’t know how funny she was,” says Reitman. “I knew she was talented; I knew she was beautiful and had this big heart. She came on and she is drop dead hilarious.”
Dan Aykroyd reprises a part he played in season 1. “We’re lucky to have him back,” says Reitman.
Other returning regulars are Canadian TV veterans, including Peter Keleghan, Ryan Belleville and Mimi Kuzyk.
“It’s so nice when you have these really, really talented comedy people come in,” says Reitman. “They know exactly where the joke is, exactly how to hit the button. You really learn from them.”
— Bill Brioux is a freelance TV columnist based in Brampton, Ont.