Working moms are a specific bunch. They’re usually the ones up at ungodly hours trying to manage their households, attempting to make themselves presentable for an office job all while packing lunches, throwing dinner in a crock pot and remembering to sign a last-minute permission slip as they chastise themselves for having skipped their morning workout. Again.
They’re also the ones who leave their kids every day with a pit in their stomach and often feel like they’re just okay (or marginally terrible) at every little thing they do, because they simply don’t have enough focus or energy to excel at any one area in their lives.
Thankfully, this doesn’t go unrecognized. And this new series starring Kyra Sedgwick proves it.
Ten Days in the Valley (Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV) revolves around a TV showrunner named Jane (Sedgwick), whose demanding job pulls her in all directions, and naturally takes her time away from her young daughter Lake (Abigail Pniowsky). She’s just managing to get by, until one night, as her daughter sleeps and Jane is forced to work on a late-night rewrite for her show out in her writing shed, someone slips into the house and kidnaps Lake.
Yeah, it’s pretty much our worst fears realized too.
Actually, the entire show is based on a recurring nightmare that creator Tassie Cameron had for real. She’d be out in her writing shed at night (something she never actually does when her daughter is in the house sleeping), and someone would come in and kidnap her eight-year-old daughter Sadie. She had the dream half a dozen times before she realized it was meant to be the next thing she wrote about (Cameron previously spent six years at the helm of Rookie Blue), and ABC got so excited over the concept that they ordered up 10 full episodes without even doing a pilot.
“All women who do this job — or a thousand other jobs that are even harder (poor me, I’m a showrunner!) — all of us are judged by other mothers, or by our nannies sometimes, or by our partners, or by a stranger,” Cameron says. “Your family. Those words stay with you.”
The premise was a particularly interesting one to Sedgwick too, who came on board after original series star, Demi Moore, dropped out. In fact Sedgwick wasn’t just attracted to the idea of a flawed, working mom and the overall show’s mystery about who kidnapped her daughter, she also wanted to jump in as a producer. From the pilot on she had a strong say in the character development, casting and overall arcs, too.
“Generally speaking, it is impossible to do everything well. You can do everything kind of well or half well or not well at all. And there are days that you do one thing better than another,” Sedgwick says. “We’re trying to toy with, and talk about, the archetypal guilt that women have from the minute they give birth. Some of it is biological where you somehow think that every moment not spent with your child is a reason to loathe yourself. And society is happy to tell you those things as well… we don’t talk about good fathers or bad fathers. We talk about fathers”
Okay so this series doesn’t exactly offer up a solution to the ongoing working mom guilt, nor does it attempt to change the way society sees working moms in general. But it is a fun, relatable watch with an overarching mystery that’s written and performed by women who get it.
And that makes it one of our new favourite series this fall, by far.