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9 on-screen working mothers who portrayed the naked truth of ‘work-life balance’

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Aishwarya Srinivasan
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on-screen working mothers

Being a working mother has so many complicated layers to it and these on-screen characters hit close to home on so many levels!

Whoever said 'mothers are superheroes' is absolutely right! They somehow manage to give their hundred percent in every aspect of their life, every single day, whilst barely showing how exhausting it can be. For decades now, working mothers have been facing a plethora of issues which aren't understood no matter how much we showcase them on-screen or talk about on social media. Waking up early, doing most of the household chores and cleaning up after an exhausting day is expected out of every woman. And when you're a working mother, there's added responsibility of a child and work. I’ve had a working mother all my life and there’s a lot she had to go through on this journey of choosing motherhood and a work life. There’s barely any empathy or middle ground that is found. Not to mention how they’re often guilt tripped about being absent and missing out on all the pivotal moments in their child’s life. But there’s only so much one person can do and there's so much to learn from them. Most daughters of working mothers take their inspiration from their moms because in a world where daughters are taught to dream of marriage, these moms pushed their daughters to achieve their dreams by being ambitious and independent.

In recent years, the on-screen portrayal of working mothers has been rather accurate, in fact, a story having a working mother is a big thing in itself. For eons, mothers were shown as the beacon of sacrifice and hope and their favorite place was the kitchen and taking care of the family. Today, this isn't their only narrative, at least on-screen!

Also Read: Heeramandi review: Sanjay Leela Bhansali's OTT debut falls short of his midas touch!

Here's proof!

Patna Shuklla- Patna Shuklla

A lawyer who gave it her all to win cases, Patna's job at home was to dumb herself down so it is easier for her husband’s friends to digest. She argued fiercely in court but at home she cooked, took care of her son and managed the house staff. This is pretty much the story of every working mother ever and Patna Shuklla was highly relatable!

patna

Tumhari Sulu - Tumhari Sulu

To go to work is often an issue in itself so being a nighttime RJ came with its own set of challenges for Sulu. Her show was supposed to be sensual which was also not something her family was okay with or could wrap their heads around. And because she worked at night, she was tired during the mornings and barely spent time with her son anymore. 

sulu

Shashi - English Vinglish

Just like Shashi, my mother did not know fluent English either and as a kid I’m guilty of teasing her for that. But being financially independent has got nothing to do with the language that you know. Shashi proved that by breaking all stereotypes and becoming an entrepreneur solely based on her talent.

english vinglish

Vartika Chaturvedi - Delhi Crime

With a heavy heart, sacrifices are often made between work and personal life. Vartika had to leave her child with the house help while she went and hunted dangerous criminals. It is a constant walk on eggshells for her and that’s pretty much how most working moms survive on a daily basis.

delhi crime

Aarya Sareen - Aarya

The most unconventional working mom on this list, Aarya unwillingly and unexpectedly joins the drug mafia after her husband is killed. Whether a mother is working a normal 9-5 job or is a straight up gangster, it is apalling how she's always expected to have her children as her top most priority regardless of her profession when we don't expect the same from a father. Aarya as a character is layered and portrays this in a rather uncanny manner.

aarya

Evelyn- Everything Everywhere All At Once

Evelyn loved her laundry service and doing taxes with her husband. But she was always at a crossroads with her daughter. Her Asian hustle culture mentality often clashed with Joy’s modern day thinking. Because she was mostly at work, she didn’t have the kind of relationship with her daughter that mothers usually do. When Evelyn first came to the US, she had such major ambitions and goals for herself which she unfortunately couldn’t fulfill because she had to take care of her family.

everything everywhere

Marion- Lady Bird

This is yet another example of a strained mother-daughter relationship simply because Marion was keeping her family afloat with her income. With her job, and the stress that came with handling a family like hers, there wasn't much 'balance' or stability that she had in her life and hence she couldn't give the same to her daughter. Which is the case for so many women who are, for various reasons the sole bread winners in their family.  

marion

Kate Foster- Working Moms

Kate portrays the chaos of being a new mom while also getting back to work, attending zoom meetings whilst breast feeding and faces all the other struggles of modern day motherhood. She does all of this while finding a sense of self, and battling her identity crisis which is rarely, if not portrayed at all on-screen.

kate foster

Jin Young-Soon - Good Bad Mother

Some mothers are solely trying to make ends meet so their child can have a better future. There’s no time for emotional bonding or pivotal moments, it is all about living from paycheck to paycheck. Jin Young-Soon was a single working mother who might have used rather traumatic ways of raising her son, but she did it all wanting the best future for him as a lawyer. 



good bad mother

Which of them is your favorite on-screen working mom? Let us know in the comments below!

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English Vinglish aarya Delhi Crime everything everywhere all at once good bad mother patna shuklla working moms tumhari sulu