Parenthood Continues to Please.

by Meredith O'Brien


Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about two portraits the NBC drama Parenthood offered of mothers and work. They depicted a married lawyer and mom of one Julia Braverman-Graham as a workaholic whose at-home husband takes care of their daughter. Meanwhile her married at-home sister-in-law and mother of two, Kristina Braverman, is constantly being dissed by her 15-year-old daughter for not having a job.


Parenthood recently revisited the issue of moms and their career aspirations, dashed for the benefit of their children, with a tender episode centering on a pair of stories, one about Kristina and the other about her divorced mom of two sister-in-law, Sarah Braverman, who couldn’t get a job she wanted because of her lack of a college degree and wound up working as a bartender. By the end of this episode, “Perchance to Dream,” I had tears in my eyes.


First, there was Kristina, who decided to do a few days worth of political consulting for a friend who was running for lieutenant governor. Kristina used to work in the political world but left when she became a mother. After an awkward scene where Kristina realized that all her “work clothes” resembled something from Crystal Carrington’s closet circa 1989, Kristina went all Type-A on her husband Adam as she prepared to leave her two kids home with him so she could rejoin the world of the employed. (Her snarky teen daughter Haddie mocked Kristina’s enthusiasm by saying she was acting like she was going on a pilgrimage.)


Once she arrived at the office, Kristina role modeled what career on-ramping experts would say you should NOT do when you’ve been out of the game for a while. She wasn’t up on the new technology. For example, she had a paper-based, three-ringed day planner, whereas everyone else had a handheld BlackBerry kind of device and a laptop. She didn’t really get what Twitter was and accidentally referred to a Tweet as a “twit” and “chirp” in front of a pol whose endorsement she was trying to snag. But once she shook off the cobwebs, Kristina showed her mettle, breadth of knowledge and astute communications skills, so much so that she was offered her a full-time job working on the campaign.