It’s hard enough trying to keep the embers of one’s sex life burning when you’re a married mother with young kiddos at home. In between taking care of the youngin’s, pursuing your career, keeping your home barely clean enough so it won’t be declared a Superfund site, society also expects you to maintain your “yumminess” and keep on top of your personal upkeep (shaving, plucking, waxing, hair coloring, exercising . . . the list goes on and on lest you be perceived as “letting yourself go”).
At least when you’re a married mom, it’s considered okay for your spouse to share your bed, even when your kids are home. You don’t have to make special arrangements -- other than having a really strong lock on your bedroom door -- in order to have “relations.” And you don’t even have to dash to the bathroom to shave quickly beforehand or throw on some makeup, ‘cause you can just roll over in bed in the morning and voila . . .
Try comparing the juggling act required to sustain a healthy married sex life with trying to have one when you’re a divorced mother who has small children. Not only do you have to make preparations as if you’re planning the Normandy Invasion (in many circles it’s not considered appropriate to have “relations” with someone you’re dating when your kids are home), but you’re supposed to look hot each time you see a prospective mate. As beauty “expert” Charla Krupp, author of “How Not to Look Old,” recently told the New York Times  actually looking your age is anathema to a woman’s success, not just in the bedroom. “Looking hip is not just about vanity anymore, it’s critical to every woman’s personal and financial survival,” her book says. Toss in for good measure the small fact that you’ve already had a kid (or kids) and, if you’re like most women, pregnancy has left battle scars behind that don’t exactly fit into the category of “yummy.” That, my friends, is a ton o’pressure.
And that’s precisely where we find Christine Campbell (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) as the third season of “The New Adventures of Old Christine ” begins this month: Feeling crushed by the pressure of being a divorced mom who’s trying to have a sex life and is doing so with all the grace of Lucille Ball at the chocolate factory. The premiere episode -- coyly entitled “The Big Bang” – focuses on Christine ’s attempts to consummate her relationship with her boyfriend, “Mr. Harris” (Blair Underwood), a fourth grade teacher who works at Christine ’s son’s school. She worries about whether she’ll perform well, whether she’s in good enough physical shape and about what the tumble between the sheets will do to and for her budding relationship.
And with the folks at CBS saying that this season we’ll see fortysomething Christine toying with the idea of plastic surgery in an increasingly Botoxed and implant-filled world, as well as struggling to find enough time to nurture a serious relationship while also owning/running an athletic club and being an attentive mom who supports her son at school and on the soccer field, the challenges facing a divorced and dating mom promises to be explored in classic Christine slapstick manner.
Through Louis-Dreyfus’ insecure, self-effacing Christine -- who thinks that doing four abdominal crunches at the gym before a date will be enough to whip her body into shape (yes, she owns a gym but doesn’t work out) -- we get to see the lighter side of these oftentimes sticky circumstances. This is terrain that was traversed through a more serious lens in the cancelled-before-its-time “Once and Again ” which ran from 1999-2002 and focused on the awkward and emotionally wrought relationship between a divorced mom, a divorced dad, and their respective offspring. Whereas “Once and Again” portrayed the angst of the children as their parents dated and later married, “
While two of the women on the new sudsy and satirical “Cashmere Mafia” somehow find the time to have high-profile careers, be parents, have relations with their husbands and go out for lunches and cocktails with the gals constantly, Christine will take a more down-to-earth trip, one in which she openly proclaims that her bra is older than the guy with whom she’s on blind date and where she uses not shaving as armor to keep herself from having sex with someone too soon in the relationship. She curses, she doesn’t like to cook, she doesn’t exercise and she’s an imperfect mom who doesn’t kowtow to bullying, Type-A, perfectionist moms. My kinda gal.
(“The New Adventures of Old Christine ” airs Mondays at 9:30 p.m. on CBS. Eight new episodes were filmed before the writers’ strike. The episodes are being offered on the CBS web site .)