While working motherhood is a rude awakening for most, the adjustment can be especially startling to workaholics. For women who put their career over everything—the exhaustion, stress and confusion of a new baby can be too much. The issue isn’t regularly depicted in media, but in the newest season of Netflix’s BoJack Horseman, we feel totally seen.
In the sixth and final season of the show, which was released Friday, Oct. 25, the already overworked Princess Carolyn—a cat, but still—adds being a working mother to her overwhelmed schedule. The realities showcased are honest and insightful. The cartoon brilliantly highlights the feelings of not being good enough, the struggle of work-life balance and not taking the time for one’s self, which we can all relate to.
When Princess Carolyn, the manager of washed-up ‘90s star BoJack, finally has the baby she wanted for so long and never thought she’d be able to have, she is met with the harsh reality of being a single, working mom and providing for her little one. By the way—her little one just happens to be a porcupine—very symbolic. The episode that highlights her is titled “The New Client.”
When Princess Carolyn is running late after a busy day of production to relieve her nanny, she is scolded for her constant tardiness and not prioritizing her little bundle over work. “She is your client now,” her nanny tells her and promptly quits. To paint an even clearer picture of the mom’s hectic schedule, she failed to give her daughter a name and instead, refers to her as, “The Untitled Princess Carolyn Project.”
When she’s invited to Manatee Fair’s (LOL) “Hollywood Women Who Have It All” event, Princess Carolyn is met with the all too common imposter syndrome of being a working mom. She realizes work-life balance is much further out of reach than she’d ever thought. As it turns out, recent studies have shown that about 12 percent of parents experience parental burnout, which bears striking similarities to burnout at work.
The creators geniusly portray what all working moms have wished: that we could be cloned to get it all done! There are six-plus versions of Princess Carolyn in scenes throughout the episode. While one Princess Carolyn is feeding her baby, another is answering phone calls while another is dealing with emails. Research shows that working moms are 18 percent more stressed than working women without kids and working moms of two are a whopping 40 percent more stressed than those without kids, so yeah, that pretty much sums it up.
One thing leads to another and Princess Carolyn is mistakenly admitted into BoJack’s rehab facility, where she sleeps for two days straight. What a dream! In the time she’s sleeping, her clients grow restless and her projects start to fall apart, while rumors spread about the mom and her Untitled Project. When she’s finally well rested, she makes some quick-thinking decisions and makes sure everything comes together—as working moms do—while showing vulnerability, telling another Hollywood woman that she thinks she’s a better agent than she is a mom.
The other woman tells her to see her baby as one of her clients and to take care of her, no matter how difficult, because it’s her job. In the chaos of it all, Princess Carolyn is able to make her baby laugh from her work stress chatter and ultimately finds the perfect name for the little one: Ruthie. Unlike some of the series’ heart-wrenching twists and turns, this episode finds a happy ending. The kitty mom realizes she can, in one way or another, do it all. The silver lining of working motherhood is ever-present and we love it.
But, this episode HAS it all. Mom guilt, work pressures, lack of sleep, women empowerment—even if you don’t regularly watch BoJack Horseman, this episode is a must-see. You’ll feel seen—though they’re critters, it’s pretty much like watching yourself thrive through the challenges of working motherhood.