By Genevieve Hinson, MotherOfConfusion.com
Going back to work after baby is challenging — beyond the ache of separation, relief to have some adult conversation and awkward walk to that “one” room shouldering a Medela Pump In Style are the logistics of the family schedule.
Who has the kids on what day? When is that music recital? Can the caretakers (whether family or daycare) be trusted … like really trusted to care for the baby? Last year, actress Leigh-Allyn Baker juggled similar quandaries starring as Amy Duncan, returning-to-work nurse, wife and mom to two teens, a tween and a baby girl on Disney Channel’s “Good Luck Charlie.”
While Baker’s character, Amy Duncan, and her husband strive to be “perfect” parents there’s always that complication or mishap. Believe me, June Cleaver wouldn’t stand a chance in the this household. Thankfully, there’s help. Amy’s husband, Bob (Eric Allen Kramer), teens, PJ (Jason Dolley) and Teddy (Bridgit Mendler), and even the tween, Gabe (Bradley Steven Perry), do their part to manage the household and take care of the baby, Charlie (Mia Talerico). Of course, that’s where the really complicated trials and tribulations for this family of six start — but they work through it.
The storyline of “Good Luck Charlie,” in part, mimics the Baker’s life. She’s also balancing a career and motherhood. In season two (premieres on Disney Channel, Sunday, Feb 20 at 8pm ET/PT) her on-screen daughter turns two. Off the set it’s two-year-old Griffin who calls her mom. So it’s potty-training, birthday parties and the “terrible twos” both at home and at work.
Are the terrible twos as bad as they say? For Baker’s sake, let’s hope not. She’s getting a double-dose.
“It’s all perspective. You can look at their behavior as defiance or you can look at it as new-found independence. Defiance is annoying and frustrating. New-found independence can be challenging, but it is really exciting and fun at the same time,” she told Mother of Confusion.
“As your child grows and changes, so must the parent. They force us to learn different ways to communicate, negotiate and exercise patience.”
As a mom and a TV-mom, Baker has also observed some differences between boys and girls.
“I have found the girls to be very complex … advanced talkers and thinkers … with very strong opinions. Girls manage to be so sweet, savvy, fun and bossy at the same time.
“Boys on the other hand seem to be very physically active. With very strong ties to Mommy. They’re like little love bugs with no off button.”
Speaking of little love bugs, Baker’s son, Griffin, recently celebrated his second birthday.
“For Griffin’s birthday I spent way too much money on a cake that had edible characters of Rosie and Thomas. Griffin and I talked about that cake for weeks. He was so excited to see it,” Baker said.
“When the day of the party came, all he wanted to do was hold them. They melted all over him and everyone else until nothing was left. So the lesson is… just buy the actual characters and put them on the cake. That way, you can clean them off and keep them as a memento from the party.”
Of course, it wasn’t that long ago Baker was a mom-to-be sorting through parenting advice and pondering the journey to motherhood.
“Everyone says how hard it is to be a parent and that you’re really tired but no one says you can’t wait to get up to feed your child when they cry in the middle of the night. The joy so outweighs the exhaustion.”
“Good Luck Charlie” Extras!
TV-G — Sunday (8 p.m. ET/PT)
Season two will feature the first cross-over episode of “Good Luck Charlie.” The storyline features the cast of Disney Channel’s newest comedy “Shake It Up.”
“Good Luck Charlie” movie
In March, the “Good Luck Charlie” family will begin production on holiday-themed Disney Channel movie. In the movie, responsible big sister Teddy makes a snap decision that separates the family. She goes through her own version of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” to get her family to Palm Springs in time for Christmas. The movie is scheduled to premiere in winter 2011.
Season 1 “Good Luck Charlie”
If you missed season one of “Good Luck Charlie,” or want to watch it again, Netflix has it available in DVD and streaming: www.netflix.com.
Good Luck Charlie online: http://tv.disney.go.com/disneychannel/goodluckcharlie/.
Genevieve Hinson is a writer, social media coordinator, wife and mom. She’s experienced 17 years of youth entertainment as a parent and sorts through movies, TV shows, books, music, apps and more so you don’t have to. Find out what’s parent-friendly, kid-friendly or what you should run screaming from at www.motherofconfusion.com.