The best TV shows about parenting

The best TV shows about parenting

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Monday, 14th June 2021
Clockwise L-R: Trying (Credit: Apple TV), Breeders (Credit: Sky), Modern Family (Credit: Sky), Motherland (Credit: BBC)
Clockwise L-R: Trying (Credit: Apple TV), Breeders (Credit: Sky), Modern Family (Credit: Sky), Motherland (Credit: BBC)

Raising a child is both a joy and a nightmare, nothing can fully prepare you for it. Plenty of shows have taken the highs and lows of parenting and used it to entertain viewers; here are some of our favourites. 

Modern Family - Netflix

Sitcom Modern Family revolves around the lives of three diverse families living in LA, headed by matriarch Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill), along with his two children Claire (Julie Bowen) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). 

Jay has remarried a younger woman called Gloria (Sofia Vergara) who has son from a previous marriage called Manny (Rico Rodriguez). 

Claire has recently swapped being a stay-at-home mum for the business world again, which suits her competitive spirit. She is married to goofy real estate agent and amateur magician Phil (Ty Burrell). Together they have three children, ditzy, image obsessed Hayley (Sarah Hyland), intelligent, nerdy middle child Alex (Ariel Winter) and quirky, dopey youngest child Luke (Nolan Gould). 

Mitchell is an uptight lawyer married to bubbly extrovert Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and they decide to expand their family by adopting a daughter called Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons). 

These three different modern-day families try to deal with the ups and downs of life in uniquely comedic ways while always proving the importance of family. 

Motherland - BBC iPlayer

Being a parent isn’t easy and sometimes it takes a village to raise a child. Motherland takes a comedic look at the trials and difficulties of middle-class motherhood.

Without the rose-tinted glasses, the competitive and hidden face of motherhood is revealed. 

When her mum decides to stop looking after her children, highly-strung mum Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) is forced to start caring for her children much to her chagrin.

She becomes friends with blunt working-class single mum Liz (Diane Morgan) and stay-at-home dad Kevin (Paul Ready).

The trio often finds themselves at odds with the ‘alpha mums’, a group of type A mothers who are led by the superficial and acerbic queen bee mother Amanda (Lucy Punch).

This Is Us - Amazon Prime

This Is Us tells the heart-warming and emotional story of the Pearson triplets, Randall (Sterling K. Brown), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Kevin (Justin Hartley), known as 'the big three', and their parents Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore). 

Taking place in the present with the trio in their mid-30s, the series flashes back to their childhood and explores the family dynamics and growth they all experience, both individually and as a family unit.

Randall decides to search for the truth about his biological parents, Kate learns how to love herself and find direction in her life and Kevin tries to pursue a more meaningful career.

The series shows the moments of joy and heartbreak that come with raising children and discovering the kind of person you are. 

Better Things - BBC iPlayer

Sam (Pamela Adlon) is not the perfect mum, she is flawed, has no filter and is a working actress just trying to do the best for her three daughters and mum. 

Her oldest daughter is angry, her middle daughter fiery and her youngest daughter sweet, and her mum is starting to lose touch with reality. 

Juggling the pressures of Hollywood and being a single mum are not easy, but Sam is determined to face whatever comes her way with honesty and humour. 

Created by Adlon, Better Things tackles ageing, mental health and love, giving an honest look at how families work together and the way society treats women. 

The Letdown - Netflix

Audrey (Alison Bell) is the mother of a two-month-old and struggling to find the support she needs from her friends, work-focused partner and the local neighbourhood drug dealer. 

In desperation, Audrey joins an oddball mother’s group and tries to deal with changing relationships, sleeplessness, her own mother and raising a child. 

With everything changing around her, Audrey finds herself facing an identity crisis as she tries to balance the difficulties and joys of motherhood. 

The series portrays the realities of motherhood and shows that with all the best intentions, mistakes can be made and it’s all a learning curve. 

Trying - Apple TV+

Nikki (Esther Smith) and Jason (Rafe Spall) are a couple eager to become parents but are struggling to conceive their own child. 

In order to have a child, they decide their best option is to adopt, but the process won’t be easy and there will be plenty of mishaps and challenges along the way. 

With the help of their eccentric group of friends, dysfunctional family and social worker Penny (Imelda Staunton), the couple try their best to prove a baby could fit into their chaotic lives. 

Breeders - Sky One

Breeders takes an uncompromising and exposing look at parenthood and follows parents Paul (Martin Freeman) and Ally (Daisy Haggard) as they try to balance full-time careers, ageing parents and raising young children. 

Partially based on Martin Freeman’s own experience as a parent, the series explores the paradox that, although you may be willing to die for your children, you also want to kill them half the time. 

From sleepless nights to ER visits and snobbish primary school parents, Paul and Ally have to reconcile that the realities of parenthood are not the same as their expectations. 

Outnumbered - BBC iPlayer/Amazon Prime

The Brockmans are a middle-class family living in Chiswick comprised of history teacher father Pete (Hugh Dennis), personal assistant mum Sue (Claire Skinner), oldest son Jake (Tyger Drew-Honey), who’s preoccupied with girls and sarcastic comments, middle child Ben (Daniel Roche), who is hyperactive and a pathological liar and youngest child Karen (Ramona Marquez), who loves to question everything and anything. 

Outnumbered by their children, Sue and Pete struggle to keep up with them and assert their authority in the house.

To add to the constant rabble, Sue’s sister and father are constant guests and their nosy neighbours like to poke their heads in, culminating in a chaotic family life. 

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Raising a child is both a joy and a nightmare, nothing can fully prepare you for it. Plenty of shows have taken the highs and lows of parenting and used it to entertain viewers; here are some of our favourites.