Entertainment

32 Shows For New Moms To Watch While Being Held Hostage By A Tiny Human

You’re not leaving the couch, so here’s what to queue up.

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Ah, maternity leave. The days are full of spilled milk, baby poop and spit-up, and the nights are ravaged by hourly wake-ups. Without coffee and television to keep us awake and alert, un-showered new moms everywhere would be buried under piles of laundry.

But, if there’s one great thing to come out of the countless streaming services available, it’s the endless list of shows to binge-watch — from start to finish — while home with a newborn. There are dramas, comedies, food shows and design shows. There are crime series and anthology series. Even docuseries!

So, if you’re planning to be or are currently home in that postpartum haze, these are 32 feel-good shows to watch as you rest, feed, play, change, sleep, repeat. (Recommended by a mom who just wrapped up her own maternity leave.)

Alias

If you follow Jennifer Garner on Instagram then you’ll probably be a big fan of the show that made her a household name: Alias. In it, she plays Sydney Bristow, a secret agent who discovers her employer, SD6, is not a part of the CIA but actually an enemy organization. She goes to work undercover as a double agent with her greatest ally: fellow double agent Dad, played by Victor Garber. Watch Garner do a lot of stunts and be her ever charming self in the series, which originally ran for five seasons from 2001 to 2006.

Available on Amazon Prime

Big Little Lies

You may have missed its original run or perhaps you want to give the David E. Kelley series a rewatch. Either way, Big Little Lies is a fantastic show based on Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name about five Monterey, California moms who become wrapped up in a murder investigation. Season 2, which premiered in 2019, didn’t receive as many accolades as the first season did in 2017, but Big Little Lies as a whole is still a solid watch. It stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz and Laura Dern.

Available on HBO Max

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is one of those shows that takes a little bit to get going before it completely sucks you in. The British historical drama from creator Julian Fellowes tells the story of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era. Come for the period costumes, stay for Maggie Smith as the delightful Dowager Countess of Grantham, who steals every scene she’s in over six seasons and, now, two movies!

Available on Netflix

Cheer

With a recently released Season 2, Cheer is the perfect docuseries to watch if you’re craving physical activity but not quite ready to exercise. Doctor’s orders! The show follows the competitive cheer squads of Navarro College and Trinity Valley Community College as they work to win the coveted national title in Daytona Beach, Florida. It’s gripping and features a cast of real-life characters that will make you laugh, cry and analyze your own personal achievements.

Available on Netflix

Entourage

Entourage may have ended over a decade ago, but the comedic drama series is worth a watch if you, you know, have hours of time to spend at home … with a newborn. It stars Adrian Grenier as movie star Vince Chase, who navigates Hollywood with his best friends and take-charge agent Ari (Jeremy Piven).

Available on HBO Max

Felicity

Remember when Keri Russell cut her long curly hair and everyone lost their minds? Well, it was all during the days of Felicity. It’s a must-see coming-of-age series about college freshman Felicity Porter (Russell), who follows a boy to New York only to discover her true wants. Scott Speedman and Scott Foley co-star in this delightful love letter to youth and New York City.

Available on Hulu

Fleabag

There’s a reason Phoebe Waller-Bridge has been the talk of Tinseltown over the last few years, and it all starts with Fleabag. The stage play turned Amazon series follows a dry-witted and troubled young woman (Waller-Bridge) trying to come to terms with a recent tragedy while moving on with her life in London. Fleabag talks directly to us, the audience, as she navigates love, sex, family and grief. It ran for two seasons, the second of which swept the 2019 Emmys.

Available on Amazon Prime

Friday Night Lights

If you haven’t fallen in love with Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his wife Tami (Connie Britton) yet, what have you been doing? (Caring for a baby, right.) Friday Night Lights is an incredible series, which was overlooked during its initial run but is now revered as a classic. It centers on the rural town of Dillon, Texas, where winning the state football championship is celebrated above all else. But don’t think this is a show about football: it’s all about family. Coach Taylor supports a team of adolescent athletes while facing life’s many struggles with his wife and their teenage daughter (Aimee Teegarden). “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.”

Available on Netflix

Friends

Not much more can be said about Friends that hasn’t been said already. It’s a gem about six 20-somethings (Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc) living in New York City. Watch it, or watch it again. And again.

Available on HBO Max

Game of Thrones

The celebrated HBO fantasy series based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series follows the powerful families of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros as they the battle each other, and the undead, to conquer the Iron Throne. It stars Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington and Lena Headey, among many others, and is an absolute masterpiece. That is, until the eighth and final season. Skip that one, you’ll probably thank us later.

Available on HBO Max

Gilmore Girls

If you want to laugh, cry, smile, sob, etc., etc., please watch Gilmore Girls, starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel as a mother-daughter duo who have a relationship most parents dream of having with their teenagers. Lorelai and Rory will take you on a feel-good journey over the course of seven seasons — and a revival — that’s filled with love, family drama, coffee and quick-witted exchanges. A true delight.

Available on Netflix

The Good Place

Kristen Bell shines in The Good Place, which follows self-absorbed Eleanor Shellstrop (Bell) who arrives at the Good Place after her death instead of, well, the Bad Place. Determined to remain in the afterlife, she tries to become a better person and meets charming characters along the way.

Available on Netflix

Gossip Girl

Track the lives of privileged teens in Manhattan’s Upper East Side while you feed your newborn baby and munch on endless snacks. This show made stars out of Blake Lively and company as they navigated high school, scandals, heartache and rich-people problems. It’ll keep you entertained, that’s for sure.

Available on HBO Max

Grace & Frankie

Over the course of four seasons, Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) form a unique bond when they discover their husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, respectively) are leaving them, for each other. It’s a lot of fun and will make those hours folding laundry fly by.

Available on Netflix

The Great British Baking Show

If there’s one show that will make you feel good and very hungry at the same time, it’s The Great British Baking Show. Enjoy the early days when hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins delighted contestants as they baked, rolled, stirred, proofed and whisked away to impress judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Then, continue on with recent seasons as new judge Prue Leith and hosts Noel Fielding, Sandy Toksvig and Matt Lucas join the fold. It’s scrumptious fun! And will surely make you test out your own amateur baking skills. And eat. You’ll crave a lot of baked goods, be ready!

Available on Netflix

Grey’s Anatomy

If you’re not one of the many who are currently binge-watching some season of Grey’s Anatomy, get on with it. This show is great wallpaper TV as you go about your day changing diapers, making bottles, pumping and cleaning. Watch in delight, disgust and horror as Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and her fellow interns turned residents turned attendings cure illnesses, deal with natural disasters, complete risky surgeries and date their fellow colleagues for 17-plus seasons. You’ll most likely never run out of episodes to watch.

Available on Netflix

How I Met Your Mother

Now that How I Met Your Father is out, revisit the original, How I Met Your Mother, which follows Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) as he recounts to his children — through flashbacks — the journey he and his four best friends took leading up to him meeting their mother. A plus: all nine seasons are narrated by the late Bob Saget.

Available on Hulu

Insecure

Insecure, which just wrapped its fifth and final season, is a hilarious and touching series about two friends, Issa (Issa Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji) as they navigate their careers and love lives in Los Angeles. It’s one of the first premium cable shows to center on Black women, with Rae making it her priority to lift up voices of people of color — in front of and behind the camera. It”ll make you laugh out loud as you simultaneously sob into your sleeve of cookies.

Available on HBO Max

Love Is Blind

If reality dating shows are your thing, Love Is Blind is sure to please. The Netflix series — set to debut it’s second season on Feb. 11 — separates a group of men and a group of women in a living facility and encourages them to speed date over the course of 10 days. They get to chat as they sit in living room “pods,” but can only hear each other. No peeking! Then, if they make a match, they can choose to get engaged and finally meet each other face to face. The engaged couples get to go off on a romantic vacation before they move in together, meet each other’s parents and walk down the aisle four weeks after saying “hi.” It’s absolutely bonkers … but also, romantic? Let Lauren Speed and Cameron Hamilton convince you that this process just may work.

Available on Netflix

Maid

Personally, this miniseries kept me entertained during the first month of my own maternity leave last fall. Margaret Qualley is captivating as young single mother Alex, who escapes an abusive relationship and tries to make ends meet as a maid to provide for her toddler daughter. Based on the memoir by Stephanie Land, Maid touches on everything from poverty and mental health to generational trauma and pulls at each and every heartstring. It’s a beautiful and eye-opening reflection of motherhood and the costs women go through to protect their children.

Available on Netflix

Mare of Easttown

This Kate Winslet-fronted limited series was a standout hit following a monthslong drought of new content amid the pandemic. It tells the story of small-town Pennsylvania detective Mare Sheehan (Winslet), who grapples with family tragedy as she investigates a local murder. Winslet, of course, delivers an immaculate performance, as do Evan Peters and Jean Smart, who play her cop sidekick and mother, respectively. This series is addicting, buckle up!

Available on HBO Max

New Girl

If you haven’t watched New Girl yet, what are you waiting for?! The lovely series is about a newly single teacher (Zooey Deschanel) who moves into a Los Angeles loft with three single guys (Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield and Lamorne Morris). The 30-somethings navigate their friendships, love lives and careers in this seven-season dramedy that earned high praise — and still does — from fans and critics alike.

Available on Netflix

Parenthood

Parenthood is one of those shows that is made for maternity leave. The series, which ended in 2015, stars the likes of Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Dax Shepard and Erika Christensen as the Braverman siblings, who share in each other’s ups and downs as they raise their own children. Craig. T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia play their parents with an array of young talented actors portraying their kids. It’s heartfelt and easy-watching — à la Brothers & Sisters.

Available on Peacock

Pen15

If you’re a millennial mom, like myself, who came of age in the early 2000s, Pen15 is for you. The show is written by and stars Maya Erksine and Anna Konkle as outcast junior highs schoolers figuring out everything from love to dial-up internet and landlines. Yes, adult women play teenagers, making it all the more funny — and poignant. It ran for two seasons.

Available on Hulu

Pose

The Ryan Murphy series, set against the backdrop of New York’s underground ballroom scene of the 1980s and ’90s, made history with its casting in 2017, featuring the largest cast of LGBTQ and transgender actors in series regular roles. It stars Billy Porter as house ball emcee Pray Tell and MJ Rodriguez as performer Blanca, who’s confronting a positive HIV diagnosis. Rodriguez became the first trans actress to win a Golden Globe earlier this year for the role. Pose, which at its core is about connection and community, ended in June 2021 after three seasons.

Available on Netflix

Queer Eye

If you’re looking to smile and feel inspired at the same time, Queer Eye is your show. The reboot of the early aughts’ Queer Eye for the Straight Guy follows the new Fab Five — Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness — as they apply their expertise to help each episode’s “hero” improve their lifestyle. It’s a pure delight and will make you second guess your own self-care regimen, honey!

Available on Netflix

Schitt’s Creek

If Schitt’s Creek hasn’t been on your radar, well, ew, David! The hilarious comedy series from Dan Levy will brighten any stressful, baby-cry filled day as it documents the shenanigans of the once rich Rose family, who fall from grace and end up living at a dilapidated motel in a town they once purchased as a joke. Levy stars alongside his real-life dad Eugene Levy, the outlandish Catherine O’Hara and his on-screen sister Annie Murphy in this Emmy-winning show. As they say, laughter is the best medicine.

Available on Netflix

Sex and the City

Skip the revival And Just Like That, watch the original. Sex and the City is a classic and a great series to rewatch again and again. Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis as four 30-something women living in New York City, the show is an honest dissection of love, heartbreak, friendship and, uh, well, sex.

Available on HBO Max

Sweet Magnolias

With a newly released Season 2, Sweet Magnolias is a great option for all your entertainment needs. It follows, you guessed it, another group of lifelong friends in the Southern town of Serenity as they face the challenges of motherhood, marriage and work. It’s Hallmark meets Netflix, making it ideal for those healing days at home with baby. JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Brooke Elliott and Heather Headley star.

Available on Netflix

This Is Us

This Is Us, set to end its six season run this spring, is the perfect watch for any and all parents. It follows the Pearson clan throughout various decades of their lives as it toils with the true meaning of family. Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia star as parents Rebecca and Jack, while Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz and Sterling K. Brown play their children — “the Big Three” — Kate, Kevin and Randall. The NBC show will make you ugly cry and literally run out of tissues, but it’s worth every empty box.

Available on Peacock and Hulu

Virgin River

Like Sweet Magnolias, Virgin River is just good for the soul. Based on the book series by Robyn Carr, the show stars Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe, a nurse practitioner and midwife who moves to a small town to cope with a personal tragedy. There, she meets local bar owner and veteran Jack Sheridan (Martin Henderson) and the two fall in and out of love over the course of three going on four seasons. It’s a cozy show, perfectly paired with newborn snuggles.

Available on Netflix

Workin’ Moms

If you want to amp up the mom experience while home with your new addition, Workin’ Moms is incredibly, and terrifyingly, relatable. The Canadian sitcom is about four women in a mommy-and-me group who are returning to work after maternity leave. They’re each trying to have it all, which us moms know is not always attainable. This show will make you shake your head and cringe in agreement as it features breastfeeding, bedtime, childcare, postpartum depression and anxiety. Ah, the joys of motherhood!

Available on Netflix

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