13 x 30min Documentary TV Series
Created by: Haydn Wazelle & Angela Konieczny
Bye, Bye Baby is a character driven documentary series following new families during the inevitable experience of returning to work after being on parental leave. The weeks leading up to turning ones baby over to the daycare is a life altering experience captured by this informative and entertaining doc series.
Tonal Ref: Bringing Home Baby, Birth Stories, and A Baby Story
Target Audience: Parents 25-45; female skewed
Beverly sits at her desk, staring blankly at a computer monitor. Now an unfamiliar place, but formerly the site of hours of uninterrupted work. Her co-workers have made a concerted effort to keep the workload light, at least for this week: basic data entry. But Beverly can’t seem to focus. She’s done this job countless times before, but today is different. Today isn’t basic. Her mind is elsewhere, consumed by the haunting voice of her one year old daughter still ringing in her ears: ‘Mama. No! MAMA!’
A tear rolls down her cheek. Her heart races. She grabs her purse and rises. Stops. Then sits back down. This is Beverly’s first day back at work after being home with her baby girl for the last year. This morning was the first time that she dropped her daughter off at the daycare, and although she put on a brave face for her child, she can no longer hold back the emotions and guilt of having to say, ‘Bye, Bye Baby’.
In 2009–2010 there were 159,588 maternity and parental claims in Canada via Employment Insurance; 84% of all maternity claims were made by women aged between 25 and 44. The number of adoptive parental claims were 1,026.
Inspired by the success of documentary series like Bringing Home Baby and Birth Stories, Bye, Bye Baby will continue the education and entertainment of parents by showcasing another phase of parenthood. At the beginning of each episode we will meet a parent only weeks away from turning their beloved baby over to the daycare. As they prepare to go back to work, we’ll hear about their experiences of being a parent during the first year, their life and work before their child was born, and their feelings about returning to the workforce. We’ll watch as they prepare for the life altering transition, and inevitably explore their options. Some will go back to an office with open arms, others will return unceremoniously, some just won’t be able to leave their baby- but for all… it will be a momentous occasion. For those who return to the office- we’ll spend the day with them, without their baby for the first time.
All parents dread the idea of leaving their children under the care of a stranger, but also crave the opportunity to spend more time with peers, or contribute to the household income. Some will simply choose not to return to work, and rather continue to nurture their child at home; however, most won’t have a choice, as many families will require two incomes to pay the bills.
Our subjects will all find that they face similar options: stay at home to provide constant parental support; go back to work full time/part-time; work from home and balance the challenges of raising a child “at the workplace”. The drama of the series, and what will ultimately make each episode unique will be how different families, from different backgrounds (cultural, regional and economic), choose between the above options, and their rationale behind their choices. This is a very emotional decision, especially for new mothers who often experience separation anxiety and fear the prospect of having someone else “raise” their baby; quite often this choice is made entirely for economic reasons.
46 per cent of women surveyed by Corporate Mothers said that they felt less confident about their ability to do their job than before maternity leave; this was due primarily to the life-transforming event that often goes unacknowledged in some workplaces: new parents become new people. Their values, ambitions, priorities, and general outlook on life dramatically shift.
It’s important to note that “the mother’s employment status does have effects on families and children, but few of these effects are negative ones. Indeed, most seem positive: higher academic outcomes for children; benefits in their behavioural conduct and social adjustment; and the higher sense of competence and effectiveness in daughters.” Even though armed with information such as this, parents around the world still find this transition “traumatic”, and capturing this experience empathetically will be the goal of the series. Bye, Bye Baby will offer parents-to-be and parents preparing for this transition an educational experience that one can only take from peers; and at the same time bring relief and entertainment to parents who have gone through this life-transforming event, allowing them the opportunity to appreciate that they are not alone.