One Day at a Time – overcoming obstacles as a single mother

“This Is Life, the One You Get, So Go and Have a Ball!” 

 One Day at a Time starred actress Bonnie Franklin as Ann Romano, a divorced mother of two teenagers. (Napikoski, n.d.) Actress Mackenzie Phillips played daughter Julie and actress Valerie Bertinelli starred as daughter Barbara.  (Napikoski, n.d.)

“The feminism of One Day at a Time clearly presented ideas of the 1970s Women’s Liberation Movement, yet was grounded in real day-to-day situations.” (Napikoski, n.d.)

Ann Romano found herself more liberated and free than ever. After her divorce, she started a new chapter in her life and found power and independence. (Napikoski, n.d.) Moving her family to Indianapolis brought lots of issues and a lot of the stress came from the rebellious daughter, Julia. (Napikoski, n.d.)  Some of the issues that the mother of two had to face and deal with were:

  1. Sexuality
  2. Birth control
  3. Drug use
  4. Infidelity
  5. Attempted suicide
  6. Finances
  7. Marriage
  8. Harassment

“The women’s liberation movement consisted of women’s liberation groups, advocacy, protests, consciousness-raising, feminist theory and a variety of diverse individual and group actions on behalf of women and freedom.” (Napikoski, n.d.) Women were seeking change and power. As a society full of men leading the way and overpowering women was over and women didn’t want to take the back seat anymore. This show’s depiction of a women seeking a new life, dealing with children as a single parent and finding herself was a mirror of reality. One Day at a Time stands as a family of females who struggle to define themselves and discover independence, success and happiness. (Napikoski, n.d.)  This show stood on the grounds of feminism.


My perspective: Learning about this show only strengthened my idea of the feminism movement and how television was a great platform to showcase this issue. One Day at a Time brilliantly highlights the struggles a divorced mom goes through. Presenting a mother in the role as head of the household, main provider and caretaker was not common before the Liberation Movement; however, shows like this one helped paved the path for further generations. Ann Romano could do it all and dealt with controversial issues that effective society as well.

About the Actress:  Bonnie Franklin was born on January 6, 1944. She grew up in California and become an actress. She is best known for her role on One Day at a Time and has been nominated for an Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe Award. (Mills, 1987)

Mills, N. (1987). Franklin Still Making Noise, One Role at a Time. Los Angeles Times. Page 1

Napikoski, L. (n.d.). 1970s Feminist Sitcoms: One Day at a Time. Retrieved November 18, 2012, from


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