The kids are grown, but Mom's still the Word

A group of Vancouver actors and moms who created an international smash hit on the theatre circuit with their quick wit and sharp humour over 20 years ago are back with their wry observations of mom-world with a new show — albeit with a few more wrinkles and grey hairs.

Mom's the Word — a play depicting the struggles and joys of new parenthood —  has been performed thousands of times in 19 countries and 14 different languages.

Now Mom's the Word 3: Nest Half Empty, which opens tonight and runs until May 6, 2017 at the Arts Club Theatre, revisits the reality of parenthood when the kids grow up.

Deborah Williams, one of the writers and actors in the show, said things have changed considerably since the first show.

"The first time round we were six very tired, overwrought theatre professionals who had new children and were losing the grasp around our careers, so we decided we could each write 10 minutes of material," she said.

"When we first started, as Deb described, we were just bumbling pathetic new mothers and the bottoms had dropped out of our careers," co-star and co-writer Robin Nichol added.

But the play touched a nerve and became a success.

Today with kids grown up, there are new challenges — a perfect opportunity, Williams says, to write.

"We're at the point where our children are making mistakes, our husbands are sick and we're dealing with some really hard stuff and we're crying. So we needed to get back together and the more we cry, the more the audience feel and laughs in recognition," she said.

Nichol says it's about putting real, difficult experiences out there in a honest way — and the humour is just in the reality of it.

"We're just laying it out there. It's theatre of recognition. Everybody feels the same way."

As for the enduring legacy of the original Mom's the Word, they credit luck and timing and the universal resonance of raising a kid.

William says, however, things seem tougher for new moms today.

"Man, those young moms have so much pressure. And all the websites! It's just an overwhelming amount of information," she said.

"The super mom problem has not gone away. But kids are resilient."

Listen to Deborah WIlliams and Robin Nichol on CBC's The Early Edition: