Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tina Fey Works It

Step down Tiger Mom. Your 15 minutes of fame are almost over. The next hot topic to dominate parent dinner conversations is the amusing essay "Confessions of a Juggler" by Tina Fey in this week's issue of The New Yorker. Fey's dilemma is whether to have a second child before it's too late. She claims that "science shows that fertility and movie offers drop off steeply for women after forty."

Fey begins and ends her essay with a book that her preschool daughter brings home from the library. It's a picture book called My Working Mom, and it sends Fey into a tizzy. Did her daughter select the book because she is traumatized by the hours she works?

First published in 1994, My Working Mom tells the story of a witch mother kept busy experimenting in her lab and flying off on her broomstick to meetings. The witch's child isn't crazy that her mother has to work, but she accepts it. Reviews of the book on Amazon speak volumes. Readers (mostly working moms, surprise, surprise) seem to love it ("a great book" "conveys the message without being too preachy") or hate it ("working moms beware" "offended and disgusted"). I don't have a copy, but I intend to pick one up asap.

(Spoiler alert!)

Fey goes on to explore the pros and cons of having a second child relatively late in life. After many anxious, sleepless nights, she takes her worries to her gynecologist, who assures her that, "Either way, everything will be fine." Fey finds comfort in this, and that night, asks her daughter why she choose My Working Mom. Fey asks:

"Did you pick this book because your mommy works? Did it make you feel better about it?" She looked at me matter-of-factly and said, "Mommy, I can't read. I thought it was a Halloween book."



  1. I got to the end of your post and laughed! I love her daughter's matter of fact statement. I've read "My Working Mom," before, but I'll take a look at it again. Tedd Arnold's illustrations are always humorous and inviting.

  2. I loved that last line as well. It made the essay.