Tina Fey’s Straight-Talk About Motherhood

Tina Fey's Straight-Talk About Motherhood

Tina Fey doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to discussing the tenuous balance of career and motherhood. In an article she penned for this week’s New Yorker, the 30 Rock star talks about the myth of the perfect parent.

“It is less dangerous to draw a cartoon of Allah French-kissing Uncle Sam…than it is to speak honestly about [working moms],” writes Tina, who is mom to five-year-old daughter Alice with hubby Jeff Richmond.

Tina says she constantly has to deal with the “accusatory eyes” of those who question her ability to juggle career and parenting. “Sometimes I just hand them a juicy red apple I’ve poisoned in my working-mother witch cauldron and fly away,” she quips. “There’s another great movie idea! Baby Versus Work: A hard-working baby looking for love (Kate Hudson) falls for a handsome pile of papers (Hugh Grant). I would play the ghost of a Victorian poetess who anachronistically tells Kate to ‘go for it.'”

The Emmy-winner also takes on the double-standard in Hollywood for women of a certain age. “I know older men in comedy who can barely feed and clean themselves, and they still work,” she writes. “The women, though, they’re all [considered] ‘crazy.’”

Filed under: Alice Richmond,Celebrity Kids,Celebrity Moms,Tina Fey

Photo credit: Flynet

  • Helene78

    Tina- you think too much of yourself. Go eat that poisoned apple yourself. There are just as many “accusatory looks” given to women who choose to walk away from their careers to be stay at home moms. The vitriol comes from both sides.

    When one finds out you abandoned a lucrative career to be the primary caretaker to your child the reactions are akin to having to just admitted to shaving your head and drinking Jim jones kool aid.

    I am thrilled with my choice and never once judge those that do otherwise. unless they make grandiose attempts to alleviate obvious guilt. Do what you want but please stop with this falsely perceived persecution.

  • Anonymous

    Nice try Helene, but you just judged Tina way more than she judged you. Not mentioning the challenges of SAHMs (or single moms or SAHDs or…) does not equal judging them. She’s talking about the challenges she faces. They’re different than yours. Get over it.

    • Donna K

      Read the entire article in the new yorker. There is plenty of judgement spewing from her mouth. Her guilt speaks volumes. Furthermore her pathetic attempt at lacing it with sardonic humor only reinforces her doubts !

      So does your ultra sensitive post to Helene.

      You “get over it”. ( what are you two years old to use that phrase)?

      • Anonymous

        I agree with you, Donna. Nice to see a mature post for a change!

        • Lisa

          I agree with Donna and Helene there is nothing wrong with what either said. It seems like anonymous who was being the judgmental one to Helene.

    • Anonymous sahm

      This is only a snippet of her opinion. The entire article is available online and I am not sure if that is what Helene is referencing. However if so, Tina does state that she feels she is judged by stay at home moms and gets accusatory eyes

      She continues to judge women as a whole. Please go read the piece before you attack.

      • Helene78

        I was referring to both this piece and the full article. She is not fair in her portrayal of moms as a whole. Sorry but as others have said, I have a right to my opinion as does she.

  • Tara

    Sorry anonymous. Got to agree with Donna you seem to be the touchy one here.

  • Erin

    I’m backing Anonymous on this…the lack of mention doesn’t equal judgement. Fey shares her experiences, I wouldn’t expect her to speak for others in a different situation. She may feel that not being a working mom is easier (she is entitled to her opinion), but the grass is always greener…obviously there are pros and cons to both. If there weren’t everyone would be doing it the same way.

    On a seperate topic, it can be discouraging to read all the negativity people post in the comments sections online. I can seem kind of catty (my opinion, I’m entitled to it). To all who read this – peace and happiness. Share a smile/positive energy today and someone will share it back with you.

  • atd

    Thank you, Erin. It can be upsetting to read such negativity.
    Women are judged. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. Tina Fey is speaking about her experience with that. Is she not allowed to have feelings on her life and her experience?
    I just can’t find fault with a person who says being a woman can be hard. Because no matter how much stuff or fame you have, being a woman can be hard.

    • Tracy

      Being a woman is truly no harder than being a decent human being. I find it deferential to the argument at hand here. I am a working mom, but I went to read the entire piece as suggested by others.

      Tina is a tad defensive throughout the piece and she does use humor to deflect the sensitive subject matter. This leads one to conclude she is not that thoroughly confident in her choices.

      • Anonymous

        Good point, Tracy.

      • esf

        Um…, well, yeah, Tracy, that was the whole point of the article. If she was confident about it, she wouldn’t have written it. She makes no conlusion. She doesn’t say one way is right. She weighs each side of the argument. However, it is quite a different situation for a woman who is literally responsible for the livelihood of over 200 people, and is also in the position of helping hundreds of other women stay employed. And please forgive the rest of this. It has nothing to do with your comment.

        Having said that, I am personally confused why so many sahms are upset about this. She doesn’t mention sahms at all…anywhere. She references a book called “My Working Mom” (written by two men) that presents the image of working mothers as witches. This did put her in a defensive posture. Of course it did. I’m curious, is that what the sahms think? Working mothers are witches? Because I really can’t imagine any other reason to be upset. Do you really believe that a person shouldn’t be upset at being considered a witch for working? It’s very similar to these sahms who think they are being attacked. They are all now defensive. That’s what people do. She’s not talking at all about stay at home mothers, she’s talking about her own choices. And again, she doesn’t say that one is right or wrong.

        That whole sections last a couple of paragraphs. The real bulk of the article is about having a second baby. Here she is pushing back against people who tell her she should. One of which is a working mother (a doctor).

        So, forgive me everyone. I just don’t understand how a working mother trying to reconcile her own issues becomes a complete attack on stay at home mothers everywhere. Huh? That doesn’t make sense. Unless, those sahms are not secure in their own choices.

        • United mom

          Again it’s all subjective. That is your interpretation of what the article says. I presume by your tone, you are a mother who works outside the home. Thus you are going to be pro, ms fey’s point. Obviously a stay at home mother will take issue with her referencing that she is thought of as a “witch” by those who remain at home.

          Furthermore I must state I REALLY DISLIKE THE TERM “working mother”. Whilst I am one who works outside the home, I think it is offensive to those that do not. Believe me I can guarantee they are indeed “working moms” as well. I used to think otherwise, until I had to spend two months sabbatical at home for personal reasons. It truly awakened my sensitivities to these women whose entire day to day activity revolves around their child. I am amazed and never appreciated it before.

          I read the article in it’s entirety, I have to say Tina is making generalizations that are a tad unbalanced towards the plight of the sahm.

        • Jessie

          “However, it is quite a different situation for a woman who is literally responsible for the livelihood of over 200 people, and is also in the position of helping hundreds of other women stay employed. And please forgive the rest of this. It has nothing to do with your comment.”

          That was her choice of a career. And it is rather egotistical of her to think their livelihood rests solely on her shoulders. Many of those employed by Her show have been writers, crew and staff members for over 20 years.

          She chose to have a child as well, ultimately something suffers, and since I am guessing with her 3 Emmys, her career is the thing not adversely affected by her choice.

          • Anonymous

            Agree 100% jessie

          • Anonymous

            I am reading this correctly? Because she has a successful career therefore her child is adversely affected? That seems a particularly harsh accusation.

            You want to know why it’s so hard being a women? Because we are so damn hard on each other.

          • Anony-mommy

            If she works on a serial comedy as an actress and writer, her hours are extremely long. In order to be successful at it you need to dedicate large chunks of time to it. Therefore the child does not get the attention they crave.

            So they end up being adversely affected.

  • Vikki

    I am on Helene’s side with this argument. I have been in both positions. And Tina does come off on the defensive in the new yorker.

  • Diva-Mommy

    I want Tina to pass away, like big time. Tina is a pathetic person and mother and whats with that statement about Allah kissing Uncle Sam.. please show some respect to other peoples beliefs BITCH!.

    Im sure she has made enough money to look after her kids, I am sick of these working bitches who pop out kids and then get others to raise them… raise your own offspring or just dont reproduce. Its that simple.

    • Tara

      Diva mommy while in general I agree with your sentiment about her attitude towards stay at home moms, Your language completely negates any support I can give you.

      There is a better way to express your displeasure.

      • Diva-Mommy

        Yeah Tara, I went overboard :) (its that time of the month)

  • Anonymous

    DivaMommy clearly is jealous of women with children who work outside of the home. There can be no other explaination for her childish, immature, and absurd post. My career is breast cancer research — I have been doing it for 20 years and we are just starting a second clinical trial testing what may be a new therapy for women with the most aggressive form of breast cancer based on findings that came from my lab. According to DivaMommy I apparently only had 2 choices — continue my work and forgo having children because I don’t deserve the wonderful aspects of raising a child if I can’t be there all day or quit my job which I feel is important and hopefully will someday lead to something that betters human life to stay home all day. I beg to differ — between my husband and my schedules, we have arranged it so she as pre-school for only 6 hours a day of which 2 are spent napping and I feel it is super important to show my daughter that one day she can both raise wonderful children and do something that will give back to society. My super smart sister stay home and has raised 3 wonderful and smart children and I think that’s great, but I certainly don’t think that what I have done is wrong either.

    • Tara

      As a 34 yr old woman, who just had a double mastectomy and is currently undergoing chemotherapy, I applaud your work and the sacrifices you have made. Hopefully one day there will be a cure for this disease that took the life of my mother, her mother and her sister.

      Diva mommy is trying to be provocative, but all she has accomplished to do is undermine the true argument here. She has shown herself to be ignorant, uneducated and juvenile. So let’s move on from there.

      I agree that your work is vital and that you must continue your efforts. Yet I have to say as a woman who gave up an equally important career, I find there is an urgent need for parents to be much more involved in their childrens lives if financially possible. In a world where we have shows such as skins being heralded for being “cutting edge and jarring” the importance of parental guidance is crucial.

      I will say something very unpopular here, but aside from cases such as yours and those who MUST WORK to pay the bills, I firmly believe a mother should remain at home with the child until they are at least in school. I know I will be bombarded with angry posts, stating I am sexist. But I stand by my position. A child thrives under the individualized care of a parent. It is not something so readily afforded one when they are just a name amongst a number of children in
      a daycare setting. I think a child gains a sense of accountability and confidence, knowing their mother finds them to be the priority in their lives. At the age of 2,3,4,5- do they really grasp that mom is doing something valuable by leaving for work every morning? I am not sure. What I do know is that my son has no doubts about my commitment to him and at this point in his life, all that matters to him is that I am there to give him a hug, dry his tears and be virtually his personal slave;)

      Anyway- again thank you for your efforts on behalf of women everywhere. Moms who work out of the home, and those that work within the home are grateful to you.

      • Anonymous

        See this is a response I can respect and appreciate. It is not judgmental it is from her heart. Maybe some of these other sahm can take a hint, and also some of us working moms too.

    • Diva-Mommy

      @ TARA + ANO

      Firstly I am not ignorant. I have a double degree (BSc Chemistry + Biomedical Science) I also have a minor in Molecular Biology. I have two children aged 3 yrs and 7 mths. Currently I am a stay at home mommy on maternity leave. I wrote that post because I was very upset.

      I did not like her comment about Allah french kissing for I am muslim. I found it very very insulting and disrespectful.

      Anon I dont have anything against working mothers infact. I want to work at a childrens hospital, in the research department (infant and childhood diseases). I love children and have a very big soft spot for NBs.

      My comment was nasty because Tina has no right to make nasty comments like that about God. I respect mothers who work for example doctors, engineers etc.. I also have big respect for single moms and mothers who need to work to keep up with the morgtage and bills.

      However I can not stand people like Tina, they are rich (they have money that you cant imagine) are never home are all ways out of town. Have nannies bring up their children. Tina’s job is not a job that helps society. Tina doesnt need to work because she has to support her children. Tina’s job is merely fun and games. Its like a hobby or something its not life saving etc and she doesnt need the money so why have kids If you cant be bothered being their mother.

      If she wants to make a point about something there is no need to make mockery of a religion.

      I dont want nasty comments about my grammer or spelling english is my second language.

      • Tara

        I apologize for calling you ignorant. I know how passionate I feel about staying home with my child so understand the heat of the moment.

        It’s just that nasty comments and foul language does not allow one to truly get to the root of the issue. It affords one with a counter view to discredit your right away. As I said at it’s core I am 100% behind your argument. But name calling gets us no where.

        Personally, as much as I dislike tina, I don’t think she meant to say derogatory comments about Anyones religion. She saves her vitriol for conservatives And Catholics as she has proven in the past. She grew up and went to school in upper Darby, PA and attended high school with my sister- she had a reputation of feeling superior back then as she does now.

        Anyway let’s stop with the name calling.

        • Diva-Mommy

          I just wrote a reply and then when I was about to send it off my internet got disconnected. Doh!!

        • Diva-Mommy

          Dear Tara, I have no words to express how sorry I am that your health is not 100% at the moment. I hope you can beat it. You sound like a fighter ( I will include you in my prayers tonight).

          I know I should use bad language but I couldnt control my temper.

          Being a mom is very hard, I want another bub.. but then what about my career… aagggrrhh I wish I could have both, at the same time. I chose to stay at home, I saw what it does when mothers go back to work asap.

          My sister went back to work just after 2 months, my mother and I looked after my niece until she started school.. It really affected my sister and her daughter.

          My niece would cry after me, but never cried when her mother left her for work, she also called her nanna mommy. My niece called my sister by her first name for example say my sisters name was Bec, my niece would call her Mommy Bec, and would call her nanna Mommy Nanna.

          I saw first hand what emotional wreck my sister and niece were in. Now my sister cant have anymore children. I promised my self that when I have kids I will not leave them at such a important stage. I kept my promise,, I will stand by them until they start school and then work.

          Yes sometimes I do get jealous… like if I bump into a old classmate and find out they work at a very posh place, have posh cars, posh homes, posh hair and clothes lols I cant even brush my hair.. I have to wait til hubby gets home from work to do me time things. I am human I do get jealous, but when my little puddings give me a smile and look into my eyes and give me the look of pure adornation. It takes away all that what if’s.

          My babies are my oxygen, I live for them.. I live because of them.

          • Diva-Mommy

            >>>>I meant ( should’nt use bad language )<<<

          • Diva-Mommy

            I also meant (adoration) man i spell bad, i should start reading novels.

          • Tara

            Thanks for your well wishes diva mommy. I appreciate the prayers, I am taking each day as they come. My mom died when I was fourteen. But they have made many more advances in breast canc research in the past 20 yrs so i am cautiously optimistic. My son is my cure all tonic. I accidentally came upon this site the other day while sitting with my iPad at the hospital. Thought it would be a brainless diversion. But boy do we mommies get passionate. Not so thrilled with some of the unnecessary and arbitrary banter but, hey it keeps it interesting.

            As moms we all face a struggle. I knew that I would always give my career up to be with my son. Becoming ill was not the catalyst. I fervently believe a young child needs to focused attention of their mother, plain and simple.

            That being said it’s never an easy decision either way, but one thing I have learned, life is short- you can never get the years back and the one person I want to be the lightning rod for my Childs moral, ethical, social and emotional well being is me, not a third party

            I wish you well and know that one day you will find peace with your choices whatever they are.

          • Tara

            One last point. I know there will be those mothers who ask, why have a child with a health history like yours. That is a very valid argument. But when I was tested to see if I carried the BRCA gene it came back negative. I would never have had a child if that test came back positive.

            The cancer did not show up until a year after my sons birth. I know this is not part of the topic at hand but believe me I have been confronted about getting pregnant while knowing the disease had such a strong connection in my familial lineage.

          • Vikki

            You are too kind, if someone was that ignorant to question my right to have a child, I would tell them where to stick it. Although I know it indeed happens more often than not.

            I like your posts, you seem like you have a good head on your shoulders.

            God bless

          • Diva-Mommy

            Thanks for your best wishes Tara. Some ladies are very bitter here. I like this website, but sometimes i get very annoyed.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, I just think Tina Fey is feeling guilty. She works INSANE hours by her own admission. She has NO work life balance and I am sure she and Alice and her husband suffer for that in terms of quality of life in many ways. BUT it is her decision, and I respect it, even if I personally find it incomprehensible. Who am I to tell anyone how to live or what the best choices for THEIR family are. But I also think those guys who wrote the book about a working witch mom a) may not have actually meant anything by the fact she was a witch (they are pretty cool after all) and b) will be thrilled with all this free publicity.

  • Annika

    Hello guys, I have just finished reading all the posts. I must admit, I did not make an effort to read the whole article as she disgusted me with her first very sentence. I don’t watch her show, so I don’t really know her but I wanted to share my opinion and experience with you.
    I just simply COULD NOT leave my baby with anybody else when he was little.
    I would have rather lived on bread and water than leaving him with somebody else. That’s just me. I would have been terribly anxious and terribly guilty.
    Then again, I’m not a movie star, I can’t possibly put myself into their shoes.
    I find it hilarious though, when brand-new celebrity mothers rush back to make a movie/ to do their show as if they were irreplaceable. Everybody is replaceable. As much as we love certain actors, there are still MANY great, talented actors out there who could do just as a good job!
    They end up missing out on so many precious, beautiful moments of their babies’/children’s lives, which they never get back. And WHY? Because of their inflated ego, really.

  • homebase

    It’s very exiting to find your celebritybabyscoop.com blog.
    I have to say that it’s a great blog! I like how detailed each of the entries are. They are well balanced, both informative and entertaining, and the pictures are great too.

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