In Tina Fey’s essay, “Confessions of a Juggler,” published in the February 14, 2011 issue of The New Yorker, she writes about the stress of being a mother who works, and how the worst question someone can ask is her is if she plans on having another baby. Contemporary families are interesting topics, and there are many people balancing family life and careers. It’s hard. It’s demanding. It’s often unfair.
My question is why Tina Fey? Is Fey supposed to connect to readers? Are we supposed to be inspired by her or feel sorry for her? The point of Fey’s essay is overshadowed by her celebrity. She says she’s in the last five minutes, and what she means is the last five years of having a productive career in film/TV and being able to have another child. The way she writes the essay it seems like she is a single mom and not someone who is married and can afford housekeepers, nannies, etc. Being in the last five minutes of a successful film/TV career is something a lot of us can’t understand, and will never have. Okay, it’s the last five minutes, but what about the rest of her time in front of the spotlight? Maybe that accomplishment is something to feel good about.
On the other hand, I wonder what this piece would look like if it were written by someone from the service industry? What struggles would that woman face compared to the anxiety Tina Fey faces when a person asks about having another baby? I understand that the piece is supposed to be funny. At times it is, but somewhere along the way it loses its focus. At the end, Fey receives the advice: either way everything will be fine. Something the reader has known from the start.