Tina Fey Tackles Working Mom Myths

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Mar. 9 2011, Published 12:00 p.m. ET

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When Tina Fey joins five-year-old daughter Alice for the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Bunny Hop held Tuesday at NYC’s FAO Schwarz, she’s capping off a routine day at the office, which just so happens to include starring on 30 Rock.  

The actress, 40, chronicles her experience as a working mom in the forthcoming book Bossypants.

What can we expect?

“My daughter brought home a book called My Working Mom,” says Tina, who will celebrate her ten-year anniversary with hubby Jeff Richmond in June. “It had a witch on the cover, and I was like ‘this hurts my feelings.’ She was like ‘mom, I can’t read. I thought it was a Halloween book.’”

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Ah, yes, I remember. During her Date Night premiere last April, I asked her about balancing motherhood and career, and a few days later in her Saturday Night Live monologue, she said how reporters make her feel badly when they cover such topics.

So what’s the biggest myth about being a working mom?

“The biggest thing you realize when you have a kid is how many other people in your workplace are dealing with that,” Tina says. “When you’re single, you’re like ‘let’s work ‘til 10.’ You don’t care. Once you have a kid, you’re like ‘oh yeah, if I’m exhausted because my kid was up all night with a cold, so are ten other people.’ It makes you more of a sympathetic human being.”

One co-worker who could benefit from Tina’s parenting tips is Jane Krakowski, who is expecting her first child. But she keeps quiet unless her input is wanted.

“I always try to hook them up with something like ‘a good baby nurse,’ or little things, but I only weigh in if someone asks my opinion. That’s the best way to offer it. I’m trying to think of things we’ve talked about, like whether you need a Boppy or not. I’m like ‘yes, you do need a Boppy.’”

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Although we know Tina as a comedian, her little girl doesn’t view her that way.

“I don’t think so, no. I think she thinks daddy’s funnier.”

In fact, little Alice has inherited her dad’s (and mom’s) sense of humor.

“She’s very funny,” Tina tells me. “Last night I called to check on her, and she was chanting ‘apple juice, apple juice, apple juice, apple juice’ over and over again until she got some apple juice. On 30 Rock, she is the writer behind the phrase ‘I want to go to there,’ so I have to give her credit for that.”

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Now Alice is ready to head inside, where she delights in a child’s dream soiree.

As a clown struts around on stilts and a DJ holds a dance-off to the sounds of Taio Cruz’s Dynamite, food stations serve up kid-friendly favorites like dirt cake with gummy worms (that’s chocolate pudding and oreos), cream cheese with grape jelly rollups, mini egg salad sandwich triangles, turkey and American cheese bunny sandwiches, cheddar bunnies, homemade potato chips, and macaroni and cheese with Ritz cracker crumble topping.

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Meanwhile, storybook characters including Annie and Dr. Seuss perform You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile and The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, the Easter bunny poses for photos and performers stomp out New York, New York (complete with hand claps!) on the Big Piano.

But the most striking element is the donation box, which reads “Drop Your Piggybank Change Here.” And it works: the event raises $350,000 to benefit the Pediatric Family Housing Endowment, which pays for overnight stays at nearby accommodations when children and their families come from out of town for treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s renowned Pediatric Department and are unable to afford this expense. Charity starts early, and giving back feels great.

Bossypants hits stores April 5.


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