Mead-Ferro, Muffy 1960–
Mead-Ferro, Muffy 1960–
PERSONAL: Born 1960, in Jackson Hole, WY; married Michael Ferro (second husband); children: Belle, Joe.
ADDRESSES: Home—Salt Lake City, UT. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Da Capo Press, 11 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142.
CAREER: Writer. Has worked as an advertising copywriter and creative director.
Confessions of a Slacker Mom, Da Capo Lifelong Books (Cambridge, MA), 2004.
Confessions of a Slacker Wife, Da Capo Lifelong Books (Cambridge, MA), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Muffy Mead-Ferro decided not to forego her career in advertising when she began having kids, but she also consciously chose not to follow other working moms in trying to overachieve in the home as well as at work. This philosophy led her to write her first book, Confessions of a Slacker Mom, in which she describes how she decided to lessen her time devoted to housework and the kids while striving to find time for herself. "A lot of women call it selfish unless you're constantly putting your kids' needs first," the author noted to Peg Tyre in a Newsweek article posted on MSNBC.com. "But I think that's just bogus." Mead-Ferro is not the only one who thinks so; in an article about the author and other "slacker" moms, University of Michigan professor Susan Douglas told USA Today Web site contributor Kim Painter: "There is something like an incipient mother's movement out there," Douglas adding that "Mothers are really saying that they have had it with these standards of perfection."
In the book, Mead-Ferro uses her own experiences and a good deal of humour to describe her life as a slacker mom. She discusses everything from dealing with overachieving moms like the one who wanted to memorialize her child's first meal of peas in a scrapbook to her old-fashioned spanking of her kids. In a review of Confessions of a Slacker Mom, in Library Journal, Mirela Roncevic called the author "quirky and unpretentiously honest." Describing the book as being about a mom who "has decided to opt out of the super-mom race," Jennifer Huget, writing in the Washington Post, noted that "Mead-Ferro might sound callous were it not for her wicked sense of humor."
Mead-Ferro furthers her ruminations on her family duties as she sees them in Confessions of a Slacker Wife. The author once again uses humor to address the issue of society's emphasis on having a "perfect" life and on the burden women face to see that perfection come to fruition. As in her previous book, she discusses chores but also a host of other societal demands, including the psychological ones stressed by magazine publishers who present an idealized version of reality for women to try and achieve. The ten essays also include a look at dirty houses, the idea of having breast implants, and the possibility of her and her husband sleeping in separate beds. In addition, she talks about growing up on a ranch in Wyoming and her mother's less-than-meticulous approach to housework. A Publishers Weekly contributor felt that Mead-Ferro meets the "terrific" standards set by her previous book and called Confessions of a Slacker Wife "a refreshing complement to the hundreds of titles out there that explain how to do it all perfectly."
Mead-Ferro told CA: "I had wonderful childhood. My first book, Confessions of a Slacker Mom, was not so much a criticism of modern parenting as it was a love letter to my own mother, who died several years before the book was published. I'm so grateful to her and to my father for raising me to be self-sufficient and to think for myself. I only hope I can be the kind of parent they each were.
"Confessions of a Slacker Wife was written in response to the surprise (and dismay) I feel about the emphasis my generation of women places on certain 'wifely' things—cleaning, decorating, competitive entertaining. It seems odd that my generation of women, the most educated so far, the one with the most professional experience yet, apparently cares more about these things than our mothers and grandmothers ever did.
"I try to write with humor; however, because I personally have fallen prey to all of the social foibles I write about, I also enjoy laughing at myself."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Mead-Ferro, Muffy, Confessions of a Slacker Mom, Da Capo Lifelong Books (Cambridge, MA), 2004.
Mead-Ferro, Muffy, Confessions of a Slacker Wife, Da Capo Lifelong Books (Cambridge, MA), 2005.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2005, review of Confessions of a Slacker Wife, p. 215.
Library Journal, April 15, 2004, Mirela Roncevic, review of Confessions of a Slacker Mom, p. 110.
Publishers Weekly, February 21, 2005, review of Confessions of a Slacker Wife, p. 168.
Washington Post, May 11, 2004, Jennifer Huget, "Here Comes Slacker Mom," p. HE01.
MSNBC.com, http://www.msnbc.com/ (February 13, 2005), Peg Tyre, "Meet the Slacker Mom."
USA Today Online, http://www.hyper-parenting.com/usatoday2.htm/ (May 4, 2004), Kim Painter, "Moms Swing from Super to 'Slacker'."