Molly Jong-Fast’s "The Mommy Diaries" in this month’s Harper’s Bazaar vs. Jill Kargman’s Momzillas

I’ve just opened my latest Harper’s Bazaar – the May 2011 issue – and while I did a double take at the cover shot of Lady Gaga, I have yet to see her photo spread because I stopped to read “The Mommy Diaries”.  I still haven’t seen Gaga’s pointy cheekbones or shoulderblades or taken in her whacky outfits, because I literally haven’t turned the page past the “Talking Point” on New York preschools.  If you don’t subscribe to Harper’s, you can read the article here.

photo by Tommy Ton/

In her article, Molly Jong-Fast exposes the competitive world of Upper East Side parenting and starts out the article by talking about the recent lawsuit filed by a NYC woman suing a $19,000 a year Upper East Side preschool for failure to prepare her four-year-old for an IQ test required for admission at private ongoing schools in Manhattan.  I was intrigued to read Jong-Fast’s article, considering that I have a copy of Jill Kargman’s “Momzillas”on my nightstand.

Momzillas: It's a jungle out there on Park Avenue, baby!

Since Momzillas was published in 2007 and Molly’s article just arrived, well, today – I thought surely there must be something new in the article, but they were surprisingly similar in content and tone.  I did a bit of a double take, especially with regard to use of the word “AFFLUENZA” which even receives a page call-out in the Harper’s article.  I’ve been reading Jill’s book and I have to say that having lived in Manhattan and had two kids (before my third) in the exact period of time that her book covers, I find myself laughing out loud at how each and every one of her stories hit home with me!  In fact, I felt at times that I wrote the book and the characters were people that I know in NYC!  (Jill, if you write a sequel, please contact me as I have a fabulous chapter on private school admissions that you would find intriguing!)

Jill Kargman
Molly Jong-Fast
Two women, both living in Manhattan, one born in ’74 (Kargman) one born in ’78 (Jong-Fast) – and both writing about momzilla, competitive, social climbing women in NYC (Kargman writing about it in ’07; Jong-Fast in ’11):

May 2011, Molly Jong-Fast in “The Mommy Diaries”:  “No longer needing to worry about food, shelter, or purse snatchers, Manhattan’s elite has moved on to different concerns.  The entire city is afflicted with a case of “affluenza”: widespread panic about there not being enough preschool spots, not enough Mandarin-speaking nannies, not enough David Netto-designed $1,600 cribs”

2007, Jill Kargman in “Momzillas”: (From the first page of the book in her “Momzillas Glossary of Terms and Conditions”) “Affluenza: Malaise of the extremely wealthy; symptoms include panic over which color Bugaboo to buy and night sweats about which $20,000 pre-preschool to apply to.  Common occurrences of dissatisfaction despite comfort of riches”

May 2011, Molly Jong-Fast in “The Mommy Diaries”: “I had been to the trunk show of frilly infant ensembles that is held at the Carlyle hotel”

2007, Jill Kargman in “Momzillas“: That’s chapter seven….but in 2007, it was in the Pierre, “we got off the elevator, a sign stood in front of us, reading Little Duke and Duchess Trunk Show, suite 2415…I beheld hordes of immaculate mothers selecting stunning clothes for their tots, who were all at home, presumably with uniformed nannies while their moms bought clothes for the following winter…the handmade lace was more intricate and well tailored than anything in my closet.  The little dentelle collars so delicate, the tiny cashmere sweaters softer than anything..”

May 2011, Molly Jong-Fast in “The Mommy Diaries”: “Having so many accomplished, intelligent, ambitious women living in such close proximity to one another was inevitably going to lead to competitiveness and shows of excess”

2007, Jill Kargman in “Momzillas”: That’s basically Chapter 1. She compares Eskimo mothers with the competitive ones living in NYC…”I bet one of the moms is looking over the other kids’ kami-kluks to see if the stitching is better.  Or if the book sack one mom made is as creatively patterned as another.  I am certain one family’s igloo is grander; another’s dogsled more impressive”..she talks about living in New York City’s Upper East Side “in the lion’s den of competitive mommies” and the proceeds to detail the specifics of the well-educated and well-bred mommies.

Molly’s article is interesting and a nice, quick read (two pages) in my favorite fashion magazine (Harper’s, who we’ve gotten press from) – I enjoyed it – but it was oddly reminiscent of Momzilla’s!  Something tells me that she’s got Momzilla’s on her shelf!

Between the two of them, they’ve got some serious summer reads!

Jill’s books:

Molly’s books:
I’m not sure if they know each other, but they seem to write about similar things.  Interesting to see the parallels between the book and this month’s article!  Enjoy perusing their collection of books!
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  1. Karena

    Melissa,I pity the poor (sorry, rich) children and the stess they must endure! Sheesh. The books could be humorous if not so very true!

    Art by Karena

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