Chicago mom: Why Amy Poehler is a great role model for smart girls

Tina Fey is amazing. I loved “Bossypants.” I think she’s great. But I must confess that, at the end of the day, I am an even bigger fan of her blonde buddy, Amy Poehler.

At first I thought that I liked Amy better because we’re both Virgos. Tina Fey is a Taurus. She’ll never get me and my neuroses like Amy does.

Or that we’re both really short. Amy is 5’2″ so still taller than I am, but closer to my size than a vast majority of the population.

Then I thought maybe it was because I have a total girl crush on Leslie Knope, the Midwestern heroine of “Parks & Rec.”

I finally realized what it was that truly pushed me over the edge from Team Tina and on to Team Amy: Smart Girls at the Party.

If you’ve heard of Smart Girls at the Party, it’s probably easier to understand my Amy Poehler adoration.

If you haven’t, you should know that the mission of Smart Girls at the Party is “to help young women and the young at heart with the process of cultivating their authentic selves. We change the world by being ourselves, and being ourselves is a life-long quest.” As a mom raising a tween girl in this wacky world and as a woman working hard to live life in the best, happiest way possible, how could I not love that?

Smart Girl videos on YouTube are wide ranging, including Ask Amy in which Poehler offers advice based on questions submitted by girls, and interviews women who changed the world by being themselves. Smart Girls videos are awesome for the many important messages they convey:

Smart is powerful

Smart Girls features female politicians, doctors, skateboarders and artists. She finds women who defy stereotypes, who have made an impact on their community and who are simply fascinating. I’m grateful for the ability to introduce my daughter to these amazing role models via Amy Poehler’s interviews with them.

Smart is fun

Poehler’s interviews are very insightful, but they also end with a dance party to a theme song with the line “Smart girls have more fun.” I worry that our girls think smart also means boring. This whole show refutes that.

Smart is nice

Smart Girls also launched Operation Nice this summer. I love the idea of girls feeling empowered to embrace and share their voice with the world while doing good at the same time. I love the message that girls don’t just have to be bossy to get somewhere in the world. It also seems to recognize the fact that people often feel better about themselves when they are helping others.

I love sharing the videos with my daughter. They are so good for her to see. But they are so good for me, too. And yes, I do watch them alone also. Because they’re awesome and because I’m pretty sure Amy would not think less of me for doing so. Smart Girls at the Party makes me laugh and makes me think.

In an interview with artist Judy Baca, Poehler says, “you can be a smart girl at any age.”

The videos remind me to embrace myself. We talk so much about helping our daughters love their bodies, find their passions and manage stress, but moms need to do all those things, too.

Thanks for the important reminders and info, Amy. And I bet your BFF Tina would say the same.

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