"The diva within": Jan. 30, 2007;
See past coverage at life.tampabay.com.
THE STORY: Tracey Henry, a harried suburban mother, let out frustrations and biting observations about motherhood in the form of snarky alter ego Suburban Diva. As a 20-something, she married Sean Henry, now a Tampa Bay Lightning executive, and started a family. After giving birth to her second child and facing the death of her mother, something snapped. She needed an outlet and started writing about life through the eyes of Suburban Diva. She started a blog and published a book of columns, Suburban Diva: From the Real Side of the Picket Fence. When we profiled her, she was pregnant with her fourth child.
FROM THE STORY: Her pants are maternity and her toenail polish is chipped. She spends her days caring for her three kids in Safety Harbor. She cleans up spilled milk and discovers dog scratches in random places.
But when Tracey sits down to write her Erma Bombeck-style columns, her sophisticated alter ego bursts through. Suburban Diva dissects the day like Joan Rivers on the red carpet.
On high school car washes: "I just can't help but think Nabokov must have found his inspiration for Lolita at a Mobil station on a weekend afternoon."
On dieting: "I consider mint chocolate chip ice cream a vegetable because it comes from something green and leafy."
On ruling the roost: "Sometimes, being queen was a royal pain in the throne."
THE REST OF THE STORY: After the story, Tracey's blog hits skyrocketed. Ten days after giving birth to her daughter, Jessica "Baby Diva" Henry, she started video blogging on newbaby.com. "I was very grateful that it was from the neck up." Hewlett-Packard and Lands' End contacted her, offering free photo printers and diaper bags for Tracey to give fans. An online syndication service picked up her column (which you can read at
suburbandiva.com). Producers from television show Supernanny reached out to Tracey — they didn't think she needed an intervention, but asked her to help find people who did.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Her children are all doing well. Jessica eats and sleeps on schedule. And, "My husband and I are blissfully happy as we wave to each other between practices, school, work and pediatrician visits." Tracy, now 37, was writing a collection of columns about pregnancy, but "I was boring myself." So now, she's writing a dark humor novel centering around a suburban mom. She has been invited to attend a "mom blogger" convention at Walt Disney World this month. She's open to the idea of having another baby. She's lost a ton of weight. She's still waiting for Oprah to call.
Stephanie Hayes, Times staff writer