Chirlane McCray’s NY Mag Feature Is The Realest Thing I Ever Read About Motherhood

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<> on January 1, 2014 in New York City.

Far too many moms are afraid to admit that motherhood is harder and way more annoying than it looks and many moms need time away from their bundles of joy, but you’d never hear them say it out loud.

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New York Magazine did a cover story on NYC Mayor, Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray and during one small part of the interview, McCray admitted that she didn’t initially fall head over heels in love with motherhood:

“I was 40-years-old. I had a life. Especially with Chiara–will we feel guilt forever more? Of course, yes. But the truth is, I could not spend every day with her. I didn’t want to do that. I looked for all kinds of reason not to do it. I love her. I have thousands of photos of her–every 1-month birthday, 2-month birthday. But I’ve been working since I was 14, and that part of me is me. It took a long time for me to get into ‘I’m taking care of kids’ and what that means.”

This is the quote that New York Daily News and New York Post decided to hold on to and created offensive headlines (“Didn’t want to be a mom” and “I Was A bad Mom” to sensationalize one of the realest things about motherhood that I’ve ever read: “It took a long time for me to get into ‘I’m taking care of kids’ and what that means.” I appreciated reading McCray’s very hard-to-express words and found it refreshing that she could be so honest about motherhood, even if it wasn’t favorable.

McCray’s hubby, Bill de Blasio was angered when he spotted the unfavorable headlines and demanded an apology from the media. “I think both the Post and the Daily News owe Chirlane an apology,” de Blasio said. “I think they owe all of us an apology for absolutely misrepresenting what she said and for caricaturing a reality that I think so many women face. I love my wife very deeply. She is an extraordinary mother. She always has been. She very much wanted to have children, which is evident in the New York magazine article.”de Blasio went on to call the news’ reports “deeply disturbing” and “offensive,” which they were!

“Now the First Family has stepped in it — a huge pile of its own making,” wrote New York Daily News features editor, Raakhee Mirchandani in regards to the de Blasio’s “attacking” the media after unfavorable reports are published. That’s an unfair fight that Mirchandani is challenging the First Family to.

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First of all, McCray said a whole lot more in this cover story than struggling to keep it together during the first couple of years of motherhood. She opened up about being the primary caretaker to she and Bill’s sick mothers, she expressed what being a strong Black lesbian meant to her in the 70’s and how that shaped her life and she even opened up about falling in love with Bill de Blasio and changing the entire course of her life. However, the most real and relatable facts about struggling to keep your own identity and sanity as a new mother was something that dragged McCray’s name through the mud by publications who sought to run the story with salacious and slanderous headlines.

When talking about her life after her second child, Dante was born. McCray admitted, “The kids came first.” This is not an admission that many mothers experience, however many of them do claim it. If we can’t talk about the complexities of child birth and rearing with refreshing honesty without having our words skewed, then what can we do?

As a single girl without children, I have no idea what it takes to live my life based on putting someone else’s first. I’ve watched my mother, sisters and friends struggle to do it and made up in my mind that I’m just not that person. As it stands now, I am not and will not be a bother. I don’t have that selfless bone in my body yet and I realize that it won’t come overnight. McCray’s bold statement about motherhood helped me see that while that endearing trait may not automatically turn on, like a switch, we all have the power to tap into it. And it’s ok to hate the responsibilities that come along with motherhood, as long as you continue to love your kids the best way you know how. This does not make anyone a bad mother.

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