Chirlane McCray Says Tabloid Coverage ‘Hurt’ and ‘Insulted’ Her

Monday's New York Post cover.

Monday’s New York Post cover.

Chirlane McCray, the wife of Mayor Bill de Blasio, thanked her supporters today in a gushing public letter following tabloid covers that knocked her mothering skills.

But Ms. McCray, who made the covers of the New York Daily News and Post for giving a lengthy interview about motherhood to New York Magazine, said the papers’ covers–one of which had the words “I WAS A BAD MOM!” on the front page–hurt and insulted her.

“Thank you for turning a tabloid moment into a teachable moment,” Ms. McCray wrote on her Tumblr #FLONYC. “When I woke up on Monday morning and read the stories suggesting that I was a bad mom, my first reaction was to laugh. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as First Lady, it’s that you can’t take everything you read personally.”

“It didn’t take long for my questions to be answered,” she continued. “The response to the articles was overwhelming. Women from around New York City, around our nation, stood up and spoke out. Every voice was unique, but the underlying message was remarkably consistent: Parents deserve more respect.”

Ms. McCray made sure to note the coverage was “hurtful.”

“That’s not to say it wasn’t hurtful. It’s never fun to be insulted, especially as a mother. And that’s not to say I wasn’t indignant. I’m far from perfect, but I’ve always done my very best, and I’m so proud of the young adults Chiara and Dante are growing into,” she said.

In an interview with New York Magazine, Ms. McCray said it was difficult for her to adjust to being a mother.

“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,” she told the magazine. “I didn’t want to do that. I looked for all kinds of reason not to do it. … It took a long time for me to get into ‘I’m taking care of kids,’ and what that means.”

Mr. de Blasio defended his wife last week, calling the tabloids’ coverage disturbing and inappropriate.

View the full letter below:

Thank you for having my back.
 
Thank you for sharing your own stories about the challenges – and the joys! – of parenthood.
 
Thank you for turning a tabloid moment into a teachable moment.
 
When I woke up on Monday morning and read the stories suggesting that I was a bad mom, my first reaction was to laugh. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as First Lady, it’s that you can’t take everything you read personally.
 
That’s not to say it wasn’t hurtful. It’s never fun to be insulted, especially as a mother.
 
And that’s not to say I wasn’t indignant. I’m far from perfect, but I’ve always done my very best, and I’m so proud of the young adults Chiara and Dante are growing into.
 
More than anything, I was worried. I knew the vast majority of mothers would see through the bluster and relate to my experience. My worries were focused on all of the young women who are still figuring out their place in the world.  Would they buy into the message that there’s only one acceptable way to be a good mother? Would a more complicated truth be obscured by banner headlines and snark?
 
It didn’t take long for my questions to be answered. The response to the articles was overwhelming. Women from around New York City, around our nation, stood up and spoke out. Every voice was unique, but the underlying message was remarkably consistent: Parents deserve more respect.
 
Adjusting to the responsibility of parenthood takes time. The changes in life are swift – some expected, some not. There are many different ways to be a good mother – so we choose the one that works best. And when we have moments of doubt, as we all inevitably do, it is healthy to share with others. No one should be belittled or criticized for that.
 
Again, on behalf of my entire family, thanks for your support. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re now one step closer to a future where women can speak honestly about their lives.