Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, May 19, 2014

Defending The De Blasio Family

I'm not sure Chirlane McCray, the wife of Mayor Bill de Blasio, made the wisest choice when she opened up about the following to New York Magazine:

In a lengthy cover story in this week’s New York magazine, Mr. de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray ,opened up about some of the difficulties she faced adjusting to motherhood after her daughter Chiara was born.

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.”

As Jill Colvin at Politicker reported, the tabloids were just brutal this morning:

The New York Post zeroed in on the passage, slapping the story on its wood under the headline “I WAS A BAD MOM!”

“New York City’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, didn’t much care for her new role as a mother after daughter Chiara was born — and looked for any excuse to keep away from her little girl,” the tabloid charged. “In a startlingly frank confession, Mayor de Blasio’s wife says she was unable to embrace motherhood and initially neglected Chiara, who last year dropped the bombshell that she was in treatment for abusing booze and pot. … The disclosure — bound to horrify most moms — shatters the carefully crafted image of de Blasio’s close-knit family, which helped vault him into office.”

The Daily News offered a similar–though less negative take–headlining its story, “Didn’t want to be a mom.”

Appearing visibly shaken by the remarks, Mr. de Blasio slammed both papers for their treatment of his wife’s comments.

“It really suggests a tremendous misunderstanding of what it is to be a parent, what it is to be a mother. I love my wife very deeply and 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, if anyone cares to read it and not caricature,” he said, heaping praise on her ability to handle intense family pressures.

“I over the years have marveled at her ability to take care of our two kids with such love, while having to do–in the middle of all that–the incredibly difficult work of helping both our mothers as they came to ends of their lives, while oftentimes having to have a full-time job,” he said.

Two things to say here:

First, I'm not surprised by the story McCray told New York Magazine about her troubles adjusting to her parenting role.

When McCray's and de Blasio's daughter, Chiara, announced last year that she had struggled with drug and alcohol problems, you knew then that something had happened in the past within the de Blasio household that was at odds with the P.R. image displayed during the campaign.

As someone who comes from a family where people have struggled with drugs and alcohol, I can tell you that few kids pick up a drink or a drug and begin using compulsively unless there's some deep, deep pain there that they're trying to anesthetize.

That said, I can't think of any family unit I have ever known where there wasn't some mistakes made by the parents that hurt the children and later needed to be worked out.

I dunno, maybe you know the perfect family where that didn't happen.

But I'm not surprised that the de Blasio family wasn't like that nor do I think less of them for it.

In fact, I think more of Chirlane McCray for being open about her flaws and her failures in the past as a parent and I think even more of Chiara de Blasio for getting sober as a teen and trying to work through the emotional and spiritual pain that brought her to addiction in the first place.

That's my human response to this story.

Second thing to say:

Putting my political observer's hat on, however, all I have to say is, Mayor de Blasio has got to get some decent P.R. people hired to keep a cap on the negative stories that spew out of this administration like water at an open fire hydrant in July.

It's great to be open and honest, but I wish Chirlane McCray had chosen a later date to get this open and honest with New York Magazine.

There have been way too many negative stories already out of the de Blasio administration since January, and now here's another one they have to deal with.

These are unforced errors, but they add up to real political damage.


  1. She is not the only mother who felt or feels that way and these feelings don't make her a bad mom.

    1. That's absolutely right. Same goes for fathers. Parenting, families, emotions around these issues - these are complex things. As I wrote, I think even more of McCray for her honesty and openness about her struggles as a mom. It's just the politico in me that wishes she had been open and honest somewhere other than the media, since it means more P.R. defense for a de Blasio administration that has been mostly on the defensive since January.

  2. It's the way her story was reported. Children came to her late in life and it was a difficult adjustment. That's all she had to say and women in the same predicament would understand. But leave it to the male dominated Post and News to make it into something else.

    And yes, the deBlasios are getting very bad advice and considering Bill was once a campaign manager, I am shocked my his naiveté. He should have countered those charter school ads with his own instead of trying to defend his positions, and the right PR firm would have done that for him.

    Put the Central Park horses on hold and get this city back on track.

    1. Yes, I agree about the Central Park horses. For God sakes, I hope that is not the next battle he takes on...

  3. As soon the Post gets rationalized, the civilized world will be safer and better.

    1. As soon as the Post goes out of business, the civilized world will be safer and better:

  4. Yep, no doubt about it- deBlasio will be a one term Mayor, perceived to be another David Dinkins, by many New Yorkers.
    Sorry to say, but I see a Republican Mayor in our future again, someone in the Rudy Giuliani mold. Hopefully, I'll be retired and out of NYC by then....

    1. Unless he gets better at the politics, I think you are right about this. And that should scare all of us. But apparently it is not, as many teachers are angry over the contract and Farina's snow remark and have turned on him. I think they are being short--sighted and foolish for doing so - because what comes after will be so much worse (could even be Eva, though more likely an Eva-ally) and had we gotten Quinn or Weiner, it also would have been so much worse.

  5. I think he is a one-term mayor also after hearing the news that Jamaica HS will be closed despite strong community and political advocates. Farina is keeping the Klein reforms in place and deB is not listening to the community as he had promised. He will not get my vote and if that means another Republican steps in, then so be it. In the past few months this guy as been severely neutered. Even his own son can't save him!!

    1. You're so right that the Klein reforms are still in place, as de Blasio has announced the closure of 45+ schools and layoffs, he is going to take on LIFO to ensure that senior teachers are the ones to go first and he has announced he wants to end tenure as we know it.

      Oh, no, wait - he hasn't done any of those things.

      If you thought BdB's election was going to end CCSS or APPR, then you weren't paying attention to the politics, since both are state policies.

      And if you thought BdB was going to halt ever closure Bloomberg had in place before he left, then you didn't listen closely during the campaign, because he never said that was what he was going to do.

      I get the sense from your comment that you projected all kinds of stuff onto de Blasio the candidate that weren't really there, then when they turned out not to be there, you felt betrayed and you want to take it out on him.

      That's cool - it's your choice to do so.

      But as the old saying goes, you will cut off your nose to spite your face.

      Because what comes after him will be so much worse.

      And as I have pointed out in the past few days, had you gotten Quinn or Weiner, it also would have been so much worse.

      But go ahead, take your anger out on BdB (who may be making enough mistakes to lose re-election without your vote anyway.)

      But I think you are being short-sighted for doing so.