In New York Magazine’s recent feature, NYC’s First Lady Chirlane McCray speaks frankly and honestly about an incredibly taboo subject: motherhood.
It took courage for her to admit that she initially had difficulty adjusting to her new identity of “mother”, after a quarter century of building a work-centered identity. Her confession will lend strength other women, especially those struggling with post-partum depression, helping them feel empowered to open up and discuss their struggles rather than suffering in silence.
In a predictable and sexist fashion, news outlets like the NY Post have attempted to shame the First Lady for opening up about this subject. In a distasteful and patronizing commentary, a male author—considering himself qualified to speak on the experience of motherhood—uses the loaded, judgmental label of “bad mom.” By attempting to shame her for her honesty, the author perpetuates harmful myths that motherhood is “magical” and the only appropriate source of identity for a woman.
As a mother, I support Ms. McCray and applaud her for taking a stand on such a taboo subject. Motherhood is difficult, no matter who you are and how much you love your children. It is time for our society to show respect for the world’s toughest job, and drop the harmful myth that motherhood is nothing but joy, 24-7. The sexist backlash to her statements is simply unacceptable.