Mira Sorvino on the Positive Side of City Kids

05/04/2010 at 08:00 AM ET
Jeff Vespa/Getty

She had her doubts, but Mira Sorvino can’t imagine raising her three children anywhere but New York City.

“I worried a bit because we tend to think of New York kids growing up quickly and being super savvy, maybe not in the healthiest way,” she tells the New York Daily News.

With Mattea Angel, 5½, Johnny Christopher King, 3½, and Holden Paul Terry, 10 months, having formed “wonderful friendships” and clearly thriving in the Big Apple, Sorvino’s fears have been laid to rest.

“I’m not seeing any negativity so far. I’m actually seeing positive. They’re getting exposed to wonderful activities,” she says, adding that the family, including husband Christopher Backus, “walk everywhere.”

But the greatest part of watching her kids enjoy the metropolitan lifestyle? That Sorvino, 42, is right by their side each step of the way — a result, she says, of putting her career on the back burner.

“I’m very judicious when it comes to how much time I’ll spend working, because I don’t want to deprive my kids of my company and I don’t want to have someone else raise them,” she explains.

“A much happier person” now that she has come to terms with her place in the industry, Sorvino admits she is grateful for all the opportunities that have come her way — despite her extended maternity leave!

“I was pregnant three times in five years, so that took me out of contention for a while over these past years,” she shares. “So the fact that I now have about five movies in the can, it’s somewhat of a miracle.”

— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Showing 33 comments

Jane on

I really commend her for wanting to be with her kids first but can’t understand why she or anyone else wants to raise their kids in NY. I was born and raised in L.A.; still live in Calif. and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. NY? UGH!!

Diva on

I really dont like when these celeb women say things along the lines of the “opt” to work or not work because of how it might affect their kids.

Some women HAVE to work. This woman is rich and can choose whether or not she wants to work, but not everybody has that luxury. Her kids are just kids and they will grow up to be adults and nobody knows how they will turn out whether she works or not, or lives in New York or not. Just raise your kids and be quiet! (Sorry if I sound harsh, I just cant stand whiny rich people).

Marcie on

Um Diva…you sound extra bitter….and I don’t think Mira sounds whiney at all in what I read. Moms make the decision every day whether or not to work…and not just celebrity moms. In no way did she put down working mothers. She was talking from her own experience. I know plenty of working mothers that would stay at home if they had the option, myself included. Why fault her simpley because she has that option?

Lauren on

Wow, Diva. Were you trying to live up to your name? The only person whining here is you.

JM on

um Jane, you sound a little ignorant. so you were born and raised in LA and still live there? well then how do you know what it’s like living in NY? what’s so horrible about it? you’re acting like she said she had chosen to raiser her kids in the Gaza strip 🙂 seems strange how someone can have such a strong reaction to something they have never experienced themselves and that really is a personal choice.

Ashley on

I totally agree with Mira Sorvino on not wanting someone else to raise her children. I have been saying this for years! Why have children, and then pay someone else to raise them! Not that you should only have children if you can be a stay at home mom, but it seems like it is more and more “normal” for people to leave their children in daycare instead of working around their schedules.

tanya on

does anyone know how she pronounces her daughters name?

Mia on

I was born/raised around NYC my whole life, and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else except New York City-so it goes the same way. Although I do love California when I ever go out to visit-it just depends what you are used to!

Her family is so cute!

Diva on

Big mistake saying things like she doesnt want to deprive them of her company if she CHOOSES to work. So kids who have working mothers are deprived?

That is like saying every mother who CHOOSES to work is intentionally depriving their kids, and the ones who have to work are left feeling guilty for “depriving” their kids.

Then this rich woman twidles her thumbs on whether or not she should all while claiming working mothers deprive their children, whether it be by choice or necessity.

Erin on

Tanya – I think they pronounce it “Ma-tay-a”

berjoui on

I too am raising my kids in NYC and think the best thing about it is being able to walk everywhere and couldn’t imagine raising them anywhere else but I don’t judge people who do…I mean, really?!?

lily on

I think anywhere kids are raised can work out to be great, regardless if in the city or the country. It is up to the parents to get the kids out and be active, regardless of where they live.
And as far as the whole, stay at home thing. As long as a child is happy, let it be. I stay at home with my kids, but I also have been babysitting another child since she was eight months old, and I have to say, I see a lot of positive things as well from her being in daycare. She is an only child (and will be always–her mom can no longer conceive due to a medical condition) and coming to our house on weekdays lets her have regular interaction with some other kids. She has a great bond with them, as well as with myself. She is always happy to come to my place, and is always happy to see her parents at the end of the day too.
I think there are positives to both.

Manon on

Reading the article, Diva has a point.

I think the real meaning these actresses (hello Jenny Garth) bang on so much about how wonderful they are that they spend time with their own children is that maybe the work is a little quiet….

She does come across a little smug here but maybe an unfortunate edit. I really like her as an actress in the films I have seen so far.

Her children are beautiful and nice names.

Cassandra on

A lot of people harp about where they are going to raise their children and its very funny to me. I was a Navy brat for the first ten years of my life and while I hated leaving friends, I was always excited to go to a new school and state and it made me and my brothers the most well-adjusted children in the family. I’ve seen so many parents freak out over which city to live in that I’ve started laughing uncontrollably. I lived two blocks away from a gang-line when I was 7 and I was still happy as a clam and that was all thanks to my mother. Kids really only need a parent to love them.

And I love Mira Sorvino, just to stay on topic. 😛

Ratty on

I’m just gonna say from the onset that I’m Australian, so I can’t discuss the merits of various American cities (haven’t been, but am going in 2011). But can someone explain to me what the hell the big deal about growing up in NYC is?? Yeah, I get there are a lot of murders (enough to spurn all the millions of Law & Order episodes) but there’s relative dangers in any city on Earth! I don’t know anyone here in Australia who sweats what city to raise their kids in so much! Maybe its cause all our cities are reasonably homogenous (the capitals anyway, but the only real differences between the capitals and the country towns is the relative difference in resources). I don’t know, I just find it really bizarre. Personally, I wouldn’t raise my kids (when I have them) anywhere but Brisbane – best city on Earth in my opinion! 🙂

blissedout on

Ratty, I think the point is more about raising a child in a big city, vs. the suburbs, or the country. I live in the city (Philadelphia) with my little one and have seen family after family decamp for the suburbs at some point after having kids….it’s almost a given for some people that the city is no place to raise children. I can absolutely see the draw of more open spaces. greenery and privacy, but I LOVE the energy. eclecticism and ease of the city.

jenny on

Ashley, I am a working mother. I dream of being a stay-at-home mom but do not have the resources to do so. I’m sure this is the case with many moms.

I think that most working moms out there will tell you that they, not their children, are the ones who make the sacrifice – I’d prefer having a wide, open day with my daughter to being stuck in the office any day of the week! I do not believe my daughter, however, is being shortchanged. I’ve chosen a wonderful daycare provider for her and she enjoys going to see the other kids. At the end of the day, it’s still myself and her father that are raising her.

meghan on

Why is it when a woman discusses her personal experience and the choices she has made for herself and her family, people take it so personally? She sounds like she is grateful to have the choice to work less and be with her kids for the day-to-day. She doesn’t sound to me like she’s criticizing working mothers or saying she’s better than anyone. This is what’s right for their family. She’s not saying everyone else has to follow suit. Why must everyone be so sensitive about these issues.

Some mother’s work. Some stay-at-home until they start school. Sometimes it’s by choice. Sometimes it’s not. Every family is different with their own unique needs. Why do women have to pick each other apart and tear each other down?

Lau on

I definitely have to agree with Dive in the fact that these people’s lives don’t really change if they don’t go to work. They’re in fact very lucky that they CAN opt to just stay home and watch their kids grow up at every moment. Sure, everyone needs some alone time, but I don’t think any woman in the world would prefer to be at work a lot rather than being with their kids.
These people aren’t wonderful because they choose to not work and be home with their kids. They’re just lucky they can do that.

All that being said, I love Mira, and she has a beautiful family.

Steph on

Just a couple of points: Diva she uses the word ‘opt’ because she has the opportunity to do so. She obviously doesn’t have to work and thus has opted to stay at home. Don’t see what the big deal is exactly, she has more money and opportunity than you, boo hoo to you.
And children of working mothers ARE deprived of their company, duh. Its just that some of us don’t take everything in a negative way. A mother that chooses to work for whatever reason is depriving her children of her company but maybe its for the greater good?? Maybe the family is better off financially, emotionally, etc etc.
Both your posts were so ridiculously negative and you didn’t even raise debate worthy points, just crappy negative statements that only jealous bitter people would think of.

Lucy on

I agree with Diva. I don’t think you sound bitter- you just add clarity to the circumstances under which she is raising her kids, which really isn’t the same situation for most moms who have to work.

bo-peep on

diva – some people think that children do best when they are raised by close family (mother, father, grandma etc). i don’t think they hold this opinion because they want to make working mothers feel bad… it is simply what they believe based on their observations, experience and reading.

i understand your reaction though because i think mothers are kind of hardwired to feel guilt CONSTANTLY about EVERYTHING (i know i do). I just don’t think it is mira’s fault 🙂

h on

mathea and john(nny) are such pretty names, but Holden?! really? sounds like a 90 year old man’s name to me

Diva on

“It works for their family”? So if you have a child who is BEGGING you to stay home, but you cant, how is that working for “normal” families with moms who HAVE to work? Its not. REGULAR, NORMAL families dont get to pick and choose “what works best for their families”. That is why I cant stand rich celebs who whine and complain and moan about thier kids, like their kids are so special. Their kids are no different from anyone elses kids. Yes, she is lucky to get to choose. And that is what makes me mad…most people dont get that choice. Maybe I sound bitter. Maybe I am. But she needs to stop whining. If she can stay home and she doesnt want anyone else to raise her kids or she feels she may deprive them, then stay home! Stop rubbing it in the faces of working mothers!

meghan on

Diva, I don’t hear Mira whining. I also don’t hear her rubbing anything in anyone’s face. I hear you whining. I hear you taking your frustrations out on others from the anonymity of your keyboard. You are trying to take some very general statements as some sort of personal attack on you as a working parent. If you don’t want to hear about how wealthy people raise children, you came to the wrong website.

Julie on

There are pros and cons to being a working Mom and there are pros and cons to living in a big city. I think the most important thing is doing what is best for your particular family. Case in point, my Mom did not work when I was young, but went back to work when I was a teenager and my youngest brother was only 2. My Mom was so much happier working that our entire family was happier and more together. And my youngest brother is the most together person I have ever met, so my Mom going back to work didn’t seem to deprive us of anything!!!

R on

Wow Diva! I must say I feel quite sorry for you if a simple human interest piece has set you off this much. As I think everyone who posted above can see, your comments aren’t about the article, but merely an excuse and opportunity to whine, complain and be bitter about your own life.

I think we can all agree that, working or not, all mothers deserve respect for raising their children (however they choose to do it). Raising children is not an easy task, however it is accomplished, and this article does not challange that. If YOU want different choices for YOUR life though Diva, then create different opportunities for yourself and stop being bitter and hating everyone else.

History is full of examples of people who weren’t handed the best circumstances in life or free opportunities, instead they created opportunities for themselves and fought for the life they wanted. I would offer you the same. Instead of being a victim to the circumstances of your life, putting your energy into bitter comments posted on a magazine wall and blaming everyone else for your life not being what you want, I would invite you to redirect your energy to creating the kind of life you DO want and one in which you have different choices. Think of the example you will be not only to kids, but adults as well if you do. Life is just much too short to waste it being bitter at and blaming the world.

Jenn on

I don’t think she sounds smug at all. I’ve said it over and over here on this site, but celebs (and really super rich people) are just different! They are able to afford things that many others can’t, like multiple nannies, and can choose whether to work or not, or retire early, or be stay at home parents. Money affords that flexibility. Maybe it’s not fair, but it’s a fact of life.

I think it’s nice when they say they can choose to stay home with their kids. It’s not an insult directed at any other mother who has to work and has to have their kids babysat or in daycare…both options are perfectly fine, everyone on earth has their own circumstances. I think everyone does what they can do to the best of their ability within their own financial circumstances and needs for their family. I wonder why celebs get so much guff for having people to help with their kids? (If I was super rich and needed the help, I’d get it too! I’d also buy a beach house and start up trust funds for them! lol :))

My two cents on the city question would be, I adored New York and can’t wait someday to see LA, too. Every city or town has it’s own special charms. I grew up in a small town and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I live in a city now, and I love it, too. There will be pros and cons of kids environments wherever they grow up.

Ryo on

Wow, Diva. It really does come off like you’re bitter that you have to work to support your family and she’s in a situation where she doesn’t have to. Maybe that’s not how you meant it, but it certainly comes off that way.

The world is not a fair place. Some mothers can choose to stay home with their kids; some simply can’t because they wouldn’t be able to provide for those children if they did. And I’m pretty sure that every child, no matter if their mom can afford to stay home or not, has begged their parents not to work and stay home with them. Sometimes it just isn’t feasible.

And the reality is when you’re a celeb mom – or even a mom with a lot of money – you’re probably around people who choose to use their money and pay someone else to raise their kids. I honestly took that as what she was talking about – she wasn’t taking a dig at working moms, it was almost like a comment about moms who CAN afford to stay home and spend time with their kids but choose to let others raise their kids anyway.

Jessica on

Ashley, #6, I have to totally disagree with you, and Jenny I AGREE with you. I have a 15-month-old daughter and I work full-time. I work at a job I don’t particularly enjoy because of the paycheck. It affords us the opportunity to pay down our bills and have our own house, own adopted pets, and take mini-vacations, though they’re few and far between.

Don’t get me wrong, I dream day in and day out what else I could do with my life that would enable me to stay home with my chid. It’s hard for me all the time to leave her with the sitter, who’s fabulous, and when she cries to stay there when I pick her up. That’s heart wrenching. I am envious of women whose family can afford for them to stay home with their children, but it’s simply not always possible for some families.

Women who work and leave their children with someone else are not bad mothers, they’re multi-tasking Mom’s with just that little bit more on their plate than others.

SS on

Jane, Why would you take what you like and apply it to others? To each his own on where THEY want to raise their kids. Last time I checked, LA is the most superficial place on the planet. But noone is knocking you you for your choices. Stick to what you know best and what works for you. Leave the rest alone.

Been There on

Hate to burst everyone’s bubble here, but NYC is a miserable place to grow up. I was born smack dab in the middle of Manhattan and finally moved out of NYC at age 35. It’s MISERABLE for kids. Just miserable. No trees, no grass, no place to roam free. I was on a very short leash, my “play times” were very carefully structured at Tompkins Square Park and always, always the rumble of the subway underground, no matter where you go. It’s a great place to launch a career, a great place to make money … and you should do it as fast as possible and then get out of NYC and go have your kids somewhere warm and filled with trees, so they can run barefoot and feel the grass beneath their feet.

Estela on

Been There, it’s not the same for everyone. Plenty of kids have been raised there that didn’t have an issue like yours. Your opinion does not equal everyone elses.