Mayor Ivy Taylor gets personal in candid interview
Taylor talks guilty pleasures, struggles of mom vs. mayor
SAN ANTONIO – If she doesn’t eat breakfast, she tends to get "hangry." Her first election determined how many children she has. She fights to maintain the dignity of the office, but sometimes, she just needs to dance.
In a rare, candid interview, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor seemed open and relaxed sitting in a glider on the front porch of her East Side home.
“Old houses just have a story. You know, they have a feel,” Taylor said. “Its wonderful to think about the other people that lived their lives here.”
But an hour, even a few moments, spent gliding on her front porch are rare.
Most evenings, Taylor gets home long after she’s missed family meal time.
“I would say probably that’s the biggest sacrifice I’ve made with public office,” she said. “Before I was a council member, I was very committed to family meal time.”
“I’m one of those moms that believe my kid won't get on drugs if I have family meal time,” she said jokingly. “So I used to cook Monday through Thursday. Now when I get home, they’ve usually already eaten.”
How does she balance being mayor and mom?
“I’ve come to the conclusion that this whole idea of balance is a myth,” Taylor said. “Balance is personal. My balance may not be your balance.”
So she makes the small moments count. Taylor and her daughter, Morgan, 12, drink tea together from time to time and enjoying watching "Say Yes To The Dress" on TLC.
“If I get home early on Friday nights, we will, for two hours, watch women pick their wedding dresses. I’ve been married for 17 years. Why do I like it?” Taylor said.
Taylor’s husband, Rodney, asks her the same question. But then he joins in, she said.
“He sits down and says, ‘I don’t like that one. I think she should do with the mermaid,’” Taylor laughs.
Rodney is her personal stylist, after all.
“I can come home on any given Tuesday, and there's a new suit laying on the bed,” Ivy Taylor said. “Its so fun!”
She can think of only one time when she thought her husband missed the mark. It was a suit he bought her for her 40th birthday.
But after some thought, she realized his pick was better. She turned 40 in the outfit he chose for her.
Taylor doesn’t consider herself a politician, but doing the politicking required by her positions has forced her out of her comfort zone.
“It's not my natural inclination to make it my business to know everybody in the room,” she said.
In fact, Taylor admits that sometimes her staff has to remind her to meet and greet before she heads straight for the buffet at events.
“I remember one time, Jill said, 'Mayor, there were like 10 people trying to talk to you and you just headed straight for the buffet,,” she chuckled. “I was like, 'I’m hungry, and the food looks so good!’”
Her late-night guilty pleasure snack is corn flakes with sugar on top.
From New York, a summer job first brought Taylor to San Antonio. Then a wedding ring brought her back.
“I’d been here just a couple of weeks, and someone who worked in the same building invited me to visit their church,” she recalled. “I sat in the pew behind Rodney.”
The couple has been married for 17 years.
When she decided to run for the District 2 City Council seat in 2009, she told he husband, “If I lose this election, let’s have another baby.”
“Guess what?” she said. “I won. I have one child.”
Taylor won by 54 votes in a runoff election, so she knows the value of each vote.
Outrage following the response to Hurricane Katrina sparked what Taylor describes as her own restlessness to do more in her community, which years later, along with urging from community members, pushed her to run of office.
Will she run for higher office one day?
“I never imagined I would be mayor, so I don’t know what God has in store for me,” Taylor said.
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