LET'S HEAR IT FOR NEW YORK...MOMS AND NEW YORK BABIES!
September 18, 2017
Here's a fun story: I actually met someone who is now a good friend because I hashtagged one of my instagram posts with #nycmom and she found my post. Say what you will about hashtags, I'll go ahead and book that one as a win. But this is not going to be a post about whether or not to hashtag, nor will it be a post about the amazing friends I have made through motherhood - both (or maybe just the friends?) are topics for another day. The point of that story was the #nycmom part!
I have a confession to make: I loooooove being an NYC mom! The small town German girl in me squealed with excitement and pride when I saw those five words - "The City of New York" on Magnus's birth certificate. These little town blues are melting away and my child is a real New Yorker! Eek!
Now, I can practically feel some of you roll your eyes at me - bear with me as I burst into one last "New York, New York" before coming to my senses and putting pen to paper (/hands to keyboard).
Having a baby in New York was never really something I gave too much thought to, believe it or not. I was neither in the camp of "I could never raise a family in this crazy city" nor in a super gung-ho NYC-or-bust kind of mindset. It just kind of happened, and boy am I glad that it did. Here are the five things I have loved most about raising a little New Yorker:
1) NYC Is One of The Most Diverse Places on Earth
We all have ways to go in terms of acknowledging and celebrating our differences. That being said, I truly feel that in NYC, you can be whoever you want. I love knowing that Magnus's first impression of the world is that - we have constantly been taking him all over the city, so there's no hiding the colors, the craziness and the creativity of where he is growing up. One of my good friends said it first (and best) about her own little New York baby (one of Magnus's first and best friends, I might add), so I am going to let her words stand:
"New York City is about the last place I'd have imagined becoming a parent. There are plenty of challenges involved - but also many benefits. For example, there are few things baby enjoys as much as people-watching on the subway. She has encountered and befriended more human diversity in her first months than I did in my first two or three decades. Her friendliness has also increased the number of my conversations with fellow transit riders by about 10,000%. I love seeing the world through her New Yorker eyes."
2) NYC Never Gets Boring
I feel that I have only been able to scratch the absolute surface of what NYC has to offer for babies and children. There are so many options! And a lot of them are actually free or fairly cheap - you just have to know about them. Despite having a winter baby, I never had any trouble filling my days during maternity leave. Between mommy & me yoga, swim classes, music programs for kids in one of NYC's many parks and even a baby playgroup in German, there is something for everyone. In fact, I just saw this awesome article listing some essential things to know as an NYC mom - I wish I had known about the stroller-friendly museum tours!
3) Being Born in NYC Will Be a Great Conversation Starter
This sort of goes back to my excitement about Magnus’s birth certificate, so eye rollers are allowed to skip this one. Personally, though, I have always loved it when people think where I'm from is "cool". D feels the same way - and he is from Miami so trust me when I say a lot of people think that's pretty cool (including myself). Obviously, in my humble opinion being from New York is just about the pinnacle of coolness (to all my friends who are born and raised New Yorkers, yes, I have absolutely fangirled over that fact, and no, I'm not even the least bit ashamed about it). So, if anyone wants a hand-signed copy of Magnus's birth certificate, we are accepting applications ;)
4) NYC is one of the Breeding Grounds for Better Family Policies (in the US)
I don’t want to get into how hard of a place this country is for families – that also might be a Pandora’s box for another day. What I will say is that my own personal experience as a biglaw mom has surprised me and exceeded my expectations in many ways. It really feels like everyone is talking about family friendly policies. And while it is entirely possible that it just seems that way to me because of my own life situation, I have been seeing (and attending, if possible) so many events and talks on the topic here in NYC that I just have to believe it's the actual winds of change I'm feeling! Fingers crossed.
5) There Is A Sisterhood to Being a New York City Mom
Before I had Magnus, I was veeeeery on the fence about the whole concept of "momfriends", the American way of parenting, and NYC moms in particular. Luckily, I have found that my fears about New York moms being crazy and neurotic and competitive were mostly unfounded. I say "mostly" because there's a little bit of that in all of us, and that has been comforting to me in its own way. On the whole, though, I've found that because of the unique challenges of having a family in this city, the people who do it end up having a lot in common!
Sometimes it's as simple as a facebook rant about how the NY subway's many failures have kept one of us from making it home for her daughter's bedtime (nothing like sitting in a tunnel without cellphone reception for 45 minutes after rushing out of the office to put your baby to bed... yet we've somehow all been there). Other times it's shared intel about a fun new baby activity one of us has discovered (sshh... I've linked one here and it's free baby swim classes!!), or which NYC restaurant is the most baby friendly. And yet other times it's just a few encouraging words or even just whatsapps, shared over a glass of wine, that adulting and parenting are hard, but we're all in this together and we can do this!
There is a kind of mutual respect that I wasn't anticipating - like a hat tip from one NYC mom to the other to say "I see you!". So, to all my fellow mamas raising little New Yorkers - I see you! And you're kicking butt!