Chances are, at some point during your pregnancy you were asked, “How on earth can you raise a baby in New York City?” Or, more to the point (and one of my personal favorites): “What, are you crazy?” Ah, people and their unsolicited opinions about parenting.
I’ll admit, I was a little anxious. I grew up with a yard and a car and space, so the thought of bringing a child into our cozy (translation: tiny) 700 square foot apartment seemed a little daunting. Not to mention life outside our door!
Thankfully, once I became pregnant, it was like a whole new world of NYC presented itself to me. All of a sudden, I started noticing the large number of strollers I passed on the street. I began reading and frequenting Parents and Big City Moms and becoming familiar with organizations like MommyBites. I started writing a blog Baby Meets City to put all those feelings I was having about becoming a parent in NYC out there for the world to read (or my mother and a few friends, anyway).
Put simply, life changes with Day 1 of your pregnancy. And, in my experience, living in Manhattan adds an additional spin to the adventure that is new mommy-hood.
5 Things I Discovered about Having a Baby in NYC
1. You’re Up Early
Having a baby means you’re up early. Which means going to NYC brunch is actually breakfast. But that’s okay because you’ll likely have a very good table and no wait to get in the door (this does not count if you’re an Upper West Side mom, however, as everyone else in the neighborhood is in the same boat as you).
2. Walking down the street is different with a baby
Walking down the street of New York City with your baby is a totally different experience than being on your own. Your fellow New Yorker will smile, and in some cases, strike up a conversation with you about your precious bundle of joy. It’s one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve experienced.
3. Mommy & Me Classes
The classes. Oh, the classes. There are so many mommy & me activities out there that you could literally spend every moment of your day out and about, from mom and baby yoga at Karma Kids to Rock-A-Baby at the Y. Joining your neighborhood mom’s Facebook group is also a great way to meet other moms in the neighborhood, learn about local events and a comfortable forum for asking questions, etc. Some of my favorites mom Facebook and meet up groups: UES Mommas, UWS MOMS, First Time Upper West Side Moms, Parents with Nannies, Park Slope Parents and NYC Dads Group.
4. Expert on all things stroller-related
You will become an expert on all things stroller-related, as we all know the best way to get around this city is on our own two feet (and 3 or 4 wheels, as the case may be). If you thought you knew the subway system before, wait until you’ve memorized every stop with elevator access. And while on the mass transit topic: don’t even think about setting foot on a city bus before your stroller is collapsed or you may incur the wrath of the bus driver. It happened to me and it wasn’t pretty. Read more on getting around New York with a Toddler.
5. My child’s pre-school
I didn’t realize that I would start considering my child’s pre-school education before she could walk, much less pronounce the word. For more on this, check out This Is How to Choose a Preschool—a Few Important Considerations.
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Ellen Schmidt has called NYC home for the last 13 years. While living here as a parent is a much different experience from that of a single gal or newlywed, NYC still captures her heart every day. Currently attempting the balancing act that is family & career, you can find Ellen blogging about all of that & more at Baby Meets City.