The crib sat in a corner adorned with Great Grandma’s handmade quilt. The white wicker rocking chair, the same one that I had in my room as a baby, sat in another corner surrounded by some stuffed animals and a small basket of toys. The walls were a soft pastel and the large bookshelf was stocked with every book my Little Roo would need for years to come. It was my perfect nursery room just as I had always imagined it. . .
And then I moved to New York City
Like so many women, I had this vision of how my life would go up to mommy hood. I would leave my home state after college, live in a big city for a year or two, find my dream man somewhere, move to a nice house in the burbs (probably back in my home state), get married and have children. We would live in a beautiful little neighborhood with BBQs and a park nearby for morning walks/runs. Yeah, a little too idyllic, perhaps, but a girl can dream!
Of course I have gotten some of those things. I found my dream man (seriously still wondering how he picked me – so so lucky), and we had begun searching for our dream suburban home in the mountains of Park City, Utah. I hadn’t moved to a big city after college, but I had found my husband, so that was totally worth it. Then, just months before our marriage, his company informed us we would be moving to New York City. My weekends of teaching skiing, evening trail runs/mountain bike rides out our back door after a long work day – all of that and more was about to disappear.
Fast forward to ten months of ‘big city’ living, adjusting, shock and change – the biggest of which will come mid October when we welcome our Little Roo (gender TBD upon arrival) and that dream nursery room has now become a 7x7sq.ft. space in the hallway to our bedroom. There are no neighborhood BBQs, no non-crowded little (or big) parks nearby and no baby’s room akin to Father of the Bride II. And let’s be honest here, I’m terrified of being a Big City Mom.
Perhaps I’m overthinking this Big City Mom thing (ok, I know I am). I spent my life in the mountains, and while I enjoyed traveling to big cities, I have never been one of those people who have thought while there, ‘now this is where I could spend my life’. Spend a year and have that ‘big city’ adventure – definitely. But be the place where my family would start – not in my wildest (or even tamest) dreams! I was completely content being a small town girl and eventually a suburban mom. I would find my mommy neighbors, go play in the park, have a great, small school district for me to work in and my kids to go to and fall asleep every night to cool mountain air and the sweet silence only nature can provide.
The lack of mountains and outdoor space (which has also made me very aware of my complete lack in sense of direction) makes me more homesick than anything, but here is what I’m really afraid of:
In ten months my husband and I have yet to make friends (let alone really meet) with anyone in our building. I even recently met a man in our elevator carrying two chocolate shakes. I inquired as to why he had two in which he responded his wife wanted one so he figured he would get himself one. Asking if she was pregnant (his response yes) I said I was too, hoping to strike up a conversation and perhaps even start a new friendship. His response – ‘oh’. End of that conversation, start to an awkwardly long last couple floors. I didn’t want to be that pushy person forcing something that obviously wasn’t there so I just stayed quiet.
The lack of our ability to make acquaintances with anyone in our building within childbearing age isn’t the only thing that makes this mountain girl nervous for this Big City Mom life. While I have been impressed with the amount of parks New York has with seemingly such limited space, the idea of waiting in line to swing and then have an actual swing time limit is completely ridiculous. There is no backyard to have adventures in, no pond to play in or mountain trail to venture through. To find outdoor space requires packing up for the entire day and trekking across New York traffic (which I’m terrified of which means I’ll really going to be a mess with my child). Yes, moms do this here every day and can’t imagine doing it any other way. I even had one say she doesn’t understand how suburban moms do it –
“I mean I can’t imagine having to pack up your car every day just to go somewhere.”
As I listened, all I could think of was the convenience of a suburb with its proximity to open space and the stroll around the neighborhood that does not require you packing up your life (and yes, after living in New York City for a bit, I do admit there are some major convenience factors, I’m not crazy).
Now before you think I am just the biggest Negative Nancy of city life, let me tell you a few of the things I am definitely looking forward to with a baby in the city – at least for the first couple years (the city school fiasco is a whole other topic).
Culture. This is one thing I will openly admit Utah does not have a lot of that New York is overflowing with – and it’s AWESOME! Everywhere you turn there is someone different, someone new, something different, educational and fun to experience. This city has a parade or small festival for everything, and I mean everything.
Museums. An annual pass to the Museum of Natural History (my personal favorite) and the MET are definitely going to happen. Once the weather gets chilly we are going to need an indoor adventure spot. An apartment can only provide so much entertainment, and if there is no snow (I’m from Utah here, so I’m talking Real snow), at least there are amazing, visually enriching, fun and educational places for us to experience.
With so many things New York City has to offer I know I am going to have so much to offer this Little Roo of mine, I still can’t help but be terrified. I just don’t see the little Mountain Girl in me succeeding as a Big City Mom. Perhaps I just need some more time, some more solo adventures before the bundle arrives to get my bearings (at least a little bit, still directionally challenged in this place). I’m a Mountain Mom at heart – but perhaps we’ll just play make believe for a couple years – being a Big City Mom could be one of our best young adventures together.