Adventure, Baby, Family Travel, Motherhood, Travel

Doing New York City – The Baby Way

When I first moved to New York City I got lost at least a dozen times. . . in my first three days! I would walk off the subway, confidently walking in the direction I was sure was correct, only to end up calling my husband to come find me on his way home from work. Once I at least got my sense of direction I then had to navigate my timing of when I would leave for things, how much time it would take (always give yourself an extra 30 minutes at least), and of course, my husband’s favorite, pre-walking to the ideal spot on the subway for the quickest exit.

After a year I felt pretty confident in Manhattan. I even knew my way better than my husband who always knows where he is going ;). And then I had a baby and everything I had learned, had taught myself, was gone. Now almost another year has gone by and I feel like some of that confidence has come back. With that confidence I would like to share the best I have learned, as it can be just slightly overwhelming to figure out what you are doing, how to get there and what to take with you when you have miniature people traveling alongside you (yes, for those of you who are Manhattanites, you have your ways down I’m sure, but for those coming for a visit, it may help).

  1. Subway No-Go Hours: the subway is a wonderful, easy way to get around the city. However, traveling this way during peak rush hour is very ill advised. Traveling at this time is almost certain to induce nausea, anxiety and overall unhappiness. Not to mention that if you are traveling with a stroller (more on that decision in a moment) you will be looked down upon and few, if any, will offer you help. So between the hours of 9-10:30AM and 5:30-7PM be warned.
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Roo has her subway riding skills down.

2. Stroller Travel: I have been pleasantly surprised with the ease of which this city can be navigated with a stroller as well as how accommodating almost everywhere is with them. Almost anywhere you go will have either a parking spot for them or will just let them be, no fuss. And while having a stroller with you is a great thing, there are definitely times when you do not want one if you have a carrier to use instead

  • The Subway: Really, it is so much easier to travel the subway with a carrier. Think about your trip – if you can get around with a carrier, use it!
  • Chelsea Market: Unless you are in the city at a more slow paced time of year, this place is a mad house and is much better off just walking though, navigating with just your body, baby attached and all. But I highly recommend this place, I love going there and then adventuring along the Highline for a bit!
Stroller Chill

We make this stroller travel look good!

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Mom, can we go for a walk now!?

  • Museums: Ok, so this one is a bit of a toss up but I have found, after doing some museums both ways, that the carrier is much easier. For example, the Museum of Natural History has A LOT of stairs. Sure, it has elevators, but those things take forever (really, I waited for 10minutes at one). It is also much easier to navigate around some of the displays with just yourself and not a stroller.

3.  Breastfeeding: This one is easy. Anywhere you need to. Nobody cares or bats an eye. Besides, there are plenty of other crazy things to look at besides a woman taking care of her child 🙂

4.  Other Food: There are markets everywhere, Whole Foods, Food Emporium, D’Agostino, etc. There is also a Duane Reade on every single corner, maybe even two of them! For those who are not from the East Coast these are Wallgreens/Rite Aide. They have those fantastic food packets for kiddos of all solid food ages. So if you realize you forgot to pack your mini’s food, pop into one of these and hangry crises is averted!

Soccer baby

Taking a little food break down in Battery Park

Some other things I have learned from other moms that I think are great are just general rules. Being such a large place, the thought of being separated is probably very real (my child is 10-months-old so I fortunately don’t have this fear yet). Moms tell me that establishing meeting places is key. For the subway, tell your child that in the off chance you get separated, they are to either stay at the station right where they are (if you get on and they don’t) or get off at the next stop (if they get on and you don’t) and wait right there. If a cop is nearby at the station, point them out and tell them to go hang out with them until you return. A police officer is always a good person to go to if separated. While walking around, introduce your kids to them for an official NYPD picture! Hold hands always walking across the streets, but let them hail a cab for you, or run loose (by like 10 feet haha) in Central Park.

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My husband and nephew being too cool for school.

This city really is great for children and moms and dads and families of all sizes. There is so much to see and explore, and it is all so accessible.

These are my little tidbits from what I have gained thus far. I have no doubt that I will learn 1,000,000x more things in this next year as my daughter goes from 10-months to 2-years as this city shows me more and more with every day. If you happen to be traveling this way and there are other questions you have, please don’t hesitate to comment and ask!

For a mountain town who keeps hoping for a mountain baby, she does well with the city (much better than her mountain mama) and makes this city even more of an adventure than it already has been!

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Baby, Life Changes, Love, Mom, Motherhood, NYC, SAHM

The Start of the SAHM Life

I have been meaning to write this for almost 8-months now, but every day I say I’m going to do it, the day ends and merely the thought of writing is all that has happened. Such is the life of a newly inducted SAHM (that’s Stay At Home Mom for those of you who don’t know).

I didn’t always think I would be a SAHM right off the bat. I mean, I wanted to be one eventually, after I had all the kids I would have, but right away – meh. Then my Little Roo was born. Really it was even before that moment that I knew I would be beyond 100% satisfied with my life if I stayed home. And did I know it would be hard? Yeah. I had no doubt that when people told me it was one of the hardest jobs they have ever done that they were telling the truth. But to actually experience that personally took that belief to a whole other level.

 

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I’ll be honest – I already don’t remember what my job entailed those first couple months. I was a complete zombie who apparently kept a very happy demeanor (according to my husband, who didn’t tell me that until after, just in case a comment like that made me explode, haha). Once my husband went back to work I was sure I would be able to keep up with my old schedule. I mean, the baby just sleeps 90% of the time, right? Well, all I could ever answer when he would come home asking what I did for the day was. . . “I don’t know”. As along as it wasn’t too negative temperature-wise outside I knew we went for a walk, but the rest of it – well my memory decided to go the way of Dory.

Fortunately for my sanity (that was probably on the brink with the lack of sleep, even if I wasn’t aware of it), we were blessed with a good sleeper who was sleeping through the night by 8-10 weeks. That was at least one really hard part out of the way, but that by no means made the list of hard things smaller. I tried making a schedule, writing down exactly what I wanted to accomplish (I’m a total list person). I pinned everything on fun things I could do with my Roo, and yet I still felt like I was being inadequate as a mother. My job was to stay home, enriching her life but also make the home clean and comfortable for us all – why was this so overwhelming!?

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Almost 8-months have gone by now, and while there are still days I feel completely overwhelmed, desiring to do nothing more than to crawl into my bed and sleep everything away, I wouldn’t trade any of these last months for anything. Being a SAHM is the dream job I didn’t fully realize I wanted but it’s a job I can’t imagine not having and not giving my absolute everything.

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Adventure, Baby, Life Changes, Mom, NYC

Mommy In the City. . . ?

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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.

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