Until April of this year I had never been to New York City. While I spent much of my childhood as a military brat moving around from place to place, my family never quite made it North. In fact, a one week trip to Maine to visit a boyfriend in college represented the sum total of my travels in the U.S. to states not located in the South.
Years of watching Sex and the City left me with a romanticized view of what it was like to be a New Yorker living in Manhattan and I wasn’t sure what I would find when I stepped off the plane in JFK for my first visit. Ever since high school turned out to be nothing like Saved By the Bell I’ve been skeptical about using television shows as a model for real life.
Turns out New York City is not all sipping cosmopolitans in a dimly lit bar of handsome men or having a delicious looking brunch while gabbing with girlfriends at some quaint but crowded cafe. Well, actually, that is some of it, but there are things about it that, when I put on my parenthood hat, make me wonder if I would survive as a mother in the city.
After reading Marinka’s article on the things Manhattan moms want us to know my belief that I couldn’t hack it in NYC with my children in tow is stronger than ever. Public transportation, high-priced private schools, impossible waiting lists for pre-school — that is intense. Actually, I was convinced at public transportation. The thought of bringing my 3- and 5-year-old on a subway is, in a word, horrifying. Traveling with Anders and Danica when they are strapped into a chair in the backseat is difficult enough. Without the luxury of restraints, I fear the havoc that could be wreaked.
Thinking about the differences between the big city and the country makes me wonder about how our location shapes the way we parent and the way our children mature. Marinka says that a 5-year-old child raised in New York knows how to hail a cab, a skill I still haven’t mastered after two trips to the city. That is impressive.
Have you ever relocated to a place very different from the one you left behind? Was it a steeper learning curve for you or for your children?