Having kids in New York City sounds like it could be pretty dreamy. Imagine going on a Sunday morning family walk in Central Park, going out to tons of different restaurants, and catching countless film festivals and museum exhibits. After all, NYC is a destination for so many people, and it's considered to be a cool, beautiful, and exciting place.
But when we think about having babies in New York City, we're suddenly filled with so many thoughts. When we think about the city as a place to have a family instead of just visiting for a fun weekend, we have a lot of questions. The truth is that while some people are city fans forever and they're totally fine with having kids in an urban place like this one, others are definitely concerned about having kids in a busy and big city.
We have questions about everything from education to being outside (or not) and getting from here to there in cabs. The things that parents do on a daily basis definitely sound a lot trickier and more time-consuming when we picture doing them in New York.
Here are 20 things that still confuse us about parenting in New York.
20 Babies Riding In Cabs Without Car Seats
When it comes to things that still confuse us about parenting in New York City, the fact that babies can ride in cabs without car seats is definitely one thing.
As someone posted on Reddit, "FYI, it's completely legal to take kids in all forms of taxis without a car seat in the city." That is tough for moms to think about because we're so used to having our kids in car seats.
Many moms who live in New York do make sure that their little ones are in car seats while riding in cabs. According to Baby Does NYC, moms can do this easily following these steps: "Have your car seat handy (not in the basement or somewhere that’s difficult to access at the last second)" and "Give yourself plenty of time so you can fit the car seat securely."
19 Crazy Private Schools
When you become a mom, you start thinking about what school your children will go to. You consider private, public, and that's basically all your options. Sometimes you send your kid to a certain school because they have friends there and so it seems like a good idea.
In New York City, things are super different, and there are crazy expensive private schools. These are the schools that most parents want to send their kids to, and it becomes a really big thing. According to Private School Review, private high schools are averaged at $23,973 a year and elementary schools are averaged at $12,376 a year. THINK Global School is mentioned as being super pricey at $85,500.
What?! How can parents afford this? It's not college or grad school, it's just school.
18 Using The Subway With A Baby And Stroller Is Almost Impossible
Any mother will say that leaving the house takes a long time and babies need a ton of things. If any of us imagine packing up our little one and a stroller and a diaper bag (and everything else), we're already tired. We already need a nap.
If you're a parent in New York, you know that it's pretty much impossible to take a baby and stroller on the subway. And that's how people get around, right? Most people don't own cars when they live in the city (and the traffic is pretty nuts).
As a mom said in the New York Post, "When I had my baby, no one told me how important it was to choose a pediatrician located near my apartment."
17 So Much Time Inside
Another thing that confuses us about parenting in New York is kids spending too much time inside.
According to New York Post, "According to a survey by professors at Manhattanville College of 800 mothers, almost three-quarters of them recall playing outside every day when they were children. But only a quarter of them say their kids play outside every day."
If kids are living in a big city and living in apartments, they're not playing in their backyard all the time since they don't have one, and they might be spending too many hours watching TV or looking at iPads.
16 Too Much Conflict And One-Upping Between Moms
It's also confusing to think about all of the competing that NYC-based moms seem to do. As Wednesday Martin, author of the book The Primates Of Park Avenue, was quoted by News.com.au, "There is nowhere, to me, where intensive parenting is more acutely felt than the Upper East Side."
Moms look at each other and want to be the best and make sure that they measure up. This "intensive parenting" sounds really complicated and tough to deal with. Can we imagine dealing with all of that stress on a regular basis? Probably not. It's hard enough to just go through your daily life and take care of your kiddos, let alone care so much about the mom you know who just got an amazing designer purse...
15 The Whole Family Lives In A One-Bedroom Apartment
Living in New York City definitely means living in an apartment. Best case scenario, you have a big apartment with two or three bedrooms (aka enough bedrooms for each of your children). You could get by in a two-bedroom if you two have kids because they could share a room. For most families, though, that's only in their wildest dreams because New York City is well-known for being super pricey when it comes to real estate.
Brick Underground shared the story of a family with three little ones who were in a one-bedroom place in Brooklyn. They did buy a house after a while, and they're a very tight-knit family and had many good times there.
It's worth noting that many parents can't afford to move out of a one-bedroom place and so they have kids there, and it just seems so sad and tough that it's not possible to upgrade.
14 Kids (And Teens) Have Too Much Freedom
As someone posted on Reddit about being a child in New York City, "Growing up here was amazing. The independence is great."
We would say that we're super confused that kids have so much freedom when they live in New York. Even if you live in a big city, you have to admit that it's not as big as NYC, and that you're already concerned about kids walking home from school by themselves or going to the nearby park with their friends. It just seems like there's a lot to worry about.
Many moms would also say that teenagers have too much freedom when they're in New York, and that we can't imagine being cool with that.
13 Even The Preschool Admissions Process Is Super Intense
Have we heard of "Baby Ivies"? According to Business Insider, this is the name that has been given to private preschools in New York City.
Yes... preschools. As the publication explains, "In New York City, some parents will gladly spend thousands of dollars to have a preschool consultant help streamline the process of getting their children into a preschool that costs $20,000 a year or more, like Horace Mann's full-time nursery school for three-year-olds that costs over $48,o00 a year."
Again we have to say... what?! We can't imagine paying that kind of money for preschool. The admissions process is very intense and we will always find this another confusing aspect of parenting in NYC. We'll take our free preschools, thank you very much.
12 Not Everyone Has Kids, Making It Tough To Find Help That Moms Can Trust
It seems like for many parents who live in New York, they're the only ones in their social circle who have started a family, so it can be tough to find help. Not everyone has parents or family who live in the same city, of course.
A mom shared on Reddit that for her, this is what's hard about parenting in NYC: "I've got a 1 year old. All I can say so far is daycare is NOT cheap and Amazon/ online shopping is my new best friend. And, I have so many single female friends in their 30s that are MORE than willing to babysit...but I'm not exactly comfortable with most of their lack of experience with kids...."
11 Living In NYC Costs Way Too Much Money
We've talked about how people mainly live in apartments in New York City... so what's the average rent? According to City Realty, one-bedrooms in Greenwich Village are averaged at $4,398 and two bedrooms are averaged at $10,276 in Tribeca.
It sounds really, really tough to be able to afford that, even if you don't have kids. And once you have kids, as parents know, you have so many things to pay for. It just seems like the cost of living in NYC is so intensely high that it would be really hard to be a parent there. (And we're just talking about rent, not groceries, etc.)
10 Kids Don't Get The Experience Of Being Outside In Nature A Lot
It's definitely true that not all parents want to live in the country or suburbs and they are totally cool with having kids in the city. There's nothing wrong with that at all. The only thing is that in a city like New York, some kids might not get the experience of being outside in nature a lot.
As someone shared on Reddit about being a kid in New York: "Unpopular opinion- grew up in a suburb of NY state, moved to the city when I was a teenager. I felt like there wasn't enough green/nature in NYC at all, and it warped my perception of what's important in life."
A lot of moms would agree that having kids go outside on a regular basis is such a massive part of a good childhood.
9 Too Much Construction Noise
There is something else that still confuses us about parenting in New York and that's the construction noise. There is always going to be construction noise in big cities, but since everyone lives in apartment buildings in New York and it's a very urban place, it seems tough (and even impossible) to get away from it.
As the mom writing for Bethany And Her Boys says, "Until that background noise turns into construction in the form of a jackhammer right outside your window at 7 am in the morning, waking both you AND the babies up." (Moms are totally yawning just hearing about this...)
8 Your Other Parent Friends Will Most Likely Move To The Suburbs Eventually
The truth about living in New York City is that a lot of people get married and have kids and then move to the suburbs. They want more space, they want to stop paying such super high rents, and they just want a simpler and more peaceful life.
After hearing about how tough and expensive raising kids in New York is, we can totally see that. But we can also see that it would be really hard to watch all your pals move away to raise their families elsewhere. When you have kids, you want to have a community around you, and it's really awesome to share the experience of parenthood with your close friends.
7 Babysitters Are Super Pricey
A date night can sound wonderful but then start adding up. You pay for a nice meal out, the babysitter, and then you realize that staying home with some pizza would have been really fun (and a lot cheaper).
But, of course, parents want to get out and hire a babysitter sometimes. The problem is that in New York, it's actually really expensive.
As Bethany and Her boys says, "A babysitter in NYC costs an average of $20 an hour, so unless you have family nearby or are rolling in dough, a date night of dinner and a movie will cost $80-$100 more on top of what you’ll pay for the actual dinner & a movie."
6 If Parents Aren't Wealthy, They Have To Work Multiple Jobs (And Sometimes Kids Stay Home On Their Own)
In a thread about children in New York City, someone posted, "My parents worked four jobs between the two of them for the first thirteen years of my life and left me at home... People make it work." They continue, "you just have to accept kids will come with big sacrifices."
It's definitely true that there are "big sacrifices" once you have children but many people would probably agree that the cost of living in NYC is pretty high.
The fact that some parents who aren't wealthy have to work tons of different jobs in order to make ends meet (and kids stay home by themselves sometimes) is tough to accept.
5 Some Apartments Are Walk-Ups With No Elevator
As we've mentioned, the majority of people living in NYC are in apartments, but it's also worth mentioning that many apartment buildings are walk-ups. That means no elevators... which means walking up tons and tons of stairs... which sounds exhausting as a parent.
Thinking about not having an elevator with a baby (or a toddler or even a six-year-old) is tough. How do people do it?! Wouldn't your arms get so sore and tired, carrying your little one and grocery bags and stroller up and down the stairs all the time?
If any of us live in apartments, we're probably feeling very grateful for our elevator right about now.
4 Moms Get Stressed Out About Kids Copying Their More Sophisticated Friends
Since so many people living in New York City are super sophisticated, that means that kids will start noticing these things... and wanting to be just as elegant as everyone around them.
According to Mommy Nearest, "Your kid tells you he/she wants you to pack sushi for lunch, too, just like his/her friend’s mom does."
It seems like moms would definitely get stressed out when their kids want to copy their sophisticated friends. Of course you would do anything for your kid to feel normal and accepted and have friends... but this seems like a lot. Can't kids be kids?! Isn't that okay?
3 There Are Too Many People
We would also have to say that New York is a place with a lot of people, and we're confused about parenting there for that reason as well.
As Capital City Movers says, "Finding a calm and quiet space in the big city is much harder. With so many people living and working in such a small area, it’s almost impossible to have some peace and quiet outside of your own apartment."
When we're younger and don't have kids yet, the idea of a big, busy city is pretty fun and exciting. But once you want to settle down, your ideas change and you definitely want more peace.
2 It's Super Rare For Families To Actually Cook
As Mommy Nearest says, "When the doorbell rings, your kids yell, “Dinner is here!” It definitely seems like many families don't cook and order take-out or go out to eat a lot when they live in New York City.
The fact that it's so rare for families to actually cook is confusing to us. Of course it's cool to order take-out once in a while (we're all still supermoms even if we do that) but cooking healthy dinners seems like a staple of parenthood. It's becoming more and more common for people to absolutely adore and enjoy cooking at home, and many of us believe that it's important for moms and dads to do.
1 Food, Toys, And Play Dates Are Fancier, Which Is Too Much Pressure
Everything seems so much fancier and sophisticated in New York City. Many restaurants are expensive and there are so many specialty grocery stores that are pretty pricey. Since moms do compete with one another, there is a lot of pressure to have the best and newest toys and to be able to host the best playdates ever.
There are many things that confuse us about parenting in New York, and if we had to sum it up, we would say that it seems like it would be stressful and full of pressure. And raising kids can be hard enough sometimes, right?!
Sources: Babydoesnyc.com, Reddit.com, Nypost.com, Privateschoolreview.com, News.com.au, Brickunderground.com, Mommynearest.com, Capitalcitymovers.us, Bethanyandherboys.com, Businessinsider.com.