How Childrearing Is Different Upstate than Down

Flickr/Photo by greg westfall/creative commons license

Another weekend in the country these past few days had us pondering the big move again. We watched our ex-New Yorker pals strolling their sleeping children late into the night as we went caroling through town. Then we went to a party where babies, strapped to their parents’ chests, were as prevalent on the dance floor as the town drunks. And we thought: we’re doing this wrong.

Down in the procreating capital of New York City, neighborhoods like Park Slope where the adult to stroller ratio is approaching 1 to 1, we hardly ever see the 70s-style rock star parenting where children are forced to come along with their parents, falling asleep on the bed with all the coats, loud music blaring in the background instead of white noise. Indeed, one ex-downstater told us this weekend, “Up here, activities are more adult-oriented. We don’t have as many toddler gymnastics course and such.” When we imaged raising children, that’s what we saw. And yet… many of us have babies in bed at 7, all of us stuck in apartments, alone, trapped in the limitations of the nuclear family.

Meanwhile, the across-the-street neighbors finished feeding their goats and chickens this morning, then brought their daughters to a 4-H meeting, where they’re learning to trim horse hooves and do community service.

Are we just romanticizing the upstate family-life, or do you readers find it true? Upstate, kids are less capitulated to, while downstate, we’re over scheduling and over funding our children’s youths?

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