These city mom hacks + tips make life as a mom in a big city a little bit easier.
We’re into our second year in Boston now and it is about 4000% different than living in that town in Ohio we moved from. There are SO many great differences but living in a city comes with it’s own set of challenges, too (like how to get the 32 bags of groceries from my trunk in the parking garage into the elevator, out of the building, across the road, and up the four flights of stairs to our apartment …especially when I forgot to bring the stroller).
I think we’re set to move to the suburbs when Ben graduates (no final decisions yet) and campus living is a bit different than real city living BUT, our address says Boston and I live a five minute walk from my car, so, here are your hacks to make motherhood in the city a little bit easier.
Tips for City Moms
- Get out of the house everyday: Except on days you own it and have a special cozy day in, be sure to make a point of getting out of the house each day. City living tends to be in tighter quarters and you’ll feel more sane when you’ve left the house.
- Find a routine: For us this means a gym stop followed by an errand in the morning and then something fun after naps in the afternoon. Having something to leave the house for each morning makes the days go by SO much faster and makes my kids less stir crazy.
- Rock the sneakers: There’s a temptation to rock the fun shoes you bought for date night but in a city, as a mom, embrace the sneakers. Luckily there are SO many cute options for comfortable tennis shoes right now and you can find a pair that will take you from the gym to the park and to lunch with girlfriends. I’m obsessed with the color of these blush Reebok Classics and how they work just as well for leg days at the gym as they do with jeans and a sweater around town. Sooo comfortable and cute.
- Teach your children to ride scooters! I have been touting our love of scooters for months now (despite that ER visit – make sure you find helmets that FIT!) because they are SO GREAT. Wherever you live, they’re fun for toddlers but in a place where we walk a lot (especially here on campus where we are walking 5-15 minutes to lots of events), they are also so helpful for moms. Teaching your oldest to ride a scooter means you can ditch the double stroller (or a stroller altogether). It also means that getting there because something fun for the kids. This is especially helpful if the thing you’re going to requires sitting still. Nothing worse than showing up mom-and-me class where your kids are supposed to sit calmly on your lap after they’ve been cooped up in the stroller for 40 minutes and they just want to run around.
- Invest TIME in finding awesome babysitters: Moving to a new place can be tough but the most trapped I felt is when I had no child-care options. Use Care.com, urbansitter.com, or a local facebook babysitting group, and put in the time to find babysitters that you and your kids love. Let your answers to invitations be based on whether or not you want to go, whether or not you want to leave your kids for the evening, but NOT whether or not you can find a babysitter.
- Small outings are still great outings: Cities can have so many fun big attractions for kids but don’t feel like you need to enjoy all of the Children’s Museum just because you paid the admissions fee (actually, don’t pay the admissions free – using a library pass or getting a membership will help with this feeling). Pick a few exhibits and call it a success when you spend two hours with entertained kids, even if they stayed in the same room the whole time.
- Grab library passes: Speaking of library passes, these are a great way to get into a lot of kid-friendly museums + attractions for free or at discounted prices. We have one membership to a museum we go to a lot and then use the library for other outings.
- Scout parking ahead of time: Depending on your city, get used to walking lots of places. But if you are going to drive, scout parking ahead of time. There are a few places in the city we can go no problem because they have great parking. Never assume a doctors office or grocery store is going to have a parking lot. Also, when it comes to driving in the city, assume the first three times you drive somewhere are going to be hard. Expectations are everything.
- Make it an adventure: With kids in a city, even a simple run to the post office can be an adventure for the morning. Grab the scooters and look for balloons on the way (or people in red coats, or runners with dogs). Sometimes I’ll find myself feeling bad about a day where we have a lot of errands we have to run, without time for specific kid-oriented activities. I’ve found though, that with the right attitude from Mom, these can be just as fun days for my kids.
- Find your local library’s children’s program: Your local library likely has free children’s programs (story time + other activities). If you’re looking for free things to do, start with your library.
- Look into playroom memberships: Your living space might be small and you might not have that huge basement toyroom you see on instagram. Did you know there are different playrooms throughout the city you can buy memberships to? We have one on campus, but there are also local ones that have memberships like museums and are large open spaces with LOTS of toys. These are great for rainy days and winter months.
- Consider baby wearing: If your little one is young, consider leaving the stroller behind. You’ll be more mobile and you won’t have to worry about navigating city streets or store aisles with a big stroller. Plus, your baby will probably fall asleep easier on the go when you’re wearing them. A win-win.
- Grocery delivery or kid-friendly grocery stores! A lot of city moms tout grocery delivery and that is awesome. I’ve found my kids really love grocery shopping with me if the store has car carts they can “drive” or if the store gives out treats (hello, Trader Joes). So we stop by twice a week to do smaller runs because, even though we’re driving, I still have to carry all the bags from the parking garage to my building and then up three and a half flights of stairs.
Re-reading this, so many of these apply to all moms, whether you live in the city or not. I hope you found them useful!
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