When we found out a little over 2 years ago that we were moving down to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, we were excited. We were ready for a new adventure outside of New York, we were looking forward to living somewhere “really random” as we put it, and we were happy to be going somewhere that would be more conducive to the family-life that we wanted (mainly, that nothing would be as expensive and we would never have to bundle up the kids). We knew absolutely nothing about where we were going, other than that there was a big university, and that the traffic was really bad (but it couldn’t be worse than traffic in New York, right? wrong.) We thought we were moving to the middle of nowhere…that people in Louisiana didn’t have normal stores to shop at, had crazy southern accents, and, in general, that we would be out in the boondocks. What we came to realize was that we couldn’t have been more wrong (…except for the accents, that is!) Our lives have only been changed for the better by this move. Baton Rouge has ended up being a beautiful city to live in and I always love getting to tell people about it!
After moving across the country, driving down here with two babies/tag-a-longs, moving into an apartment in the middle of a city/town/place (seriously Baton Rouge, what are you???) that we knew nothing about, and waiting nearly a month for our moving truck to arrive (yes, that story another time), we were ready to settle in and get to know Baton Rouge. I was excited, but nervous. How were we going to like it down South? Could I really survive outside of New York? Would we make friends? Were my kids going to have southern accents!? (I still wonder about that last one…)
Everything about our move has been a total blessing. The quality of life we have, the friends we have made, the community we have become a part of, and the southern way of living that we have embraced, have all contributed to a beautiful life we are building down south. I was lucky enough to almost immediately make friends with an amazing group of women through a mom’s group that was starting at a nearby church (you know who you are 🙂 ). These ladies not only welcomed me with open arms, but gave me answers and suggestions for everything that a mom new to the area might need to know. I was taken aback by their kindness, candidness and desire to help someone who was new to the area. This kindness and genuine willingness to help was everywhere I went. Every playground we went to had a mom who was eager to chat, swap ideas, or tell me about something fun in the area that kids of K and G’s age might like. This was something so different than what I was used to from New York.
Do not get me wrong, there are wonderful moms in New York, and many wonderful resources for kids. However, I always found that the culture was not one where you always felt comfortable chatting to whoever was around, especially when you had your children with you. It was just different. Places are more crowded, and oftentimes people are in too much of a rush to enjoy a happenstance encounter with a stranger. There are different dangers in a city as big as NYC, and so you just go about everyday life differently because of this.
Moving down south really forced us to s l o w d o w n big time. I am still working on that. In fact, I am not sure that I will ever truly shake that non-stop New York energy, but I have been able to tame it and have learned to embrace the southern pace. We truly got to witness that Southern Hospitality that you read and hear about all the time, first hand. It has been a wonderful and beautiful adventure that we really wouldn’t trade for the world. The southern hospitality we encountered when we moved down to Louisiana has only grown over the years, and we will embrace it and spread it as long as we can.
Moving with little ones is never easy. I thought I might share a few nuggets of wisdom from our move for others who might find themselves in our situation! Advice I have for moms of youngsters moving to new place:
- Map out the playgrounds. Endless days of unpacking may have the kids stir-crazy and everyone can always use some fresh air. Knowing where the playgrounds are gives you an easy outing that you know everyone will enjoy.
- Make use of the local mom blogs, they are an amazing resources for basically everything! (Thanks Red Stick Mom’s Blog!) Most major cities have some kind of blog run by the local moms that you can find through a search engine. The collection of information, recommendations, and reviews they have are invaluable.
- Find a mom’s group, either through a Church or through a community forum, that you can go to regularly to meet new friends. I never thought I would need a mom’s group. I am so grateful everyday for the friends I made through the one I decided to “just check-out.”
- Be outgoing, people always think it’s exciting to meet someone from far away. Be excited to meet them as well!
- Research the climate. It is important to know how to take care of your babies when you are in an area where the weather is very extreme (we learned this the hard way – sorry, G!)
Do you have any funny stories about moving with kids? Recommendations for how to deal with a big move? Or tips for a mom new to your area? I would love to hear them!