‘Loco-Parenting’: Parenting By Local And Neighborhood

Geography has always been a determining factor in childhood memories. Children raised in sunny states like California never experience the snow days of kids on the East Coast. Kiddies in the Midwest don’t grow up with routine trips to the beach while southern babes tend to exhibit a fondness for sweet tea. But a post up on “The Motherlode” details differing parenting etiquette depending on where you and your family live. I’d like to take this observation a bit further and say that in NYC, parenting styles can vary even by neighborhood.

Nicole Sprinkler writes about the parenting shock she experienced when leaving New York City for Seattle. She is learning to be a “Seattle parent,” which in her assessment is very different from being a New York parent.

Wendy Fawthrop, a senior copy editor at the Orange County Register, observes that intrinsic to Seattle is a highly niche way of parent:

We, the mothers of North Seattle, were consumed with trying to do everything right. Breast-feeding was simply the first item in a long, abstruse to-do list: Cook organic baby food, buy expensive wooden toys, create an enriching home environment, sleep with your child in your bed, ensure that your house was toxin free, use cloth diapers, carry your child in a sling, dress your child in organic fibers ”¦These behaviors were the very essence of Seattle parenting.

Other mothers describe different rituals surrounding opening birthday presents, PTA meetings, and even attending beaches — each closely tied to being a local parent.

Even amongst different areas of New York City, I’ve noticed subtle differences in parenting. I know I’m in Brooklyn when I see more dads pushing strollers and toting Baby Bjorns than mothers. I’m on the Upper West Side when I’m getting a soy hot chocolate in a line full of nannies and children. Downtown has far more children strapped to women in heels, usually with a page boy hat or those cute pea coats with wooden toggles. Parents in the Park Slope neighborhood tend to advocate cloth diapers, breastfeeding, and organic baby food. My nanny visits to the Upper East Side often reveal disposables with bottle formula and a full-time nanny who is currently on vacation. Most Brooklyn parents I sit for have very egalitarian approaches to parenting with both parents working part-time. In Manhattan, I notice that Mommy often cuts back to part-time with hired help while Daddy remains full-time.

What a difference a single neighborhood can make.


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