NYC Preschool Madness

At times, life for a family in Manhattan feels like it moves at a faster pace than the rest of the universe.  We enroll our kids in music classes at four months, movement and art classes at six months and vie to get accepted into  play groups and toddler classes that are deemed to be “feeders” to the best nursery schools in the neighborhood — the so-called “Baby Ivies”.

In Manhattan, preschool madness begins at 7am on the Tuesday after Labor Day every year.  Anxious parents flood the phone lines of these bastions of the ABC’s and some schools run out of applications by lunchtime.

To get admitted to a nursery program, you need to apply the September before you’d like to attend, and the admissions process takes nearly a full calendar year.  So, if it’s a 2’s program you want, you need to start the application process right after your baby blows out that first birthday candle! (more…)

Allison Charleston (USA)

Allison is a 35-year-old attorney-turned stay at home mom. This New York City mom lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with her 2-year-old son, Chase, and her husband, Andy. She is also expecting baby #2! In her former life, she was an attorney practicing in a mega firm on NYC’s Park Avenue, putting in long hours, working hard and reveling in the fast pace of her life. She loved living in “the city”, and when she could, she took advantage of all it had to offer. But, when Chase was born over 2 years ago, that all changed. These days, the work has changed from writing legal briefs to changing diapers and the hours are longer, but she wouldn’t have it any other way! Allison is enjoying her adventures as a metropolitan mommy, raising Chase in New York City and has gained strength from her longer-than-she-wanted-to-wait journey getting pregnant with her second child.

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You Can’t Always Get What You Want

When I was a child, I despised the fact that my parents often said to me, “Veronica, don’t get your hopes up.”  They said this to me a lot, and it made me angry.  I felt that they didn’t want me to be happy, or didn’t want me to get whatever I was wishing so hard for.  But, now that I am a parent, I’m beginning to understand why they felt the need to say this phrase in particular.

As parents, they couldn’t bear to see me so disappointed when I wished so high for something that they couldn’t provide, was impractical or that I couldn’t achieve.  They loved me too much.  But, I never heeded the call.  I continued to live my life with my hopes up, and I created much disappointment to myself and created worry for my parents.

Growing up in New Jersey, USA, we were considered a low-income household back then.  But, I had large hopes and dreams.  The younger I was, these hopes were made up more of material items, and the older I became, they were more along the lines of opportunities or experiences.


Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post,, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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Swim Class

Photocredit: Peasap on FlickrNow that my big girl, R, is 3, I have enrolled her in swim class. I waited until she turned 3 for a few reasons.  I was told that children learn fear around that age; and, even if they were not afraid of the water before then, they may then become fearful.  But, my main reason is because I don’t have to get in the pool with her.  Instead, I can simply watch dryly from the deck with my little girl, M, who is 1-year-old, at my side. This prevents me from having to pay a sitter or find a convenient time when my husband is home to watch her.

My friends often talk about being “behind” on their children’s swimming skills. Here, in San Francisco, it is popular to enroll your child at a swim school like La Petite Baleen before babies can even crawl.  You will often hear moms comparing ribbon colors.  Some take it a step further and get private lessons because they felt their child was not excelling.


Angela Y (USA)

Angela Y. is in her mid-thirties and attempting to raise her two daughters (big girl, R, 3 years; little girl, M, 1 year) with her husband in San Francisco, CA. After spending ten years climbing the corporate ladder, she traded it all in to be a stay-at-home mom! Her perspective of raising a child in the city is definitely different from those who have been city dwellers all their lives, as she grew up in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) surrounded by her extended family. Angela Y. and her husband are on their own on the west coast of the United States — the only family help they receive is when someone comes for a visit. But, the lifestyle in San Francisco is like no other for them, so there, they stay! This exercise conscious mom is easily recognized, especially when she is riding around her husband-built bike with two seats on the back. And, when she’s not hanging out with the girls, you can find Angela Y. in the kitchen. She loves to cook for her family, especially dessert, and then eats some herself when no one is looking! Sneaky, mom!

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