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A Fish out of Water

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Lauren and Eddie

When Gordon and I were first married, I told him I’d love to live in New York City.

Why?” he asked puzzled.

Because it would be so fun! But only if we were millionaires.

Well, we finally got our opportunity to move to NYC and we took it. (Still not millionaires but working on it 😉 )

After we moved into the city, I was so excited. What an adventure! So much to see and do! A lot of people were excited and jealous for us and we definitely did get some sarcastic “GOOD LUCK” comments. But truth be told, the excitement has mostly worn off and the reality is hitting me that I still don’t have a husband around to help, my tiny apartment still needs someone to clean it, I still have work to do and my kids still like to argue….a lot! I know there are good things happening all around me too, like Eddie transitioning into his new big boy bed so smoothly, but sometimes when you’re stuck in a rut, its extra hard to see the good.

I wish I had friends with kids! I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s hard to not meet the parents along with their kids at the park. I’ve met several lovely nannies and I just *just* hired my own part time nanny (halle-freaking-lujah) but it’s hard! Harder than I thought it would be. Everything about this experience has been harder than I thought it would be. (That’s what I get for thinking positively!)

When we initially signed the lease to our apartment, both my husband and I felt really good about it. Like, really really good. But of course, now that we’re here and things aren’t going smoothly, that doubt and the what-ifs are sneaking in. What are we doing here? 

Just last night I was going to bed thinking how different and upside down our lives are now:

Big house to small apartment.

Suburban location to city center.

Quiet street to sirens and honks ALL DAY LONG.

Kids having all separate rooms to all sharing one room.

Having a husband around 24/7 to a few texts and phone calls a day.

One big grocery shopping trip a week to three to four little shopping trips.

Driving my mini van and parking anywhere for free to paying hundreds a month to store.

Buying milk for $3 a gallon to milk for $7 a gallon.

Feeling like we were thriving and doing well financially to watching our budget carefully.

This move has changed every aspect of our lives and has made us rethink a few things. There is nothing about our lives that has stayed exactly the same and that has taken its toll on everyone. Getting used to our new normal is hard. But, I’m hopeful that in a few months I will re-read this post and say “I made it through!” or “it’s easier now!” or “I can’t imagine living anywhere else!”  (or maybe all three.)

A quote

In the mean time, what are some things you do to encourage your kids to get along and not fight?

And what are some things that keep your spirits up? I like Jimmy Fallon and FRIENDS a lot.

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40 Responses
  1. NYC FAQ's | Lauren's Latest

    […] only felt lonely once we moved to New York and I knew no one. That was really hard. (More details here.) I still sometimes feel lonely here, but it is getting […]

  2. Mom24

    You are very inspiring. I am much older than you and in a very different place in life, I have four kids, but my youngest two are 15 and 17. I have lived in one upper middle class suburb just about my whole life. Nonetheless, I enjoy your blog so much, your candor and honesty are wonderful and heart warming. I am pulling for you, thinking good thoughts for you. This is hard, but you can do it. Hang in there and don’t feel bad when you are overwhelmed. Take care of you.

  3. Anita

    Hey Lauren – a belated welcome to my city. I can’t help with the kids part since I don’t have any but I’m a native New Yorker which means I was a kid here. And it was a great place to grow up. Feel free to hit me up on my blog or on FB if I can help you transition in any way. Or if you just want a friendly face in NY. You got this. 🙂

  4. Yvette

    Hey Lauren,
    Transitions are so hard. Praying for joy, peace and fun for you and your family. New York looks like such an adventure. You got this mama!!

  5. Melissa

    Hey. Thank you for your honesty. My husband and I made a choice about whether or not our daughter should have surgery to fix a problem she was born with. At the time I felt really good about the decision to do it. But since she’s had the surgery life has been so hard. Your post reminded me that I did receive inspiration in the beginning and now I just have to have faith that things will work out. Thank you!

  6. Lori

    I feel so bad for you! I think it’s hard to move to ANY new place, but a huge city like NYC has got to be the hardest. Is it much longer that your husband will be in training and away the entire week? I think I would have waited to move until alllll that training was done, but I understand you probably wanted to get settled before school started. I bet once that starts it will be easier to find friends (PTA meetings and things). And like someone else said, at least you are renting so you are not tied to that apartment forever. Think of it as a ‘starter home’ !! I hope it gets easier once hubby is home in the evening.

  7. Lauren

    First, you put your husband’s dream up front and chose to make this transition with three kids: how amazing you took on this challenge for the sake of a happy husband! I think that is wonderful! If raising the three kiddos isn’t going to work for you, you can move….maybe now that you are in NYC, you can look at bigger places….in your own time on your own schedule!!! I am thinking it’s the change that is getting you…I’ve moved a lot and the first six months are the hardest!!!! after that, you begin to feel you belong, you learn the ropes a bit more, and life just seems easier. you don’t feel ‘lost’! having your husband home will be the greatest gift of all!!!!!! but know, you can change up the things that aren’t working and make it all work just the same! love your blog, your family, and your recipes! best of luck as the school year begins! 🙂

  8. D.Beickert

    I run a mom’s group in NYC and we have monthly meet-ups (w/o kids). It’s a great way to meet other moms! I lived in WA state for 8 years… so we can chat PNW when you life settles down a bit. Please e-mail me or at the very least join Gramercy Moms on FB. 🙂 Hang in there mama!

  9. Hannah

    Thanks for your honesty! I think there are times of feeling like a fish out of water in everyone’s life; fortunately they don’t last forever. Hoping you and the kids continue to get adjusted…I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to make that big of a transition. I actually was thinking of two things that may be of help to you? One is Komae, it’s an app/website for sharing babysitting services among friends – they often set up and host meet-ups so that you can get to know other moms in your area. I’m not sure if it’s in NYC yet, but I would think it probably is. The other thing is finding a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) near you (www.mops.org). I’ve really enjoyed following your family (my kids are 6, 4, and 19 months) and am so inspired by your courage to embark on this adventure!

  10. Danielle

    I am a native New Yorker and have my entire family here yet I can commiserate with your feelings of isolation. Motherhood is hard and making friends with kids is even harder. Not sure if Stroller Strides is in the City but I found it wasn’t a good way to meet other moms and exercise (if that’s your thing). It will get easier, keep you’re head up. I have a 14 month old and a 3 year old who are always up for an adventure.

  11. Jane S.

    Lauren, I so admire your hard work and determination! Any move is stressful, but one like yours has so many extra difficulties. You have been such a trooper in a situation where most wives might have been resentful. I’m sure it has also been tough on the kids, moving away from their friends, and having to get used to new surroundings.. It has probably made them more on edge. I’m sure that with a little more time, you will all find a new normal, new routines and new friends! My mother used to say, “This too shall pass”, which I think is just for these types of situations. Hang in there! You are doing great!

  12. darci

    Hi, I’m probably just repeating what others have said, but i’m sure you’ll feel more settled once school starts- hope you get a coveted pre-K spot. A new routine will fall into place and you will meet a new group of school parents. Many people travel during the summer, maybe this fall you’ll meet a new church family. My girls are 9 and 12, I know what its like to raise kids in the city with no family around. When my girls were younger we spent many weekends at our local playground, especially at the water feature. I’d often keep swimsuits in the stroller so we’d always be ready for the sprinklers. Anything to get out of our teeny apt-(we live in a 1bedrm walk up). I still try to seek out new playgrounds to visit when we are in other parts of the city. do you have a costco membership? I swear its worth it just for milk and cereal, diapers, too. My husband goes almost every week. Others commenters are right, almost anything can be delivered to your apt. I dont use those services because i am cheap. We dont have a car, but i know some people use garages no where near their apt simply because they are cheaper than garages in their nabe. The day to day of NYC can be tough, but there are things about city living i find so convenient. Shops are open late so we are often at the laundromat or grocery shopping at 10pm. Even my haircuts are at 9pm. Try to find doctors and services that are a walkable distance. Have you found a pediatrician yet? Dont worry too much, you’ll sort yourself out. It just takes awhile. City living is different.

  13. Cheryl Ann

    As someone who moved 13 times during the first 15 years of my marriage (I’m now married 34 years, almost, and moving soon to the neighboring county) I know how hard it is for you. I had three daughters and a husband who was gone all the time. My prayer for you is to meet that one great friend and she’ll then introduce you to others. Enjoy the ride and one daybreak you’ll remember it fondly.

  14. Patricia

    Always remember what Elder Holland is saying…. and many others of the General Presidency. They, and we (the readers) are cheering you on. I began with you in Portland and then in Boise and can only continue on because you and your great family are so worth it!! I am sure that the work Gordon is training for will be very important to the world. The time WILL come that you are comfortable in your new surroundings. God Bless and keep you all!

  15. Dawn

    Keep that positive attitude! You’ve got this–look at how much you have done already!
    Love reading your blog every week–mostly because you do keep it real (& take beautiful pictures & share great recipes)!

  16. Alicia

    I’m sorry things are chaotic right now. Just take it day by day, school will start soon and things will fall into place. I’m sure in a few months everything will be totally different like you said. Are you friendly with any neighbors, or do they keep to themselves?

  17. Amy D.

    When I was at BYU, I took an international HR class – it was all about placing American families on foreign work assignments. My professor told us that the family will absolutely hate the first 6 months wherever they’re placed – after the initial “honeymoon” period wears off, it’s just so different, lonely, and unfamiliar. But, if the family could make it past six months – they would absolutely come to love it. I use that idea with any major change in my life – try it for six months and then decide if it’s working. You can do this! In the meantime, I’ll continue being jealous of your life in NYC, and will plan our next girls weekend! ????

  18. Airlie Loiaconi

    NYC is a hard place to live when it comes to day-to-day stuff. If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to look in to as many home delivery options as possible. Fresh Direct is great for groceries. Soap.com for toiletries and home products. Postmates for basically anything. Absolutely everything in NYC can be delivered. The price difference is usually negligible, and the convenience can’t be beat. Especially with kids and the hot weather. Good luck! NYC can be magical and the restaurants are amazing, but it’s also a grind.

  19. Lindsay

    Oh this post just broke my heart! I have been following you for some time now! I watch your Instagram stories and just love your personality! I always envisioned if we lived in the same town we would be great friends! I just love your positive energy! I’m sure with your personality you will meet many women that just love you!!! Hang in there! I can tell Gordon and you have an awesome marriage so I’m sure it’s really hard for you guys not to be together very much or to get to talk to each other very much. Will he be able to live with you guys during the weeks or is he always going to be gone this much? Hopefully you guys will be able to get to spend more time together as well as find some amazing friends to spend time with! I will be praying for you! It’s so awesome that you have a nanny now! Hopefully that will help you out as well as the kids! Hugs to you! I have 3 kids and just moved into a new house (in the same town) it has been very hard for me to adjust to our new house as well as get everything organized and clean. I can’t even image how you are feeling!

  20. Heather

    Change of any kind is hard. Change of this magnitude is much harder. It seems like you’re handling it with more grace and humor than most of us would – certainly more than I would.

    I guess the best advice I have is to try and remember – this won’t be permanent. Eventually Gordon’s training will be done, and he’ll be home full-time.

    As far as city living – you may eventually grow to love it, or you may decide in a year or so that your best option is to move to one of the outer boroughs or New Jersey. You may decide to keep your van, or eventually sell it and pocket those several hundred bucks a month and put that towards a larger apartment – who knows? The point I’m trying to make is that there are lots of options to grow and change your life as you see fit and as your time there evolves.

    I read in your comment above that no one in your ward has kids the age of yours. I assume that means they DID have young kids once, too. So they’ve been there, done that – wrangled small kids in the city and came out the other side. Maybe they can help guide you through, particularly in these early months.

    Now that you have a part-time nanny, try and spend some of your kid-free time doing something you like to do and can’t do with the kids. Give yourself that time to wander around the city and do the things you imagined doing when you told Gordon all those years ago that you’d like to move to New York one day. You got this!

  21. ellen patton

    I love making friends of all ages. Make a bucket list of things to see and do and start crossing them off! You should meet Morgan Moore; she’s one of the coolest people in NYC! @nyc_morgan on Instagram.

  22. Maria

    I’m sorry that things are tough right now. NYC is an amazing city but it can be a lonely place at times (and it’s like a sauna in the summer). The start of school should help you (and the kids) to meet more people. Have you checked out Mommy Poppins? https://mommypoppins.com It’s a website full of information on things families can do with kids in the city. They also have info on mom meet ups.

    Another thought, and maybe an odd one, would be to get in touch with Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. https://smittenkitchen.com. She is a mom in the city and a food blogger.

    I wish you and your family the best and look forward to hearing of your adventures as you navigate life in the big city.

  23. ConnieG

    As noted in the other comments, we all know you are smart & feisty & strong & will survive the summer…its getting thru the “hard” right now that’s the issue. Call old friends while waiting to meet the new friends…enjoy those quiet moments by yourself with “Jimmy” or a funny novel or chocolate in any form! Allow yourself a pampering & use us, your loyal followers as your sounding board. Enjoy your nanny!

  24. Natalie

    We are going through the same exact thing, and it has been SO hard. My husband joined the Coast Guard as a JAG and I had to move across country (UT to D.C.) alone with 2 kids and one on the way. Our kids are now sharing a room and the husband will be gone until a week before our baby is due (late October). It’s already been 6 weeks without him and this has certainly been one of the most difficult things I’ve done- lots of doubt, anxiety and stress!! I saw on your Insta stories that you hired a nanny and that sounds like such a good idea (I’m a food blogger too ????)! Hang in there- we can do this!

    1. Lauren

      Girl, I feel ya!! Be grateful that baby is still inside! Things get tricky once that baby gets born. Haha!! Yes, we CAN do this…it just sucks sometimes 😉

  25. Elizabeth

    You can go to meetup.com and create your own moms/kids meet up group. See if there are other new moms around (there’s gotta be!!) who will join. I’ve always wanted to live in NYC too! Good luck! It’s always hard moving with kids. When does school start? Last time I moved with kids, we literally moved a week before school started. ????

  26. Martha

    I don’t know how old your kids are but just getting out of the house sometimes helped mine argue less, even if it’s just a short walk. And for you, make sure you are getting enough natural light. That can be a great mood lifter.

  27. Lora

    I’m sorry this is so challenging. As someone who has followed her husband all over the country (at one point we moved three times in one year!) I feel your pain. Hang in there!

  28. Ginnie | Hello Little Home

    Hang in there … NYC is a hard city to live in. A lot of the day to day challenges will remain, but I think you’ll grow to love it. I can totally relate to the backwards life trajectory ha ha. My husband and I’ve moved from a relatively affordable city (Chicago) to more expensive cities (San Francisco, then NYC) and smaller and smaller apartments. We’re in Dallas now, but of course now I’m missing life in NYC. 🙂

  29. Janet L

    Friends or Seinfeld can always make me laugh. I hope things begin to get easier for you and you and your family feel like you’re home very soon. I’ve been following your story and I’m not sure I could handle everything that you have. From an outsider’s perspective, you’re doing great with all the changes! All the best to you and your sweet family!

  30. Belinda

    I find when tension is high amongst my kids (4,4, and 2), a circuit breaker is good. So I read a story, or blow some bubbles or something small that will engage at least a few of them for a few minutes. This calms them down so I can suggest a better activity. They probably feel exactly like you, grieving, suffering sensory overload, and a bit lonely. Sitting doen with the older ones and talking about that might help you all. Hang in there, I am sure it will get better!

    1. Lauren

      Sensory overload indeed!! There is SO MUCH happening here 24/7! We went to get groceries today and there were protesters yelling about….something. (I couldn’t understand their yells or read their signs…haha!)

  31. Autumn

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for keeping it real. As a mom of 2 I cannot fathom moving across country (I’m in UT) without my husband and extended family to help me. I enjoy all of your posts, look forward to them even, but this one was such a help to me. Not that I am happy you are struggling, but just having you share the “other side of the story” is so insightful for all of us. We all have our struggles and sometimes we feel we are the only one. Have you been to your local ward yet? Maybe there are other moms there you can connect with??? Look forward to your next post Lauren and know you have a cheering squad out here hoping for the best for you and your sweet family.

    1. Lauren

      Yes I have, and the people are really really wonderful but there are no other moms with kids my age. Like, Eddie will be the only kid in nursery. It’s rough. But, thank you so much for your sweet comment!! It’s nice to know I have internet friends cheering me on! Ha!