Living in New Jersey as a working mom is not an easy thing! With a huge population compared with the geographical size of the state, Jersey is not an easy place to live and raise a family. There’s traffic, a high cost of living, competition everywhere you look, and crowds on every street.
It’s also a great place to live with its close proximity to New York City, tourist destinations, plentiful restaurant options, great people, and competitive schools. You can spend your weekends on Jersey Shore and run into the big city for everything from top-notch healthcare to unique shops and restaurants. These perks certainly beat out the difficulties!
That being said, every Jersey mom needs to learn balance. Raising kids in a hectic city is no walk in the park, and if you feel like you’re drowning, you need a few tips for parenting in a big city. Here are some things you should know.
Birthday parties are no joke here.
There’s nothing like the pressure of planning a super fun birthday party for your kids. Unfortunately, that pressure is heightened when you live in Jersey, because these parties are often big and over the top. Your kids have probably been to dozens of birthday parties that involved bouncy houses, pools, pony rides, and even fireworks.
You don’t want to be the mom that doesn’t deliver on her birthday party, so make it something special. That being said, a great birthday party doesn’t have to involve breaking the bank or stressing yourself out.
Outsource many of your party planning needs to vendors, so they’ll take care of everything for you. If you’re not handy with a cake, a bakery can create a simple, but custom cake customized for your child’s special day. You can also order pizza or other food so you don’t have to do any cooking.
To put an exciting spin on the birthday party, try a ball pit rental. Many birthday kids will have a bouncy house, but very few will have rented out a full ball pit for their kids and guests to play in. Your kid’s party will be the talk of the town for all the right reasons!
All schools are not created equally.
New Jersey is in a prime location for education. It’s surrounded by ivy league universities and colleges, but if you want your kids to get there, you must focus on their education early on. Start by recognizing the differences in school districts.
New Jersey has several school districts. Some are safer and higher quality than others. If you reside in a school district that’s less than desirable, consider commuting to another. Many New Jersey residents have even moved to a different city in order to put their kids in a better school district.
The top 20 school districts in the state include:
- Millburn Township Schools
- Princeton Public Schools
- West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District
- Summit Public Schools
- Livingston Public Schools
- The School District of the Chathams
- Bernards Township School District
- Tenafly Public Schools
- Mountain Lakes School District
- Haddonfield Public Schools
- Fair Lawn School District
- Glen Ridge Public Schools
- Moorestown Township Public School District
- South Brunswick Public Schools
- Westfield Public Schools
- Hopewell Valley Regional School District
- Montgomery Township School District
- Ridgewood Public Schools
- East Brunswick Public Schools
- Berkeley Heights Public Schools
Each of these schools has an A+ rating on Niche.com, and plenty of great reviews.
The Princeton school district is at the very top of the list, and if you want to ensure an ivy league education option for your kids, consider a private elementary and middle school in the area. This will get them on the right track for success in both their schooling and careers.
Take care of your own health.
When your busy life is wrapped up in work, kids, traffic, and other stresses of a crazy Jersey life, it’s easy to let go of your own health. Do you remember the last time you went to the doctor for a checkup?
The CDC recommends that women get a health screening from either an OB/GYN or a family health practitioner at least once per year. During these examinations, they’ll check for general mental and physical health as well as screenings for more serious illnesses that could arise later.
Two of the most important regular screenings are for breast and cervical cancer. These are the two most common cancers for women, and they’re also the most easily preventable as long as you get regular checkups.
Menstruating women who are sexually active and between the ages of 21 and 29 should get a PAP smear at least once every three years to test for cervical cancer. Those between the ages of 30 and 64 should get a test every five years.
You should also do self-breast exams at least monthly to check for abnormal lumps, but a mammogram is usually not required until you’re 45. From ages 45 to 54, you should get a mammogram yearly and from 55 on, you should get one every two years.
If you don’t already have a doctor, or you’re looking to switch, there’s a great women’s health practice in Flemington, NJ. Ask around for recommendations on a great doctor, and take time for yourself!
Keep your house looking fresh.
Appearances mean a great deal in the competitive environment of New Jersey, and that includes your house. Peeling paint, an overgrown lawn, dirty windows, and cracked siding can turn your home into the neighborhood eyesore.
A fresh, well-kept house is a source of old Jersey pride. Evaluate the current condition of your property, and make some changes. Add a coat of paint, make an appointment with a landscaper, order new siding, and make upgrades to your home where you can.
You don’t have to do it all yourself. There are hundreds of excellent home improvement services in New Jersey. Let the professionals take care of all your updates so you can enjoy your family without the stress.
Have some time for yourself!
There are a lot of things you have to do as a busy working mom in Jersey, but when was the last time you did something you wanted to do for yourself?
It might seem selfish to take an hour or two each week to do something you want without kids in tow, but science shows that it’s actually for the benefit of your entire family. When you’re less stressed and more happy, you’re better capable of taking care of your family and enjoy the little moments along the way.
To relieve stress and enjoy yourself, consider getting a membership to the country club. Not only does this allow you to play golf, swim, or workout, but it lets you socialize with other moms in similar situations. Being able to talk about your daily stresses with those who understand is a huge relief when you’re always on the go.
Living, working, and raising a family in New Jersey isn’t easy, but you have plenty of resources to simplify the difficulties and make it more enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and use your connections to make your home and family life a success.