Jumpball Editorial: Is Charlotte a Good Place to Raise a Family
You hear it every day: Charlotte is a great place to raise a family. But, it is true? Is it true for everyone? To explore the topic, we turned to soon-to-be-dad, Andrew Au, and four of his fellow creative Charlotteans, each of whom has recently had their first child in the Queen City.
Director of Operations at Queens Knight School of Communication
Is Charlotte a good place to raise a family?
This past June, my wife, Lauren and I found out we were pregnant. It was a shock to us both because it happened sooner than we thought. Right now, we’re spending a good amount of time researching everything we can – pregnancy tips, best nursery items, how to be good parents, the insanity of daycare – you know, the usual things.
We live and work in Charlotte, so of course, we would be raising our child in Charlotte.
One thing we never considered was if the city of Charlotte was a good place to raise a newborn baby and start a family.
We did realize that we want to be near our family while raising our own. Lauren’s parents live in Florida and my parents are willing to follow us wherever. While we’re not leaving [Charlotte] anytime soon, our talk did help me to see that one’s family, friends and community are vital to raising your family – having that group of support helps not only physically. but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I know there are many factors that affect raising families in Charlotte I don’t encounter on a consistent basis, but from my perspective, as long as we have a community in Charlotte that supports us (and that we can reciprocate), Charlotte is a good place to raise a family.
What do others say?
Sports Director at Morrison YMCA and Co-Founder at PlayBIG
What’s it like raising a child in Charlotte? It’s been bliss so far. [Our daughter] is almost 11 months old and despite the tough times with any new baby, she’s been amazing every step of the way. If I had to boil down what makes Charlotte a good fit for a family raising a child, I would draw on these things – support for the parents and child, basic needs and desired lifestyle.
As young professionals, my wife and I have chosen to live in an area where there are other young professionals and families with lots of friends that are going thru similar seasons that we can lean on for support. Support is helpful to get through those first few months as new parents and keeping your normal life – work, showers, eating, (attempting) sleep, relationship with your spouse or significant other.
Access to basic needs is obvious, but not often thought about because we live in a large urban city. But, not everywhere in this city has easily accessible grocery stores, a safe home or area to live. If a family doesn’t feel safe in their own home it’s tough to argue that area is a good place to live.
For us, we live in area with easy access to the grocery stores, restaurants, parks, etc. nearby we need in our family. Another basic need is a childcare facility that we love and trust. Without that basic need in a city – the evaluation process would be over for a family with a newborn.
Lifestyle is the last piece. We’ve elected to raise our multi-racial child, in a diverse setting so that she can have exposure to many different people that don’t look like, think, or do things like her or her parents. My position at the YMCA allows us even more access to a myriad of programs where she can meet kids from different backgrounds and cultures.
My wife and I think that Charlotte is a wonderful place to raise a family – provided that families have the support, access and lifestyle that they want and need. For us, we have all that we need and more here in the 704.
Broker, REALTOR with Savvy + Co.
Charlotte is a fantastic place to raise a family if you have the proper resources.
My husband and I started our family later in life when we were more established. We live in a community with a host of local amenities. Parks, greenways and venues that celebrate arts and culture are just a few of the benefits our daughter has at her disposal. Our community has helped us expose her to new experiences that challenge her mind and help her grow.
Unfortunately, there is another side of Charlotte that does not enjoy the same benefits. Children born into lower socioeconomic classes do not have easy access to the kinds of experiences our daughter enjoys. They are confined to spaces where housing is less expensive and opportunities are few and far between. As a real estate agent, I see first-hand how difficult affordable housing can be for families.
Affordable housing is the first step towards building a strong community. Once we level the playing field and provide all our children with the proper resources they need to flourish, Charlotte will truly become a wonderful place to raise a family. Engaged children help create strong families and strong families help build world-class cities.
Director of Membership at MHI
My wife and I were living in a 575 sq .ft. condo in Washington, D.C. before we decided to move to Charlotte. We asked ourselves, “Why in the heck are we looking to stay in a city where if we wanted a home to raise our children? We would have to get a commute crushing, overpriced, fixer upper in the ‘burbs.”
So, we came to visit Charlotte, went to Olde Mecklenburg Brewing and saw kids running around. It just felt like family was a central tenant of the culture here, which you don’t get in every city.
In my opinion, Charlotte just makes life simpler. In turn, this makes it a good place to raise a family. Compared to where I used to live – the traffic, the cost of living, the ability to connect with the community, the schools, the niceness of the people – are all improved here. That said …
With more “Yankees” moving here though, I think we should create a mandatory “Bless Your Heart Charlotte” class. We need to teach people the secret sauce of Charlotte – that sincere sweetness that slows life down and makes everyone feel welcome. Ten years from now, I still want to bring my kids to a brewery, give directions freely, merge into traffic and give a thank you wave to the car behind me without hesitation.
Founder of Move That Dough Baking Co.
Coping with prenatal depression is grueling. Trying to keep a business afloat amidst that? One of the biggest challenges I’ve had.
Communicating with customers and businesses when I could barely communicate with kindnesss to MYSELF? Hard. I felt ashamed and isolated, afraid to admit it. I was overwhelmed. I was worried that those feelings would negatively impact the baby I was blessed to carry. I felt like a failure as a mother and as a business owner.
And then I found a midwife.
My midwife loved me enough to ask the tough questions of how I was ACTUALLY DOING. She was a consistent presence and still checks in. At any time, I can text her for support and this helps me to not feel alone or unworthy.
During pregnancy, it seems like people have such a blissful time, but for me, anxiety and depression led me into isolation. Then a community of people rose up who poured into me because of compassion and empathy.
I thank Charlotte for what it is because we have options! We have options for hospital births and birthing centers. While we need to enable midwifery even more, we have doulas and midwives who are willing to extend their services and be the support systems that are so needed. Like with any change in life, this is a process. To have someone process with you is a blessing.
I still struggle with balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship, but I have found solidarity and support the more I’ve talked openly about it. I’m not sure that every city offers quite as much and I know Charlotte still has areas to grow. But, I see many who are striving toward that growth. For that? I’m so glad to have been a pregnant person — and a new mother — in Charlotte.
Now, it’s your turn. These are five opinions. What’s yours? Is Charlotte a good place to raise a family? If not, what do we need to address to make it so? Use the comment area below to share your thoughts. If you choose to respond to any of the authors above, be nice. Intelligent discourse is welcome here. Bullying and hateful speech is not.
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