It’s no secret that Florida has its share of odd, somewhat embarrassing, and “oh no, we’re in the news again!” moments. From hurricanes to alligators to sweltering heat, it’s easy to see why the Sunshine State could get a bad wrap. However, it is my firm belief that Florida is the best place to do this “mom” thing.
I recently read an article that cited a study which reported Florida as “the worst place to raise a family.” As someone who has been raising kids for almost seven years now, in three different states, I wholeheartedly DISAGREE. Sure, we can find negatives and positives for just about any state in the country, but after spending several years with young kids up north, I am totally convinced that we have it pretty great raising kids in Florida. Here’s why…
Kid and Mom-Friendly Weather
First of all, the weather! This seems obvious, but until you’ve lived that cabin fever life in a snowy tundra that can last until March, you might not appreciate it. I distinctly remember living in Pennsylvania with a newborn and a 2-year-old and being out of my mind jealous when my Florida friends would post pictures of park play dates in January. Yes, we enjoyed frolicking in the snow on those frigid, icy days, but 45 minutes of bundling up toddlers for 10 minutes of sledding loses its luster after your 8th day of canceled school.
In Florida, we play outside all year long! If our temperatures happen to dip below 70 degrees, we jokingly complain about needing to find pants that fit our kids. My boys and I love to hit up the beach during the early months of the year to play in the sand without the heat and crowds of Summer break. We enjoy riding bikes and taking our dog for a walk without wearing a parka or fighting chubby hands into mittens. If your biggest argument with your child is, “Yes, you DO have to put shoes on to ride your scooter around the block,” then you are reaping the benefits of mom-life in Florida!
The Land of Publix
Another perk of being a mom in Florida is the luxury of shopping at Publix. If you’ve lived elsewhere, you know that no other grocery store compares! Any parent who has ever shopped with a toddler in a cart and a baby strapped to your chest knows that customer service can make or break the daunting chore of food shopping. We are so spoiled with online deli ordering, free cookies in the bakery, and baggers that will walk you to your car at Publix. Y’all, this is not a thing everywhere! We lived 4 years without having a Publix close by (or store that could hold a candle to it). I bagged my own groceries and walked through icy parking lots all while pushing a buggy with a whiny toddler. Then I had to load my car with a screaming baby in an Ergo. When we moved back to the land of Publix and the cashier handed my cranky kids a balloon and the bagger offered to push my cart to my car, I realized – we are living a blessed grocery store existence in Florida!
Our Very Own Melting Pot
One of my favorite things about raising kids in Florida is the incredible amount of diversity and history we can expose our children to. Because our warm climate and unique economy attracts people from all over the country (and world), we have a complete melting pot of cultures, backgrounds, and religions. Within our state, there are so many places our children can experience Latin music, Cuban food, and different languages. We have Greek communities where they can learn about the tradition of sponging and the Epiphany Cross Dive. We have an abundance of kosher restaurants, community centers, and synagogues thanks to the influence of our high Jewish population. And of course, our home city of St. Augustine is the original melting pot of architecture, food, music, and art representing the Spanish, European, and Native American cultures that founded it. Momming in Florida makes it easy to raise kids who have a vast knowledge of other cultures and history.
Things to Do Year Round
I would be remiss if I did not mention how awesome it is to raise kids in a state that is full of theme parks! Even if Disney is not your thing, we have access to countless zoos, state parks, aquariums, and amusement parks that are open year round. Since there are so many options that are easily accessible, we get to visit these fun places any weekend of the year. We don’t have to wait until Summer when the rest of the world is taking their vacations. We can take advantage of the slow times of the year and avoid crowds, heat, and long lines. I don’t ever take for granted having something to do with my kids when the majority of the country is waiting for May to roll around in order to get out of the house!
Being a Mom in Florida is the Best
So, while Florida does have its share of “things that make you go hmm,” and our kids can rarely leave the house without bug spray and sunscreen, for the most part, we’ve got it really good raising kids here! We can get out of the house almost every day, live life like we’re on vacation, and get some free Publix cookies along the way.