Most people would agree that there are significant cultural differences between the West and East coasts. But are there noticeable differences between parenting styles and child rearing within the same state? New York Times blogger Lisa Belkin looked at "loco-parenting" or the role your community plays in your parenting, and Medford moms took up the discussion.
Tiffany Reevior: I definitely think parenting varies by region. I've lived in three different states since becoming a parent, and each had its own parenting culture. In the San Francisco Bay area, babywearing, nanny-sharing, and positive discipline were the norm. Here in Medford, I feel like people are still parenting more like their own parents did. Discipline seems more traditional, as do expectations of children.
One thing I love about living in Medford compared to other places I've lived is the freedom given to children. Kids in our neighborhood roam each other's back yards, play basketball at the park, and bike around the block, all without close adult supervision. While it sometimes makes me nervous, overall it seems like a great way to grow up.
Tiffany is mom to a 7 year-old and has lived in Medford since 2007.
Nancy Quinn: What I love about living in Medford is that my kids think having a big city down the street is the norm. They ride the T with ease, they can see the Prudential building from our neighborhood, yet we can go to Wright's Pond or the Fells in a few minutes. I think that is the charm of Medford. In South Medford we can walk to wonderful family restaurants, parks, bakeries and get ice cream sundaes at our local convenience store. In a classic suburb, this is usually not possible - you need to hop in your car to do many things.
I hope my kids will get the best of both worlds while living in Medford.
It has that small town feel yet we have access to amazing museums, historical sites at our doorstep. There are also amazing resources and groups within the community - like the Medford Family Network, Friends of the Medford Library, Medford Farmers' Market. All these are run by the people of Medford and show their love for the community. I want my kids to grow up in a place where people care about where they live, their neighbors and neighborhood.
Nancy has been a Medford resident for 7 years. She has two kids: 4 years and almost two.
Judi McLaughlin: I have intersected with parents from many other communities, and I do think Medford has its own "community flavor." I like that Medford has a small-town feel to it even though it is technically a city, and the population is rich and diverse. We can go to Brazilian bakeries and restaurants, partake in Korean barbeque, and enjoy the benefits of many "mom-and-pop" businesses such as Mystic Coffee Roasters and Colleen's. We have a great cultural center,Springstep, smack in Medford Square, and an acclaimed art studio in Artworks.
A large part of the community I've experienced has been through the Medford Family Network, which is what I think makes this community stand out from others. The incredible playgroups in the park were a life-saver for me when my children were smaller, and the women I met through the Babysitter Exchange have morphed into what I affectionately call my "Mama Tribe"; we have all stuck by each other through thick and thin and even though our children have in many ways gone in separate directions, we all maintain a close bond and make an effort to see each other regularly.
I must say these aspects of Medford living all came as a pleasant surprise to me; I originally moved to Medford so that my husband and I could be closer to our jobs, and the typical bellwethers of parenting (i.e. school system, things to do with kids) were not on our radar screen at all for the first few years we lived here. But now I can't imagine living anywhere else.
Judi is the mother of two girls, ages 6 and 8, and has been a Medford resident for 11 years.