One of the things I hear mentioned most about Austin is how the city is such a mecca for single people. Maybe it’s the combination of college campus, hipster culture and live music mania, but something about the Texas capital draws together single twenty-somethings like mosquitos to bare skin.
But what happens when two of those single folks decide they are ready to take the plunge to get married, and maybe even start a family?
I was already married when I made Austin my home, so I can’t really speak to the dating scene in this town. But my husband and I certainly knew how to have a good time, and we made it a priority to enjoy as much of the city as we could – swimming at Barton Springs all summer long, dancing at Barbarella until closing time, riding barefoot through downtown on our scooter, wearing our our eardrums at Austin City Limits, two-stepping at the Broken Spoke. Don’t even get me started on the restaurants…
When we got pregnant, we expected all of that to change. Obviously there would be no more all-night dance parties on Dirty Sixth, and most likely we would need to upgrade from the scooter to an “adult vehicle.” But my biggest fear was that having a baby in the picture meant we would no longer be able to enjoy all that Austin had to offer.
Part of what I love most about my marriage is the youthfulness and the spontaneity my husband and I share between us. As we waited for Harlow to arrive in the world, I became more and more anxious that we would lose some of that excitement.
Now that we are more than a year out with Harlow in our lives, I can honestly say that while MANY things have changed, we both now realize that having a baby does not have to mean an end to your former lifestyle completely. With a little ingenuity, you can continue to do many of the same things you enjoyed before there was a baby in the picture.
For instance, Lance and I used to bike everywhere in Austin. When Harlow arrived, we continued to bike often, but now we had another little passenger attached to the back of my bike.
Before the baby, we spent as many weekends as possible soaking up the sun at Barton Springs or Deep Eddy. I actually was surprised to find out that watching our daughter splash and play at our favorite Austin pools was even better than when it was just the two of us (though a bit more exhausting).
We’ve hiked the Greenbelt with Harlow strapped into an Ergobaby Carrier. We’ve taken day trips to Enchanted Rock, Pedernales Falls State Park,and Hamilton Pool with her. She’s eaten at all of our favorite Austin restaurants – Hopdoody, 24 Diner, Counter Cafe, Threadgill’s, and Blue Dahlia. And last Christmas she even went with us on our annual Christmas Lights tour in Hyde Park and at Zilker Park.
We have even gotten to explore parts of Austin that we otherwise would never thought to visit without a baby in the picture – the Children’s Museum, the bluebonnets blooming at McKinney Falls State Park and story-time at the Austin Public Library.
I can’t say that being a parent in Austin is the exact same as being young and single in Austin, but just because you now have to think about getting cash for the babysitter instead of one more round of drinks doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the city just as much as you did before.
Austin may be a fantastic place to be single, but it is also one heck of a place to be a parent. There are countless things to do and see and experience with your little ones in Austin. And now you get the added perk of introducing a whole new generation to the city that you love.