My husband and I vowed we would never raise kids in Utah.
For some reason we had it in our minds that although we were Mormon, growing up in a sea of Mormons was overload. We want our kids not to take their religion for granted. I grew up among a handful of Mormon kids in my high school and loved it. I felt unique and that I really had to work to get my own testimony of the church.
So when we had the chance to move back to my East Coast hometown a few years ago, we jumped at it. But now two years post-Utah with a 4-year-old and an 8-month-old daughter, I think I was seriously mistaken about raising kids in the Beehive State.
I’ve come to realize two things:
1. Raising kids in Utah is uniquely amazing. Everything revolves around families and children. Activities are cheaper and more abundant. Neighborhoods are filled with families ready to get together for playgroups, and everyone is used to kids being around all the time.
And while there are more kids to play with, there were also more moms in my situation. There were young, Mormon mothers who understood why I was staying home with my kids and why I started my family at a young age. I didn’t have to explain myself or my choices. They just got it.
2. The second thing I’ve realized is that environment inside your home is much more important than what happens outside your home.
I was way off mark thinking that being raised around Mormons automatically means your faith hasn’t been as tested or proved. A real testimony isn’t dependent on those outside forces anyway, so why should it matter if you’re surrounded by a sea of Mormons, Catholics or Muslims? As long as parents are giving their children a strong foundation of faith at home, maybe it’s not a big deal if you are part of the religious majority or the glaring minority.
What do you think are the pros and cons of raising kids in Utah if you are Mormon? What about for non-Mormons, what is it like raising kids in the Beehive State?
Erin Stewart is a regular blogger for Deseret News. From stretch marks to the latest news for moms, Stewart discusses it all while her 4-year-old daughter crams Mr. Potato Head pieces in her little sister’s nose.