A hybrid blend of country livin' and city slickin', Tennessee has become the ideal destination to both spread wings and plant roots. For those of us that have chosen the latter, Ole Rocky Top is indeed home sweet home to us. As with any region, Tennessee has a specific set of both benefits and challenges when it comes to raising a family here. For example: only in Tennessee can someone where flip flops and a cable knit scarf simultaneously without it being ironic; it's actually quite necessary sometimes.
Having been raised in Tennessee for most of my life, I learned at a very young age to say "please" and "thank you," and I've opened more than just a few doors for elderly citizens; sure, there were a few of those elders who may have deserved to have been hit with said door on their way out but, around here, we are raised to respect our elders regardless of their less than sunny temperament.
Tennessee is a place where "fried" is a food group and "y'all" is a word; we talk a little slower and pour our drinks a little stronger; women can be as sweet as pie and as mean as snakes, and they'll bless your heart both lovingly and sarcastically.
Tennessee moms may not be everyone's cup of sweet tea, but we welcome everyone on our front porch any way. Sometimes we might do things a little different but it makes perfect sense to us.
Our Babies Own Cowboy Boots — Even If They Haven't Walked Yet
Um, first of all, baby boots are adorable. Second, we spend a lot of time outdoors and you really just never know when your baby is going to need farm-ready footwear in the South.
Humidity Is The Bane Of Our Existence
Tennessee summers are spent at rivers and lakes, exploring hiking trails, fishing, and just being outside in general. And while the scenery surrounding us is nothing short of gorgeous, the humidity is atrocious. It might only be 85 degrees outside, but with a relative humidity of 90 percent it feels more like 100 degrees. Aka Hell. Every day for three months.
This is why our hair is so big (thus putting us closer to heaven) and are kids are often scantily clad.
Snow? What's That?
Tennessee pretty much gets the shaft when it comes to winter precipitation. Our winter storms require helmets and knee pads because they consist mostly of sleet and ice rather than fluffy, happy snow. Six inches of slush on the roads is pretty normal; six inches of snow — not so much.
In most parts of Tennessee, winter isn't accompanied by a great deal of snowfall at all; so we don't really know how to handle ourselves appropriately when we do actually see the powder. Schools are called off at the first sign of a flurry and the bread aisle at the grocery store is ravaged within minutes if there's even the slightest chance of snow.
We're not sure why, but Elsa definitely hates us.
Fried Chicken Is Healthy, OK?
I love fried chicken as much as the next Southerner, but I'm not a fan of its ability to harden my arteries. Like most other women with kids, I put forth an enviable amount of effort into hunting down healthy food at the grocery store, but shopping organic in the South is a bit of a challenge sometimes.
Nothing is too good to fry in the south. Nothing.
We Love College Football More Than Christmas
Whether you support the University of Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, or whoever else, there's no denying the presence that college football season holds in the Volunteer State. To us, game days are holidays and tailgating is an art form; we talk about the players like we know them and more than likely have a pet named after one of our team's stars.
Our wardrobe consists mainly of our team's colors and our moods are greatly altered by the outcome of the game. We're more than just a little obsessed, but are completely at ease with that.
We Knew Nashville Before It Was Cool
In recent years, Nashville's popularity among travelers has soared. The economical boost that's come alongside Nashville's popularity is awesome, but the traffic ... not so much.
Nashville used to be filled with larger than life belt buckles and people walked the streets with nothing but a guitar case and a brown paper bag hiding a Bud Light. Word got around that many of those people found success in Nashville, and now the streets never sleep.
And all of this is great, except for the fact that my favorite sushi place is now "trendy," and not only do I not feel cool enough to even wash dishes there, but I also don't enjoy the long lines outside. I love Nashville — always have, always will — and I'm grateful for the success that it's seen in the last few years, but I sometimes I miss the nerdy, scruffy, mullet-filled Nashville of the '90s.
We Camouflage Baby Clothes, Because Of Course We Do.
I almost guarantee that the majority of Tennessee women receive some sort of camouflage garb at some point during their pregnancies. Hunting and fishing are kind of a big deal around here, and many men (and women) spend the better part of their winters in tree stands wearing face paint and camouflage as if they're extras in Braveheart.
It doesn't matter whether a family hunts or fishes, everyone owns something camouflaged just in case.
The good news is that the South is totally prepared for a zombie apocalypse.
We All Want Our Kids To Grow Up To Be Peyton Manning.
Look, Peyton Manning is a stand up guy. Sure, he's arguably the best quarterback of all time, but his athleticism is far from the only reason for our admiration. He's a great sport with a great attitude; he's strays from drama and spotlights, and puts his family first. Manning is never associated with any scandal off the field and is often involved in giving back to charities.
He's a great example for all and though his retirement looms in the somewhat near future we're still holding out that he'll settle down somewhere near his alma mater in Knoxville.
We Practiced Farm-To-Table Long Before The Rest Of Y'all Did.
There's plenty of farmers here and "farm-to-table" is a movement that we happily embrace and support; however, farm-to-table is also a thing in Tennessee, and it's pretty popular.
We hunt and fish, and those trips aren't simply for bragging rights and man-cave material — they also put food on the table. Deer jerky and catfish might not be for everyone, but we love it and we're not sorry about it.