Childrearing

10 Suburban Things You Desperately Miss When Raising Kids In The City

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When I was living in New York with a small child, there were things about my suburban upbringing that I started to miss so much; things I never thought twice about when I had them. There are certain things that make a parent’s life so much easier, that you don’t really appreciate until you don’t have them anymore.

1. A hallway.

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There exists a long, narrow space in most suburban homes whose only function is to be a make-shift gallery and a sound buffer between you and your sleeping child? Tell me more…

2. A garage.

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Nothing like having nowhere to store the baby clothes and toys you’re not sure if you are going to need again.

3. A trunk.

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You mean I could bring the stroller along just in case I want to use it?

4. A supermarket that has those shopping carts for kids that look like race cars. 

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Two kids. One shopping cart. Those things exist in suburbia.

5. A car.

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You mean I can schlep all of these groceries home without losing feeling in my fingers?

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45 Comments

  1. CMJ

    October 14, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    So, I live in the Bay Area…this past weekend I was in Madison, WI for a wedding…. ALL OF THIS SO MUCH I JUST WANT TO DRIVE SOMEWHERE AND BE SUBURBAN.

    • Jessifer

      October 14, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      I’d settle for a car just to do the groceries. I picked the stroller with the biggest freakin’ basket you’ve ever seen but even so, it only holds so much. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve walked around the store thinking “So do I want to buy milk, or a pouch of potatoes? This thing will only hold an extra 5lbs. Oh, and could I carry this box of wipes under my arms AND push the stroller 3-4 blocks back home? Maybe I can sort of balance it between the handlebar and the shade but then would baby get crushed? Hmmm… decisions, decisions!”

    • Rachel Sea

      October 14, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      Check out rents north of SF. They get progressively cheaper the farther you go until you think it must be a mistake. There are places where you can rent a HOUSE for $500 a month.

    • TravelLight

      October 14, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      I also live in SF and while watching Gone Girl this weekend…all I could think about was how big their closet was. All I want is a real closet! And also a parking spot. And maybe a porch. That’s it.

  2. ActionComics25

    October 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I hate to brag, but the garbage chute in my building is only 2 doors down. I know, that plus in unit laundry is why I’m never leaving this apartment.

  3. Boozy Shark Lee

    October 14, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Those car cart things are the devil. I pull out the big gun distraction tactics on the kid when I see them. They are damn near impossible to maneuver. I walk around the store knocking into shit left and right, feeling like a giant asshole.

    • Spongeworthy

      October 14, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      I hate them too. You can’t turn a corner unless you start while you’re only halfway down the aisle. And when I crash into things, I’m kind of leading with the toddler, so he may get some whiplash. Sorry kid, you were the one who wanted this damn thing.

    • KieraAydemireom

      October 15, 2014 at 7:57 am

      m­y be­st friends mum g­ot a nice si­x month o­ld Lex­us N­X 300h SUV jus­t by s­ome parttim­e wo­rking onli­ne wit­h a che­ap laptop. s­ee page >FREELANCING

    • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

      October 14, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      Most of the time they’re awful, and I try to avoid them at all costs since they’re huge. The fancy supermarket near us has a few of the car carts that end up being the size of regular carts, but have the smaller double-decker baskets; the only downside is that there is no room under the cart for anything big.
      There was one supermarket where we used to live that had little TVs in the car part at the front of the cart; I’ve never seen anything like that since, though.

    • ted3553

      October 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      Not to mention the freakout when my son has to leave the steering wheel.

  4. WarriorMermaids

    October 14, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    I still think rural areas are the best.

    • alexesq33

      October 14, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      agree – i’m in a rural area on the outskirts of a small town and LOVE it. Hope the kids aren’t so bored when they grow up though that they start doing weird shit. At least growing up in a suburb outside a city the worst we tried to do was go to a club…..

    • Boozy Inactivist

      October 14, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      Rural kids just do different stupid things. I grew up in a tiny town (like know the name of every kid in the entire school and who lives in every house in a 5 minimum kilometer radius). As grade schoolers we’d build completely unsafe tree huts and accidentally injure ourselves using hand tools or falling out of or through the hut. As teenagers we’d have house parties in the “cool mom’s” garage and everyone would sleep over cause it was way too far to drive anywhere if you had managed to get loan of your parent’s car – and no hanky panky beyond making out cause everyone’s in the same room! Plus we were all pretty sensible as most of us had responsibilities on our respective farms, plus we were so reliant on parental transport that we tended to behave better or our social network was restricted to how far you could walk or bike!

    • Hibbie

      October 14, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      My partner’s from a very rural area and I’ve only lived on bases or in large metro areas. He really wants to raise kids in the country, but I’m a bit skeptical. What have you found to be some of the perks, especially for kids? Love your user name, by the way.

    • WarriorMermaids

      October 14, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      Lots of space, and nature. Fun to explore.

    • ToninaMDC

      October 15, 2014 at 8:35 am

      Perks in my rural area are plenty of places for kids to play, explore, and enjoy nature. It’s also much harder to be “just a number” when there aren’t a ton of people around in the first place. That’s a particular plus when it comes to education. The cost of living is quite low as well. We pay less than $500 a month for our house’s mortgage.

      However, there are also quite a few drawbacks, at least in my rural midwestern neck of the woods. Within my community itself, racial diversity here is almost nil – it’s white Euro/Anglo as far as the eye can see. The pressure to be part of a church (there are no temples or mosques) is intense and the influence of (conservative) Christianity on the local schools is very strong. That influence also impacts LGBTQA folks, who sometimes have a rough time of it around here.

      You also have to head to a more populous area if you need anything special or unusual. For instance, there aren’t a lot of resources within easy reach for treatment of mental health issues, challenging medical problems, or developmental issues in children like autism. We have to drive ~100 miles round trip for my son to see members of his treatment team at the children’s hospital in the nearest city. And good luck finding a restaurant that serves anything other than American heart-attack-on-a-plate stuff, pizza and subs, or Americanized Chinese food within an hour of here!

    • beth

      October 15, 2014 at 8:43 am

      I grew up on a farm outside a town of 1000 people and the nearest town over 10,000 was 60 miles away. After living in a huge city (LA) we decided to move back to the Midwest to raise our kids. The best part for them ,freedom. We know everybody in town so everybody’s kids ride their bikes everywhere and it makes them feel independent. Little do they know that if they are misbehaving someone will tell us. Also I really think actually knowing everyone in your school cuts down on some problems ans the teachers all know each kid through personal experience. I personally like this type of education better than the seven room kids kindergarten situation we were in before.

    • Boozy Inactivist

      October 14, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Yep, feral farm kids FTW!

    • WarriorMermaids

      October 14, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      Heh, I wasn’t a farm kid, though a few of our neighbors had farms. Neighbors across the street grew cabbage. Smelled bad, but the dog loved swimming in their irrigation ditch. My friend’s place was right next to a grapefruit orchard and sometimes we played there. There were no leash laws, so it was fun to run around with the dog.

      We weren’t super hardcore middle-of-nowhere rural, we weren’t too far from some decent-sized towns. But most people had a good amount of land, and good-sized houses.

    • Cindy Ailey

      October 15, 2014 at 9:07 am

      I grew up in a city and now live in a rural area in Delaware. I love some parts of it, but I also miss the city. The road we live on is narrow, with no shoulder and a GIANT ditch on either side. Meaning, if I want to put the little one in the stroller and take a walk, I have to load up the car and drive somewhere safer.

      I’m also 30 minutes away from the grocery store, which means when we’re out of milk, we’re just out of milk cuz I’m not driving an hour just for milk.

      But I love that we have 3 acres to ourselves. Our neighbors have horses that they let us come over and feed. The dog has plenty of room to run around. At night it’s quiet except for the sounds of frogs and crickets and owls.

    • biggerthanthesound

      October 15, 2014 at 10:17 am

      You can see ALL the stars.

  5. alexesq33

    October 14, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    OMG laundry in the house. I lived in apartments or dorms for 16 years before buying a home and this is the best part of the whole thing!!
    Also yes WTF with people with heels above you on hardwood floors. I had a neighbor who used to get up at 4:30 am and get ready for work for over an hour WHILE WEARING HER HEELS right above my bedroom. I worked nights. It was magical.
    The best was – she was a nurse – so not sure where she was wearing the heels, I guess just to get to work? strange….

  6. Spongeworthy

    October 14, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    I don’t have any hallways or a garage, but yeah, I’m ok with the ‘burbs. Also, if you don’t mind doing the work, having a yard is the best.
    We’re lucky in that we only live 15 mins outside a decent-sized city, so a quick drive means we have access to the theater, great restaurants and pubs, and shopping. Then we can leave and I can soak up the silence and listen to the crickets and the peepers.

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      October 14, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Word on all counts.

  7. Jessie Lamontagne

    October 14, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Except for Costco, I have all of these things in the city plus access to kilometers of underground paths and subway access across the street. Condo buildings, they are the shit. I barely need a winter coat.

  8. Valerie

    October 14, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Raising kids is tough even with all of my suburban conveniences. No idea how you city parents do it!

  9. LadyClodia the Modest Rat

    October 14, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    In our suburbia we also have the benefit of wildlife that I had previously only known in rural settings. I almost hit a deer today on our way back from toddler gym class. We also have a bunch of deer that frequently hang out in our yard, and sometimes the wild turkeys show up too. Groundhogs and skunks might not be as strange for suburbia.

    • chill

      October 15, 2014 at 4:57 am

      Yes, we have coyotes and foxes in our area and we’re definitely not even on the edge of rural. There are out of control herds of deer in my mom’s suburb of DC.

    • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

      October 15, 2014 at 10:29 am

      There used to be coyotes in the suburbs where we used to live, but there aren’t any here. I’m not sure if there are foxes.

  10. Rachel Sea

    October 14, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    When I lived in The City, getting the parking space in front of the building was so momentous an occasion it could bring a person to tears. Now if I can’t park at the curb I’m like, “Who the fuck took my spot?”

    • CMJ

      October 14, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      I’m doing a show in the Mission and I have been driving because Bart has been taking too much of my life blood these days and I am not even kidding when I get a spot in front of the stage door I am literally fist-pumping as I park.

    • Rachel Sea

      October 14, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      That’s magical. Did you show everyone you worked with? My flatmates and I would high-five each other when one of us got The Spot.

    • biggerthanthesound

      October 15, 2014 at 10:19 am

      My friend and I used to call it Rock Star parking.

  11. Michael Weldon

    October 14, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    One thing missing here is how bad I felt when my oldest was a newborn in a Boston apartment-every time he went on a big cry-fest I felt awful about annoying the neighbors. Its possible to annoy the neighbors in the burbs, but it takes a lot more effort…

  12. leahdawn

    October 14, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    I’d like to think we have the best of both worlds. We live in the city but the city is small enough (750,000ish ppl) that it feels kind of suburban.
    Also if we had a baby in our apartment we would have been evicted, our building was no kids. Grateful everyday for our ancient little house though, it’s still four times larger than our crawlspace of an apartment was.

  13. Cindy Ailey

    October 14, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    There are some cities where you can have those things. I grew up in Chicago, actually in the city of Chicago and not the suburbs, and I grew up in a house with a yard (no garage), my parents had a car. We had trash cans in the alley behind the house and a washer/dryer in the basement.

    Not every city is like NYC.

    • LA Face, Oakland Booty (and

      October 15, 2014 at 7:42 am

      It depends on where in the city you live. Not all of Chicago city living provides garages – plenty of people still have street parking.

    • jen27

      October 15, 2014 at 7:44 am

      I grew up in the NYC and had a house, backyard, garage, car, washer dryer, etc. We were firmly middle class. The subway was a block from my house and it was a 15 minute train ride into Manhattan. Manhattan /=/ NYC.

    • Brooklyngirl28

      October 15, 2014 at 9:40 am

      You took the words out of my mouth. I grew up in NYC and has all those things too. The world needs to learn more about the outer boroughs…

      ETA.. Costco is 10 minutes from my house 🙂

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      October 15, 2014 at 8:05 am

      Denver has several neighborhoods that have a mix of single-family and apartment homes within spitting distance of downtown. No Costco within city limits, but there is a Super Target that isn’t too hard to get to on my side of town.

  14. simoneutecht

    October 14, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I live in Brooklyn and have all these things.

    • Emily Wight

      October 14, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      I live in Vancouver, and … same.

    • Andrea

      October 14, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      Yeah all it takes is insane amounts of money.YAY!

  15. footnotegirl

    October 14, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Reasons I love living in my city. I live in the city! And I have all of this because my city has many neighborhoods with single family houses with detached garages. Granted, we still do have to drive to the suburb to hit costco, but it’s a first ring suburb, so that’s no big whoop. Yay Twin Cities!

  16. CW

    October 15, 2014 at 9:05 am

    You do realize that the suburbs also have apartment buildings? Most of the stuff you mention has little to do with the city and everything to do with living in an apartment. I *NEVER* want to live in an apartment building again if I can help it. I’d live in a townhome, but only one with an attached garage, washer-dryer in my unit, and my own private entrance rather than a shared one.

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