How do you know when to call it quits on the city?
It doesn’t happen right away. You have your baby and adapt to your new life in the city: lugging strollers on subways, feeding and changing anywhere you can, running around to playdates and classes–all while exploring this awesome city with your little one in tow.
But, then things start to change. Maybe it’s all of the running around or the second child, (or in our case the third child) that pushes you over the edge. Things are wonderful and amazing, but also so hard. You think about space and convenience. Before you know it, you are researching the suburbs, figuring out these other towns that are near-ish to NYC, learning about new schools. And then it’s done. You moved to the burbs!
As born and raised New Yorker, I never imagined that I would live in the suburbs. It wasn’t really part of my childhood, except for a few summers at sleepaway camp and visits to see family every now and again. Childhood was playing on stoops, in local parks, and hopping on the train whenever we wanted to get anywhere.
When I first had my daughter, there really wasn’t any talk about leaving. I adapted in this new terrain as a mother, and I loved rediscovering NYC through her eyes. When I had my second daughter we moved to a new space: a 3-bedroom apartment, which was a major score in our Brooklyn life. The girls shared a room and we adapted again.
But soon things started to change. With our third baby, everything just got really hard. I found myself constantly running from different classes to different schools, shuffling and lugging. All of those things at home we once overlooked–like no dishwasher and or washer/dryer–was becoming a burden. I struggled to keep up with the day-to-day, even with a work-from-home schedule. That is motherhood, I suppose, but there had to be an easier way.
We thought about moving within our neighborhood, but it was shocking how quickly the rents had risen since we arrived. Plus, we were starting to think more about the future for the girls. Did we want to stay in Brooklyn forever? I wasn’t so sure anymore.
The more and more that we thought about it, the more I realized that Brooklyn life wasn’t for us anymore. And while we were nervous to leave our community and the life that we had grown to love, it was time for something new.
For us, the suburbs was a no-man’s land. I knew a few people that had made the move, but I no idea where to go or even where to start. We only knew we needed a location that was close to the train to make commuting easy. We didn’t have a specific timeline for when (or if) we would move. Then one day my husband saw a listing in Westchester, so we loaded the girls and went.
I fell in love. It wasn’t a huge house or anything fancy, but it was just what we needed. There was space, a backyard and front yard, storage, a play area for the girls and an office for me. There was a dishwasher and a washing machine. After some contemplation and some quick research on the town and the school district, we decided to go for it. A few days later, we embarked on this new adventure together.
It’s been just a few months, and I don’t know why we didn’t do this sooner. The community has been incredibly welcoming, and the girls have made friends and quickly adapted. Our house is also close to the town that I can walk to the train, local stores and library. I love having a quiet space during the day and being surrounded by trees and nature. Having been in the city my whole life, these pleasures feel luxurious.
The day-to-day with 3 kids is still crazy and busy, but I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. It’s amazing to see the freedom that the girls have now. They both are constantly telling me how much they love living here. The transition has been harder on me. Since it’s more of a driving culture, I have found it harder to find moms to connect with, which is a little reminiscent of the feelings of being a first-time mom.
Do I miss Brooklyn? Yes, of course. But we have it nearby and it will always be a place that is close to all of our hearts.
Finding the right suburb is challenging and incredibly scary. You have to be ready–both mentally and emotionally–to embark on this exciting change. The best thing is to do your research, visit the towns and learn about the schools. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section!
This article is by Serena Norr, courtesy of Well Rounded NY. Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.
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