Motherhood

Where Do You Want to Raise Kids?

Where do you want to raise kids?

If you could choose anywhere, where would you want to raise kids? Do you envision a small town? A big city? Warm weather? Four distinct seasons? For the past eight years, we’ve been raising our kids in New York City, and no one is more surprised than I am…

When I was younger, I couldn’t imagine having kids in a big city. But when I got pregnant, I saw everything in a new light: “I always liked New York, but it suddenly felt like Sesame Street. Cab drivers would yell out, ‘Seven months? Eight months?’ and deli owners would slip me an extra piece of chocolate since I was eating for two. Flash forward five years: Our two children know everyone in the neighborhood — Wally, who owns the deli, Francesco from the pizzeria, John the librarian, and the little old lady who sits on the stoop and says our baby should be wearing socks. I love that we live in this big city, but each neighborhood feels like a small town.”

Still, even then, I assumed we would move once the boys were both in school. I mean, New York City? With kids? I grew up in the Michigan suburbs, and I always figured we’d move somewhere small and relaxed once the boys were out of diapers. There’s the siren song of Maine, or California, or something more similar to my own childhood with a town library and quiet streets.

Yet, here we are.

A reader named SC left a lovely comment last week: “I don’t know what the future holds. But I will always be comforted by Cheryl Strayed’s thoughtful words from her Dear Sugar column: “I’ll never know and neither will you of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.”

Joanna Goddard childhood

What about you? Where will you raise your kids, if you have them? Do you envision your children’s childhood to be similar to yours, or very different? I’m really curious and would love to hear your thoughts.

P.S. 15 surprising things about parenting in Iceland, and do your kids ever walk around alone?

  1. Lily says...

    My husband and I are raising our baby (and hopefully a few more) in a Southwest city we relocated to so I could attend school. After mulling/agonizing over whether to move back to my hometown to be near family and give our baby a small-town childhood similar to what I had, we decided to stay put until the baby is Kindergarten age so that my husband can go back to school and we can get better established financially. It’s such a relief that economics made the choice for us and I feel it’s given me permission to just bloom where I’m planted. I’ve made it a point to spend these next 4 years really getting to know the city and the people here. Even if we won’t be here forever, it’s still a period in our lives and the baby’s childhood, and I want to live fully now. Once my husband is done with school we’ll make another choice, hopefully this time with more options. In the meantime, I see family twice a year and talk to them a few times a week. My husband and I also have some space to establish a family culture that works for us. I think as my parents get older, it will be harder to be away, but we’ll see how things turn out.

  2. Joy says...

    We’re in a beautiful suburb of Paris, living in a tiny flat on the 3rd floor with no lift. Expecting our first in June. This is not how I had originally envisioned living when we have kids, and long term I don’t really want to stay, but for now it suits us. I’d really like to live in the French countryside, in a village big enough to have at least 2 boulangeries, but with plenty of nature and green space around. I dunno, we’ll see. 🤷‍♀️

    • Eileen says...

      I adore the concept of village size relative to the number of boulangeries. Swooon!

  3. Libby says...

    This is so timely for me. My husband and I have lived overseas for nearly seven years (Kuala Lumpur and now Zürich), and we are preparing to move back to the States with our son in June. He will be 15 months old, and while we’ve experienced enough change (planned and unplanned) to know that life throws lots of surprises at you, we’d love to move to a place where we feel content settling down with him and any future children for the long haul. Our parents, his siblings and many of our friends are in the Chicago and Milwaukee suburbs, so Chicago is appealing for closeness to family (and friends who are family) — plus it has so many wonderful things to offer a child. (We greatly prefer Chicago to Milwaukee.) We’ve Also spent some time living in the south, in Nashville, and I feel like that region has a lot to offer a young family as well. But we love new adventures, and there are many cities we’ve visited that feel like they would be a fun place to experience as residents and new(ish) parents — D.C., Detroit, Denver, St. Louis and more. I feel fortunate that we’re open to life in so many places, even if it can be a bit overwhelming to think about. Luckily we still have a few months — and really, who am I kidding, it will all be about where the jobs are!

    • Rachel says...

      My little dude will be 16 months in June, and I’m so excited to show him all that Chicago has to offer in the summer!! (Now that he’s big enough to enjoy it!) Best of luck with your move.

    • Mary says...

      I live in Chicago. Plenty to see and do for everyone! Plus, Milwaukee is only an Amtrak train ride away (I have a sister in Milwaukee). The Midwest is a great place to raise a family and live.

  4. Sarah-Jane says...

    Very timely posting for me. My husband and I moved from Manhattan to the UK when I was 4 months pregnant with our first (he is now 7 weeks old). We plan on moving to London in April. It was easy for me to leave NYC. While it was a fun experience, my heart remains in SF where I spent my twenties and early thirties. We left out close knit community of friends there for work and school. London made sense as it the big city feeling I crave after being raised in a soulless suburb, but it his green and supports easy travel to the country and to Nordic countried where my husband has family. Most importantly, my parents and his parents live 1.5 hours from London East and West. Having not had a strong relationship with my own grandparents, this felt so important to me. The parental support during these hard postpartum days (and nights) has also been so lovely. But I can’t help but miss Northern Californian and the friends there who are like family. I feel almost haunted by that alternate existence. But will try and keep the Dear Sugar quote in mind while I start new in London this year. Anyone have neighborhood recommendations? We are considering Wimbledon, Putney, Barnes, and Dulwich/East Dulwich. I’m also in the market for friends – I serve killer margaritas ;)

    • Laura Lewis says...

      East Dulwich. Particularly Forest Hill is a lovely neighbourhood. We loved there until we got pregnant with our twins and moved to Wales to be nearer grandparents. Still miss London greatly, and hope of moving back one day. The forest hill neighbourhood is everything that Jo described in her article. You get to know the names of the shop owners and locals. It’s right near the Horniman museum which is a fab place to hang out and has lovely independent cafes and shops. Great travel links too on the Overground. And a nice school too for the future. If we were still there those margaritas sound devine! Good luck.

    • Laura says...

      Sarah-Jane, we’re in E Dulwich! Originally from the UK (London and Manchester raised myself and my husband) but we lived in LA for work for 12 years. Moved there with our eldest when he was 3mths old (now 13), and our 8 year old was born there. Now all dual citizens, we moved back to London for work 18mths ago. Whilst I was ready for something other than LA, the friends we left make me feel often sad and I find I’ve found it harder than the kids! Your comment about being ‘haunted’ totally resonates. However, I love the neighbourhood feel, the green space and just knowing the people well in the local delis and coffee shops. So if you move to E/Dulwich, definitely get in touch. My kids might be much older, but we can definitely bond over margs! Wishing you all the luck with your next move!

    • Ruth says...

      We live in Crystal Palace which is just south of Dulwich and is amazing for families with young kids. My kids are 1 and 2 and I’m expecting a third in October. I’m originally from a small town in Scotland but been in London for almost ten years and Crystal Palace for five. We love it here – it’s a wonderful community with great stuff for kids and parents. We also spend a lot of time in dulwich which is walking distance so get in touch if you end up near by for coffee/margs. X

  5. Same here. From a small town in the south, and my mid-20s NYC “adventure” is now almost 20 years in and we’re raising a young kid in Brooklyn. Even now, I feel like my brain is always one foot out the door because *surely* we won’t be here forever – yet, here we still are. That’s the hardest part to me. I don’t feel 100% settled, even now. Otherwise, I don’t mind raising him here at all after, like you, assuming all these years I would never do it. It’s actually great, for all the reasons you mentioned. He had a random day off school in the spring (there are so many!) and we took a water taxi out to see the Statue of Liberty, just for something to do. I didn’t see the Statue of Liberty until my 20s and he can because it’s Tuesday. His childhood is so unlike my own, it’s truly hard to fathom, but that’s ok, and he’s happy as can be. He sometimes asks why we don’t have a yard (I want one, too!) but so far, we’re good!

  6. LP says...

    We’re having our first baby this fall and live in Philadelphia, where I NEVER EVER thought I’d raise a child. I spent most of my life in North Carolina and NYC, and I can imagine motherhood in both of those spots but not here! Will my kid say wood-er and love Irish potatoes?! I can’t imagine it.

  7. Em says...

    I don’t want to raise my children in the town/region we are currently in (we have 2 children already), but my parents moved out here to Maryland from the midwest when we had our first son and I feel stuck!! Not to mention, my husband’s entire extended family is here.

    I deeply miss Ohio, Indiana, Michigan…all the places of my childhood. I try to remind myself that my children will think fondly of Maryland as I do the midwest.

    They might not have July 4th Lake Michigan visits, but they will have trips to the ocean every year. They might not be able to ride their bike in a neighborhood, but we can walk a block to get ice cream. They might not get to experience going a state away to stay with cousins for a weekend, but they get to see their grandparents every week. Their childhood will be just as magical as mine, even of it is different.

  8. Laura says...

    I love the energy in the city with kids. We visited my sister in DC where we could walk to the mall, and tbh I had some serious envy at all the history and kid friendly places/community. However, we were talking about all the pesticides and pollution and it made me feel a bit better living in the woods with feral kids. Albeit we have to work harder to find people and community 😂🙈 There are pros and cons and tradeoffs to every scenario..

  9. Natalie says...

    I never expected to settle in the Minneapolis suburb I was raised in. I spent a little time at design school in Chicago, a blink in Greece and then decided to just go to college here. It was cheaper. It made sense. I’d live with my yiayia through school and THEN jet. But very quickly I met my love. And we found a 500 sq ft apartment in the cutest neighborhood. And I went to grad school. And got pregnant …again… and again. And somewhere in between the 2nd and 3rd baby we landed ourselves a house in my childhood town, the one that I not only never intended to return to but very specifically intended to never return to. But it made sense. And we’re happy. And my parents are an 8 minute drive, so they’re very happy, which makes me especially happy. And while I absolutely salute that life that could’ve been, I completely adore this life that is.

  10. Vale Cervarich says...

    That Quote Though!!!
    That one will stay with me for a long while.

  11. Tara says...

    My husband and I moved our family back to my family’s farm in central PA about 3 years ago when our boys were almost 5 and 2.5. We are building a house across the field (but out of the field of vision, thank you rolling hills!) from my parents. My brother and his family will be building just up the hill from us in a few years. I grew up being able to walk to my grandparents’ and cousins’ houses and am thrilled my boys will have the same experience. They are rarely enthusiastic about the ongoing work of the farm, but I am hopeful I can coax them into it with some goats when we are settled in our new house. I don’t necessarily expect them to grow up to farm, but I want them to grow up with an appreciation for hard work, getting their hands dirty, where their food comes from, and a respect for the land. Big ideals for little boys and I am so fortunate to have the setting and the support system of my extended family to help build this for them. There is something really special about raising the sixth generation to live and work on this land.

  12. Mel says...

    We moved out of Manhattan to have a second kid. My husband still commutes in 3 days a week – but we moved up to the top of dutchess county and we specifically shopped for towns that had authentic villages with active main streets. My thought was I want my teenager to be able get a summer job in village – and also to have a strong sense of community and support from a network of relationships that happens when people know you. I grew up on a farm in Upstate NY and I also wanted my kids to feel like agriculture and food production wasn’t a foreign concept. I have guilt about diversity – but then again our neighborhood in Manhattan (Chelsea) was becoming less diverse (and more unaffordable) everyday. If cost of living were less I think we would have stayed, but it started to feel like our neighborhood was meant for a different class of people – and our existence there was destined to temporary. I also wanted to feel like we could plug into a local community and ‘be the change’ in the wake of 2016, that too. Time will tell but so far it has been a wonderful new adventure for us!

  13. Karla says...

    This is always a battle for me. I can only give advice based off my own experience…if any of you are thinking of moving with young children, do it now! They grow so fast and now we have our oldest about to start high school. I really don’t want to change schools now. If we were to do it, I wished it was before jr high.

  14. Camille says...

    I grew up on the Central Coast of California and then moved a bit south to Santa Barbara. Both areas are idyllic in their own ways, and I could easily see having a family in both places. Morro Bay/ Los Osos is a definite slower pace, sleepy town feel but with so much natural beauty and fun outdoor activities. And Santa Barbara is just about paradise so who could ever want to leave?? Basically, either choice is a win with different pros and nearly no cons (IMO).

  15. Kat says...

    I was born and raised on Kaua’i, and while I wouldn’t trade it for the world, I feel a little disadvantaged, most notably in education and communication. In Hawai’i, the combination of our “pidgin” English and poor public school system made me feel at a constant disadvantage in college and currently in my career. Part of me would absolutely love for my daughter to grow up in that island culture – going to the beach, THE WARM WEATHER (how i miss the warmth!), being exposed to the Hawaiian culture and strong community support (where any elders are called “aunty” and “uncle” and to this day you don’t really know your high school friends’ parents names), and again, living in paradise. Who wouldn’t want that? But now that I’ve been living in Seattle for the past 9 years, I don’t know if I could make that move without feeling like my daughter could one day struggle like I do now. I feel like there are more options here in W. Washington. With education, extracurricular activities, more space to explore (you’re not on a rock), educational activities… a lot of things. I battle with this a lot. OR, would she be completely fine? People who grew up there are successful all the time, possibly not feeling at all like how I feel. Growing up on Kaua’i was so special. I feel unbelievably lucky to have that experience. I want that for my daughter, but more. I don’t know if any of this makes sense. I also know my thoughts are jumbled and grammatically incorrect and I blame that on growing up in Hawai’i. Heh.

    • Lia says...

      I think you are very clear, and grammatically correct. Maybe your insecurity is not so well founded? These thoughts helped me, I think that how we turn out have a lot to do with the place and opportunities, but even more with genetics and our parents’ attitudes and actions.

    • Lauren E. says...

      My husband’s family is Hawaiian and I had a giggle over “you don’t really your friend’s parents’ names.” I have no idea what anybody’s real names are! Everybody is Junior or Boy or Aunty. I’m so grateful to have them in my life.

    • Kelsi says...

      I grew up in Washington and we’ve moved back and forth from Bellingham and Port Townsend a few times. My son was born on the Big Island. Even though Hawaii has it’s limitations, I am so looking forward to raising him back there. Frankly, we can’t afford a home on our teacher salaries anywhere in the Seattle region. Bellingham is also now way too expensive. It’s also too busy for me now – the hustle and bustle is overwhelming. The traffic is a bummer. I continue to grapple with the push and pull of what we want (we go rural and feel restless, we move back to a larger town and it feels too crowded!) but ultimately I want year round warmth, for my husband to not go insane over the course of the winter, for my son to participate in our efforts to grow food year round and to learn how to surf, spearfish, and walk on lava rock. The elemental vibe and mana of Hawaii call to us and I am so glad he was born there so I have a legitimate reason to go back. ;)
      My best friend was kama’aina but her family moved to the mainland when they were teenagers specifically for education…I hope we don’t run into this same conundrum when our little one is older. Fingers crossed for HPA scholarships!

  16. I live in Manhattan with my pre-schooler and 6 month old but I grew up in the very idyllic Bay Area suburbs. Growing up I longed to live in a city and even tried to convince my parents that I could go take a train to SF everyday to go to high school there. But I also enjoyed playing for endless hours in the backyard, picking fruit right off the trees in our neighborhood, and sunshine for like 90% of the year. I ended up in New York because my husband got a faculty position here. It was a wonderful place for his career (it has also been his dream to live in New York) and as a freelance designer NYC is good for me too! I do really love New York but I dislike constantly feeling financial pressure and being far from my family (I get a lot of guilt for moving away). I am more excited to live here when the kids get a bit older and we are no longer lugging strollers everywhere and can go out on dates again! There is a lot to love about raising kids in NYC but if my husband got a job back in CA (very unlikely with tenure and everything) I think I would be very happy. But learning to embrace being in NYC and raising our kiddos here!

  17. Sara DeRose says...

    After 22 years of living in NYC, my entire adult life since college (Bronx > UWS > Brooklyn > LES > Park Slope > Windsor Terrace), my Husband, two children and I moved to Fairfield County, CT. I grew up on the CT coast and most of my family is here so it seemed to make the most sense. Honestly, we LOVED living in Brooklyn with our kids and would not have considered moving if we could have afforded to buy something large enough in our beloved neighborhood of Windsor Terrace. It has been an adjustment. My kids prefer suburban life but I miss almost everything about the city. Also, like another commenter said, my kids never play in our backyard, I don’t love the schools here like I thought I would, and the kids never plan in their rooms even though they are no longer sharing! We have also found that home ownership is MUCH more expensive than renting and a total pain in the ass.

    • Heidi Seely says...

      I’m so sorry that has been your experience, but I’m so glad I’m not the only one to find suburban schools a bit lacking!!!

  18. Victoria says...

    Our family moved from Brooklyn to Richmond two years ago, which we chose completely from research — we didn’t have any family or friends here and we never visited before we decided to scout it out. We were looking for a a place that was cheaper, had good schools, affordable homes, better weather, slower pace, outdoor activities, bicycle friendly, not too far from family in NY, low traffic, and great food. When we visited I asked everyone I met so many questions. And it turned out to be the best choice! In fact, it is better than we thought it would be. The skies are blue even in the winter and I wake up to the sound of geese honking from the bedroom of the home we bought this year. We have a half acre by a pond in a safe suburban neighborhood and my son plays in the cul-de-sac with the neighbors. My commute is 20 minutes, 30 when traffic is heavy–when we lived in BK it took at least an hour to get anywhere. My husband is happy and relaxed and I’m expecting a baby girl. Money is still tight but our quality of life is fantastic.

    • Anjali says...

      Hi Victoria! I’m so intrigued, do you mean Richmond Virginia?

    • C says...

      We love Richmond, too! Currently moving from our starter home to our (hopeful) forever home where our kids will be teenagers. Which neighborhood are you in?

  19. Eve says...

    I grew up in a small village in Transylvania. I went to bigger and bigger cities as I grew up. I lived in the capital city of Hungary when I got pregnant. I did not wish to live there in the big city with a small child, so we moved from there to smaller and smaller cities, however lastly two years ago we moved back to the small Transylvanian village I grew up in. My daughter is five now. She enjoys life here, life is slower here. I missed this and I am not sure we will live here for long or not, however, right now it is what is good for us. I work remotely, so I don’t have to commute. We spend a lot more time here together and I can show her a slow life similar to what I had as a child. She will have the time to go and live in big cities when she gets older, I really wanted to show her how life can be outside of the city as well, to see horses on the streets, to see how plants grow, to eat what we grow, to cheer when the sparrows and the storks come back every spring to our village, to be able to play outside in fresh air, to just go fishing in the back of the garden etc etc. By the way, I believe city life is better for bigger kids, they can easily go to many types of after-school classes. For example, my daughter loves basketball and it would be already time to have her go and play with other kids at a club, yet there is no such opportunity here, I would need to make her commute to the city. I am still thinking about this as of what to do.

    • KATIE MCKINLAY says...

      Hi Eve, which village in Transylvania? My husband and I spent 10 days in Transylvania last year and loved it. It seems like a wonderful place to raise a child!

  20. Kirsten says...

    I love this topic and think about it all the time! We are raising our two young kids (3 and 1) in DC, where we’ve lived for 10 years now.

    I thought after I had my first kid I’d be ready to leave but instead it opened up an entire new set of reasons to love it here. It almost feels like getting to know a new city! My neighborhood has an active parents group so I met new people. We go to a Smithsonian almost every weekend! I mean seriously, who can say that. I grew up out west and, while I miss the mountains, I felt stifled and disconnected there in a way I don’t in DC.

    I feel so lucky to live here. We are able to both have good, interesting careers in our chosen fields. Our commutes are easy because we’re in the city, but we also have space for a car which helps us escape often. A lot of our good life comes from some very fortunate events/decisions in our 20s that led us to buy a house in an up and coming neighborhood that was big enough to grow into.

    The one obvious downside is schools. I’m surprised I haven’t seen more discussion about that in the comments because it’s by far the #1 complication for us. From talking to local parents I think I’m comfortable with the quality of our local school through 1st or 2nd grade, after that we’ll just take it as it comes. That buys us 4-5 more years! I’m a hyper planner so it’s been tough to let go and just see what happens but I’m trying to just love what I have now and trust that I’ll figure out the rest someday. Maybe we’ll tire of city life and end up out west with my family, which is a pretty good plan B.

    • Erin says...

      Hi Kirsten,

      I’m a little late to this post but your comment caught my eye. My husband and I lived in DC/NoVA for about 10 years. After we started our family, we decided to move to the Chicago suburbs to be closer to his family. We’ve lived in the Midwest with our three year old for close to two years now, and this area really is lovely for families, but I can’t seem to shake my homesickness for DC. The free Smithsonian access! When you walk through the Mall and on one side you have the Washington Monument and on the other, the Capitol! Eastern Market! I feel like we have a window to move within the next few years, and I think about where we’ll end up living all the time, too. We last lived in the NoVA suburbs, but the more time that we spend in the Chicagoland suburbs and the more I miss DC, I wonder if it’s worth just moving right back into the city if we were to go back. From your comment, it sounds like you’ve had a good experience raising your little ones in the city. Are there any neighborhoods in DC that you’d recommend for a young family? Schools are what we think about the most, too, and we’ve also noticed that the best performance seems to be concentrated at the elementary school level.

      I’m a hyper planner, too, and your comment about loving the here and now while trusting everything to work out resonated with me. I like to believe that there is a meant-to-be element to all of this, too.

  21. Katie says...

    I’m right there with you! My husband and I also grew up in the Chicago suburbs. After college, I took off for Europe and vowed I’d never move home… maybe to New York if I absolutely had to live Stateside. We spent the first few years together living in the city, and just bought a house in the suburbs. There are downsides, but I wouldn’t trade being close to both of our families for anything.

    • Alicia says...

      Hi, Katie. Which Chicago suburb? We’re in Libertyville, and I want to be back in the city in a very desperate way!

  22. Jessie says...

    My husband and I live in Arlington, VA, but lived in a small townhouse in the Rosslyn neighborhood. It was awesome! You could walk to Georgetown and back then quiet on the weekends. We had our first child, and stayed. Once I got pregnant with our second we had to move but were firm we’d stay in a more urban area where we could walk. We did just that and moved to a bigger townhouse. This was even better because we could walk to more stuff. However, once our third child was born thing became a ton harder. It didn’t help that Arlington kept tearing down the sweet old buildings I loved and building more condo’s and more and more. That and more and more younger people starting moving in. After getting a ton of dirty looks all the time from the millennials when my kids were just being kids and all the construction, and not letting them be able to explore on their own in nature, and just being tired of leaving the Townhouse to do different things for three different kids I was done. We ended up buying a house, still in Arlington, but it is amazing! My daughters can go up and down the street alone playing with kids their age, we can walk around in nature, and in the summer time my husband and I can have a beer on the porch and watch the stars come out. My kids can catch fireflies and just be wild and crazy and just kids. I feel like I can finally breath.

    • Libby says...

      Hi neighbor! We live in the Westover neighborhood and also love it :)

    • Jessie says...

      Libby! I love the westover neighborhood! We live in Rock Springs

  23. Alicia says...

    Emily, you obviously didn’t not grow up in the suburban hellsprawl that is South Jersey. I have nice memories and a lot of nostalgia for where I grew up, but there was never any love for such a soulless, boring place. Except we did have the best pizza.

  24. Samantha says...

    My husband and I both grew up in the Chicago suburbs and we always said we will NEVER live in the burbs as adults. We lived in Portland Oregon for 7 years after college/grad school and then after we had kids we decided to move back home to be close to family. I am not totally content in the suburbs, but there is a lot of good to raising our kids here. I love our home and raising our children so close to so much family has been a humongous blessing. My kids are growing up with a cocoon of people who love them more than anything surrounding them. Plus our families help us so much with parenting, I never have to hire a babysitter and if I need to just get a haircut or go out to dinner with my husband I just call my mom, MIL, sister, sister in law, FIL…etc. So overall it is the best thing for us, but I still miss Portland like crazy. And, I have learned to never say never because you seriously never know.

  25. RM says...

    We’ve raised kids in NYC, suburban CT, and Maine. We have experienced pros and cons in each location. We just try to embrace the good, and overlook the bad.

  26. Caroline says...

    I can’t stop reading these comments – so fascinating! I grew up in a resort town in Florida so I think for myself, siblings, and most of my peers, you grew up there knowing after high school you wouldn’t come back. It’s always felt very freeing to know that I can hopefully choose to settle down wherever I want. I’ve lived in DC for the last 9 years and my boyfriend and I have both agreed that Charleston, SC will be where we raise our kids, with plans to move there in early 2020. I love DC but housing costs are insane and the Florida girl in me misses the mild weather and the water. We’re both very much looking forward to leaving the rat race behind and living a slower way of life – I have loved my time in this city but don’t think I will miss it!

  27. Dori says...

    Hi Joana,

    I just love all the topics you come up with. They always seem to resonate with me on a personal level.
    My husband and I live in Astoria, Queens. We have lived in Astoria for a very long time, even before we had kids. We have an eight year old and six year old. Our most intense topic of discussion at home is where are we going to settle down. We both know that Astoria is not the answer, but we are constantly ruminating on where that home will be for us. My husband is American, and I am Albanian. I thrive on city life. It gives me energy and it excites me, even just by walking around my neighborhood seeing people walking on the street. Even though we don’t have a lot of energy to go out these days, I just love the fact that so much culture surrounds us. I don’t mind our two bedroom rental apartment. My hsuband grew up in the NYC suburbs and is used to the backyard mentality. I, on the other hand grew up in a one bedroom apartment with my brother and parents in communist era until I was 14, so space is all relative in my opinion.
    My husband always talks about how he wants the kids to have what he had, and one of your readers had said something poignant. She had said that these are our ideas as parents, and to our kids it doesn’t really matter where they grow up, whether that’s the city, or suburbs, big house, or small apartment. What matters to them the most, is the time they spend with us as their parents. I don’t care about a house and backyard when I will spend so much time commuting(both of us work in Manhattan), and I will barely make it home for bathtime, let alone dinner or any quality time for that matter.
    I long for a simple life in Europe in a Mediterranean country where there is so much life and culture and history, and there is a bigger focus on enjoying your life, and less on what you make or how big your house is, or spending your life paying off a mortgage on a house that you barely get to enjoy.
    I grew up playing with the neighborhood kids in my country. We got to focus on our creativity and learned so many social skills instead of toys or play dates. We live in a different time and I can’t even fathom leaving my children unattended for one second.
    At the end of the day, home is where you make it as long as your kids are getting the best of you and you are spending as much time with them as possible. I will however take culture any day over nature, but that’s just me. 😊

    • Desiree says...

      I understand your point. Maybe that is just the European in us? I live with my family in a village nearby one of the greatest city’s of The Netherlands. But for me it will be also oké if we live in al small apartement in de city. The only thing I is some green, a tree and singing birds. But that not depending of living in a village or a city. I think that children need it the most is to spend time with their parrents. So if you work in a city and your hubby too, and the result of living in a village will be mostly a lot of time to travel and don’t see your children. Why you should live in a village? Maybe you can have your great garden, but what is the meaning of that when your children have to stay a lot time with others and not at home?

  28. Erika says...

    I was born and raised in Miami, FL as was my husband– we are currently expecting our first child (a boy!) in April and I can’t tell you the amount of times I have dreamed about moving elsewhere. We’ve discussed it many times (mainly BEFORE getting pregnant). We are both Cuban and have very large Cuban families who all live in Miami. I think, in Cuban culture, it is not typical to move away from family. My mom always wanted me to spread my wings and go wherever I dreamed of going but most of my aunts and cousins (and especially my husbands family) do not feel the same way. There is always the question of having children and raising them without family around– family is the most important thing in the world to most Cubans. Miami is a beautiful city and (although not quite as diverse as outsiders think it is) has a strong, vibrant heartbeat that would excite anyone.

    I am definitely living that sister ghost life I never thought I would (because of work promotions and purchasing our first home) but the idea is never off the table for both my husband and me. I dream of raising my son in a place like Paris where there is history and art on every corner or Northern California where the weather is always lovely and people live slower. For now, I am watering our grass and enjoying our home city.

  29. Jessica Weaver says...

    We live in NYC too & just had a baby last summer. Parenting in NYC has made me love it even more! There’s always something to do, people to meet & places to go. Even at 9 months old my daughter already has “friends” in the neighborhood from the coffee shop owner to the baby that goes to swim class with us. We’ve made so many more friends in the neighborhood since she arrived. We love it. And – babysitters! It is SO easy to find good babysitters here.

  30. Michelle says...

    This has been the topic of discussion for weeks…
    We live in Brooklyn (bordering BK Heights) after a two year hiatus in Chicago. We love this city but the call of nature, slower living, the idea of an actual HOUSE, and a safer neighborhood keeps making us think that it is time to move to the suburbs.
    Side note : do you use the Citizen app!? What’s worse? Blissful ignorance or chronic paranoia??? Who knew there was so much crazy s*%t happening around us!?
    Anyway! We have been checking out the Hudson River towns as an option. The lovely thing about some NY suburbs are that they have these sweet story book type of towns where you hop on a train and you can be in the hustle and bustle of the city within half an hour. It’s kind of the best of both worlds. My biggest fear is that I will miss the constant energy and feel claustrophobic from the silent evenings.
    I have lived in either Chicago or New York for 16 years. For those who have made the move or who have always lived in the burbs, I ask this in all seriousness, what the heck do you do with yourself in all that quiet!? I have a romantic idea but I want the truth.

    • Laura says...

      I love the quiet life in my suburb :) It’s bliss to sit on our deck in the summer and chat with neighbours that walk by, go for a walk ourselves, and just all around have a feeling of calm.

    • I live in a Boston suburb – literally in sight of the commuter train 3 stops from to downtown. I feel like I answer this to my friends. We literally do the same things as we did in the city – it is just a bit smaller scale with easier parking! We walk to summer concerts outside, walk to the the library. We go to dinner in the town square – there are fewer restaurants, but also less of a wait. We cook dinner, grill outside, invite friends for wine on the deck or game nights. We go to movies, volunteer for the food pantry, and run the library 5K. Maybe it is the proximity of the city – a true suburb not rural, but it isn’t like we’re are away from civilization.

  31. Chelsea says...

    My husband and I both grew up in small cities in Texas. We loved our childhoods, but for many reasons (mainly the humidity), we decided it was not where we wanted to raise our own kids. We both love the mountains and have now lived in Albuquerque, NM for almost eight years. We love that we can drive 5 minutes to a trailhead and explore the desert and mountains with our kids. We love the sunsets on the mountains and the fact that the kids will say things like “our mountains look so pretty!” It’s fun to see the sense of joy and pride this place has brought them. I love that our mutual love for the mountains and this beautiful landscape has rubbed off on them.

  32. A says...

    My husband and I were just talking about this! We live in a beautiful mountain town and have wonderful friends. We now have two kids and alot of our friends have kids the same age. However, we always feel the pull to move back to our home state, as both sets of grandparents and aunts and uncles are all there. We probably would have already moved back just to see if it is the right fit for us, leaving the possibility of moving back to the mountains, except that really isn’t an option. The price of housing is so expensive in the mountain town, that if we leave the affordable house we currently have, we would never be able to get that deal again. So if we move, we have to be 100 percent certain. We love the lifestyle and our friends in the mountains, but miss our family. Who knows what we will do? I’m not sure.

  33. Maelle says...

    It’s funny because when i arrive in Paris for the first time 9 years ago now, litterally the first thing that came to my mind was “How can people even raise their kids here??”.
    I was born and raised in the south of France, a mere two minutes walk from the sea, in a smallish and quiet town – at least in the winter, summer was a total tourist invasion and subsequently a nightmare – and always dreamt about leaving. That was the one thing on my mind growing up, i wanted out, i wanted to go and see Paris. Then i finally got to Paris and realised how priviledged i had been to grow up by the sea!
    At first i suffocated. There is something quite unique i guess about being able to see the horizon from your living room, a real sensation of freedom and deep calm that i missed so badly the first few years. At that time, that was a no brainer: i wanted my hypothetical future children to grow up by the sea or the ocean, wherever that might be.
    But then it happened: i fell in love, ever so slowly, with Paris. The culture, the diversity, the food options, the architecture, the beauty, i get it now! And it would feel like such a beautiful opportunity to be able to raise my still hypothetical future children here!
    BUT. But. There are still several major cons that i don’t underestimate. First of all, Paris is such a special microcosm; there is this idea in France that there is Paris, and then the rest of France (implying that the rest of France is not as good. It’s such a strong rivalry, Paris vs “la province”). And i wouldn’t want my kids to grow up believing that Paris is representative of France and just the best, because it certainly isn’t.
    Then there is the space issue. Realistically, staying in Paris with kids would mean being crammed up in a ridiculously small appartment, and probably sharing rooms if there are more than one child. I know it works like a charm for some families, but i also know that i couldn’t not have had my own room growing up, and that is something that i don’t necessarily want to impose on my children. Also, i’d like a garden and being able to plant fruits and vegetables.
    And finally, and maybe i should have started with it because it seems like the most important: POLLUTION. Pollution in big cities is tremendously higher than if you live on the countryside, and it is very, VERY harmful for everyone, and obviously even more for children who are more sensitive to it. I’m surprised i didn’t see it discussed more in the comments… Because by living in big cities, we are all exposing ourselves to air pollution, and risking basically, our lives. Do i want to take this risk for my children and potentially endangering their health? I don’t know. I really, genuinely don’t know if all of the reasons why i love Paris are worth taking this risk.

  34. I’m pregnant with my first, due in June, and my husband and I live in Kigali, Rwanda – so we’ll be brining baby girl back here after she’s born in the States this summer :) I myself grew up overseas, so I feel like it’s not as daunting to me to do this (I wrote a post on my blog about it here: http://carolineswartz.net/2019/01/28/third-culture-baby/), but I am sure there will be all sorts of unanticipated challenges too!

  35. Meggles says...

    I honestly read this with a great deal of wistfulness. We are from New England and lived in a wonderful town in MA for nine years. We rode the commuter rail into Boston (it was the Fitchburg line, locals who know). In the summers we swam at the town pool. Our parents were nearby. The schools were great (MA is ranked #1 in the nation for test scores). My kids have deep, deep roots in New England. Well, now we’re out here in the PNW this year because we’re a Navy family. It’s spectacularly beautiful, but we miss our families and friends and the deep sense of place. (And the schools kind of suck in comparison–my goodness, they do). For military families, you don’t get to choose where to live–well, occasionally, not in general. And you don’t get to choose for how long. We have an exciting lifestyle with new adventures. But what my kids really want–what most every child naturally wants–is a sense of stability and an idyllic sense of roots. I have regret that we can’t give that to them.

  36. Heidi S says...

    Our kids were born in Boston and we lived there for 9 years before the draw of homeownership took us up to a town just outside of Portland, Maine. I was convinced that the suburban schools would be so great and they would love having a big yard.
    2 years later Ive come to realize that I hate the schools and I have to force the kids outside. I’m so tempted to go back to Boston (where my job is and where they have a great school for the next three years), but I’m debating whether uprooting a 5th and 3rd grader (and then likely moving again for high school) is more destructive than just staying put and making do.
    Maybe I need to just let that Ghost Ship sail by and embrace what we have…
    (Any other mamas with older kids in Maine?!)

    • Anonymous says...

      I moved states a handful of a time as a kid 3rd grade, 5th grade, 10th grade. I don’t think moving your children at their current age will be destructive. I think moving made my sister and I closer. Also it was fun; I got to experience new things and places. Also it’s easy for kids to make friends, everyone wants to know the new person. 10th grade was a little hard but what angsty teenager doesn’t act like their life is over. But what I do remember is my mom being very unhappy most of my childhood (she’s good now though). I think you need to do what’s best for you and your kids will appreciate that you made choices to be happy.

    • Natalie says...

      I have 2 little ones in Maine and we struggle to know whether or not we should stay too! I don’t have an answer yet either but just thought I’d hop on to say that I hear you!:)

    • Rachel says...

      I moved schools a total of 4 times between 5th and 11th grade, and never knew a soul before attending any of them. I also lived in southern Maine, coincidentally — Kennebunkport! I wouldn’t be too concerned about making the move, if you really desire a different lifestyle. I think it’s an excellent experience for a kid to have, “being new” somewhere. In fact, if I ever have kids, I plan on implementing “being new” in some way, as strange as that may sound. The lessons in confidence and empathy that I learned are invaluable, and I’m always on the lookout for people who look like they need a friend — because I’ve been that person quite a few times. While I’m sure these things can, in general, be learned in other ways, there’s a certain strain that I’m convinced you can only learn by being new.

  37. Tara Bee says...

    Love your blog !!
    I have been thinking about this a lot recently as I near my third decade. Myself and my husband live in NYC but come from a tiny town on the Irish coast which is so stunning – something I never appreciated when I lived there [typical]. This past weekend I went home for a long weekend. It was just lovely to be surrounded by family and friends and the warmth of everyone else. We love the diversity of NY and its proximity to so many equally beautiful spots and the short trip to JFK to further destinations. However, my friends at home have long maternity leaves, a wonderful work-life balance and true contentment it seems. I suppose we wont know what we want until we reach the point of having our own babies (god willing). I am excited and nervous in equal parts of what will become. But I love to think of the phrase that no matter where we settle………. “The grass is green where you water it “.

  38. Kristen N says...

    I always thought that I would raise my kids in a city. Instead, here we are in a small bedroom community just north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We moved here to be closer to my stepsons, while they were in high school and ended up staying. We live in one block from our downtown, on a block with ten kids between the ages of 4 and 13, four of whom are the same age as my daughter. She has that 70’s upbringing that people seem to miss. In the summer there are neighborhood games of hide and seek, bike and scooter races and kids running in and out of neighbors’ houses. In the winter there is sledding and ice skating followed by hot chocolate at a local coffee shop. I could never take this childhood away from my daughter.

  39. Joy says...

    I grow up in a small vilage were everyone knows everyone. I did not like it one bit. This is only lovely when you blend in well, in my opinion.

    I am raising my children in a city and what do you know, it is not that different from a village. Except that we do feel like we blend in. Also, in the village I grew up in, we had one playground we could go to. In the city I have three parks (with multiple playgrounds) in walking distance. There are museums, restaurants, libraries, possibilities for extracuricular activities, everywhere. The city is also much more reflective of different cultures then that small village ever was which I also consider very valuable. Overall I do not see us move anywhere anytime soon.

    My advise be: Find a place where you feel comfortable. And if you are not comfortable: move if you can. I wish my parents had.

    • Mari says...

      Thank you for your words!!! We moved from the city of Zurich to a small village and we don‘t blend in! and i want to move again because I feel so lonely. It‘s just so hard to find a good place again.

  40. Olivia says...

    I grew up moving around lots to various exotic countries due to my dad’s job. I definitely imagined raising my own kids in the same way, and when I met and fell in love with a Scotsman it seemed even more unlikely that I\d ever return “home”. But here we are, raising our kiddo (with kiddo number two on the way) back in hometown, in my first ever childhood home, no less–with my now retired parents living just down the road. I still sometimes itch to move somewhere new and exotic, especially when the harsh winters set in, but then my husband reminds me how good we have it here. So who knows what the future brings!

  41. Nicki says...

    I was privileged to be raised by a mother whose motto was “We’ll make the best of it.” She believes it applies to most things in life, but I specifically recall hearing it often when we moved from the city in which I was born and raised (Berlin, Germany) to the United States when I was 16 years old. I can’t say I was convinced at the time, but I discovered that – for all the things I missed about being a teenager in Europe – there was something equally wonderful about living in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA.

    My husband grew up in the countryside (a house in Provence from which you have to squint to see your closest neighbours). We met in Ethiopia, and lived together in Pakistan, New York City, and South Sudan before we had children. We’ve been raising our children (who were also born in Berlin) in eastern Congo (Goma) and now in Nigeria’s capital city (Abuja). They have three passports and speak three languages, and I tell them they are very lucky that they have not just one, but many different homes.

    If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from moving around, it’s to embrace the overall package – for every thing that bothers you about a particular place or that you miss, you can find something unique to appreciate that you wouldn’t have anywhere else. Yesterday, after my four-year-old asked me wistfully when she will get to play in the snow again (we had just looked at pictures of their cousins’ ski holidays), we had a big thunderstorm and I took the girls outside dressed only in their raincoats to jump in the puddles and run in the warm “mango rains” (short rainy season that produces lovely ripe mangoes). It was perfect.

  42. Kat says...

    California vs. Idaho?! This thought takes up so much of my daily inner dialogue.

    Currently living on the coast of Central California. Absolutely beautiful, love the town, my job. My only complaint, cost of living of course. A starter house (aka shack) you’re looking at $500k. My husband and I both work our butts off and it feels like we cannot afford to be middle class.

    My husband would love to move back to where he went to college, Idaho. After visiting I really loved the Sun Valley/Ketchum/Hailey area. It seems like you can afford to live a middle class life there, it has seasons, it’s beautiful. Negatives would be the long cold winter (I like winter, but it seems it might be a bit extreme here) and being states away from any family (my parents are in CA).

    What’s better- live in CA close to family (who could help with future kids) but struggle to even be middle class, or go try to put roots down in Idaho where homes are more affordable but have no family support and a lot of unknowns?

    If anyone has personal experience in either of these places, would love to hear!

    • Lizzie says...

      We just went through something really similar, so I definitely get it. Moving was all I thought about (should we? Where? When??) for what felt like years. I don’t have a clear answer for you, but I can say that there is nothing worse than constantly being on the edge financially and feeling like you can’t quite afford the town you live in (yet everyone else can? Who are these people? What is their magic?). We just moved from a city in CA that we absolutely loved but ultimately couldn’t afford to a city in CO that we really like and where we have more breathing room. I still feel really conflicted about some of the things we’ve lost, but I can’t tell you how great it feels to remove that financial pressure. Things are suddenly…easy. We have young-ish kids and the “can’t quite afford it” cost of living issue gets SO MUCH WORSE and so much more stressful once kids are in the mix. Having family support nearby in CA might be enough to balance out the higher cost of living (that is huge—HUGE!—once kids are around too) but the money stuff will always weigh on you. I don’t think having the big perfect house is all that important, and you should live near where you want to be even if that means making sacrifices, but there’s also nothing wrong with choosing the really great place instead of THE BEST PLACE and just giving yourself some peace of mind. Good luck with the decision either way!

    • Kat says...

      Thanks Lizzie! Some really good points to consider. As always there’s so many unknowns and I guess you just won’t know until you give it a shot, right?? Best of luck to you and your family in CO, California is always a great place to come back and visit!

    • Florence says...

      I grew up in California and lived in Idaho for a couple years when my first child was a baby. We moved there for my first job after grad school and were intrigued by the low cost of living and natural beauty. We ended up feeling like total aliens to the culture of conservative politics, anti-intellectualism (mostly in relation to parenting decisions I guess, like the widespread mistrust of medical professionals versus fetishization of essential oils pedaled by moms without a high school diploma), Mormon religion as popular culture, and yes, the majority of the year being freezing cold! We ended up settling in Portland (Oregon) and despite the unfairly rapidly rising cost of living here, we couldn’t be happier!

    • Brooke says...

      This is literally the exact debate my husband i are in right now. We live in Central CA. We are making it work, but money is tight despite it being a more affordable part of California. He is currently applying for jobs in Idaho (Boise), but we’re not sure we can leave the sunshine and my family in CA. My husband is actually from Sun Valley and it is MAGICAL!!! We love it there, but it’s a bit isolated for me. Ketchum is quite expensive…Hailey is more affordable. Everyone I know in the area loves living there, but after growing up in CA it would be a bit too much of an extreme lifestyle change for me I think. Boise seems like a decent compromise. It is a booming city right now with a lot to offer, and still relatively affordable home prices (although going up fast).

    • Kat says...

      Florence, can I ask what part of Idaho you lived in? The conservative anti-intellectual culture is definitely something I have thought about, but wondering if a more affluent/possibly diverse area like Sun Valley would be a little more liberal…or not really. Your other points are really good and things I hadn’t thought of- thank you!

      Brooke it sounds like we’re in a really similar situation! On my drive home tonight along the ocean I was thinking dammit- I really love it here! But then I check realtor.com and just want to cry. SO tough!

  43. Jen says...

    I’m the opposite of Jo. I grew up in Queens and then the ‘burbs in NJ, so NYC was always my beloved “the city”. My high school boyfriend and I would always argue about this question of where to raise kids, him questioning the prudence of childhood in NYC and me always sticking up for the diversity, the grit, the cultural riches. Fast forward 20 years and I’m now in a semi-rural college town in eastern CT with my Atlanta-grown husband, after we both hopped around various large and exciting cities all over the country in our 20s and early 30s. We two city kids have now been in “the country” for nearly 6 years and are still feeling strange and out of place. With a 2 year old we now deeply appreciate that our town’s public schools are excellent, we can rent a 3bed/2bath house on an acre for as much as our 500sf Oakland apartment, and there’s tons of beautiful nature to explore in all directions. We’ve made some friends, we’ve gotten to know the roads and weather and where the best ice cream spots are. And yet our hearts still ache for the city… any city at this point. I think our plan is to stay here for my husband’s job until our daughter goes to college, then move back to a city where we still have threads of friendships. Sigh. This is always a bittersweet discussion between me and my husband.

  44. My children were both born in Seattle, and we moved a year and a half ago to my smallish hometown in Eastern Washington. Being here has been an eye opening, at times tough and painful experience, and my husband and I have realized that smaller towns (at least this one) are not for us. He moved to Austin last week, where he spent all his 20s before moving to Seattle, and the rest of us will follow at the end of the school year. I am looking forward to a city with diverse cultures, a progressive collective mindset, inexpensive/free activities in every season… and a lot of tacos. I know our lives will be so much richer.

    • Lindsay says...

      I love this is the first comment I read. I wish you all good things in your upcoming move! We live in Austin (we moved here in Aug 2017 from the SF Bay Area) but are likely moving back to the west coast in June. This very question is in our minds/hearts — where to raise our kids (ours are 10 and 12) — a big factor is family, friends, community, where we feel connected, jobs… how does one decide all of this? It feels like such a big decision and one that weighs so heavily on my heart right now.

    • gracemarie says...

      Welcome to Austin! :) Been here seven years this August.

    • You two! Thank you! This evening, I am researching inexpensive activities in Austin, for children and not, and I am just feeling so much buzzy excitement about the whole thing. My husband struggled for two months to get a job here in Washington, and eventually threw in the towel and moved ahead of us to Austin- took him 3 days to get a job there, and now is circling back with two others! It just feels like the universe is speaking, and the kindness and welcoming of the city and strangers like you both is making me feel so empowered in my anticipation and hopes for a new city and new chapter.

  45. Lee says...

    As of now we are raising our five year old son and four year old daughter in the east bay in a student family housing “village.” This is temporary, the length of my husband’s PhD program, and our neighbors come and go, but we have found such amazing community here. Since my son was born we’ve lived in five different apartments, moving from DuPont circle in Washington DC when my daughter was born, to an outer metro stop in Alexandria VA. I loved having young children in a city, taking long walks everyday to our favorite parks and shops, riding the metro to (free) museums. At the time I would think about how different it was from the small town where I grew up in southern NJ and feel glad about all my kids were being exposed to. But in those apartments in that setting we struggled to make friends and form a community. We find our current living arrangement so ideal for raising young children. Above us and across from us we have close friends with children of the same age, we share a backyard in our courtyard, we have dinners together and watch each other’s children. Neighbors pop in and out for tea or drinks while the kids play. As a stay at home mother, raising young children could be so lonely, it was such an improvement for my daily quality of life to be here. Our village is diverse and international, as is my sons local public school. After learning about segregation and Martin Luther King Day my son came home from kindergarten and said, “if I went to school and only saw white people I would scream, that would be so crazy.” Where I went to school I only saw white people, I only knew Christians, I only heard English. I lived in the same house for eighteen years, on acres and acres of land. We will move again a couple years from now and assume that our next move won’t be our last. I think the most important thing for us will always be carrying on the lessons we’ve learned here about building and sustaining a community, even amongst people who will only be in your life for a short time, there is so much to be learned and shared.

  46. Hanna says...

    My mom was born in Finland, and much of her family is still there. I live in Canada (near Toronto) but daily dream about moving our young family to Helsinki, and put down roots amongst a people I love so much. The education system there is phenomenal, the food is delicious, and I love the rhythm of the Finnish language. In the time I’ve spent there, it just felt like home. Helsinki is such a cool city that feels big enough to be exciting but small enough to not be overwhelming. My husband is on board to move as well – just have to wait for the right timing with our careers.

  47. Lucia says...

    After spending most of our adult years on both coasts, we and our school-aged kids are now lucky to come home to the San Juan Islands in Washington State. This was partly by design, to move my husband’s job along, and mostly by accident, when we were priced out of our beloved big city. I’d never thought that small town country living would be for me. But people here are welcoming, interesting, and resourceful. And ultimately, home for me is anywhere I can appreciate the freshness of the sunrise and the familiarity of the stars at night.

  48. Ali says...

    Yes, I’d love to know the name of this magic 20 min away town.

    • Laureen says...

      Hastings on Hudson, NY. But there is no perfect place or singular answer to the question of where to raise your kids. So many variables to consider…

  49. Claire Miller says...

    NOWHERE!

  50. Jane I. says...

    I grew up in Southern Nevada but I also feel a strong connection to my mother’s home of Virginia.

    Most of my extended family is still there and has been there for generations. We would often make the long drive to the east coast for vacation or my mom would send me there in the summer to spend time with relatives. Nevada is my home, but Virginia is my motherland.

    I want my children to have the same experience with my husband’s motherland too. I plan on sending them to the cornfields of Iowa in the summers and the crab fishing towns of Virginia in the winter. Meanwhile, they’ll also be desert rats with their parents.

    I think this will make for well-rounded cultural experiences and I hope they feel like each place is home because of our family histories.

  51. Danielle says...

    I grew up in a beautiful horse farm town in central New Jersey. My husband grew up in an affluent area of South Florida, where I was attending college when we met. Flash forward 18 years and we’re still here, with a 5 year old and an 8 year old. I can’t imagine raising my kids anywhere else. The summers are BRUTAL, but the winters are beyond perfect. I couldn’t imagine layering my kids in sweaters and down coats except for Christmas week when we make the trek up north to my family and enjoy the winter. There was a time we considering leaving South Florida for a bit more room, but I realized there’s a lot we’d be giving up. There’s something to be said about hitting the beach in February, you know?

  52. Madison says...

    Reading about where everyone lives makes me think we should have regional cup of jo Facebook groups so we can have real life meetups with other incredible women who read cup of jo.

  53. Rose says...

    The more my beau keeps suggesting, “Upstate,” the more I keep picturing ourselves staying in NYC. We’ll get enough change as it’ll be!

    • Dee says...

      You make a really good point here Rose! I suppose the flip side is that you are gonna have so much change anyways that any negatives about the new location are going to be hard to separate from the negatives of new parenthood. We moved just before the birth of our first and i found this to be the case.

  54. MW says...

    My (new) husband and I recently relocated to Puerto Rico to help expand his business and while we originally believed this would be the place we’d jet off to and explore for a few years pre-kids before returning when we want to start a family, we are now reconsidering our “plans.” Six-months-ago-me couldn’t imagine not returning to Austin to raise our family near friends and family (and breakfast tacos), but now? We love our new community and the wonderful people, and we have quickly been able to see the appeal to raising a family here even if it’s years away and different than we imagined. I think life has a way of leading you where you’re meant to go, you just have to be open. But I do really miss a good breakfast taco. :)

  55. Claire says...

    This post comes at an interesting time for me. I’ve been raising my 2 year old in my husbands home country- hot, dusty, loving, luxurious (for us in some ways), unstable, under resourced.

    But we also knew we wouldn’t stay here. At the moment my husband has taken a job in a nearby war zone, and we’ve decided I will take our girl to my home town in California for the two years he’s deployed. To be near my parents, to give me time with her , to enjoy the outdoors.

    Because we also know, health and careers willing, after two years we will go to yet another country to live (all three of us together) that we don’t even know yet.

    So my answer is I will raise my child in many places, but I hope she will always know her ‘California home’ and her ‘Africa home’ and feel secure in two very different families love.

    • sabrina says...

      Oh Claire, this so resonates with me. We live in Africa and I, too, went home for 2 years while my husband was in a war zone. We bought a house and made it ours, to feel like we have a place to go back to and to give the kids a foundation. But now I am torn and find myself struggling most days as it has made these duty stations much more ephemeral and my .heart is planted firmly far away in the home we’ve left behind that’s waiting for us.

  56. Whitney Morrison says...

    I am so encouraged by all the positive comments about where people are choosing to live or enjoying where they have ended up! Its a great perspective to have and a reminder to “bloom where you are planted.”

    My question is how do you enjoy the place you are at when you desperately want to be somewhere else? What if you are the only one in your marriage that wants to move?

  57. Emily says...

    The thing is, your children will love wherever home is! If they grow up with mountains, they’ll love the mountains. If they grow up in a big city, they’ll love the big city. Their childhood, wherever it happens will have those amazing and unique memories for just them. I think it’s the grown up in us that thinks that our children want the same thing we had when we were kids, but honestly, they just want to be with you. Wherever that is.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a sweet, sweet note, emily. thank you :)

    • Erzsi says...

      This is so true! I was recently telling my mom how much I missed the mountains of Colorado, where I grew up, and she marveled at how I felt such a strong connection to the place. She told me she always felt a bit guilty that our childhood was missing some of her favorite elements of her very different Midwestern youth, but of course my sister and I never missed those things since Colorado was the only wonderful home we knew.

    • Lauren K says...

      LOVE THIS! We used to worry sometimes, that because we are raising our kid in San Francisco, that they weren’t going to get some of the things we did growing up in suburban Ohio. And they totally will miss out on cul-de-sac playing, catching fireflies out their back door, and watching the four seasons change with each passing year; BUT, there are so many other things they will experience growing up here, that we didn’t get there! Thank you for this sweet reminder that childhood will be special in their memory, because it is theirs to reflect upon.

  58. Yvonne says...

    Funny you should mention this. My children and I were all born and raised in the suburbs, but we all would prefer to live off-grid where the kids could roam free, play outside until all hours without fear of something horrible happening at the hands of others, and just be kids like it was back in the day. My boys are into tiny homes and would prefer to live in the mountains.

  59. Amy says...

    At this point I honestly can’t imagine having children in the United States. It feels like I would be saddling them with a lifetime of debt from birth. If I have kids it will be in Europe.

  60. Cece says...

    Our little family relocated from London to north-west England last year, after living there for over a decade in my case.

    We loved London, we loved our little community and the nursery our daughter went to, how diverse it was, we had a great network of local friends. But it’s just soooo expensive! We lived in a little two-bed rented apartment that wasn’t at ground level, we couldn’t see how we would ever buy, and it didn’t feel like we made the most of the wider city with a toddler, we usually stayed local. But the thing I hated the most – I’m from a tiny little country town- was how hard it was to leave – either train, tube, train etc or hours of clogged up traffic to escape suburbia.

    So now we’re just outside Manchester, we have National Parks less than half an hour in one direction and a very cool thriving city centre half an hour the other way. We have a garden, we’re buying a house and we’re having another baby.

    But I do miss the diversity! Our area now is very white, mostly middle-class, and with lots of older people. Also the weather in north-West England is renowned for being grey and rainy! So winter is pretty blah. But I can’t wait for spring and to have really free-range kids out exploring all the amazing countryside again.

  61. Both my husband and I are born and bred in Queens and always felt pretty strongly about raising our kids here. We love it! We’re lucky enough to have a terrace where we garden and have family close by (my in-laws live in our building!). Our four year old even has a Queens accent.
    Sometimes we fantasize about living somewhere warmer, but most likely we’ll be those people that die where they were born. (morbid enough for you?)

    • Noora says...

      I’m also in Queens! My husband (who’s from Brooklyn but relocated to Queens) and I love our neighborhood! The diversity, the schools, the library, restaurants, my parents and brothers are both a 10 min walk from us makes it all so ideal to raise our soon to be here child. I’ve lived in Queens all my life and am grateful for the education I gleaned just from walking the neighborhood.

  62. Hilde says...

    I think about this every day. Last summer, my husband and I moved from a city to the small town where he grew up. We brought our two months old baby. The choice was made for so many good reasons – living closer to both of our families, a milder climate, affordable house prices, the joy of experiencing something new together, a safer neighborhood for our children. Luckily, these reasons still convince me we made the right choice and that we will all be happy here in the long run. Still, for now, I regret leaving the magic of the historical city that we used to live in. All aspects of urban life inspired me as an individual. Now I’m mainly just a mum :)

    • janee says...

      Oh how I feel for you. But there must be others there in your position as well? Stepping out of your comfort zone to seek these others and willfully create community for yourself might be hugely rewarding?

      Otherwise I would insist on time away, either together or alone, as a non-negotiable for long-term well-being. Especially if family can take the child for even regular long weekends if nothing else. You deserve to be inspired! Plus you need breaks. Your hubby probably does too so I pray your husband supports you in this because being a parent is HARD and relentless and remembering to create time for ourselves to recharge only benefits everyone. BEST of luck!

  63. Kelly says...

    How timely.. we just moved from Brooklyn to Portland, Maine this past weekend. While it felt like we were ripping up the roots of our friendships and community, we knew our time in the city was coming to an end since our infant son quickly became a toddler this past year. We needed to slow things down – especially the cost of living. We weren’t really utilizing the proximity of all the city had to offer, but we were aching for proximity to nature and just more ease in the everyday. And luckily our work allows us to work remotely. In the past few years, I think there was a switch between feeding on the energy of the city to being drained by it. I think our ultimate goal is to move further out into the county, but we feel like Portland is a great stepping stone out of urban living with walkability and THE FOOD (!!). Excited for the change of pace and the new adventures (while desperately missing my people) – but I can feel the un-constricting of my stress muscles a little more everyday. Think it’s already making me a happier, more present mama.

    • Anjali says...

      Kelly! My husand has been absolutely craving the idea of moving to Portland. We went last summer and he fell in love. I’m anxious about the idea because we would know no one and i’m also worried about diversity. Plus jobs – which i guess you have covered if you can work remotely! Any other info you can share though about your transition from Brooklyn would be amazing. We met in NYC and live in DC currently

  64. Shelly says...

    I grew up in Honolulu and have lived on Maui. We wanted to raise our kids in Honolulu to be close to family. I didn’t appreciate how growing up in Hawaii was so special until I went to school in the east and had extended family on both coasts. You also take for granted the beautiful beaches, lush valleys and temperate weather when you live here. In general, people who grew up elsewhere were different–their attitudes and customs, inflections, food, I can’t put my finger on it. We (people who grew up or have roots in Hawaii) can recognize each other in other cities and countries. “Are you from Hawaii?” we’ll ask. Or, “It’s because they’re not from Hawaii,” we’ll conclude to each other. Some call it the “aloha spirit”. The closest I’ve come to feeling this so called “aloha spirit” was in Alabama where I experienced southern hospitality. The cost of living is high, job opportunities are more plentiful elsewhere, and we have our share of social problems. Yet, many choose to raise their kids here, and I hope my children return after college and adventuring.

    • june2 says...

      You said it! I grew up in Alabama and after living in DC and Seattle for over a decade I moved to Hawaii for 22 years (Oahu Maui and Kauai) and I noticed the same thing about the southern spirit being a lot like Aloha.

  65. Rachel Yakar says...

    My husband and I moved to Lake Tahoe, CA (It’s absolutely just as gorgeous as the photos, and a serious tourist trap) when he experienced burn-out with his job in a bigger city. My career was about to take off, as I just finished graduate school. We agreed, “two years….tops….in Tahoe.” We have been here for 8; and I think about leaving and staying everyday. We are raising two children now, I have a mediocre job, he loves his job, we ski multiple times a week, we hit the farmer’s markets all summer, I hike mountains in our backyard, and we spend lots of time with our kiddos. I imagine that moving to a new city would look like; two wonderful careers, long commutes, diverse cultural opportunities, new friends, new schools, new house…..The ghost ship. Thank you to Cheryl Strayed who always says it best. For now, I guess I will just live in the present….and be open to the beauty, goodness, and abundance surrounding us.

  66. Laureen says...

    We moved out of Soho when our kids were 3 and 6. Right near the Holland Tunnel with a solid corridor of idling cars, we had hepa filter machines running 24/7 in our loft, our kids were bulldozed on Soho streets by obsessed shoppers, the bills flew out of our wallets as we walked the kids home from preK, public schools we were zoned for had 36 kids in a classroom. We hocked our lives to send the older one to private school; besides dealing with the neurotic, frantically competitive parents, play dates often involved traveling by subway plus cross-town bus and were never just hang outs since playmates always had some form of “enrichment” (read: overscheduled). My mom would visit from the Midwestern suburb I grew up in and marvel at how complicated and cacophonous our lives were.
    When we moved to a small town 20 min from the City, we could finally breathe. Our kids instantly adapted to the physical freedom, could walk to their friends’ houses, the parenting was progressive and sane. We found ourselves getting to museums and cultural events in the city more than when we lived there. We were lucky to find a good balance and our kids, now 23 and 26, say they loved growing up there. They went alone by train on urban adventures age 10 and they are independent, cultured, global citizens.
    Our next chapter will probably be in Paris if my husband and I can pull off some career portability.

    • Hi Laureen, which suburb did you move to?

    • Di says...

      So interesting to hear your perspective Laureen! We are right at the start of that post city Suburban life (30 minutes north). And we left behind private school in search of a more sane parenting model Thus far pretty good. I’m glad to hear you didn’t feel you sacrificed raising “independent, cultured, global citizens”. I’ve always thought that has more to do with parenting than where you’re raised!

  67. Erica says...

    I grew up in a suburb of Dallas, Texas and loved everything about it… the feel of a slightly smaller town, yet the accessibility and ease of everything that a big city has to offer. After I graduated from college and worked overseas for several years, I moved back to my hometown with my parents for a brief period of time between jobs, and I met and fell in love with the boy next door! As in, literally, the man who had purchased the home next door to my parents years prior (while I was still in college). We married within a year of starting to date, and I moved from my parents’ home to my husband’s home one house down. My dad jokes that of all the times he schlepped my stuff from dorm rooms to college houses and back again, this move was the easiest one yet. :) My husband and I have been married for 11 years and have a 10 year-old son, and we still live next door to my parents. It is not what I ever would have planned for myself, but I LOVE it. I love that my son gets to grow up with his grandparents as such a daily part of his life, and I love being close to them as they age. Living in my hometown has been just a great as it was when I was a kid, and I love that my son gets to experience many of the same things that I did at his age. As cliche as it seems, the suburban life is just right for us!

    • Sasha says...

      Wow! I am not sure we could live next door to my parents, but I love your story.

  68. Kate says...

    Ironically, last night my husband and I brought up the same topic. We currently live in Chicago with our three kids (1, 3, and 5) and don’t currently have any plans to leave, but mostly because the days become years very quickly. We would love to have a yard for them to run around in, and a bigger kitchen to make cookies in, but there are plenty of parks and bakeries within just a couple of blocks. Everything is a trade-off.

    I work with a group of people all around the same age and we have all had kids in the last 5-10 years. Everyone from the Chicago area has moved back to the burbs, while anyone that moved to this city has stayed in the city, with their growing families. It’s kind of interesting to us how that has happened.

    • zerro says...

      I like big cities or cities that have souls. I always envisioned our family will live in a place where we can walk to grocery and grab a cup of coffee along the way and run in to to people that we know while walking. Yet we end up in a college city in the US where we need to drive all the time and yet no soul nothing so enjoy living in a big city! I really envy you…..

  69. Lana says...

    After moving around a lot, we recently moved into a home on an oak lined, cobblestone street directly right across from my children’s school. Every single day as I look out our front window, I want to pinch myself because it feels like stepping back into the 1970’s in the very best possible way. The kids on the street are all friends and run from yard to yard playing all sorts of games. They bike ride, they practice gymnastics in the front yards and they make up silly games while the grown up sit on front porches and drink coffee (or sometimes cocktails!) and talk about life. Every day here is so wonderfully CONNECTED, that I can’t help feeling so lucky, even though we’re in Illinois and not in a gorgeous coast or looking out at beautiful mountains. It’s all good, but the icing on the cake was Halloween. We have our over 2500 pieces of candy!!! It was like the scene from Hocus Pocus when all the kids were out trick or treating.

    • Jessica says...

      Seems like a sweet neighborhood! What town in IL?

  70. Lisa says...

    We live in central ish London, and both my husband and I had very different childhoods from what our children’s are like (so far). I grew up in the suburbs in South Africa, so lots of space and amazing weather. I spent my childhood running around outside, but always craved the culture (ballers, museums, galleries) that you have in big cities like London. My husband grew up in central Marseille in a series of apartments, and thus is very insistent on nowhere smaller than 1000sq ft (expensive in central London).
    On the one hand, so far I think my kids’ life is great. We could take them to the natural history museum one Sunday and there’s so many opportunities. We walk everywhere. But, the downsides became apparent on a recent holiday to South Africa. I was puzzled as to why they were so filthy every night, and it’s because they spent all day running around outside in shorts, whereas in London they had been kept inside for weeks because it was cold and rainy.

    Ideally, I would raise my children in a big city where there’s space and good weather. I was very bummed to come back from a nice South African summer to a dreary London winter.

  71. MB says...

    I have lived in Northern Virginia (about 30ish minutes outside of DC) for my entire life, except for my four years of college. My husband also grew up in Northern Virginia, and we are raising our two kids within 20 minutes of where we both grew up and where both sets of grandparents live. Northern Virginia is a very transient area, and that can actually make it difficult for those of us who have roots here. Because most people living in NoVA are not originally from here, they often don’t stay long (i.e. they move back closer to family, or move elsewhere for work) – it can be difficult to make long-lasting friendships, because you don’t know how long friends will stay in the area. On top of that, NoVA is somewhat infamous for people having crazy schedules and generally being “busy” all the time – spontaneous play dates or dinners with friends are very rare. Sometimes I think it would be nice to live in another (less expensive/busy) part of the country, but we really appreciate living close to family and being involved in our church.

  72. Welp. I think about this every single day. We are currently raising our two kids in my hometown in western Massachusetts. A big priority in that decision was raising our kids close to my family, and the unparalleled support system of having family nearby. My husband is from Sweden, and he’s ready to hop on a plane and relocate the family back to Sweden asap. The work-family balance in Sweden is hard to beat, among the other benefits that Scandinavian countries offer young families. Do we stay near family here, who have become incredibly close to my kids….or do we start a new adventure across the ocean in a country that would better support our family life and values? I wish I knew.

    • june2 says...

      adventure adventure! your family can visit!

    • Karen says...

      Leah, we should start a support group… my husband is from Norway and we’re raising our two children in Texas. He’s been here for six years and would go back to Norway in a heartbeat if we could (I also love Norway!). My job is a very competitive one in a field that doesn’t exist there, though; I’d basically have to give up my career completely to live there, so for the time being we’re here. But I know that moving back is always on his mind. It’s a difficult situation.

  73. Trinity says...

    I’m in my late 20s and several years away from having kids but have been reflecting on this recently for an unexpected reason: I grew up in the South, went to college and lived for several years after in the PNW, and about a year ago moved to the NYC area. So, I have met so many people who were raised all over the country, and the ones (generalizing here, of course) who seem to have the healthiest and most inspired perspective on life were raised in the West among mountains, trees, and water and had a life influenced heavily by the outdoors. From a very young age they seem to have understood that there’s much more to life and Earth than the minutiae of their own lives, and I’m often very jealous of these people.

    But then I think of how important it is to grow up with perspective on things you get from cities like realities of socioeconomic inequality and everyday interactions with people of diverse backgrounds! So I always land on the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter where kids are raised so much as whether they’re taught to be citizens of the world rather than just their immediate community.

    But then AGAIN I think of how all my ideas about where and how to grow up have been influenced almost entirely by life in the United States, ah! Another reason why I love your Motherhood around the World series :)

    • gracemarie says...

      I think you really nailed how I perceive both my husband and one of my closest friends who grew up on the West Coast. I’m also very jealous of them also! I spent one year in the Bay Area and I have been missing it like crazy. Even though I am very settled here in Texas.

    • k says...

      I grew up in a small rural town in the PNW, and what we lacked in diversity, we definitely made up for in the realities of socioeconomic inequality :( … probably more so than my friends who grew up in the city.

  74. Cynthia Miller says...

    I love that quote. I’ve been thinking a lot of the life I didn’t choose as I approach 50. I didn’t really choose the life I am living either, not at first. It happened and THEN I chose it- every day. I never expected to raise my children in Texas- or even in the USA. But here I am, 20 years after I first moved to Dallas, with 3 kids, a husband, and a LIFE! And I’ve realized that life would be remarkably hard to rebuild somewhere else. So for now, we’ll stay here. Maybe someday I’ll make a different choice- or maybe life will just happen.

  75. Shan says...

    We lived in a big city when I got pregnant. Having known for yesrs I wanted to be closer to nature, we moved to the country and rented for a year. We loved it and knew it was for us. After my partner secured employment we started house hunting on the serious. We thought we wanted a rural acreage and ended up in an old Victorian house in a quaint village of 1200. Our kids know everyone. The shopkeepers, post mistress and neighbours all watch out for them. Access to trails and freedom to roam as they grow. We miss so much about the city, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything. I feel so lucky to give my kids this throwback childhood.

  76. Deirdre says...

    After decades of life in Manhattan, we are currently living with our elementary school-aged children in a suburb of NYC. I left the city kicking and screaming, and I still feel more at home there than in the suburbs. However, we appreciate the ease of our small town, the ability for our kids to ride their bikes anytime they like, the freedom they have to roam our neighborhood, the extra space of living in a house with a garden, and being part of a small community. But we miss being in close proximity to arts and culture, and the diversity of a city. We feel like a smaller city might be the right balance (walkable, but not overwhelming). I would love to hear if anyone has thoughts on moving to Providence, RI?

    • I live just outside Providence with my young family and it’s been absolutely lovely. It feels like a manageably-sized city, with lots of arts, culture, and food (oh, the FOOD!), all within an accessible distance. It’s helpful to have a car, but it’s still walkable, and there are different neighborhoods that feel more “neighborhoody” if you like having your kids ride bikes and roam freely. Honestly, you should visit. It’s amazing.

    • Annie says...

      Check out Portland, ME! The best restaurants and a lot of art and culture mixed with small-town values and Mainer commitment to the outdoors. My family moved from a larger city to a small town outside of Portland when I was 10 and even though they moved for a lot of reasons other than me, I think of it as the best thing they’ve ever done for me. I loved growing up outside but with quick easy access to a walkable city with lots of nightlife and art museums- especially when I was a teenager!

    • Shannon says...

      I don’t live in Providence but in a small town in MA only 12 minutes outside of PVD. It’s a great little city filled with amazing restaurants (thanks to Johnson & Wales fabulous culinary), interesting art scene (thanks to RISD), & all the warmth of a college town (Brown, PC, RIC, etc). My daughter just got her license and I have no problems allowing her to explore our little city with her friends since it feels safe and not large enough for her to get too lost in. Plus you have the ocean so close by, Boston an hour away, and NYC within 3 hours or so!

    • Hi Deirdre! My husband and I left Brooklyn 2.5 years ago to move to Providence. We LOVE living here. I wanted to live in a small, affordable, beautiful & funky city with plenty of diversity. Providence fit the bill, and comes with the bonus of being nestled within a state that has SO much to offer – summer is amazing here, and winter isn’t any worse that the tri-state area (I grew up in NJ and it feels about the same). I am so grateful to live in a city where so much is accessible (literally, everything is 5-15 minutes away), and where I am able to live a middle-class life on a pretty limited budget. People here are friendly and often very involved in their communities, which matters a lot to me. We joined our local neighborhood association and found it easy to connect with a network of friends… unlike New York, people are actually open to making new friends! Rhode Island is the best!

      I’ll also say that between being 8 months pregnant (!) and having parents who also moved here amidst major health problems, I am *extremely* grateful to be in a place with such incredible health care. Its not something that would have been at the top of my list before, and I’m so lucky that it worked out this way.

      If you have more questions about Providence I’m happy to chat with you! Email me!

  77. Cynthia says...

    As my husband was buying a house when I met him, and I loved the house, we raised our two girls in it and we are still living here after 41 years of marriage. It’s a suburban, working class neighborhood like I grew up in, and it is becoming an up-and-up area due to its proximity to a botanical garden and fun shops and restaurants. The houses are older, interesting architectue, and affordable for young couples. We’re close to shopping and interstate highways without traffic hassles. Our house has character, something I don’t find in these newer, cookie-cutter homes.

  78. Becky says...

    Oof. Literally think about this everyday. We moved back across the country from Portland, OR to the Boston ‘burbs for a job and to be closer to family with our toddler, but we pine for Oregon every day and realized we do not want our kid to grow up in the high-stress grind of New England. Deciding to leave our family to go back to the West coast is a constant discussion…which is better, to let our kid have a close relationships with his Grands, or be immersed in a nature-loving, relaxed-pace family-friendly environment? We don’t know.

    • zdranson says...

      Definitely better to go – your kid can visit grands at the holidays or vice versa!

  79. siri says...

    I grew up in the heart of the twin cities with 3 million people and am now raising my 3 boys in rural Norway in a town with less than 3,000. Never in a million years would have expected this! I miss the diversity and the access to everything a metropolis can offer. On the flipside, my kids breath fresh mountain air, we rarely lock our door and never get stuck in rush hour. It’s all about priorities…

    • Curious how you picked Norway. My husband is from Sweden, and we constantly wonder if we should pick up and move our family back to Sweden or stay put in Massachusetts. No easy answer!

  80. Abbe says...

    An interesting topic. I think a lot of people have brought up diversity, and that’s definitely one of the biggest things that gives me pause when considering where I’d raise my kids. I’m South Asian-American, and grew up in a very white suburb of the PNW. I definitely had experiences with racism growing up, some more malicious than others. I didn’t realize how much it affected me until I was in Los Angeles for a little while and RELISHED how diverse it was — people who looked like me were the norm! No one assumed I was from another country! It was amazing. Right now, it looks like if we were to settle down and have kids (which is at least 5 years away), it would be in Maine. Parts of me love the idea — my kids growing up surrounded by that much wild beauty, in a small community where everyone knows each other, and close to my partner’s family. But a big part of me worries about how my kids will be treated as (likely) one of the few minority children in their school. I wish I had the freedom to not think about that when picturing my future life.

    • Di says...

      This was our primary consideration when exploring the NYC burbs. I wanted my children to feel accepted and comfortable (we’re South Asian too). We explored quite a bit and I did a lot of town/school composition analysis and it’s interesting that many NYC surrounding suburbs have quite a bit of diversity. My daughter’s school is close to 50%.
      We left NYC after 15 years despite never thinking we’d leave city life. We both grew up in big cities… But parenting in NYC was really tiring me out and we’re all calmer and happier here (30 minute express train to Grand Central). The pace is slower, the people are friendlier and I feel less anxious as a parent. Yes it’s not NYC (which I do miss pretty regularly) but the kids are happier and I’m a saner parent. We also have been on a monthly basis taking the kids in for the museums, playdates, just for brunch etc, so it’s not like it’s that far…. We’re just 6 months in, but it’s been a pretty great start.

    • S says...

      Exactly this. I’m always so disheartened to hear people say they miss diversity when they move to a suburb outside a city but then….what do they do about it? NYC is definitely segregated and sometimes so hard to live in, but I don’t want my son to grow up in a bubble where he rarely sees people of different ethnicities and different class backgrounds. I work in a NYC suburb and so often I am the only minority in the meetings and events I attend or, like, even the Panera where I grab lunch. Ugh.

    • Annie says...

      I’ll preface this by noting that I am white and can not speak directly to your experiences and concerns. I did grow up in Maine and loved being surrounded by wild beauty and being apart of a small community so I thought I’d reply. Fortunately Southern Maine is slowly (extremely slowly) becoming more diverse with a larger immigrant population and more young families from across the United States moving to Maine. As a potential resource for you, I would check out the website Black Girl in Maine. She writes about living and raising her family in Maine, a state with one of the largest percentages of white people, and her experiences and challenges as a woman of color in the state.

    • anjali says...

      I am South Asian and too feel this struggle! Live in DC and grew up right outside DC but my husband would love to live in Maine. I can’t imagine being the token Indian and raising my kids somewhere with lack of diversity but I also love the idea of slower pace and more beauty.

  81. Tessa says...

    Oh how I wish my husband and I had jobs where we could work remotely and could move based on the seasons! I grew up in Washington DC and would LOVE to move back there to raise our family, but unfortunately it is just out of our price range at the moment. We live in Dallas, TX right now for my husband’s job but we don’t want to stay here long term. I have dreams of moving to Portland, Maine. It seems like the perfect small city with great outdoor activities, great food and beautiful scenery. I just don’t know if we could handle the long winters and I’m not sure we could find jobs in a much smaller job market. But the yearning to move there remains!

  82. Meagan says...

    I grew up in the Hudson Valley and couldn’t wait to move to NYC. I was there for 13 years and in that time, got married, raised my step-daughter and gave birth to my son. I quickly realized after his birth, that city living was not working for us as it once did. After spending a few years back upstate after my son’s birth, I realized how much I cherish that simple way of living and of course, being close to my family. That said, it just became too hard for our family to maintain the distance-given that my now teenage step-daughter still lived in NYC and my then husband still worked down there. Now I am back in NYC and adjusting to life again- and this time, as a single mom, which has been challenging at times. Deep down, the city is not where my heart is and it’s not where I imagined raising my children. But it’s where my step daughter and son’s father is. I am constantly straddling this idea of making the best of things and the deep knowing that this is not the place I want to raise my son and frankly, where I want to build my own life. What has helped is recognizing, that right now, this is where we need to be. And I can either fight it or embrace it. One foot in front of the other.

  83. Ellen W. says...

    I think about that sister ship of our unlived life all the time. We had our daughter in Brooklyn, a place that still means to much to my husband and to me. But money, exhaustion, distance from nature and from family, and a real need to slow down drew us to his hometown in Vermont. We tell her about New York all the time, visit when we can, remind her where she is from and that her first friend was an 80 year old Chinese man who dangled his keys for her every time we walked past his home in our old neighborhood. And we are happy here, everything we hoped for is real and everything we feared is easier or less than we expected. But I will never forget taking her to the neighborhood park our last day in Brooklyn and watching all the school kids playing during recess, every nation, color, language seemingly contained on this one concrete playground that held so much beauty and promise for the world and the childhood my girl might have had. I am happy her life is full of birdsong and small town community support and long, easy summer days. And also, I am sorry we denied her- and us- that other life. I hold both these truths and try to honor them as equal.

  84. D says...

    I’m raising a baby and a toddler in Boston, and it’s chaotic, but I love the grit, the culture, the diversity. I have the benefit of lots of vacation time through work, so I’m often able to take time off and plan one-on-one days with my 4 year old. Even during normal work weeks, our weekends are a filled with museum visits, exhibits, picnics, splash pads, street festivals, subway rides. It gives our lives this feeling like anything is possible on any given day. Unfortunately, my husband and I are nearing a point where we have to seriously discuss education (because some BPS schools are great, others are not), and our lack of space. I’m very inwardly anxious about this conversation, because I’m afraid a move will mean the end of adventure. Beyond that, I fear something else that I can’t quite articulate, maybe a fear of losing my identity or relevancy? Or it’s possibly tied to a fear of getting older, since I’d be closing the door on a place I spent my 20’s. I wish I could identify it, because the idea of space, nature, backyard BBQs would typically be enticing. I see my suburban counterparts and they all seem so happy and relaxed!

    • Caitlin says...

      I’m in Boston too with a 5 and 2 year old. I don’t envy the suburbanites in my life. Parenting seems so competitive out in the ‘burbs while in our slice of the city at least I never feel any judgement, we just get to do our own thing. Also they are in the damn all the time out there, UGH! We were lucky to get a slot in a school we love, but good luck, the lottery is brutal.

  85. E says...

    Oh goodness, this is just one small piece of the puzzle of whether to have kids or not, that has been causing me much anxiety lately. I’m getting my master’s in counseling and I’ve never been so aware of how easily it is to mess up kids! The poor things have no control over so much that influences them. I’ve always wanted to kids, but – now that it really is an option – it seems so scary.

    • Elise says...

      I am getting a Master’s in Sociology and feel just the same way! I always thought I looked forward to motherhood, too, but everything I read/study focuses on the complications! I haven’t made up my mind yet, but one thing that comforts me is that children are overall adaptive and resilient. My parents and all of their peers didn’t know shit about parenting when they started having kids, but they all managed to make it out alive and raise kind, smart adults. Still seems terrifying.

  86. Nicole says...

    What a wonderful discussion. Six years ago we moved to an idyllic suburb where I thought we’d raise a family, but it just didn’t click. Instead we delayed parenthood, traveled more, moved back to the city and now we’re raising our daughter in a very urban suburb and it’s perfect. Not everyone gets or agrees with why we left the idyllic suburb, but I’m very at peace with our journey. If I’ve learned anything in life so far it’s that you can’t know what is around the next corner. I can equally see our family in this city for the next two decades, as I can see us across the country or across the world. Can’t wait for it to unfold!

  87. Emily says...

    I am in my early-mid twenties right now, so marriage and kids still feel several years off to me. I do have strong feelings about it, though. I live in NYC currently but grew up in a sleepy coastal town in Northern California– with the public library and quiet streets that you describe– and when I imagine raising a family, it is only in a place like where I grew up. I loved having grassy open space all around, going to the library and the bakery, walking or biking home from school or to a friend’s house. I like NYC as an adult and a working professional but I can’t imagine having a family here and that creates a sort of ongoing crisis for me because it turns out it’s hard to build a life somewhere that you don’t really believe you have a future. It also creates stress because my boyfriend, a born and raised New Yorker, doesn’t see himself raising a family or living anywhere but here. ah!

  88. Naomi says...

    I grew up in the DC suburbs- nice suburbs with greenery and good schools, but I hated it. It’s boring AF and I hated not being able to walk anywhere and the reliance on my parents for transportation (thankfully they were awesome about driving me everywhere).
    My one non negotiable condition for living is that it must be walkable and there needs to be decent public transportation. I want to be able to walk to get my groceries and basic needs.
    I’ve spent the last 7 years in European cities (Berlin now) and I still marvel at how easily I can get everywhere and how reliable the whole system is. I don’t dream of having a car anytime soon (or ever). I went on to study urban development and I plan on making urban mobility a focus of my career.

    • Alanna says...

      Love walking for basic needs! Did you go to Yorktown?

  89. Rachel says...

    So interesting….
    I’m from Western Australia and my partner is Italian ( northern ) our eldest son was born in oz and our second in italy where we currently live. And I’m coooonstantly battling where is better or if we should move ‘somewhere else’ before they start school. I like living here but at the same time it doesn’t quiet feel like home. There are some things I miss about Australia ( mostly the beach and friendly people) or maybe it’s just the ease of speaking your own language… it’s diff a tough call for me that I constantly battle with. My childhood was very different to theirs but I wish they were able to experience what I had. I played outdoors soooo much, climbed trees, built cubby houses, caught tadpoles in the streams, rode my bike barefoot with the neighbours kids in my street till it started to get dark ( ok we were a bit older then my boys are right now) and lived in a small country town down south of Western Australia and had a short car drive to beautiful beaches! But then here they get the benefit of being surrounded by Italians and learning that language too and the delicious food and lovely mountains and sometimes snow which they wouldn’t get in oz in my home town but there is so much pollution here it shocked me and the cultural differences I struggle with a lot as well…. you don’t realize how lucky you are sometimes!!! What I wouldn’t give for our own back yard for them to play in!!!!!! And yet even tho the 4 seasons are so beautiful go watch I struggle with so much cold weather and small children… in oz we can be in a hoodie outdoors at the beach playing and there’s so many fun groups there u can join with small kids. Here all the children are in childcare early on or with their grandparents and at 3 poof they disappear and all go to kindy. So interesting reading everyone else’s stories. Thanks for sharing all!!!

  90. Carrie says...

    My husband grew up in Queens and I grew up in Houston. We lived in DC for years before deciding to move to Austin. I used to question if that was the right decision, but I can’t be trapped by the “what ifs” of life. When we go down that “what if” path, we always make that life out to be better than the one we chose. Our unknowns are always filled with possibilities that our knowns don’t have. The reality is that we probably would be dealing with the same issues but in a different context, with different pros and different cons we currently face. And while it’s not perfect, Austin really has given us so much to be thankful for and I’d rather focus my energy on that than comparing my reality to a fantasy.

    • Ari says...

      Carrie – How long did you live in DC and what decisions brought you to choosing Austin? My husband is from Houston and myself from Brooklyn (so our situations are very similar) and we have been in DC for 10 years, always waffling about whether to move or not. We have a 6 month-old that has made us reconsider if our waffling has just been because DC is so transient (i.e., most people are from elsewhere and move elsewhere) or if it’s because we actually want something that DC is providing. It’s sort of an existential void in our home right now!

    • Carrie says...

      Ari! DC is such a hard drug to quit! I was there for 7 years and leaving was one of the hardest things I’ve done. My husband never really liked DC (I did), but it was very good for our careers and leaving was very disruptive to our upward mobility.

      For us, the decision came down to choosing family and our work/life balance over our careers, and that’s not easy when you’ve been in a place that values your career above anything else. Being closer to my family has been a big blessing in our lives – it’s allowed our daughter to develop a relationship with my enormous family, it’s allowed us to lean on them for support, and it’s enabled me to be there for big family moments that I otherwise would have missed.

      Austin (and Texas in general) is very kid friendly, which has been great, and while it’s not necessarily cheaper than DC, you do get better value in my opinion. Plus, living in Texas has done wonders for my anxiety levels. But all that said, I still miss so many things about DC. I miss my friendships and community there. It’s very hard to build up a community when you have a young child because all of your free time is taken up with them. And I miss feeling important, as shallow as that sounds.

      In DC, I always felt one foot in and one foot out, and I think a lot of people fall into that there. But DC changes you and going back “home” is never really what you think it’s going to be. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer to staying or leaving. You just have to make the decision and move forward confidently.

    • Anjali says...

      We live in DC, moved down here from New York City and thought OMG this is so cheap and look what you can get for your money! Two kids later, and it’s feeling brutal – our condo is the size of a shoebox now despite it feeling like a palace when we moved down from NYC and the child care is so painfully expensive it makes my whole body hurt thinking of it. And on top of it, we too feel like its so transient that its hard to make much of a community. And people are so busy to even try. We are trying to figure out our next step but DC is so tricky to live in once you have kids if you aren’t making TONS of money

  91. Meg says...

    Originally from Seattle, I met my husband on a study abroad semester in London and it stuck. We thought we would stay here for a while, before moving back to the states or to Scotland (where he’s from). However, London sneakily became an integral part of us as the years passed and we collected friends and memories, including the birth of our daughter. When she was ready to start school we thought maybe we would leave (lots of families do) but we just love it here and I think my daughter is having a magical, stimulating and culturally diverse childhood (if a bit crowded at times!) We’re about to buy a family home and we plan to stay forever.

  92. Ramona says...

    I thought I would hate moving to the suburbs when we finally decided to buy a house because we were bursting out of our apartment at the seams, but I have to say that I love it. Yes, I miss the things I thought I’d miss (museums, shows, restaurants, culture) and yes, it’s weird to think of myself as a suburbs mom rather than a city mom, but it also has taken pressure off me in ways that I hadn’t expected. Going from day to day without ever dealing with an intense kindergarten waiting list, or a completely insane Whole Foods parking lot, or the one-upmanship of a mom and baby yoga class full of women with $10,000 strollers, designer handbags, and perfect post-baby bodies has given me a sense of peace and wellbeing that I really didn’t see coming.

    • Maggie says...

      SAME. Also my commute in the city involved taking a subway and then walking many blocks with a baby strapped to my chest and my work bag, breast pump, and day car bag on my arms. So even though my commute now is a little longer, it’s a lot more pleasant. The suburbs of Philly are nice because you can easily take a train into the city, the houses and trees are old, and many of them have main streets with restaurants, shops, bars you can go to. They’re not comparable to the city, but they’re not strip malls either.

    • Amen sister. I–not by choice–left San Francisco after 13 years to the burbs about 15 minutes out, and damn do I love it. Shockingly so. I tell people in San Francisco with kids, you’re always living vertical. Shoebox living. In the burbs, I finally exhale. We’ve gone horizontal, and wayyy wide, and it’s refreshing. I still have plenty of city every day because of work, and it’s nice to come home to some peace and quiet and safety instead of needles and constant trash and homeless butt crack. Crass, but true.

  93. Christina Mo says...

    I grew up in an idyllic small town in New England. Lots of playing in the woods, biking to friends homes, general store with penny candy, and everyone knew everyone. It was a real community and a great place to be a child.
    And then I became a teenager. I began noticing the huge lack of diversity (racial, economic, sexual orientation, religion, political party). If you didn’t fit in, you really didn’t fit in. I felt like so many people around me were close minded, like there was only one way to be or view the world and if you weren’t that way you were wrong or bad. And there was Nothing. To. Do. Teenagers spent most of their time making out, drinking, and smoking pot. And, yes, driving while under the influence. I remember thinking as teenager that my small town was a great place to raise a child, but a horrible place to raise an adult.
    Now I live in Brooklyn and it’s hard with two small kids. Child care is expensive; housing is expensive. But, we have an amazing community around us of friends and neighbors. My kids have a diverse group of friends, they don’t assume everyone has a mommy and a daddy, they understand that not everyone has what we have and that some people have more. They are more worldly at 7 then I was at 17 (for pete’s sake I’d never eaten an avocado until I was in college). Brooklyn is a great place to raise an adult.

  94. Carrie says...

    Jo, have you ever read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? It’s my all time favorite book, I read it every year. It is so beautiful and real and magical. The way you describe your boys growing up reminds me so much of it. Maybe you should read it to them!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      no, but i would love to! thank you for the recommendation :)

    • Cari says...

      Yes, such a beautiful book! One of my favorites as well. Jo, you should definitely give it a read.

    • Jenn Dreier says...

      Hands down my fav book!

    • Gillian says...

      I am reading it now for the first time. The language is beautiful!

    • Tara Bee says...

      My absolute fav!!

  95. amanda says...

    Love this post, but the photograph of Anton is amazing! Perfectly chosen. His attitude says “Adventures Welcome!!”. ❤️

  96. Carrie says...

    I find it surprising that in the midst of my baby fever I’ve never really put much thought into this. I love living in Oregon. I’d be so happy to raise a family here. I grew up here, playing in the woods by myself or with my sisters every day of my young life. If anything, it would be wonderful to buy some land so our children can have that same sense of wonder and freedom.

    My husband is from New Zealand but says it’s so boring and doesn’t want to move back until we retire hehe

  97. Leslie says...

    I love this! Our son spent the first 18 months of his life in DC and it was the dream! The closeness of our neighborhood made our son feel so loved and made me feel so safe and supported as a mom…seriously, everyone would stop to say hi to him and we got to know everyone. One time, I accidentally locked my baby, my phone, and keys in the car. I frantically stopped a lady who worked at a hair salon on the street and asked if she could help me. She immediately knew a guy with tools and a small army came to his rescue. He was free within a matter of minutes and his rescuers became a wonderful part of his life. Always checking in on how big he was growing and how he was doing. We moved to a small town for my husband to go back to school and we can not wait to get back to a big city! He’s 3 now still waves and says hi to everyone we pass.

    • Sarah says...

      What area of DC was this?! We’re new to the city and I’m having trouble picturing our future here :(

    • Libby says...

      Hi Sarah – I’m not sure where Leslie lived, but one place I hear is like this in DC is the Hill :) Just thought I’d through it out there! Lots of families there and my friends there love it. I live in the Westover neighborhood of Arlington which also has a great small community feel but is outside the city.

  98. Lauren says...

    We are expecting our first in May and as of now are very excited to raise our kiddo (and perhaps one more in the future – will see how it goes with 1!) in Boston. My husband and I both grew up in the suburbs which I enjoyed and he did not so he is pretty against the idea of burb life which is fine with me – I have always loved city life. My parents are close by in the suburb I grew up in so I figure our kiddo will have plenty of access to the burbs while hopefully enjoying all aspects of city living. I think the big question mark about our long term location will be schools. The school system in our city is daunting to consider and while we are close to some great independent schools, the stress of admissions and cost of tuition is equally daunting! For now, I am going to try to focus on soaking up the city for the next few years and truly enjoying it through our child’s eyes before we have to make a decision about the next chapter based on their educational opportunities.

  99. Clare says...

    We live in Arlington, VA – where I grew up, and where my parents and sister and her family still live as well. It’s right outside of DC – and we live in a very densely populated part of the county, about a 5 minute drive to the Smithsonian museums. Whenever we get tired of the fast pace of this city (or the pretty depressing news that centers around DC), we wonder if this is the right place to raise our boys. The access to their grandparents and cousins, the wonderfully diverse public school in our neighborhood, and the amazing museums and cultural events in the city – they all make us pause and decide to stay a while longer.

  100. shade says...

    My family moved from the English countryside to the Florida suburbs when I was 6 and I still wonder what I would be like as a person, if we would have just stayed in England. Would I be different? Less shy? Better educated? lol

    Now, grown up, we live in NYC (Brooklyn) with our 5 year old and also can not believe we are raising our kid here. Life continues to be strange and unpredictable.

  101. Nathalie says...

    I’m raising my kids in Germany and it’s weird to see how German they’re becoming! They have such a different childhood than I did (I’m Canadian). But I love our living situation – we’re in a small town (pop. 14 000) surrounded by forests and fields and with fast/easy public transportation to a big city. Best of both worlds!

    • Anna says...

      Hi Nathalie, I’m a Canadian raising my kids in Germany as well. Whereabouts do you live?

  102. Emilie says...

    I love the ghost ship letter. I’m a mental health therapist and use this analogy often to help clients reframe their feelings of regret or uncertainty about choices in their lives. Thanks for including it here.

    I grew up in Alabama and most recently lived in Portland, Oregon. I loved the Pacific Northwest, but my husband and I decided to move back South closer to family (currently in Tennessee). It’s been a tough transition, but we just keep reminding ourselves that we chose to move back. Although my heart longs for the mountains, we’re moving to St Louis (where his family lives) and are looking forward to raising children there. There’s so many free activities, cost of living is low, traffic isn’t so bad, and there are plenty of employment opportunities for my husband and me. Although we won’t have the mountains or ocean of Oregon, we’re hoping to find other ways to have our children connect with nature and appreciate their environment.

    • Kristy says...

      Look into canoe/kayaking at rivers near by (go south of STL, not the Mississippi River). There is also excellent hiking, camping and rock climbing spots within a reasonable drive. Or try cycling! There is quite a lot of ways to connect to nature that doesn’t involve an ocean or a mountain… although I do recommend visiting those locations yearly if possible. They are good for the soul. :)

  103. Amanda says...

    I’m an assistant professor, so when we have kids, we’ll raise them inour small Midwestern college town. On the one hand, there are a lot of benefits to where we live – a great library, friendly people, lots of parks, easy to get around. On the other hand, it’s missing the diversity and the energy of the city we used to live in. I used to live in an urban neighborhood that had a small-town feel but all the benefits of being in an urban area – super walkable, tons of people around, great small local businesses. If I could go back there to raise my kids, I totally would. But where we are now is great too.

    The one thing that bothers me about my current location is that it’s not very diverse, ethnically or socioeconomically. I worry about making sure my kids are able to interact with a variety of people with different backgrounds. My husband and I have had good conversations about how to make that happen where we live, but I think it’ll just take more intentionality.

    • Meredith says...

      We live in a large city and find that pushing through all the structural segregation takes a lot of intentional effort and swimming up stream even here. It is hard, necessary and confusing work, no matter where you live.

  104. Katie says...

    We live in Little Rock, AR, and I couldn’t imagine raising my children anywhere else. It’s tiny, but it’s still a city, and there’s hiking and biking right nearby. We’re lucky to live in an older neighborhood near downtown, so the commute is very short. We can walk to every school that our children will attend. Of course, a big deciding factor is that I have some very old (some new) good friends with children the same ages as mine. Plus, the neighborhood is doing that turnover where many of the families are in the same point in life. We also have some neighbors with no children that are a little older than us, and I am so lucky to have them.
    We help each other. My parents are only 2.5 hours away. We’re close to the Ouachitas, and the Ozarks. It’s also not ridiculously expensive. Of course, there’s crime, but it’s not like people think about when they hear Little Rock. Also, I have to say, we’re very solidly middle class, so we can afford to live in a nice place. Don’t leave anything valuable in your car, and it’s fine.

  105. Buttons says...

    Two fictional places top my list! First, the village of Dibley from the “Vicar of Dibley”. Such an idyllic, crazy, little place with so much character, love and so much beauty. The second is any of the villages from “Midsomer Murders” which might be a little bit less child friendly. I often wonder how they have any characters left to murder in that show and I certainly wouldn’t want to be next! Oh, but the scenery. xx

    • Jane says...

      Fictional counts! The Shire! For sure

  106. Maywyn says...

    Thank you both! The quote from Cheryl Strayed, I think just changed my life!
    As for where to raise children, New England is beautiful with the bonus of larger cities within experience reach for contrast. Burlington, Vermont area is at the top of my list of places to raise children with Boston, NYC-New Jersey-Hudson River Valley, and Portland, Maine areas second.

    • I live in Colchester (just outside of Burlington) – it’s a terrific place to raise kids!! Weather (sooo cold) and a lack of diversity (although it’s improving) are the biggest drawbacks.

    • Laura says...

      These are my exact dream locations! We live in Cleveland but I left my heart in New England when I moved back home after going to art school outside of Boston.

    • I’m looking to move to Vermont this summer! No kids yet, but we are planning on it. The diversity aspect is one thing that concerns me.

    • Kathleen Ouma says...

      I live in Colchester Vermont also and I agree with Katrina of the lack of diversity and cold weather. Currently waiting for summer!!

    • Jessi says...

      We just moved our family of four from outside Salem Oregon to Vermont. I grew up here and though we are a couple hours from the exact town I am happy the children can grow up at a bit of a slower pace and perhaps take their time with it. We went back and forth about the lack of diversity – but in the end the benefit of the significantly better public school system- proximity to family- and my longing for winter brought us back- for our family the move has been wonderful. And though it is more rural we moved to a big enough town for our 14 year old to have things to do as well as space and time for the toddlers to enjoy being young. Vermont really is a lovely place and located close enough to many cities for day or weekend trips.

  107. liz says...

    Don’t have kiddos (yet?) but I can’t imagine not living in the city with or without kids. I hate the lifestyle the subburbs force on people (all the driving you have to do to basically anything out of your house and relative isolation from different communities (not saying you can’t find communities within subburbs, but the ones I’m apart of just hardly exist outside of major metropolitan areas)) and if I’m not happy, I can’t imagine also dealing with all the hardships motherhood brings in addition —

    that being said, I think I could handle more pretty, quiet rural areas — I don’t know why but I just have an easier time accepting them as they are than i do with subburbs. I grew up in the subburbs and find them soooo terribly depressing. Subburbs are the worst of both worlds in my opinion. no judgment to those who choose to live in them, but just they just don’t jive with how my idea of a high quality of life

    • Katie says...

      Oh my gosh, you’ve read my mind. I told my husband that I can live in a large metro area where walking and public transit is the norm or rural. I can’t do the inbetween. Cars and strip malls and big box stores and chain restaurants and housing developments are my personal hell. I know I’m oversimplufyng and not all surburbs are that way and many have more character than that. It’s not for me. I’m sure busy cities and country are others own personal hell.

    • Eliz says...

      I live in a DC suburb, and would like to point out that it is a bit narrow-minded to think suburban means big-box stores, driving everywhere, and chain restaurants. There are so many really nice suburbs outside of big cities that are walkable, have good public transportation, lots of jobs, independent businesses, ethnic restaurants, and real diversity.

      I’ve also found, at least in DC, some areas of the city are so expensive they are dominated by chain retailers and restaurants because those are the only businesses that can afford the rent! (Georgetown, City Center, Penn Quarter, etc.) I’m guessing that’s true of other urban areas too. So you can’t just make blanket city vs suburb assumptions.

    • liz says...

      Eliz, completely understand and agree but I still hold my opinion generally. In my opinion lots of suburbs are still relatively densely populated (so you don’t get the calm of rural areas and magic of nature), tend to suffer from traffic, spread out friends and different communities, and force people to do substantially less biking and walking. I love having the option to never drive. I also live in dc and all my best local friends live within blocks of me, which allows for a lot more spontaneous/chill connecting. I am able to spend more money on fun stuff i want to do because I don’t pay anything in transportation or gas or car payments/maintenance (I bike or walk everyday, even in rain or winter), and it’s all possible because things are relatively close together. I’m also able to do things regularly (I mean practically daily) before and after work because I don’t have to worry about commuting/travel time + the stress of traffic. There’s nothing good going on in Georgetown or Penn Quarter (or downtown in general) anyway! The action is all in the more residential neighborhoods, but again: in my opinion. Anytime I’ve had a friend move out into the suburbs because of kids/buying a house, we hardly ever see them again. I understand people want to live in safer neighborhoods and schools are an issue, but I don’t understand the compulsion to isolate yourself for the sake of getting “more for your money” .

    • Susan says...

      I’ve had the opposite experience with communities. Living in a city where I walked everywhere, all my friends lived within a couple blocks of me also. It wasn’t until I moved a little further out and opened myself up to more transportation options that I realized how much those friendships were based almost entirely on physical proximity. I’m in Arlington so it’s still an urban area with the same number of neighbors to be friends with, but I’ve also started making friends who live more than a couple minute walk from my front door because of who they are rather than where they live. I don’t have as many restaurants/bars/coffee shops in walking distance of my home anymore and I miss that aspect but I’ve definitely found more community out here.

    • abby says...

      True – If there was not a stunningly well-cared for 350 acre public park a 5 minute walking distance from my suburban ranch (which I hate because it would take major architectural magic to love) than I would never survive here. Even so I will be leaving asap. I’m already grieving that park though!

  108. Karyn says...

    Eeeee, I love Cheryl Strayed so much! Thank you so much for posting that quote.

  109. Hannah says...

    That’s so funny, my husband and I have been trying to decide on this for months. We plan on doing some trips to a few places to see what we like, but I am definitely looking for access to nature, four mild ish seasons, and friendly, laidback people.

  110. Julia says...

    We live in Raleigh, NC and have this debate all the time. Currently we (husband + 3.5 year old) are living in a smaller house on the outskirts of downtown, so just a 5 minute drive to bakeries, restaurants, my yoga studio, work (!) etc. But I was just at a friend’s house this weekend in a suburb about 30 minutes from downtown, and our kids were jumping between boulders along a small river that meanders behind their neighborhood, and connects to a dozen hiking trails through a nature preserve. It sure is tempting to have that in your backyard! Plus they have a pool. Access to nature and a pool (that’s a BIG summer activity in the south) would be two reasons we would trade in for the burbs. But I do worry about increasing our carbon footprint with a longer commute.

    • April says...

      Which out lying area had the nature preserve please? We’re looking for that also…

    • alison says...

      We live in downtown Raleigh too! we have two kids (5.5 and 1.5) and we feel the same! We love living downtown (walk to parks, Person St, work, school, all of it!). But there is this huge part of me that is sad that we don’t have this big yard for the kids to just explore on their own, especially as they get older! But ultimately we are happy with our decision to sacrifice space for location. Most days the pros for outweigh the cons. I’m hoping one day we can snag one of the historic houses in our same neighborhood that does have a big yard – but you know how crazy this market is! ha

    • Julia says...

      April – hi to a fellow Raleigh-ite! :) It’s Durant Nature Preserve and several neighborhoods back up to it. The one I was in was Durant Trails. Hope that helps! I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was – it feels like you’re in the NC mountains!

    • Julia says...

      Hi Alison! Oh yeah I totally get the crazy market – it’s nuts! So hard to find anything sizeable for a reasonable price anywhere close to downtown. If I could walk places though I think I would for sure stay. Our issue is it’s a quick drive/even bike ride, but not terribly walkable (we’re over by Dorothea Dix and the Farmer’s Market). But to buy something walkable we’d definitely be giving up size….so….not sure it’s worth it?!

  111. laura says...

    On the one hand, having kids in the suburbs seems so nice (a yard! A parking spot! The grocery store isn’t so crowded that it’s an olympic feat), but on the other hand: I grew up in the city and treasured how diverse my upbringing was. I want my kids to go to school with all kinds of people and not be insulated from the real world.

  112. Robin S. says...

    My husband and I will be moving soon to raise our son in a place that offers a lower cost of living. This decision is strategic, as we want the financial ability to travel the world with him.

    I’m very moved by all of these love letters to cities. Years ago, when I left Manhattan to move back to Georgia, I was startled by the silence at night. The wide open spaces were awesome, but devoid of a certain energy. Three years later when I finally made it back to Manhattan for a visit, I walked into my old favorite bagel shop and the clerk shouts, “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?” NYC, I will always love you.

  113. Stacey says...

    We’re raising our kids in St. Petersburg, FL, which feels like the most perfect place on Earth. Our neighborhood is tucked away at the very tip of the Pinellas peninsula, overlooking Tampa Bay. Public parkland spans the entire coast of our neighborhood, so we can launch kayaks and paddle boards, fly kites or explore the mangroves without having to fight for beach parking. This is a neighborhood where people stay for decades, so the generation that raised their kids here in the 80s and 90s are moving on and new families are moving in. Our block has ten kids and on the weekends, the parents mingle and drink local beers while the kids ride 360 bikes, rollerblade, skateboard, etc. It’s like an impromptu block party every Sunday, and we have actual block parties for the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve. Oh, and we’re just a ten minutes drive to downtown St. Pete, which is like a hipster paradise with cool restaurants, art galleries, breweries, street festivals and great sporting events. Tampa Bay is such a dynamic place to live if you can handle the oppressive summers.

  114. Meredith says...

    I have a post-it note on my bulletin board that says “Infinite Choice = Ultimate Prison” and while I don’t remember where I came across this quote, it brings me so much peace in my role as a military spouse. While we won’t have much say in where our family lives over the next decade, we also won’t have the burden of choosing. Which to my surprise, is actually so freeing. There will be no second guessing if we have chosen the right place, no looking around and wondering if the grass might be greener elsewhere. We can just lean into the freedom of not having to choose rather than focus on what we might be missing out on by not getting to choose. And then make the most of each new duty station while we are there.

    • Nikki says...

      Wohoo another military spouse on here. I LOVE this quote. I lean into the corny phrase “home is wherever the USMC take us” because home is each other. Home is facetime during deployments, it’s multiple houses in multiple years, its traditions that don’t need any “stuff”, its your favorite things being broken or lost and just having to shrug your shoulders. It’s not weather, parts of the country or cities; its family (the one we have and the one we make in our military communities).

      (he’s deployed right now and preparing to PCS when he returns in a few months, so I’m feeling extra lovey haha)

    • Anne says...

      Unrelated: As a Navy wife myself, I would love to see Cup of Jo do an interview with military families. Most Americans don’t know anyone serving in the military (not close friends or family, at least), which has a number of consequences for our country: (1) The military is abstract – it’s much easier to send nameless, faceless soldiers to war than to send your husband and his friends. (2) We glorify the military to the point of not being able to criticize it. And let me tell you, the military needs criticism to force improvement! (3) Many people don’t understand foreign policy. The US military does a lot more than dropping bombs from drones – they also maintain freedom of the seas for the whole world, for example. (4) Military spouses continue to face incredible challenges. Something like 90% of military wives are underemployed, mostly because they’re never in any one spot long enough to build a career.

      I know that most of these issues are well outside the normal scope of CoJ, but I thought I’d make my request. Even a little bit of exposure might help someone think a little differently about the military!

      (For anyone interested, check out this old-but-good article from The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/01/the-tragedy-of-the-american-military/383516/ )

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great idea, anne! thank you!

    • Sarah says...

      Yes, Anne! I love this idea and would love to see military families featured. I had never thought about the impact this has on military wives’ careers. Super interesting. Thank you for sharing!

    • Caro says...

      I just got chills reading this quote and instantly wrote it down with a sharpie in big block letters. I’ll need to refer back to it often as a reminder to not let regret rule me and to not let the obsession over all of the choices I could have made completely paralyze me!
      Thank you!

    • Taya says...

      Love this! My husband is a reservist but he has his first deployment coming up in a couple months. Encouraging words are welcomed! I think it will be hardest on our 1 yo and 5 yo . . . .

    • Jackie says...

      I’ve never heard of that quote before but as we face another move (my husband and I are both Marines), it’s a good one to know. I had also been hoping that at some point I would see something military related on here.

  115. H says...

    We’re raising our baby in the suburbs of Atlanta. We love it for so many reasons! Low cost of living, family around the corner, a city with tons to do and see, 4 seasons, and a major airport. Having family nearby has been SO helpful to us and we’re so excited our daughter will grow up with her cousins down the street.

  116. KB says...

    I grew up (mostly) in the northwest and always thought I’d stay there, although maybe closer to a city than my smallish town. Fast forward to meeting my husband in France and moving to Paris 8 years ago, we’re raising our two young kids just outside the city. It’s interesting seeing the similarities with these comments of US living, do we stay in Paris so close to everything but having NO space, or move outside the city to afford a house and garden, essentially suburban living. We went for the house, but I love that we’re still 20min from the city center by train and walk everywhere in our town. Now I’m not sure we would move back to the US, even given the opportunity, but if we did it opens up the question of going to the northwest or somewhere else. Even staying in France, we don’t want to move away from friends and family here around Paris and that support network.

  117. MB says...

    I am in the dead center of this dilemma. Lived in Santa Monica/Los Angeles for three and a half years. Got pregnant and just could not think of raising my boy anywhere but back near my family in Georgia. I am very close to my sister and mom so having them around was a must. We moved back to Atlanta in the fall and three months in I started missing LA. I love having my mom and sister/her girls around but I’m finding out that I almost feel like I moved back to live their life and I’m not living my own. I also don’t see my sister and her girls as much as I imagined I would. I miss the walkability, sunshine, amazing restaurants….but I’m worried if we go back that I’ll just miss my family again. Trying to figure out if I’m just a “grass is always greener” person or if I’m just evolving and figuring out that what I thought was right would be perfectly fine, but there’s a life in CA that, while it’s far from my sister and mom, could be a great fit for me and my husband and kids. Penny for anyone’s thoughts :)

    • G says...

      MB,

      I think that the more time you spend in GA the more your life will feel like your own! Your son will choose friends, interests, etc that differentiate him from his cousins. You will make more friends that don’t have a connection to your family, etc. That has been my experience upon returning to my hometown–though I get where you’re coming from!

      Good luck!

    • Frankie Rose says...

      Oh my goodness I am going through the same thing! We had our daughter in May and moved back to the Midwest in July after living in Seattle for the past 8 years. While being closer (driving distance, not in the same state) to family is great in many ways, what you write about feeling like you’re living their life and not yours feels so relevant and poignant to me. We miss the beauty of the PNW, as well as the values and lifestyle and were pretty much instantly reminded why we left the Midwest all those years ago. This has made us realize we want to raise our daughter in a beautiful place that feels magical. Currently plotting how to make our exit…

    • nicole says...

      We made the same exact move. Lived in Santa Monica for 5 years, then moved to Atlanta to be near family. We hated Atlanta for at least the first 2 years. Now we would never move back. We live in Decatur, love the walkability, community, and groundedness — something that was hard to find in LA.
      Have you traveled back to LA to visit? When we’ve gone back, we’ve been surprised at how much it doens’t feel right any more for us. We absolutely loved it as a couple — but we’ve decided to appreciate it as a chapter of our life, and are trying to stay open about the new chapter.
      My husband’s job is mobile, so we could move back any time — but the high cost of living plus lack of cohesive community (i.e. walkable living in a place that feels like an actual neighborhood with working families) makes it not desirable for us now.
      I think it also helps to realize — there is no place is like California. Atlanta will never compare on the metrics of weather, nature, etc. But I think you can have a really great micro-life in ATL that is also affordable and leaves time and space for family time.
      And go back to Cali later in life!

  118. Jen says...

    I grew up in Long Island. I went to a great public school and it was a very safe neighborhood. But I hated it and couldn’t wait to leave. I went pretty far and ended up in Oakland CA! I’ve been here for over 20 yrs and absolutely love living here. The downside is that the public schools aren’t that great and sometimes it doesn’t feel safe but I definitely prefer city life over the suburbs. I truly appreciate the diversity and having bi-racial kids, I can’t imagine raising my kids anywhere else.

  119. Annie says...

    I have been thinking about this a lot lately! Specifically the idea of a “sister-life”. I am in my late 20s and I have surprised myself by the life I have chosen. Growing up I dreamed of traveling all the time, living in far-away cities, and living out of a backpack. I did a version of that for a short period early in my 20s by going to school in different states, getting to study abroad, and moving to a couple new cities. Now I live in a big city just 25 miles from my mom, dad, and siblings and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon! We didn’t grow up with any extended family close by and I love the idea of us all living here and having Sunday dinner together and my kids (not yet in existance) having cousins close by. I used to spend a lot of time feeling disappointed in myself for not staying true to what my younger self seemed to want, but recently I have been thinking I need to re-frame the narrative of my life. That other life never was mine and the person I am has chosen this one. I still travel as much as I can, even alone, and I have a partner that loves to travel (and is actually from a different country as well) and supports me in that. I plan on raising any children I have in the city and am excited that I have such a close-knit community of family and friends here for support. I don’t know if I would have had that if I had chosen any other kind of life. It seems to me like that kind of community can only be formed when you are in one place for an extended period of time which is NOT something I thought I would do! Since I didn’t really have it growing up so I suppose I didn’t know what I was missing. I guess the values you hold most dear have a way of revealing themselves in your choices.

  120. Rebecca says...

    Wow that quote gave me shivers. I am raising my kids in downtown Baltimore. I never imagined I would do that. But I fell in love with a city, then a man, then a house, and then a neighborhood. If you watch the news, you would move immediately and people are always asking us when we are moving, when will our two room townhome get too small, when will the crime be too much, and when will the schools be too bad. Are parents always asked these questions about where they are living, or just city dwelling parents? I grew up in the military and never lived anywhere more than 3 years. I’ve lived here since 2006- the longest of my life. I love that my kids ride on scooters more than in cars, know that the bartender at our block’s bar will put on cartoons for them, and understand about sharing spaces and air with each other and the rest of our charming city.

    • Akshita says...

      What a lovely sentiment – beautifully expressed! I moved to Baltimore for grad school and fell in love with the city almost immediately. I would have never dreamed of listing the city as a place I would like to end up, it doesn’t seem glamorous and too many folks have negative perceptions of the city’s history, but it feels like home because of the sense of community that exists on every block. I have since moved away but return back to visit any chance I can get and hope to find my way back in the coming years.

    • Fellow Baltimore lover here! Like Akshita, I moved for grad school in 2007 and fell in love with the city. My husband and I moved to California 7 years later to be closer to family, but we constantly talk about Baltimore and wonder what it would be like to raise a family in Charm City. I miss the row homes, the cozy bars and beautiful Federal Hill park! Your family is very lucky, Rebecca!

  121. Sarah says...

    I’m currently raising two young boys on a small tropical island that is not my home or my husband’s. Like you, I never imagined staying here when I had kids but my first was born in February and from the time he was a couple of days old we walked outside in the sunshine every day and I was sold. The whole first year was a series of simple beautiful days- babies rolling around on blankets at the botanical gardens, baby toes dipped in the ocean, no need for socks or coats. And then life charged forward and we never managed to make a plan to move or had any real desire to do so. Our boys play outside every day. Swim in the ocean every weekend. There’s blue sky and beauty every where you look. There’s no long commutes, no hustle and bustle.
    The mainland may call someday but for now it’s a beautiful life.

  122. MelTown says...

    Here! I live in Houston and it’s such a great place to raise kids. It’s a stretch for us to live close to downtown, but it’s so worth it. The summers are insanely hot, but you can be outside year round, there is always something to do, and it’s the most diverse city in the country. We have top tier hospitals, direct flights to most places, and the people are friendly. Finding good schools here can be a little tricky, but I think that’s true in any urban environment. I personally get hit with pangs of wanderlust and would move in a minute just because I crave change, but as someone who moved frequently as a kid it’s really important to me that my kids have a hometown and this a great one!

  123. Erin K says...

    I grew up in a very small town and it was lovely but also felt stifling. Everyone knew your business it seemed. When I went to college and moved to bigger cities on my own my little bubble burst! And in the best way. For my children, I’ve always wanted to raise them in a city so they could have access and participate in diverse communities, activities, and cultures. I’ve been lucky to live in a neighborhood close to the city so we have a community feel but also all of the wonderful things our big city has to offer.

  124. natalie says...

    to those with children: thoughts on living somewhere not close to either set of grandparents? my husband and i live in london for a finite period and eventually we need to repat back to the u.s. we struggle with to a city we think we’d like (austin) or close to my parents in miami to help with children. help!

    • Also Nathalie says...

      I think it depends on your relationship with your parents and what is expected on both sides. We live 10 hours by plane away from mine and 1.5 hours by car away from my in-laws. I wish we were closer to my parents but I’m glad we’re not closer to my in-laws. Our parents can’t help us daily or in an emergency but our kids spend occasional weekends and vacation time with their grandparents – enabling my husband and I to get away alone! – and they have a great relationship with both sets. I have friends who lived almost next door to their parents and those kids rarely saw their grandparents. I’ve built up a great circle of friends who are able to help out in emergencies/unexpected situations.

    • Rebecca says...

      We don’t live near either set of grandparents and it’s been fine. It definitely depends on your relationship with both/either. Kids really do grow up so fast, as do grandparents. We are at a point now where we really don’t need much help with the kids (except for driving them to activities, and I feel that’s not something my parents or in-laws should be doing.) Honestly, I’m more concerned now about my parents aging far away. If there’s a reason I want them closer, it’s so that I can start to take care of them, not so they can take care of my kids.

  125. Rue says...

    I’m in a small southern city, the kind you don’t know if you’re not in the southeast, that serves as “the city” for surrounding counties. We get attention as a travel destination, especially for restaurants and outdoor stuff. There’s always a chance I could move for work, but as an academic it’s a complex thing to arrange a move. My partner grew up here, raised by one southern parent and one “northern expat” parent. I’m a NYer who lived in most parts of the US as an adult before moving here.

    There are things I love about the idea of parenting here in the future. Number one on my list is all the outdoor adventuring. We have stunning town, state, and national parks. While it does get hot in the summer, escaping to the mountains is literally cooler.

    My biggest concern is how much of the community is connected to churches. My partner describes going to church as a kid because he wanted to fit in socially, even though he knew early on that he doesn’t personally hold religious views. I was raised Jewish and can imagine raising my children in the small Jewish community here, but I’m still nervous about how dominant Christian culture is. If you haven’t lived in the south it can sound exaggerated, but even in a city that’s considered politically progressive compared to our neighbors, church is a central part of the social fabric, including for almost all of my liberal friends in their 20s-60s. And that’s never going to be part of my life or my future children’s lives. I’m good at making community from the group on the fringe, and I hope we’ll find close connection with other non-Christian families, so that’s the silver lining I’m aiming for.

    • Lindsey says...

      I know exactly what you mean about the church (in my case , particularly evangelical/fundamentalist churches) being such a deeply ingrained part of living in the south. I have lived in South Carolina (from Ohio) for nearly ten years and I still struggle with it.

  126. CaraM says...

    I grew up for the first part of my childhood in Michigan and then my family moved to the suburbs of Denver. As a teenager, I made the thirty minute drive with friends to hangout in downtown coffeehouses when I could drive. As a college graduate, I lived in the Capitol Hill area (kind of the artistic/punk part of Denver) and enjoyed the 11 years I spent there. My boyfriend and I spent three years in Boulder before moving to a house we could afford that was right in between Denver and Boulder (25 minutes to each). Living in Colorado is a gift. The weather, even when cold, is perfect for being active and exploring the outdoors. A majority of the time, Denver is sunny (they say it is one of the sunniest American cities). I can’t wait for my daughter to explore the mountains and hike around the area. It is a great place to get lost, but also not to get lost. We are so close to both major cities. Last but not least, it is affordable. The gentrified areas of Denver are very expensive and seem even more bubble-like than the burbs at times. I love the fact that we have space to play and explore. We can still explore the city with a quick jaunt!

  127. Kelly says...

    Many of us just live where we can find jobs that match our skills and degrees. We can’t just pick and choose. It would be a luxury to do so.

    • Leona says...

      No kidding! I marvel at the amount of people responding here that actually have the ability to move. My husband and I are both teachers in Toronto and cannot afford housing here – I would love to move our small family- but not so easy! We would have to start our entire careers over to work in another school board. So, what can we do? Stay in the city because that is where our jobs are, or…move to a quiet, affordable place, but have zero job security and start from ground zero as supply teachers. Ugh.

    • Cate says...

      Also in Toronto and I marvel as well. There are much, much fewer large cities in Canada to move to, and my husband wouldn’t be able to work in a city any smaller, and I’m in the government so we feel so incredibly stuck here. Add family and friends and it seems impossible to move. But I’d love to change my children’s childhood from the city to more green spaces and nature.
      Add the weather here being very difficult 6 months a year and outside time can be quite limited. I wish for a better childhood for them…especially since I grew up in hot countries and know how freeing weather can be.

  128. My husband and I don’t have kids yet, but when we do, we hope to raise them all over the world. His work as a diplomat has taken us to Saudi Arabia and Qatar so far–what country we’ll be posted to next is anyone’s guess. I love hearing the snippets of casual conversations my colleagues’ kids come out with. They’re always talking about a “soccer tournament in Dubai” or a “school trip to Spain” or “at Christmas when we went to that elephant sanctuary in Sri Lanka.” My boss’s daughter will pick squid over chicken nuggets. When I was in school, we took a field trip to the county fair. My family vacationed in…Florida? I didn’t even try sushi for the first time until I was twenty. I can’t wait to give my kids a huge, cross-cultural life.

  129. Susie says...

    My children were born and raised until kindergarten age in the inner Northside neighbourhoods of Chicago. We loved it, just as you describe, they knew everyone! The parks were our backyard and the museums and libraries our living room. Then we moved “home” – to Australia – the Gold Coast to be precise. Yes, open spaces, great weather, golden beaches … but a real lack of community! I’ve never felt as supported as I did living in the city with no blood family around. We have since moved to a more metropolitan area, and live in a inner suburb of Melbourne. Our kids commute everywhere on public transport or walk. They attend festivals and plays on a regular basis. Support their sporting teams at big venues and take part in marches and protests for things they believe in. Is it the same as the big city environment we left in Chicago, no. BUT – our kids don’t ever have to think about gun violence and that’s a major plus to living in this great country!

    • Raquel says...

      Hi Susie,

      You comment made me lol – I used to live in the GC and have the exactly same opinion. Weather, beaches, all awesome BUT no community, ppl coming and going, no “personality” I guess.. I LOVE Melbourne and it’s the #1 place I would like to live (I currently live in San Francisco). Your comments about Melbourne are so on point!