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. Living in Switzerland right now, I see so many advantages to raising our child in this beautiful country. But there is something every day that makes me wonder about raising a child in my home country (the U.S.). For instance, the aides at his nursery school revealed to me this morning that my son is only interacting with other children who speak English. We’re persevering in the French school system… but I wonder if he, like I, will always feel like an outsider. And does he already sense our “otherness” at age 2?

  2. B says...

    intriguing. we have three children. my husband is rooted, we are living in a quaint quiet farming community, a suburb of DC where tractors are often seen on the roads and cows get out from the neighbors pasture. I grew up in Northern New England and traveled south for college (GO GAMECOCKS). I ended up in Europe and then to this quaint little town just outside DC where I met my husband and have settled. Ideally, I’d move farther south, on the water whethers its lake or ocean I don’t care) however my husband wont move while his parents are still living and really the schools here are amazing, the high school #1 in the state and in the top #10 in the country. The kids get to do all the things, plus we are close to the city for some fun when we need it.

  3. Laura says...

    I don’t think Canadians tend to move out of their home province very often. I am in Newfoundland, on the Atlantic coast of the country. There is about 500,000 people here on an island bigger than Japan , so it’s very unpopulated. There are tons of forested areas and walking trails around. We are close to the ocean. My sisters live within walking distance and my parents close by. It’s so nice to be able to open your back door and let your children roam independently outside.

    I’ve traveled a nice bit off the island, and no matter how much I’ve loved the places I’ve been, there’s no better feeling than stepping off the plane here and smelling the ocean salt in the air. It’s home. I hope my children feel this way too.

  4. Em says...

    I love that quote from Cheryl Strayed <3

  5. I’m raising my boys just streets away from where I lived as a toddler. It feels so safe and cozy and wonderful, though I imagine it’s also because of the many things that happened in the interim (my parents’ divorce, moving to the US without my mom, spending decades feeling lost and unmoored). Being so close to where I started feels just right.

  6. Emma says...

    I moved from my small hometown (where literally all my family live) to go to university, then moved to London where I met my one.

    My husband and I then moved to a stately home’s farm estate near Scotland…it was wild and beautiful and the cheapest thing we could find. We both wanted to start our own business but couldn’t afford to in London.

    Then we moved to the south of France because we could afford to buy a house here.

    We’ve now been in France for ten years and have two glorious young children who were born here; we love it here, life is good. Except my mum has never forgiven me for not moving back to my hometown after graduation and she doesn’t fly, text, email or use skype. Other than that…it’s perfect!

  7. Ilona says...

    We’re raising two kids (age 8 and 3) in London. Not in the posh bits you see in films, but in south east London, in a borough with high crime. Part of me wants to flee to the suburbs proper, part of me wants to relocate to Bristol or Edinburgh and buy a huge house with the money you spend on a 3-bed terrace here. But all our family and friends are in London, and my husband’s job is very London-centric (book publishing), so we don’t have many options. I LOVE that we have museums, galleries and great events so close by. Our neighbourhood is friendly, diverse, with great parks and cafes. I can be in the centre of London in 20 minutes on the train. I do worry a bit about my kids being teenagers in the city, but then again… I was a teen in London and I turned out OK (eventually)!

  8. Michelle says...

    Such interesting comments as always! U.K. based and having grown up in a small English town far from our capital I have loved 20 years of London city living. Last year we made the move to a village 20 miles from the city just weeks after our first child was born. It’s a different life but we are very happy with our choice. A large house for the cost of our small flat, greenery and open spaces, many good schools for the future ( and less stress hopefully that you don’t live on the right half of the street to go to the school you want). We already feel very at home here – helped along by my one year maternity leave and the friends I’ve made though this. A part of me wonders why we stayed in the city so long while another part knows that pre- children I really couldn’t contemplate leaving.

  9. Isa says...

    While living in Munich I dream about living in Sweden right by the sea, friends and family near and cruising around with a big Christiana bike….

  10. Marina says...

    I moved to Switzerland from Barcelona exactly 9 years ago and I alwas thought I would want to raise my kids in Barcelona… I didn’t even think I would stay in Switzerland for this long (my whole family lives in Barcelona). And now, here I am, two weeks away from moving in with my boyfriend and planning our future together and, yes, such future includes kids and I am just glad they will grow up in here because I don’t think it matters where, it just matters how and I am confident I have found the person with whom I can bring happy children up. I never thought that, if I have babies, they would be bi-national, but that sounds like a very exciting thing! And, anyway, they will still get to travel to Barcelona with me! At the end of the day, is just a 1h10 flight :)

  11. Alice says...

    I used to live in Falmouth, Cornwall. I want that for him, it’s the most beautiful part of the country. Just wild enough to be healthy, civilised enough not to fall off the map completely, and heaps of art and culture for a non-city.

    Sadly there is no work in Cornwall, jobs over a very modest £25k are few and far between. I recieve a lower than average salary for what I do a little way up country. It’s fine, I like my job, the people and have a large degree of independence. I met a lady doing my job under a different title at a conference recently, she worked in Cornwall, she was on half what I am on and that’s typical.

    Houses are far from cheap though, and the cost of living no different to elsewhere. Criminal really, so many people are priced out of their home.

  12. S says...

    My husband and I are diplomats/humanitarians, currently posted in Africa and moving over the summer to Latin America. We have a toddler and will soon have our second child. My husband and I are grew up in different countries and used to debate early in our relationship about which of our countries we would choose to live. But then! Our sense of adventure and choice of careers decided for us to be globe roamers.

    We grapple with whether we will want to settle down at some point (particularly before the kids are in high school), identity issues for “third culture” kids and where we might want to retire. We are also both incredibly close with our families and wish we could see each other more frequently. For now, though, we can’t imagine a different life than our family adventure and agree that if at any point it doesn’t feel like a right fit anymore, we will then cross that bridge.

  13. diana k says...

    I grew up in the suburbs of Queens to immigrant parents, and it was the perfect mix of discipline and adventure. I want something similar for my kids. I want them to see people of color every day, and not just on TV. I want them to have friends with different religions as them. I want them to ride a public bus to high school and be responsible for keeping track of their free metro-card (god knows I struggled). I want them to learn to speak up to the bus driver and figure out what to say when they forgot the card in their other jacket.

  14. Yael says...

    I am from a smallish Southern US town and moved to Israel permanently 3 years ago. My husband is from Jerusalem and we currently live in Tel Aviv with plans to move back to Jerusalem once we have kids to be near his family. Israel is a great place to raise kids! There is a huge sense of community, it is very safe, and kids are given tons of independence and because of this, there is little teenage rebellion compared to American kids. They also tend to be more mature than their American counterparts, probably due to the sobering aspects of living in the Middle East. As a Jew, Jewish continuity is a big factor on where I wanted to have kids and the biggest factor when it comes to raising them (if I had stayed in the US for example I would not have left NYC where I used to live-in fact anything not the Tristate area is referred to as “out of town” by religious Jews!). My husband has UK citizenship and we are thinking of moving there for a couple years while our kids are tiny, mainly to get them Western citizenship that isn’t American, but we would never stay anywhere but Israel long term. It’s home.

  15. Ashley Dockins says...

    I often wonder if people really do feel that they are in the perfect place to raise kids. I wish I could say I have found it, but I think it is illusive. We started off as a family unit in Carmel by the Sea, California. I thought we’d live there forever. Yet, we ended up moving back to where we grew up in Orange County, California because both grandparents are here, home prices are cheaper, there are more jobs, and more choices for everything from healthcare to swim lessons. But I miss Carmel. I long to be some place small in the middle of the gorgeous natural landscape of forest and sea. It nourished my soul. I’ve been told before that what is best for me is best for my kids, but that is tricky since I don’t even know where I end and they begin.

    • Lindsay says...

      You are so lucky! I wish I could live in Carmel too, it is heaven on earth. But I think Orange County is a very close second! My parents live there and I love visiting them! I’m in Seattle area :)

  16. A. says...

    While the burbs of the Pacific Northwest feels like home, my husband and I regularly talk about the desire to raise our kids (three under 7 yrs) in his native New Zealand. That has always been the plan, in fact. It seems like we keep cultivating deeper and deeper roots here while meaning to do something totally different. It makes me wonder what we really want, besides wanting to have it all (the lucrative salaries, modern conveniences (same day Amazon!), and Cadillac health insurance here while also getting the village, laid back lifestyle, and safe environment in NZ).

  17. SuzieQ says...

    I grew up in a town of 1,000 but lived in all five of the biggest US cities as an adult. I landed—for work—in a suburb, which I thought would be a nightmare. Now, six years in, I have had opportunities to leave and can’t being myself to do it; only because this is where I am and it is hard to go. We as people connect to place, and it to us. I make a pilgrimage to my town of 1,000 every summer. I bring my daughter because she could not know me without knowing it.

  18. Laura says...

    So love your comment that each neighbourhood in a big city feels like a small town. I recently moved to West Hollywood from a small Canadian city with my three little kids and am so shocked how quickly we all adapted and how we have been able to recreate a “bubble” here ! Big city life can offer a small town feel and actually feels less isolating to me.
    Kids adapt anywhere !

  19. MDT says...

    I 100% agree with SC (commenter) on the Cheryl Strayed quote and I often hear myself saying this, since I’m 40/sans kids. My husband had kids young, we got married late, his kids have kids – it’s how MY life worked out. I love my nephews, my friends, my friends’ kids, someday I’ll love my friends kids’ kids! But, still, as a non-children-having female, it comes up: ALL.OF.THE.TIME. And I politely give some variation of Cheryl Strayed’s exact words (and lend her the credit, too). I work internationally, travel, have met or exceeded all of my educational/career goals – I’m not longing for this piece of life I won’t have, but trying to celebrate the life I do. :)

  20. Kelsey says...

    This topic is so close to my heart right now. When I became pregnant with our second child six months ago, my husband and I realized that our lives in the SF Bay Area were not going to be sustainable (childcare, rent, OMG). We tried leaving the city last year to spread out in a bigger home, but all that’s done is triple our daily commutes and make us miss the walkability of a more urban area. So we’ve decided to move to a smaller city, Sacramento, where we can buy a house near downtown on a street that feels quiet and suburban without the soul-crushing commutes! My sister-in-law moved to Baltimore last summer and I loved visiting her there for the same reasons I’ve fallen for Sacramento. In these smaller, less expensive cities, there seems to be a way to live at a more relaxed pace with all the urban lifestyle still within reach.

  21. Eden says...

    Our first was born in DC. We were there for the first 1 1/2 years of her life. We then moved to Portland, OR. We’ll stay in Portland because it is a fantastic city and we have family nearby. But there were wonderful things about DC, particularly the diversity and international culture. I loved walking down the street and hearing multiple languages. I wish my kids could experience that.

  22. Julie says...

    In my 20s, I moved into a wee 380 sf apartment in Yorkville, thinking it was the perfect space to live alone.

    In my 30s, I shared this space with my husband, thinking, Wow it’s small but we do make it work!

    On the cusp of my 40s, we had a child. And we STILL live in this little space. That is the beauty of New York. The interior space might be small, but we walk ten minutes east and we’re at the most beautiful park right on the East River. We walk ten minutes west and we’re at the Met. THE MET is a mere ten-minute block walk away from me! We can pop in for story time there, then hop into Central Park for some exploring. This is an extraordinary place in which to raise children.

    In the end, everything is a tradeoff. But gosh, we sure do have a sweet and beautiful life.

  23. A says...

    This is front and center in my mind right now! I was just thinking that I need to do an odyssey map (from “Designing Your Life”, essentially you map out three 5-year plans with highlights each year – the first plan is status quo, the second includes a pivot, and the third requires you to imagine you have no constraints) for my family’s life and where we live.
    We’re in Chicago with two little ones and I can feel my husband and I are both holding off on putting down roots until we decide if we want to head to the ‘burbs or remain in the city. We’re approaching the infamous kindergarten forcing decision which makes me nervous.

    I can’t tell if I’ve always seen myself ending up in the suburbs because that’s where we’re meant to be, or if it’s because that’s how I grew up. I remember being bored often – but for some reason hadn’t considered until recently that that’s probably what all suburbs are like. I also look at my parents and my childhood through a different lens now that I’m a parent, and don’t want to recreate my childhood by any means.

    Another consideration is that crime is very real throughout Chicago. Violent crimes occur throughout our neighborhood – really all neighborhoods here – at a pace we never saw when living in Manhattan and Boston. And I can’t wrap my head around a 12-year old not being able to bike around after dusk.

    The suburbs offer a respite from that concern as well as space, and amazing public high schools (although many CPS schools are wonderful and are among the best in the country – if you can test in to them). Albeit less diversity. And they may be boring.

    If I knew what I wanted it would be easier to accept the trade offs. I just feel like if we bite the bullet to move to the suburbs we don’t have the option to move back.

    • Kristen says...

      Hey! So I am also in Chicago. Long story short – I grew up in the burbs and moved to the Northside of the city after college. I lived all over the Northside, met my husband and then we started looking at houses. Yikes! $$
      We both decided the suburbs were not happening and so we expanded our worldview. We are now on the Southside, in the Beverly neighborhood. It’s a historic district with great old houses and it feels like Mayberry – but it’s still the city. Kids ride their bikes and it is very safe (although I am very conscious that we are still in Chicago). We are paying for private school, but it’s worth it for us. We have been here 14 years now and my kids tell me often how much they love living here and love their neighborhood.

    • Kim says...

      This describes my life exactly! Two little ones in Chicago, one approaching kindergarten. We love our neighborhood in the city but feel like the public schools wouldn’t be a good fit for our kid. We’re pondering a move to the burbs (have been for about a year) but just can’t seem to make the leap. For what it’s worth I have a good friend in Wilmette with her little kids and she said the place is full of fairly chill young parents who love the city but also wanted a more tranquil place for raising kids. Yay for CoJ readers in Chicago!!

    • M says...

      Fellow Chicagoan here. (I was also a CPS teacher for over a decade!) We moved to a nearby suburb two years ago. We are actually moving to a slightly further one this spring (the one where I now teach for ease of kinder-my daughter starts in the fall).
      There are many things we LOVE-literally everything in the burbs is geared to children and families. Life is so much easier, it’s crazy. Pools, libraries, parks, events, families everywhere. We miss some things-mainly walking to good restaurants! The threat of violence was real. We put our house on the market in the city about a month after the ice cream man was held up a gun point a block over. The school issue is hard too. I firmly believe that the Chicago Public Schools are awesome; the teachers, the children, everything. Incredible energy and learning in every building. But…with everything else, we needed to go.
      I really wish we could have made a move to a smaller city work (I grew up in Akron, Ohio) as I think that’s the best of both worlds! But it wasn’t in the cards and what we have now is wonderful too. Good luck!

    • Jen says...

      Can we have a Chicago CupofJo party? I’m living and raising 6 year-old twins in Beverly, too!

    • Kelly says...

      Fellow Chicagoan raising my 8 year old and 2 year old girls here!

      i think about the ‘where to live’ choice almost every day and often wonder if I’ll ever feel settled??

      My girls are adopted and we are a multi-racial family. One of the reasons we stay in the city is to surround ourselves with diversity, which is not all that common in Chicago burbs. We also are a 2-career couple and value the short commute and being able to pop into school for events.

      I feel like there’s multiple inflection points where this question gets revisited. Kindergarten decision for sure – my daughter was accepted at our top choice private school for kindergarten so we spend a fortune in tuition but are happy with the school. Now that my older daughter is reaching the tween years, I’m longing to give her more freedom than is practical in the city. We do have a cottage in Wisconsin so she gets more freedom there. And high school is even harder to get into (public or private) than kindergarten, so that will be another inflection point.

      But agree that city communities are deep and intense and lively. And I think that my kids, via their city life and their very diverse school community, are becoming aware that they are citizens in a big world in a way that I wasn’t as a kid growing up in Chicago suburbs.

      Everything is a trade off!

  24. Jess says...

    Oh, I just dream of being planted. Two weeks after our first was born we moved across the country to a small college town. I couldn’t wait to get back to big city living with dear old friends and family. Now that we’re back after 5 long years I do miss that small town pace. Our footprint was tiny. Decisions and logistics – tho limited, were far simpler. I think we could live any kind of way. Just to stay rooted is the dream.

  25. Holly says...

    As a city living Texan, I can’t imagine raising kids north of Dallas! We spend soooo much time outside year round. It’s great!

  26. Mary says...

    We live in an industrial town that industry left. My husband and I often talk about the promise of this place but we live here today for our neighbors. I grew up in more affluent suburbs and I’ve wondered what my children will remember of this upbringing, but what I know now as my daughter approaches 10 is that this will be her childhood. It’s been humbling and satisfying to be 37 and realize that there is no other life waiting; this is where we raised our children/ created our adult professions/ went to library story time and church, etc. All the things I imagined for myself at 16 or 22- this is their set… complete with potholes and abandoned buildings, an old ymca and our Friday night pizza place.

    Worried one day about what would happen to her if her parents died suddenly my daughter asked me if my best friend, our neighbor, could adopt her, saying “ I’d want to stay in Norwood ; it’s a great place to be a kid.” And in that morbid conversation this strange location decision was affirmed.

    • Elisabet Nilsson says...

      I feel this way too! We live in a “challenged” part of town, sort of a projects area in the woods outside of Swedens second biggest city. Mostly immigrants. Loving it here. Not far geographically from where I grew up, but in another world culturally. My eldest said this summer that she can’t beleive anyone want to live anywhere else. “this is the best and safest place to be a kid”, she said.”there is always someone out that you know”. Definitively not the way I felt about where I grew up when I was a kid.

  27. Lindsay says...

    I grew up in california suburbs. We have been living on the east side of seattle for the last 5 years and recently had the chance to move anywhere in our country. We have 3 kids and we honestly could not think of a better place than here to continue raising our kids. It is safe, beautiful, has all the seasons and outdoor activities, great education and down to earth people. We have family in and have lived in CA, UT, NYC and RI and though I personally would choose near the ocean in CA and my husband would probably choose NYC, we are staying here for our kids, plus we really like it here too.

  28. Katie says...

    This is so interesting! I always hated the idea of raising kids in the suburbs – a reaction against my upbringing. Our daughter just turned one and has lived in Washington, DC since birth – in the awesome Bloomingdale neighborhood for those who know it. But we’ve always known this was temporary, as our jobs require us to move every few years and live mostly overseas. We head to Warsaw, Poland this summer.

    I feel like the chance to grow up in different countries and travel the world is something my teenage self would have thought was amazing. But I worry I am projecting my own preferences onto my daughter and any future children, and instead we’ll end up with introverts who are horrified by the prospect of moving and starting over every few years.

    And even though I hated my suburban upbringing, would I have the good parts of the person I am today without? For instance, in the summers when I stayed home all day with no ability to walk anywhere, I made schedules for myself: reading at least a hundred pages a day, riding my bike for thirty minutes, etc. Now I marvel at this creature: who was she? How was she so disciplined? And could that have ever been the case if I was able to stroll down the block to meet friends or distract myself?

    In the end, I am sure there are aspects of a transient childhood my kid(s) will hate, and others they’ll grow to appreciate. It is impossible to know now how it will end up and it is hopeless to plan our lives around it. Wherever we are, we will do our best, we will mess up sometimes, and things will be fine – or they won’t. But probably, I think, where they grow up won’t be the main factor.

    • Elizabeth says...

      This is wonderfully put and absolutely in line with my experience. My husband and I both say we were so jealous of the ‘glamour’ of those kids who had moved around internationally during our childhood. But now we are doing that to our children (our latest move sees us just arrived last month in Malta) I feel all kinds of guilt about the good stuff from the flip side that they will miss out on. And I guess I feel sad that I’M missing out on the home with the height chart pencilled up the kitchen door.
      But… Over Christmas, my two year old twins became obsessed with Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and, as the four of us sat in an Airbnb on day two of searching for an apartment here in Sliema, Margot said “look – we are in the family tree!” And it really is true that home is wherever we all are. So I probably ought to just relax and enjoy the ride for them and with them, wherever it takes us.

  29. Tara says...

    Just a vote here for suburban Michigan (Ann Arbor, come visit!) Out of all the places in the world it has the intangibles that remind me of home- the way people smile when they say hi, festivals to celebrate every season (it’s maple sugar time now!) readily available free parking, open minded kind neighbors…

    • Anna says...

      Ann Arbor is so great!

    • Annie says...

      Free parking??! Where though!? (I work in Ann Arbor)

  30. Mies says...

    My husband grew up in a beautiful, highly populated European city, meeting his friend on the corner since age 5 and walking to school together, alone, without adult supervision. His stories indicate he experienced such a vibrant childhood, filled with adventure and a sense of fierce independence. I grew up on the east coast of the U.S. in a very safe suburban town, but my mom wouldn’t let me touch the front lawn with my toes until I was 10 years old, and even then she would watch me from the front window. But looking back, I also had a childhood filled with so much adventure, neighborhood hide and seek, and everything in between. I don’t ever think there is a right or wrong, it’s what works for your family at that time, and that does evolve over time as circumstances change. It’s not about what you don’t have living in a certain place, it’s what you DO have, and what you should be grateful for. For me and my husband, we plan to raise children in the city, and we always have that front lawn of my parents’ house to use when we need a break from the city and to feel fresh grass under our toes.

  31. Kim says...

    We are also from MI and recently moved back after nearly a decade in the UK. After we found out I was pregnant with twins-who were due just before our son turned 2.5-we were so overwhelmed by the thought of 3 kids under 3 that we out the wheels in motion to move back to the midwest. Never in a million years did we think we’d end up back in the stomping grounds of my childhood, but we also never predicted twins either. And even though we bought a house (like 3 weeks ago !!!), nothing is forever. Maybe one day we will live in the Pacific Northwest, or check out Asheville, or Maine, or who maybe even end up back in the UK since we all hold dual citizenship. “Nothing is forever” is our motto, for now.

    • Lia says...

      Ha! My husband is from Michigan and a few years ago when I found out I was pregnant a second time I jokingly asked him what we would do if it turned out to be twins (our oldest was 3) and he jokingly responded, “Move back to Michigan!” We live in $$$outhern California, and we have no family nearby. Of course it turned out to be twins! However, we have stayed put, tightened our belts, and fly Grandma out in a pinch (while occasionally scrolling through Michigan houses on Zillow). Twins were definitely a curve ball but they just turned two and I am so glad we have had this crazy experience! You will make it! Good luck to you.

  32. Clare says...

    Curious as to whether anyone else thinks about climate change when they weigh possible options. I’m a first-year medical student in my late 20s, so my husband and I won’t have loads of say on where we live for a while. But we talk about this a lot.
    P.S. I see you in the comments, residency spouses/partners! You rock. <3

    • Amanda Tyler says...

      Yes absolutely to the climate change discussion!
      My partner and I both feel a huge pull to the East Bay. But even if we could afford it, the future direction the coast(s) are heading is terrifying. I find myself ‘weighing’ varying natural disasters in my mind when I am thinking about potential places. A huge privilege to be able to even consider of course, but feels like an ever-growing factor.

    • Sasha says...

      4th year med student eagerly awaiting match day. I’m married with two kids, so we’re staying put in New England to be close to family while I finish training. I’m a European immigrant, grew up in the city, but loved the more rural, relaxed feel of northern New England.

      Definitely considered climate (tired of inconvenient snow day child care struggles, putting on a million layers to head outside) but realized that proximity to family was more important at this point in our lives. Also, the inertia of being in the same place for decades is strong.

    • Kirsten says...

      This! I do! We live in Michigan right now – I LOVE it here. We live in Ann Arbor, which I guess is “suburban” but also isn’t. We can walk/bike to loads of stuff, and we actually know almost everyone on our street, many of whom have lived here for 20+ years. I love the slower pace of life, the fact that it is MUCH less expensive than city living (I’m an artist, I don’t make a ton of $$ and have no real desire to do what it would take to do so), but also…we have water here. And I can grow food in my yard. We have to leave soon (hi, soon-to-be-resident husband), and I definitely think “what will the ecology of the places we’re looking at be in x-years?” I pretty much took California off our list because of that (and also, SF is mind bogglingly expensive and we have kids). I worry about being somewhere very coastal because of that. Glad I’m not the only one.

    • Hayley says...

      Thank you for saying this, Clare! My husband is in his third year of a Radiology residency in Madison, WI, and we have both needed support from friends and family the whole way through med school and now residency. We opted to continue living in graduate and faculty housing here at the University vs purchasing a house or condo so we could live in community with our neighbors and my husband could walk or bike to the hospital. It has been wonderful for our children and something new for me, growing up rural. We have a few more years before we set down some roots after he finishes residency but it will be a tough decision to make, knowing both the joys of country and city living! Best of luck through medical school and beyond!!

    • JMarie says...

      Climate change wasn’t a factor when we were deciding to move from Washington DC to Minneapolis, but whenever people question why we wanted to move somewhere so cold we shrug our shoulders and say, “global warming”.

    • Clare says...

      OMG, hi friends!
      Have been to and loved these Midwestern spots. We are in western NY now and are interested in trying to stay for residency to maintain a supportive community, particularly for my husband. Buuut he lives for skiing, so maybe we will get to live in CO or WA someday. California is most likely off our list due to drought and fires.
      We think we still want kids down the road, but climate change has made us think hard for sure.
      Fingers crossed for a great Match Day, Sasha and Kirsten!

    • Anon says...

      Yes! My husband and I are considering a move back to where he’s from (southern CA), but I do have concerns about the impacts of climate change…forest fires (and subsequent air pollution), drought, rising sea levels, etc.

  33. CC says...

    We have lived on 5 of the continents with kiddos- and for a few years in NYC- and I have to say different ages have made different places my favorites. Sometimes it is hard to know if the golden years of elementary school made me love that location the most or if the location made the elementary school years golden! We live in a ski town in the Rockies now and it suits us really well for these middle and high school years! We have left some places readily and have cried over leaving others, but we have learned so much from each. In this era of remote working it enables one to have lots of choices! My only advice is if you are really unhappy raising kids somewhere and you are able to move on, you should! Childhoods goes quickly!

  34. Rachael says...

    When we moved to Indiana for my husband to do his PhD I cried! It just seemed like the epitome of boring Midwest flyover to me. Now we’ve lived in Indiana for thirteen years and I love it SO much. We live in an amazing suburb north of Indianapolis and people joke that our town is what Eagleton in Parks and Rec was based on (sometimes it is so over the top, like the live harp and piano music in the grocery store, but I secretly love it!). Our schools are AMAZING, the cost of living is so low, and it is mind blowingly family-friendly, which is a big deal since we have six kids! And everyone is SO nice—totally lives up to the stereotype of the friendly Midwesterner! And I’m only 30 minutes from the airport and a 2-hour flight from my sister in Manhattan. 😉

  35. Jessica says...

    I grew up in Calgary Canada and my husband, Quebec. Both cultures could not be more different but we’re from the same country. My kids were born in Chicago. I LOVED living in downtown chi town. I was dragged kicking and screaming to the suburbs of Houston. It’s not where I want to raise my kids. But my husband has loads of professional opportunity and my kids have friends and love their school. I hate Houston. I miss the snow and four seasons. I miss being outside all year long. I don’t want to look back in ten years and think I squandered my time in Texas. I’d like to move.

  36. AYE says...

    I’m a New Yorker -born and raised -and it always tickles me when people say, “raise children *here*” as though the millions of us born here are… chopped liver? I’m terrified of raising my children anywhere else. Being born and raised here teaches you to think on your feet, to have great insight into people, to be culturally aware, to have a well developed palate and solid fashion sense, it teaches you to be independent [we started taking the train ~11 yo, alone], and it teaches you to see the best in people. As I look back at it as an adult, it’s amazing that my backyard/school field trips were places that other people only see in the movies- statue of liberty, twin towers [sigh], bk bridge, museum of natural history, etc. I can’t imagine what it would be like to *not* be here and to not have kids here.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh no! Soooo many amazing people were born and raised here, of course. I just meant that I thought it seemed harder to parent here.

    • Nicole says...

      It all sounds a bit too nyc-egocentric stereotype for me. There are plenty of cities including my own to grow up in a culturally, culinarily, linguistically diverse environment. As far as independence I am reminded of the two young girls who survived overnight in the Forest in Northern California this week. There are so many iterations of these qualities that are attained through a mirad of experiences

    • Susan says...

      I think your last sentence answers your first. It’s hard to imagine what you don’t know. It makes sense that someone who grew up in New York would imagine raising their kids there while someone who grew up in the suburbs would imagine raising their kids in the suburbs. Your last sentence doesn’t mean you think everyone who grew up somewhere other than New York is chopped liver so why would everyone else mean that?

  37. M says...

    My four-year old has lived in three states, which included a huge west coast city, the downtown of a huge Midwestern city, the suburbs, and the exurbs. Now we’re in a small-ish city on the coast. Wherever we go, people are far more alike than they are different. All parents freak out about potty training and education, no matter their time zone or square footage. It’s been incredible for us to see that the country is full of good people all busting their butts trying to raise their kids. But, what has made the biggest impact on us is raising our kid without any family around. That requires a backbone of steel, which we had to find on our own.

    • Sarah says...

      “… a backbone of steel…” I LOVE that. It really, really does for me, too.

  38. Rebecca says...

    City life all the way for my kids (in a smaller city than NYC), and I grew up in a sleepy suburb as did my husband. While it seems hard when they are little to have a very small yard, or no yard at all, there are parks and close-by neighbors and neat places to go…by foot! And, now that my oldest is nearing the teenage years, I cannot imagine trapping him in a sleepy suburb. He needs to know that there is a larger world out there, one that he can access easily. I didn’t have that growing up, and I needed it badly.

  39. Martini says...

    I am almost 70 years old and I was born in and have lived my entire life in the same Washington DC Metro area. We raised our child here. Love it. We enjoy all four seasons and the history here is priceless. Wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

  40. A says...

    We live in Hoboken which is a wonderful urban village with loads of families. I grew up across the river in Manhattan and my husband grew up in California but has lived in NYC for many years. We talk sometimes about moving to California or back to Manhattan but we keep recommitting ourselves to Hoboken. We love the old brownstones, the walkability, the diversity and the fact that we can get into Manhattan very quickly. My kids life in Hoboken is very similar to my upbringing in Manhattan and totally different from my husbands childhood in Southern California. Although I often fantasize about moving out West I worry that the culture shock would be too great. We love walking everywhere and not having to own a car and being close to everything we need. I would love to take a sabbatical year as a family and try living someplace else.

  41. Amy says...

    I am raising my kids 8 houses down from where I was raised. I am a creature of habit, and it terrifies me to think of having to find a new pediatrician, figure out a new library, learn a new grocery store layout. I’ve had a lot of anxiety about being a mother and keeping the rest of life as sane as possible helps me through it. But I admire people who raise their children with even the smallest adventure!

  42. Cate says...

    I know that people always say that they would never raise a kid in NYC. And I get that – it’s hard. And I get the worry about the trouble that “city kids” who grow up too fast get into.

    But as someone who grew up in a “nice” suburb on Long Island – specifically, in a mixed race family – I…don’t think I could do that to a kid. The narrowmindedness of my hometown terrifies me. I want my kid to go to the Brooklyn Museum on a Saturday, not the mall. I want them to see people with different skin colors and eat different foods. I want them to know there is a huge world out there. That did not exist in my town.

    And, for the record, the kids I went to school have struggled FAR more than anyone I know who grew up in NYC. “Nice” white upper middle class kids who don’t see their privilege, who are struggling with drug abuse, dropping out of school, being the abusers in relationships, not able to get jobs, etc. All from the place where you’re “supposed” to raise kids.

    So I really don’t believe that there is a better place to raise kid, so long as they are reasonably safe. NYC has its trade-offs, but it’s as good a place as any – and, in my opinion, in many ways better.

    • Katie says...

      As someone who grew up in the Jersey suburbs and winced every time my mother explained that they HAD to leave the city to have kids, I fully agree! So many awful days spent at the mall… And the total lack of freedom as a kid as you have to wait to be driven places.

    • Lisa says...

      This is a pretty clear summation of why we are raising our kids in a city (Philly, in this case). I grew up in the suburbs, and while I turned out okay, our parents made a concerted effort to help us realize that much of the world was *not* like us. Plenty of kids from my hometown are struggling for the exact reasons you mention. I love that our kids can walk down the street, hearing different languages spoken and are in school and friends with kids from families who are different, racially, socioeconomically, and in structure from ours. In this day and age, I find that to be incredibly important.

    • Sasa says...

      I grew up in a “nice” “safe” suburb in the DC area where people move to raise their families, and saw many of my classmates get into trouble with drugs and other things as they were bored in our cookie cutter town, where, yes, the coolest place to be was the mall. The idea of raising kids in a city like NYC which can give people a grander scope of possibilities is much more comforting to me… And more fun for me too. :)

  43. Naseem says...

    I was raised in Bangkok, Frankfurt, Dover, Delaware, Atlanta, and here and there in Iran. And my boyfriend (who I hope hope hope will be the father of my children!) grew up in Cameroon, Toronto, and Savannah… we’re both now in New York City, transplanted from Atlanta. We both agree that we’d like our children to be raised globally (hello third culture kids!), but I think that’s because we can’t really imagine staying in one place for too long. There’s a lot of me that does not want our parenthood journey to start in NYC, at all. We don’t have family here, childcare is expensive, we wouldn’t be able to afford a second bedroom (our 1 bedroom is $4000/month), I work for myself so paid maternity leave isn’t a thing, and he’s got lots of loans (yay med school) so taking time off isn’t feasible.

    So we’ll see… I’d like to have babies in Atlanta where both of our parents are, where Montessori schools are incredibly affordable (and as a trained Montessorian, that’s super important to me), where I have a house that’s paid for (free living!), and where doctor’s salaries are higher and loans can be paid off sooner.

    I don’t know! We’ll see. We have a no-babies-during-residency policy haha ;)

    • Abbie says...

      Hooray for montessori!

  44. We love living in Denver with our kiddos, even as we’ve watched it change so much in the 13 or so years we’ve both lived here. It’s a city – it’s walkable, diverse, there’s culture to be found – but it’s not too big. You can drive without it being a harrowing experience and, while housing prices are so much higher than when I first moved here, it’s not a mad dash to snatch up anything you can find. We muse about selling our house and moving somewhere more up-and-coming, but work keeps us here for now.

    Also, the line about “four distinct winters” is probably a mistake, but it feels so very appropriate right now.

  45. CJ says...

    This post is hitting me in the feels…. my husband and I are moving in 3 DAYS from our city apartment to a rural town about 25 miles away. We love our current neighborhood so much, but it was cost-prohibitive to move into a larger space that would accommodate our hopes of growing our family, and the new area is more similar to where we both were raised. We are so excited for the space and fresh air and peace in our new neighborhood, but our city has been so good to us for 10+ years and I really worry about missing the energy of having neighbors all around, the ability to walk everywhere, and the diversity. I know we’ll adapt and continue finding new ways to love our new home but as we’re frantically packing up and haven’t really processed yet, it’s hard to push the “what ifs” out of my mind.

  46. A says...

    This is on my mind 24-7 since I had my second kid. We were making the city life work with one kid, but with two? I don’t know… the stress just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. Everything is just a little bit harder than it needs to be. I never thought I would lust over a driveway. Also, we don’t take advantage of what the city has to offer anymore. Last weekend we were trying to decide what to do with the kids to get out of the house and the most appealing thing (mostly because it is easy to drive and park…) was the mall in New Jersey. THE MALL IN NEW JERSEY!!! both my husband and I own small businesses here which makes it hard/impossible to leave. But we might just have to do the impossible. But where do we go?! Our families live in unappealing places (Florida). Maybe it’s just the NYC Winter blues talking and in 6 weeks when Spring comes we’ll un-hate New York again….

  47. Jackie says...

    I’m 4 months pregnant and bought our first house last year. It’s huge, with a great neighborhood and a great yard out in the Portland suburbs but my husband and I cannot stop dreaming of NYC…

    This chill vibe just doesn’t feel right for us and I want our kids to grow up knowing a diverse and interesting community, not the all white, all catholic group of people I grew up with. It’s terrifying because Portland is the biggest city we’ve lived in but I hope we can take the plunge someday.

    If anyone’s knows of someone looking for a badass wine importer in NYC or around, let me know!

  48. Amy says...

    We are raising our children in Asia – I’m American and my husband is European. We thought taking a job opportunity here would be a wonderful opportunity to experience another culture, although sometimes I can’t wrap my head around my kids being ‘third culture kids’ and possibly not knowing where they’re from, other than being ‘expat’.

  49. Emily says...

    We live in the west end of toronto, in a previously uncool area, that’s just started to have a bit of a “moment”. But in a two bedroom condo with two kids. Like New York, our neighbourhood feels like a community: we know everyone in our condo building, we have the best local bakery and coffee shop and butcher. We are minutes in foot to the lake. But we never, ever, ever thought we would be living in a two bedroom condo with a 6 year old and a 2 year old. Especially in our neighbourhood which is mostly single family homes. But we are SO happy, and other than my son asking for a basement whenever he visits his cousins in the suburbs, we believe small spaces breed right families and now don’t plan on moving possibly ever. Not at ALL where we saw ourselves settling, but isn’t that what’s so great about life???

    • Natasha says...

      This is so reassuring to hear – we are on the East end of Toronto and are seriously considering buying a condo and settling down here long term wth our two toddlers. Our friends and relatives constantly ask how we will survive without a yard and basement and a bedroom for each kid, but those things don’t make a home, and families adapt to so many different situations. Toronto is a wonderful place for us, too.

    • Leona says...

      I am so glad I found this comment! I also live small in the west end of Toronto with two small kids and my husband and I have been thinking a lot about our lifestyle lately. I said to him yesterday that maybe it would be easier to feel that we’re making the right decision (of staying in our apartment and not moving or trying to buy a too-expensive house) if I knew more people who were doing what we’re doing by choice. I have felt like the ONLY ONE who doesn’t own a house with a backyard and it’s made me feel like I’m depriving my children of something – if it was so great, why don’t I know more people who are happy doing it!? So, I’m glad to see that there you are. Someone else!

  50. Randi says...

    We have been raising our little dude in Half Moon Bay CA, but are in the process of moving to Colorado to be closer to family (and snow!).

    I was visiting NYC when I was 8 months pregnant and marveled about how much strangers took care of me while I was there. The security guard at TKTS pulled me out of line and escorted me to the front “because pregnant ladies don’t stand in line.”

    • Kay says...

      YES! I always hear how rude (or whatever) New Yorkers are, but they’re so helpful and friendly! I’ve only been a few times, and have been taken care of by strangers (when lost on the subway, when I dropped a jacket and didn’t realize it, etc) sooo much more than here in Seattle where people will literally look the other way if you’re lost to avoid talking to a stranger.

  51. Alyssa says...

    (Four distinct winters 😆😂)
    Chicago dweller/child raiser here and I so enjoy the urban backdrop for my kid’s tender years! I cherish the little rhythms and memories that make the city “ours”, our coffee shop, our bus, our favorite corner of the art institute, our special bookshop window seat for winter days, that street corner where we looked at the sonogram and wept with delighted shock, that bus stop where I realized I was properly in labor, that street we walked the first day we came home and “we” became 3, that street corner we moved to for the extra room, the street corner where I found the strength to acknowledge that my husband was gone and our “we 3” now meant “us two”, that other street corner where my bank account was found empty and I cried silently while my baby and I walked and walked and walked, and that street corner with the sweet white windows and even sweeter landlady that was tiny and just right for us to learn how to live again…..
    I feel like the city holds and marks our life in a similiar way houses do ♥️

    • Dimity says...

      Oh Alyssa! This tiny, heartbreaking little glimpse of your story & strength. How incredibly tough for you. And what a damn hero. May the ‘now two’ of you get all the happy ever afters.

    • Jessa says...

      Oh my goodness, what a beautifully written story of life entwined in a city. Hugs to the two of you finding your way together.

    • Michaela says...

      This comment was so moving Alyssa. As another Chicagoan I love your description and admire your strength to keep finding beautiful moments in this city, despite difficult times. You sounds like an incredible mama and woman.

    • Alyssa, your comment was beautifully expressed made my eyes fill up with tears. I don’t have a child but went through a husband leaving and I experienced a strong connection to my city through that, and I did a lot of walking and crying through changing seasons… I wish you both all the best. And I am glad you have sweet white windows and a sweeter landlady.

  52. KC says...

    I honestly only care about the love inside our walls. We love very deeply and try our best to carry it around everywhere we go.

    Some people hate on the suburbs, but if you think about it it’s actually beautiful. So many hopes, dreams, fears, arguments, hugs, love… all growing inside their own walls, side by side. I dont know, people work so hard for a slice of happiness and I love seeing them all neatly lined up. A front line against the world.

  53. Ella says...

    My kids are currently full fledged ‘city kids.’ NY is the only thing they know, and we have loved raising them here so far (our oldest is 7). But we go where the job is and we’re priming to move this summer. We’ll be twenty minutes from the city without traffic, but it’s going to be a big change. My kids are curious and independent. They know their way around the MET and could lead a guided tour through the Ramble. It’s impossible to explain the way New York gets under your skin and the thought of leaving it is painful. And at the same time, I’m a feet in the grass kittens in the living room kind of girl and there’s a piece of me that’s excited to give them a backyard. I know this next chapter will offer losses and gains and I’m excited to maneuver through it all. Home is where your heart is, right? As long as you’re all together the backdrop is secondary.

  54. Wren says...

    Oh, how I dream 100x a day of moving my family! I live in Salt Lake City, Utah and, while it has gotten better, it’s still a predominately white and conservatively religious state. Pack on the terrible pollution and inversions we get, with the rising cost of living with one of the lowest-ranked school systems in the U.S., it’s a hard pass on living here now.

    There is still a painful lack of diversity and open-mindedness here and it hurts my little family in a lot of the ways it hurt me as a kid being an outsider here. For example, my kids aren’t allowed to play with anyone else in the neighborhood, since we aren’t a member of the local church.

    We have “red” air days often, making playing outside not an option. When I was pregnant with my first, I thought I’d find a community of parents here, like that would be my “pass,” but that just hasn’t happened. I so wish to move my family to a place where we are a little more welcome and the air is safer to breathe.

    • Bree says...

      The inversion! I can actually taste it sometimes and it scares me. It’s so sad neighborhood kids aren’t allowed to play with yours (sheesh, the message those parents are sending)! I was worried about meeting like-minded people here too (I’m in sandy), but have found great people through the Meetup app. Maybe it could help you too! Xo

    • Katy says...

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having that experience in SLC. My husband is from that area originally and we both loathe it, even just going back to visit his grandma.

      I’ve heard of several other people having similar issues with parents excluding “non-member” kids and it breaks my heart. Moving doesn’t fix all of life’s ills but relocating to Austin (in my home state) has made my husband happier than he ever thought he could be. Utah is a sticky place- it’s so hard to move out of since the network there is so insular so my husband ended up taking a huge leap career-wise. It worked out for us and I hope it works out for you eventually!!!

  55. Amy says...

    I was born, raised and lived until I was in my early 30’s in Tacoma, Washington, a mid-sized working class city that struggles to thrive in the shadow of Seattle. Always one step forward, and two steps back. Just like one’s family of origin, a hometown becomes a part of you no matter where you go in life. I wanted my daughter to have a better hometown than Tacoma, so my husband and I moved to Portland, Oregon about 10 years ago. We love it for many of the reasons others who live here too have already stated in the comments.

  56. Courtney says...

    I think a more accurate question for many isn’t “Where do you want to raise your kids?” – it’s “Where can you afford to raise your kids?” It’s an incredible compromise -eg living in close proximity to work- can’t afford it and low performing schools- or live an hour away and have more affordable housing and an amazing school district.

    • Rebecca says...

      That depends on what city you live in. In midwestern cities, you can buy an awesome house in a fun neighborhood for the fraction of the price of a home in a high-performing school suburb. Taking that money and sending your child to private school works for some families. It’s nice to live where you want without being tied down to a school, but I think it’s different in larger cities where the cost of living is a lot higher.

  57. Carla says...

    I was born in the city but was raised in a small town. My childhood memories were filled with being outside playing with neighborhood kids of any age at any time. Weekends are for doing household chores then spending the rest of the day and sometimes even late into the night playing in the street, unsupervised. Back then birthdays were not consist of clowns, grand decor, amazing buffet table and party favors. For us birthday means, we’re all friends for the day, you don’t need to be invited, you just go inside the house, wait for the food to be served and after every kid had eaten, we all run outside to play again and again.

    And in the summer, our grandmother would bring my little brother and I to the city and stay with my aunts and cousins for 2 months. In Manila, we stayed inside the house all day and played only with our cousins. But in Taguig, my aunt’s house is in a compound where her in laws also lived so we’re allowed to go out and play with her other nieces and nephews but afternoon naps were mandatory.

    I am married now and raising 2 kids in the suburb. I can’t let my children play outside unsupervised so we ended up on a weekend routine. We’re outside until 9AM then we go back in. After afternoon naps, we go out again until 6PM. It’s not completely the same childhood as I had but for now that’s the compromise that I can think of.

  58. Sara Scott-Curran says...

    I always knew that I wanted to raise my daughter in Portland, Oregon. It took almost ten years, but we followed our hearts and moved this past December, and I’m so glad we did! My whole family is more at ease, and I feel so grateful to be parenting in a place that brings out the best in all of us. Intuition is a powerful thing, and I’m so glad we listened to it!

  59. Erin says...

    I grew up in a suburban New Hampshire ‘city’ (spoiler there are no real cities in NH!) and hated everything about it. I couldn’t WAIT to leave! I wanted out so badly that I refused to apply to the state college (my mother was furious – cheap degree!). I lived the city life in Boston for over 15 years and loved every minute of it. Two years ago, pregnant with our second child, we decided we wanted more space. We started looking in the ‘burbs. We kept as close to the city as possible, creeping around the edges in every direction, hoping to hold onto our city life. We looked and looked and never found the home we were longing for. One day we took a long, random drive to check out a hiking trail that was supposedly stroller friendly (nope). We took a wrong turn and ended up in a neighborhood. We saw an Open House sign and without discussing it my husband parked the car and we went in with our baby. We knew right away, this was the house for us, with its acre of gardens and trees and breezy sun porch. The realtor told us we needed to put in an offer within 24 hours, as she already had two in hand. In a fever dream we just went for it. And we got it. We had never been to this little semi-rural town before and now we are raising our daughters here and consider it our forever home. Just writing this all down is blowing my mind all over again! Life, man, I tell ya.

    • KL says...

      My husband and I are in the same boat! Looking everywhere outside of Boston but, le sigh, it’s so expensive! Where did you end up (if you don’t mind me asking)?

    • Christine says...

      Hi Erin! I grew up in Massachusetts and live in Brooklyn. My husband and I are having these same dilemmas as we consider moving back to Mass. to be closer to family as we enter the next phase of our lives. Would you mind sharing which town you purchased in/fell in love with?

    • Molly says...

      I am in Portsmouth and I am curious where you grew up? My husband and I are really debating whether or not to have kids here. If you don’t mind me asking where you grew up and why you couldn’t wait to leave. We are worried about the quality of schools and the fact that underage drinking in NH is one of the highest in the country. We are both from CT and thinking of moving back to CT or somewhere in the south shore.

    • Erin says...

      Oh oh fun! We live in Wayland and we love it. It’s small, full of beautiful winding roads and lots of trees and trails and water to explore. The schools are supposedly excellent (my oldest is only 3) and our neighbors couldn’t be friendlier. My husband and I both still work in the city (Cambridge for me, Boston for him) and the commute is the worst part about it, it can take an hour in traffic but only 30 minutes during off times, which makes it easy to get into the city on the weekend. Although honestly we rarely do, we are enjoying the slower pace of our new town.

    • Erin says...

      Molly, I adore Portsmouth! That is hands-down the best part of NH! I have a few friends from high school who are raising their kids in Portsmouth and love it. I don’t know too much about crime, drug use, or the schools (except to say that one of my friends is a public school teacher). I mean, I can say that I myself did a LOT of underage drinking growing up in Nashua. There just wasn’t much to do besides hanging out at the mall and Denny’s/Bickford’s, which we did all the time whilst chain smoking (remember when they let you smoke in restaurants!?). But I think I turned out okay! I actually imagine there is plenty of underage drinking in any town, especially the more rural ones.

  60. Wendy says...

    “Four distinct winters”: hilarious!

  61. Christy says...

    I grew up in Tampa and moved to a small town in Maine a few years before having my daughter. There are so few people in Maine that the crime rate is naturally lower here than in more populous places. When I was little, I had a lot of anxiety about crime. Houses around ours were broken into, and my worry about it turned into a kind of phobia. I’m a lot less anxious here in Maine, and I hope my daughter will be more carefree than I was.

  62. We’re going through this now…. We live in a Seattle suburb I call the “mountburbs”. Our house is our dream modern retreat home on the side of a mountain. It is huge and beautiful! BUT my husband and I work downtown and commuting 45 mins – an hour and 20 mins each way is killing my soul. So we’ve just listed our house and I’m terrified. Part of me hopes it doesn’t sell but I’m also relieved at the prospect of moving to the city and building a community of like-minded parents. Right now we have ZERO mountburb friends! Whatever will be will be…..

  63. Robin says...

    Four distinct winters?! You have winter on the brain (like me here in IL!). You mean seasons, right?!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Haha yes! Snow day brain :)

  64. Jody says...

    We live and raise our teenager and pre-schooler just outside of Portland, Maine. I feel very fortunate to live here, in a small, safe town with great schools. Portland is a city with a small town feel, very similar to the Brooklyn vibe you described. It’s accessible, welcoming and offers a lot considering its humble size. The connection to the outdoors is another thing I love about Maine. Its beauty is somewhat understated but somehow breathtaking at the same time. There is nothing greater than island camping out on Casco Bay and though I’m still a work-in-progress on this, embracing the long, snowy winters. There are places I daydream about, like the South of France or a tiny Italian town but Maine has my heart.

  65. JB says...

    I am living in San Francisco with my husband and 3 year old daughter. We have lived here for 13 years. At times have feelings of overwhelming love for this city and other times it is a source of great frustration. Now I keep a Note on my phone, documenting the times that I feel such love so that I can refer to it when I get frustrated. I don’t think any of my frustrations would be resolved if we moved to a small town or the suburbs, they would just be traded for others. For now, I am happy that my daughter says when we are at the top of one of the many SF hills, “Mama, the city!! Its so pretty. I love it.”

  66. Caitlin says...

    This is very much on my mind right now, as I’m pregnant with my second and my husband’s company just announced a big merger that involves relocating their headquarters. We’ve come to love our small NC city, where we’re just a few blocks’ walk from a park, playground, library, YMCA, and coffee shops. Thinking about moving to a bigger city (which would’ve been a dream to our childless selves a few years ago!) suddenly feels bittersweet.

    Also – OMG housing costs!!!

  67. Sarah says...

    I enjoyed your typo “four distinct winters”. That seems to describe the last few months in Nova Scotia. Missing the west coast.

  68. Kara says...

    I always wanted to raise my family in a city, and now that I have kids… I still LOVE living in the city! We had to stretch ourselves thin in order to afford a very small, old, and quirky house, but city living makes up for that sacrifice of space and money in so many ways. Our work commutes are short. We just have one car for our family and it stays parked 6 out of 7 days a week. We can walk to beautiful parks, our local library, farmers market, coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery stores. Our son has taken public transit with us since he was an infant and still lights up with joy every time he gets to ride on a bus or train. There are so many free/cheap cultural events and festivals that we get to experience, and probably wouldn’t if we lived farther away. Our local public school has terrible test scores, but if you talk to the families that actually go there, they love the school and their kids are having a great experience. So many people tried to tell us that we would feel differently about living in the city once we had kids, or that it’s harder raising kids in the city. We don’t, and it’s not!

  69. Amy KS says...

    I grew up in a small city in Iowa and my husband frew up in a small town near Toronto, Canada. We are currently raising our 3 teenagers in a neighborhood in Boston. Their experience couldn’t be anymore different than ours, but I am so happy that this was the choice we made. Our kids grew up riding the T (our subway system) visiting any number of neighborhood parks, easy access to so many museums, walking to our local public school for elementary school and have attended or are currently attending a prestigious exam school. When my kids were younger, my dad always asked when we would move to the “burbs for a yard, my reply was always “why would we do that?” He finally stopped asking when we did a complete gut renovation of our home, he figured we weren’t going anywhere after that.

  70. Chelsea says...

    My husband and I both grew up in the East coast, we met in college and moved to Portland OR after graduating and lived there for 8 years. I loved it there, we had great friends and a fun social life, I loved the quirky small town vibe but with the perks of a larger city. I would have stayed there and raised a family there except the idea of living so far away from my mom and dad and thinking about having a child not really know them broke my heart. When my husband got offered a job promotion and transfer to my hometown in Connecticut we decided to take the free ride back to the East coast, then we’d figure out where we wanted to live from there. Fast forward 5 years and were still here. I’m not always crazy about living where I grew up but I’m so happy my 2 year old sees his grandparents at least once a week. I do have fantasies though of renting out our house and moving to California for a year 😊

  71. Katie says...

    We are raising our two here in Hawaii. Born and bred in a little (but rapidly developing) surf town. I can’t believe we have managed to figure out how to afford to stay here for 20 years. The prices are astronomical. Real estate is unattainable, food, gas etc break the bank every month. They say it costs more than living in New York! But we live here against all odds for the kids. They are 11 and 13 right now and we think once they fly the nest we will have to move to the mainland for financial security. But till then this amazing melting pot of cultures and races cannot be beat.

    I am originally from Australia and was raised in Malaysia and the Philippines by nomadic parents so I guess living abroad is in the blood for me. My husband is a California boy with chinese heritage. I think we will end up in California or Colorado one day.

    • Emily says...

      We are in Hawaii too! Sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down in the costs of day-to-day life here; thank you for the reminder that it is worth it.

    • Nina says...

      Growing up in a surf town sounds AMAZING! (apart from the high living costs…)

  72. Marianne says...

    I think about where to raise our 2 kids so often. Currently we are living in Bangkok with our 2 toddlers . We live in an Indian building in the thick of the city and our children goes to an Aussie kindergarten and myself is Norwegian while my husband is from New Zealand. My posting is for another 2 year and my oldest will be ready to start school. Where do we go next? And how will we raise thirdculture kids? It’s a privilege to see the world but it definitely has ghost ship lives in spades. I love how Cup of Jo mysteriously always seem to tap into just what I am curious about. Thanks!

  73. Melissa says...

    My daughter and son were each born while we were still living in suburban Boston. There were 5 and almost 2 when we moved to Maine. My husband and I wanted nature to be more accessible and also wanted to be in a place where there was a more level playing when it came to money. My daughter moved to Brooklyn after college and my son goes to college in LA! Even though they craved city life, Maine will always be a part of who they are.

  74. Vivian says...

    That Cheryl Strayed quote was exactly what I didn’t realize I needed to hear. You know what I mean?

    Thank you as always for sharing such amazing content with us Jo and team!

    • Chrissy says...

      YES, I know exactly what you mean!

  75. Ruby says...

    If there is one thing my husband and I have never talked about is where we’d live or if we’d ever move. California is home. It’s that simple. I’d love to travel the world, but at the end of the day California will always be the start and end destination.

  76. We are raising our kids in the NJ countryside and no one is more surprised than I am! When I found out we had to move to NJ for my husband’s job, I cried real tears. It felt so foreign, although it’s only about an hour from the small town in PA where I grew up. Through the years (10 now) we’ll have the occasional “what are we doing?!” conversation when we are feeling the pull toward a more affordable lifestyle. But our town is truly magical. It’s like Mayberry! This morning I sent my 5 year old daughter next door to our neighbor’s to borrow an egg so we could make banana bread. It’s that kind of place and now I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

  77. Dee says...

    Such a timely question for me. I’m packing up my life (and my kids) and leaving my hometown (and theirs!) to live in a camper full time this spring. My husband and I love it here in so many ways but ultimately decided this isn’t where we want to raise our 5 and 3 year old. We’ve always had this nomadic dream, and we’re going for it until we find the place where we DO want to settle. (Or until we go absolutely bonkers living in such a tiny tiny space on the road.)

  78. Kiley says...

    My husband and I currently live in a 750 square foot apartment in Chicago, and will be welcoming our first-born very soon! I love seeing babies being pushed down city streets in strollers, how close the museums are, and how there’s always something going on for families here. But we both recognize that it’s not the most affordable place to live with real estate and daycare costs, plus neither of us have family nearby. We’re ultimately planning to move closer to family who can help us with childcare, and where the cost of living is lower. That way we can prioritize travel and a larger living space. I know we’ll both miss the city so much. We’re not ruling out moving back if the timing is right, but right now it seems to be the best path for us.

  79. Jess says...

    Jo — I love this question!! I’ve thought about it a lot being pregnant. I was raised on Staten Island, and then moved to Jackson, New Jersey in high school. I now live with my husband where he is from in the Springfield, IL area — and we are RURAL. We live in a farmhouse “outside of town”. It could not be more different than what I was raised with. I guess he turned out alright, though! I feel lucky that my kids will be able to experience city and country – and find the beauty in both. It’s certainly there, and it’s been a gift for me to see it. XX

  80. amparound says...

    Love the post and topic, but seems it has been partially copied from an older version from around 3 years ago: 5 years since the pregnancy of your first child does not appear accurate. It would have needed some editing before posting again :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thanks for your note! I was actually quoting something I had written right after my kids were born. You’ll see the quotation marks around that quote and the link to this refinery 29 piece:
      https://cupofjo.com/2019/03/where-do-you-want-to-raise-kids/

      Hope that makes sense now! Thanks!

  81. Alice says...

    I’m from Bristol, my husband is from Edinburgh. We had children in Asia, where we had been living for over a decade and then moved when they were 1 and 3 to Edinburgh. It’s so important to me that our kids have access to culture and variety (in every sense) because we both had it growing up and appreciate it as adults. We do get out into the wild to get muddy and feral often, Scotland is good for that. I don’t feel the need for a big house. Our flat is fine. We have a shared garden full of kids playing, and our city is big enough and full of fun. I like not driving, and everything being walkable/busable and the kids like that too.

    I feel lucky. For now it’s all good. Who knows what will change. It’s hard to plan families in every respect, not just location, right?! Endless hours can be spent imagining but who knows because: curveballs!!

    I love these posts. I love imagining all the places in America people talk about in the comments. It’s kind of exotic and fascinating to me. Seriously: Boise, Spokane – how cool are those names?!

  82. Brady says...

    I never envisioned raising my kids in India, but that seems to be my path. I think it’s fun that my son will get a totally different upbringing than I had. He will get to experience so much more than I have in my life. He’ll be a world traveler at a young age and that makes me happy! He’ll get to learn so much about different cultures by experience which is something that I didn’t get until my late 20s. It’ll be cool to see what he gravitates toward as a multicultural kid.

  83. Caitlin says...

    I was just having a discussion about this with my mom the other day. My youngest sibling just went off to college and my parents were discussing whether they made the right decision to raise us where they did. We grew up in a very very wealthy (and very white) town, but we were middle class. My whole family never got used to the crazy amounts of wealth and privilege. But on the flip side we had access to amazing public schools.

    This isn’t something I appreciated AT ALL until I went off to a huge state college and realized what an extreme advantage I was starting out with. I can’t say I wouldn’t make the same decision for my own son (only a year and a half). A solid educational foundation is so so crucial and it makes me so sad that only certain communities have access to that.

  84. Janet Newhall says...

    Wow, how timely for me and our family! I grew up outside Boston, met my husband outside San Francisco, and we currently live in South Louisiana, a place I never dreamed I’d live in a million years. We are facing the end of our time here with my husband’s residency ending, and have to decide whether to try to stay, or if we leave, where will we go? Our boys are 3 and 8, so it’s likely wherever we go next is where we will stay, and where they will say they are “from” when people ask through the rest of their lives. Of all the possibilities, I want to raise them somewhere they’ll be proud of, where they’ll have old friends to stay in touch with, fond memories and epic stories. I suppose that could be most anywhere that has some culture, community love, and at least one great local festival in the summer.

  85. I don’t always take time to read lots of comments but I’m reading all of these. I love what Alida said about being torn between two coasts.

    I feel the same! We’ve lived on Long Island our whole lives and fell in love with Northern California years ago. Our 3 kids are 11, 8 and 2 months old and I fear that the older kids would have trouble adjusting to a new school & friends. But I long for a change and my heart aches for the California sunshine and all that’s different than life on the east coast. And jobs! We both would need new jobs to support ourselves in an expensive place. What to do???

  86. Kara says...

    Oof. This question stings a little. My son is 3, and our baby girl is coming in July, and this past October we found ourselves unexpectedly in Austin. We had just bought a house near Portland, OR when my husband’s job required us to move if he wanted to continue his (much beloved) work. I had always, always assumed I would raise my children in the Pacific Northwest, moss-covered boots and all. We only have to be here for 3-5 years, but the loss is real for me. We left a tight knit crew of friends and family in Portland, not to mention weather I love. (I hate bright sunlight and heat. Sigh.) I’m doing my best to find the good, like how adorably my son says “yes ma’am” and our Saturday breakfast taco routine. Many of my fears about Texas have been rendered null, like how his preschool friends and teachers didn’t bat an eye at his pink manicure. We are still the parents we want to be; trading ferns for agave won’t change that.

  87. Sarah says...

    I enjoyed your typo “four distinct winters”. That seems to describe the last few months in Nova Scotia.

  88. Katrina says...

    Currently feeling really torn about this. We’ve been trying to conceive for almost a year and renewed our lease to live in an apartment in the suburbs about 40 minutes from Philadelphia. I’ve gone back and forth — I grew up in the suburbs of Phoenix and had an amazing childhood, but I worry a lot about raising kids in a bubble. The biggest reason to stay in the suburbs (regardless of whether we end up being able to have kids) is our dog! Philly doesn’t seem to have a lot of green space and we can’t afford a place with a yard and parking and in the area we’d want. Planning life around our dog and hypothetical children feels a bit ridiculous at times.

    • Joanna Hart says...

      I live in West Philly with 3 dogs, a small but grassy yard, and lots of green. Check it out! It’s a very family-friendly and dog-friendly neighborhood in the city! We walk to 3 parks easily plus our streets are tree-lined.

    • Katrina says...

      Thanks Joanna! I’ll definitely run it by my husband. He works in Ewing, NJ though, so that commute might be a bit much.

  89. Hillary says...

    I am currently pregnant with my first child and am desperately hoping to move. My husband and I are in Portland, OR (born and raised here), but I lived on Maui in my mid-twenties and have dreamed of raising a family there ever since. I want the sunshine, space, the ocean and the aloha spirit that is such a real thing. I’m trying to be content with where we are now, while actively working towards making that move a possibility.

  90. L says...

    I feel so lucky- I have moved from ny to michigan to california- a western migration with each phase of my life. I have raised my children in an old falling down house in a small town 30 minutes north of san francisco where my husband works. These children are known to the town, as it is the kind of place where you could have an account at the doughnut shop that is kept on a yellow legal pad. The librarian will call you when they have a book that you might enjoy. I got a call from a friend once when my teenage son was kissing a girl by a bleacher on the baseball field, to make sure I knew and to share a giggle. It is cute and sweet and the weather is mostly good. I have to make efforts though- so that they know how to use public transportation and how to walk with awareness in city. There is no perfect place- there is only where you are- being present and kind and thoughtful. I think that my desire to be settled and have a home base in this community has given them roots- now they are feeling their wings- but keeping their rooms just the same cause it makes them happy. Who said “be here now”? That is how I am trying to parent in this place- which really could be anywhere.

  91. Laura says...

    We are in Southern California and there are things I love and things I hate. The beach, the weather, the food, the access to culture, one set of grandparents close by for our son — amazing. But I crave true seasons and more diversity (we are in a very conservative, very white area), I wish my family and close friends were nearby, and the cost of living + traffic are enough to drive anyone insane.

    It seems like there will always be a tradeoff. We’re constantly reevaluating what’s important and try to be willing to adjust. Right now, it’s good schools for our kiddo, some family nearby, and the progressive, awesome attitude of CA. And I can give up fall weather or a short commute for those things.

  92. Kristen says...

    I grew up in a sleepy, stifling suburb of Boston and couldn’t wait to escape to a place where I didn’t run into my orthodontist every time I went to the grocery store. I couldn’t believe it when high school friends started moving back to have kids! I went all the way to Seattle to raise a family, and have found it totally magical to get to know my new home through my children. (I’ll never forget gathering with the families of my kindergartner’s classmates one spring evening to release the tiny salmon our kids had lovingly hatched that year, huddled together along the banks of a creek in the woods, cheering the little fry on to the ocean.) But I do often wonder what wonders I’d rediscover about the town I grew up in if I were raising my kids there. (My boys often ask me to tell them about shoveling the snow off a frozen pond to play ice hockey, and listen as if I were talking about visiting the moon.) In the end, I think children find magic everywhere and the greatest joy of parenthood is getting to discover – or rediscover – whatever part of the world you’re in through their eyes.

  93. Hilary says...

    This has been on my mind. I’m currently pregnant with our first and we will be having the baby in our 1.5 bedroom loft apartment in a city. Definitely not the nursery and house I always imagined. I just hope one day our kid(s) look back and think about how cool and urban their parents were when they were born. :)

  94. Joanna, this post hit really close to home for me! We had the almost opposite experience to yours—but ending in a similar, slightly uncertain contentment.

    While dating and an early married couple, my husband and I lived in San Francisco and then Los Angeles. We pictured ourselves staying in a large metro area to raise our (future) babies. We have always (always! even as young kids ourselves) loved the energy, excitement and opportunity in big cities. We crave the diversity and progressive culture. We thought we needed to stay for our careers. But then an opportunity arose in our hometown, a place not-so-lovingly described by some as the armpit of California. We moved to Bakersfield on purpose, but the decision still took us by surprise.

    We’re now running our own business, started a non-profit and are raising our son here. We feel like we are able to make a meaningful impact on this place.

    The most surprising and rewarding decision we ever made was setting aside the dream of raising a family in a big city to return and make a mark on our hometown.

    I don’t know what the future holds and if we’ll stay here forever, but we feel like we’re in the right spot for now, often dreaming about the ways our lives might be more comfortable (at least for us) in the big cities we used to call home… wistfully waving at the ships as they sail by.

    • Laura says...

      Bakersfield is my hometown, too! I’m always happy to hear of younger people moving back after exploring bigger places. I think younger generations making their mark and bringing with them a progressive attitude is going to be transformational for the city in the next few years (now if only we could get rid of the terrible air quality!).

    • Gabrielle says...

      My husband loves this quote (paraphrased) from “Our Town,” a book by Atlantic writer James Fallows and his wife Deborah: If you want to consume a place, live in Brooklyn but if you want to make a difference, move to a small town. It sounds like you’re doing just that.

      Joanna, your picture of Brooklyn kills me! I grew up in south Brooklyn, chock full of characters, and it’s all I ever wanted for my future family. Now, living in San Francisco where people seem to keep to themselves, I long for the stoop, talking to strangers in line at the grocery store, and opinionated people! In exchange my kids get the Presidio as their playground and year-round outdoor adventures. I’d love to find something in the middle!

  95. Maria says...

    Love the idea of living in NYC with kids! Unfortunately it is just more and more unaffordable for most families with kids to live reasonably comfortably in the city. When our son was one, we moved to NJ about a 30 minutes train ride away, it was a sacrifice in order to own a home but we are content with the mix of urban/suburban we have found! Now, if could buy a multi-million dollar, multi-level brownstone apartment in BK, it would be a different story ;)

  96. A says...

    I live in Hawaii. The price of paradise is real (real estate, groceries, shipping costs), but worth it, for my kids not to have to grow up with a huge red/blue divide (or as much), to not have to feel they are a people of color here, and just live as humans, as ohana.

    • Amy says...

      Seems worth it to me! As a child of asian immigrants raised in CA, the first time I went to a regular grocery store (Foodland) in Oahu, I had the strangest feeling. I literally blurted out to myself, “Wow, I feel like a white kid!” To have all your foods that you grew up with right next to regular everyday American food, not in their own isolated aisle, or having to go to a specific Asian market like 99 Ranch was crazy to me.

    • Kelsi says...

      We are moving back to Hawaii to raise our Big Island born son there. We moved when he was a year (panicking over cost of living) but regret it. We are leaving Florida because of our low pay and low levels of respect as teachers here, also because of daily threats of gun violence that we are privy to hearing about. It’s insane. Never been a mass shooting in Hawaii! We are planning on buying land and going simple off grid yurt style, which is still attainable and acceptable on the Big Island. Can’t wait to get back to a true pot where people chat in line at the grocery store and show remarkable aloha to one another.

  97. Hali says...

    I never expected to be a hometown person but here I am, living in my late grandmother’s house, 7 streets down from the home I grew up in, trying to get pregnant with small dreams of giving my children the childhood I had. Once we started thinking of children, a shift happened in me and I no longer saw any grass THAT much greener than the grass in my home town. I dream of enrolling my kids into the same swimming school I went to, the same scout house, story time at the same library, marching in the little Christmas parade we have every year, and maybe most importantly, learning to surf on the same mushy waves I grew up on. At this point, every single member of my family has moved away from this little town, so my husband and I are holding down the proverbial fort (my grandmother’s house.) Fortunately, we can stay here until we save enough to get a house of our own nearby. After tasting city life, dreaming (constantly) of moving to Cornwall, and visiting my friends in all the splendid places they’ve landed across the country, I feel so LUCKY to be so content right here where I started. Something about the air here, no other air in the world could smell more like home to me. An added bonus: my parents and siblings all know this town like the back of their hand. I love knowing that my home will always feel like home to them, too.

  98. Liz says...

    My husband and I are wrestling with this question to such an acute degree. We both grew up in different parts of the Twin Cities and our extended families still reside here, which is great (for the most part). We live in an area that isn’t well suited for kids, so after having a baby we’ve been thinking about what’s next. My in-laws put constant pressure on us to move to their suburb, which is an area that’s just not for us. They think we currently live too far away – at only a 20-minute drive – and give us such a hard time for not seeing them multiple times a week! It makes our decision to move extremely difficult, because we need to do what’s best for our immediate family, but don’t want to the extended family to feel like we don’t care. And we’re literally contemplating a move that would put us only an additional 10 minutes away from them! We just wish the in-laws would realize that most parents would be thrilled if their kids lived as close as we do, and us choosing to not live next door doesn’t mean we don’t want to have close relationships with them. We’ll still see them all the time…ugh. Is this a midwest or Minnesota thing? Someone please tell me they also have this issue!

    • Nicola says...

      I have this issue! We live in the inner city and our in-laws (both retired) refuse to drive from the suburbs to see us. They complain loudly that they never see us, but won’t drive to see us (despite us being the more time poor) because they ‘find city driving stressful’.

      One of my mentors gave me a great tip, and said ‘remember, when you have a baby it is YOU having the baby. So keep the things that make YOU happy’ for me that’s being able to walk to get a good coffee or pho for dinner when we can’t bring ourselves to cook. I think a baby will bring lots of change anyway, so I’m trying to hang on to the things that help me still feel like myself.

    • Rosie says...

      I live in Minneapolis, and I think it might be a midwest or MN thing — so many people stay in the areas they grew up in, and the city is relatively small, so even 20 minutes away can feel far for some (older) people. My parents live in a first-ring suburb northeast of Minneapolis, and when I lived in South Minneapolis, even though it took no more than 15 minutes to get between our houses, they thought it was kind of far. Now we live in NE Minneapolis and love it, and of course my parents love it, too. That said, I think you need to live in the best place for you and your kids, not the grandparents, but I know it’s hard! It sucks that they’re putting pressure on you, especially when you’re really very close. Maybe you could talk about moving to another state, and then the move across town won’t seem so bad…

    • Tracey says...

      Boundaries. Move where you want. Have your partner tell the in-laws what you’re capable of (3 x a month etc) and what you’re happy with them doing (we have a guest room if you’d like to stay the night) and then let them have their feelings. You have yours, they have theirs… boundaries!

    • Ann says...

      Liz! I was scrolling through the comments to find a reader who’s living in Twin Cities area. My husband is from Wisconsin and his entire family lives near the Twin Cities. We currently live right outside the D.C. area and my heart strings are constantly being pulled. I know my husband and kids would love to be near his family but I’m concerned about 1) all.the.snow and subzero weather and 2) diversity. I’m Asian American and my kids currently attend school that is over 75% diverse. We were encouraged to look at Edina, Lincoln Park area and Lake Minnetonka. Could you offer any insight? Xoxo.

    • jules says...

      This is for Ann – the diversity of Mpls has changed a lot, but it’s still pretty white, esp the more privileged suburbs (like Edina and Minnetonka, Excelsior, etc). Take a trip and visit some schools. That said, my kid’s gymnastics class is maybe 50% white. We went to an indoor playground in a very normal burb this weekend and saw Sikhs, Somalis, Latinx, African American and Asian families along with the white folk. And yes, it’s cold. This winter was the coldest and snowiest in years. But as the Scandinavians say, there is no bad weather, just bad clothing. Get a car with heated seats + 4WD and you’ll be fine. I find these cold, sunny days with white snow to be blazingly alive and invigorating but I grew up in this region. Best of luck!

    • Erin says...

      This is also for Ann. I grew up in WI, went to undergrad in Mpls, and am now living here again after spending six years in DC (living in the District). I like it here, it’s right for us right now with kids, but I still ask my husband “where is everyone?!” Would be happy to chat more!

    • Lily says...

      Ann! I’m also Asian American and raising a biracial kid in the last city I thought I’d end up in. I’ve lived in lots of other waaaay more diverse places so the idea of putting down roots in such a predominantly white city never crossed my mind. But it’s not so bad!

      Like Julie said, the demographics of the Twin Cities are changing and fluctuating a lot (still skewing white though, because…it is still the Midwest). The populations of people vary drastically depending on where you are though–I would recommend looking at the different neighborhoods in Minneapolis or St. Paul (and nix most of the first and second ring suburbs). Will it be exactly like D.C.? No, but you might be pleasantly surprised!

      And as the cold and snow, you really do just get used to it. Is it a pain to have to spend ten minutes bundling up to take the dog out for a five minute walk (because any longer and he starts to complain)? Yes. But is it also just heartening to see people cross-country skiing in sub-zero temperatures because the sun is shining and the lake is frozen over? Yes! And I don’t think anyone appreciates summer more than Midwesterners–arguably the best of the “four distinct winters” ;) Plus, I honestly think the cold builds character (thanks, Calvin’s dad).

      And there, Ann, is the love letter I never thought I would write to a city I didn’t think I could grow to appreciate.

    • Ann says...

      Jules- Thank you so much for getting back to me. We are heading to MPLS soon and I think it’s time to just explore the ‘hoods and schools to get a better sense of the overall community. xoxo

      Erin- I’m at annlee6@gmail.com I’d love to connect with you!

      Lily- Thank you for your MLPS love letter. I want my biracial boys to continue to live as they are now– embracing other cultures and ethnicities. It’s amazing to witness.

  99. SarahN says...

    I am single but I so desperately want to raise children in France. In 2006, I studied there and did a thesis on their early childhood education. I loved that by 3 it was acceptable for a child to be in govt funded schooling that includes meals. It just seems to great as a woman who fully intends to work with children. Prior to that, there’s all sorts of govt support for au pairs or home day care or whatever other care is selected.

  100. S says...

    I grew up in a tiny Midwestern town and I always assumed I would raise my kids in a similar place. I loved that town library which I walked to weekly with my sisters in the summer. And the hill behind our house that I went sledding on in the winter (it wasn’t a city hill but one that was just for our family). And knowing just about everyone in the whole town. I moved to NYC for graduate school and I actually gave an interview to the school paper where I said I liked the city but couldn’t imagine living there with kids.

    Ahem, living here. I moved away from NYC after grad school and had two babies in the suburbs of a small city. And then my husband got his dream job back in NYC and I knew this was the place he always wanted to live. So we moved back almost two years ago and I’m still making peace with it. There are magical things, as evidenced by your kids, children in NYC I think have one of the most unique dress codes anywhere. And my kids’ world is so much bigger than mine at their age: they are learning their third language in school, have friends from all sorts of backgrounds, and just know more than I ever did about the world.

    But it also makes me sad because I know they are missing out on things. My son just skyped with his cousins and saw their huge new Barbie dreamhouse — immediately he wanted one and I told him that would never happen because it was nearly the same size as his bed and couldn’t fit in our apartment. And we went sledding yesterday but carrying sleds several blocks after we were wet and tired made my children decide they never wanted to do go sledding again. And we are lucky to live close to a neighborhood branch of the NY Public Library but I don’t know how old my kids will be when I’m comfortable letting them go there alone.

  101. AMO says...

    Joanna, you once posted an article about an Australian (I think, but not too sure) woman who had passed away, but in it she wrote about how when she was younger she went to Paris and she always wondered what her life would have been like if she had stayed there – it was a really moving article that I really loved. You seem to have a great system for filing everything and remembering where things are from. I’d be really grateful if you could share the link if you still have it.
    I am from and currently live in Lagos, Nigeria. I’ve also lived in Virginia, Delaware and NYC. I always thought I’d raise my children in Lagos, but now I’m not so sure anylonger. I’ve been reading your blog for ages and I just love it. Because of the time difference here, it’s the very last thing I read before I go to bed, my daily nightcap. Thanks for always lifting my load and soothing my heart with your words.

    • Any says...

      Yes, please share the link. I’d love to read (or re-read) this one.

  102. Janey says...

    I’m raising my kids in the city – Edinburgh, UK and it has worked out great at all stages of their childhood (eldest left home to go to university this year) When they were little we were never short of fun activities, endless playgrounds, museums, galleries, libraries all offering ever changing activities for kids. As they have got older they are free to travel around the city independently to visit friends, play sports, see live music, theatre. At age 12 they get a bus pass and learn to negotiate the city. I can see the appeal of living in nature but I think it wouldn’t suit the teenage years as well as the city does.

  103. t says...

    I feel pretty fortunate raising our kids a mile from the beach in San Diego near their grandparents. These kiddos were conceived in NYC while we were living there but my wife was born and raised in brooklyn and wasn’t willing to raise our kids there.

    I love that our kids are outside so much of the day (nearly half their day at school is conducted outside), I love they see the ocean every day, I love that they have complete freedom to roam the neighborhood within a two block radius and I love that they regularly see one set of grandparents. I also love that because my in-laws are in NYC we still go back at least once a year and my kids are very accustomed to spending time in NYC and enjoying all it has to offer (everything!).

    The downside of course is the cost of living in San Diego (and many other places). In fact, we felt that NYC was more affordable because our salaries were so much higher!

    I daydream of selling our home and taking the equity and buying a home in the midwest without a mortgage and significantly reducing the amount I work but I think I would just long for the beach. It’s always a trade off.

    • Lauren says...

      The western coast of Michigan provides the best of both worlds! Access to the beach in the summer, incredible access to winter sports in the winter, and seasons year round! There’s definitely trades off; winter can be really long, there are fewer job opportunities, there’s a lack of diversity but there are so many pluses as well.

    • Colleen S. says...

      I grew up in San Diego County for sixteen years, and moved to New Hampshire when I was seventeen. I missed the ocean something fierce, even though I liked the lakes there. Now that I’m back in California, I miss the slower pace of a small town. I love California, but I want to be somewhere affordable.

    • Anna says...

      I live a mile from the beach in a small town along Lake Michigan, an hour and a half from downtown Chicago, so you can have both!

  104. Emsee says...

    We are in San Francisco with two toddler girls (3 and 1.) Let me just say (whine?) I’ve found that living in this city with toddlers is so hard!! There’s massive construction everywhere all the time, forcing us into crazy detours while out walking, most destinations involve walking uphill, drivers are insane and selfish (not all of them…just the ones who are in such a hurry they almost run us down in intersections double stroller and all, and those ones are around pretty much every day!), there are lots of people passed out on the streets with various bottles and debris strewn about them, there are some mean bus drivers who have an attitude about a stroller on the bus, and if we want to have anything bigger than our current 1-bedroom, we’d have to pay like $4,000/month.
    That said, this is a gorgeous, charming city, and there are always tons of friendly people helping hold doors for our stroller, chatting about how fast little ones grow up, we love our preschool, there are like 7000 excellent coffee shops to drink lattes and eat expensive baked goods in (even more amazing restaurants, but we have pretty much given up on any restaurant that doesn’t have ‘Diner’ in the name, more specifically also ‘Black Bear’ in the name, because the restaurant crowd here is just not really a small kids crowd. It all feels so hectic and just plain difficult so much of the time, we’ve taken to escaping to little Marin towns on weekends, just to have some quiet and breathing space. End of story, though we’ll miss the city, all the stuff we’ll miss is stuff we’re not really able to do anymore, with toddlers in tow. So we’ve bought a house in the Midwest town where my husband grew up. Can’t wait! I’m so starved for a place with seasons, I even told him if he’d agree to the move, I’ll be the one to shovel our driveway in winter. He took me up on it! 😁🌨️⛄

  105. B. says...

    We live where the job is..NYC for 5 years and CA for 2 years before kids, small town CT for 8 years and now suburban Chicago with 2 kids and a dog. It’s teaching us (and I mean ALL of us) to be flexible and friendly. Resilient and brave. To gratefully make new friends and work hard to keep up with old ones. To be ok with not loving where you live and to find the fun wherever we may be.

    • Abbie says...

      Oh this B. To be okay with not loving where you live. My very intense struggle today.

    • Christina says...

      “To be ok with not loving where you live and to find the fun wherever we may be.” Love this! I have been adopting a similar mentality recently (currently living in Providence RI, dreaming of bigger cities) and it has made my currently situation much more enjoyable.

  106. Anna says...

    Oh I love this question. It’s one my husband and I talk about regularly. Right now, we are raising our kids in Hawaii. We’ve made our peace with the fact we will likely never be home-owners here (Hawaii is one of the most expensive places in the US) but we will trade that in for the chance for our kids to grow up here. And in the end, we live by the idea that it’s all an experiment. We’ll try what we think is best, and make changes when we need to.

  107. Jessica says...

    I have four kids and never really consciously thought about this. We lived abroad for the first few years of parenting. Then, when we decided to move back to the states, it was purely for economical reasons. And we moved where the best job offer was for my husband. I personally feel we could successfully raise our children anywhere. But I prefer more urban settings, where they are are exposed to a wide variety of people, places and things.

  108. Irina says...

    My husband and I were born in and have lived in medium-sized to huge cities for most of our lives. Three years ago we moved to a tiny town in rural Washington State and we would not trade it for anything. If we do have children, we’ll definitely raise them here – provided that they do not have any health-related needs that would require better access to specialized medical care or therapy.

    That being said, we both believe that it is important to expose kids to different ways of life as well as to arts and cultural opportunities that are not available in our rural area. We will plan to take them to the city (we’re equidistant from Seattle and Spokane, about 4-5 hours’ drive to each) for professional music, theater, museums, poetry readings, different kinds of foods, etc. (Realistically, I’d probably be the one doing most of this as my husband has a really hard time on our occasional trips back to Seattle.) And, we’d like to travel beyond the nearest big cities with our kids as much as our budget permits, both within the U.S. and internationally.

    I recently heard from a friend who grew up in the town where we live now that she loved it as a younger child, but hated it when she was in high school. (She left for her last year of high school and college, but ultimately came back and is now raising her family here.) So, our children may also find our small community confining when they become teenagers. If that is the case, we’ll try to take them to the nearest big cities and elsewhere as much as possible, and if it gets really bad, I suppose boarding school could be an option? Or maybe we can arrange to have them live with a friend in the city while they finish high school. Or they can always choose to leave once they’re done with school. Many people do leave our community for college, work or travel when they graduate from high school, but many of them eventually return and settle down here.

  109. Sarah says...

    The ghost ship! I think about that letter all the time.

  110. Nina says...

    I am pregnant with my first and have lived in Chicago exactly 10 years today. This may sound really simple but I want to raise my child…where my husband and I are. Currently, that’s a busy city we absolutely love. But if it is eventually somewhere smaller or somewhere warmer or across an ocean, that works too because I always want home to be somewhere we are all together and enjoying the life we chose.

    • Beth says...

      From a Wicker Parker — Happy Chicago Anniversary! How special that it is on this wonderful city’s birthday :)

  111. Gillian says...

    When my husband and I were first married we said we would stay in NYC our we would leave NY completely. The suburbs seemed distant and difficult to manage with two careers. Fast-forward 15 years and 4 kids. Now we live in Southern Westchester county. Our town is small and our kids walk to school and see their friends on the way. We have a cute little downtown with restaurants and shops. We have a Memorial Day Parade with Girl Scout troops and classic cars. Its all very Mayberry, except it is 30 minutes from Grand Central and midtown Manhattan. We really feel like we have the best of both words. Now if only it weren’t so eye-wateringly expensive, but what can you do.

    • ll says...

      what town do you live in, if you don’t mind me asking?? always interested in almost-nyc towns ;)

    • Alex R says...

      What town do you live in? We’re in NYC but I dream of finding the right small town in Westchester…

    • BV says...

      By any chance are you talking about Bronxville?

    • Gillian says...

      I AM talking about Bronxville. We love it. I wish it were more diverse, but the sense of community is incredible. We all routinely tell one another as we pick up someone’s else kid, or grab something for a friend at the drug store, or start a meal train for a family experiencing a rough patch that it really does “take a village.” As someone who lives far from family, it is critical to have such a strong social support network raising kids.

  112. Joslyn says...

    That Cheryl Strayed ghost ship column is single-handedly the one thing I have read that has stayed with me year after year. It is so profound. It reminds me of an evening in Prague in a small cafe when my husband and I sat for hours with my best friend and her husband and all talked about what our ghost ship lives were. Such an intimate conversation that led to insights about the kinds of people we thought we were and are now.

    • Alexandra says...

      Ditto. I read it right around the time my husband and I were debating whether or not to have a baby and I’ve never forgotten it. My son is 3 now, and on each of his birthdays I smile and salute the ghost ship carrying my well-rested, much wealthier, child-free self.

  113. Katie Jane says...

    My husband and I moved for a job from Ohio to Portland, OR while I was 6 months pregnant last year, after his company closed down. It was a tough year, losing our insurance while I was pregnant, moving to a brand new city where we didn’t know anyone and starting over. We originally wanted to move to Denver where a lot of my family is but there weren’t any job opportunities and we needed something sooner rather than later. My son is now 4 months old and there are days where I really wish my family was nearby. But, we both love Oregon (we have mountains AND the ocean) and there is an awesome sense of community here that I’ve never seen before in a big city. I think it could have to do with the fact that so many people are transplants. I don’t know what we’ll end up doing, if we’ll move closer to one of our families someday because I can see the benefits of it. But, I’ve also come to realize friends can become like family eventually :)

  114. Julia says...

    We’re a family of 3 (soon 4!) living in Montreal just a few subway stops from downtown. I love being in the city. Yes, our 2 bedroom apartment is not very big, but I enjoy walking and biking everywhere. Our friendly neighborhood also feels like a small village. The only thing I hate is running after my 4 years old when he bikes on the sidewalk.

  115. Tessa says...

    Depending on the day, I seem to want to raise my kids beside Courtney Adamo on an Australian beach or Jennifer Garner in a California suburb. Hmm… I think Insta is messing with my ghost-life-ship.

  116. I live in Minneapolis and we have a little boy who just turned 1. My husband is from this area but I’m from a teeny, tiny town in North Dakota. I feel good about our decision to raise our son in Minneapolis (although maybe not today when it was well below zero with the windchill!). There’s a decent amount of diversity in our city. Nothing like what you would experience in a place like Chicago or New York, but it’s pretty diverse which is important to us. And it’s a progressive area of the country which is something that we also value!

  117. Nina says...

    Such an interesting way to look at it. I grew up in Philadelphia and then went to HS in it’s suburb. I moved all over as an adult. Loved Seattle but the prices not so much. Considered home schooling but I’m not so patient with teaching things, I found. Moved to Florida because my son wasn’t experiencing as much diversity as I liked in Utah and he had anxiety everyday from the rain and storms. Now we are in Georgia in a tiny town we hopefully grow to love. #1 schools in the state. I also always wanted to go to Europe for a year with him but my anxious boy who hates change would probably hate that! There is a bit more diversity here. Sigh…I just want him to learn, gain lifelong friends, and enjoy everyday…seems a tall order

  118. Elizabeth says...

    I’m 3.5 months into raising a kid in NYC and omg I actually love it so far??? I grew up in Wisconsin and always assumed I’d go back there or at least to a smaller city once my kids got to school, but we just recently figured out daycare and I’m high from that success… bring it, kindergarten! (…don’t quote me on that, hah!) Being able to go on walks around the neighborhood is such a treat, and I love that my son is already being exposed to so many languages and cultures just in our nabe (I live in Queens which is incredibly diverse). Granted, daycare is $2100/month, but we also enjoy NYC salaries so it all thankfully works out okaaaayish. I’m looking forward to seeing how long we can stand to stay in our decade-old rent stabilized lease on our 2br because we have the deal of the century going over here and I’m not sure we could stomach market rate rents these days. That might be what ultimately kicks us out!

  119. Emma says...

    When I was choosing where to go to college, I felt the call of adventure, wanting the complete opposite of the Northern California suburb I grew up in. At eighteen, it never occurred to me that I would never move back – the rumspringa would end, right?! But here we are, ten years later, and I’ve lived in four different cities, none of them anywhere near my hometown or anything like my hometown. The prodigal return has yet to happen.

    Through this, I have learned that all places (cities, suburbs, the country and countries) have something unique to offer and have let go of the idea that there is one place, one way, to raise a child. I have learned things about the world and myself in California, Toronto, Providence, Brooklyn and New Jersey that I never could have imagined or planned for. Wherever my children are raised, there will be things that their hometown will give them that they can’t get anywhere else. Things they will learn that I never did. All I want for them is to feel loved and feel safe. The rest I hope will take care of itself. That said… I do miss being close to my mom. I don’t know how to make peace with that one piece of this increasingly permanent adventure.

    In short: Cheryl Strayed is so wise.

  120. Hayley says...

    I love reading the comments and how so many people have dreams/thoughts of moving elsewhere. I am pregnant with my first child and we live in my husband’s hometown in Connecticut. It’s a charming, small town but very unlike where I grew up and the lack of diversity is not my jam. But….we live on his family’s summer camp, next door to his parents and are so lucky in so many ways. My husband has the best memories of growing up at camp and so will our child! That doesn’t stop my dreaming of moving to Seattle or New Orleans or Maine or…..!

  121. Sasha L says...

    Part of what I love about COJ is the peek into other lives, all the very many different ones that I’m not leading. I LOVE hearing about raising little boys in a neighborhood in Brooklyn, so fascinating. It’s like I’m getting a tiny bite of something delicious that I didn’t even order.

    For me, I’m so happy to have raised my girls in a small town in Montana (big for Montana, small for everywhere else). I grew up in an even smaller town, too isolated (there’s isolated- everywhere in Montana, and then there’s the middle of nowhere), and too insular. Our town is full of beauty- a beautiful green library full of librarians we all know by name, old brick buildings and so much art. And we have so many nice places to eat, have tea, buy bread. But best of all, mountains and rivers and our wonderful big blue sky. So many places to camp and back pack and hike and ski, we’ll never get to them all. It can snow three feet in a day (it did last week), and be -38 below zero (it was this morning). But later in the week when it’s +20° people will be out in shorts SINGING at the joy of just surviving here. No one in the world is as happy as a Montanan when spring finally arrives. Summer wildflowers are the most glorious thing you’ve ever seen. Children grow up being a bit more self reliant and in love with being outside. I’m so glad that even though we couldn’t provide a lot materially for our kids, we could give them the gift of being Montanans. Also, beach vacations are AMAZING when you’re landlocked 😉

    • Neen says...

      Oy, your gorgeous description is REALLY pulling me out west. You describe my dream! We live in a town bordering a northeast city and I always dreamed of living in Idaho, Montana, or Colorado. Our jobs and families are here, but the congestion and noise/air pollution is getting to me. Maybe someday…

    • Loved reading this :)

    • J. says...

      Well this sounds amazing!

    • Eva says...

      Please tell us the name of this incredible sounding town!!

    • Erin says...

      Fellow Montanan here, chiming in to say that you’ve said it all, and beautifully. I tell my students at the university where I teach that they will have to pull my cold, dead body out of Missoula, Montana, because I will never leave of my own accord. After a decade plus of living in NYC, other places on the east, Africa (with the Peace Corps), etc, coming back out west was like striking gold. I feel like we’re giving our kids everything I wanted and some of what I had: time outdoors, fearlessness, love of nature, curiosity, and a life that is small enough to make the big moments sing.

    • Sasha L says...

      I live in Gallatin Valley, in little town of Belgrade just outside bigger town Bozeman. I’ll be the voice of reality now (not that I wasnt in earlier comment, but I really focused on positives, and for me they outweigh the negatives). The not so good. It’s been below zero for four days. This is not abnormal. It’s incredibly rare that anything shuts down for weather. It will still be snowing in May, some years June, and will start up again at the end of August. I’ve never lived anywhere else and I love snow, other people hate our endless and often brutal winter (it’s less humid and far more sunny here than other places & that helps).

      We have the highest rates of alcoholism, suicide, drink driving accidents. We have very low wages. The gun culture is incredibly strong here. It costs a fortune to fly anywhere. Roads are scary/dangerous/closed in winter. It’s 10 hours to Denver, Seattle, 7 hours to Salt Lake City. Those are the closest real cities. Even Bozeman to Missoula (which is a super cool, community centered beautiful town) is 3 hours, and often a dangerous drive in winter (mountain passes). High level medical care will probably mean you have to go out of state. No small deal when your child is diagnosed with cancer.

      Bozeman, Big Sky, Whitefish, Paradise Valley all have very inflated housing costs and cost of living because of the large number of wealthy people with 4th homes here. Privilege is open and apparent here. Missoula is somewhat cheaper, but still expensive compared to wages. In Gallatin Valley, the biggest source of income is trust funds. Yes, not wages from any job, not the University or booming building industry, but trust funds. If you don’t bring your money with you it can be hard to afford life here, all of the hobbies (skiing, snow machines, hunting, mountain bikes, ice climbing) are expensive, the other kids at school will be spending spring break at their house in Hawaii, or Cancun or Costa Rica. Our communities across the state, with the exception of our many Native American reservations, are overwhelming white. Bozeman, Missoula, Butte, are enclaves of more progressive people, the rest of the state is solidly red. My community in particular has so many newcomers, many of whom don’t stay. It can be hard to make lasting friendships here. Montanans are incredibly helpful and generous and friendly, especially to total strangers, but not so quick to truly take you in as a friend.

      I think a lot of people come here in the summer, have lovely vacations, see so many smiling locals and envision a safe and happy life here. If you can somehow make peace with the harshness, you can find that. Everyone else, hoping Montana will be Nirvana, leaves in under five years.

    • Sasha L says...

      Probably an important fact: Montana has no Trader Joe’s, no Whole Foods, no Ikea. We get pretty excited for those shops when we travel out of state. And Amazon prime usually takes four-five days to get here.

  122. Dani says...

    I spent the first 10yrs of life in Alexandria, VA and I remember weekend trips on the Metro to different museum; I learned to love culture and easily navigate public transportation (which came in handy later in life). I’d love to live in/right outside big city like that, but it’s SO expensive and don’t think that will happen (slight chance but doubtful).

    I live in Richmond now and love it though, so I think med-sized cities might be better for me-lots to do (parks, festivals, museums), lots of ma/pa resturants, decent jobs, not crazy expensive everywhere. If I stay here, I can still do quick trips to Dc or to the mountains (aka Charlottesville).

    If I decided on a change, it’d be Raleigh, Pittsburgh, etc-med cities like that.

    • Kelly says...

      Hello from just next door to Alexandria! It made me happy to read that someone out there enjoyed and appreciated living in the DC-area when they were young. So many people complain about living here, and yes, the cost of living is ridiculous. But there are amazing things about it as well! Thanks for the reminder :)

    • TARA says...

      RALEIGH WELCOMES YOU :)

    • SMR says...

      Native Washingtonian who also loved growing up in the city. It truly shaped who I am and I hope to instill the same in my children (though living in Somerville, MA which I claim is still the city – density!). First due this summer.

  123. Rachel says...

    This is very timely for me. I’m pregnant with my second child and raising my first also in Carroll Gardens. I love the playgrounds bursting with children, the ease of taking a new baby for a stroll…but constantly grappling with the fact that my parents, who I adore, who my child adores, live in Austin, TX where I was born and raised. In fact I’m sitting there now, watching my kiddo traipsing around in my childhood backyard with her Papa. It is always on my mind- where should we live?

    • Hey! We had two kids in Cobble Hill and Moved to Austin when my youngest was 2. Maybe I am your ghost ship!

  124. Julia says...

    I grew up in New York City and have only ever imagined raising my family there (I would hazard a guess that most well-adjusted, content people imagine repeating their childhood experiences for their own children). Now I’ve moved to the most rural part of the state and am faced with raising children without the culture, diversity, and access that the city offers, I’m frightened for them and for me. Guns proliferate; brain drain means they may not have the most succcessful or ambitious teachers and doctors; schools will still teach white-washed history; when they get older they will be driving places with all of the dangers that entails. I’m excited to expose them to a variety of experiences– and especially to let them play free outdoors– but the city still seems like the only logical place for children in my mind.

    • KM says...

      I don’t think you meant to do this, but thank you for providing an additional positive perspective on choosing to raise your kids in the city (Washington DC, in our case). I get constant questions from my friends about when we’ll choose to move out — the school system, crime, lack of a backyard, etc are all frequently cited – and the assumption that it will definitely happen at some point. I LOVE the idea of our kids having a more heterogeneous upbringing then I did and want to stay in the city, but I constantly feel (or am made to feel) like we are being selfish by not providing the kids with a big backyard and the pleasures of small town life. Sorry your fears helped ease my mind, but thought you should know I appreciate the perspective and additional reasons to stay in a city.

    • Maryanne says...

      I grew up in Brooklyn, but since my parents were transplants there themselves, I didn’t necessarily think I’d raise my kids there. When my husband was doing medical training, we kind of felt like we could choose from places all around the country (not sure this was actually true) but our idea for the place we would settle was somewhere with good public schools, and a community with a diversity of people and ideas. We are doing that now in Iowa City, Iowa of all places. The university and training hospital bring people from all over the world and my kids’ schools are more diverse than mine were growing up in the city. Schools are really good, we live in an open and welcoming community. We are very much landlocked and Chicago is 3.5 hours away so there are certainly things I miss, but it has happily surprised me how much a midwestern college town can offer.

    • A says...

      Relate to this so much. We just moved to a smaller place and things feel normal or ok most of the time and somewhat idyllic…then someone will say something awful and I’ll be reminded how very out of touch we suddenly are. I took for granted how easy it was to expose my child to a lot in a city…now I’ve gotta work harder… but I believe she’ll be ok.

    • Jules says...

      I hope it’s not that bad! I read somewhere that a disproportionate number of highly successful people/people in leadership positions have grown up in small towns. Something to do with there being a better chance to excel at something, or to be recognized for excelling at something, while growing up. So there’s that. But I understand wanting your children to experience the same place where you grew up.

    • Amber says...

      I grew up in a very small rural town (like, 400 people), which lacked diversity and access, was full of guns (and look at me, I hate guns), and brain drain, under-funded school district that didn’t even have AP classes (!). everything you described (and, is in trumpcountry). However, I think it gave me all the opportunities and lessons I now carry with me in my thirties. I was able to participate in every sport (even though I’m small and not athletic) and excel and be a leader at school (whereas at a larger school, I would have likely blended in with the crowd), learn to drive in the mountains in winter, pick huckleberries in the woods every summer, etc. And, thanks to my parents, I was still exposed to different view points and went to a top city university in my state (on scholarships, which I never would have had access to in a larger school). And regarding “culture” … that’s a term that’s thrown around a lot, but small rural areas have their own totally unique cultures that are also worthy of exploration (for example, we had a large Native American population that still practices traditional fishing from the river in my hometown, and I joined in on things like “first salmon ceremony” etc… a cultural experience that you may not have in a big city). So, while I now live in the city and won’t personally return to the country bc of job opportunities (and, like I said…trumpcountry, lol), I don’t think the experience of growing up rural should be so overgeneralized and maligned (just as I don’t think raising kids in the city should be). I think it has more to do with how you parent and the exposure and opportunities you provide!

  125. MJF says...

    I have been thinking about this so much recently! I have a 7 year old girl (2nd grade), a newly 5 year old girl (K in the fall!) and a 2.5 almost 3 year old boy. I’m also from a MI suburb, currently raising these little people in a CT commuter city. My cherished older sisters and their kids (older than mine) live fairly nearby, I love the diversity in our city, I love our house and neighbors, I’ve made some great friends, yet there is a vibe here that doesn’t quite feel like home to me. My husband is in banking so it’s usually important to be near NYC or a big city in CA, but we just found out Charlotte, NC is a strong possibility if we want to uproot. I’ve never been there but we’re definitely going to explore that option :).

  126. Meghan says...

    The quote from Cheryl Strayed is so beautiful and such a great way to reframe your life narrative and not wallow in regrets or agonize about whether you made the right choice.

  127. I live in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, and when our first child was born, everyone asked “when are you moving to the suburbs?” The same thing happened when our second child was born. The answer? “Not planning on it.” We love the city and all it has to offer, plus we work in the Loop, so have a really easy commute. Our eldest walks a block to school, and his sister will join him in a year or so. It’s perfect.

  128. Christine R says...

    ha! We also live in MSP and my kids are tired of experiencing winter :-) That said, we moved here after spending 13 years in NYC (2 kids born) + 3 years in Hong Kong (+1 kid) because we heard it was a great place to raise a family (we are one of those rare families where neither of us grew up here). It IS an awesome place to raise a family – so much so that my parents did the reverse retirement and moved up here from Texas to be near the grandkids. While we do miss the allure of the city (I hate maintaining a yard and having to drive everywhere, which is what you get in the suburbs), the kids love it and the schools are amazing. We will be here until the youngest (1st grade) graduates high school!

  129. celeste says...

    I was raised in the country, to this day I still have trouble talking to people and having them listen. I did have awesome grandparents though.

    My kids are growing up on a cul-de-sac socially surrounded by kids, no grandparents in sight.

  130. Brandee says...

    I grew up in a tiny town in Iowa and now live in Nashville and I’m expecting my first child (three more weeks!) I love the creativity and the diversity of this city, especially since my son is biracial and his Taiwanese heritage being part of his life is very important to both me and my husband…there was zero diversity where I grew up, but I spent my time playing in the woods with my siblings and creating our own worlds. I’m torn about the thought of my kids spending hours of their day in traffic rather than barefoot outside. I’m also drawn towards bigger cities like Chicago or even other countries. I guess we will just have to see how it all unfolds! In any case, I hope to travel as much as we can while our kids are growing up so they get to experience a sense of wonder at all the things. Cultures, nature, a bustling city and the stillness of stars.

  131. Wink says...

    I’m just here to say: Hey, little Joanna in the ankle socks and roller skates! (or wait, is that Lucy?).

    • Caroline says...

      That picture!!! 80s vibe! Love it!

  132. sarah jane says...

    We’re raising our kids in Columbus, Ohio, in the suburb where I was raised. I moved away for a long time and never thought I’d return to this place, and I find myself being somewhat defensive when I explain that I grew up here – always following with, “But I moved away for a long time, lived in big cities and in the south…” as if that somehow says something about me, that I’m not just this one thing, and if I’m honest, I probably think it makes me better than the people who never left. But the truth is you can visit and explore the world from anywhere, and the street we live on is filled with people from other places doing awesome things (a pair of nationally-funded pediatric cancer researchers across the street, a Cuban immigrant and a Boston native next door). We take trips to big cities and take our children to the library to teach them about the world through books. As I get older (and theoretically more mature), I hope my reflexive defensiveness about living back in my hometown fades – it’s a special place and it’s where my family lives and therefore my heart lives here, too.

    • Lindsey says...

      I grew up in Ohio and lived in Columbus for several years. I have been actively looking for a way to move back (I’m in SC now). So don’t let others make you feel defensive–some of us want exactly what you have!

  133. Jen says...

    I love that reader comment. “It was important and beautiful and not ours.” I think that very concept has been key in me letting go of what might have been (it’s hard letting dreams die). Not mine. Sort of along the lines of “good for her, not me.” Except in this version of me saying (and agreeing) with that statement, it saying “good for her” that she gets the thing I want, and “not me” deciding to walk away from the thing I desperately want and yet has not or cannot materialize in my life yet.

  134. Erin says...

    We chose to move to Portland, OR from Washington DC after the birth of our son. We knew we wanted to be in a city, but our priorities were a better match with Portland than DC – better work-life balance, childcare affordability, great family support systems and maternity care, access to nature, and environmentally progressive (everyone seems to have a garden and compost!). In our search of where to live when we realized DC wasn’t a good fit – it was really hard to find the perfect place – there will always be a trade-off. We miss the diversity of DC and feeling like we’re in the center of things – but this really is a great city of families.

    • Sasha L says...

      Portland is such a beautiful city, so close to wonderful outdoor adventures. Super friendly happy people whenever we’ve visited, and so many families everywhere.

  135. Robin says...

    Love this post! My husband and I are both Denver natives and are raising our 10 year old son here, surrounded by both sets of grandparents and a gaggle of aunts, uncles and cousins. My parents moved to Denver before I was born but my husband’s family has been here since the 1880s (!) so Micah has some deep roots here, which I think is really cool. I love that he is growing up skiing and hiking the Rocky Mountains! Denver is a much more legit city than it was during my childhood. I love all the culture and amenities we have now, but I’m less crazy about the faster pace of life and the more segregated communities because of rising housing costs. I sometimes pine for the sleepy cow-town of my youth, but I’m happy to raise my son in this friendly, sunny, spectacularly beautiful state!

    • Amanda Gwaltn says...

      Robin – hello fellow Denverite, I’m pining right along with you!! There’s both good and bad to the advancement and growth of Colorado, but I feel it most especially in the backcountry, where it is harder and harder to get away from people! And while I don’t have any kiddos, I would definitely raise them here if I did :)

    • Robin says...

      Amanda, yes! You’re totally right, my family was just talking about Hanging Lake near Glenwood and how you need to pay and take a shuttle in and out because people have been such jerks. It makes me so sad.
      Thanks for replying to my comment, fun to connect with another Denver girl!

  136. Kate says...

    I’m American and my boyfriend is Canadian. He’s been living in the US for the past 15 years, and we currently live in Wisconsin, which is where I also grew up. Our plan is to get married and start the process of applying for his green card, so in theory, the plan is to stay in the US. However, we’re also hoping to try to have children in the near future and a very big part of me would love to do that in Canada. I’d hate to be away from my family (especially as an only child) but Canada’s support of families and mothers, the universal health care, and just the maternity leave alone make me feel like that’s where we should be. I mean, it’s a major advantage of dating a Canadian!

    • Jen says...

      I am Canadian and living in the US. I second guess my need for medical care all the time because of the cost. They ‘say’ we have good insurance but the bills are shocking. Also- you can negotiate the bills!-meaning there is a massive mark up!

      Anyways, I had all my kids in Canada. One year paid maternity leave. Great way to meet other moms because they are all off for that year. Plus, you receive a ‘baby bonus’ til they are 18 per year. Some moms do return at 9 months or whatever-by choice- but you can stay home and sleep and deal with becoming a mom. Your job is safe. I would not trade it for anything.

      Also, the school system is not obsessed with Algebra in elementary school. It seems they want to you learn it early so you can take university level algebra in high school (so its free) vs paying for a course in uni?? Anyways, the pressure on the elementary school kids is crazy.

      I liked learning Algebra in high school (in the later years too!). If I had to learn it in elementary school, I’d for sure not understand it, not be in the ‘advanced’ group and give up on math all together. I went on to have two honors degrees in good universities and I was JUST FINE.

    • Kate says...

      Jen, I really appreciate your perspective! I have seen my friends struggle with returning to work and balancing all the things, and it sounds terrible. Also, I didn’t know about the school philosophy but as someone who works with children (and has strong feelings about how schools approach early childhood education as a children), Canada becomes even more appealing.

    • Emily says...

      Hello from a Canadian mom of two!! Maternity leave is amazing here, BUT you have to be legally working here for more than a year and accumulate enough hours before you can claim it. And it’s actually been extended to 18 months if you’d like now. Same money as you get with 12 months, just spread over 18 months instead. I made so many friends on Mat leave, and it is all so normal to be off for a year raising our kids.

  137. Molly says...

    I loved having my first baby in the city (NYC), for all the reasons you described.
    But, the one bedroom wasn’t cutting it, and we wanted to,be closer to family, and our jobs were not keeping us there.
    Thus, we moved to Charlotte. We live on a four bedroom house in the center of town for the price of a two bedroom, And good public schools (I think). 3 kids later we are definitely winning at location!

    • Emma says...

      I married a Canadian but we live in the US (for now)! It’s been such a journey coming to terms individually and together about the things we love and don’t about our home countries, what we each would and would not want our children to pick up from the places we were raised. It’s required so much introspection in so many ways!

      Good luck on applying for your Green Card! THAT itself is another huge journey :)

  138. Meg says...

    We lived in NYC for 15 years, moving to Seattle in 2016 (for family). We have two boys and I miss the city every single day. No better place to raise kids. Period.

  139. Nicola says...

    This is something that plays on my mind a lot, both my partner and I were raised in suburban Australia and had lots of happy memories of that kind of lifestyle. Fast forward to our lives, and we love being in the city, in fact, we’re trying to move to a bigger city soon (London, NYC or Singapore).

    So far city living suits us, we work big jobs that are satisfying and challenging, so our free time is scarce. That means having a short commute, friends who live close, and great food and wine even closer is perfect. I love our life, and can’t imagine anything else, but everyone knowingly shakes their heads at us and says ‘wait till you have kids’. We’re now at the ‘kids age’ and I often wonder if we should postpone the big move, or do it anyway and see what happens?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i would definitely make the move and see what happens. city life isn’t for everyone, but you say “i love our life and can’t imagine anything else,” so it seems like it’s perfect for you!!! and having a baby in the city is wonderful (at least i thought so, as a city person:)

    • Nicola says...

      Thanks Jo! You are right that for city people, cities can make great communities…as do blogs about living in cities :)

  140. Alida says...

    We live in LA in a sweet but tiny triplex near the ocean with two kiddos. I love it here, trees bowing from the weight of meyer lemons, the glowing winter light, hummingbirds zipping over our back patio. But my Family lives in Maine (near Julie of Rudyjude fame) and they’re begging us to move there. My husband produces commercials and would have to begin afresh as there is no industry in there. My 5 year old son woke me up a few months ago and said, “I had a dream that the trees were so tall but the ocean tasted better than it does here. I think it was the real Maine”.

    I don’t know man. I wish someone would decide for me.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s tough, alida. your life in LA sounds beautiful, but i know the feeling of wanting to be closer to family. such a hard call. xoxo

    • Sasha L says...

      Alida, I tell my daughters this: sometimes when we can’t decide it’s not because one is the right choice and we’re having trouble figuring out which one it is. It’s because both are equally wonderful choices, and either would be the right choice.

      Perhaps an extended vacation in Maine could help you decide if a move there would be as happy as your life living in California? Both sound like magical places to raise children to me.

      Questions I would ask myself: do we love winter? (If no, maybe Maine would be tough). Could we return to California, if Maine wasn’t what we hoped? Does your “dream Maine” align with the reality of Maine? How would you feel if you never tried Maine? (Regret? Relief?)

      Best of luck Alida! I think I’ve always been lucky that my heart if so firmly planted exactly where I am and I’ve never wondered about leaving.

    • Katya says...

      My husband and I grew up in Maine and then lived in a borough of NYC for seven years. We moved back to New England to be closer to family (though we’re still a couple hours away), and even that move has been very hard. Believe it or not, I find winters in New Hampshire MUCH worse than in New York City! I’d stay put and spend some perfect summer days in Maine instead. (And at the time that we were deciding whether or not to move, I desperately wanted a clear answer that we didn’t get. Someone deciding for me would have been great!)

    • MA says...

      Hi Alida – So tricky! My husband and I were in the same boat 15 years ago and decided to move to Maine. We love it here and its been a really lovely place to raise our family. We have found that career-wise, many people get creative to be able to live and work here. There are a LOT of telecommuters (I telecommuted to Seattle for 6 years). The pros and cons are so hard to balance sometimes! Best of luck with your decision!

    • Lily says...

      I know what it is like to live in a fairly idyllic place but miss family and home. One thing is for sure, it makes trips back amazing, though also sad when reality hits at the end. I keep thinking I’ll know what to do when the time is right.

    • Alida says...

      Thank you all for the kind, thoughtful advice 💗

  141. Callie says...

    I’m also continually surprised both by the fact I’m raising two kids (and soon to be three) in New York City and also by just how much I love doing it here.

    I grew up (mostly) in rural Virginia and then in suburban a few other places. My husband grew up in suburban North Carolina. Our families are all still in both places. My expectation of where I would have a family couldn’t be more different from my now-reality.

    And (at least for right now) I can’t imagine doing it anywhere else.

  142. Ingrid says...

    My kids are grown now. But I wanted to raise them near our families, so we moved back to the small rural community we grew up in. I’m glad we did. They visited their grandparents often and loved them. Economic opportunities are scarce here, so my kids have now gone to a bigger city. Luckily, it is within driving distance, so we can help with our grandkids too. I think our girls had a great start in life in our small town, but their kids will too. It’s all about parenting and family, wherever you are.

  143. Lindsay says...

    I grew up in Texas and my husband grew up in Florida … I guess we produced warm weather kids because even in our coldest winter days they balk at coats or pants. So right now we are in Texas but my husband and I have been dreaming together of life in Hawaii. Moderate to warm temperatures, adventure by land or sea, it just seems to check a lot of things that are important to both of us. But, we recognize the limitations of living in Hawaii. I told my husband the other day, I feel like I still have that teenaged adventurous voice in my heart that says go for it! I also am a mom of 4 kids and we live in a wonderful community with great schools, low crime and all the other qualities that matter when raising kids. I totally identify with this dilemma of the heart and mind right now. I’m not sure what the future holds for us, but I love that quote!

  144. Erin says...

    We moved our family of 4 a few years ago from an expensive big city (San Diego) to a small town (Eagle, Idaho…just outside Boise) and we are so happy with our choice. Less people, less crime, less traffic, smaller classes, lower cost of living, and just the overall slower pace of life is so nice. We do miss a lot of things about living in California but I had lived my entire life there and was ready for change. We have no plans to move again but if we did, Lake Oswego in Oregon is on my list!

    • Louisa says...

      Also a transplant to Idaho (Boise) and so so happy with our move. We live in a city neighborhood full of kids who walk to school and the park, I’m a 3 mile bike ride to work, and the city is small but we have a ballet, opera, symphony, and university. The ski hill is 40 minutes away and affordable. And the most amazing perk of all: I can go from my front door to the airport GATE in 45 minutes. I can’t imagine living anywhere bigger or smaller, especially with kids.

  145. ridas says...

    I hear you on the challenges of living in DC and raising kids here. I came here fresh out of law school and expected to stay 5 years tops, and definitely did not imagine raising kids here (ditto on the doctor thing — I thought it was just me). But fast forward THIRTEEN years and we are still here, and as of recently, with no plans to leave. Our 7 year old is a DC girl and we have found a lovely warm community to raise her in. She is thriving in her local elementary school and honestly, we can’t imagine our lives any other way. We have friends who have raised two kids in one bedroom condos here and found green space. The garage thing is trickier. So anyway, long story short, if your heart is in DC, there are definitely ways to make it work!

  146. Kai says...

    Exactly.

  147. I don’t have children (yet), but I want to raise them in St. Paul/Minneapolis- where I grew up and where my husband and I live now. I’ve lived abroad before and love traveling, but this is home.
    It’s important to us that we raise our kids close to their grandparents. I didn’t have that growing up. I also like that the Twin Cities is urban, but not too urban. You can drive a couple of hours and be on farmland or in the forest by a lake.
    My future kids will get to experience all the seasons too… mostly winter… but still.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i recently erad about the best places to raise kids (in newsweek) and st paul was at the top of the list!

    • KK says...

      Currently raising our kids in Minneapolis, a.k.a., mostly winter, and we’re very happy about that decision. Prior to living here, we lived in Lincoln Square and Wicker Park in Chicago, then on Capitol Hill in DC. We definitely miss those places, but feel that moving to Minneapolis, where grandparents are, was the best decision. Anyone else out there, that’s moved quite a lot with their spouses/partners, almost feel like you have had different marriages/relationships (with the same person) based on where you were living? Not sure how to explain it, but when we lived in Chicago, we had jobs (not careers) we were dating long-distance, and our weekends together had so many highs and lows. In DC, we were almost grown-ups, DINKs, and now we had “careers”. Still renting, commuting to work by train, meeting for happy hours in Eastern Market. Grown up, but still not. Now in Minneapolis, we’re settling into the most comfortable state of our marriage yet. True grown ups, and now with two little dudes, 3 and 5.

  148. Taylor says...

    Aghhhh! This is all I think about right now. I’m getting married in September and my fiance and I want to start trying ASAP but we live in DC and…..I don’t want to deal with being pregnant or having kids here. I love DC, it is my home and I’ve been here for 12 years…but it’s been great for my 20s. I pay $250 a month for a parking spot that’s four blocks away from my condo, I don’t want to waddle four blocks while pregnant to get to the doctor. I want good schools for my kids–and getting your kids into public schools, let alone a good public school, is a headache here. Mixed with the cost of daycare here, my inability to find a single doctor (ob, gp, dermo, any doctor) without making an appointment two months from now. I work for the government and will be able to live anywhere in the US in a year a half, so, we think we’re going to end up moving back to southern California where I grew up to be closer to both our families.

    I know I’m going to cry so much on the day I leave DC. I’m going to miss walking to Trader Joes and strolls around my neighborhood and snow days but I haven’t found anyway to raise a kid in a one bedroom condo, and I need a bathtub, a garden for my green thumbed hubby, and a garage. And I want to be a mom and give my kids everything more than I love DC, so, I’m going to have to leave.

    • AC says...

      What, MoCo’s not good enough for you? I’ve lived in the DM (not V) my whole life and am raising my son here, I’m also a Fed. I’m not saying the area is always easy, but it is absolutely wonderful. Wonderful (and free!) arts and culture, beautiful nature close by, spectacular diversity of peoples, culture, food. MoCo has three of the top four most diverse cities in the nation! I could go on and on about my love song for the area, but if you love it so much, maybe look into MoCo. Schools are great. Of course, I totally understand the hell that is paying college type tuition for child care, but hey, maybe a President Warren will have that fixed by the time you pop one out.

    • Ri says...

      I hear you on the challenges with living and raising kids in DC (and ditto on finding doctors — I thought it was just me!). I moved here right after law school and anticipated spending no more than 5 years in the city. Certainly raising kids here was not something I envisioned. But fast forward THIRTEEN YEARS and we are still here with no plans to leave (although we have had some heated discussions about it). Our daughter is 7 and thriving at her DCPS — but the best thing is the really warm community of fellow professionals/parents of young kids that we have found here. I have plenty of friends who have raised families in 1 BR condos and had some green space. Garages are tougher in DC as you already know :P Anyway, long story short, DC is an awesome place to raise a family and if your heart is here, you can make it work!!

    • Abbey says...

      Ha–everyone is so different! I just found out that I got a job that allows me to move back to DC, where I grew up, and my first thought was excitement that we when we have kids they will grow up like I did. But my family is still there, which makes a HUGE difference.

    • Katie says...

      Our baby just turned a year old, and I think giving birth here was very doable. Yes, the appointment thing with the doctors is nuts (but once I had my OB I liked she would squeeze me in if there wasn’t a real appointment available) and why waddle to your car when everything is a quick Uber or Via ride away? And during maternity leave we loved being able to walk around the neighborhood, take the baby out for lunch, stroll around… that being said, the cost of living is insane, and sometimes I wish we were a bit less of a government town. But if you like DC’s vibe, you can stay!

  149. A says...

    Given the state of our environment, overpopulation and the scale of climate change, the question changed to : do I want to raise kids on this planet ?

    • Tess says...

      This one keeps me up at night, and I have no idea how to deal with it!!

    • Lauren says...

      Agreed. Would love to see some interviews with people who grapple with this as well and whether they decided to/not to have children.

    • Emma says...

      YESS!!!! Exactly. Same here.

    • Courtney says...

      YES! I would also love a post on this. My personal answer is no, do not have kids. Rescue a dog or cat instead and live wherever you want.

    • Hayley says...

      I grapple with this so so much as well. In fact my husband and I were going through the adoption process because we both wanted kids but I felt so torn about the moral dilemma of bringing a child into the current world. BUT fate had other plans, and I am currently pregnant…with plans to adopt in the future.

    • P says...

      Fourthed! Can we have a feature on ethically dilemmas we face when deciding to have biological children? This is the only community I’ve found that will speak freely about it.

    • Emma says...

      I would love to see a piece on this! I struggle with this thought a lot.

    • Eva Meszaros says...

      I’ve read a lot of interesting reflections on this, among them:

      “[T]hese ‘greater good’ arguments for and against procreation, unfortunately, amount to using future children as a means to an end, thinking about how they can contribute to our overall welfare, rather than thinking of their own individual well-being.” (https://newrepublic.com/article/153149/cruel-kids-era-climate-change)

      But in the argument not necessarily *for* having kids but rather against not-having-kids-in-the-face-of-climate-change, this line by a Post columnist resonated with me: “Children are a clear statement of hope, a demand that we claim accountability for the future. They are a rejection of cavalier disregard for the planet we share.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-bother-to-bear-children-in-a-world-racked-by-climate-change/2018/10/12/bda4bf82-cd8a-11e8-a360-85875bac0b1f_story.html)

    • Kara says...

      We struggle with this question too. We have one son and want to grow our family, so we are exploring adopting from the foster care system. If you want to be a parent but worry about whether it is ethical to bring more people into this world, consider becoming a parent to someone who is already in the world and needs a family.

    • Eva says...

      Another article that (took me a minute to relocate but) really resonated with me: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/parenting-children-generation-of-climate-change.html

      “A new clock starts with every birth, measuring how much more damage will be done to the planet and the life the child will live on it. The horizons are just as open to us, however foreclosed and foreordained they may seem. But we close them off when we say anything about the future being inevitable. What may sound like stoic wisdom is often an alibi for indifference.”

    • Kellyn says...

      Happy to see so many people who are thinking about this.

      From an environmental standpoint, it’s raising kids in our country that is the big problem, much more so than having children in the first place (so, adopting children and then moving to a country where you can live with a smaller footprint would be the ideal solution).

      (Being said by a person who has a biological child, and if I expand my family it will be through adoption, and we will almost certainly be living in the US. I would never want to discourage someone from adoption or foster care, but the big impact comes from where we live.).

      With regards to where to live – at this time (without fail – every year) I am DESPERATE to move away from New England. But – when I think about the affects of climate change, I’m thinking that inland in the northeast may be the safest place to be in the US….(more wildfires in the west, hurricanes and flooding on the coastline, hotter temps in the south…)

  150. Sabrina says...

    I‘m far from having kids as I‘m still 22 and studying, BUT I do talk about these things with friends, even though it won‘t happen in the next 8-10 years. I grew up in a 400inhabitants village and part of me loved it (the 0-12 year old part) but my teenage self couldn‘t stand it at all, all I ever wished for was to live in a city, especially as I wanted to professionally play piano and dance and do all these things that were hardly available on the very countryside. Now I live in Vienna, but fell in love with my home again, the mountains, the stillness, the nature….In short: I habe no idea and am glad I have many more years to think about that decision :)