House in the Suburbs

by Amy Issadore Bloom

 

People ask us frequently if we are going to move. We live in a third story walk-up, and don’t have a ton of space, to say the least. Everyone expects you to move to a house in the suburbs once you have a baby. Or really, among certain well planned crowds, before you have a baby.

But, we’ve managed with our son. We love the neighborhood. We can walk to the metro, shops, restaurants, and the zoo. Our neighbors are nice, friendly, and helpful. It’s not a bad way of life.

Though I must admit, I had a moment of longing when we were in St. Michael’s this summer.  My son was napping, and my husband and I were sitting on the lounge chairs out back – talking, reading, dozing off.

It all seemed so perfect. I could picture that suburban life – preparing dinner while our son played out back, having morning coffee or evening wine out there….

No trecking down all the steps, no shared lawn across the street, no strategizing how to get the too many groceries I just bought up the steps.

The thing is, my friends with the house in the ‘burbs, probably don’t spend that much time enjoying their lovely little yards anyway. I can’t picture them sitting out back and relaxing. Maybe they do. But, I suspect the majority spend their free time running errands, fixing stuff, redecorating.

That moment I had, that vision of a different life, happens frequently on vacation. Even vacation with a toddler (though different) is still a vacation – no stacks of mail, no piles of laundry.

It’s just easier to let go of the big and little stresses and relax. That’s the point of getting away. The key is to create those moments of peace and contentedness more often in our daily lives, not just on vacations.

 

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie@SouthMainMuse

Like everything it would be a trade off. If you like your schools that is a big thing. We moved out to a small town almost 15 years ago. I love it. But my husband has to commute in every day. Our life would have been very different if we’d stayed in our intown cottage. Maybe just as good. But different. Who’s to know?

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Amy

That’s actually a big dilemma for people here in DC, and what drives so many people to the nearby suburbs. Many of our neighborhood schools are still struggling -even in the less “urban” areas.

That’s so nice you enjoy living in your small town.

Amy

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Arnebya

I try to do this, enjoy our backyard (it was one of the major selling points with this house). I don’t do it often enough but my husband does, my kids do. While the part of SE we live in is indeed more suburban-like, I don’t think I could cut it in a “real” suburb. I like the city. When we were still dating, then engaged, we had a tiny one bedroom apartment near Eastern Market. I still drive by it sometimes, thinking of the ease with which that life was, even once we had our first daughter. It worked for us then, this works for us now. I love all your reasons for staying where you are. Maybe you’ll move, maybe you won’t, but for now, it’s what’s working for you and that’s enough.

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Amy

I lived near Eastern Market too – back in my twenties! It was great, and still very cheap. It’s amazing to see how much it’s been built up since then.

It’s great you try to enjoy the yard you have now. I understand your hesitancy about the “real” suburbs. I fear I would get a little sad and lonely….

Amy

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Wendi

I once said I’d never, ever move to the ‘burb… and I’d never, ever move into one of those cookie-cutter, no-character homes. Guess where I live now! And here’s the shocking discovery: I love it. 😉

I love the ample living space and the quiet (no more overhearing opera-singing neighbor in the middle of the night, thank you very much!). And I have friendly and helpful neighbors (nope.. they haven’t turned Wisteria Lane on me as I once feared). I even get to enjoy the backyard (or more the front yard where the grown-ups often chat while watching the kids play on the street).

The suburb fits our life right now, perhaps that’s why we enjoy it. And this suburb we live in now still offers easy travel to the city center (granted it’s not DC… I still cannot imagine living in Manassas or Frederick and commute into DC daily). I would’ve died of boredom had we moved here 10 years ago. And 10 years from now, who knows.. maybe I’ll be begging the hubs to pack and move closer to the city again. Not just this city.. a bigger city. But for now, we’re good.

NW DC is a great neighborhood; I can see why you’re not rushing to leave it. If it works for you, why bother looking anywhere else. But never say never.. because you might have a change of heart someday. 😉

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Amy

I’m happy to hear you are happy with your house. Both lifestyles have pros and cons. I guess the key is to be content with the decisions we make.

You are right though – its best to keep an open mind, and never say never.

Amy

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Dana

Wandered over from yeah write – great post! I don’t live in a big city, but I recently moved to the suburbs from the more “eclectic, big-city” part of the small city I lived in. It’s amazing the difference between the two. I love the quiet here, but I miss walking to restaurants or the movies. It’s a trade-off either way. 🙂

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Amy

Yay. Gotta love Yeah Write!

It’s true, it is a trade-off. Although some people seem so happy with a “traditional” path to growing up. Our neighborhood is actually pretty residential, and not super urban, which is nice – especially with a baby.

Amy

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Pam

Greetings from 2 buildings down…your friendly neighbors are very happy that you’ll be staying put for a while! : )

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Amy

Thank you! I imagine you went through a similar decision-making process at some point.

Amy

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