Originally written for, and published in, Positively Oakes
Photo credit to Nicole Schoentag
When my husband and I first told our family and friends that we were pregnant, the questions started rolling in almost immediately: “Is it a girl or a boy?” “What type of birth do you want?” “Are you going to feed with bottle or breast?”
One of the most common questions of all was “so when are you going to move out of the city?” For some reason, people became very concerned about us living downtown in a big city, as if we couldn’t possibly raise our child properly unless we moved out to a suburban sprawl. Sure, there are challenges when it comes to raising a baby in an urban setting, but I think there are many benefits as well. So this is an ode to city living!
One of the biggest benefits of living in the city for me is being able to walk just about everywhere. Whether we are going to the doctor, grocery shopping, or grabbing coffee, we are always walking. Not only does my daughter get plenty of fresh air, but it has also helped me get back into shape. Once I hit 10 weeks postpartum, I started tracking the distance we were covering during our walks, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that we were logging 15 to 20 miles each week!
Another thing I love about raising a child in a big city is the amount of activities available to us. We have a children’s creativity museum across the street, a skating rink one block away, plus art galleries, festivals, parks, swimming pools, libraries, an aquarium and lots of public parks just a short walk away. We have so many choices, and it helps to keep us busy, out of the house, and meeting other families.
One of the biggest criticisms I hear is that raising a child in a large city isn’t safe. People have asked if I worry that our daughter will be exposed to “too much,” and given me their (sometimes unwanted!) advice that what she really needs is a large, fenced backyard on a quiet street to keep her protected. But I disagree!
I believe that exposure to different people helps build compassion and tolerance, which is something we need more of in our world. I want to teach my daughter that just because she sees a lot of different people in our city, it doesn’t mean that they are scary or bad – people are simply different!
It can definitely be tough to raise a family in a large city; sometimes there isn’t enough room for our stroller on the sidewalk, she wakes up from naps to the sound of fire sirens, and we have strolled into our elevator only to meet 3 slobbering dogs all trying to sniff inside her car seat. But moms are incredibly resourceful, and we make things work for our families no matter what challenges we face. So whether they are living in a one-bedroom apartment, or a 2000 square foot home, I think that all moms should be celebrated for doing the very best that they can – no matter where they live!