Maura LOVED Brooklyn—and really, what was there NOT to love? After learning to navigate life as a new mom in the city, this young family thought they had it all figured out. What changed? Baby #2. So what this Brooklynite and her growing brood do? The same thing so many city families do post-baby: move to the suburbs.
I lived in Brooklyn for 15 years and I loved all it had to offer—great restaurants, fun bars, lots of shopping, farmers markets and lots of unique boutiques and stores, with easy access to Manhattan. When I met my husband he, too, lived in Brooklyn—in the same neighborhood as me, even. It was perfect.
When we first moved in together, we picked my apartment—it had tons of space (or so we thought…), and even a backyard. We could grow spices and grill! Again, perfect.
So after my decade-plus love affair with the city, what changed? Parenthood and pre-parenthood—and that’s when we decided it might be time to move to the suburbs.
Pregnant in the City…In the Summer
It started when I was pregnant and, during a very hot summer, I noticed no one was offering me a seat on the subway. I had a LONG subway ride from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side, where I worked. Being pregnant in triple-heat and humidity is no good—clasping to the pole for 90 minutes on a twisting, turning subway only made it worse. I wound up driving—so add traffic and parking to the list of headaches.
Then I got put on bedrest. The irony was, I worked at a hospital and had hoped I’d go into labor while already there. I could just pop upstairs to labor and delivery—so easy, but also so naive! I wound up having to commute from Brooklyn to the hospital for my last few appointments. And my amazing apartment just two floors up? No longer so easy.
The City Post-Baby
That “no longer so easy” theme continued after my son was born and, again, the city changed. I hated driving into the city with my baby—it just seemed so far and so scary. And besides, our car was parked in a garage two blocks away—seemed that seemed so far when it involved bundling up a newborn, walking those two blocks and trying to fit baby in. The subway was also out of the question. I was fine going to our local pediatrician since I could wear the baby.
Like all new parents, we eventually figured it out. But the transport piece, we found, was just the tip of the iceberg. There was also sleep deprivation which reared its ugly head. And the laundry—realizing how much laundry a little person can go through was funny and surprising! We had a laundromat on our block and, going in, we assumed that was a plus. Once we had the baby, though, that laundromat also became not-so-easy. I dreamed of having my own washing machine—something that wasn’t going to happen in my Brooklyn apartment.
Slowly, though, we started to find our groove. I found a new moms group to join, which helped. And, as I started to find my way as a new mom in Brooklyn, I also started to see that my beloved borough really did have everything. I thought I knew all my neighborhood had to offer but, now, I was unlocking the secret world of parents and all thingskid—and there was so much! Music classes, library, movement, yoga—you name it, Brooklyn had it. It was great!
Life as a (Semi) Stay-at-Home Mom
When my little guy was four months old, I did go back to work part-time. It was hard—much harder than I anticipated. I had worked in pediatrics for over 15 years and had a great career. But the reality of juggling a full time career was too much—to have a staff who needed me and my son was more than I could manage.
Though I was worried in the beginning, I found I LOVED being a stay-at-home mom. My new job was in parent education and fit my new lifestyle perfectly. I worked once a week or so—I could keep my resume current, but still be home. I was lucky to find a great group of mom friends. We would go to the library, meet at the parks, have play dates—again, I loved it. I could do errands on my way to and from activities, and carried only what I could fit in and on the stroller.
Baby Makes Four (and Makes the ‘burbs Look GOOD)
When my son was three I gave birth to our second child, a girl—and we were still in the same apartment. It was immediately apparent we’d outgrown the space—the baby was in our room and my son was in his, with toys overtaking our living room and, even, dining room. Doing errands was suddenly hard—I could wear the baby and my son could walk or ride his scooter. It was precarious—then when he started to potty train it was borderline impossible.
We’d finally found balance and, now, with a new baby in tow everything felt hard again. I couldn’t help but dream about things being easier. I wanted a washing machine. I wanted to get in my car and drive to a grocery store, then park in the free parking lot. I wanted to drive home and park in our driveway, not a garage two blocks away. I wanted a backyard my very energetic son could run around in. I wanted my daughter to have her own room. Suddenly the city noises I used to like felt chaotic. I wanted quiet and calm. I loved my time in Brooklyn, but now I was ready to move on and move to the suburbs.
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