With a three-year-old son and another baby on the way, Upper West Side mom Heidi Okada and her husband Matt decided it was finally time to take the leap and make the move to suburbia. “Heidi felt they were missing a sense of community,” says Suburban Jungle Strategist Maya Konig, who worked with the family on their suburbs strategy. “They really wanted one, so that’s where we started.”
Understanding the family’s desire for A+ schools, an easy commute and a real sense of community, Maya, Heidi and Matt started pounding the pavement, ultimately zeroing in on a popular New Jersey town. Matt loved it, but Heidi wasn’t quite so sold. Even though it was a great suburb, she just couldn’t see herself and her young family there. So they kept searching and, soon enough, landed in Summit.
The SUMMIT Connection
From their first visit, Maya adds, the family had a real connection to the town. “Summit instantly felt more like home,” Maya recalls. Heidi agreed, explaining three things immediately struck her, and brought her closer and closer to locking in on Summit. As she explains, it was “the downtown area,” paired with “the close proximity to the downtown area and the schools.” The town also had a strong stay-at-home-mom community, Maya adds, which had been important to the family’s search.
Spotting that trifecta helped Summit pull ahead of other communities they were considering—and their intuition paired with Maya’s know-how proved spot-on. “The people are so nice,” Heidi says. “The schools are great. Driving everywhere is so much easier, especially with a young child—but the town is very walkable, so that option exists.” Her neighbors have already made the family feel welcome, another perk to this popular suburb. “There was a block party recently and we had a blast getting to know some neighbors!”
Transitioning to the Suburbs
Now that they’re fully transitioned to the suburbs, Heidi and her family are happy they made the leap. “We love the space and the ability for our son to just go outside and ride bikes and run around right on our property,” Heidi adds. “We do miss the food in the city, and being so close to work,” she says, noting that the commute is long and it can be a challenge for her husband some days. At the end of the day, though, they’re happy with their decision and eager to settle in even more, now with baby #2.
Beyond just getting acclimated—and helping her family thrive in suburbia—Heidi is working as a meeting planner with ConferenceDirect. She also teaches yoga with Fit Fab Moms weekly. “I’m focused on supporting other moms on their journeys—that’s so important to me,” says Heidi. “I want to partner with women who support other women, and not just with fitness—in looking at a mom as a whole.” The new location, she notes, continues to offer childcare and a loving community for like-minded moms.
Looking back, Heidi is grateful for having connected with experts who could help them in their journey. “The Suburban Jungle—and Maya!—really listened to what our needs were and matched us up with the best suburb possible for us,” Heidi explains. She also applauds the local real estate agent Maya connected them with in Summit, who helped them close on a great house for their growing family. “From the very beginning, Heidi and Matt wanted this kind of community—and they found it in Summit!” says Maya. “They also loved how much charm the homes had—there’s definitely nothing cookie cutter about this town, as they’re seeing first-hand. But, truly, I’m thrilled they love Summit and eager to see what’s next for this amazing family.”
There are hundreds of towns to choose from. How do you figure it all out? You simply don’t… without getting a Suburban Jungle Strategist to help you through it all. Schedule here for your strategy session with our innovative suburbs strategy team. All services are completely free.