More moms work than EVER—and whether that means commuting to the city, working from home or starting something new, you’ll find them in the suburbs.
The American workforce has changed A LOT in recent years—and with, so has the suburban landscape. Not too long ago there were decided “SAHM” towns—towns where you only spotted stay-at-home-moms. Now, though? Today, 72% of women work—and they’re working unique and exciting jobs, in the office and out.
The end result? Everywhere you go is a SAHM town—and at working mom town and a work-from-home town and a thriving hotspot for entrepreneurs. Your job as you’re searching, then? To consider your wants, needs and goals and ensure you’re moving to a community that syncs. Consider this…
If you’re a working mom who works in the city every single day…
Commuting to the city can be time-consuming, which is why many work-in-the-city moms put a comfortable and reliable commute near the top of their “must-have” list. If commuting is part of your daily to-do list, it’s also important to live an area that has a lot of evening and weekend activities so you don’t have to miss on the other things that matter—sports games, PTO meetings, book club and other community must-dos.
Childcare is another huge consideration. Since families work all kinds of hours, it’s important to find a facility that offers extended hours and has the flexibility your family needs—or to tap a nanny or au pair who can keep pace with your lifestyle.
And, of course, there’s the actual commute piece. While you don’t need a sub-30 minute commute to keep balance, you do need a comfortable, consistent commute—ample train options, especially during rush hour and, ideally, trains that aren’t jam-packed AM and PM.
If you work from the suburbs…
Even though mamas in the suburbs tend to live closer to work than commuters, that doesn’t mean your day is any less chaotic. Between getting the kids off to school or daycare, working, dealing with dinner and running around for after-school extras, your schedule is full.
Ideally, you need a town with flexible childcare options and access to key amenities so you can swing through Target, the local grocery store, the dry cleaner and the lacrosse store on your way home from work at night—and still be on time for soccer pickup.
Keep in mind, the daily commute is still-make-or-break for many suburban working moms. After all, rush hour and school traffic can be crazy. Be sure to consider whether there are any roads or intersections you definitely want to avoid and, just like we recommend for work-in-the-city moms, test drive your commute at least once during the week so you can see how it suits your lifestyle and your timing.
If you work from home…
While it sounds like a dream for many commuting moms, working from home is no joke—it takes serious discipline, scheduling and total focus. What’s more, you need your own space to productively work from home, be it a dedicated office or a nearby WeWork or, even, Starbucks or public library.
That said, if work-from-home is your plan, be sure to add a home office or workspace to your list of must-haves. If you do wind up with a home that has a workspace, great—but you might also want to scope out nearby spots to pick up and hunker down in some days. We hear it over and over again from WAHMs—sometimes you gotta get out to get it done.
In that vein, don’t forget about flexible childcare options. As a work-at-home mom, you might want a full-time nanny or au pair—or you may just need a spot to drop the kids off for a few hours on non-school days. Either way, dig into the childcare community and make sure it’s in sync with your current and future needs.
If you’re an entrepreneur…
More moms are entrepreneurs than ever (check out our Moms We ❤ series for a few of our faves!). That’s a GREAT thing. Our very own Founder and President Alison Bernstein is a long-time mom-preneur, launching Suburban Jungle more than a decade ago. And, hands down, we’re working with more entrepreneur families than ever—and we LOVE it.
If that sounds like your family, you definitely need a town that has all the perks WAHM mentioned earlier—a home office, flexible childcare options that work for you, places you can work that aren’t your house and, ideally, opportunities to mix, mingle and promote your business in the community. Look for towns with small business support systems in place—small business groups, for example, or local Meetups for business owners.
Another good sign? A town with a bustling community and activities like farmers markets, moms nights out and other spots you could potentially promote your business.
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.