A Mama’s Urban Adventure to the Other Side: Part 2

A Mama’s Urban Adventure to the Other Side:

Part 2

By Heather Rachel Rose 

You’ve been thinking about what I said, haven’t you? Go on, admit it. It’s ok to
say that you fantasized about a driveway at least 6 times since last week. And having
your kids’ bedrooms on a separate floor. And maybe you’ve thought about a yard, too.
Maybe? Just a little? Now that it’s getting warmer outside, you’ve thought about how
amazing it would be to watch your babes run through a sprinkler without having to pack
a bag and trek 6 blocks to the park, where one of them will inevitably need to pee as
soon as you arrive. You’ve thought about it, and you’re afraid to say it out loud, right? I
know, because, as I mentioned, I’ve been there. I’m here to tell you that this is a safe
space. All of us living in the suburbs used to fantasize about the exact same things, until
we learned the secret. The secret of “urburban” living.

“Urburban” is my word for maintaining an urban lifestyle while living in a
suburban area. Depending on where you go, suburban living does not have to be what
it once was. There are some incredible little towns – like Maplewood, New Jersey where
I ended up – that offer a similar vibe to Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. I have met
photographers, actors and musicians, stockbrokers, doctors and lawyers. I know
families in which both parents work full time as well as those where one parent stays
home. There are single-parent households, same-sex parent households, and racially
and ethnically diverse households.

Contrary to the past, the suburbs are no longer filled with people who didn’t like
living in the city. They are now brimming with those of us who absolutely loved city life –
and still do! Moving to the other side of the water, whichever side you might choose,
doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice what you love about your current lifestyle. You can
still have what you want, just in a more accessible way. I thought that moving meant
sacrificing a social life. Where would I meet like-minded parents if I wasn’t spending
every afternoon at the playground? I was so nervous about making friends, and I ended
up delighted to find villages of people wanting to connect. I thought that moving meant
sacrificing good food and shopping locally. When I was a kid, after all, the most exciting

place to go in my hometown was the strip mall. I could not have been more wrong.
There are so many incredible restaurants, and they have room to accommodate more
patrons (or at least they will once life opens up again)! There are adorable shops where
I’ve actually gotten to know the owners personally. Urburban tip: it’s a good idea to
befriend owners of shops that carry goods you like because they will give you the inside
scoop when new merch arrives! This is easy to do at school events or when you run into
each other grabbing a pizza. The community at large becomes your home.

When my parents left NYC over thirty five years ago, they were willing to give up
what the city had in exchange for more space and a quiet street. Life was different.
Those were the priorities. But now, I have what they wanted and I haven’t had to make
any trades. I have that extra space on a quiet street, and I also have a vast community
with nightlife. And, drumroll please, it actually takes me less time to get to midtown than
it did coming from my old place in Brooklyn! No sacrifice there!

So, my urban friends, take some time, fantasize a little more, and click back next
week for Part 3 when I discuss real estate. Spoiler alert: You don’t even have to mow
the lawn yourself, if that’s your preference.

Click back next week for Part 3…

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