I’d Rather Be Mugged

Raising Kids in the City or the Suburbs?
Lisa Belkin, Motherlode, NY Times, February 19, 2009

When my children were young and we had just moved to a house in the suburbs, friends would come up and visit from the city. They would sit on the porch, or push their children on our swing set, and they’d explain how they had thought of moving to greener spaces — but they could never leave the museums and the theater, and they would lose their minds driving a carpool.

Then my husband and I would explain that we had thought about staying in the city — but couldn’t handle the pressure of the Manhattan school scramble or the anxiety of taking a stroller on the subway.

Space vs. commute, more sophisticated kids vs. more sheltered ones, culture vs. cost, traffic noise vs. traffic jams. Fill in your own blanks.

Each of us had made a choice we weren’t certain was the right one, because when it comes down to it, you can scare yourself raising children anywhere.

I’d love to be able to raise my kids in the city. City kids are tougher, more cultured, and more intelligent. Sheltering is the opposite of parenting. Suburbs are for sissies.

What do you think?

5 Replies to “I’d Rather Be Mugged”

  1. Jason Gendron says: Reply

    “Suburbs are for sissies”.
    So, why are you living in Saco, exactly?

  2. @Jason – Saco isn’t a suburb. I love Saco. It’s a nice quiet town with a beautiful beach.

    If I could afford to live in Manhattan or Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood I’d be very tempted to move.

    I’m a city guy, for sure.

  3. I have to admit, I’m torn between suburb and city. I love where I live because it has the small town feel, with the city not too far off. Its a nice mix that works for me. I think if I could afford to live in Boston I would, however that’s not exactly in the price range.

  4. Jason Gendron says: Reply

    I know it’s not a suburb. You just sound like you’d rather raise your kids in a city. So, Saco just kind of sounded like the opposite of where you’d really like to be. I’m also surprised to hear that you’d move to Manhattan if you could afford it. For someone that calls yourself a “true Mainer”, that’s not very loyal. 🙂

  5. @Jason – I AM a Mainer. Perhaps not a “true” Mainer, but a Mainer nonetheless.

    I do think children who are raised in the city have an advantage over children raised in the country. If money weren’t an issue I would probably live in an urban center. I’d love not to own a car, be able to visit museums and parks, and attend social and cultural events. Saco, for our money, is a wonderful place. It’s close to both Portland and Boston and it’s far away from the “country”. The population isn’t diverse and it doesn’t have a lot to offer in the way of “culture”, but it has a wonderful beach. 😉

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