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I’m a City Girl through and through. Growing up between New York City and Rome, I have the hustle and bustle of city life deep in my bones. I grew up playing in city playgrounds, taking the subway to school, and walking down the city sidewalks at a pace that makes me look insane when I do it on the streets of my current suburban town. In short, I never expected to be living small-town life, much less be raising my kids in one. But the funniest part is that I LOVE it. I really, truly love living in a smaller, coastal Connecticut town. But the road here wasn’t without its bumps and adjustments, and I feel like I learned so much along the way about my own preconceived notions… and the realities versus the fantasies.
It all started when Kyle and I decided to move from Los Angeles back east. It was a tough decision to move since we had such tight friendships from eight years in Los Angeles. And a great community! But Kyle had been working in Connecticut since our first year of marriage…and commuting back and forth to Los Angeles. Before kids, this arrangement was tough at times but manageable. Once we had Marlowe, it was a nightmare. I was constantly parenting on my own, with the expectation of parenting with a partner, and it really took its toll on me. When I got pregnant with Major, we realized that we all needed to be together under one roof. We first moved to a family home in Westchester while we looked for a home to buy. The house was in the middle of the woods which was a HUGE culture shock for me. I was newly pregnant with Major, so sick, and didn’t have any childcare or family to help with Marlowe. I didn’t even have cell service! I felt super isolated and instantly regretted our decision. We had already sold our home in Los Angeles, though, so we had to make a move somehow. Kyle had grown up in Westport, CT and we had visited a few times during our marriage. I loved the town, but it was a little too close for comfort for Kyle so we decided to check out homes in nearby Weston. Weston is beautiful, but also very woodsy. One of the draws of living in Weston is how much land is parceled out for each home. If you’re looking for privacy and land it is THE greatest. We found a home that we fell in love with, and decided to just go for it!
What I didn’t realize was that being in such a new type of lifestyle (we literally couldn’t hear another person or see anyone unless we drove 15 minutes into town) would really rock my world in a time of great transition. All of a sudden, I was a new Mom of two little kids who also worked from home…and who now lived in the woods in a brand new state all the way across the country from my entire support system. I was extremely depressed. It made me feel like a suburban life was just not for me. Then, I started exploring a bit. I took it upon myself to get to know the surrounding areas and all the cute small towns and farms that make Connecticut so unique. I started realizing that, even if there wasn’t much going on near my literal backyard, there was SO much going on in my state! Branching out a bit also helped me meet new people!
And speaking of new people, let’s talk about making new friends, in a new town, when you’re in your thirties: HARD. Without walking around my neighborhood much, and being so isolated, I felt that it was even harder! I started Marlowe in preschool, but there was a pretty equal mix of nicer, friendly Moms who wanted to connect…and Moms who totally Mean Girl-ed me. Sigh. But it wasn’t always easy connecting with the nice moms I met! I’ll admit, I did feel a little excluded at first as a Mom who worked full time. At first, when I’d meet women with small kids like me, they usually were stay-at-home Moms…and our schedules just didn’t line up. They were free to meet up at the playground at 11 am, but I was free to go for drinks or dinner in the evening when they were looking forward to spending time with their partners. It made me feel like I was doing the wrong thing in building my company and made me feel like I would have to choose between my business and having a community in my new town. It also made for some awkward false starts to friendships that just didn’t go anywhere because I didn’t have the schedule to take them to the next level.
But then…I branched out. I started having random lunches with friends of friends who knew somebody in my town (basically Blind Friend Dates. LOL). I joined social groups and dinner clubs. I started meeting more people, and as soon as I met one or two Moms who were balancing that work/life juggle like I was, I started to meet other people in their circles who were doing the same. Not to say that ALL of my friends work full time. They don’t. But it’s nice to have women in my friend group who I can relate to on that level, so we can talk about how shit I feel I’m doing at Motherhood sometimes when the work/life balance is anything but balanced. Now, I feel like I’ve met a really wonderful group of women who are all so supportive of one another, and so different from each other! It’s really cool to spend time with people who grew up in cities as I did, AND people who grew up right here in Connecticut! I learn so much from them all.
The biggest change in my feeling living in the suburbs, though, started when my kids started full-time school, and we moved to Westport. We chose a home that is walking distance to town, and that made a HUGE difference. Since I work from home, I realized that it is so much better for my mental health if I can walk and be around other people daily outside of my family. Even if I’m just literally walking by them on the street. It is the perfect mix of having a yard and space but also having that balance of the town shops and streets with a more paced energy. I don’t feel as isolated anymore, and I’ve become completely obsessed with all of the perks that suburban life brings: incredible public school education, countless outdoor activities for my kids, adorable neighborhood antics and block parties, a strong sense of local community, and so much access to great local produce. We even have our own big vegetable garden now! I also love how little traffic there is. For me, coming from Los Angeles, this was a game changer.
Now, I notice a shift when I leave the suburbs and come into the city. I get irritable and easily overwhelmed, and I find it so loud and almost TOO fast-paced. My younger self would slap me across the face for saying such a thing, but it’s true! I’m always really happy to come home to our peaceful yard and my quiet street. I feel like it’s something I didn’t know I needed, and I feel SO grateful to have the opportunity to have that type of peace in my life. There are things I definitely miss about New York City and Los Angeles, but I don’t think I could ever go back now to being a full-time city dweller.
I’d love to hear from you if you made a big move from a city to the suburbs, and what you experienced in terms of adjusting!