General Question

lifeflame's avatar

How does having a child changed your perception of the city (and city living)?

Asked by lifeflame (5790 points ) January 20th, 2008

How has having a child changed the meaning of what you do? Your work… your purpose in life?

Are there things (ways of living, your environment) you would consider acceptable for yourself, but decided to change when you found out that you were having kids?

Were there any values that you held, that you’ve compromised on/changed after you had kids?

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27 Answers

gooch's avatar

To answer your first question Living in the city is better if you have kids. (I personally hate the city) The reason for this is thathospitals are closer and your child learns more because of exposure to more.

christybird's avatar

This is an interesting question… I don’t have much to contribute myself (being currently childless) but I’ve always wondered why so many people have a kid and suddenly feel this intense need to move to the suburbs.

TheKitchenSink's avatar

Er, that’s grammatically incorrect. Rather glaringly. Either change it to ”...has a child changed…” or ”...does a child change…” , depending on what you’re trying to ask.

Are you asking from our personal experiences? Then the former.

Are you asking hypothetically? Then the latter.

It appears to be the former, but I’m somewhat confused as to the content of the question until further clarification.

joli's avatar

I stayed in the city to expose my daughter to culture and the different kinds of people. I wanted her to know how to have an open mind to different experiences, varied diet and the many ideas about life. San Francisco is a very kid friendly city. (The rent is what kills you but the trade-off worked for me.) When she went to her first year in college she complained the school, (Marin county), wasn’t diverse enough.

Eight's avatar

I raised my kids in the city (Seattle). Just had to be real clear about crossing street (and alley ways) and paying attention. But they grew up loving the diversity and culture and when they went off to college they both went to New York (or, returned to the old country). They both stayed in East Coast cities but miss Seattle. I suspect they may relocate here to raise their own families (I can dream).

lifeflame's avatar

Yeah, it’s grammatically messy because, being greedy, I wanted to ask both groups of people!
For those of us who are currently childless (myself included), but are contemplating having kids in the future, yes, I’m interested in your hypothetical answers.
And of course, for those of you who have actual experiences… well, nothing beats real life stories.

This question actually came from an interview a journalist asked of my father (a local environmentalist), I thought it was an interesting one and worth seeing what other people thought.

Bri_L's avatar

@ TheKitchenSink “Rather glaringly” eh? There are ideals for politeness just as there are rules for grammar. If you are truly interested in helping people, you should run your reply through those before you post. Maybe try “I’m sorry but I am a bit confused, could you mean….” That way it expresses your confusion in a way that allows for clarification without the needless “Rather glaringly” commentary that could easily be construed as the belittlement of the persons’ intellect or abilities. Anyway, your semantics dance is pointless. Especially if you read a little further on. 3 of us were able to derive the meaning of his/her question from the rest of the text, or even without it. I would hate to think someone might read your response to their question and be discouraged from asking another one because of it. This may be the only venue some people feel comfortable asking questions for fear of looking as stupid as your kind of commentary would have them look. I don’t mean to suggest you lifeflame.

Sorry, but I find non-topical, nit-picking and condescention abhorrent. Enjoy picking mine apart.

@ joli I would have loved to stay in San Francisco for a while with my kids. It was a beautiful city that had so much to show.

@ Eight Seattle was very beautiful as well.

My wife and I lived in Alameda, CA until we decided to have kids and then decided, in the interest of being able to afford a house and being near both our families, to move back to the Milwaukee area. We live 35 min out of the city. No street lights. Every environment has its ups and downs. You just have to teach the kids the rules, as Eight said. Streets, strangers etc.

lilakess's avatar

While cities have a lot of pluses in terms of exposure to culture and diversity, good food etc., they can be tough in terms of logistics, like, how easily can I get my kid in her stroller (before she can walk) up into that store, or down the steps of the subway. As bland as the suburbs can be, you realize once you have a kid, how incredibly convenient they are; well designed for their purpose.

Eight's avatar

@lilakess: Convenient? If you have a car, and drive to and from to that store or Chuck-E-Cheeze. ‘Nuff said.

Robby's avatar

Living in the city myself. They both have there ups and downs. I think living in the city with a child, depending where in the city you live can be a lot more dangerous than living in the suburbs. However it can have great benifits as well. Like being around a mix of people and life styles. From growing up in the best of both worlds, Being born in the city and urban life I had to learn how to fight as a kid. ( Don’t ever let anyone tell you living in the city is easy) Living in the suburbs, I loved the peace and quite, and friendlier environment. ( Is it me, or does it seem like people from the suburbs have deeper closets then people from the city??LOL

MormonSoprano's avatar

We lived in a rural area when our children were small. We chose to live there and have my husband make a long commute because we thought it would be the best place to raise our children. We loved the fact they could go outside and play in the fields or walk down the street to a friends house and not worry about them. We knew all of our neighbors and things were peaceful and quiet. However, there were drawbacks. Things were too quiet. I felt lonely and isolated as a young mother. There were no stores, malls or places to congregate with other young mothers. Our family time was limited due to my husband’s long commute. Other young families started building homes there and moving in. However, this caused our community elementary school to quickly became overcrowed and understaffed. Our home taxes went through the roof, as they were the only income base for city infrastructure.

Then life and jobs changed and we moved our family to the city. I could not allow my children to play outside without being with them at all times. I discovered our street was popular for drive-by drug deals, and the homeless liked to wander our area stealing and panhandling. On the plus side, there were very nice places nearby within walking distance. There was great public transportation. The elementary school provided a superb gifted education program and our children had many diverse friends. Large parks, museums, shopping centers, restaurants were all at our disposal. My husband could be home quickly at the end of the day for more family time. I enjoyed all those things very much! However, I never felt 100% comfortable and safe there.

Then we moved to the suburbs. We finally had a safe neighborhood again, but still a lot to do nearby! It seems the best of both worlds. Ironically, I work full-time now and don’t get to socialize with my neighbors during the day much. My children are teenagers, so instead of being the ones to play in the yard, or the neighborhood park, they are now the babysitters watching the other children play! :)

So, bottom line is that there are positive and negative aspects of all the places we choose to raise our children. The biggest desire of every parent is to provide the perfect life for our children! It’s the maternal and paternal instinct to protect our young. What we really want is for them to have happiness. We realize we can’t always provide this, no matter how hard we try. But we know that we can achieve some success with a safe environment, a good education, and nice friends. The general perception is that the suburbs or a rural area will provide these things easier than a big city. Obviously, each situation is unique. There are certainly some places in large cities that are definitely NOT kid friendly! But as mentioned, there are pros and cons to all places.

Unfortunately, most people do not have complete freedom to choose where they want to live. Our job location and our financial situations often decide this for us. Sometimes we have to make the most of the situation we have for our children. Being a part of their lives as dedicated parents is much more important in the end than their location.

deaddolly's avatar

chose to have my child by artificial insemenation and never once wanted to leave the city.
even as a single parent, the opportunities for kids in the cities is boundless. i was raised in both the city and burbs…the kids in the rural areas had nothing to do and drank, did drugs out of boredom. Kids in the city saw the aftermath of what the consequences were if you were a stoner etc.
my daughter is now in college in chicago and is well equiped to deal with all the issues living in a bog city brings. we spend our life preparing them for the real world…what’s more real than the city. my sister has 3 kids and all live in small towns…and they have small town mentalities. the world is so huge, with so many different ppl—let your kids experience it fully.

krose1223's avatar

As far as the city thing goes I would personally suggest staying out of small towns. Just because I live in one and I blame that for me getting knocked up in high school. I think a good in-between would be best. Small towns have too much drama and there’s nothing to do but get drunk and have sex. Bigger cities you have more worries for the safety… A nice happy medium is big enough to keep your kid busy and safe. As for the other part of the question; my son is my world. Everything is second best next to him. I work full time and go to school one hour short of full time so I really don’t have much free time being a single mom. On my days off I really don’t want to do anything but hang out with my little boy. Don’t get me wrong, I need a day off every now and then to go out and be young… But I start to miss him and am more than ready to get home when it is time. I love it. I love being a mom. I never would have thought I would be this way. I got pregnant at a young age and I thought it would be hard to change… I didn’t even try. I never could have imagined loving someone so much.

deaddolly's avatar

or a medium town, close to a big city.

fundevogel's avatar

I don’t have I kid, but if did I might have to re-evalutate my devil-may-care attitude toward bum piss.

But I’d probably just relocate to a more fragrant part of the city.

YARNLADY's avatar

Having a child changed my attitude toward myself, but not about where to live. I lived in so many different places as a child that I am very flexible, and so is my first son. My younger son has a very difficult time with changes, as he has grown up in the same house I now live in.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Absolutely not
I have 2 kids and I love raising them in NYC
I think they’ll greatly benefit from it

Warpstone's avatar

Great question! The simplest answer is that everything is new again with my kids. Not only am I experiencing the city at 2ft high through their questions and excitement, but I’m having them point out issues like homelessness, garbage, greenspace (or the lack thereof) that I’ve become inattentive or numb too.

fajitaphread's avatar

Children are the most wonderfully terrifying thing that ever happened to me. My son (now 22) grew up in a very rural town. We were lucky enough to give him exposure to more, both in our home and in travel. He has grown up with a strong work conviction (mostly) and somewhat better morals than mine (probably from his mother). We now live outside a small city and, although they are very different children, my 9 year old daughter seems to be on the same path. I really don’t think it’s the location.

I had a friend who would tell me ‘good job’ whenever my children did something well. I asked him why he did that. His reply was “They didn’t get there on their own.” Although I know a few that did, most seem to have been influenced by the hearts of their parents. Not what they professed but what they did. Love them, teach them, it will be the most terrifyingly wonderful thing thing that ever happens to you, anywhere.

mally03's avatar

My kids are the reason I live out in the country, nuff said.

Ron_C's avatar

We quickly realized that the school district where we lived, in Virginia, was not the place for our kids. We either had to send them to private school (catholic school) which we both dreaded or move. We moved to Pennsylvania and they had to test our kids because the Virginia standards didn’t meet our new school districts. Fortunately, our kids were very smart and self-disciplined and were allowed to stay at their grade level.

They graduated at the top of their class and went on to successful college and business careers. They take the same care with their kids.

We would never have moved, and improved, if it wasn’t for our kids.

Snorkledorf's avatar

I grew up in the heart of a big city, and at the same time went by bus to a private school in a ritzy suburb an hour away, so I spent my childhood living in two worlds. The people in the city had what I can see now as “rough” city views, and I had friends of every ethnicity. The kids in school tended to have much narrower, if milder, suburban-type attitudes. They were also 99% white which even as an elementary school student struck me as weird.

Both sides had nice kids that I became friends with, so I wound up personally experiencing the fact that income and ethnicity and religion and whatnot are all pretty irrelevant; there are nice people everywhere if you just look for them.

I think that served me well.

Coloma's avatar

I chose to raise my daughter ( NOW 22 ) in the country after years of city dwelling.

It was the bohemian hippie side of me that wanted to give her a rural experience with all the farmy pets and garden growing and nature/wildlife connection.

She was exposed to travel and plenty of diversity, and she has turned out to be quite diverse, open minded and embraces the best of both worlds.

I have no regrets, lots of fond memories of our little mountain ranch, good schools, and she is a complete nature nut like her mama. I still live in the country and she is in a neighboring city, loves to come hang out in the forest with all the critters still. :-)

john65pennington's avatar

Safety issues, you may not have thought of before having a baby, will enter your mind. now that you have a baby to also protect, you will find yourself more on the defensive each time you go shopping with your child and rightly so. john

miki's avatar

@Bri_L my thoughts exactly. Thank you.

livingchoice's avatar

My husband and I first heard a message about leaving the cities back in 2005. However because of our financial situation we were unable to move. Now that we have two little boys under the age of three we were more motivated to get out of the city for their sake. We are currently in the process of moving to a quite place in PA becaude:

1. There are too many bad influences (cursing, swearing, women dressing naked, billboards, vulgar music from cars, smoking) in the cities
2. Our children will develop better characters in an clean, peaceful environment with limited outside influences.
3. Destruction are coming to the cities according to http://backtoenoch.org/out-of-the-cities.html
4. I can be more self sufficient in the country and not depend on the government when things begin to turn south. (growing your own food is a major plus)
5. My kids will have 6.4 acres to roam and explore nature

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

The big difference for me was wanting a yard (for swimming pools, trampolines, lawn games), so I said goodbye to the apartment and hello to the burbs.

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