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Brooklyn, Modern Perspectives, Motherhood, Young Married Mom

June 25, 2012

City Life, Country Life

Every time I’m pregnant, within a week of learning the news, the same thought crosses my mind: it’s time to move to New Jersey.


When John and I got married, we moved from our parents’ houses, respectively, to an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Never in my life did I think I’d live in New York City. Well, not until I realized I wanted to work in publishing. As for many other industries, New York is something like the headquarters of the publishing world. That, and the fact that John already had a job in New York before we graduated from college meant the city would be our home, for a few years at least.


Enter Baby One. When I told John I was pregnant with Jacob, practically my next sentence was, “We’re moving to New Jersey.” Our parents are still in the houses we grew up in, and they are six minutes apart by car. Sure, living in a city like New York is a unique and irreplaceable education for a child, but having four living grandparents as a routine element of his life is more important in my mind.


We considered our options and decided that New Jersey wasn’t right for us yet. John’s hours are long without being ridiculous, but we knew the commute would mean that he would have very little time with our very little one during the week. Instead, we did what ninety percent of expectant couples in Manhattan do: we moved to Brooklyn.


Enter Baby Two. When we found out I was pregnant with Ethan, John and I had a similar talk. This time, the conversation focused on the practicality—or impracticality—of our apartment. When we moved in, it seemed like we could easily have two children in the apartment. Once it looked like that was going to be a reality, we reconsidered. Jacob had recently exhibited signs of a sleep diva, and the thought of no one in our family sleeping for months on end was terrifying.


We couldn’t move again, though, partially out of principle and partially out of the expense of movers, a broker’s fee, and the possibility of paying rent for two apartments in the same month. Unfortunately, I have an uncanny ability to get pregnant with a due date within two weeks of a lease’s expiration.


When that pregnancy ended, I didn’t know where I wanted to be. I thought I might want to be closer to family, should we lose another child. On the other hand, Brooklyn was working, and despite the rough spots in those weeks before I found out about Baby Three, it has very much become our home.


So here we are with Baby Three growing and growing! Again, I have thought to myself, “It’s time to move to New Jersey.” But as much as I love being with both our families in the same weekend when we visit, I don’t think I’m ready for suburban life.


Do you know why? Car seats.


I used to love being in the car, either behind the wheel or in the passenger seat. Now that I’m accustomed to city life—and city life with a child, mind you—I can’t imagine a life that doesn’t happen by walking and the occasional subway ride.


In a single afternoon, in a single trip, I can drop off clothes at the dry cleaners, pick up a book from the library, take a walk through the park, grocery shop, and pick up my washed and folded laundry without stopping at home, without fastening or unfastening a car seat buckle. Jacob’s either in the stroller or I’m carrying him our ErgoBaby carrier (the best one out there, by the way). We talk, we have snacks, we get a good dose of Vitamin D. Who knew city life could be this appealing?


Then I imagine all those errands with TWO babies in the suburbs, and while I know people do it—I know my parents did it—I just don’t see how. It seems like things must take forever.


I’m sure someday that will be my reality. It’s only a matter of time until I look back on our city years and think, “How in the world did I do that?” But for right now, Brooklyn is the place for me.

  1. ha! Car seats are absolutely the bain of my existence most days. Hands down, it’s the #1 thing that can get Zoe from 0-60 in a second flat. Not to mention the bending over…. or the MESS. I could go on =) I can’t imagine running all the errands that you listed in an easygoing afternoon, and enjoying it. Almost makes me want to move to the city…. or a city built on walking that is.

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