This post is sponsored by Suburban Jungle.
I moved out to San Francisco right after college and I loved the city. I loved the views, walking the city streets, going to the most eclectic and delicious restaurants in the world, the opera and the ballet – the list goes on. It’s where I started my career, went back to school for my Master’s degree, and it is where I met my husband. I gave birth to all three of my children in San Francisco, too. I was a die-hard city girl turned city mom and I’ll be darned if I was ever going to leave. We had our eldest daughter in an amazing bilingual school, we bought our first home, and on a warm Sunday afternoon we would walk to the farmers market before heading to Crissy Field with magical views of the Golden Gate Bridge – we felt as though we were always on vacation.
So, why would we leave these amazing views and move to the suburbs? As great as the city was, there were downsides to living there once we became a family of five. Space being the #1 issue, but there were other factors as well. Suddenly, the idea of owning a mini-van and having a backyard where the kids could actually go outside to play felt very appealing.
How do you know if you are ready to make the move? Here are eight signs that the ‘burbs might be calling your name.
You would rather spend your money on a spa day than on parking tickets.
In 2015, San Francisco collected a total of $88,261,220 in parking tickets. Yep, you read that number correctly. Frankly, I honestly don’t want to think about the hundreds of dollars it personally cost me a year. Between street cleanings, meters running out, parking 1 mm over a white line, or forgetting to renew my residential parking permit, the tickets added up. Who has time to think about all of this when you have errands to run, children to pick up/drop off, and a conference call for work all before 10:00 AM? And just when you thought parking karma was on your side, you forgot to read the street cleaning sign. There goes $64.
You want your kids to go to a school in your neighborhood.
You just spent $18,000 per year on preschool, and you just really aren’t in a position to pay $30,000 a year for private school. So, you decide to join the lottery to attend a San Francisco public school. Only the school you are accepted to is halfway across the city and in the opposite direction of your other child’s drop off. Not to mention it’s rated a 5/10 school on Great Schools. Your friend, who recently moved to the suburbs, has a child attending 10/10 school that is three blocks from her house. Hmmm, what a novel idea to have your child go to the school in your neighborhood to help make life more convenient.
You want to grill on a summer night.
Let’s face it: going out to dinner with small children is just not fun. Wouldn’t it be great to have friends over with their kids and throw food on the BBQ? Only your BBQ is down a flight of stairs and the wind is blowing so hard that you can’t keep the grill lit. You are wearing a comfy cashmere cardigan, plus even more layers, and it’s JULY! Moving out of the city to the suburbs allows for many summer nights with kids running around in the grass while you throw down steaks on the grill and drink a nice glass of Cabernet.
The idea of having a backyard for the kids to play in while you make dinner sounds like free babysitting.
In the city, your local park becomes your backyard. I often found myself at the park post afternoon naps around 4:00 – 5:00 PM. When it was time to leave, I would realize that I did not prepare anything for dinner and the idea of cooking with the little ones around was not going to happen. I would end up walking to a local restaurant and ordering food that my kids may or may not eat but for sure would end up mostly on the floor. My husband had a long commute from work so dinnertime with the little ones was on me. Now, we have a backyard with real grass, a swing set, and space to run around and play. As long as it’s not raining, the little ones are often outside playing while I am cooking dinner and glancing out the window to make sure all is okay.
You would like to have fewer dents on your car.
I don’t know about you, but I would break into a sweat when trying to fit my SUV into a parking spot at Whole Foods in SF. I sure wish they’d paint their poles black to match my car because having yellow and blue paint marks just didn’t look pretty. Not to mention the time I came back to my car only to find someone had backed into me and didn’t leave a note. Parking at the grocery stores in the ‘burbs is such a treat. It actually makes food shopping a pleasure. Guess what was one of the first things I did after moving to the ‘burbs? Yep, I bought a mini-van.
Someone or something is always waking your baby up from a nap and you are over it.
Whether it was the Tuesday noon siren, the frequent fire trucks, or a UPS delivery person ringing the doorbell three times in a row, it felt like as soon as I got my little one down for a nap one of these loud interruptions would occur. I longed for a couple hours of just . . . silence. Now in the ‘burbs, when my little ones nap, I can hear birds chirping outside, an occasional dog barking, or the sound of my television if I actually decide to sit down and relax.
You prefer nature to nightlife.
I love dining out in SF with its plethora of amazing restaurants. Although San Francisco does not have a nightlife as compared to New York or LA, there were many times I went ‘bar hopping’ with friends post -dinner. Even after our first daughter was born, my husband and I would check out a new bar and stay out past midnight. As you get older and have a second or third child, the thought of getting home super late and possibly having a hangover is just not as appealing knowing you have little ones waking up early the next morning. Getting a good night’s sleep and rising early to head out in nature is just so refreshing. Whether it’s the breathtaking hikes in Marin County, the beauty of Mt. Diablo in the East Bay, or the calming Crystal Springs Lake on the Peninsula, the suburbs of SF have some of the most spectacular scenery in the United States.
You no longer care about walking to a cool coffee shop or actually even walking at all.
You once considered a leisurely stroll through the streets of San Francisco and finding the coolest new coffee spot an amazing and relaxing afternoon. But once you have kids, you basically need a Nespresso machine next to your bed. The thought of having to leave your house to walk and get coffee sounds like a major hassle. In fact, walking anywhere in San Francisco with a stroller and kids often feels like a major feat. The hills that make this city so unique are nothing but a huge burden when you have a stroller. Luckily, I lived in a flat area and near the water, but this meant I rarely left my neighborhood without a car. And once your child enters school and has after-school activities, you end up basically living in your car as if you were in the suburbs, anyway. And I don’t know about you, but driving in the suburbs is way less stressful than city driving.
If you’re ready to give the suburbs a try, reach out to Suburban Jungle, an entirely free service that works with you to match your family with the town that best suits your needs. With offices in New York, Chicago, Boston, and LA, they can even help you relocate outside of the Bay Area. We tried it out a few years ago, and you can read more about how it works here.
Tell us what you think? Why are you staying put in the city, or what’s making you ready to leave?