Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Country Mouse or City Mouse?

Yesterday I had lunch with one of my favorite girlfriends.  She's a sparkly little thing that reminds me of a Chihuahua that hubby and I used to have.  I mean that in the sweetest way possible.  She's tiny like a Chihuahua, has the energy and sweetness of one, and I sort of wish I could carry her around in a tote bag.  She's very refreshing to talk to, and one of the topics we chat about a lot is living in a neighborhood surrounded by people like her, as opposed to living out in a rural area where your kid can run outside naked and nobody can see him (thank God) because nobody lives close enough.

Sometimes I worry that we are doing our boys a disservice living out here.  There are things they just can't experience.  They can't run over to a friend's house and ask him to come out and play.  It's hard for them to ride their bikes far on these gravel roads.  There isn't a park we can walk to.  They'll never ride their bike to school.  Kids just aren't around here.  At school, most of their friends live in neighborhoods where they have established friendships and easily pop over to each other's homes.  That's pretty foreign to my kids.  If we want to have someone over it's kind of an event, since arrangements have to be made to bring the kids over and bring them home.  I don't get to know other moms as quickly because there are none around, and I'm sure moms would like to know me before they let their kids come over for a sleepover, or have mine over there.  So that can be tricky.

I think some of the benefits of living in a neighborhood are huge.  You have people looking out for you, and looking out for your kids.  There's a sense of community.  You're closer to Target (yes, that's huge).  Your cars aren't always covered in road dust.  You can have a garage sale.  There are babysitters around.  Kids to play with.  People to borrow sugar from.  Do people really do that?  I like to imagine they do.  You can stand in each other's driveways and chat.  And, like my friend was telling me yesterday, you can walk over to a friends house with a bottle of wine.  And then you get to walk home.  Crazy!

But people also know your business.  They know when you're coming and going.  If you're yelling at your kids out the window while you're peeing, they hear you.  If they come over to borrow a cup of sugar when you're not expecting them, they might see your house messy and judge you.  If your kids are arguing outside, they see it.  If you invite one neighbor over and not another neighbor, you could be causing drama.  It seems like sometimes it can feel like living in a fishbowl.

Out here we do have total privacy.  My kids have been able to run outside and play for hours without me worrying about them since they were very young.  We can have huge fires in our firepit and not worry about getting in trouble.  We can have parties with tons of people and everyone has a place to put their car. The kids can run around in wide open spaces or go exploring in woods and climbing trees.

I can play my music obnoxiously loud and the neighbors aren't bothered.  I can sit out on my porch in a t-shirt and underwear if I want and never worry about anyone seeing me.  It may take me a while to mow the grass, but I have a sweet mower and I get to sit down while I mow.  We can have chickens.  We could have a huge vegetable garden (we don't but we could).  I have an absolutely clean view of the stars.  My sunsets and sunrises are amazing.  When we do have other kids come over they run around like crazy people the whole time, and go home super tired to very happy parents.

I have a tree-lined driveway.  That's worth saying twice:  I have a tree-lined driveway.

The hubby has lots of space for all his boy things, like a giant man-cave.  My sister had her wedding here, and it was really pretty.

Hubby and I grew up in the 'burbs, surrounded by lots of other families and kids, and we were very happy growing up that way.  Raising kids out here isn't something that comes naturally to us, we're just hoping it all works out.  We've asked the kids occasionally if they wish they lived in a neighborhood.  They know that if we did they'd have more access to friends.  But they say they don't want to leave.  So they must be happy enough here.  Hopefully it's not just that they don't know anything else, but who knows?  As for me, I think I'm pretty happy being a country mouse now.


  1.'s like you climbed into my brain, took out my feelings and jotted them down in a lovely blog...we debated about 7 years ago when I was pregnant with baby #2 and actually put an offer in on a neighborhood house, before regaining or remaining bit of sanity and withdrawing the offer. We love our 5 acre, large garden, chicken cooped, barn with a sweet kids loft, and 4 hours of mowing per week on our sweet John Deere mower. My husband loves his detached 4 car sized garage with every tool possible plus his tractor good for everything yard like including snowplowing OUR tree lined long driveway. We do not regret the fact that our kids love the outdoors and their friends and parents love the opportunity to run and discover the outdoors also. I do appreciate the difficulties in making friendships, both kids and me...we just work a little harder and we get to make a few choices...LOVE THIS BLOG! Thanks.

  2. Awwwwwwwww! woof woof! I love you and I'll trade you my neighborhood for your beautiful sunsets and being able to yell at my boys while peeing!! ;)

  3. I believe we have the best of both worlds. When you have a hankering for some suburban life you come on over (and the bottle of wine is always welcome.) And we get to celebrate holidays and fall farm style. I get giddy when I see your picture of the tree lined driveway. I think its a win win for all of us and I love it.