City Mom

Recently I read a funny article about the difference between city moms and suburban moms.
It was a satire packed with sarcastic truth, and it got me wondering how much have I changed since moving to this city? Am I a city mom? Will Lily be a city kid? And what does/will that look like? What are the good and bad of both lifestyles?
  • City moms worry about the right stroller, Suburban moms worry about the right SUV or minivan
  • City kids play at the park. 100% of the time. Suburban kids play in their back yards.
  • City kids are exposed, for good or for bad. Suburban kids are sheltered, for good or for bad.
  • City kids ride the subway. Suburban kids ride horses. Or SUVs with horsepower.
  • City kids have friends of diversity. Suburban kids generally don't (they don't experience different race, culture, language, and socioeconomic position).
  • City moms can live in isolation. Suburban moms often live in neighborhoods with many other moms.
  • City kids share bedrooms and play space with their sibling(s). Suburban kids have their own rooms, toys, space.
  • City kids are independent (they learn to take the subway at a young age, they learn not to talk to strangers at a young age because there ARE strangers everywhere). Suburban kids are independent too (they have the option to play on their own in the backyard unsupervised and have their own space that isn't shared with the family all the time)
  • City kids and dependent (because they live in tight living quarters with the family, they can't go off and play wherever they want). Suburban kids are dependent too (they can't go many places without climbing into the minivan)
I see how I've changed since living here and I like it. I grew up in a small town. I lived in the 3 bedroom house with a pool and a backyard. I walked to elementary school. I was driven to high school. All my friends were very similar to me: in race, ethnicity, language, and socio-economic position. All their parents were very similar to mine. So I get it. I see the MASSIVE benefits to growing up in an environment like that. But I was also very sheltered. I had a fear of the city (i.e. Toronto). What could happen there. How people could possibly life there I never understood.

Until I moved "there". To Montreal. And fell in love with being a city girl. A city mom. A city family, I guess. Ways I've changed:
  • When I go home to the 'burbs I feel "trapped" (as far as there eye can see there are HOUSES. THAT LOOK THE SAME. SOS!)
  • When I see a truck anywhere but on a farm, I scoff. (WHY would anyone need that!?)
  • When I have to drive to places like the store or a mall, I feel wasteful, because I'd walk or metro here.
  • I feel like the house I grew up in was a mansion (note: it's not)
  • I feel like having a fancy living room and a fancy dining room as well as a normal living and a normal dining room is utter nonsense.
  • I'm much more independent.
  • I'm outside more.
  • I'm alone more, and I love it.
  • I see money completely differently (because what $300,000 can buy you here is a LOT different than what it can buy you in the 'burbs.)
  • I feel more practical with my things (there simply isn't room to own a lot of stuff, so you don't, you own/keep what you LOVE, and donate the rest to the guy down the street who needs it)
  • I feel more aware.
  • I feel more purposeful. As a mom. As a Christian. Because the cities set the trends for the world, and how I live my life HERE makes a difference. Plus Lily will be influenced by a lot worse here than in the 'burbs and it's my job to help her digest it all in a safe, Godly way)
But I'm not kidding myself, there are a lot of reasons I'd love to be a Suburb Mom, and thus, ways I haven't changed since moving here:
  • I want to buy a house that can fit a large family without being a millionaire.
  • I love the convenience of Wal-Mart, they just don't have it here.
  • I'm still materialistic, and the city is a lot more dangerous a place for that vice, let me tell you!
  • I do worry that the city will be a terrible influence on my kids and that no matter how good of a mom I am, it won't make a difference.
  • I don't love the metro when it's raining.
But God's called us to be in the city. Probably forever. Or at least a long long time. So I spend more time listening to this that thinking about how great it would be to be a Suburb mom :)


  1. "I feel more purposeful. As a mom. As a Christian. Because the cities set the trends for the world, and how I live my life HERE makes a difference."

    I feel EXACTLY the same thing as a single woman serving God in the city and I LOVE IT! God is SOO GOOD! xoxox

  2. I listened to that sermon during MPD and it only affirmed my excitement to move here. Love this post!

  3. As someone who grew up in "the city" (aka Toronto), I definitely experienced both diversity (definitely the minority as a white girl at both schools I went to) as well as independence (completely at ease with taking public transit whenever, wherever).
    I LOVED growing up in the city. I loved being exposed to so many cultures. It was my normal. I didn't know any different.
    I think it's awesome (and vital) that you are so passionate about where God has called you and ultimately, as Christians, that's what's most important.
    (BTW I totally scoff at trucks/Hummers/largeish vehicles in general - for reals. Who NEEDS that unless you work on a farm - except Hummers. No one needs those.)
    (Also, I'd totally move downtown Toronto in a heartbeat if that's where God called us. LOVE that city.)

  4. this is really interesting to me. I am the total opposite! I lived in the city for 3 years during University and I was sooo excited to move back home and buy a house in the country. It's definately not the burbs - just a small town, country village. But I feel like that's where God has called us to be and we can still make a difference. There isn't the constant hub of activity like the city but there are still lots of opportunities for lots of different experiences. And I think about the same questions, instead of worrying about teaching my children about influences, I worry about properly giving my (future) children culture and ensuring that they have an open mind and heart to people different than them and can accept God's will to move if he so wishes! Thanks for the post - definately got me thinking!!

  5. @vanessa, You said something crucial that I forgot to add. God hasn't called EVERYONE to the city. He's probably called more people here than actually have come to live and minister here, but many people are called to the burbs, small towns, etc.
    I'd love to talk to you more about what growing up in TO was like, because I have no idea and neither does Brad!
    Thanks for your comments, everyone!

  6. This is interesting because I grew up in a city. Not a city by North American standards, but it was a city (the capital, no less!) compared to the rest of the southern African wilderness around me. While I identify with most of the suburban points (I say most only because we didn't have parks but we did have diversity), and I technically still live in suburbia right now, I've come to appreciate city living through being at my bf's place. Both definitely have their advantages and disadvantages.

    BTW, since both you and Vanessa made a remark about it, there are some people that do have legitimate reasons for owning trucks in the city. (Although I do NOT see the point of the Hummer city-existence at all). I can't vouch for everyone who owns a truck, but my bf is doing major renovations on his house, and he uses his pick-up for buying new materials, taking old materials to the eco-center, etc. That kind of stuff just doesn't fit in a car.

  7. Oh yes, and although I know that shopping at Walmart is generally easy on the budget, especially for people who have to raise their own support, but I must say that I am glad you are not close to one. They are evil. I have not shopped there in the 2 years since I watched Walmart: The high price of low cost.

  8. Shar, I didn't say trucks aren't useful, I implied city folk don't really need them
    On a regular basis. I mean they come in handy doing renos or moving, but if you
    Live downtown, and aren't in a job that requires it, I don't think it's necessary. But obviously to each their own :)