My family moved to the suburbs two years ago after spending nearly 15 years in the city. Sometimes it feels like we just left. Other times it feels like life in the city was a lifetime ago.
Overall, we’re thrilled with our decision to make the move. We love the small town we chose—a super relaxed, super engaged community with A+ schools, tons of activities and tons of kids. As far as we’re concerned, we have everything we need—two gourmet grocers in (almost) walking distance, a cute downtown with a pizza place, ice cream shop, wine bar and burger joint, a library, a train station, and all the other things you need when you have two little girls on the move.
Until it doesn’t.
Until it’s 10pm and your baby food delivery is MIA.
Until you’re craving Indian food after the kids go to sleep.
Until it’s pouring and the thought of lugging an infant out to get the dry cleaning and the gallon of milk is just not happening.
Then you miss the city.
Granted, the suburbs has alternatives—but, often, they just don’t stack up. Sometimes I’ve truly missed the city, and the suburb can’t keep up?
Image: Amber Fillerup via Instagram
#1. When I need a 24-hour drugstore—now
Sure, there’s a 24-hour CVS about 25 minutes from my house BUT when it’s midnight and I’m screeching out of the PM Pediatrics parking lot, 25 minutes—and 25 minutes from—the drugstore is way more than my sick kid and I can handle. A better alternative? Dropping her back off at home then hopping down the block to a 24-hour drugstore. Bonus points if a late-night coffee shop is en route…
Image: Homemade sugar cookies via Pink Peonies
#2. When I didn’t get the paper plates/sprinkles/poster board
Kids will be kids—kids who never seem to hand over important school papers. More than once I’ve been stuck searching for disposable muffin tins, edible green glitter and heavy duty construction paper after bedtime. While none of these are too tough to find, when your local Michaels closes at 7:00pm and the grocery stores don’t open again until 8:00am, if you need something stat you could be staring down a serious witching hour—and that’s a problem.
Admittedly, I’ve been first in line at the sub-par grocer when they doors open at 8:00am—with both kids in tow, packed and ready for school drop off. In the city, though, there were always options, even if it meant hopping on the subway and heading to the late-night Target or texting every mom in the building with my latest SOS. Worst case, Task Rabbit could hook me up. Green glitter? Check and check, often without ever having to leave the building.
Image: DoorDash via Instagram
#3. When I want Indian (or soup dumplings or really good sushi…)
We have great pizza. We have okay Mexican, Chinese and American takeout. But sometimes I want something else—something I never thought twice about ordering up in NYC. Indian food now requires a 20-minute drive or a massive minimum order and delivery fee—if they’ll even deliver it when they see where I live.
While the food in the suburbs is good and restaurants are everywhere, it’s nothing like the city. It still surprises me when I can’t order something—but, then again, my old address had more than 300 available delivery spots on Seamless, and my current maxes out around 18 or 20. That’s a big difference, especially when I’m craving tikka masala.
Image: FoodKick via Instagram
#4. When I want dinner after the kids go to bed
Some nights are a race to the finish line, and the only appropriate reward seems to be a glass of wine and the perfect dinner for two—one, even. But, again, Seamless isn’t always as dinner-friendly as it is in the city. Trying to order after 7:30 or so is a fruitless affair—most places stop delivering around 8:00, with super-early cutoff, even for pick up. In the city we could order up waffles and waffle fries at 2:00am—not that we did, but we could…
Image: Stock Photo
#5. When I don’t want to leave the house…ever…
Snow. Rain. Cold. A cranky baby. They’re all legitimate reasons to hunker down at home. When we lived in the city, we could. With a little coordination, I could order up anything and everything from my dry cleaning to diapers to dosas and, likely, have it land at my door within the hour. Not so in the suburbs.
That said, suburbia is making amazing strides. Prime Now—the Amazon/Whole Food’s online ordering/delivery service—means we can get groceries within an hour or two, with little or no added fee. Seamless, Uber Eats and DoorDash have enhanced the food delivery landscape. And, yes, some places in my town have started delivering (looking at you, Wine Shop). But there’s definitely a limit. And that’s definitely why my husband’s dry cleaning will be hanging tight another week.
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