The Good, The Bad, The Better and Home Buying in the Suburbs. 

The Good, The Bad, The Better and Home Buying in the Suburbs. 

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When I think of life in the suburbs I often think of this motherhood figure that signifies submissiveness. The caricature of a woman who has the minivan and drives it to 10 different practices a week. The one who is rushed to keep up with the Joneses while simultaneously forgetting that sanity trumps appearance. The big blonde hair, the perfectly manicured yards, the lack of culture or understanding of diversity. The woman who is all but disconnected from reality, only to really be disconnected from herself in the midst of babies, church, and presentation.

This idea led to the anxiety that the safety bubble of living in a suburban area would mean the end of what I was holding onto as valuable - art, culture, diversity, and accessibility. I envisioned my life in so many ways, always able to justify my adaptability, but giving into the full tropes of a big house in a less-than-relevant area was not one of them. I resisted, as one often does when things don’t go their way. When the houses in the small metropolitan area we resided in went from affordable to millionaire,  I told my husband “Just wait, we can afford a house on that hill overlooking the ocean in a couple years.”  Maybe we could have, maybe if I resisted for a little longer we still would have, but time has a way of sneaking up on you. I looked at my ten-year-old daughter - desperate for stability, and I realized how selfish I was being. 

With that onset of self-awareness, I took a dive and said okay to the path that life was leading me. I only saw the house once before we bought it. It was an awkward period of about 10 minutes that we anxiously looked around while the homeowners stood by and watched. There was no other house, this was it. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if We/I loved it - but we knew an opportunity when we saw it. I felt numb to the whole process - like I couldn’t celebrate the idea. I tried to buy furniture and things of that nature before we moved in, but I could barely remember what it looked like and would cancel the orders just as quickly as I placed them. Sometimes when our toddler would get tired we would drive up to it as a means towards getting her to sleep. We would cruise through the neighborhood, admire the new homes, and pause in front of ours, envisioning our life when we could pull into the garage and call it home. Even then I was critical. Holding myself back from the possibilities of joy surrounding such a big life moment. 

For the last three years, we have lived in rentals that have been less than stellar. I have been hand washing dishes, vacuuming carpet that hasn’t been changed since 1970, and piling on top of each other at night due to of lack of ease in sleep situations. I have pulled my kids from school to accommodate special needs that I didn’t feel the ones we were assigned to would be able to properly handle. Sacrificing and compliant towards this idea that lifestyle will eventually pay off. That it will pay off more to struggle through that, than it would for our immediate needs to be met. In all of this, I felt an overwhelming sense of dread. I became bitter towards motherhood, bitter towards marriage, bitter towards the area I woke up to every day. I realized that I had become the caricature I described earlier in my effort to hang on to this unfounded truth that the location we lived in determined everything. A location I wasn't even enjoying to its full potential. I had become the sympathetic caricature of the frazzled but falsely believing I could "keep-up-appearances" mother. Living life to accommodate the kids, running to 10 different appointments a week. I made choices of survival, of separation from connecting with my real self, not allowing an ounce of space to grow in the process.

We've been in the house for a little over a week now, and the freedom I feel is overwhelming. The happiness in my kids similarly overwhelming. To play outside without worry or needing observation - the older ones being able to roam free and meet kids in the neighborhood. The quiet mornings where I can cook breakfast and make coffee without disturbing the kid's sleep because of close proximities. The ability to stretch out and live life, and in return the ability to get back to the very things that I found so important - art, culture, diversity, and with a little effort, accessibility. The ability to reinvest in myself, as a woman before a mother. 

They say most millennial won’t be homeowners - avocado toast apparently the culprit - but here we are eating all the avocados with the ease and comfort of happy children around us, in the suburbs. 

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