New Mama Musings

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Location, Location, Location

I'm going to get right to the point: I hate where we live.

Not the house; the house itself is a lovely 1931 bungalow with Spanish plaster, coved ceilings, hardwood floors, and leaded glass windows.

And if I could move it about fifteen miles northeast of here, I'd be in heaven.

We used to live about fifteen miles northeast of here, in another cool and even older house, on what's known as the eastside. But it was too close to college kids who liked to leave parties at 3:30 in the morning -- weekends, weekdays, it didn't matter -- yelling, fighting, breaking bottles in the street, and peeing on the lawn. My husband and I were trying to get pregnant and I couldn't envision having a new baby at home with that going on outside. It wasn't all the time, but I knew the first time it woke up the baby I would be furious and I just didn't need that kind of stress.

At the same time my stepkids were getting older and bigger and the house seemed to be shrinking. They would take over the livingroom to play video games and I felt like there was nowhere for me to go and read a book. The house was also loud; its open staircase and squeaky stairs made it hard to be quiet even when we were trying to be.

So I had this crazy idea that we should move out to the end of town the kids' mom is on. Houses are much cheaper here so we could afford a nicer, larger home on a quiet street. The plan was to stay here until my second stepson graduated from high school (my stepdaughter is three years younger than he is, but since she has Down syndrome we figured she wouldn't be coming and going like the boys are anyway) and then move back to the aforementioned desirable part of town.

I knew going into this that the kids' end of town was working class, unhip and definitely not liberal. What I failed to calculate was how much this would bother me. I foolishly thought, hey, we just hang out in our house most of the time and when we want to go somewhere fun we can just drive back to the eastside.

Yeah. That's what I thought. I completely underestimated how important it is to feel like I belong where I live. How stepping out my front door and seeing sign after sign saying "Support Our Troops" on an American flag backdrop would kill my soul. How hearing moms threatening to spank their kids' butts in the local Walgreens would depress me. How big of a deal not having a neighborhood coffee shop to hang out in would be. And how having a TV in the children's library blaring Elmo's World would cause me great dismay.

When I tell people where I live, I always, always qualify it: "We used to live on the eastside; we just moved here to be closer to my stepkids and have more room for them; we're planning on moving back to the eastside in a few years."

I wonder sometimes if other people really are judging me for living where I do or if all the verbal gymnastics just make me sound like a snob. As my husband said, though, I'd rather sound like a snob than seem like I don't realize the truth about where I live. Which also sounds snobbish, but there you have it.

The worst part of all of this is that I feel like I'm putting my life on hold until we move again. We're putting our time in here, my husband said. I don't really want to get to know the neighbors, or form attachments, or get involved in the community. I don't want Henry to make friends with the kids down the street who pretend to shoot their toy guns at passers-by. I don't want to spearhead a "pesticide-free parks" campaign because almost everyone sprays their own lawns anyway. I don't want to hang out with Henry in the local library while another mom complains that I turned off the television.

I should mention here that I realize this is a minor problem in the scheme of things. Hell, I shouldn't call it a problem at all in light of what's going on in the world. But as my eighteen-year old nephew would say, we're not talking about other people...we're talking about me and my life. (It's hard to refute that statement, isn't?)

We've been here two-and-a-half long years now and while I no longer feel the desperation I did in the beginning, I still regret moving here. And so my husband and I have called a mortgage broker and our realtor, and we plan on moving sometime next year...two years earlier than we originally intended.

It's amazing what a short-term goal can do for your attitude. I'm already packed in my mind.


  • I *completely* understand!

    When I first quit work to stay home, we moved "out west" to save money (and we did...half the price for 2x the apartmen), but we KNEW that we'd move back East at the first possible chance.

    Adding to your observations of things out West is my fave: parents who take their kids to the park and then sit there, smoking and swearing at their kids and refusing to play with them, oh and not doing small talk with other parents either. I still remember what kicked our house-searching into high gear. We were on the East side for some reason and we had time "between things" so stopped at a park. We were *immediately* approached by other parents who wanted to know our kids' names, how old they were, what school they'd be going to, etc. And small talk. They made small talk with us WHILE pushing their kids on the swings...

    I'm so glad to be back home! :) Best of luck to you in finding a perfect place.

    By Blogger bfmomma, at 8:31 AM  

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