Wouldn’t it be lovely to live in the countryside, I often fantastise. Wake up to early morning chirping birds, lie in bed listening to the sound of nature stirring, my breath synced with nature’s. Up early to bake bread for the family, filling the house with yeasty aroma. That is my vision of family life in the country: bucolic, laidback and simple. No loud traffic noises, police sirens and pollution.
But as a city girl through and through (I grew up in Singapore), am I built for country living?
Shopping malls and living in flats with no gardens are my stomping ground. Rolling hills and wild life are experienced through books and television.
My assessment is that it takes a very organised mum to live happily in the countryside. Local shops close early and they’re nowhere near where you live. The school run, grocery shopping and football practice all a four-wheel petrol-guzzler. When it comes to domestic matters, I am most disorganised. I’d be halfway through preparing dinner and only then realise I’m out of tinned tomatoes. In London where I live now, I can depend on my local Costcutter’s across the road, open from 7am to 1am.
Commuting is another issue. Pain is taking 60 minutes to get to the West End on a bus when it should take me half that time. Imagine travelling in and out of London. I’d be too annoyed by frustrating train journeys at the end of the day to enjoy my country house with a garden.
Then what about when the children become teenagers? By that time, all they (and their raging hormones) want to do is to get to the city. And what are the chances of them going crazy when they reach the bright lights? I mean properly crazy. I’m hoping that by bringing up the kids in London they will acquire street smarts.
In any case, I’m too addicted to the buzz of city living. Theatre and museums are easy to get to, and I love discovering tiny art galleries that are off the beaten path. There is always something happening. Walking home with the children from a play date one Friday evening – I still remember it was the first Friday in December last year. We saw a huge crowd outside McDonalds on Kingsland Road. It must have been about 100 people. They were queuing for the Long Table, a night market with food by several famous London restaurants. The children were amazed too by this queue of people which seemed to go on forever. I then asked the children if they liked living we live or would they prefer the Yorkshire Dales. And they said, “Definitely here”.
I think that settles the country versus city living question for me.
Other mums who’ve written about their country vs city living experience:
- ‘I want crowds and the thrill of London again’, says Lucy Cavendish
- London girl turns country mum
- Smug mums and the great lie about life in the country by Rachel Garnett
- City Mom: I love the smell of exhaust in the morning by Teresa Strasser
- Mumsnet: So where *is* the best place to bring up children?
If you have written a post about country vs city living and would like me to add it to the list, email me firstname.lastname@example.org