1000 families project karen chris mischa and cassidy

1,000 Families Project: Karen, Chris, Mischa and Cassidy

One mom reflects on trading a hurried city life for slower days in a small town 300 km away.

We have never really given much thought as to whether it is better to raise kids in the city or in the country. For a child, we suspect that if their home life is happy and their family members are healthy, what they know is what they know, and either way, it’s normal. It’s right.

So we brush off the concerns of the friends and family we left in Toronto, who wonder how our kids are coping without the hustle and bustle, the sushi and subways, and we shrug off the conjecture of the friends and family we’ve gained in the cornfield, who suggest children better thrive in the open air and quiet spaces.

The kids barely registered the move 300 km away from the city where they they spent their first years. And while the children have acclimated to their new surroundings seamlessly, and my husband’s muscle memory surrounding his return to his hometown has helped him readjust, it has taken longer for me, the city mouse, to adapt to life in the country. And I am savouring every slow, new moment.

Where we once had the sounds of streetcars outside our windows, we are now lulled to sleep by the singing of cicadas, high up in the trees.

Where we once navigated the many paths and subway lines underneath the city, we now travel via a corridor of long, empty roads that are anything but lonely.

Where we once saw family at holidays or special occasions, we must now save a half-dozen seats at every school concert and ringette practice, for enthusiastic relatives will not be deterred from cheering on their nieces.

Time moves differently here. There’s no need to rush; there’s never far to go. Untethered from a full-time, demanding job, I now see my children during daylight hours, and in the halls of their school, where I have surprised myself by becoming the ultimate PTA mom.

Excitement has taken on a different meaning out here. In the city, excitement is a street festival or a day at the aquarium. In the country, excitement is catching the snake slithering through our backyard, or skating on a frozen pond. A night out means we play board games around the table in somebody else’s home.

Ask me again, once the kids are teenagers, whether we think it is better to raise kids in the city or the country, though I suspect my answer will remain the same as it is now: It is better to raise your children wherever you will all be happiest, and if you allow yourself to lead with your heart, you may be surprised at where it will take you.

This is #1000families post number 36. Do you have a family story of your own to contribute to the 1,000 Families Project? Or do you know a family that might want to do so? Learn more about how the series got started and how to get involved here. You can find all of the #1000families posts here.

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Karen Green

About Karen Green

Karen is a freelance writer and Toronto ex-pat now living in the bucolic wilds of South-Western Ontario with her husband and their two daughters. She writes a blog called The Kids Are Alright. View all posts by

'1,000 Families Project: Karen, Chris, Mischa and Cassidy' have 2 comments

  1. October 27, 2014 @ 1:25 pm Cori Howard

    Lucky you Karen! I didn’t realize I wanted to move to the country until my older son was firmly set up and so happy at school he refused to consider it. So did my very urban husband. So it’s just me and my daughter who feel the urge to escape the hustle and bustle…good to hear you’re making it work!


  2. November 26, 2015 @ 4:12 am The New Family / Podcast Episode 22: Moving the Family to the Country!

    […] Karen’s 1,000 Families story […]


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