To hate the suburbs(39 Posts)
Disclaimer: I know everyone's tastes are different, I'm not trying to convince lovers of suburbia that they are wrong, I'm just wondering if I'm wrong and am missing something fantastic/necessary for family life about the suburbs.
I am literally 9 months pregnant with our first child, and we have just accepted an offer on our too-small suburban house that has been languishing on the market for over a year. So we are now looking for a 'family home'.
My husband and parents (who are helping with the search due to me being mostly preoccupied with having a baby any day now) all seem to think a larger suburban family house is ideal for us.
I hate the suburbs. I have enjoyed living in the middle of a large town/city with easy walking to shops/pubs/social clubs etc and putting up with noisy terraced houses/smaller rooms/little garden etc. I have also enjoyed living in a beautiful rural house with lots of garden with space for projects and countryside to walk into and putting up with not being able to easily get to town things if you miss the one bus…
The suburbs to me though, are the worst of both worlds. None of the beauty or space of rural living, and none of the convenience of being in a city. You need to get in the car for both shopping and a countryside walk, and in fact everything because there's nothing in these suburbs but other peoples houses (which even all look the same). The houses may not be terraced but they are still crowded in close together with small gardens.
I want to do what's best for my growing family, and it certainly does seem to be a 'thing' to move to the suburbs once you have kids. So aibu to hate the suburbs and not want to live there even with a family?
I think it depends where the suburb is - I live in an 'inner' suburb in London and it's actually the best of both worlds rather than the worst. I'm in a bigger house than I would have got further in, with a garden. Lots of parks and open spaces nearby. We're on the tube (and soon CrossRail). With it being a 'family' area, there are lots of good schools and activities for children (if this baby is your first you won't yet understand the value of that, I didn't!). There are times I would love to have my zone-1 flat back, but the life I led then isn't the same as the life I lead now... I must have become suburban!
Second that it depends where in the burbs you are. We live in Bucks - walk 20mins and you get to town and tube station. Walk 2 mins (end of road), into a close and a rural footpath network. House is a 1970s creation which is the last thing I'd have chosen originally having moved from an Edwardian terrace with period features. So glad we did, easy to live in, plenty of room around us (60s/70s houses tend to have much more land around them than 80s onwards), easy to maintain, which is good as we have NO time for maintenance. It's all about life stages - in the unlikely event that all our 4 DC all leave, I will happily buy something impractical either in town or country but this works well for us now. And we have the
option of walking or using the car without fighting through masses of traffic.
It depends, I live in a suburb and can be in the city centre in 10 mins, shopping center 5 min walk, school 5 min walk. Best thing about it is kids can play out and I can rely on other mums for school runs/childcare if necessary. Depends on your priorities really.
As others have said it does depend on the area.
My mum lives in a proper miles from the nearest shops kind of suburb, and it's deadly dull. I live in what I guess is a suburb but I'm on the edge of a town centre with lots of local shops too. My nearest cafe, bar, small supermarket, restaurant and takeaway are two minutes from my front door.
I agree with you OP. There are some areas which are pretty and have good amenities (with matching house prices!) but generally suburbs I find are unattractive and isolating.
I think you will have to start a fairly intensive internet search for the kind of thing you like and present the alternative view to your DH.
I've never lived in London but I am see that the inner suburbs probably have facilities more like a town so I could totally understand that. We couldn't afford to live anywhere near London though!
The suburbs that we're looking at are all 80s / 90s / new build etc. They are nowhere near a train station (unless you get in the car). They are big estates of identical houses with maybe a one strip of non-houses comprising small extortionate food shop/fish&chips or Chinese takeaway/characterless pub if you are lucky.
When I lived rurally the nearest walkable village had three gorgeous old pubs, and a farm shop despite only having about five hours in the village!
We're in the suburbs of a very small city so it's a 20min walk to cafes etc but I can do a half hour trail run in countryside from my door.
I agree with you if you're talking about the miles and miles and miles of London suburbs - there I could only live near some kind of centre/hub.
OP - why are you looking at suburbs you don't like nowhere near a train station???
I mean really - why? You're about to have a baby. Don't whatever you do move somewhere new soulless and that you hate.
Don't. Do. It!!!
Could you live in a nice little market town? That might give you the best of both worlds?
Find a suburb with good transport links?
We moved from zone 3 to 6 when I had dc2. Love it here. Woods, walks, good schools and fast trains.
Another plus, loads of tradesmen live here. No problems finding someone to fix your boiler.
Third depends on location. Here on outskirts of Edinburgh can walk (5mins) to beach, high Street with independent shops and bus stop. Have a range of supermarkets within 20 minute walk. Bus to town is quick and frequent. Countryside for walks is also readily accessible and there's a huge variety of different property types from small modern to big old houses and everything in between. It isn't particularly cheap though.
YABU for disengaging with your housing situation and using pregnancy as an excuse!
For me the schools, journeys to work / availability of jobs and housing were most important. No way I'd want to be somewhere nowhere near a station because that would limit options for paid work.
Smaller town or city?
You may not BU, but you perhaps are not acknowledging the many advantages of the suburbs.
Same here. I can be in Princes Street ( Edinburgh) in 20 minutes. I live surrounded by ancient woodland, my 5 bedroomed house with garden cost me £210K two years ago. I have shops, restaurants, all within easy reach.
YABU for disengaging with your housing situation and using pregnancy as an excuse!
I'm not disengaging or 'using pregnancy as an excuse' for anything. I'm using being 40+ weeks pregnant and getting discomfort if I try to drive long distances and the fact that at any day I might need to drop all appointments to give birth for the first time as an excuse to accept my parents kind offer to help me house hunt.
I just mentioned it to explain why my parents would be looking at houses with me/giving their opinions.
Totally get where you're coming from, OP.
It was our exact dilemma 5 years ago when our kids were 2 and 3. I just couldn't get excited about street after street of identical houses (and it didn't help that, deep down, we really wanted a period house too!). But we worried that if we moved into the city it would be too built up, noisy, etc.
As it is, we found the perfect house for us, dropped a car because DW can cycle or walk to work and I've realised I like how interesting a city can be. It's not a massive city by any means but it's got character, certainly more than the soulless suburbs have here.
If I were you, I wouldn't dream of sticking in the suburbs. You'll always feel constrained.
why are you looking at suburbs you don't like nowhere near a train station???
Our current pace is too small, my husband bought it before we met - he works from home out of the bedroom (he used to work and sleep in there), when I moved in we gave up the lounge to have as our bedroom (all of which was supposed to be temporary until the bigger house move, but then we struggled to sell the house). Add a baby to that and we will just about cope but when they get any bigger....
In the areas my husband wants we can afford a 'built in the last 30 yrs', 4 bed, semi or detatched, with garage.
If we were closer to town/trains we could only afford an older building, say Victorian terrace, 3 or 4 beds but some of them would be smaller, no garage etc.
We simply can't afford the type of house he wants near a town centre/transport link see prices obviously go up. He feels the kind of house I'd be happy with would be too much work/noisy/not have anywhere to put his precious car.
My parents are in full agreement with him that that sort of suburban homes are the ones to go for with a family. So I'm trying to see that point of view (and failing).
If I were you and couldn't truly spare time to look I'd rent in one of the suburbs you are looking at for a few months, then decide if you like it enough to buy and also by then you would have had the baby and are hopefully in a better position to look.
Am sorry for my comment.
This is a really important decision. Important that you're not pushed into something you won't like long term, eg if returning to work.
Your parents' views aren't relevant. Also not much point in anyone viewing properties unless you've narrowed down the rough location based on schools, work, prices etc.
Perhaps rent for a while rather than commit to buying.
Suburbs can be great for kids. Growing up on a street with lots of other children around, and where it's safe enough to play outside without supervision once they hit 6 or 7, is a huge gift. But obviously don't agree to buying somewhere that has no amenities around, or is miles from public transport - there are lots of suburban options that don't have those drawbacks.
Will you work op? If so will you drive? If not then what will you do all day with your baby>toddler>child?
Think that all through very carefully before making any decisions to go with what your dh and parents say.
For my health and sanity I had to be able to walk places with the peak when ds was little.
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