I welcome change
I hate change. And yet I crave it. I’m a creature of habit, but I get uncomfortable and frustrated when my life becomes stagnant. Living in the suburbs of Southern California was supposed to be temporary. 2 years—max. Enough time for my ex and I to save up money and move back up north which we both agreed was a much better environment to raise our son.

Welp, 11 years later, things didn’t go quite as planned. The ex and I split and there I was, stuck just trying to keep a roof over my son’s head. I don’t necessarily regret staying in this area for so long, (even though I have nothing but horrendous memories I wish I could lance out of my brain), because I provided stability and a somewhat decent environment for my son for the first 11 years of his life.

But we’ve exhausted our time here, and while I would have loved to give my boy a nice suburban upbringing with extracurricular activities ad nauseam and vacations once a year, I just can’t. So I’ve decided to do the only thing I can think of to bring some free diversity and experience into my child’s sheltered life—move to a big city. Chicago to be exact. Yes, I know it’s freaking cold and windy there. And yes, I know it will be a huge culture shock. My son may hate it. I may hate it. The diva, who doesn’t like weather below 70 degrees, will definitely hate it.

But here’s the logic behind this move: I want my boy to be exposed to different cultures, food, customs, colors of skin, mindsets. If he winds up not being college-bound I want there to be a plethora of other opportunities available to him. I personally want to be able to make more than $12/hr without having to drive an hour. I want to be able to visit the world’s largest aquarium without having to add 3 hours onto the journey for being stuck in LA traffic. I want to be able to walk outside my door and stumble upon a street fair, Farmers Market, musicians. I want various experiences at my fingertips because the truth is I’m dreadfully lazy and unmotivated. And I suck at planning outings. Oh, and I also want to associate with people who speak grammatically correct English, no more “I don’t got no more.” And I really want to live in a place where every other person hasn’t done meth or sold meth.

Basically, I want to be able to grab the boy by the hand sans Xbox controller and say, “Hey, let’s go explore the city and see what we find.”

Am I freaking nuts?

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Crazy. Kinda.
    Oct 20, 2014 @ 12:21:45

    Yes. You’re freakin’ nuts. But there is nothing wrong with being completely cuckoo. It sounds to me like you’ve given this a lot of thought and determined what was best for you and your family, though the diva may disagree. I’m curious how your son feels about the impending move, and what made you decide on Chicago above all the other cities in the country?

    Planning outings can be difficult if you don’t have numerous options at your fingertips. I don’t think laziness or lack of motivation necessarily comes into play. If you have to drive hours to go do something fun, your planning just got that more difficult because now you have to think about breakfast/lunch/dinner, pets left at home, bedtimes, traffic, and the list can go on. Living in a city (or close proximity) opens up so many options.

    Take it from someone who lives in rural Maine with limited options close by. At the beginning of the summer I had high hopes of hitting up a zoo (at least a 2 hour drive), or an amusement park (minimum 1.5 hours away), waterpark (again 1.5 hour drive time), children’s museums (45 minutes) or aquariums (which I don’t think there even is one in the entire state – which means going to Boston. . .3 hours away). We ended up moving instead (only 1 town away), but it basically took up our whole summer. We made it to one amusement park/water park and one children’s museum. Life gets in the way if you have to plan, plan, plan to do anything fun.

    If you can better your son’s life (and yours) by moving to a big city, then good for you! I look forward to reading on how the move goes and all your future adventures!

    Now, I don’t got no more to say on that subject.


    • Tiffany N. York
      Oct 21, 2014 @ 09:00:22

      Wow, you live in rural Maine? That’s got to be amazingly beautiful! I hear ya about the all-day treks. It’s kind of a pain. There’s pros and cons always–no matter where you live. I wanted more opportunities available so a city made the most sense. NY and SF are waaay too expensive (not that Chicago isn’t), but it’s cheaper than those 2 cities. Life is a big What If? We never know how it’ll turn out, right? I’d like to think this move will be better for the both of us, but all I can do is take deep breaths, hope for the best, and try not to have a full-blown panic attack every time I think of having to wear a hat, gloves, and scarf all at the same time.


  2. Grief Happens
    Oct 20, 2014 @ 17:24:59

    All I can say is take me with you! I think that’s a fabulous idea. Good for you! I like where I live fairly well, but I would love for my kids to know more about big city life. My two are in kindergarden and first grade, but I’m pretty certain I’ll see where I live differently once they’re older, and I want them to experience city life. Plus I miss it. I hope you’ll write about your transition. I can’t wait to hear more!


    • Tiffany N. York
      Oct 21, 2014 @ 09:05:01

      Since the boy is in to recording everything now and posting it on YouTube, maybe I’ll have him film us: “Here’s Mom driving a Uhaul and she’s never driven a truck before…Here we are moving with a dog and 4 cats…You may not be able to hear me over the screams of the cats…Oh, and here we are moving our furniture up 4 flights of stairs…”


  3. Jen Anderson
    Oct 31, 2014 @ 06:24:40

    You’re not nuts at all. Some people like the suburbs, but they’re very much not for me. So, yay for you!


  4. RisingSong
    Nov 04, 2014 @ 19:16:26

    Ironically, I moved to a quiet southern town to escape the insanity of raising kids in my hometown…a very, very large city. I only miss the beaches, the food and my mother. After 13 years, I still think I made the right decision.

    However, I have to say that some of my fondest memories are of the five years that my son and I spent in another large city – Philadelphia. As a single mom, of course, my budget was always very tight, but that didn’t seem to keep us from enjoying the city and all it had to offer. I remember there being so many free activities to do with kids. There were so many experiences to live and most of them were only a train ride away.

    I wish you both the best in your new brave adventure. I definitely understand what you want to give him.


    • Tiffany N. York
      Nov 06, 2014 @ 08:58:28

      Thank you! And thanks for sharing a little of your history. It helps to hear different perspectives and experiences on the matter. One of the greatest fears I have as a mother is making the wrong decision, but as with everything there are pros and cons to each situation, I suppose. All I know is it’s not working where I am right now.


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