When I was in my 20s and early 30s living it up Sex in the City-style, like most painfully hip urbanites I swore up and down that when I had kids I would never, ever, wear Lululemon anyplace but the gym, drive a minivan, or move to the dreaded suburbs. Now that I am pushing strollers around the mean streets of suburban USA in my Lululemons (I still refuse to cave in on the minivan), I sometimes reflect on how my life has changed in the three years since procreating and trading in my fast-paced, self-indulgent and materialistic city life for family land in the ‘burbs.
Friday night dinner
City life before kids: Earlier in the week we make 7:30 PM reservations at somewhere new, cool, and hip. Great music and ambiance are musts. We get all dressed up and put makeup on. I wear heels.
We sit at dinner for hours, hanging on each other’s every word. For many there is alcohol involved, but I don’t drink. Maybe we hit an art gallery party after, or listen to some live music or see a comedy show.
When we finally get home, we have sex, then we lounge around in bed for awhile before falling asleep, never before midnight.
Suburban life after kids: Pizza parlor if we are feeling ambitious, but only before 6 PM and if both kids took long naps. We don’t care what we’re wearing because there’s a good chance it will be stained with pizza sauce by the end of the night.
We stuff food in our mouths as quickly as possible, because the closer it gets to 7 PM, the toddler boy morphs into a monstrous, feral creature, hell-bent on destroying the restaurant in the most public way possible, while baby girl wails endlessly because the light is hitting her the wrong way. Son goes into hysterics when denied ice cream, and my husband carries him to the car kicking and screaming.
After a long and tortuous, 5-minute car ride home (because we know better than to venture any farther away than that), we spend the next 30-45 minutes putting them to sleep. By that time we are both brain dead and beyond exhausted. I take a bath and scan through my social media accounts while my husband watches a really bad reality show and plays solitaire. We’re asleep by 8:30 PM.
“Power” lunch spot
City life before kids: We meet somewhere painfully hip that serves small salads and plays loud music and spend the hour catching up on the latest gossip when we are supposed to be talking about work stuff. If it is Friday, we may even bail on lunch altogether and get mani/pedis.
Suburban life after kids: We head over to Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, Whole Foods, or any other eating establishment that serves semi-edible food our kids will actually eat and provides a somewhat sanitary playground for them to tire themselves out before nap-time. We spend the hour simultaneously force-feeding them while breastfeeding our babies and making sure they don’t crawl up the slide when another kid is coming down it.
Footwear of choice
City life before kids: Sexy shoes with heels or wedges, thigh-high boots, or just really cute, totally uncomfortable pointy-toe flats.
Suburban life after kids: Sneakers, UGGs, or rubber flip-flops, depending on the season. If I’m feeling really adventurous and it is date night, maybe I will pull out some of my pre-kids heels, but I will most likely complain the entire night about how I can’t believe I used to wear such uncomfortable shoes.
City life before kids: Black skinny jeans, white T-shirt, and heeled boots with a big Balenciaga bag, which is only because I had a cool editor job and didn’t work in an office.
Suburban life after kids: Lululemon tights and jacket with one of those built-in-bra camisoles paired with sneakers. Duh.
Daily caffeine fix
City life before kids: Anywhere that had an unpronounceable and unspellable name that served fancy, pour-over coffee or really strong cold press that tasted like it was spiked with alcohol and cost more than lunch at Chick-fil-A.
Suburban life after kids: Pete’s or Starbucks, or anywhere else with a drive-thru because there is no way I am hauling this car seat and insane toddler into a coffee shop and walking out without my scalding hot beverage spilling all over my clothes.
City life before kids: A sexy, sleek sedan, 2-seater European convertible or small, full-loaded crossover SUV.
Suburban life after kids: Anything with a third row that human beings can comfortably sit in and an easy LATCH system for car seats. Hopefully never a minivan, but I do admit, the automatic doors are a selling point.
“I can’t believe I spent that much in a month” culprit
City life before kids: Barneys or Bloomingdale’s.
Suburban life after kids: Target. Duh.
City life before kids: Bars, restaurants, nightclubs, art galleries … so many places so little time.
Suburban life after kids: The playground, where else?
Place to escape reality
City life before kids: Anywhere, really.
Suburban life after kids: Lifetime Fitness — not because I actually enjoy working out but only because they have free childcare and it’s so fun to hide out in the locker room with the other moms talking about playgrounds.
City life before kids: Chanel, Stella McCartney, Gucci, Givenchy, and Alexander Wang to name just a few brands of designer bags city girls covet in intricate shapes and inconvenient sizes. All it really needs to hold is a phone, wallet, keys, and some makeup anyway, right?
Suburban life after kids: The official high-end designer purse of suburban moms is the Louis Vuitton Neverfull, while Tori Burch and Michael Kors round out the mid-level, mixed with Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bags and Vera Bradley. The bigger the better, because you HAVE to carry at least two diapers per kid, wipes, changes of clothes, drinks, snacks, an iPad (in case things get really bad), and toys at all times. Clutches are only carried on date nights, if they even exist.
Final thought before bed at night:
City life before kids: God, I’m lonely.
Suburban life after kids: God, I love my life.More On