To be honest, I never thought I'd feel this way about living in the country. But after living in the city for several years, I now appreciate the fresh air and thank God every day that we're able to give such a valuable gift to our children. They are learning about wildlife and the environment. My youngest (3) even helped my husband trim the trees today and rode the mower for the first time this season. And my oldest loves riding his dirt bike out back without having to worry about traffic or bothering the neighbours.
We are fortunate to have made this move almost two years ago. I can't believe how time flies! Now, all I can hope is that my boys enjoy what the country has to offer; and that one day they'll look back and tell their children how happy they were growing up with fresh air, quiet, and enough space to run around. Who knew I was really a country gal at heart?
Here's my side of the "debate" on country vs. city living as published in Today's Parent, April 2013:
Do you think cities are better for raising kids than the country?
By Kerrie Lee Brown
Growing up I never dreamed of a big wedding, a perfect house with a white-picket fence, or having a big yard. In fact, the idea of me being a country mom – working the land and settling far from the “action” – seemed like a cruel joke.
But several years into what I thought was my dream job (and after living the stressful city slicker life) I met my future husband, Craig, and POOF! My life turned upside down – with a short engagement, island wedding, and ten years later, two beautiful boys and a property in the country. My priorities quickly made a 360-degree turn, and guess what? I’m happier than ever.
Craig and I both grew up in small towns in Ontario, and we loved being able to walk down the street to the local store or pub, where we’d run into generations of people we knew. We also liked not having to lock our doors. It was safe and comforting. So when it came time to decide where we’d raise our children, the country was a no-brainer.
Until our first son was three years old, we lived in my hometown in a heritage-style home, an hour outside the city — which we wouldn’t have been able to afford in Toronto. Then, after our second son was born, we officially became “country folk” and literally bought the farm — 53 acres, to be exact.
Our very active boys have fresh air and tons of room to run around without having to watch for traffic or strangers. The kids enjoy campfires after school, play hide-and-seek in the forest for hours, and skate on our ponds in the winter. We have a variety of wildlife and nature right in our backyard. And at Christmas, we simply walk outside to cut down our own tree.
It’s also quiet, with no worries of bothering the neighbours when we ride our dirt bikes or have a party; and my husband and I don’t have to fight for parking spots. We use wood, a natural resource, to heat our home; and we drink fresh water from our well.
So despite having a two-hour commute into the city for work, I look forward to coming home to the country where I know my kids are living the healthiest life we can give them. Plus, you can’t beat the scenery. Just breathtaking.