Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

Since becoming a mum I've come across many people who have let me know their thoughts about raising a family in the city. For the most part, they seem to think that living downtown is full of such anonymity and isolation and isn't ideal for families and really shocked when I tell them we don't have plans to leave.

People have told me outright that there is no way anyone should raise children in the city, where would they go and what would they do? I've been told by friends that children need to have a cul-de-sac to play in, and almost total strangers have been baffled about where Ben would even go to school.

I'm sure if you only venture into a city for a big night out or a stadium event, you really aren't exposed to the wealth of family friendliness that encompasses Vancouver city living. If you only stay on the paths of the bustling shopping streets or the congested traffic areas, you probably won't see the elementary schools or the lovely community centres that are sprouted through the city. I've learned that there is so much more goodness to being a family in the city, and it's not just car exhaust and cement buildings.

This morning we walked down the street to go for brunch, along the way we stopped to say hello to the various neighbours we ran into. We chatted on the sidewalk with one of the Obstetricians I work with who lives downtown with her own Apartment Baby, and we stopped and chatted with a neighbour over at her new baby boutique shop. Amongst all the high rises there is a sense of community where we live and that is what makes it feel like home to me, and so far I've had the greatest experience raising my little family in this city



During brunch we looked around the restaurant and saw so many other families enjoying their own family brunches. We joked that all the single people were probably still in bed at the time we were dining! At least that's where I'd be if I didn't have our constant alarm clock called Ben.




Waiting for the arrival of waffles.

We enjoyed sipping cappuccinos and shared some chocolate croissants before munching on delicious Eggs Benedict. Afterwards my husband took Ben to one of the neighbouring playgrounds and spent some time looking at worms and running around. I came home to a quiet apartment and proceeded to do laundry and the usual weekend tidy. Just another weekend for our family!




A rare few photos of my husband and Ben in front of the camera. Thank goodness for the iPhone!

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh I am so full of envy! I'd love to live in the city but my husband would not be jumping on that one. He was raised in the heart of the burbs with a cul de sac and that is ALL he knows. He can't think that it could be cool and fun to do something else. Funny how that happens. Maybe Ben will grow up thinking that living in the city is the only way to go!

-Brenda

March 21, 2011 at 9:06 AM  
Glenda White said...

I'm a city mom too and I love living within walking distance to many wonderful things. We tend to stay in 'our area' and within the city there is small communities all over.

March 21, 2011 at 2:38 PM  
Gabriella said...

I think it's wonderful to raise a kid in the city; so much to see and do and the walking!!! Here in the 'burbs' you need to DRIVE everywhere...I hate it...I would love to be able to walk out my door and just walk everywhere.

March 21, 2011 at 4:20 PM  
Krista said...

Love it! So many fun things right there in your neighbourhood, for all three of you! And so close to friends, too ;)

March 21, 2011 at 6:17 PM  
Anonymous said...

I love going for brunch and chocolate croissant is one of my top fav items!

Cheers!

Belinda :)

March 21, 2011 at 6:59 PM  
melanie said...

We only live 5 km away from the inner-city neighbour we lived in for the last 10 years and we already notice the difference in that it is harder to know your neighbours around here. Before we sat on the little lawn in front of our apartment building and talked to everyone walking by. Now our street is so quiet and there isn't much foot traffic. I love our new neighbourhood and we can still walk places but I miss the old one a lot for how friendly it was - AND there were WAY more kids on our old street.

March 21, 2011 at 9:09 PM  
Sister Sarah said...

Great photos of you and your city boy! Your niece is very excited about her getaway to the big city with you. I think that it's not just about city living that makes it so great for your little family--you live in one of the best cities in the world. Vancouver, especially near the harbour where you live, is a special place to live (and visit!) indeed!

March 22, 2011 at 10:56 AM  
Tarable said...

My goodness some people are opinionated. I really believe that too many people don't know themselves well enough to feel confident in how they live their lives so they much try to make the choices and lifestyles of others seem "wrong" to make themselves more "right".

I think that Vancouver is truly a beautiful, diverse, community minded city and you are obviously living a beautiful and happy life with your family.

You are right where you should be.

March 22, 2011 at 12:03 PM  
Anonymous said...

Andrea, thanks for this post. I have always admired the way you and Alex are raising Ben in the city, and are discovering all the wonderful parts of raising your boy there. After our visits to see you in Vancouver, I often comment to my hubby that it would be so neat to live in the city for a while and discover all the hidden treasures of family living there, with our girls. Maybe one day...
love, Heidi

March 22, 2011 at 1:27 PM  
Sarah M said...

You are missing 1 thing here: a father/son moustache picture! I see now why Ben has that little mustache. Alex's facial hair phases are fun to see! lol

March 24, 2011 at 8:16 AM  
Anonymous said...

Love all the pics... tell Uncle Alex I just LOOOOVE the mustache too! haha. Hope I can see you guys sometime soon! Lil Ben is getting so big and so handsome!

-Lyndzi

April 3, 2011 at 9:30 PM  
Tarable said...

My goodness some people are opinionated. I really believe that too many people don't know themselves well enough to feel confident in how they live their lives so they much try to make the choices and lifestyles of others seem "wrong" to make themselves more "right".

I think that Vancouver is truly a beautiful, diverse, community minded city and you are obviously living a beautiful and happy life with your family.

You are right where you should be.

April 8, 2011 at 9:52 PM  
Gabriella said...

I think it's wonderful to raise a kid in the city; so much to see and do and the walking!!! Here in the 'burbs' you need to DRIVE everywhere...I hate it...I would love to be able to walk out my door and just walk everywhere.

April 8, 2011 at 9:52 PM  

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