I was born and raised in the city. In fact there are times when I still refer to myself as a city-diot. Many friends and family would still agree with this statement too – so what if I would prefer to swim in a pool rather than a lake? Seeing the bottom of where anyone is swimming does seem incredibly logical if you ask me.
Speaking of swimming, that’s one of the first things that I think of when it comes to raising my child. I didn’t learn how to swim until we moved up to Parry Sound. My mom enrolled me in swimming lessons, and shortly after I was cannon-balling my way through local lakes and Georgian Bay. I am pretty sure that my husband was swimming on his own by the time he could walk, so it was clear that our son needed to know how to swim at a very young age. Unfortunately Parry Sound does not have a decent pool. (We did take lessons last year but the temperature of the pool was never above 65 degrees so the experience was overshadowed by my son’s blue lips.) So unless you’re up for the 75 minute trek to Bracebridge, swimming in the off season is not an option.
Times like this always make me think about raising our son in a small town. Of course I can only reference how I was raised (in Toronto). And Ian can only reference his small town upbringing (Parry Sound). Although I feel like this would be a suitable time for a PROs and CONs chart, I have streamlined my list for reader benefit.
Our small town has a ton of support. My doctor’s office always fits me in. In fact, they have a baby nurse that’s a phone call away for those quick questions like “I am ready to give my kid peanut butter. Now what?!”.
The support from the local agencies such as Hands and Social Services is huge! The Early Year programs that run throughout our community are amazing. Whether you want to get out of the house and learn about foods to introduce to your baby, or have craft time with other young children, or just have a place to meet for tea in the first few weeks after giving birth, the support is there. (More on the actual birthing experience in a small town some other time.)
As a community, the support is nothing short of amazing. The way we band together when someone’s child is born with a heart disease, or stand by a family after a tragic death – in general, a small town is there to support you in ways that a large city can’t.
To some it may seem like a small thing, but I love knowing that when my son is old enough to ride his bike to the corner store, that he can. And unsupervised. And he will return safe and sound. There is a comfort in a small town that just makes you feel okay that your child is out there on his own.
Easy commute/great pace
I am done work at 2pm. I pick up my son at 2:07 and we are home by 2:20 many days. And he’s still in (and out) of a car seat. I love that by 2:30 we are “doing” something! There are lots of options for afternoon and evening activities – music class, hockey, long walks to the park, swimming, etc. They’re all at very reasonable times which still allows us to eat dinner as a family, etc.
Culture and diversity
This is an area that we often lack in, however, the city is only just over 2 hours away. It’s a reasonable weekend family trip even if it means getting a hotel room so you’re not spending half of the day in the car with your little one.
And although shopping should likely have a category on its own, it is another area that we are lacking in a small town. Luckily in this day and age, we are able to order just about anything within seconds on our smart phones so although we miss the hustle and bustle of a shopping mall, we can still obtain everything that the city folk can!
Parry Sound does all seasons well – especially summer. If you haven’t had the chance to experience the little town that I call home, I hope that you can find the time to do so. Small town life isn’t perfect. But neither is city life. But if you’re wondering about the choice between a big city, or a small town, I would encourage you to give a small town a good look. And believe me, a few years ago I could only imagine raising my child in the city. Now, I can’t imagine it any other way. I’d like to think that we have the best of both worlds with Toronto being a short drive away.
Krista Holmes, KH Mgmt, became a mother in the summer of 2014. She works behind-the-scenes in the Canadian music industry, designs several social media campaigns and manages special events. Her love for motherhood & music can be found on her blog, mommylovesmusic.wordpress.com.