Moving to the Suburbs: 4 Years Later

Lemon Stripes in New York City

When I first moved from Manhattan to Stamford, CT, I did a whole series about moving to the suburbs, but now that it’s been almost four years (can you believe that?), I thought it was time for one more update. I found these pictures that I took in the city a few months ago, and looking at them brought on a pang of nostalgia and made me think about the move again.

I went back and read my last update from the suburbs, and it was so sad! I had forgotten how long it took me to feel at home here. In retrospect, I think it took probably two years. It took that long to make friends, to really get the lay or the land, and feel settled.

Whenever I go into the city for dinner meetings or a show or something, I always feel a tiny pang in my heart. I miss the energy, the hustle and bustle, the anonymity, the food, my friends, and the lights at night. But after a few hours, I’m always ready to hop back on Metro North and come home to the quiet, peaceful place we now call home.

There were a few things that made the ‘burbs feel like home:

1. Getting a Dog: Boots completely changed my life. When we got him two years ago, I was in a weird place and his boundless energy and unconditional love brought me out of it and made me feel so loved and needed. I also made two good friends through Boots which was an added and unexpected bonus.

2. Making Girlfriends: When I wrote this post about how to make friends in the suburbs, I was just getting started. A few months after I had Amalia, I started a moms night out group with four of my friends, all from different areas of my life. We’re now all a close group who meets up monthly for dinner or drinks or something fun like paddle board yoga. It’s always nice to have that on the calendar to look forward to.

3. Decorating our House: This one sounds silly but I had a really hard time feeling comfortable in my house until it was decorated and home-like. When we first moved, I was so desperate for it to feel better that I opted for cheap and not always the best quality furniture, but after a few revisions, it finally feels comfortable, homey, and totally like us. A house is a never-ending project but for now, I don’t feel like we need to make any more big changes.

4. Having Amalia: Part of the reason I hated Connecticut for so long was because shortly after we moved here I had my miscarriages and I was just in a general state of unhappiness after that. I associated our house and this town with that unhappiness and was just itching to get out of here. I would tell Anel constantly that I wanted to move far away but he convinced me, correctly in retrospect, that running away from my problems wouldn’t actually help anything.

Once I had Amalia, I felt like my home was full of love and happiness on a whole new level and I truly felt at home in my house.

5. Finding my people/places: For the first year of living here, I used to go all the way to the city for hair cuts, facials, and other things like that. When I realized I was killing a whole day for each of these tasks, I threw up my hands and found all of my people out here.

So four years in, I can truly say that I’m happy as a suburban mom. I would have laughed in your face if you had predicted that before I left the city! It was not easy and took some time, but I’m so glad that we powered through because now I can’t imagine my life any other way.

Sail to Sable Dress c/o (25% off with code SUMMER18) / Jack Rogers Sandals c/o / GiGi New York Clutch (old) / Karen Walker Sunnies

Sail to Sable White Dress

Sail to Sable Dress c/o / Jack Rogers Sandals c/o / GiGi New York Clutch (old) / Karen Walker Sunnies

Photos by Carter Fish.

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  1. Britta said:

    Sounds like it ended up being a great decision. And don’t forget the city is just a train ride away! I felt the same way when I left Chicago and move to the suburbs to be closer to my job, but it ended up being the best thing for me and open a lot of doors for me to meet my husband and ultimately have our two little ones. Sometimes I get a pang of wanting to move back when I visit but then I think about lugging that double stroller up a two flights of stairs…..
    Amalia is adorable! Enjoy the rest of summer

    7.31.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Exactly! I don’t go to the city often, but when I do, I always feel so grateful that it’s so close.

      And agreed about lugging the stroller. No thank you!

      7.31.18 · Reply
  2. Elizabeth said:

    Great post! It really is a huge adjustment! My husband and I moved to a lovely NJ suburb about 2.5 years ago. It took about 6 months before we met any of our neighbors because we moved in January and no one was outside. Now I can’t walk the dog without stopping to say hello to someone! So I completely agree that getting a dog helps, not only because of their unconditional love but also to meet people. Having a baby also helped a ton. Since ours was born last year we’ve met more neighbors, connected better with the ones we had already met (bonus: several have teenage girls who love to babysit!) and met other families in the area through her day care. Another change that has helped tremendously was that we both found jobs in the burbs and stopped spending at least 2-3 hours a day commuting to NYC. (Now I kinda dread going into the city, especially with the baby!) We finally feel like we belong here. It definitely took some time, though!

    7.31.18 · Reply
  3. Hillary said:

    Thanks for sharing! We moved to old Greenwich a few years ago, and quickly came back to the city because we missed it. Now, with a 4 month old, we will be moving out to Cos Cob in September. I’m hoping our adjustment to the suburban life goes better with a baby. This post is making me more optimistic!

    7.31.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I promise you with a kid it will be SO much easier. Join the mom groups, go to classes, etc! But also give it time. The first year was really tough for me.

      8.1.18 · Reply