10 reasons why living downtown with kids can suck

This use to be our front yard.

This blog is usually about how great it is to raise kids in downtown Ottawa.  However, last Thursday’s post got me thinking about some of the challenges. Even I have moments when I think maybe our little bit of grass would be greener on the suburban side. So, here are 10 things that can suck about being downtown and that I don’t think would be as much of an issue if we packed up and moved to Orleans.

  1. More crime: We once had a crack addict rolling in clean clothes in our building’s laundry room and about three years ago some friends and I witnessed a horrible beating on Rideau Street. My kid will probably see this kind of stuff sooner and more often than I would like.
  2. Driving guilt: Sometimes, urban walkability sucks. I love being able to walk everywhere; I really do. But sometimes, especially when it’s -30, I just want to drive my car to the Metro, pick up milk and then drive home. That’s when my partner gives me that look that I think says, “Get off your lazy ass and walk to the damn store.” Sure, maybe he just asked me to pick up bread and bananas, but I know what he’s really thinking.
  3. No parking: Not having a garage or a designated parking spot makes for lots of window scraping and chilly daycare drop-offs. We don’t buy a city street parking pass because I take our car to work. This is fine, except when there’s an overnight parking ban or when I don’t go to work. Sometimes, we forget to move the car and get a ticket. Other times, we move it to a pay lot that is a good walk away, which we inevitably forget until the next morning when we’re already running late.
  4. Little personal outdoor space: A small balcony, no grass and a busy street can mean no steaks on the BBQ and no road hockey. That’s sad.
  5. Older homes: They’re kind of like bad-boy ex-boyfriends. Sure, they look cool and are quite charming but the list of things to fix will always be very long.
  6. Housing is more expensive: No explanation required.
  7. Box store guilt: This is kind of like driving guilt. I love all the great local shops and restaurants that are part of my community and I try to support them. But sometimes, I just want to go to Future Shop, eat dinner at East Side Mario’s and then see a bad movie at SilverCity.
  8. Traffic/construction: We lived in our apartment on King Edward Avenue in the midst of that street’s construction. Our newborn use to fall asleep to the soothing sounds of an excavator right outside her window.  At one point, there wasn’t even a safe way for me to get in and out of our building with my child. As a new mom at home by myself, it sucked.
  9. Small spaces: There was a time when I seriously didn’t sweep under the bed for about six years because that was where we kept half a dozen Rubbermaid containers, lumber, a piano bench, a bed frame, board games, these masks that I got at a flea market and refused to part with and about 37 other things.
  10. Noise: There are car horns, sirens and lots of drunk people. One of the most annoying sounds in the world is a drunk girl. I’ve been that girl more times than I care to admit and to everyone who heard me while trying to sleep on a Tuesday night, I’m truelly sorry.

That all being said, I’m completely blinded by city love. So pending an urban zombie apocalypse, I’ll stay where I am.

Related PPP Posts

A downtown kid’s tough questions

Feeling safe in Ottawa’s most “dangerous” ‘hood, despite the scary man at the scary park

Sometimes, urban walkability sucks: How not to go grocery shopping with a 2-year-old

A kid-friendly outdoor oasis for the balcony or small backyard

My on-again/off-again relationship with country living

What do you think?

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