My urban and suburban mom friends make me stupid jealous. They have Wi-Fi and Starbucks, lit streets and sidewalks. I cannot remember the last time I used a sidewalk because I live in the middle of nowhere. I daydream about drive-thru grocery stores and what it must be like to live on a cul-de-sac where my kids can ride bikes and shoot hoops. My imagination runs green with jealousy at the amazing things my urban mom friends can experience — like a girls’ night out, at a bar.
You see, I live in a rural place where my backyard is frequently used as a meeting spot for local black bears and moose (I’m not even kidding). We have mud season and black fly season here. But as frustratingly bored and out of touch I sometimes feel in my rural life, there are a few awesome things that I can get away with that urban and suburban moms generally cannot.
For example, I can…
1. Sunbathe in the nude — as long as the kids are not here. Oh, and I would need a pint of DEET to keep the bugs from eating me alive. But hey, no tan lines!
2. It is practically expected that I buy alcohol in bulk because the grocery store with a horrible selection of brew is 30 minutes away in one direction and the store with the amazing selection of cocktail ingredients is an hour in other direction. Hello, boxes of wine.
3. My kids can scream and shriek and be general hellions with nary a neighbor in earshot. You know what else they can’t hear? Me trying to sing along to Adele while I’m pulling weeds from the garden.
4. No one cares what I wear to school drop-off because everyone wears flannel shirts and 6-year-old yoga pants. Also, most people put their kids on a bus out here in the sticks. So, really, all I have to do in the morning is throw a coat over my pajamas while I shuffle my kid to the mailbox on the side of the road.
5. No one is going to call CPS if I let my kids climb a tree or play by themselves while I watch from — gasp! — the dining room window. Talk about scandalous, right? Here I am drinking coffee with my feet up, and my kids are outside playing on a tire swing.
6. I can hang my laundry outside without worry that my neighbors will judge me for letting my period panties flap in the wind.
7. Curb appeal is not much more than a few well-placed hedges and a mailbox that hangs from a tree so the snowplow won’t knock it over in the winter.
8. We don’t have trash pickup. We have a local dump that includes a “second-time around” section where I pick up new-to-me cool shit for my house (hello, shabby chic). You wouldn’t believe the goofy things we have upcycled — from old mason jars to pallet patio furniture. This is where Pinterest could really come in handy if only we had that Wi-Fi.
9. When we have playdates at our house, they tend to last for a whole day and include everyone who wants to come. Parents drink wine and eat snacks while the kids get grass stains and bug bites from romping around in the yard until they are tired enough to sleep through the ride home. It’s a bit like a camping and daycare mashup.
10. No one thinks anything of picking up snakes, frogs, bugs (dead or alive), or bird nests that have fallen out of a tree. Our porch looks like a naturalist’s wet dream.
So I guess I don’t have it that bad. Every place has its perks and its drawbacks, obviously. And while I do love my rural lifestyle that borders on homesteading, I won’t lie — I still ache with envy at the conveniences that my urban and suburban mom friends have. There are definitely days when I would trade the tree line for a city skyline.