Raising children in a small town can be challenging.
There aren’t zoos or museums or giant parks or festivals. Our town doesn’t even have its own playground. Often I am asked why I live here and why we choose to raise our children here. People tell me, “I would go crazy if I were you.”
But life in a small town doesn’t have to be boring. Instead of taking advantage of lots of activities, we make our own fun.
Those of us who are raising kids in a small town are in on a big secret – life here is awesome!!
1. Everyone knows you and everyone knows your kids. When we walk downtown, it feels like we are walking onto the set of Sesame Street. My kids are on a first name basis with all the shopkeepers and the mail carriers and even the police. It’s a sense of community that I never knew I was missing when I lived in a city.
2. It’s safer. Sure, there is still crime and people still get hurt. But I still feel safe allowing my kids roam around our yard and I always leave my car unlocked when I run into the grocery store to grab a few things.
3. Most activities are free or cheap. Play groups, story times, swim lessons, and sports teams. These activities can break the bank but that’s not necessary. In our little town, parent volunteers run the sports teams for young kids so there isn’t a feeling of high stakes or competition. Anyone can join up to kick a ball. Or in the case of my kid; sit on the field picking dandelions and chugging down juice boxes. Whatever. I didn’t pay much money for him to do it.
4. There is no traffic. I’ll say that again. No. Traffic. You can drive to all the free and cheap activities and never have to think about what time of day it is or what route is best to take. You just hop in the car and go.
5. People are friendly. Everyone thinks that people in small towns are friendlier but it’s actually true. When your kids wave at someone, they usually wave back. And when they fall off their bike, someone will going to stop to ask if they are okay. Usually it’s the first adult that sees them.
6. Finding your tribe is simpler. Do you breastfeed or bottle feed? Do you reach for the organic snacks or corn syrupy fruit snacks? Do you work out of the home or stay at home? These are issues that can divide parents. But when you want to make friends in a small town, there just aren’t as many people to choose from so you can’t be so picky. The most important qualification becomes: are you a fun person and do our kids get along with each other? If you’re able to answer yes to those questions, then you’ve made a new mom friend. All that other silly stuff pretty much falls by the wayside.
7. It’s easy to make an impact in the community. So you want to make a difference in the place where you live? Move to a small town. It’s a small pond so you can jump right in and make huge waves. Join the library board, the PTO, or volunteer to help with the school play. You are needed. Trust me. These organizations need new blood and new energy.
8. Super wholesome fun is everywhere. Sure, we don’t have a big fancy zoo with exotic animals, but our kids can go to our friends’ houses and pet goats, chicks, horses, and cows. In the summer, there are clean rivers to play in and forests to explore. In the winter, there is sledding, skiing, and snow forts. It’s good, old-fashioned fun and there’s plenty of it.
I’m not going to lie, when we bought our house in a rural place, I was a little bit scared. I thought I would feel isolated and I worried about giving my kids plenty of opportunities to experience life. But raising children in a small town has turned out to be a lot more awesome than I ever could have imagined.