Moving to the Suburbs, What I Love and Miss


suburbs Des Moines MomLast fall my family and I moved from Des Moines proper to the suburbs. This was something we never thought we would do, but alas here we are. Near big box stores yet tucked into an established neighborhood. We found the home of our dreams removed from the city we love.

I present to you a list of pro’s and con’s about the move we made.

What We Miss


As a family that enjoys local shops and restaurants, an art and music scene, and walkability to such spaces, we miss the easy access city life. Of course there are some locally owned businesses in the suburbs, but strip malls and chain restaurants take up the majority of commercial space. 

We miss walking to local coffee shops, bumping into acquaintances and friends regularly, being three minutes from a music venue, art gallery, or speciality shop. 


Not everyone cares about the beauty of architecture, nostalgia, or style. But if you do, you might know that living in a city offers much to please the eye which for some, feeds the soul. 

I miss the beauty of old homes, the rawness of individuality expressed through varying economic lifestyles, the mish mash of new and old. I miss graffiti and rust. There is a sort of acceptance in the city based on aesthetic alone. 


My family and I miss the neighbors who became like family. Moving from a home where we were married, where our babies were born over the course of eleven years – of course has been an emotional experience. To start new has been bittersweet. The sentiment that it’s the people not the place rings true. That said, we are hoping to make new friends and memories in the suburbs.

What We Love

Our Home

The main reason my partner and I decided to move was because we found a home we loved. We were able to find a home that checked every box on our need list for less than what we would have found in the city.

As a family of five living in a home just under 1,900 square feet we began to feel cramped. Not only that, our home built in 1938 had become a stressor. That said my partner and I felt a newer home would afford us more family time and less home projects. What had worked for us at one point in our life wasn’t working anymore. 

We now live in a larger home with newer amenities. Our yard is more manageable and our kids have a bigger space to spread out. As a plus, we live on a cul-de-sac where my kids love to skateboard and scooter. Before moving, my kids didn’t have access to smooth sidewalks or space to run freely. 


While we have less access to local shops or pretty aesthetic, it has been nice to have four or five grocery store options a minute or two away. We can walk to Target, Home Depot, or Starbucks in a pinch. Doctors, dermatologists, and dentists are available on every corner. The suburb seems to offer ease to the many to-do’s a family experiences.


While I miss the beauty of our old neighborhood, I appreciate the simplicity of the suburbs. Mind you, we are in an established neighborhood. Our home was built in the ’80s. There are playgrounds and parks every few blocks from our home. I do miss the Bill Riley trail but we are lucky to live close to the Clive Greenbelt. My children have been enjoying fuller outdoor experience as opposed to the one they had living in the city. There is simply more for them to do than there was where we came from. They get to experience a level of independence I wouldn’t have felt as comfortable allowing in the city.

The Quiet

Living in a suburb has proven to be quieter than living in the city. I’ve grown use to the quiet but noticed how quiet our new neighborhood was when we first moved in. We feel nestled into the neighborhood as opposed to exposed. 

The Great Neutralizer 

Although we moved from city to suburb, there is still one connector. The interstate! Even though we miss the city that will always be our heart home, we are ten minutes away from any city exit. The interstate is gold! 

If anything, my family and I have grown through this experience. Together we learned we should never say never, that creative types and hidden gems exist within the suburbs, and there are in fact perks to living further from the city. There isn’t anything we would change about the decision we made to move. We are very happy with where we are, both figuratively and physically.

To Note : I want to acknowledge the privilege in this blog post. I am a white woman married to a white man living in the Midwest. Never in my dreams did I know my life would go as externally smoothly as it has. I grew up in a family who lived below the poverty line, in a home that was very small and problematic. The juxtaposition of my childhood lifestyle vs. my current lifestyle is not lost on me. I think it’s important to note that my current lifestyle is a privilege. Which means I want to remember where I came from and use whatever privilege I have to lift those who don’t have the same privilege. 

For those of you who have many options, this post was for you. But let’s not forget our options are a rarity in light of the economic gaps that exist in our culture. 


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