Why San Francisco is the Best Place to be a Mom

I started this post months and months ago but now that I'm experiencing living in a second San Francisco neighborhood as a mom, I feel that I've gotten even more of a perspective and I can confidently say San Francisco is the best place to be a mom. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • The weather. Seriously, I think about moms living in New York or Chicago or any other number of freezing places in winter. How do they do it with little ones?? Do you just spend a lot of time inside? Or you just suck it up and spend 20 minutes getting everyone bundled up so you can push your stroller through the snow to get a few blocks to a music class or the museum? Then in summer it gets so sticky and hot, again, I couldn't imagine pushing 100 lbs of stroller around. Although we're desperate for rain, I feel so lucky that pretty much every day of the year is pleasant in San Francisco. No, it's not Southern California, we get some seasonal changes, and yes, summer can be foggy, but you can be outside just about every day of the year, which I need as much as the boys. Plus, the exceptional 70 degree January day is still something special:

  • Living in the technology capital of the world definitely has it's perks. Sometimes I forget that we're the test market for all these clever ideas. I don't realize that not everyone has Munchery, Google Shopping Express, Postmates and Instacart. As a mom, your life can be made so much easier, and relatively affordably. Run out of laundry detergent or need a new toothbrush for your toddler? Why make a trip to the store when Google Shopping Express will deliver in a few hours, for no charge (limited time offer for test market). Don't want a Costco membership but want a few things from there? Instacart will deliver for a small fee. And for every family with a new baby, Munchery gift cards are the way to go. Healthy, delicious meals made by private chefs delivered to your home for about $10-$12 a meal. Some of Dave's favorites are Shyp (which will pick up whatever you have to send and mail it for you for $5 -- it could be a huge heavy box!) and Washio, a dry-cleaning service. The other night, Dave texted them at 8:11pm and they were here by 8:30pm to pick up his dry cleaning, then they drop it off the next day at a time that you choose, plus they always bring a little dessert with your clean clothes. These are all little chores that may or may not fall on the mom to complete, but are added stress no matter who is responsible.
  • Delivery food. I know I've touched on Munchery, but seriously the options are endless. Craving a croissant from your favorite bakery across town? No problem, postmates can get it to you. Need a 6-pack and don't want to go out? Yes, Dave actually gets beer delivered.
  • The taxi issue has just about been solved. NYC had us on this one but now with Uber (along with Lyft and a few others I don't use), it takes the planning out of kid-free outings (though moms with one kid take Uber pretty easily with them riding on their lap).
  • Food in general. I just read today that San Francisco has more eateries per capita than any other US city. Not only is there a lot to choose from, but there are so many good GREAT options. It's fun having food be such a big part of the boys' lives. I loved living near the Ferry Building as there were so many excellent options to pick up something quick, grab supplies for a picnic or a party, etc. We already have some great spots in our neighborhood but are looking forward to checking out more on this side of town.
  • Though I'd consider a car a necessity, I know plenty of mom's whose husband takes the car during the week and they manage just fine. I try to stick near home at least half the week and I have no problem finding fun stuff to do. With one child, getting on muni is supposedly not bad and a fun adventure. This bullet may be one of my favorite things as I can't imagine having to load everyone up and get everyone out of the car to get everything done that I can do while walking.
  • Speaking of activities, the options are truly endless. In our old neighborhood we had three great parks within walking distance, plus the Exploratorium and the Children's Creativity Museum. In our new 'hood, there are five parks and if we were really huffing it, we could walk to Golden Gate Park and the Academy of Sciences. There are numerous rec centers throughout the city that have drop-in play. Then there's all the other kids-centered play spaces including classes like Recess and Peekadoodle. The JCC has tons of kids options as well.
  • The landmarks that are the backdrop to our daily lives. We walked under the Bay Bridge most days when living on Brannan and spent so much time at the Ferry Building. Our days at the beach, though few and far between, are spent at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. When we visit Dolores Park, Alta Plaza or Walter Haas (and others, I'm sure), I'm pushing the boys on the swings with incredible views of the city.
  • The potential for diversity. There's not a lot of diversity in our daily lives currently. We live in a nice area and mostly interact with other stay at home moms during the day. I do feel that once our kids enter school, even preschool, we'll be exposed to more people from different walks of life than we would if we lived elsewhere. I think this is important and will come more naturally in a city. While we've definitely explored other neighborhoods, I look forward to continuing this with so many options nearby.
  • The greatest mother's group -- I know I've talked about GGMG before, but I can't imagine a better network for moms. Nearly 5000 in the city, they host moms nights out, activities for the kids, parenting seminars, playgroups, have a super-active forum where people answer just about everything and more, and it's completely volunteer run.
  • For a city with so many hills, it's surprisingly walkable. Maybe it's just the neighborhoods I've lived in, but I love that walking to a grocery store, restaurants, parks, children's classes or museums and public transportation is never too far.
  • The outdoors is so close. Within minutes we can be hiking in the Presidio, but even venturing slightly further, you quickly can be immersed in nature which I definitely want for W&G if they grow up used to city living. 
  • Lots of options to keep mom connected to the non-kid world. Junior League is so active in the city with many options of ways to get involved and I think it often leads to new opportunities that would be much harder for SAHMs to find.
  • Family. Okay, this is more personal, but we are SO lucky to have my parents within commuting distance. The fact that we see them multiple times a week is so great for the boys, but all the help we get has made a huge difference in our sanity. Though we don't see them enough, having my brother and his family 10 minutes away is pretty great too.
Now sure, there are some definite downfalls to SF, like the high cost of living which is driving a lot of families out of the city. The competitive preschool process and the public school lottery are tough too. I still feel that the good far outweighs these challenges. Even though Dave and I always planned to stay in the city and raise our kids here, I never knew for sure if that would be a reality. First of all, with Dave working on the peninsula, that would always mean a long commute. Then it's the matter of actually getting a place. I always thought Dave would be driven out of the city by the desire for more space and all you can get for so much less outside of San Francisco. Now that it's a reality that we're here to stay and we're setting up our home as the place our boys will grow up, I feel even more excited about living here and sharing this great city with them for the longterm.

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