THE BLOG

Escape To The Country Or Stay In The City?   

03/08/2017 13:04 BST | Updated 03/08/2017 13:04 BST

I'm sure you've all had the dream, as you shout to make yourself heard over police sirens for the kids to get their shoes on, then dodge dog poo dashing them to school, before you're late to work because you got stuck in traffic/the train was late/tube was delayed.

 

Why, oh why, don't we ditch the city and move to the country, where the pace of life is slower and the children can run free in the wheat fields?

 

My brother lives on a farm in Dorset. We visit a lot and it's brilliant. There are huge benefits in country living, not least the massive positives from just slowing down. 

 

The time the kids spend on screens evaporates and they entertain themselves for hours outside playing games. It's such a joy to watch.

 

It's a cliché, but in the countryside, you literally have more space to think. You have more clarity of thought because your senses aren't bombarded all the time, like in the city. You can be in the moment more - it blows away the cobwebs.

 

My husband is from the countryside and he's often saying: "Let's move out of London to the country" and I love the idea. 

 

So why don't I ship the whole family out to the sticks?

 

Because my job is here. I love my job and working remotely a lot of the time just wouldn't do. I don't even want to live in the commuter belt - I'd hate to spend precious time commuting. I want to be at home at the end of the working day to put the kids to bed. 

 

In fact, the whole problem is commuting. You want the country thing, so you move far enough out - but then you spend all your life on a train or in a car getting to your job.

 

I think this can put a massive strain on relationships. It can be tricky if even just one of you is travelling two hours in the morning to get to work, then another two to get home after. That person is going to be exhausted and not be fully present in the relationship in the evenings and weekends. They won't see their kids enough. And relationships can fall apart.

 

The dream for many people would be to have a pad in the country for the weekends and a place in London for the week - but who can afford that?

 

I think you need to make a clear choice. 

 

If you want to be in the country, just be in the country. Let's open our minds - you don't actually have to commute. We're all online - there are so many ways to use your skills and talents to work remotely. You just need to think laterally about ways to earn a living. But as we're all living and working so much longer, it's actually exciting to think about a career re-invention and that can coincide with your move to the country.

 

Or live and work in the city and embrace everything that's brilliant about it.

 

Just don't get stuck in the middle.

 

I love living in London. For all its hectic pace of life, it has wonderful culture like free museums, art galleries and the theatre. I make sure myself and my family regularly benefit from the cultural riches on offer. You'd be mad not to take advantage of the amazing things to do in this wonderful city. 

 

But what about the safety aspects? Isn't it safer for kids to grow up in the countryside? Well, no, not necessarily.

 

My son is almost seven and my daughter is five. My husband rode bikes everywhere growing up, and he lets the kids ride up and down the pavement outside our house. I can't help but peep out of the curtains when they do. But they need some independence and I have to let it happen. You can't wrap them in cotton wool all the time.

 

Yes, there are bad people here on the mean streets, but there are bad people in the countryside too.

 

In fact, a recent study found that if you want to stay safe, you should live in a city rather than the countryside, as the risk of death by injury in rural areas is 22% higher than in urban places.

 

A huge plus for me is that my children are completely used to seeing people from all ethnicities, sexualities and faiths living happily side by side. For kids growing up in London, differences are just normal. I still find it bizarre that before meeting me, my husband (who grew up in Kent) had never met someone Jewish and there was only one Muslim in his whole school. How does that breed open-mindedness?

 

However, the countryside does have its allure and at some point, if and when I transition in my career, we'll move somewhere really rural and I won't be working in London.

 

Until that day comes, I'll continue to embrace, enjoy and celebrate the opportunities that bringing up a family in this amazing capital city of ours affords - even when I'm dodging dog poo on the school run.