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Is Raising Kids in a City Really All That?

Photograph by Getty Images

Re-entering Los Angeles after a summer trip is proving not to be the easiest transition for me. Like most L.A. transplants, I think about why I am living here daily.

Yes, the weather is great. Yes, my kids go to a wonderful school. We are beyond lucky. I'm grateful and ashamed to complain, but I'm going to so bear with me.

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I just got back from visiting Des Moines, Iowa, for my 20th high school reunion. I kept running into people I knew, parents I knew. Parents who knew my parents and my grandparents. It delighted me to no end.

My kids went on walks without me because there were, you know, sidewalks. And a lack of so many cars.

I wasn't on my phone or social media much. I was with people I loved. Despite not always getting along perfectly and having our own issues, it just felt serene.

I went out to dinner with Shannon of MommyTonk last week and, as we ate our sushi at a new place in über hip Silver Lake, we both talked about how being back was a little rough. She had recently visited her home, down in Kentucky.

L.A. is fast, no doubt. Of course, compared to New Yorkers we are slow as molasses. But, believe me, it is fast here. (I've already been annoyed the douchebags racing around my car at 75 mph and above.)

I run my errands and don't run into people like I do in Des Moines.

When I came here I loved the anonymity. I'm a little tired of it now to be honest. Tired of how easy it is to go weeks without seeing a friend, because you live too far apart.

Tired of the fucking hipsters. They walk so slowly and just look so together. I'm driving by with my muffin top hanging over my pants, everything all disheveled and can't help but think, "Why wasn't Instagram around in my 20s?" I should have taken so many photos of my young, toned, thin body.

I went out to eat at a delicious new restaurant in Des Moines. I knew the bartender. I liked that there were people of all ages out and about. Shannon mentioned she noticed the same thing when going out in Kentucky.

I lamented to Shannon, "In our towns, the matriarchs rule the roost. Here, the young gals with flat stomachs hold the power." We laughed over that.

For a long time I thought raising kids in the city was cool. So much access to the art world, diversity and alternative lifestyles. I'm sure somewhere, in some small town, some mom wishes she could change places with me.

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Maybe there's something retrograde going on or something in L.A. like that. All I know is, I'm tired of explaining billboards plastered with horror or sex, and tired of living in a city that celebrates fame above family.

Or, I don't know. Maybe I'm still in the transition. Maybe I'll look back at this in a few weeks and think, "What was I thinking?"

It's also possible that I just need to exercise. How very L.A. of me.

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