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Tiny Baby, Tiny Apartment (Part 1): Pregnant and Not Moving to Oakland

Updated: May 04, 2015 23:42
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tbta (part 1)

You live in a tiny San Francisco apartment and you’re pregnant. The clock is ticking. What was once months away is now weeks. You can’t put it off anymore — it’s time to figure out where this baby is going to live.

Maybe we should buy a house, you think. You are, after all, starting a family. And that’s where families live, in houses. But you can’t afford a house in San Francisco. You can barely even afford a storage space.

A logical person would consider buying a house in Oakland. But you’re not logical, you’re pregnant. And besides, you don’t want to leave your rent-controlled SF apartment. You’ve lived there for almost a decade, and your rent is dirt fucking cheap. You are the envy of every single person you know. People in your neighborhood readily pay four times what you’re paying in rent. And you’re supposed to give that up? To live in the city next to the city where you actually want to live?

Oakland isn’t exactly how you pictured it either. Less artisan coffee shops with tattooed bike messengers, more 24-hour laundromats with loitering alcoholics. You’re starting to realize that when your realtor uses descriptors like “gritty” and “up-and-coming,” she actually means “stabby” and “you’ll feel weird walking anywhere alone, even in broad daylight, for roughly the next ten years.” And it’s not that you don’t like Oakland. It’s just that you haven’t found a house within your price range that doesn’t have bars on the windows.

Meanwhile, you’re not getting any less pregnant.

Suddenly your once-unlivable San Francisco apartment isn’t looking so bad. Manageable, in fact. You wonder why you were rushing into buying a house in the first place. Maybe you can have the baby, let the dust settle, and then revisit the whole house hunting thing. Yeah, that’s it. Don’t force it.

In the mean time, you have to get your SF apartment ready. Make a nursery out of, I don’t know, the living room? And figure out where you’re going to keep all that baby gear. Gear you’re not entirely convinced you even need.

It’ll be fine, you argue. People throughout history have raised multiple generations in apartments smaller than yours. You convince yourself it’s all going to be okay. Because it has to be.

That’s how I handle it, at least.

But what do I know? I’m a new mom. A first-time mom. I don’t have this shit figured out. I have bags under my eyes, panic attacks, and a swiftly approaching return-to-work date. But mostly panic attacks.

Stay tuned for Tiny Baby, Tiny Apartment (Part 2): How to Create a Nursery from Thin Air in 3 Easy Steps

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Andrea Scout - Not Your Mom's Mom

Andrea Scout - Not Your Mom's Mom

If you’re looking for a typical mommy blogger, keep looking. I am not an expert. I am a bottle-a-night wine drinker. I am a writer who hasn't quit her day job. I am a wife, a mother, and a San Francisco tenant. I write about raising a baby on a budget in one of the most expensive cities on the planet. I am originally from Wisconsin.

1 Comment

  1. discostupid
    March 12, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    As a two-time SF parent, I have these observations:
    1. Babies don’t take up a lot of space, actually. And you’re right, you don’t need all that gear. A stroller, a diaper pail, and a crib should get you most of the way.
    2. Your kid doesn’t know or care whether you rent or buy. I know a lot of parents who felt rushed to buy a house because PARENTS OWN HOUSES, but that is absolutely wrong.

    3. SF is actually a sneaky-great place to raise a kid. The public schools are pretty good. Some are great. Some suck. But generally, they’re good and getting better. The parks are awesome. There are *great* and multitudinous summer camps, many that are cheap and run by the city. The other parents are super-cool and you’ll probably like them better then the parents in Walnut Creek. And if you’ve got a rent-control place, so you can afford a roof, it can be pretty sustainable.
    4. Oakland ain’t cheap either. The prevailing storyline in Oakland these days is, “I can’t afford this. Guess I’m moving to San Leandro or, gulp, Sacto.”

    Anyway, good on ya. Make that SF baby.