City mouse and country mouse

Marisca weighs the pros and cons of raising children in the country

I often wonder where the best place to raise children is. I grew up near a large city centre and my husband grew up in a small town. We talk about where to bring up our daughters all the time.

Sometimes I miss the city life and all it offers. I grew up with a science centre, zoos, malls, aquariums and theatres nearby. My family often went out of the suburbs to go camping and fishing in the wilderness. I think I had a pretty good childhood and was able to experience many different things and learn about different cultures. I was also able to go to University and still live (rent-free) at my parents’ house.

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My husband and I are currently living and bringing up our daughters in Smithers. I worry that they are missing out on learning about animals at a zoo and experiences like seeing a show such as Disney on Ice or even eating a plethora of different multicultural foods.

However, on the flip side, my daughter’s school is a very short commute. I spent more than an hour on the bus to school everyday. Smithers, being a small town, still offers options for schooling. There’s a private school, public school and even French Immersion.

We like to go camping and often spend a couple of days at Tyhee Lake, which is a very short drive and a very beautiful spot to be. My husband loves fishing and hopes to teach our daughters the sport. His favourite fishing holes are close by, close enough that he could take them after school.

While my daughters have never been to a zoo, we had a family of deer walk through our yard this morning, a fox waltz by yesterday and we’ve seen moose and bears in our neighbourhood. We also had a bald eagle visit this summer, which made me a little bit nervous as the mama to a five pound fur ball but her barking scared it away—or annoyed her enough to leave.

We spend a lot of time outside. My children are happiest with a lot of fresh air, some freedom to run around (I said some, I’m still a helicopter mom with bears in my neighbourhood) and the sun in their faces.

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According to The World Health Organization, every day around 93 per cent of the world’s children under the age of 15 years breathe air that is so polluted it puts their health and development at serious risk. Air pollution is one of the leading threats to child health, accounting for almost one in 10 deaths in children under five years of age. I don’t think that is something I have to worry about here.

I think I’m learning that the best place to raise your children is wherever you are happiest. Happy parents lead to happy children and in the end, isn’t that what it is all about? So for now, I think my family is in the right place.

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