Chicago area mamas, PLEASE help! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 10-01-2008, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
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My hubby just started a job in Northfield and we are trying to find the right community in which to live. We are leaving Austin, TX, which is very crunchy / AP friendly. I enjoy diversity and don't need a place where everyone makes the same choices - but I also don't want to be the only AP mom at the park with a babe in cloth diapers, delay-vaxed, nursing toddler, etc. Also where I can find a midwife for the next babe and not have difficulty finding doctors who are easy going about vac'ing.

We hear Evanston is one of the only "progressive" communities N of the city. That is attractive, but the taxes are high & the homes in our $ range are small with tiny yards (and we have 3 dogs). The Lake County suburbs offer bigger homes and lots, but I am scared about finding that place where we'll "fit in" with our non-traditional choices.

I am desperate to join my husband and to have some peace of mind about finding the right community. Please, please, please give me some advice!

Thanks in advance,

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#2 of 5 Old 10-01-2008, 06:57 PM
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I think most of the Chicago area is relatively accepting and progressive. We have nearly 10 million people in the metro area, and in a large urban area, people tend to be accepting.

True, Evanston is a haven of crunchiness, but it's not like you step from the full color of Oz into the black and white of Kansas the second you step out of Evanston.

Basically, liberalness radiates out from Chicago proper, so the further away from the city you live, the more conservative people tend to be.

Sorry I don't have specific suggestions for suburbs (I live in the city). Hopefully, others will chime in with more detailed advice. Basically, i wanted to let you know that you don't have to worry too much.
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#3 of 5 Old 10-02-2008, 02:48 PM
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we live in Lake County (Libertyville) and really like it! There is a very good AP group in the area - and a holistic mom's group - and a homebirth group - and a baby-wearers group (and obviously lots of LLL groups!)! There is obviously a lot of overlap between these groups, but its so nice to know that many areas in AP are well-covered.

feel free to PM if you have specific questions!

best of luck!

eta - just a side note because you mentioned midwives; midwives can't deliver in hospitals in Lake County. So many people around here who want a CNM-birth either go w/hb, or "travel" to Evanston or another hospital south of us whose name is escaping me right now!)

loving Mama to Killian (6/07) and Breckin (3/26)
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#4 of 5 Old 10-02-2008, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ColetteInIllinois View Post
Basically, liberalness radiates out from Chicago proper, so the further away from the city you live, the more conservative people tend to be.
I think this is true to an extent, and Evanston certainly isn't your only option north of the city to encounter any crunchy behavior.
That said, if it were me I'd probably take the smaller house/smaller yard in favor of a lot of the great stuff a town like Evanston does have to offer - definitely more like-minded AP mamas and GREAT midwives and non-vaxing docs, but also proximity to the lake, diversity, public transit down to the city, walkable great neighborhoods, restaurants, university-sponsored culture, etc.
But those are my priorities. I know many people would value space and a big yard over those things. I don't know the other areas well - as you get closer to Northfield, you're only going to go up in price in communities like Winnetka and Glencoe. Though maybe there are still some affordable places in Wilmette or Glenview, especially farther from the lake? You could also look into somewhere like Skokie (which admittedly I don't know at all) which is probably a lot more affordable than Evanston but still close to those crunchier things Evanston offers.
I tend not to be as big a fan of some of the NW suburbs, in which you can get more space for the money, but they're also a lot more conservative and most of them, especially those built along the expressway, lack much of a sense of community - lots of strip malls, etc.
I suppose if you don't care about being near the city you could also go even farther north - I personally would think Libertyville would be a pretty long commute, but maybe it wouldn't be too terrible? The communities right on the lake (Highland Park, Lake Forest, etc) only get more expensive, but inland there might be some not too far from Northfield where you could get more space than you could in Evanston...

Still, though, from everything you describe as liking, I wouldn't rule out Evanston.
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#5 of 5 Old 10-03-2008, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! I appreciate the help!
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