The suburbs are super attractive. They offer clean safe neighborhoods full of brick-facade homes and green yards. In under ten minutes from your home, you can find a wide variety of shopping, restaurants, fine schools, and service providers – all with convenient parking. The benefits of a city are usually a short drive away. It is no wonder why over half of Americans live in the suburbs of our cities. But can the suburbs deliver all that they promise?
Don't misunderstand me. I love living in the suburbs. But like everywhere else, the suburbs have real painful problems. Inside the beautiful large homes and late model SUVs you will find people suffering from Suburbanite Stress – a unique blend of stressors that cause havoc on individuals, families, and the communities. The stereotypical HOA meeting filled with “karens” is based on facts. Many peoples’ hearts are filled with the cancer of Suburbanite Stress. Here are just a few of the most obvious stressors attacking the peace and joy promised by suburban communities.
5 Reasons Suburbanites Feel Stress
Though surrounded by nice and friendly people, suburbanites suffer from a subtle yet lethal kind of loneliness. Cultural niceness is a sugarcoated poison that substitutes for real interpersonal relationships and community. Suburban homeowners tend to drive into their two-car garages, close the door, and never even see a neighbor. Few people even know their neighbors’ names. Years ago, porches were on the front of homes inviting people to engage their neighbors. Today, most homes’ decks are facing a secluded fenced back yard. This only contributes to the suffocating isolation of the suburbs.
The appearance of wealth in the suburbs contributes to a growing sense that you have still not arrived. When people see new cars, boats, and home renovations all around them, they tend to envy others and become discontent with their situations. Discontentment is bad, but it also drives suburbanites to work harder. They feel a constant pressure to climb higher on the socio-economic ladder just to keep up with others.
Life in the suburbs is expensive. For many years, families have flooded the suburbs searching for a beautiful family home with an affordable price tag. Increasingly, dream homes become nightmares - money-pits and debt-traps. The allure of the suburb frequently leads people to buy too much house, too much car, too many luxuries, and too many activities. High debt-to-income ratios are moving in the wrong direction as suburban families take on bigger mortgages to afford a home and leads to constant economic stress and workaholism.
A couple of generations ago, children could roam neighborhoods on their own. Today, parents are subtly pressured to enroll their children in programs and activities that spend valuable time and money. Parents must give valuable family time to work so that they can pay for all their children’s “blessings.”
Suburban parents are exhausted due to literally endless demands on their time. Work, children’s sports, school activities, household chores, and caring for aging parents is proving to be a package more demanding than most people can handle. The results of limited time for self-care or maintaining a healthy marriage are obvious. Sadly, all the time people thought they’d spend enjoying the “suburban life” is spent working, commuting, and taxiing children to the next activity.
After briefly thinking about the various stressors common in the suburbs, it is not hard to understand the reasons suburbanites are stressed, irritable, and pessimistic. Doing their very best, people are running as fast as they can, only to feel like the debt and demands are growing exponentially faster. This lifestyle is far from what they expected and are equipped to handle.
Next Step Counseling specializes in serving clients suffering from Suburbanite Stress. In personalized sessions, we equip suburbanites to identify the roots of their stress and develop strategies for dealing with them. Let us help you enjoy the suburban life. Schedule a FREE Exploratory Phone Call Today.