Four years ago, I uprooted my party of five from the suburbs of Dallas and relocated to a rural town of 300.
Talk about a culture shock.
Though it was a move we needed both for our family and for myself as a future small- business owner, it wasn’t necessarily a smooth transition for my children in the beginning. All they knew was big city living. I grew up in a small town, graduated in a class of 100 students. We had a small farm with cows, chickens, goats, horses…it was a nice upbringing. My family had a few acres, and we enjoyed having distance between neighboring houses. If we needed to borrow a cup of sugar, I couldn’t just walk over and ask—I would have to drive over.
My husband grew up in the suburbs, and after we got married, he convinced me that living in suburbia is best for raising a family. And for a while, I agreed. But as the years passed by, I longed for more outdoor space for our children. I ached for nature and wildlife.
I felt trapped in a suburban neighborhood.
At some point, and I don’t recall when, I started to develop traffic anxiety. I would feel anxious when I’d drive in traffic, sometimes missing my exit, causing me more stress. Over time, it became overwhelming for me as a mom of three because I felt anxious knowing I would be stuck in traffic on every errand. After 15 years, I finally convinced my husband to move away from overcrowded classrooms, traffic in every direction, and over-populated spaces…to move away from all this hustle and bustle. He understood how much I needed this move, especially for my own mental health.
The Move Out of Dallas
We purchased land and had a farmhouse built to fit our needs. The moment we moved into our new home, it was such an overwhelming feeling. It was amazing. My daughter has five acres of land to run through, and more than half of the property is heavily wooded. Hide and seek is amazing in our backyard! She rides her bike up and down the road without any worries of cars driving through.
I got chickens and goats, and I even started a small garden. We see deer and jackrabbits on our property, and occasionally foxes and bobcats (but we keep our distance). This is the wildlife I enjoy seeing and want to protect. Side note: I was recently able to certify our property as a wildlife habitat.
The best part is that we can see the stars up close and clearly every night. And a life without traffic on my daily runs means no more driving anxiety (for me).
Living In a Rural Area
What I didn’t do was prepare my family for what life is like in a rural area. Since moving here, we didn’t (and still don’t) have Wi-Fi/internet. We depend on our hotspot to get us through a Netflix movie, and we pray that the buffering doesn’t make a two-hour movie a three-hour movie. Life is slower out here for all of us, whether we enjoy that or not (I love it).
Being stuck behind a tractor on a county road on your way to school is normal around here. Everything is a drive for us, and we’ve learned to make do with what we have at home before we venture out for an “essential” item. Classrooms are smaller and more personal, which is what I want for my children compared to where we were before, with overcrowding in their classrooms. Our oldest graduated this past spring from high school, and his class size was 56. On the flip side, rural schools don’t have the resources big school districts have like AP coursework, new technology, or a variety of electives to choose from, just to name a few.
Turns out, I also didn’t prepare my husband very well for rural living. Mowing the property takes hours. Being chased by aggressive bees living in an underground hive isn’t fun. Building and repairing fenced-in spaces to house our animals safely isn’t exciting. The daily outdoor chores at home can be a daunting task when you still commute to Dallas every day—and try to get home before daylight ends, but he says he wouldn’t have it any other way. This is life now.
In the End
Relocating to a rural town isn’t an easy task. It has taken my family a few years to adjust (while I adjusted the moment we moved here!). I’m not an expert at “rural living,” as we are still learning and growing in this together. Despite the hurdles and hardships we’ve encountered so far, it has all been worth it. As a family, we are more cohesive than ever. At the end of the day, we love this rural life of ours and the slower pace that it brings us.