The Daily Grind of Living in San Francisco Kicks Up a Notch After Kids


Caucasian father lifting daughter over San Francisco cityscape, California, United States

I love my career. I spend every day telling would-be visitors how wonderful San Francisco is and why they should come here to celebrate their reunion, host their annual meeting, or get away for a long weekend. I share my love for our city’s views, restaurants and sports (when applicable) so that they can imagine themselves here. It’s a gift to live and work in the city I love.

Before I became a parent, I would work 12-13 hours a day, take a client out to dinner once a week, do happy hour with friends, and enjoy leisurely dinners with my husband. Once my daughter Ilse arrived, the “daily grind” of the work week changed. It has become harder and more tiring, and yet more rewarding at the same time.

First, let me just say that living in San Francisco is hard work.  My romance with San Francisco has always been tempered by the high cost of living. When I moved to San Francisco 16 years ago to complete my undergraduate degree at San Francisco State University, I knew I would need to have a job in order to live here. It’s impossible for most people to live here and not work (though I do respect those who can). These days, it is even harder, due to the housing shortage. Rental prices in the city are astronomical. In my neighborhood alone, the average rent for an apartment is $3,500 per month. A parking space is an additional $300 per month. A full-time job is a must to live comfortably in the city, even with rent control and even before having a child. Add a child into the mix, and there’s the work of finding childcare (a story I can save for another time) and all the costs associated with child-rearing. Thank goodness for the sisterhood of hand-me-downs and diaper donations. Every little bit helps.

Beyond economic concerns, the daily grind is much more tiring since I became a parent, which is an obvious reality, but one I never thought about until now. Before Ilse arrived, we would wake up at 6ish and start our day. After work, we would stroll to our neighborhood Mollie Stones for vegetables for our leisurely dinner or eat at neighborhood restaurant. Now, our family of three begins our day at 5:30AM. My husband and I have coffee, talk about the work ahead, and sort out who may be working late. Then, we race to get ready and are on our way to work/daycare by 6:40. We work. I pick up our daughter from school. Then it’s dinner (planned a week ahead of time), downtime, dishes, dessert, and bedtime. It’s a routine that we have cultivated since I returned to work from maternity leave. This, of course, does not include the wee hours of 1AM and 3AM when our daughter wakes up in the middle of the night from teething pains. Multiply this by five days, and it’s exhausting. By the time the weekend rolls around, both of us are just tickled to “sleep in”  until 7AM, or at least when our daughter allows it.

Yet, the hard work and tiredness of our average work week is outweighed by the rewards of  being part of my daughter’s learning and growing and adjusting to our new life together. I have enjoyed witnessing Ilse’s “a-ha” moments, like when she ate peas for the first time (which she disliked) or laughed at something on Sesame Street. Every day, we watch her grow and learn new things. Both of us are relearning life basics like eating, communicating and sleeping. We are also learning how to manage being parents and still being ourselves.

For my husband and myself, getting “me time” in the form of happy hour with friends, time in the kitchen to bake a food project, or work an extra couple of hours has been essential. For all my fellow parents out there,  prioritize that  “me time”. You need it; you deserve it. In the end, I would not trade the daily grind of living in San Francisco, nor the sleepless nights of being a parent. I am thankful for the opportunity to raise Ilse in my favorite city.

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Jeanne is a married, full-time working mom with an MBA in Marketing from Golden Gate University and BA in Communications from San Francisco State University. She is an Associate Director of Sales for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and loves that her career enables her to promote the city she loves. Jeanne and her husband Daniel live in San Francisco with their two daughters, Ilse and Alice. When Jeanne is not working, writing, or volunteering at Ilse's school, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and cooking from her collection of cookbooks (70 and growing) while sipping Hudson Bay Bourbon. Follow her adventures on Instagram.


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