How much commuting can you handle?

By Karina Rook

Aside from choosing a school district in the Valley, another factor in deciding where to live is your proximity to work. A one hour commute is considered normal for many San Franciscans, and everyone owns at least one car here. Many employees at my husband’s work time-shift their hours to arrive at work late (10am) and avoid peak hour, then leave after 7pm, or later to have an easy drive home. And people work hard in the valley, especially in the tech scene, so a 10 to 12 hour day is usual.

For us, having school-age kids where school hours are between 8am and 3pm, having Dad hang around at home for the morning was a waste of family time as the kids weren’t home anyway. In theory there is plenty of time available in the mornings to do a long commute, which gives us the advantage in being able to live in a cheaper area. Having a nicer, bigger house for the same amount of rent we pay in Belmont (mid-Peninsula suburb) was appealing for a while. Gee, we could even get a house with a backyard pool!

Ultimately, we didn’t want to eat dinner at two separate mealtimes, feeding the kids at 6pm and feeding the adults at 8pm. We saw this happen a lot when we lived in London, and it’s not for us. My kids need time with their father every night, whether it be to review homework, be tickled, or just sit quietly on the couch watching episodes of ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’ on Netflix. And as a Mom, I need a break from the kids to stay sane.

So, we can’t handle much commuting at all – it’s a 15 minute drive to work and it’s perfect for us.