Taking The Subway To Work Is A New Mom's Dream

Cherie Cohen never took public transport to work until she returned after maternity leave

I’d never embraced public transit. Not even having lived in Toronto for the better part of my adult life, save for four years in Calgary, and always within striking distance of a subway stop. Until now.

Ten weeks ago I returned to the corporate world after a somewhat extended maternity leave. My office is now a quick, short, eight-minute walk from the subway. Not to mention that my own home is also barely more than a four-minute walk to a TTC station. And yet, it never even dawned on me to consider taking the subway. Arguably, I was too busy mapping out the fastest driving route. Until my first day back.

I can’t quite say what got into me, but as I packed my bag, I did so into my leather Roots knapsack that has only ever accompanied me on air vacation adventures and included my Mini iPad. And as I headed out the door, it was clear to my husband that I was not about to unlock my car, but rather walk to the subway. He was aghast but said nothing.

My knapsack, comfy shoes, and iPad have accompanied me each and every day since. Even if it means that I need to pack a change of shoes for once I arrive at my office.

Who is this person I have become and why the change?

Somehow, that first day I subconsciously knew that I needed (read: craved) alone time. Without any sort of connectivity, where no one could reach me by way of phone, email or text, riding the subway has become my very own personal bunker. It’s almost as if I’m untouchable, down underground.

And I’m not at all ashamed to say that I’m loving each and every minute. Well, almost. Save for the emergency alarm train delays and regular “this train is now out of service” announcements.

I love the walk to and from the subway at each end. The opportunity for thinking space and time. I love that I can continue to be the voracious reader that I am. I was worried that in my eagerness to return to work early, I was going to become the newest delinquent member of my book club, never able to finish any of our books. Not so. I plug my ear buds in and I tune out.

And it was during the first week of being a newly working mom that I got my most rewarding laugh, when during some moment of my newfound daily travel I suddenly heard ”The Wheels on the Bus” pipe through my earbuds, as an immediate encore to The Black Eyed Peas “Now Generation”, where moments prior to lyrics about wanting ‘…fast internet, …wifi, podcasts, blasting out an SMS, …text me, I’ll text you back,’ I was now being serenaded by the very lyrics that I sing to my son.

I’ll hardly proclaim that the subway has changed my life, but I won’t deny the positive, healthy space it’s given me at a time in my life when I’m spread thin, and there are now more demands on me than ever before. My thirty-minute escape, to my private bunker at the start and end of my day is a welcome reprieve, and a place where I can be alone with my thoughts, my tunes, and my books, and the other half of Toronto’s local commuting population.

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