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Old 10-14-2013, 02:15 PM
32 posts, read 49,607 times
Reputation: 45


We are a youngish family - husband, wife and 2 small children with one (semi-unexpectedly) on the way. We moved from Portland, Oregon to Dallas, Texas about 10 months ago.

A little background. In our whole married life together so far (6 years), hubby and I have never really been able to live the life we've wanted. We have each other, and we know that counts more than anything. At the same time, it's hard being stuck in crappy apartments, scraping by financially, lonely -- both hubby and I have small, broken, problematic families that offer little to nothing in terms of "being there" for us, and just feeling worn by the harshness of life. We've been wanting to make a decent living (he is the sole provider, I stay at home with our kids because it's important to both of us), and be able to buy our own home. I've also wanted to live somewhere that has more than 3 months a year of sunshine for my mental health -- Portland is gray and drizzly for 9 months straight out of every year.

Anyway, we moved to Texas, hoping for better opportunities for our family, and not really having that much to lose anyway. We knew that Texas consistently has a better than average job economy (particularly for the job hubby does), lower cost of living and definitely lots of sun, even if it gets to be too much in the summer. The reality we've found here is that things are pretty much just as difficult in different ways and I just don't know if it's worth it to keep pressing forward here, trying to make it work. Granted we may not have a choice since it's not like we have the means and resources to just up and move wherever we want, but I am just wondering about options.

We've found that no one is really willing to pay hubby more for what he does here. He gets paid about the same as he did in Portland. That would be fine if the cost of living really was lower, but it's not. Buying a house is cheaper, but that's not realistic for us at all. So we're kind of in the same boat; rent a nasty apartment if we want to live near hubby's work in Dallas, or rent a slightly less nasty place in a run-down nearby suburb. We have one car that we share, which he needs to take to work every day. He used to be able to leave me the car in Portland since he could take public transit to work but there's literally no public transit where we live. So what that means is that I am stuck here all day with the kids (they don't go to school anyway, we homeschool, but still we don't like being trapped), it also means we spend significantly more $ on gas for hubby's commute. That with the $ we now have to spend on air conditioning to survive the Texas summer heat means that we are struggling worse than ever.

Over the years I've wished we could move to southern California, where I grew up, and where my few scattered family members live, but it's never been feasible. This Texas move came about because some friends let us live with them for free until hubby found a job... and getting a job wasn't that hard but our situation just doesn't have any real apparent improvements. I feel like Texas doesn't have what I was hoping it would have for us. Life isn't much worse than it was before but it's not really better either. They say "wherever you go, there you are." So I don't know... does it matter where you live? Should you just try to make the best of it anywhere you are, even if you feel like a place isn't working for you? Of course, I will always feel most at home in southern California, and hubby would be agreeable to being there, particularly one of the less expensive areas... but here we are now. Life just gets you stuck in places sometimes. There's no one real "land of opportunity" for everyone. That place is different for all of us, I guess. I'm wondering how much it matters for us to live in a place that we really like, or if we should just submit to wherever we happen to be and try to make the best of it. The disappointment is rough though. This move did not turn out how I hoped.

So I'm just wondering what we do now. I'd be interested to hear from anybody who is in, or who has ever been in a similar situation, especially people in families with young kids.

Old 10-14-2013, 02:42 PM
381 posts, read 712,028 times
Reputation: 455
I know it is a pain to move, but do you feel you have been there long enough to get a better feel for the neighborhoods? Is there any option of moving to a rental that is close to public transportation so that your husband can use that method of transportation, leaving you the car? If not, have you found a way to make friends, especially with other moms of young children? Churches, libraries, homeschooling groups -- all of these would allow you to connect with other young families. I would guess that all of us wish for some kind of support system.

I would also discourage you from even thinking about moving to southern California. The Dallas area may have surprised you with its cost-of-living. But unless you move waaay inland, you know that the cost-of-living in SoCal will be much higher, right? And SoCal is not known for its public transportation either.

I am sorry that I do not have any great suggestions for you. I would not give up as yet. I do challenge you to try to make connections/develop relationships with other moms. Maybe they will have more local suggestions for you.
Old 10-14-2013, 02:59 PM
Location: Dallas
5,599 posts, read 4,903,883 times
Reputation: 16440
OP, I moved to Dallas 3 years ago and like you, found that the cost of living wasn't as low as I thought it would be. If you grew up in SoCal, that will probably always feel like "home" to you. In my experience we tend to romanticize the area we grew up in, and forget about all its flaws. Especially if family members back home won't provide the kind of relationships you are longing for.

Since you homeschool, perhaps it would help if you made connections with other homeschooling moms through a meetup. I googled it and there seems to be several in the dallas area. Making some friends, finding favorite places to shop and frequent, and feeling a connection to others in your area will go a long way towards letting you find some peace and fulfillment in this new area. If you continue to be isolated (no transportation, no public school activities where you can meet other parents, etc.) it is going to be very hard to feel happy here.
Old 10-14-2013, 03:01 PM
32 posts, read 49,607 times
Reputation: 45
Yes, I know how the cost of living is in SoCal. I lived there most of my life until age 21... that's what I mean about the "not feasible" part LOL. I just figure, as long as we're going to be broke and struggling, there are other incentives to live there like my kids having cousins etc. It has been 10 months here, so I guess that's not a very long time, it just seems like we're getting settled into a life here and we can see the horizon and it doesn't look that great. But yes, we have a church. I am getting to know people, it's just hard without a car, and of course the more affordable the area is, the more dangerous it is... hopefully it's just a matter of time, and things can get better here.
Old 10-14-2013, 03:21 PM
32 posts, read 49,607 times
Reputation: 45
As far as Dallas cost of living, glad to hear it's not just me.

Originally Posted by aquietpath View Post
In my experience we tend to romanticize the area we grew up in, and forget about all its flaws. Especially if family members back home won't provide the kind of relationships you are longing for.
I think this is true. At the time I first moved away from SoCal, I was able to explain why I didn't want to be there anymore very articulately. Then after a few years, I forgot, As for family... I think it seems much rosier than it is in real life, especially for those of us who have really messed up families. But I still get envious of people whose kids know there family members, especially when there's babysitting and all that good stuff.
Old 10-14-2013, 03:26 PM
Status: "On The Lookout" (set 22 days ago)
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,388 posts, read 61,750,545 times
Reputation: 31926
Originally Posted by pinkmint View Post
In our whole married life together so far (6 years),
hubby and I have never really been able to live the life we've wanted.
2 small children with one (semi-unexpectedly) on the way will do that.
You need to both get snipped.

The reality we've found here is that things are pretty much just as difficult in different
ways and I just don't know if it's worth it to keep pressing forward here, trying to make it work.
He gets paid about the same as he did in Portland.
That would be fine if the cost of living really was lower, but it's not.
Did someone tell you anything other than houses cost less anywhere you might go?

Cost of Living comparison calculator
My quick check showed $50,000 in PDX = $43,000 in Dallas. Check your numbers.

So I'm just wondering what we do now.
Cutting to the chase... you two will have one very tough decade ahead of you.
But you'll have that anywhere you might be that you actually pay your bills.
There's no getting around it.

"buckle down" "nose to the grindstone" "buck up" "tough it out" "this too shall pass"
There are a lot of people like you out there who don't have *any* income.

Last edited by MrRational; 10-14-2013 at 03:34 PM..
Old 10-14-2013, 08:51 PM
Location: Prescott AZ
6,096 posts, read 9,016,816 times
Reputation: 11450
Maybe you could take in a couple kids as a day care provider? That would help with the money situation and you could still stay at home. I guess you do like kids, right?
Old 10-14-2013, 10:49 PM
Location: Aiken, South Carolina, US of A
1,762 posts, read 3,833,696 times
Reputation: 3563
Life will be hard for you no matter where you move to.
That is just the way it will be for you.
It's super hard for one person to live on one income today
let alone 4 soon to be 5 people living on one income.
Your hubby has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders also, paying
for all of you to live.
You are just going to have to go back to school online, pick a profession
that is in demand and you like, since you are at home anyway, and by
the time the youngest is ready for school, you will have to go to work.
Or go for 4 years, get your degree and put the kids in private school.
Your family needs 2 good incomes when you have 5 people to take care of.
Trust me.
Look into online schools, see what you are interested in, and just do it.
You will be too busy to be unhappy, between a new baby and 2 other kids,
and school, you will forget about being unhappy.
Old 10-14-2013, 11:06 PM
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,561 posts, read 14,180,052 times
Reputation: 30155
You guys would be better off with another income stream. You say you stay at home because you both want you to. However you need to go to work when you are able. Having the third child will stretch you to the breaking point. I imagine your husband feels terrible pressure as he is the sole bread winner. You are home schooling your children. I wonder why, when you could be working at least a part time job.

These days most women do not have the luxury of staying home for very many years. You need to have a path to a career. While you are expecting, you can start planning. Get schooling, or find an internship--whatever applies.

What you have learned is that whatever your husband is doing for a living does not pay enough in Portland or Dallas to raise a family on. Likely it won't do that elsewhere either, esp. in SoCal where costs are really high.

You need to find a residence in a part of Dallas that has good schools. Think about transitioning the older kids to school, and finding good care for the youngest, when you are ready to rejoin the work force.

There are several reasons why you need to face up to this. One is that you need your own career and ss credits for when you retire. Another is you need a second income stream to pay for the things your family needs now.

I have an adult child in Portland. Both this child and spouse work. They are raising beautiful children. It is hard but they are doing it. You can too. But in this world now, the majority of families need two breadwinners. This is the hard truth you need to face.

On a personal note: I had to face up to this myself almost 3 decades ago. I found a part time job, then went full time when I had kids still in elementary school. I will never forget the sigh of relief from my DH when I told him that I had found a full time job. We went through some lean times, but we came through OK. You can too.
Old 10-15-2013, 12:37 AM
1,789 posts, read 1,440,718 times
Reputation: 3680
I think its admirable that you two are sticking to your guns to raise your kids right. A lot of couples like to talk about how much they sacrifice with both of them working and not being around their kids enough, when in reality they are selfish and putting their own wants ahead of whats best for the kids.

I dunno what business your husband is in but based on what your saying he needs to find a new career path. Start looking in his career and outside his career.
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