Whoops! I moved to Florida!

Why did I do that and what do I do now that I'm here with three kids and no job?

Cary Tennis
January 5, 2011 7:01AM (UTC)

Dear Cary,

I am 28 (about to be 29 in January), a housewife, mother of three. I had my first daughter a week before my 17th birthday. My three daughters are 11, 8 and 3. I met my husband when I was 15 and have been with him ever since. Married for nine years. I attempted to go to school in 2006 for fashion marketing. To be honest I think it was the happiest time in my life. I felt accomplished and I felt like I was really doing something with my life. I held a 3.8 GPA and for the first time I was proud of me. While I was in school I became pregnant with my now 3-year-old.


At first I thought I could do it. Be pregnant, have the baby and finish school. As my belly grew, so did my insecurities. It was just like when I was younger and pregnant at 16. I felt like a failure once again. I got it into my mind that I needed to move. So I made it happen. Without much thought, I found my husband a job and within a month we moved to Florida, and let me say not to a major city. There are no jobs here, not so great schools for my kids, and no art schools unless I travel over an hour away. Needless to say that move really messed me up. I couldn't continue with school, got dropped from my classes, and because I didn't hold up my end of the financial aid agreement of going for three consecutive semesters, I lost my funding. I now owe that school $4,000 and can't get any of my transcripts till that's completely paid off. For my family that's no small amount. I've made a bigger mess.

I haven't held many jobs over the years, mainly, I think, because I felt I couldn't do them. A lot of things came into play also. Now I'm almost 30 and feel like I have no real skill. I have always been creative and I would love to get into advertising. The creative department or something along those lines. I loved learning and being able to create projects. Creating things is what makes me happy. Paint, fashion, drawing, writing ... to be honest I don't even know what I'm good at. I don't know if getting into a career like this is the right thing for a soon-to-be-30 mother of three.

All I know is when I look into art schools it makes me happy.


Don't get me wrong, I love being a mother and I love my kids more than anything, but I need more. My sister is always telling me basically to give up on what I think I'd like to do most. I don't know if she's right. Should I just give up on all this and just go get a job wherever I can and accept the fact that this is it? This is the life I've made and now I have to live in it?

In hopes I do not sound like I am giving myself a total pity party, I have to add that I have only one car, which my husband takes to work every day. For the most part I am home with my toddler day in and day out looking for work online, cooking, cleaning and trying to think of ways to turn my life around.

The Hopeful Housewife


Dear Hopeful Housewife,

What is it that makes us move to Florida anyway? Is it the air, which smells of salt and clouds? Is it the heat, that makes us feel we could live forever on nothing but fish and kelp? Is it the orgy of green, infinite lawns, thick as mattresses?


Well, whatever it was, now you're stuck and bewildered and you need a plan.

I suggest you start making clothes. Do you have a sewing machine? If not, get one. If you like kids' clothes, start making kids' clothes. Make clothes your kids want to wear. If your kids won't wear the clothes you make, then make clothes your kids will wear. Your kids can be your focus group. Let them judge what they want to wear. Then take photos of your clothes and put them on the Internet. Show them to other moms. Have people over to buy your clothes.

Keep making clothes. You don't need a degree. Make ads and put them on the Internet. Have fun with it. Don't wait for anybody to tell you how to do it. You can figure it out.


And if you have a chance in the next few years to move back to where you were, you might consider that. You probably left a lot of valuable connections there. It doesn't sound like you're in love with Florida. And your kids will probably benefit from being in a familiar place, with some continuity.

Meanwhile, just start making clothes and don't stop until you're selling them.

January 2010 Creative Getaway


What? You want more advice?


Cary Tennis

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