Living on a different continent from family

(15 Posts)
Imabitlost Sat 16-Feb-13 10:35:46

Ladies,

Apologies if this has come up already but wanted to know how you deal with living away (We would be on different continent same time zone) from grand parents and family.

We are looking to move end of this year for a more work/life balance and sun but it's a 12 hour plane ride from my family...we will be with hubby's family (who I love) and I know my mum will get jealous. We are on our own At the moment as my family are not in the same country (but 3 hours away). I d like to think mum will see it as an opportunity to spend a more lengthy time with us in the sun instead of the odd weekend here and there. I know though we being so far will break their heart and I feel guilty about it. Hubby and do want to move but the guilt is still strong...

Thanks for reading!

natation Sat 16-Feb-13 10:41:14

It depends on how resourceful you are. Our children have seen their grandparents, if I added all time up together, for less than a month in the last 16 years. It's not our choice, it's the grandparents' choice. It wouldn't matter if we were in the same town, their interests are with their friends and annoyingly telling me about the wonderful lives their friends' children and grandchildren have. It's sad, I've vowed never to repeat this distance between me and the children and any grandchildren, but I cannot change their personalities and priorities, so I live OUR lives without them.

juneau Sat 16-Feb-13 10:43:09

What I found when we lived overseas (a 7-hour flight from my family), was that although we saw them less frequently, we saw them for more time when we did see them. So instead of spending a weekend together, as we do now we're back in the same country, we'd spend a week or longer either staying with them, or them with us. Because of these longer visits we actually spent more days in one another's company than we do now and we made an effort do things, create memories, sight-see, etc.

If your family are a 3-hour flight away already, how much time do you spend with them now?

skratta Sat 16-Feb-13 10:53:04

It's hard. We have a 11hr plane trip to visit them (I'm in USA, they are dotted around Scandinavia/Northern Europe mainly) at the most, 8hrs least.

There's no real support. I never realised how little we saw each other after I made a list of holidays we could take (I moved with my company, along with my family of course, and they give us one return plane flight each year, so I'm lucky). When I used to live in Sweden, even in Stockholm I was about 4hrs drive a way tbf, but when I lived close by, I could visit them, pop round, talk to them. Now, I say that I get to see my family regularly- twice a year, us going to them, once a year, they going to us, and then we Skype, call, email and Facebook.

However, can I say that the time you DO spend with them will probably have more meaning. Before, I'd pop over regularly- and when I moved down to Stockholm, maybe once a month trips from each of us. Moving to the UK (only for 6mnths) we saw each other three times, for a week each. Now, they come for about 4-5wks in summer (luckily they're retired, so have a lot of time) and we go for either 2wks at Christmas OR 2wks at Easter. And when we're they're, or they're here, we do a lot of stuff. Last time we went, I worked out we did an average of 2.5 activities per day (kayaking, swimming, cinema, different camping activities, canoeing, rafting, going to a zoo etc;) There's less time to spend, but we spend every single moment with each other and enjoying each other- and we value the time even more, and use it even more- which didn't happen before.

My step-dad/his wife (they've been my parents since I was a kid- so imagine them as bio parents for a min) are used to visiting random step-kids or DC in other countries tbf (one brother in Oman, another Brazil, half-brother AND my sister in Australia etc;), so they know to value time, but that is something everyone learns. Usually we relax and just enjoy ourselves the first times, savour being with them again, and then we set out to have the best time ever in just a fortnight or something. Honestly, I've loved them and had more fun with them in the past years I've lived in the USA then when I popped around for 5mins three times a week or something.

Imabitlost Sat 16-Feb-13 11:05:30

Thanks for all your support. They a 3 hour train away and we see them at xmas and the odd weekend. It's true that it's always rushed.. But my mum is quite an overwhelming person and very attached to my little boy. I k ow she will be harsh and await things like: well it's up to you to come ad bal bla... But hopefully she will realise that we are happy there and have a great quality of life ( house with a pool!). I agree with what is said above and think also it's the quality of time that counts.. Just hope they do to it time...
Thing is we will be able to go every other Xmas for 4-6 weeks and I hope that Xmas we don't come they do. We also want to spend Xmas with his family and on the beach;) and hope during the year she would come as we are having an extra for visitors. But will call it her room!
I also hope when we take holidays they can join us...
The guilt thing is killing me but all my life I have been living for her (choices..but that's a different story all together!!.) I now need to think about my family... Sounds harsh saying it.. And don't want them to think I am taking him away

The initial plan is to say we are there for 3-4 years and then smoothly approach it once they are used to it. What do you think?

Imabitlost Sat 16-Feb-13 11:06:51

Sorry Another reason I don't mention is being with MIL due to poor health

Alligatorpie Sat 16-Feb-13 11:33:18

We live on different continents to both of our families, we are in Africa, in- laws are in the UK and my family is in Western Canada. it is hard at times, but as we are both teachers, we have fairly significant holidays.
We visit our families at least once a year and they come out every year or two (in laws are retired so come twice a year, my mom / step dad and dad / step mom come once every two years) so we do see them a lot.
Dd1 especially misses my mom, but knows when we do see her, it is for a month or so, so we have fairly intense time with her.
We used to go home more, but finally i made a point of saying we didn't move overseas to spend all our vacations at home and if that was the plan, we might as well move back. Now dh agrees and we go on more interesting holidays.

Imabitlost Sat 16-Feb-13 11:39:22

Alligatorpie that's what my hubby says that he doesn't want to spend each year and big holidays visiting my family and I know he is right.
Out of curiosity where in Africa do you live?

When I think about it they don't see him in long stretches but more odd weekends every other months.. So having them over for a month at a time would be lovely especially during schools holidays.

It is hard - but it is about quality time together, and being creative at other times. My parents read to my DD via Skype, they say goodnight through messages and whatsapp, we have a homing beacon light thingy so we can see when Granny and Granpa are at home and when they are sleeping etc. We have lots of photo books (iphoto or shutterfly things) that we put together ourselves and ordered so that we can read 'stories' about the family.

MarshaBrady Sat 16-Feb-13 11:55:55

My family is in Australia and elsewhere. We see each other once or twice a year. My parents are very careful not to make me feel guilty at all. Since they did the same in the reverse direction in their 30s and were made to feel bad about it.

They are incredibly upbeat about it all, but do spoil us when we get together. It's ok now, but I found it harder when I had a tiny baby and just wanted to hand him over to a loving family member. Also the relationship between my siblings and my dc is amazing and I do feel slightly sad that they don't see each other more often.

But I love London and I'm not moving so I just think about the positives.

Alligatorpie Sat 16-Feb-13 13:43:20

Lost - i am in Egypt.

We are also skype weekly, so gp's are very visible in our lives. Dd2 who was born here is getting to know them.

Shanghaidiva Sun 17-Feb-13 07:34:25

It's easier for me as my children were born outside the UK and they have never seen their granparents on a regular basis.
My mum comes out every year, we speak on the phone and ds also emails her. My brother has also lived outside the UK for over 20 years so my mum is used to having a long distance relationship with her grandchildren. I am hoping she will come to visit for 5-6 weeks now she is virtually retired. I know it will drive me batty but it will be great for my children.
Dh's parents don't appear that interested in their grandchildren (our kids are their only gc) and in the past we have had to virtually beg for them to visit us. DH and I now take the view that we cannot force them to be interested in their gc and the loss is theirs.

googlenut Sun 17-Feb-13 07:43:37

We did the opposite and moved to be closer to both sets of grandparents. Seeing that relationship develop and unfold has been very precious and has been a great gift to each of the children. They now have 6 adults who know them well and care for them. I think that is priceless. Sorry not helping here!

Imabitlost Tue 19-Feb-13 11:13:33

Many thanks ladies I really appreciate all your honest opinions

If you have a rather complex and sometimes strained relationship with your mother, based in part on emotional blackmail by her (and it does sound that way, but maybe I am projecting wink ) then you need to bear in mind that those longer stays with her in your home or you in hers may be very stressful indeed and you may not feel so eager to have her in your house for 3 weeks at a time after you've done it once... My sisters find my mother easier to cope with, living within walking distance from her, because they can get away more easily and see her in teeny managable doses regularly rather than longer, intense emotionally charged bursts...

As I say, I may be projecting, but there are a few hints in your posts! grin

I am an hour's drive from my MIL and only in Germany (parents in England though not near any airports or good travel links) and I must say I don't miss "support" as my MIL is more practical help than my mother would ever have been, but I do find the time with my mother hugely stressful, but feel duty bound to keep doing it - DH says I am horrible to live with for weeks before each visit ... sad

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