Single mum relocating to Northern Ireland

(33 Posts)
MillyMolly87 Thu 09-Jun-16 14:16:54

Hi! Posted this on the lone parent forum but think it might be better on here.
I'm 29 and a single mum living in north wales. My daughter is 4 and will be starting full time school in September. My parents help out a lot and I have a lovely group of friends who also help out.

Recently I have been considering a move to Northern Ireland to be involved with the Vineyard church on the north coast. I have only been there once before (in May this year) and absolutely love it. I met some amazing people and feel that I'm really being drawn to the area for reasons unknown to myself.

My parents were initially excited for me but have since raised their concerns for my welfare as they are worried I will be too much on my own away from the support network I have over here. I will be involved with the church and there are around 1500 people that go so there is already a ready made community to get stuck into but making connections and trusting people will take a bit of time.

My dad thinks I'm rushing things despite thinking seriously about this for the past 6 months and having thought about it a few years ago too. I'm hoping to move in December this year to allow my daughter to have two terms in the new reception class before she starts year 1 which I've heard is a bigger transition than starting reception.

Am I being selfish and foolish in moving? My parents have such a big involvement in our lives and look after my daughter several times a week but this will reduce to a visit every couple of months (plus face time and phone calls).

I just feel that if i stay here where I grew up and lived nearly all my life, I'll just keep plodding on without any real motivation or desire to better myself and just be stuck. Of course I will miss so many people but I really feel like God is telling me I need to do this. I get that a lot of people here won't get the whole God thing but id appreciate your thoughts!

Ive been reading the thread about returning home due to homesickness and it's been very interesting. Lots of wise thoughts.
Thank you smile

2nds Thu 09-Jun-16 14:30:47

I'm from N. I.

I moved to England from there 6 years ago, but I had no kids at the time. Now I have two kids, 3+2 and I'm in a relationship.

I had terrible homesickness after the first three months, so much so that I'd burst out crying in the middle of a supermarket and I was in my 30s with no kids.

I was supposed to go back home a few times a year but due to circumstances beyond my control I have only been home once in the 6 years. I didn't take into consideration any future health issues, financial issues etc and I thought coming to England which isn't far from NI in the grand scheme of things was going to be easy, and although I've been here years I can honestly say that being away from home can be very hard at times.

But in your case it's not just about you, it's your daughter too and everything she knows right now is where you are now.

I'm not saying don't do it, rather be aware that being away from home is hard.

2nds Thu 09-Jun-16 14:38:10

Just to add that now that some parts of NI are like a war zone in the summer. In Sumner you've got the Orange Order, Black Order and Apprentice Boys marches, it's called marching season. This has a major effect on almost the whole of NI making certain areas no go areas. I love NI but I grew up there and it's home to me, I just feel that you might need to take this into consideration.

2nds Thu 09-Jun-16 14:40:10

Just to add that you saw NI in May, you might want to look into the marching season and other recent news articles about NI before moving over. The marching season causes a lot of unrest even now in 2016.

2nds Thu 09-Jun-16 14:40:46

Whoops I thought my second post had got lost so I typed out a third post

BustingOut Thu 09-Jun-16 14:44:59

I live in n i . It is not a warzone in the summer at all. Think that's really over the top 2nds.

2nds Thu 09-Jun-16 14:47:09

It won't have changed that much in 6 years Bustingout.

Vriksasana Thu 09-Jun-16 14:47:50

Why does God want you to pick THAT church?
Do you feel the need to be your own person without so much parental involvement? You can put up a few boundaries (hard, I know, trust me) and stay where you are.

fwiw, I considered moving to NI years ago, I wasn't sure I could 'make it' financially in the south, as a single parent with two DC and a non-maintenance paying father. Luckily things changed but I saw the beauty of the short hols/ longer school day allowing me to work, and the NHS. You'd already have that where you are now?

2nds Thu 09-Jun-16 14:50:46

I've never heard of that church though?

MillyMolly87 Thu 09-Jun-16 15:00:01

Thanks for your responses. It's the causeway coast vineyard in coleraine. It's not so much wanting more independence just a stron feeling of being pulled there, like as if that's where I'm meant to be.

I grew up in Chester and my parents still live in the same house. I moved away for 4 years when I was 19 when I joined the raf and then moved back home after I left. My parents are amazing and we have a great relationship so it's nothing to do with them, more just a need to develop myself. I've travelled lots and get itchy feet. Due to landlords selling houses we've had to move house several times since my daughter has been born but always stayed in Chester or now north wales but still only 20 mins away from my parents.

I know there is a troubled history in NI but didn't think there would be so much if that in the north, we'd be over an hour from Belfast. Is that where most of the matches take place?

I've heard the schools are better over there and I just love being in the country and close by to the beach.

MillyMolly87 Thu 09-Jun-16 15:06:29

Sorry about the typos! Predictive text on phone!! The church has amazing opportunities and now I'm a bit more established in my faith (although still a complete newby compared to others) I feel like I can do more in the church and get more involved in a bigger church. The church was also my daughters favourite thing about the whole holiday when we went in May and said that she wanted to stay. I know that children can be quite fickle and her wanting to stay was probably because she was on holiday. But we both had an amazing time.

That church also really helped us out, we were camping and our tent kept leaking and they paid for the rest of our stay to be in a hotel. The kindness shown to us was overwhelming. There were other things too but won't go on! Lol.

katiegg Thu 09-Jun-16 15:14:23

I’ve lived in NI almost my entire life and agree it’s ‘like a warzone in summer’ is ridiculously ott and frankly, offensive.

OP with regards to the marches, they happen all over NI. Belfast is just most heavily featured on the news coverage.

You mention your daughter is 4, meaning she would be starting P1 in September here. (we start school earlier). Moving after Christmas would mean enrolling her in school midway through the year and she would be behind her peers. Or it would mean keeping her back a year. Have you thought about the impact that would have on her?

Also, you mention the North Coast Vineyard Church which you have been to once. It’s a big move to undertake for a church you have only been to once. And although it is a big church, and I’m sure you would find friends and support there, NI is very different from most other places in the sense that many people live close by their families and parents and their families are their primary support network, rather than friends. I have lived in other places where there is more of a culture of building up a support network made up of friends, but this doesn’t exist on the same scale in NI. You might find yourself very isolated.

Have you considered places to live, a job etc?

Don’t get me wrong, NI is a fabulous place and I love living here and I’m very glad this is where we have decided to settle and raise our family, but making a huge move and disrupting your daughter for a church you have been to once seems a bit crazy to me.

Penfold007 Thu 09-Jun-16 15:15:44

Things to consider are how will you support you and your DD, housing and will DD's father 'allow' such a move?

jollyjester Thu 09-Jun-16 15:27:54

Please don't listen to 2nds. I'm sensing they are somewhat bitter about a past experience living here.

The 'marching season' doesn't turn the whole country into a war zone, if it did it would probably make the news!
Aside from 2 or 3 full days over the summer you're unlikely to encounter anything more that a few road diversions in place if there is a band parade going on in a town so please do not let that put you off.

The Causeway coast area is lovely to visit but the practicalities can get in the way. While there are good rail links to Belfast & Derry from the Coleraine area, have you considered which flights would be best for visiting your parents & vice versa. Belfast International Airport is actually closer to Antrim and no rail service to it although there are bus links.

Have a look at Rental properties on www.propertynews.com / www.propertypal.com, I don't know that landlords over here would be any less fickle. Generally i think the cost of living is slightly less for day to day things but big expenses (e.g. cars) are more expensive. (Our last two cars have been bought in England and brought over)

There doesn't seem to be the same scrambling for primary school places in NI as Mainland UK but Nursery school places are underfunded. www.eani.org.uk would be a great starting point.

If you want to pm me any more questions please do and I'll do my best to help.

No one can know what the right thing is to do but often if we don't take these chances we might regret it!

Good luck with your decision.

MillyMolly87 Thu 09-Jun-16 15:30:21

I am trained in beauty and also have my own craft and beauty businesses. I work from home and have an online shop as well as doing craft stalls. I would look for more work too and do the craft stalls each month that the church runs.

My daughters dad has not had any contact for 2 1/2 years out of his own choice. I did everything I could and even initiated mediation but after the first visit he failed to show and we've not heard from him since. Thankfully he is not something I have to consider.

I will be going out again in July without my daughter and staying with some people I met. Hoping to chat to lots of people and get a feel for the place a bit more and do some things considered boring to a 4 year old!

My daughter is in nursery already which shares a class room with reception and she is doing lots of work with the older children. She is slightly advanced in her reading and writing so wouldn't think a move would effect her in that way. Unless do you mean P1 is the same as the year after reception (our year 1)?

Spidermanpushups Thu 09-Jun-16 15:30:47

oh yeh, I know Coleraine. It's a fairly big town.

Could you go half way, distance yourself a bit from your parents, grow in that sense.

In fact, to be honest, I only learned to put up boundaries between me and my parents when I moved back to them. So the whole time I was living away from them, my lacl of boundaries and their inclination to overstep the non-existant boundaries didn't change at all, because the distance was the boundary. so here i am in my 40s trying to erect boundaries and dealing with their shock, indignation and confusion for the first time.

I am not saying rule it out though!

Spidermanpushups Thu 09-Jun-16 15:35:41

if you're able to make friends and you will be able to afford a babysitter then I think you'll be ok. She'll be in school most of the day. I've relocated twice, with two dc.

MillyMolly87 Thu 09-Jun-16 15:35:52

Thanks jolly jester. It would be great to chat more. Just heading to the shop so will have a look on those links. Been using those house sites already but a lot are student/holiday lets. I know a lot of people in the church have houses to let so will enquire there too.
Thanks for all your thoughts everyone

katiegg Thu 09-Jun-16 15:41:37

My daughter is in nursery already which shares a class room with reception and she is doing lots of work with the older children. She is slightly advanced in her reading and writing so wouldn't think a move would effect her in that way. Unless do you mean P1 is the same as the year after reception (our year 1)?

I’m not entirely sure how the school system works in England/ Wales, but in NI children start Nursery School when they are 3 or 4. There isn’t much in the way of structured learning at this point, lots of playing, developing social skills, stories, songs, nursery rhymes etc. They start P1 the following year, when they are 4 or 5. Learning would become more formal at this point and they would learn to read and write, learn numbers etc. I always equated Reception class to our Nursery School but maybe I’m wrong. Although it’s always hard to do direct comparisons between two school systems.

HedgeSchool Thu 09-Jun-16 15:47:04

Hang on, you're moving to NI because you want to attend a particular church that you've been to once on a holiday? I think this is total lunacy. Why not go again on holiday and this time forget the church, which cannot and should not be the totality of your own and your young daughter's life? Instead, have a look at what living in Coleraine would actually be like before making any kind of decision. Do you really want your only anchor in a new country (and NI is a very different place to north Wales or to England in general) to be an organisation with which you may fall out?

And your attraction to it at the moment makes it sound almost cult-like in its appeal. Those narratives go very sour, OP. Look before you leap. You have a daughter who deserves more than a mother who's high on a church.

2nds Thu 09-Jun-16 15:47:13

The marches and rioting does make the news though. I love NI and I do miss it, I still regard it as home and yes we did put up with a lot of crap where we lived, my parents are still there.

Just Steer clear of Portadown in July OP, it's likely my memories of 'dorty Portydown' that has tainted my memories of summer then lol.

BustingOut Thu 09-Jun-16 17:07:26

P1 in n i is the same as your reception op. Our primary years go from 1 to 7. Year 8 is the first year of secondary school. Also if your child is born in July or August she will be the eldest in her year and not the youngest as in England as our cut off point is 30th June for school age attendance. Hope this makes sense!

MillyMolly87 Thu 09-Jun-16 17:14:04

Hedgeschool, thank you for your response. I have actually been involved in the Vineyard church for over 2 years in England and they are the exact opposite of cult like. They are just a bunch or normal people who want to live like Jesus did. They are some of the kindest people I have ever known and it's so free it couldn't possibly be a cult. I appreciate that not everyone will understand and if someone had said this to me 3 years ago I probably would have thought the same thing, in fact I had a fight with my dad once and said Christianity was a cult. But I've changed since then and the appeal to this church (another branch or the Vineyard collective church) is because of the amazing things they do for and in the community. Of course I won't put all my eggs in one basket. I will make my own friends on my street as well as at my daughters school.

Katiegg P1 will be the same as our reception. Children here start school full time in the academic year they turn 5. Nursery is like a pre school and my daughter started when she was 3. So she would be moving into the same year group and they would have all started full time school at the same age.

I do appreciate your responses, it's good to get a full view of different opinions and they are all valid in making up my mind. I would appreciate no name calling though.

LizKeen Thu 09-Jun-16 17:24:00

The issues in Portadown happened 20 years ago. hmm

Portadown is the other side of the country from where OP is talking about moving to.

Calling it a warzone is ridiculously arrogant. You clearly have a very narrow experience of NI. Don't project that onto others.

OP, I agree it does sound a bit mad to up and move on the back of one holiday. Or to do it to be near a certain church.

Holidays and daily life are not the same thing.

Are you able to come back soon for a longer stay, have a look at properties/look at the job situation in the area you want to move to etc?

MillyMolly87 Thu 09-Jun-16 17:27:27

I've been researching it for quite a while and thought about wanting to go before I even knew about the church. The church was an added bonus after I'd already considered it and then became a massive reason for wanting to go. I will be going back at the end of July for a week by myself so will be able to do more of the non holiday things. Thanks for your comment

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