Is it selfish to emigrate and leave parents behind?

(39 Posts)
geordiegeorgie Mon 27-Jun-16 20:42:23

My DH and I have been talking about emigrating for several years now, and Brexit is the final straw... We feel it is decision time. My concern is for my Mum. I don't think she would emigrate. So she would be left in UK with my brother and Stepfather. She is not even 60 yet and healthy, but I know a time will come when inevitably her health will deteriorate. Is it just selfish to want to emigrate? Has anyone managed this successfully?

FYI we are thinking of Canada or NZ...

TheConsequences Tue 28-Jun-16 09:35:21

I've NCd for this as the details are very specific. Of course it's selfish, but only in the sense that you are looking out for what's best for you.

DH and I left for Australia, leaving mums of 87 and 90 respectively. We had plans (and planes) to return for a holiday, within two years, but we never saw them alive again, which was sad.

On the other hand it was successful because both mums were right behind us on this.

I'm over 60 myself now, and have to suck up the fact that our child may want settle overseas ( less likely now thanks to the Brexit) but we knew that when we left the UK.

Hockeydude Tue 28-Jun-16 09:50:14

I have to say yes unfortunately I don't think it's a great plan. it may well leave your mum completely broken hearted and up shit creek re health emergencies which unfortunately are more common at their age. It works for some people but I don't actually know anyone who is ok with it.

ApricotExpat Tue 28-Jun-16 09:58:17

She's under 60!

You can visit and she can visit you. You get one chance at life - go and live it!

The world is a small place, you're only a plane ride away.

LoisWilkersonsLastNerve Tue 28-Jun-16 10:04:55

As long as you factor in the very expensive costs of flying back and forth a couple of times a year and can afford to do that, I think its fine. Is it selfish? A little but only you know if its worth it.

farageisacunt Tue 28-Jun-16 10:20:30

I agree with Consequences

yes, it is selfish - but you have to do what is right for you and your immediate family i.e. DC, DH .

We aren't beholden to our parents - I really, really want to just bugger off somewhere - we are just waiting for the DC to become independent. I will have no qualms about leaving any other family members - as It isn't a case of leaving them - just moving.

There are planes, trains, boats, cars - numerous ways to travel.

We only get one shot at lift - why waste it ?

LadyCassandra Tue 28-Jun-16 10:26:17

Yes it's selfish. Yes it's hard for everyone. But you have children, and you should do what you need to do to give them the best life.
I am selfish and I made it hard for my family, but my kids have a great life which I wouldn't give up for anyone, not even my (perfectly capable of getting on a plane 70year old) parents.

VulcanWoman Tue 28-Jun-16 10:38:40

No, I don't think it is selfish, any parent that sends their child on a guilt trip are the selfish ones.

TheKitchenWitch Tue 28-Jun-16 10:45:12

No it's not selfish. Sometimes life takes you a different way and you have to make the decisions that you think are best for you and your family.

And to be fair, very few people these days live round the corner from their parents. In the event of an emergency, everyone would have to be travelling, sorting out childcare, taking time off work etc. The distance would be more, yes, but the logistics not necessarily.

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Tue 28-Jun-16 11:06:44

This is a very emotive topic, emotively titled (there has been a GF thread on this which got moved to chat and got very long and heated).

The thing is that your mum could be hit by a bus tomorrow - as could you. She could also live to be a hale and hearty 85, still riding her bike to the shops and doing the garden and her own cleaning better than you could do it yourself, and then die in her sleep without warning.

You do not actually know that she will live into her 90s and spend the last 20 years of her life careering from one crisis to another and making you the family scapegoat for not being there to sacrifice your own 50s and 60s to the thankless task of being her carer (if you stay and do that nobody will actually thank you).

Choosing to stay is fine if you think it is the best for everybody including yourself and your husband and children if you have them. However it can also be the selfish decision to stay if you are choosing a more limited life for yourself, your spouse and your children just in case your mother needs you at some indeterminate time in the future.

A whole lot of people make emigrating work and have throughout history. There can be regrets and recriminations from those who don't think of it first choose to seek opportunities further afield if you go - but there can also be regrets and resentment (your own or those of your spouse) if you decide to let the opportunities pass you by just in case you regret them...

It depends whether you are the sort of person who would rather regret the things you have done, or the things you should have given a try but decided not to...

Ifiwasabadger Tue 28-Jun-16 11:28:14

Why is is selfish?

I left home and moved overseas when I was 18. I now live very far from the uk. My parents come to visit (and love where I live). They support my life choice and are thrilled at the experiences and life I have, versus being in the uk. They would never think to guilt trip me and I never feel selfish. You can't live your life for other people.

NapQueen Tue 28-Jun-16 11:29:39

Your mum could have another 40 years in her yet!

Do it!

Natsku Tue 28-Jun-16 11:32:01

Its not selfish, you have to do whatever is best for your family. Sometime it is very hard though to be far away.

I emigrated leaving my family behind but my mum did the same thing at my age (funnily enough I emigrated to her original country) so although my parents were sad they understood.

Ancienchateau Tue 28-Jun-16 11:35:14

Mine and DH' s families are scattered all over the world. I don't think the few in the UK (which included us until 3 years ago) would think for one minute that anyone was being selfish by doing what is best for their immediate family.

Abraiid1 Tue 28-Jun-16 11:37:28

My only sibling left about 16 years ago. As my parents age and become more frail it means that I am the only one who can be there for them, and I live 75 miles away. Because of this, we ourselves felt unable to move to the other side of the country.

It will have repercussions for your brother.

Sometimes the strain of feeling that I am the only one there in a real emergency is quite tough. My sibling is very caring and supportive but in practical terms can't do much. And does not see what my mother is like every time they say goodbye to them to return to the other side of the world. It is me who has to pick up the phone and try and consOle them and I find it emotionally draining.

So, just be aware of what those left will have to step up to eventually. You must do what is right for your family, though.

crje Tue 28-Jun-16 11:38:39

We had an opportunity 10years ago to move to the US.
Great job / package.
Dh didn't go because of family.
It was a bad choice.
His parents would have been perfectly happy being grandparents once a year.

I think you should go.

JoandMax Tue 28-Jun-16 11:44:27

No it's not selfish to want to have the best life possible and experience the many wonderful things you get from living in a new country.

Your mum is still young, has a husband and a son still in the UK so has support and companionship around her.

We left UK 3 years ago, DCs were 3 and 4. I know my parents miss them a great deal but they visit frequently, we go back home for a few weeks at a time but they wholeheartedly support our choices. They can see we are much happier, have more opportunities and that the DC are having a fabulous experience - what more do parents want?!!

I would 100% be behind my DCs if they had this chance when they're adults, of course I'd miss them terribly but to see them happy and fulfilled would make it worth it.

It's so much easier to stay in touch now with texting, emails, Skype, air travel is so much easier.

And nothing is forever. At the moment my parents are well and healthy and love to travel. If something happened to change that we'd reassess and make a decision on what was best for everyone.

OldGuard Tue 28-Jun-16 11:50:45

A life lived in fear is a life half lived, or so they say - you need to do what is best for your immediate family - for your children

Your mum is not yet 60 - perhaps she'll enjoy visiting ?

WannaBe Tue 28-Jun-16 11:53:48

No it's not selfish, especially when parents etc are all still young and active.

The only thing I would say though is, if you have a close relationship with your parents, you might want to think long term wrt aging, declining health etc, and whether you could envisage your parents becoming older, and potentially dying without you being there.

It's a long-term prospect but is one which ime many people don't think about when they head towards living in another country.

Living in a different part of the country is not the same as living in New Zealand where it's not possible to pop over for a weekend or a hospital appointment or be there towards the end of life.

I grew up in South Africa and we returned to the UK in 1993. When we first came home my grandparents were in good health, but they both deteriorated within coming years and they died two and eight years after we came home respectively. My mum was very much involved in their care, not as a carer but in being part of it, with their medical appointments, communicating with doctors etc esp for my grandad who had multiple health issues towards the end.

We didn't come home because of the prospect of grandparents becoming older and potential for illness/death, but I do think that if we'd still been abroad when my grandad's health had started to deteriorate my mum would have found it difficult not to be there, but it's very difficult to decide to move back because of ailing health of parents, and to have regrets if you are not able to be there towards the end of life.

Hariasa Tue 28-Jun-16 12:01:03

We're emigrating later this year. Not permanently but certainly for a number of years.

My parents have encouraged us to take the opportunity to live in a different culture, to further DH's career and to live life for ourselves.

They will miss us terribly but are hapoy for us and supportive.

My PIL haven't said one supportive or positive thing, not even to the children. They don't want to travel to visit us (they are younger than my DPs) and are making the whole thing so much harder than it needs to be for their son.

I know where I think the selfishness lies.

Toooldtobearsed Tue 28-Jun-16 12:09:38

I am coming to this as a mum with adult children.

If mine decided to emigrate, i would be full of excitement for them, help and support them, wave them off on the plne then collapse in a quivering wreck😅

I would also survive. As parents, we want what is best for our children and if emigrating is best, go for ut. Your mum will be proud. Air travel is relatively chep these days, nothing to stop her having some wonderfuk holidays with you.

I did not have children to care for me in my old age. I have just had a harrowing final few years with my mum who had dementia. To be perfectly honest, in her case it mattered not one jot whether i was there or not. It can be almost as hard to manage elderly parents if you have a full time job, a young family and live at the opposite end of the country - distance is subjective.

I would rather go into my dotage knowing my children were happy and settled than worrying about them, so go for it😊

ShanghaiDiva Tue 28-Jun-16 12:32:00

Don't see how it leaves her mum potentially up shit creek Hockeydude as she will still have a husband and son in the UK.
Both my brother and I have been overseas for over 20 years. When my dad died we both came back to support my mum - db for 2 weeks and I came for over a month. My mum believes we need to do the best for our families and fully supports us.

fussychica Tue 28-Jun-16 17:05:34

It's never a simple or an easy decision to make but you should do what is best for you and partner and any children.
We moved abroad when DS was 10, we were very close to both sets of grandparents and of course they missed him terribly, probably more than they missed us. My parents were very supportive, despite me being an only child and thought it was a great idea while pil were totally negative about the whole thing.

During our time away my mum and Mil died, though we were able to be with them at the end. Following my mum's death my dad moved over to live with us. Unfortunately, he didn't have as many years with us as we had hoped and he died very suddenly.

DS is now in a relationship with a lovely American girl and, assuming they stay together, I am expecting that he will land up living in the US at some point. He is our only DC so obviously we would miss him dreadfully but we want him to be happy and have the best possible life he can. We did what we wanted and would expect him to do the same.

scaryteacher Tue 28-Jun-16 18:25:35

We've been abroad for a decade now, but in Europe, so I can get back to Mum in 12 hours door to door at a push. She comes out regularly, and I combine drop off and pick up for uni with going to see her, even though it add days to my journey given where she lives.

My db is in the ME, but will be back next year, but the RN might send him abroad again. Mum was a Forces wife herself, so understands why we've both ended up abroad.

I will be back in UK permanently at the end of 2019. She can't wait to have me at her beck and call again!

I will

Farandole Wed 29-Jun-16 22:08:54

Yes it is selfish in the sense you do it for you and not for your parents. However, what's equally or more selfish is parents guilt-tripping you EVERY SODDING YEAR to come for Xmas as "we're definitely selling the house this year so this is the last Christmas we'll ever spend together with the whole family". Have they sold the house? Have they fuck.

Aside from that: my mum, who isn't in the best of health, can still fly independently from Canada to the UK to come and visit when she feels like it every four years and she's 80. Your mum is very young OP, I genuinely can't see why she can't come and see you regularly.

From my own perspective, it's much more selfish vis a vis your siblings, as they are the ones left with the burden of looking after your parents. I do feel bad about that.

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