Help - To move or not - 1 day to decide

(37 Posts)
highlystrung Tue 18-Oct-16 10:14:14

After months of a potential move to the US being on then off, then on again, we have just got back from a week's scouting trip. DH would be working in Manhattan and we (us and three DC, aged 11, 9 and 6) would be living in Greenwich, Connecticut. It's supposed to be a two year gig and we would move in Jan.
The trip didn't go quite as planned. We were all exhausted all week, probably due to sharing a hotel room, jet lag etc. The area was nice but extremely upmarket and I'm not sure I'd fit in. There's no opportunity to go back and look at other areas. We found a house we liked and the kids spent a day in their new school which they all enjoyed. But - despite that, none of them are very keen to go and the middle one is absolutely bereft at the thought. He keeps crying and is very upset.
The trip also threw up a lot more questions than it answered. DH and I were expecting us all to come back enthused and up for the challenge of it all, but no-one is really. I'm very worried that we will have a lower standard of living than we do here. We will see less of DH as he will be working really hard to set up his company's new office over there. He's already away a lot and that won't improve. Our kids do a lot of after school activities and we were horrified at the cost of them over there. My son plays tennis to a high level here and trains 4 times a week. To replicate that there we are looking at having to pay $7 - $10k a year. We are worried that despite a decent housing allowance and school fees being paid by the company we will have to subsidise it to such an extent that we will come back £20k - £30k worse off than if we stayed. There's also the lack of support network, which I knew about before we went but really hit home. Our lives are pretty stressful here anyway and I'm worried it might tip us over the edge if we move - cause problems in our relationship.
If we don't go DH will still go over there a few times a year, benefit from the same stake in the new company as if he went. But will we regret it forever? Is it okay to sometimes think we are best off where we are as everyone is happy and settled. I like adventure but not sure this is for us.

specialsubject Tue 18-Oct-16 10:29:47

A different office is not an adventure, especially if it involves a drop in standards of living for everyone else.

I cant see any positives about this move and no negatives on staying. There are always other chances.

highlystrung Tue 18-Oct-16 10:48:52

We would be living in a bigger house and the kids would be in a private school - whereas here they are on state schools (and v happy). So I guess some might say our standard of living would improve. But in terms of disposable income, opportunities outside school and time together I see a lowering. Also there's the massive stress and upheaval of it all. The kids are so settled and happy here and they are all very anxious at the moment. I feel so guilty for putting them through it all. Everyone says to go for it, but that's easy to say when it's not you doing it. The reality isn't the same as the daydream is it. On the other hand I'm worried that we will miss out by not giving it a go and will regret it.

SplendidPanda Tue 18-Oct-16 12:39:08

Hmm, whatever you do you'll be wondering "what if". In your position my concern would be two years down the line you're just settled, kids have made good friends etc and then you uproot your life again to return to the UK.

GatherlyGal Tue 18-Oct-16 12:50:45

That's tricky.

A wonderful opportunity I agree but it's really hard relocating to a different country.

The lack of support network is a big deal and I have to say I wouldn't do it if it meant a lower standard of living.

We did it (younger kids and a less exciting location) but we only survived by having weekends away / holidays and also paying a lot for occasional and ad hoc childcare. If we hadn't been able to afford those things my mental health and our marriage would have seriously suffered.

It's all exciting for DH and his work but bloody hard for you at home with homesick and unsettled kids especially if he's not around much.

Good luck

ifink Tue 18-Oct-16 12:54:21

depends on whether you are doing it for the money or the adventure?

If its for the money, don't go obviously. But if its for the experience, broadening of all your horizons etc then its undoubtedly worth the comparative pay drop to my mind but I was definitely up for an adventure when we first started out as expats...so depends on what you and DH want out of life and what you want your kids to experience? not very helpful, but hopefully insightful!

GatherlyGal Tue 18-Oct-16 12:54:51

Also are flights home part of the package? Hugely expensive for all of you but v important.

TheBadgersMadeMeDoIt Tue 18-Oct-16 13:01:33

I know it's easier said than done when there is so much to consider, but try shutting out all the arguments for and against and focus on your gut feeling.

I wish I had tried harder to do that when I had to make a similar decision. It would have saved me a whole lot of stress. Looking back now I can see that my heart just wasn't in it, but I couldn't see that for all the pros and cons battling it out in my head.

ShanghaiDiva Tue 18-Oct-16 13:03:38

The financial loss would concern me. Imo there is little point in being overseas if you don't have sufficient income to enjoy and explore the new area.
I would also be wary of the state/private school comparison - private does not always mean 'better' especially if they are thriving in their current school. My children are at international school. It is expensive and is really no better than a decent comp, despite what the brochures say!

Hirosleaftunnel Tue 18-Oct-16 13:23:17

If you think your relationship will struggle then don't do it. Relocating puts enormous pressure on even the strongest couples.

SpotTheDuck Tue 18-Oct-16 13:24:05

I wouldn't move. We're thinking about a similar relocation, but in our case children would still be pre-school, we'd have a better lifestyle there, they'd learn a second language, and we'd come home with significant savings (like buy a house outright savings!) so the disruption and lack of support would prob be worth it.

In your case I can't really see what the advantage is? You'll have less money, no real educational advantage, may
be less able to take part in extra-curriculars. You'll be lonely, DCs homesick, DH missing out on family life.

Adventure/change for the sake of it is great when you're young with no dependants but as an adult....no, I wouldn't.

idontlikealdi Tue 18-Oct-16 13:25:26

Can you afford the financial loss?

I'd be saying no if I was you, there doesn't seem to be much to gain.

Ancienchateau Tue 18-Oct-16 13:34:40

There are so many reasons not to go in your post, that the answer seems obvious to me.

Apart from that, I wouldn't move for just 2 years with children that age. My DC were those ages exactly when we moved abroad. It is a tricky age especially for the eldest and even more so when it is just temporary.

mummytime Tue 18-Oct-16 14:03:29

I don't see the point of living somewhere like Greenwich and paying for private school (you will already be paying a lot for education through local taxes and rent).
I also think coming back to the UK with a 13 year old will be tricky.

highlystrung Tue 18-Oct-16 17:45:25

Thanks all. Some really good points. The school would be paid for by DH's company and we would get a housing allowance that would cover most of the rent. It's the rest of life there that seems to cost mega money. It's hard because we have to make a decision by tomorrow and we are all jet lagged as hell - so not thinking straight. TBH I'm so exhausted I just want a break from it all. Just been to parents evening to be told my son is very quiet and seems anxious sad. Everyone keeps telling me we will regret it if we don't go but my gut is telling me to stay. Im fed up with dealing with upset kids.

ReggaeShark Tue 18-Oct-16 17:52:06

I wouldn't go for just 2 years. When you return I assume you'll be looking to get your children back into state schools and that could be a problem.

SpotTheDuck Tue 18-Oct-16 18:00:42

I wouldn't go. It's easy for other people to see it as an adventure, fun etc but they haven't actually done the research. This trip would be bad for your family, your relationship, your finances, and maybe your children's education. No way I'd go.

Just a final thought - if you're non-resident in the U.K. for two years can you even get your kids into state school when you come back? I thought there was some kind of residency requirement. You definitely won't be able to apply until you live in the right LEA, so it's likely you'll only get offered places in crappy schools the other parents didn't want.

mummytime Tue 18-Oct-16 18:05:27

I wouldn't go for 2 years, when you are not that keen and your son will be coming back at a crucial time.
Personally if I was moving to Greenwich I'd prefer to have the money than have school fees paid, and actually you may be more in need of private education when you come back.

I'm a great believer in listening to your gut.

Justwanttoweeinpeace Tue 18-Oct-16 18:09:48

From your post it sounds like you don't want to go and you have come here looking for excuses.

You don't need any more excuses from us, I think you already know you don't want to move.

flowers

EweAreHere Tue 18-Oct-16 18:13:29

I wouldn't go under the scenario you have described: busy/working away husband; equal schooling, essentially; less disposable income (which will make fitting in at a private school difficult for them there, btw); not liking the area; no support network; lower overall standard of living.

nonameavaliable Tue 18-Oct-16 18:14:24

The whole point of a relocation package is that you don't end up out of pocket.

Your dh package doesn't sound great to be honest. Any chance of renegotiating?

Personnally id go for it (and have) but only providing the company will fund, x,y and z.

Sugarpiehoneyeye Tue 18-Oct-16 18:18:00

I have read your post OP, and I would vote to stay here.
You and your children have a happy life, so nothing much is going to change, why risk it.
It isn't as if you were all enthralled with your trip.

stuckinny Tue 18-Oct-16 18:38:26

If you do decide to go do you have to move to Greenwich? Don't get me wrong, it's lovely but there are equally nice areas with the same commute into Manhattan where the cost of living may be a little less but will still give you the same opportunities.
Another thing to consider is your visa status. Your DH will obviously be covered but what kind of visa will you have? Should you want to get a job can you work on your visa? - you may not need the money but a pt job whilst the kids are in school could help you meet people. If you decide to move and stay longer what options will you have?
Flights home are really important to negotiate. When I moved out here part of my agreement was that they will pay for two flights home a year. It helped immensely (even though it was just me here).
I don't live/work too far from Greenwich so if you need any info let me know.

TheBadgersMadeMeDoIt Tue 18-Oct-16 19:47:57

Everyone keeps telling me we will regret it if we don't go...

Yes but they aren't the ones who will have to make the move, are they? And I bet they're full of pearls of wisdom like "It's better to regret something you have done than something you haven't," which is of course bollocks. Regret is regret, either decision could have both good and bad results and there is no way to know how you will feel about either option further down the line.

...but my gut is telling me to stay.

Well, that should tell you something. Your gut can be a better decision maker than your brain. Especially when there are too many variables for there to be a clear, logical benefit to one side or the other. If I can offer you anything from my experience it's this: If you do decide to stay, expect to feel a little deflated and lost for a while afterwards. That does not mean it was the wrong decision. It's just anti-climax with a touch of wistfulness and a need for something other than the potential move to occupy that newly empty space in your thoughts. Not at all the same thing as regret.

I know how stressed indecision can make you feel. Hope you'll have your solution soon. X

OhMrsQ Tue 18-Oct-16 20:01:45

Listen to your gut. Absolutely.

I came to the US as a trailing spouse, and after our scouting mission I was really unsure about making the leap. I fell in love with the place within about 4 days, and am staying long-term.

Your situation is very different. Your children are clearly the most important aspect, and I also would worry about them finally settling in the states, only to go back to the UK again after 2 years.

If others say to you, 'oh you'd be mad for not going'. Well, that's just their throwaway opinion. You know yourself and your family best. Listen to your gut and instinct and stay where you are xx

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