Had enough, want to go home. DH reluctant.

(46 Posts)
ng1412 Sun 10-Mar-13 16:38:49

I am really struggling, been in France coming up to two years now. Bored out of my brain, I am a SAHM while DH works. We have a two year old DD and I am 7 months pregnant with our second.

We live in a tiny village where nothing happens. I am going slowly mad and am feeling very depressed. It is a struggle to get through the day. I can't talk to DH as he can't do such discussions. If i had somewhere to go un the UK i would come back but my parents aren't there and my sister doesn't have a house big enough.

I feel totally trapped and so unhappy. I have never been so low in my life.

ZZZenAgain Sun 10-Mar-13 16:41:54

doesn't sound good. If dh cannot easily leave his job atm, could you move somewhere where there is a bit more happening?

SquidgyMummy Sun 10-Mar-13 16:42:30

I really feel for you, we live in rural France, and it is hard work, but i do spend a fair bit of time abroad. whereabouts are you?
Is your older DC at school or maternelle?

heather1 Sun 10-Mar-13 16:45:50

Any chance you could move closer to a town? We started out in a village and now are very near a large town and Im much happier, we are in Switzerland though not France so maybe a bit different.

Springdiva Sun 10-Mar-13 16:47:11

Only thing I want to say is being a SAHM can be pretty boring in a UK village.

Can you find a childminder or babysitter that allows you to investigate any work prospects (or just lets you go to the gym).

What about doing some distance learning?

Are there pockets of foreigners where you live so that you could look at working using your english language skills.

Anyway, def sounds like you need a few weeks at DSis's for a break.

ng1412 Sun 10-Mar-13 16:47:30

ZZZ the problem is we have bought a house here so we can't just up and leave. The market is so slow for sales. It takes years sometimes to sell. We are stuck here.

Squidgy we are in rural Alsace. We regret coming here so much. We don't go back the the UK very often as we have nowhere easy to stay. My PiL live n a two bed bungalow that is not big enough for us all.

My DD is not anywhere yet, we have been waiting for CAF to get their act together so that she can go to creche but our application has been with them for 3 months now and no progress has been made so she is stuck with me all day.

ng1412 Sun 10-Mar-13 16:51:41

Spring i cant just go to DS as she lives with her BF who I struggle to get along with. Plus there would not be enough room for me and my DD. Plus I am due to have the baby within the next 8 weeks...

I don't have any rime for anything for me. I thought about doing a DL journalism course but it isn't feasible at the moment.

My French isn't too great so I definitely couldn't work here.

Bonsoir Sun 10-Mar-13 17:29:50

It sounds very, very tough. I think you do have to talk to your DH though - you cannot carry on like this. Could you perhaps write him a letter if he finds face-to-face conversations really difficult?

Bonsoir Sun 10-Mar-13 17:31:29

Can you find someone to exchange English-French conversation with? All over France there are adults wanting to learn/improve their English? Is there a school or church in your village where you could put a small ad?

Bonsoir Sun 10-Mar-13 17:32:38

Does your DD go to a halte garderie at all?

ng1412 Sun 10-Mar-13 17:37:31

Bonsoir I have tried honestly but he just refuses to talk. He won't do anything if i write a letter either. He just thinks I am an over reacting dramatic idiot. Which I Probably am but I am also getting depressed and it gets worse each day.

I feel so bloody low that I cannot be bothered trying to do anything. j have tried over the last few months but each time it ends in bitter disappointment for me and I just want to go home even more.

My DD doesn't go anywhere, what is a halte garderie by the way?

WowOoo Sun 10-Mar-13 17:39:42

Bonsoir's idea is excellent.

Doing a language exchange would be a great way of meeting people and not feeling so lonely. You might as well give it a go.

When Dh and I lived abroad I wanted to move back first. He didn't want to for another 2 yrs. I got a job back in UK and he followed about 6 months later. (had a contract to finish).
It wasn't the ideal way to do it, but we're both happier (ish) now !

ng1412 Sun 10-Mar-13 17:44:03

Woo if I could get a job in the UK then I would jump at the chance but am heavily pregnant and been out of my profession for three years now so it wouldn't be an easy task getting a job.

I can't think of a way out of this and that is what is driving me mad. I used to be in control of my life but no more.

gameday Sun 10-Mar-13 17:50:09

How does the 'DH won't talk' thing work? You say to him, "I'm depressed and bored and increasingly desperate. We need to make a plan to change this." And he says... ??

You've lost a lot of confidence, but that's not the same thing as being unemployable!!

ng1412 Sun 10-Mar-13 17:57:02

game we start to talk then he just stops when he knows there is nothing he can do about the situation. i suppose that is fair enough but he is the only person I have to talk to, I dont have anyone else here and my parents are on the other side of the Atlantic. I Skype them each week and they know I am struggling but there is little they can do.

I would say I would find it hard to find a job right now and somewhere to live. I can barely do normal stuff let alone sit through a tough interview.

juneau Sun 10-Mar-13 18:00:44

You poor thing - that sounds very hard indeed. But, realistically, with a new baby due in eight weeks it sounds like you're going to have to hang in there for now.

However, its worth thinking about what you want in, say, six or twelve months' time, and start working towards that goal. I think you're going to have to give your DH an ultimatum and come to an agreement about putting your house on the market/relocating back to the UK. If he really won't listen, then you need to decide if you're prepared to stay in France with him, or whether you and the DC could relocate back to the UK on your own. Is that something you'd consider? Do you have a career you could go back to? Where are your parents?

I'm afraid I find your description of your DH rather worrying. Does he not care how miserable you are? Is communication a problem for him in all areas of your marriage? Or is it mainly a case of him not being able to change his job or relocate, even if he wanted to? If it's the latter, I suggest you make a serious effort to learn French to a conversational level. I'm sure there's a local school teacher, perhaps retired, who could give you French tuition. Alternatively, would an intensive course at the Institut Francais in London be an option in the future? I did a month-long course there a few years ago and it did wonders for my French. It was three or four hours a day and the entire course was conducted in French - it was amazing.

juneau Sun 10-Mar-13 18:01:56

Sorry, x-posted with regard to career and where your parents are.

juneau Sun 10-Mar-13 18:05:59
gameday Sun 10-Mar-13 18:07:05

Yes, right now this very moment is not the time for a job interview, of course. But of course you can both do something about the situation. You can make a decision to move - even if that's going to take some time. After the new baby is settled in, you can start doing that class, to prepare for when you've moved. Are you planning to work as a journalist? Do you know shorthand? It's a great skill to pick up and easy to learn at home. Do you already touch type? Have you read up on the legal aspects of journalism... you get the idea!

You and DH can sit down and work out the options and a timetable.

Where are your parents?

Bonsoir Sun 10-Mar-13 18:08:35

Halte garderie is a drop-in crèche - lots and lots of town councils (^mairies^) have them. They are designed to give respite to SAHMs! Have you been to your mairie to ask what it provides for pre-school children? Your DD will need to go to school quite soon too - when is her birthday? How about your obstetrician/midwife/paediatrician - could you ask them for leads?

ng1412 Sun 10-Mar-13 18:47:46

june i think you are right that we need a plan. We were thinking of staying two more years so we could get some decent cash in the bank from the annual bonus DH gets but I am not sure I can cope with that. I have been really worrying because in 8 weeks we will have number two baby which I am so happy for but it means I will be even more cut off and struggling.

I am totally done in now which doesn't help oh and of course completely hormonal.

Yes I think he gets frustrated because he is not happy here either but it would be hard work to up sticks and get a job back in the UK right now. It isn't that long since he went through rigorous interview process for his role here and I think he just fears it being the same in reverse.

I can't do anything right now as I have DD at home all day. I would love an hour to myself each week but that will not happen for another 18 months when my DD goes to school. So until then I cannot do much.

ng1412 Sun 10-Mar-13 18:50:03

Bonsoir I don't think we have anything like that here. I have checked our village website and it mentions all kinds of kids things but nothing like that.

Our doctor is lovely but a but ineffective, I don't have a midwife here just a gyne who is half an hour away. DD has her birthday in May and will be 2 then. So i think 18 months before school.....

Timetoask Sun 10-Mar-13 18:58:11

It sounds extremely lonely for you, I feel for you! Especially with two tiny children.
Do you drive? Could you foto towns/villages nearby where there is more happening? My sis in law lives in rural France and I know she met friends through a local mum group.
Have you looked in angloinfo for meet ups?

Timetoask Sun 10-Mar-13 18:58:47

Oops that should have been "go to" instead of foto

ng1412 Sun 10-Mar-13 19:04:56

Hi Time yes I do drive, I think that may be something I have to do. The nearest town is about 40mins away though so a bit of a treck! And it is not a very child friendly place, I used to go when DD was a baby and struggled then so dread to think what it will be like with two!

Anloinfo doesn't cover our area unfortunately.

Timetoask Sun 10-Mar-13 19:07:25

Sounds like you chose the wrong location. What about renting out your house and finding something you can rent yourself but in a better town?

Is there an expat community near you or anyone you can get in touch with who is a Brit and local?

DieWilde13 Sun 10-Mar-13 19:31:30

Oh dear, OP, I feel for you! I have been there and done that in Switzerland, it was horrible!

As you are stuck there for a good while yet, you will have to swallow all your pride and reach out to your community. I put an ad on the local supermarket notice board, saying that we were new to the village and that I was looking for friends. Go to church, go out to the playgrounds, talk to other mums pushing prams around. It takes a lot of courage, especially if your French isn't great, but you can do it!

I was really desperate and just kept pestering the other village mums. They are fountains of wisdom and can also point you in the direction of babysitters, toddler groups, etc.

DolomitesDonkey Sun 10-Mar-13 19:50:58

Reach out. Put a notice in English and see what happens. It worked for me finding an English speaking riding instructor in rural wallonia.

You'd be amazed who's around. I was very isolated but noticed a local house had a Scottish flag and house name.

Sadly I never really integrated and was very lonely. About 6 months ago I discovered one of my my old friends had also moved to the same village for the same 4 years who ALSO felt lonely and depressed. We could've kicked ourselves and must've passed each other so many times.

You could start an online business? Many expat women are doing this.

I do get where you're coming from - I thought rural Belgium was for me but it just didn't work and I've never felt so lonely.

We're now back in a small town and it works much better.

Bonsoir Sun 10-Mar-13 19:56:46
ZZZenAgain Sun 10-Mar-13 20:36:00

are there any on bonsoir's list near you? Even if it is quite a drive, I think it would be worth it.

kday Mon 11-Mar-13 06:29:24

We're in Singapore and a woman I know set up a Playgroup/outing event every week in order to meet people. It takes some persistence but at least it's a reason to get moving in the mornings. She proposes an outing to a park, the local library, with a picnic, at home to do messy play in the garden etc etc. She used Meetup to connect with people. I'm not sure if that's available where you are, but an ad might work.
Being a SAHM can be very lonely. I always find getting out helps - park, nature walk to the shops etc.
Someone on an unrelated thread was saying that when she gets home (her DH is a SAHD) her DH goes out - for a walk, to the gym, a pint, yoga etc. Not every day, but is that an idea that could work for you? Could your DH take the lead with your DD when he gets home so you can have an hour or two break.
Another idea is to fly someone in to see you - a friend, your mum, your DSis? I've done that before and it can really help to have extra hands and loving company. Even if money is a bit tight you could offer to go halves in a cheap fare, or even just ask them to come.

MuchBrighterNow Mon 11-Mar-13 06:42:32

Hi Op. I live in rural france so understand the boredom of village life. especially in winter. The good news is that nice weather is on its way. I've been here a long time but hated it intensely for at least 2 years.

Learning to speak good french helped me a lot. I also hooked up with another English mum and we started a baby club meeting at each other's houses. Through that I met other mums and gained a social life.

If you are in the South pm me as you may not be too far away and the baby group we started is still going strong.

kiwigirl42 Mon 11-Mar-13 07:12:12

I really feel for you. Its hard being away from home in another country where they don't speak your language.

I think you need to deal with your current situation rather than trying to make plans to leave at present.

1. you are heavily pregnant and your hormones are up the spout and will be until after baby born. Be kind to yourself, don't try to be supermum to toddler and focus on the wonderful thing that is going to be your new baby

2. you need to see your Doctor. and the next Doctor until you find someone who is caring and kind. You appear depressed and may need anti depressants when the baby is born. Try and get this support before baby is born as it will be overwhelming for you trying to do it afterwards

3. try and set up an internet social support group - get friends to email you regularly, chat on support forums etc. hell, PM me everyday if you want - I'd love to chat to you!
Let your friends know that you are struggling and need support. Sometimes people just don't realise.

4. Try and get some help after the birth, even if you have to pay for it. Can someone come and stay with you (someone who is not going to annoy the hell out of you, anyhow!) or can you pay someone in the village?

5. Your DH is probably doing the best he can as well. He obviously knows you are unhappy and is probably feeling just as stuck. Ask him what his plans are and what he is doing to help after birth.

6. Please feel free to ignore all above. Just off top of my head. (((hugs)))

peterpie Mon 11-Mar-13 09:09:56

Hi ng1412,

God I really feel for you. I was in the exact same situation as you are three years ago, only difference is I was in Spain. I posted loads on here for advice about my homesickness, was "bebespain" back then.

Three years on and I am still in Spain sad but living in a city now and life has improved.

All I can say is hang on in there. You are bound to feel worse because you are pregnant. I had my third baby a couple of months ago and all those feelings of desperation and depression and wanting to go "home" came back to haunt me. Thankfully, they abated when she was born. Being crazy busy with a new born helps grin

I think things could improve once you get your DD into Nursery. You will start to meet people, although it does take time to build up friendships (well it has me). It is only now that my eldest is 6 and starting to go on playdates that I am familiar with other Mums at school but there is no denying it is bloody hard.

Wish I could sit down with you, have a cuppa and give you a big hug as I so know how you must be feeling. When I was living out in the mountains with a toddler and a baby on the way I really thought I would crack up. My DH wasn´t keen to move back either and it was awful. He used to get upset and frustrated when I told him how I felt, I suppose he felt powerless (we had also bought a house, big mistake) and so eventually we stopped talking about it and I became more and more down.

I think kiwigirl has given some great advice.

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and keep posting on here, you are stronger than you think

Hi OP, I'm so sorry you're feeling low.

I've also been in France for 2 years and have struggled sometimes, even though we live in a large-ish city. I can totally understand why in your situation you want to go back. It might not be practical right now, but would it help you feel better if you at least had a plan and a timeline for going back? Like: when new baby is 6 months you'll do an online course, at 12 months you will start applying for jobs back home, etc.

I think what would help you the most is childcare, you need time to do things for yourself and for your plans. Two thoughts:

1. Are there childminders in your area? You should be able to get a list from the mairie or some other agency. We waited ages to get in a creche because we didn't realise CAF also subsidises childminders (it's means-tested, so for us anyway it costs very little). It's been two years and we never got a creche place. It was no problem getting a childminder though.

2. Can you talk to your local school and find out their policies? Our local school does accept students in the maternelle halfway through the year, so we could have sent DS there now (he's about to turn 3). You don't have to send them full-time. So perhaps you don't have to wait 18 months for your daughter to start.

Have you done a facebook search for expats in Alsace? It took me ages to find expats where we live, finally I stumbled across a local facebook group. I have made a couple friends off that and it helps so much.

You can PM me too if you want to chat smile

Try to hang in there -- I know you must feel powerless but it's temporary, start making some plans and shift those emotions into planning for the future.

ng1412 Mon 11-Mar-13 10:30:41

Thank you all for your posts, it has really helped me to start to see things more clearly. I know that I have to accept that nothing will change for at least the next 6 months so I have that now in my head. DH woke up and told me to look at recruitment agents in the UK for him so he realises that we cannot go on like this. He knows how I feel as he feels the same, it is just that I am hormonal and deal with things very differently than him.

I am going to see a friend a few miles away on Wednesday and have a good whinge to her, of course my DD will be with me, we never part.

I don't think we can stick it it here long term, I am so in awe of those of you who have done so but I can't see it for us. We should have rented a place near a town before we bought but that is a lesson learnt.

Much I am in Alsace so nowhere near the South, I wish I was.

Do you have a home where you could offer accommodation to holidaying Brits or lessons in something? Have you got a good satellite TV system so you keep in touch with what is happening? A friend of mine moved to the US but spent most of her time with 'BBC America' on in the background just for company when she was at home.

ng1412 Mon 11-Mar-13 10:44:03

Second we have an annex but at the moment it is all geared up for baby arrival in May.

Frustratingly I will have a lot of visitors in about seven weeks. My parents will be here and so will my PiL so I will probably be sick of people, but that was the only way we could fit them all in to seeing us before baby being born. I just have to get through the next seven weeks heavily pregnant with a lively 2 year old.

And yes we have UK Sky tv, I could not cope without it. French tv is appalling.

anonymosity Mon 11-Mar-13 19:08:32

ng1412 a lot of kiwi's suggestions sounded good to me.
i just wanted to add that while the DCs are tiny, its always hardest on you, in terms of feeling trapped and bored and off your rocker (was for me...).
I hope you're feeling better after the trip to see your friend. Hang in there.

SquidgyMummy Tue 12-Mar-13 07:10:54

I forgot to mention the PMI Protection Maternelle Infantile They are health visitors and a paediatrician and they are free until your DCs are 6. They will know all the other mums of young children in the area and may be able to put you in touch.

The Halte Garderie which Bonsoir is a great idea, but it there can be a waiting list. Although it is worth just asking if they have the odd day they can take your DD in, even if it for an odd session each week. I was very persistent (but polite) in calling up and asking for a place for DS.

The other thing is a centre d'acceuil, which is the closest thing to a mother & baby group. It is usually a drop in centre open perhaps a couple of mornings or afternoons a week. you can have a coffee and chat to other mums and your daughter will have other children to play with. Be warned though, they do tend to be quieter than uk playgroups, and sometimes it may only be you and your dd, plus the staff, but it is worth perservering.

Other things i did in the desperate dark days of loneliness when i first arrived was to look at the forums such as angloinfo on the family sections and pm others parents who were not too far away and ended up meeting up. we met some good friends (with slightly older children) that way.

Also don't poo poo the expat community. As a lot of brits who come to France are retired, they have a bit more time and have grown up children and they can be a sympathetic shoulder to cry on ear for a cup of tea.

The other things which used to give me a boost was a nice long chat with a friend from home. you can pour your heart out about things which you cannot discuss with your DH.

Also, in the run up to your DC2's birth, could you not ask a family member or friend with not too many commitments to come for a few days to be with you?

Sorry you are feeling so low, but I hope that you can get some help and also there is that glimmer of hope that you will be returning back to the uk, so perhaps you have turned a corner. (((hugs)))

Bonsoir Tue 12-Mar-13 07:52:17

Depending where you live, the PMI can be quite... downmarket. Here in Paris a middle-class home owner would not be welcome.

ExpatWifey Tue 12-Mar-13 08:13:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I think that one of the hardest realisations of expat living is having to actively build your own support network. Back home, it's built up over years, you acquire childhood friends, family friends, school friends. You might lose some over time but meet more from gradual job changes, through old friends or new hobbies over a period of years, sometimes decades. If you move countries for your partner's job, you are literally starting from scratch and it's a real shock to the system.

Getting out there and making an effort to speak to new people, especially with a different language and culture and most of all when you are pregnant (I've been there!) is really difficult. OP you have all my sympathies - you are in a tough situation with a number of factors that are not making it easier (your rural location, pregnancy, language barrier etc) but there are lots of really good suggestions on here. Sometimes its as simple as making a list of things you can do to build a support network and make friends. They won't come to you but you can go out there and find them. Once you start meeting people, they will introduce you to more and you'll be on a roll!

Best of luck and keep us posted.

WallyBantersJunkBox Wed 20-Mar-13 10:51:01

Hi - OP.

I'm going to be totally useless here with no helpful information to offer on finding a solution, but if you are not too far from Basel, or we could meet halfway I can offer a coffee (or equivalent) and a listening ear?

x

Peregrin Wed 20-Mar-13 21:55:01

I'm with juneau. And I feel for you!

Could you perhaps consider volunteering and doing some kind of charity work on the weekends when your DH could look after your child(ren)?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now