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DH wants to take DDs abroad for 8 - 12 weeks, I can't go for that long. AIBU to hate the idea?

(135 Posts)
Hadeda Tue 20-Sep-11 11:27:41

Pretty much that. (Sorry a bit long, but wanted to set it all out rather than drip feed.)

My DDs will be just 4 and 2.5 at the time. He wants to go to visit family in South Africa (we're both from there) before DD1 starts school and we are "tied down". But I won't be able to get more than about 3 weeks leave max.

He plans to get his mum to help a bit with looking after the girls and also wants to put them into nursery for mornings only because he'd like to be able to go see friends, go surfing etc while there. And it's unfair to ask his parents to look after them all the time if he's not around. I've said that I have to be 100% happy with the nursery (they are less regulated there, plus his parents live in an area where few people speak English so I want to be quite sure it is truly dual medium at least as my girls don't speak any other language) and DH is fine with that.

DD2 has never been to nursery (she's at home with our nanny when I'm at work) and I hate the idea of her settling into a nursery in a strange country, with strange people fetching/dropping her sometimes (they are her grandparents but she doesn't see them often so they are effectively strangers to her) and with no mum. She's quite clingy and she's always been looked after by me or our nanny and never had to deal with the rough and tumble of a nursery.

DD1 is at nursery now (she's 3 so gets the funded place) at our local primary school. I hate the idea of her missing out on nearly a term there - even though logically it doesn't mean that much long term. And I worry about her settling into a new nursery in a strange place. Just because she's fine here doesn't mean she'll be fine there. She has just started at the primary school nursery (was at a different one last term) and has been not quite herself the past two weeks - a bit tearful, a bit tired, wanting mummy quite a bit. So I worry about her too.

And I just plain hate the idea of my girls being away from me for so long. I'm probably just being a bit selfish here but they are my girls. And I'll miss them like mad. And stupidly I just feel no one looks after them quite as well as me. I know that's dumb - DH is their father and my MIL had 3 children herself so knows all about children - but at the bottom of it that's how I feel.

I can't say DH can't go. I can say that the girls go for less time - but that does mean part of the reason for going (that they spend a lot of time with family before school terms prevent that) is lost. And basically only lost because of my selfishness/worries.

AIBU? Is there a middle road I have missed?

hopenglory Tue 20-Sep-11 11:29:37

Can you go for a while and your nanny go for a while?

Hullygully Tue 20-Sep-11 11:30:02


I dunno

I would feel anxious about it too, but I don't know if that's sensible or not.

You could still all make six week summer visits?

pudding25 Tue 20-Sep-11 11:30:34

I don't blame you. I would absolutely hate this and would not want it-wouldn't like the idea of having to settle into a new nursery for such a short period and would hate to be apart from them for that long. YANBU.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 20-Sep-11 11:31:31

OP, you'll miss them of course but what a marvellous opportunity for your DCs! You can't make them miss that. They need to see their other relatives and DH's family - and your homeland!

Can you go out for a couple of weeks in the middle? That way you'll have them to look forward to at the start and when you get back from your time, you'll have their return to look forward to. What do you think?

Do it - let them go with their dad - plan some nice treats for you whilst they're away and for you all as a family when you're back home together again.

ripstheirthroatoutliveupstairs Tue 20-Sep-11 11:31:51

YANBU. It is a huge amount of time to be away from you. Can you all go for three weeks and your DH stay on possibly for another week alone to see his friends.
I would be very hmm if my DH wanted to take our DD away, but then bung her in a nursery for 50% of the time.
Would your nanny be able to manage if he wasn't there and you had brought them back to UK on your own?

Springyknickersohnovicars Tue 20-Sep-11 11:32:12

Gosh that's a tough one. They usually seem to be more straight forward but I wouldn't want to settle children in to nurseries either for a short space of time. If the family could care for the chldren throughout I'd be happier but not by much.

The only midde ground I can think of is that he goes for 5 or 6 weeks and not eight.

Sorry not much use really is it?

squeakytoy Tue 20-Sep-11 11:34:12

I think you are being reasonable in trying to find ways to do it, but I wouldnt be happy about it. Why not take the girls with you for the 3 weeks.. and then bring them home with you.

Other than that, is it possible to get unpaid leave or a short sabbatical break to enable you to go for the 3 months too.

3 months is a long time for two young girls to be away from their mum, and in a foreign country for them too.

Hardgoing Tue 20-Sep-11 11:39:24

It is difficult when you have the opportunity to visit half the family for an extended time, it seems like such an opportunity, but for the parent that can't visit (me!), it's really hard. I think prolonged periods of more than a week without mummy there are not ideal for your 2.5 or even 4 year old. I have a personal limit of about a week/10 days for that, but it's just my own made-up limit. I also couldn't cope with it regularly, but this sounds like a one-off.

I think you will probably find it harder than them, I have found that when I've gone away or they have, as long as their daddy is around and they feel safe and secure, they are all fine. It is me missing them that is so difficult, not them, as children can be remarkably adaptable (and if you suddenly got sick, then they might have to adapt).

No great advice except to go with them for the three weeks, then set another time, perhaps a week before and after. Could you see how it was going or do the flights have to be booked well in advance?

pinkdelight Tue 20-Sep-11 11:52:39

If there's things he wants to do there without the girls, seeing friends etc, why don't the girls go for three weeks with you and then he stays on another week or two on his own? I really don't see the need for such a long stay when you're not keen and they are so young. It's not like they'll remember much about it. Definitely needs some kind of compromise.

EricNorthmansMistress Tue 20-Sep-11 11:54:02

It's a bit long. I'd agree to 3 weeks all of you together and he has another three weeks out there without you. And forget the nursery idea - he can see friends and surf when you're there or ask his parents to have them a couple of mornings a week. 5-9 weeks without you is too long and a nursery in a new country when they've never been to one before is a bad idea.

sparkle12mar08 Tue 20-Sep-11 12:00:55

I have a friend who takes her children to see her folks in another country for six weeks at a time every summer, but she is with them pretty much all the time. The eldest does a fully dual language summer camp for two weeks of the six, on a short day basis only. But 12 weeks/three months? That's a quarter of a year! Can you compromise on six weeks - 3 with you and three without? Or as someone else said, can you go for the three weeks in the middle? It's just such a long, long time. I'd be very unhappy about it to be honest.

Becaroooo Tue 20-Sep-11 12:05:52

Why not got for 3 weeks together and then leave you dh there for another 3 on his own to do his "thing"???

I wouold be very unhappy about my dc being in another hemisphere from me and being looked after by strangers.


Callisto Tue 20-Sep-11 12:05:55

If the children were older, 7 upwards probably, I would say that you need to suck it up and let your DH take them. But, your DD's are very young still and I doubt either will get a huge amount out of the experience, and probably miss you very much too. So I don't think you are being unreasonable.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 20-Sep-11 12:08:52

I agree that your DH should spend some extra time there without the girls if he wants to see friends etc. It will be wonderful for them to see family and South Africa, but I wouldn't be happy about putting them in a nursery. You need to agree a timeframe and timetable that means the four of you get time to spend as a family, your DH's parents get to see (and look after) the girls but not for so long that it becomes a chore, and your DH can do the things he wants to do alone or with friends but without leaving your daughters in a strange nursery.

skrumle Tue 20-Sep-11 12:09:38

what about him taking them out for week on his own (no nursery - it's only a week), then you go out for three weeks and when you are coming back bring the girls with you leaving him for a week on his own to do surfing or whatever. you get three weeks, the girls get four and he gets five...

you know your own kids but whilst my oldest would have settled into a nursery okay at either of those ages my youngest is a different kettle of fish - took us fully two months to get him settled into nursery when he was 3, which is just not worth it for the time involved. and i'm not sure my oldest would have been so fine in a strange country without me about.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Tue 20-Sep-11 12:18:15

I wouldn't want dp to take ds (who is almost 11) abroad for months at a time, unless ds desperately wanted to and I could see some real value in it. France or somewhere, where I could pop over for weekends, then maybe. But the other side of the world? Hell no.

Your dds are too little to get a great deal out of this trip. If they were older, I might feel differently. Certainly I'd feel differently if they were teens.

I think you are being extraordinarily reasonable about this OP. I hope your dh appreciates that.

ICantFindAFreeNickName Tue 20-Sep-11 12:18:16

YANBU. I would not want to go that long without seeing my children. Is there no way that you could get more than 3 weeks? If not could your DH take the girls for a couple of weeks on his own, then you join them for 3 weeks, then you bring the girls home while he stays on for a week or so, to do his own thing. I don't think the nursery is a good idea for such young children, it might be different if they were older. Could your nanny go with the children to do the morning childcare?
You don't mention your DH looking after the children at home, how much childcare does your DH do now? Does he have a realistic idea of how much work it would be looking after 2 little ones for that long (especially given that so much will be different weather, language, missing mum, someone eles house etc). Do his parents really want 2 little children around for 3 months? It does seem a very long time to stay with someone.

silkenladder Tue 20-Sep-11 12:27:35

YANBU. Having just been through the settling in at nursery process with a clingy DD (2.3), I can definitely say I would not want to do it in a strange place. Plus a 4 year old has established friends she will miss, so may not enjoy the first few weeks at a new nursery.

I would suggest you all go for three weeks, let DH stay another week on his own if he wants that (and you can manage on your own at home) and plan to do the three month trip later on when the girls are older. I don't see why you couldn't take them out of primary school for that time and let them visit a South African school while you were there. They would get so much more out of it when they are older and would understand about communicating on Skype, etc.

porcamiseria Tue 20-Sep-11 12:30:53

yanby, but think compromise is key


they go for 2 weeks
you join them mid sat
they stay another 2 weeks

hard for you, alot of us in same both with dual natonality kids

I think 2 weeks is ther max really,

CamperFan Tue 20-Sep-11 12:32:34

YANBU at all. I couldn't let mine go for as long as that and I couldn't imagine them being settled into a nursery without me being there. I also presume that they haven't spent that much time with your in laws in the past? And at that age, is it really such a great opportunity to go to a new nursery and spend time with a granny that you don't know that well, while your mother is the other side of the world? Not for me. I completely agree that you should do it another time - we plan on taking DS1 out of school just before DS2 starts, would this be a possibility for you?

SootySweepandSue Tue 20-Sep-11 12:33:23

I would worried about what your girls will think about why you are not there. They will really miss you.

It sounds like your DH wants the trip more than anyone, but for himself and not the whole family as you can only manage 3 weeks.

lalalonglegs Tue 20-Sep-11 12:36:38

I don't think it's a bad idea in principle - could you take your three weeks in the middle of their holiday so that you only have a couple of weeks without them at either end? Or could they come home a bit earlier and your husband can stay on and do all his surfing, meeting up etc and negate the need for nurseries etc which does sound a bit of a faff?

kayah Tue 20-Sep-11 12:37:24

I hate to say that but your younger is likely to forget you within 6 weeks
and it is going to be hard to rebuild that bond

they won't remember much from that trip.

This trip is for your dh - again if he's going by himself his bond with the kids will lessen

androbbob Tue 20-Sep-11 12:40:53

Can you send the nanny over with them and then they wouldnt need to go to nursery at all over there? Not sure if that is possible as its an added cost of another plane ticket, but at least they would have a familiar person who is familiar with their routine.

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