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Moving to a completely different part of the country

(100 Posts)
Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 13:55:59

My DH is in the final year of his degree and it has always been his intention to go on to get an MA and a PhD and have a career in teaching at either university or college level. Initially he was going to do the MA and PhD at the Uni he is currently at, but they don't offer a course he wants to do for a taught MA. He has then repeatedly changed his mind about where he wants to go to study (7 different university's in different areas of the country in the past 3 months).

I don't particularly want to move. Practically we would struggle to rent a house as I am disabled and we have pets (we have previously tried to move in the area we are in to a bigger house and have struggled for the above reasons) Other reasons include I have friends and a support network here and i do struggle to make friends, I have MH problems and now have a good relationship with my psychiatrist and CPN. My eldest has just been referred to CAMHS for behavioural issues, and both my youngest and DH are under neurologists for their epilepsy and my DD is still undergoing various tests for hers. Commuting is also an issue as it has to be within a reasonable bus journey because he can't drive due to the epilepsy

My friend has commented to me that it is unreasonable for my DH to expect the rest of us to just up and move to a different part of the country so he can study when he could do a different course (albeit not one he really wants to study but still relevant) at the Uni he is already at. I really don't want to move and I do feel he is being a bit unreasonable to expect us to give up our life here and support network for his study. However I feel I AB a bit U as to stay here would be stopping him from studying the course he would love to do and is the career path he want to go down.

What do all you lovely people think? Sorry for the essay I just wanted to ensure I was clear, it's also my first time so please don't be too hard ;)

mrsbunnylove Mon 04-Feb-13 00:35:01

i hope it works out well for you.

Erimentha Mon 04-Feb-13 00:49:24

Thank you! I know a lot of people have warned me about a career in academia and I have taken those warnings on board and told my DH about my concerns. I can hardly tell him that I won't allow him to peruse his dream or give him an ultimatum, Uni or us as I really don't think that is fair and would probably end up breaking resentment. He has to make his own decisions, but should he make ones that are consistently to the detriment to the rest of the family then I will have to make my own decisions from that.

He has however said if I asked him not to do it, he wouldn't. I just don't want to be the person who kills his dream, I think he is old enough and smart enough to figure out the right thing on his own.

I am quite chuffed that my first mumsnet post was in AIBU and I think, unless I missed something that I got a unanimous YANBU. I was totally expecting to get flamed and told of course IWBU.

Erimentha Mon 04-Feb-13 00:50:31

breeding not breaking. Autocorrect and no glasses is a bad combo

madwomanintheattic Mon 04-Feb-13 01:08:46

How on earth are a married couple with children, and no one earning any money, planning on grandiose studying for ten entire years?

Seriously, I would love to know.

Dh works ft and earns a reasonable wage, but there is no way on this sweet earth that I can trot off for a phd at the mo, as my childcare expenses would cripple me. However much of a job I imagined I would get at the end of it. (Fwiw I have three kids, two with special needs - I finished my first degree having given birth to dd1, breaks feeding her and typing my thesis in the silent hours one handed.)

I am loving that your concerns are merely around moving house (something I wouldn't think twice about, tbh - I've followed dh all over the world with no support network for disabilities, and it's easy enough to manage) and not 'how the actual frick are we going to pay for this?)

If, for whatever reason - robbed a bank/ won the lottery - you genuinely don't have to fret over a family not earning for ten entire years, then just let him follow his whims and get on with it, and buy n the support you need. Stay where you are if you want, to, or move with him and set up a new support network.

Frankly, I'm just madly jealous that you appear to have three source for this to even be a genuine thought process. I sweat blood to try to study with a family, and that's with at least one of us working ft, and with me working evenings and weekends and any day during the week I can. Ere is no way on earth I could trip off to uni five days a week all day every day. And I don't know any other mature students with families that do either.

He has got the absolute life of Reilly. I just want to know how you've enabled him to do it. envy

madwomanintheattic Mon 04-Feb-13 01:10:30

With due apologies for the stupid autocorrect on this damned iPad that has made my post virtually unreadable. <sigh>

mumblechum1 Mon 04-Feb-13 08:02:16

I'm assuming that the OP is working FT in a lucrative job, or that either she or the dh has a private income.

Erimentha Mon 04-Feb-13 08:46:20

madwoman my DH wants to pay for the MA either by a funded place, loan or his family's generosity. As to what we are going to live on while he is doing it, I have no fricking clue and once I have got to the bottom of where he wants to go I will quickly be following up with 'and what are we supposed to live on while you do it?' The PhD, he wants to do part time while working and it is a lot more versatile in location so I don't really have as many concerns about that.

We currently manage on a small income, much frugality, savings and family support (his family) we certainly are not rolling in it by any stretch of the imagination.

Before he embarked on this course he worked FT but had pretty much reached the ceiling, he wanted to retrain in something he wanted to do, something he was passionate about and something which at the end of it he could support the family much better with so we wouldn't always have to be so frugal.

rainrainandmorerain Mon 04-Feb-13 10:13:03


I have said it before, but I think if at this stage, you are living (if only partly) off savings and his family doesn't seem to be sustainable. Would his family be happy to bankroll him or your family through his time studying, if that's going to take nearly ten years??

And how long until your savings run out?

I do see how this might have been a plan for a finite undergraduate course - but I don't understand how it could continue.

And again, I do understand him wanting to do a course he loves, and to work doing something he loves - where this is all falling down is with the assumption that it will give him a lucrative job at the end of it with which he will be better able to support his family. It is sounding rather like he WANTS this to be true than it being a realistic and well researched career choice.

rainrainandmorerain Mon 04-Feb-13 10:21:47

I think too that having a plan to retrain in a different career is fine. Lots of us do it.

But from the outset, his plan seems to have involved taking TEN YEARS to do it. And it's a subject/area with few jobs in anyway.

I think the beat thoughts on the thread have come from posters taking the wider or longterm perspective. I'm a bit slow off the mark! but I've just thought, TEN YEARS?? to retrain?

I do know someone who has gone back to uni to do medicine, as they've decided they want to become a doctor, and that's going to take a heck of a long time - they are doing it by a mix of taking sabbaticals and part time study, as they have children and another (luckily flexible) job. I take my hat off to them, because that is a huge investment of time and energy (and money) - but can see that medicine is an area with some jobs in, at least.

BubaMarra Mon 04-Feb-13 11:08:14

Please read this article and ask your DH to read it as well.

It's longish, but it covers so many different aspect of PhD including health and financial aspects. It's worth reading whatever he decides to do.

This sums it up:

Doing a PhD will break you. It's pretty much designed to break you. Yes, even you, you who are brilliant (that almost goes without saying; it's because you're brilliant that you're contemplating doing a PhD in the first place).

SolomanDaisy Mon 04-Feb-13 12:04:27

If he is genuinely spending that long on his undergraduate work, I would be concerned about the impact that higher level study will have on you as a family. He is attaining good grades through a disproportionate amount of effort, so the amount of work he needs to do at the next level is likely to be higher.

His plan is not a well thought out career goal. Most PhD students who are lucky enough to get teaching work alongside the PhD are actually studying full-time. If he is determined, the only way this seems achievable for you as a family is for him to stay at his current university on condition he can achieve research studentships and study full-time. You'll then have to be prepared to move or live separately when he completes his PhD. This is a consequence of him deciding that a Philosophy degree and higher study are good ways to support his family...

Erimentha Mon 04-Feb-13 12:27:34

BubaMarra thank you for the link, I have read it though and forwarded it to DH along with my specific concerns relating to that article.

Soloman I agree with the amount of work involved. He already gets stressed trying to fit everything in and it can only get worse/harder the higher up he goes.

pinktwinkle Mon 04-Feb-13 13:00:19

Erimentha - you said earlier about how you DH "he needs to be in taught group situation." I just wonder how he will deal with the 'going it alone' orientation of a PhD where he might only occasionally meet his supervisor and will have to motivate himself to carry out the literature review, empirical work etc.

FWIW, the academic jobs environment is very precarious and seriously not one I'd be looking to enter if I could have my time over. My students are great but departmental politicking can be challenging. I know many academics who feel this way.

Also, another voice for not necessarily needing an MA in advance of a PhD.

takeaway2 Mon 04-Feb-13 20:38:07

Have you read this published today in the guardian?
Hope that links - am on phone now.

Erimentha Mon 04-Feb-13 21:28:59

I hadn't read it, thank you for the link. I will read it now and pass the link onto DH too. Hopefully I will eventually get through to him.

Higheredserf Mon 04-Feb-13 22:23:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kiwiinkits Mon 04-Feb-13 23:55:56

Does anyone remember the professional golfer thread? This one has similarities...
Do a search, OP

Kiwiinkits Tue 05-Feb-13 00:01:07

Anyone else get the irony that his specialism is ethics, yet he sees nothing ethically challenging in the decision he's making with regards his family finances? Oh dear. Ethical challenge fail.

Kiwiinkits Tue 05-Feb-13 00:02:42

Professional golfer thread

Kiwiinkits Tue 05-Feb-13 00:08:38

No, that's not the right thread sorry, hold on....

RoadtoSussex Tue 05-Feb-13 06:59:21

Gawd, I remember the one about the professional golfer, the one about the musician who wanted to go to Nashville, the one about the musician who wanted full time childcare for his children despite being at home most of the time, the one about the musician who enjoyed himself on tour a bit too much....

All men who felt that nothing should get in the way of their dreams!

My opinion is, encourage him to do the MA, but you will not be moving. After that, if he wants to do a PhD, fine, but it has to be self financing (by working) in a way that maintains the family and does NOT add to any debt. Oh, and, you will get at least one full clear day each week to do the things you want to do.

MerryCouthyMows Tue 05-Feb-13 07:41:52

I speak from the experience of having list a career due to a diagnosis of epilepsy.

I was an on-site architect before my diagnosis.

After a couple of years of depression, I would have done (and really was going to do) what your husband wants to do - upheave the whole family to do more, specific training.

I didn't.

Because I had children with SN's and disabilities that I couldn't uproot from their support networks.

Which is why I think your DH needs a reality check. This just isn't going to work.

If your DH's epilepsy is such that he still can't hold a driving license (you only have to be seizure free for ONE year), and you foresee that he won't have a car or license for the duration of an MA and Phd, then his epilepsy isn't that well controlled.

Epilepsy can and does get worse with stress. Taking on this much studying at the same time as having a family is incredibly stressful, unless he is planning on opting out of the shitwork of having children.

Which isn't acceptable. Leaving you with all the hard work is not on. I truly get where he is coming from emotionally though, it knocks the stuffing out of you to be unable to do the career that you had wanted to do, for YEARS.

It is VERY hard, as someone with epilepsy, to get work in ANY job. All the jobs I have had post diagnosis have been entry-level retail jobs.

I am kind of on the fence here slightly, I can TOTALLY understand your DH's point of view, his employment prospects with epilepsy that isn't controlled enough to hold a driving license are frankly shite. REALLY shite.

But I am falling more on your 'side' so to speak, because you MEED your support network around you when you have had MH issues, AND you have a DC with disabilities. Moving would be the worst thing ever for you.

I think he needs to understand that if his epilepsy worsens, which it can and does, then an MA and/or a Phd might not be possible to complete for health reasons.

Currently my epilepsy is at the point where I cannot work at all. At other times, I've managed to work PT, but FT work always puts too much strain on me and worsens my seizures.

This is, basically, a REALLY crappy situation for your family to be in, and I don't know how to resolve this in a way that meets all of your needs, because their isn't one.

Either way, one of you is going to have to sacrifice a LOT. Either you or your DH. But I can't tell you who would feel the most resentful in the long run.

Whoever does the sacrificing, be it your DH sacrificing his dreams of an MA and a Phd so that you don't have to move, or you sacrificing your support networks and counsellor (I know how hard it is to find the 'right' counsellor), one of you is giving up everything.


MerryCouthyMows Tue 05-Feb-13 07:45:49

Ugh. Excuse the typos and the grammatical errors - my joints are bad and Autocorrect is a bastard.

mumblechum1 Tue 05-Feb-13 07:47:52

"Whoever does the sacrificing, be it your DH sacrificing his dreams of an MA and a Phd so that you don't have to move, or you sacrificing your support networks and counsellor (I know how hard it is to find the 'right' counsellor), one of you is giving up everything"

Sadly I think that you would both end up losing everything if you move, you are guaranteed to lose your support network and counsellor and his is almost certainly (going by what the academics on this thread say), guaranteed to sacrifice his dream of MA, Phd and lucrative career.

Lomaamina Tue 05-Feb-13 20:24:42

I am going to add my vote to this unanimous (a record?) AIBU and say: don't do it. I'm an academic and only last week I was counselling a brilliant PhD student to not count on an academic career path, even though she was fully funded on a studentship and has great prospects. There is no way you can count on any job in academia, let alone enough to support a family. If you're lucky. I mean, seriously lucky then yes you might get a lectureship post PhD, but to get there you have to make massive sacrifices and that's without taking account of your particular circumstances of needing the particular support network you've built around you. It is a pipe dream your DH is following and - I'm sorry to say - a selfish one.

I'd also reinforce the point about Master's and PHD studies each being major shifts in demands for independent learning. You have to be super self-reliant to get through both. That's particularly the case with part-time PhDs. Their attrition rate is even higher than full-time ones.

There may or may not be a direct route from a BA to a PhD in Philosophy. It is much more typical in the natural sciences and much less so in arts and humanities. Indeed, even in the sciences there is an increasing requirement for PhD students to have proven their abilities through successful completion of a Master's (or MRes).

I completely sympathise with your not wanting to be the one who is shutting off your DH's dream. You don't want him to forever be able to 'blame' you (even if only in his heart) that it is supposedly your fault that he wasn't able to pursue this route. Somehow he needs to reach the conclusion on his own. My advice, for what it's worth is to pile on the evidence, like all those useful links given you above and let him reach the conclusion on his own.

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