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dh looking for job in UK, I am devastated and don't want to leave, but he hasn't seen another job here....

(60 Posts)
ernest Wed 21-Feb-07 10:10:48

We moved away nearly 7 years ago to switzerland, 2 of my 3 boys were born here. I love it here. We have a fantastic quality of life. My eldest stared school in August, aged 7, and still only does 5 mornings and 2 afternoons. The rest of the time he's outside playing with his mates.

My middle son is in Kindergarten (5 mronigns & 1 afternoon).

The youngest will start Kindergarten in 1.5 years.

The eldest 2 are bi lingual, the youngest is learning fast.

I basically agreed with dh to move back, he's in a fairly specialisied field and much more opportunities in London than here. He's been looking for a new job for a while & not found anything here. So now he's looking in london.

I thought I was ok with it, but thinking about it, now seemingly an imminent reality I feel truly sick. Sorry, I know you all, or the vast majority live in UK and most of you happy, but I feel we'd loose so much

- the kids would loose their bi- lingualism, ds3 would never even get it.
-they'd have to start school, and go the full day!!! They would hate to be away from me, and me them. My poor ds2 has never even been to school yet (he's 6.5) how on earth would he manage in a school where kids have bbeen going already for a couple of years?? My youngest is too young. He really is.
- Even finding a school and getting a place at a decent one sounds unbelievably difficult.
-they'd loose their freedom, going out to play every afternoon. I constantly read on here parents saying even their 9 year old is not allowed out to play & other such stuff.
- how on earth would we find a house, never mind be able to afford one?
- I'd loose my lovely new home.
- Our health service here is brilliant (if I phone doc a 7.55 am they ask if I want to bring him in straight away! I have never had to wait even a day for an appointment,)
The conjestion in london, the madness, the traffic.
- In the unicef report published last week, UK came out bottom place for bringing up kids, whereas Switzerland feels idillic.
- I have a great support network of neighbours, and we all look out for each others' kids.
- We can get to Austria, Germany etc really easily for holidays etc.
- our family quality of life is really high.
- we'd either have to live in London (used to live in leyton, Wimbledon, Battersea & tooting, so know it & don't want a repeat performance), or we'd move to a village/subburb with the horror commute involved)

OMG, sorry for the mammoth ramble. It just feels like a no win situation. I can't see anything good about moving back to uk, apart from seeing family more, but seems like comparitively small gain.

If I say no, then dh stuck in job he's fed up with. Then he's unhappy. He already is. And now so am i.

LIZS Wed 21-Feb-07 10:13:01

ernest - hard choice.

ernest Wed 21-Feb-07 10:15:55

was thinking of you. How'd you get on? Where did you go to? How did you manage (eg finding schools & house). feel terrible.

still, decent tea and knickers from M & S

MrsBoo Wed 21-Feb-07 10:17:25

Life sounds fairly idillic in Switzerland - that's a hard choice for you, maybe something will turn up, keep positive

CheesyFeet Wed 21-Feb-07 10:22:05

Ernest, I really feel for you. I have family in Switzerland so we visit a lot and I love it there. I can totally see why you want to stay. I'd move out there like a shot given half a chance.

Here's hoping your dh will find something in Switzerland before you have to come back

CheesyFeet Wed 21-Feb-07 10:23:35

(Sorry that wasn't very helpful was it? for you)

hippmummy Wed 21-Feb-07 10:34:29

I feel for you too. How much of this have you discussed with DH?
Is there any room for compromise. Surely your DH as well as you can see the huge change in quality of life you will face. Can satisfaction from his career outweigh this?

LIZS Wed 21-Feb-07 10:35:12

It was strange at first , even though we moved back to the house we left in Surrey. Felt quite disorientated and intimidated by the bustle, noise, traffic etc. It has proved hard to pick up with old friends whose lives ahve moved on in the interim and also to keep those expat ones we made. We opted to put the kids in private school mainly for ds who was used to a maximum class of 14 and was obviously academically behind but we did also secure places at local schools as we had a house from which to apply. The kids have adjusted well but ds (9 soon), still misses the mountains and the easier going attitude to life the kids enjoy. dh now commutes for up to an 1 1/4 hour into London by train , used to be about 20 minutes , and that has had an impact on our quality of life.

ernest Wed 21-Feb-07 10:39:25

this is what concerns me, but we have no house to go back to, and could no way afford private schools for 3 kids, no address for applying for schools. It seems so awful.


hippy mummy, we've spoken lots. I said I really didn't want to leave but then did the supportive wife bit with the, if it's the dream job, if you can't find an alternative here... Leading basically to agreeing to move, but only once I'd said yes, did the full impact hit me. He's in London now. for an interview

I think even if this one doesn't work out, we're looking now at when, rather than if. I love it here. He misses London. I hate London.

SSShakeTheChi Wed 21-Feb-07 10:55:07

I really can understand how difficult this must be for you. A lot of what you say about your life in Switzerland also prevents me wanting to move from Germany to the UK.

When I read the many negative MN threads on education/general treatment of dc in society/the health care in the UK, I can't help thinking we would experience a huge drop in standard of life if we moved to the UK. I could only imagine moving to London if we could afford private education, private health insurance and decent housing.

Another thing I find here is that good quality, well-taught dc's activities are widely available and affordable. As much as I have been able to, I think I've provided a very nice life for dd here, the equivalent of which I doubt I could achieve for her in London TBH.

I live in a big town so that is not as idyllic as your home in Switzerland, I'm sure but the lakes, forests and all the facilities for dc are excellent. I would only consider moving to the UK if I were moving to a more rural place because dd doesn't have the freedom here that your dc have. There doesn't seem to be anything in your situation pushes you to move.

What a pity your dh cannot find other work in Switzerland. Perhaps in a different part of Switzerland? Has he looked perhaps at Austria? Could he contemplate being self-employed, perhaps even in a different field to his previous work?

Why do you think he is so set on returning to London?

Mumpbump Wed 21-Feb-07 11:05:51

Whereabouts in Switzerland are you? It seems to me that increasingly, men are working away from home. I know someone who works in London during the week and then goes home to his family in Ireland on a Thursday for the weekend. I also know someone who lives and works in London for the week and goes home to Bristol at the weekend (not quite the same).

My dh is currently applying for a job in Vienna, but my job is quite specialised so I will have to stay in London. I have told him that we will manage if he gets the job as his present job is so stressful and it's affecting his health. I figure with the cheap flights you can get at the moment (it might all change in the future I guess), commuting between London and Vienna isn't out of the question. If you're somewhere like Geneva, I would have thought it would be similarly feasible if your dh can get a small pied-a-terre in London. Lonely life for them, admittedly, but something might later turn up in Switzerland...

ernest Wed 21-Feb-07 11:06:45

I think if he found achallenging job in Zurich, all would be fine. But in the last year or so, not one has come up. Like I say, he's in a fairly specialised role, tha's much more common in London and quite unusual here. He has friends he misses in London. He hasn't made friends here, other than at work, and many of his work friends have moved to positions in US etc, so now he's feeling a bit socially isolated. But like I said, he wants a new job and can't find one here. If he could, problem solved. for now anyway.

ernest Wed 21-Feb-07 11:10:48

i raised possibility of 'commute' like you said. He said he'd consider it for say 18 months, but thinks the strain would be too much.

For me tbh, I don't think it would have too significant an impact - he already works quite long hours and is often home after the boys are inbed, so I'm doing most of the wrk myself. But for him it would be hard to be on his own, and to be disciplined about not going to bed stupid late.

For me it's the lesser of 2 evils. he will only consider short term. we're near Zurich btw, only about 15/20 minutes from airport, so travel here not too diff. Annoyingly, easyjet moved from Zurich to Basel pretty much the same time we moved from BAsel to Zurich.

Zog Wed 21-Feb-07 11:20:17

I had all three of my children abroad and then moved back here when the oldest was 5. I agree with a lot of what you say about the quality of life abroad compared with the UK but just wanted to point out that I don't recognise a lot of what I read about life in the UK on MN!

It really does come down to where you live and what the community is like. There are places where all the children go together to the local school and play out together. There are affordable out of school activities, plus a lot of state primaries offer clubs and activities after school for no additional cost. OK, we don't have mountains and clean air but there is an awful lot about the UK that is downright fantastic.

I'm really sorry that you're heartbroken to leave but this really will be a whole lot tougher for everyone if you don't start looking for the positives in the move. And your children will all be fine, especially if you are .

GrumpyOldHorsewoman Wed 21-Feb-07 11:20:20

Sorry, as I have no constructive advice to give, but totally empathise as I have been in the same situation myself, albeit within the UK but moving to different parts of the country which has really impacted upon my quality of life. I do feel for you, as I know only too well what you are going through. Would your DH consider a stay of execution, as in agree to give it a certain length of time longer to find another job in Switzerland? Does he know just how unhappy you are at the prospect of returning to the UK? You do really need to talk it out - I didn't with my DH, I just went along with him and now regret it immensely. Although career-wise it has worked out brilliantly for him, but at the expense of a quality of life for our family.

SSShakeTheChi Wed 21-Feb-07 11:22:08

I suppose you could try the two household option at first if he really does get a good job offer in London and use that time to check out the options for all of you in London. Perhaps it wouldn't be as bad as you fear at the moment. You could say give it a year and use that year to look at schools, facilities, and get dc used to the idea, perhaps tutor the dc a bit to ease their transition into the UK school system.

One thing I think you could do for now though is to provide dh with a more active social life out of working hours, if you can see a way of doing that.

ernest Wed 21-Feb-07 11:28:59

zog, I appreciate your post, and the different view point, that's why I posted in the am I being unreasonable topic..
Maybe I should just get on with it.?

I am trying to think of positives.
Getting decent tea.
living closer to family.
marks and spencer.
school uniforms.

really struggling now.

How do we find these nice areas where kids can go out and play? I have read countless, countless threads where mumsnetters say they don't let their kids out, voices of horror at the irresponsibility of lettign a 6 year old out unsupervised. We aren't there. how do we find it? If they're at school the whole time, when do they have time to go out and play. After school clubs? Bloody hell, I don't think so, to be out all day, and then stay for extra? Even the 2 days a week that ds has afternoon school, he's still an hour at home with me for lunch, then a couple of hours more at school. He and his mates all troop off together along the vinyard path to the school....

If I knew it HAD to happen I would be as jolly as you like, I would not mention the downside to my boys, of course not, but am I being unreasonable? I feel like I have to choose between my boys' happiness and family quality of life, and my husbands'.

admylin Wed 21-Feb-07 11:31:36

I was wondering what your dc think about it? My 2 dc know the Uk only from holidays (mostly every school holiday) and they love it so much that they would pack up tomorrow and move even taking into account the longer school day, uniform and prospect of school dinners! They know and accept holiday and reality would be different.
Our family is opposite to you, my dh loves Germany and would stay forever but I want to get back to the UK. I can help my dc now with their school work (7 and 8yrs) but in the German system you are lost if you can't help them when they are older too as alot of the school work is expected to be done at home.
I think MN scares me too sometimes when I read the horror threads about bad school, getting places at schools and the cost of living etc. But then I also know that the UK has other sides. Don't forget people aren't as often likely to post on here " just wanted to say our primary school is great", people come on here to have a moan and get some sympathy or advice about negative sides of life.

Mumpbump Wed 21-Feb-07 11:31:51

I think there is a lot to be said for having two households initially. Your dh might hate the job in England, hate the lifestyle and decide to have another go in Switzerland or (heaven forbid) might not make it through the probation period. I know I am talking far-flung situations, but I think it sounds sensible for him to go and get established and you to use the time to reccie the areas in and around London (I can recommend Reigate area as a nice place to live and quite green!). Also, it would avoid your dh having the stress of moving and starting a new job at the same time which is not good...

throckenholt Wed 21-Feb-07 11:32:26

any chance of a compromise - eg moving to Austria or Germany where the system is more like Switzerland and they would still be bilingual in German ?

DingALongCow Wed 21-Feb-07 11:48:04

I can completely sympathise. We have been living in Switzerland for 13 months now and while the first 6 months were hard, I really cant imagine moving back to the UK now. DH's contract is short term- 5 years and we had planned to move back after 2 but are now looking at being here longer. The thought of going back and living in the UK again really makes me feel unwell.

Not sure where you are in CH, but would he/has he looked in other areas of Switzerland. Would you be happy to live in another city or town..but with still the benefits of living here?
The bilingualism thing-I have read some research somewhere about children brought up in another country with a different mother tongue and they found that even if they did not speak the language or left after a few years-that the structure was in the brain and they found it easy to pick it back up when exposed at a later date. Thats probably very confused, sorry..am trying to stop DD smearing jam all over me.

SSShakeTheChi Wed 21-Feb-07 11:54:19

samstagsschule

I think you will be able to maintain the German of your older dc whilst in London if you can find time/energy. One good thing about major towns is the huge range of cultural activities.

I bet there are a lot of German speakers in London on MN who can tell you more about that - choirs, clubs, Saturday schools and then there is the Goethe Institut.

For the youngest I don't know. Perhaps there is a German or German-English kindergarten which you could try if you wanted to. Perhaps you'll be able to spend holidays in Switzerland or other German speaking countries.

ernest Wed 21-Feb-07 12:08:06

dingalongcow, where are you?

re other places in switzerland, it's annoying, becasue we were in basel for the 1st 4 years, and he was increasingly working in zurich, so when we decided to buy, dh wanted to move to near zurich. I didn't want to move again, loved where I was, settled etc but agreed. I even suggested half way between zurich and basel but this was rejected. Now the prospect of moving again has come up, only 2.5 years later. I really thought I was going to be in one place for a while this time

If he had listened, jobs in basel would be easier to get to, but as it is would be looking at monster commute. But nothing worse than london, I don't think.

thanks for link, SSShakeTheChi.

I will have to try ans persuade him
a. to stay put.
b. to get job in london and come home at weekends,

and
c. pray a job comes up here.


I just can't leave.

admylin, my dc's are opposite. when we go back, we stay with grandparents. Our dc's are only kids in family on both sides, so are very missed, highly adored and spoilt. So we go to uk, all the relatives travel from far and wide to see them, bring gifts, take them on fab day trips every day etc etc. totally spoilt. So they think UK = presents and ice cream and lovely holidays. Don't appreciate that they wouldn't see nanny every day, that nanny normally goes to work, that they'd be in school from morning till evening 5 days a week, no, they don't get it. Not said anything to them yet anyway, too big and too uncertain. I'll be as open and honest as necessary if/when necessary.

Zog Wed 21-Feb-07 12:21:46

Had to come back to this ernest.

I can honestly say, for my children the thing they love most about life in the UK is close proximity to their grandparents. We had a group of fantastic friends abroad who they had grown up with and the mothers were a vital support network to each other. But IMO, there is nothing like being near to people who love your children unconditionally - it's such a relief.

Family should go straight to the top of your list of pros - tea is irrelevant .

Zog Wed 21-Feb-07 12:24:30

Also wanted to say that kids really don't go to school from morning to night! Mine do 8.50 - 3.15; that leaves plenty of time for extra activities, having friends over or just mooching about at home. I think whoever suggested your husband going first, leaving you in Switzerland with some breathing space to research areas & schools had an excellent idea.

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