To be totally fucked?(26 Posts)
I am English. I live in Europe with 2 small kids. I am separated from their father. I don't speak the native language of the country brilliantly but I get by. I know plenty of people but have no close, like-minded friends. I work full time in a bleak job that I hate and is fairly stressful. My kids are at the local school and have never formally learnt to write in English. They are not particularly academic.
I feel I do not spend enough time with them.
They fight all the time.
I pretend to be fine but I am utterly utterly miserable and see no way to change things.
Please, can anyone give me some advice?
Thanks for reading x
. That sounds difficult. How old are the children? Is there any possibility of moving, even within the same country maybe to a city with a large expat population to give you a bigger social circle?
If you have any method at all of returning to England I would work towards doing so. Are you legally allowed to?
Otherwise look carefully at ways you can make small changes in your life to create a happier life. It sounds very miserable.
Best wishes to you.
Is there any chance of you changing your job ?
If you are on good terms with the children's Father, could he help out a bit more.
Do you ultimately, want to come home Sweet ?
Come back if you can. Why stay somewhere you can barely speak the language and have hardly any friends? And a shit job on top of it.
I could move but then I would lose the support from their father and his mother. I don't know if I'd cope. Also, they like seeing him.
To return to U.K. I would have to go to court but would have a high chance of winning if I could show it was job related. But I don't think things would be a lot easier there...
Could you do what you do in the UK? If so, I would look to move back and then, once settled, look at changing jobs as you don't like it and find it stressful. Someone much more clever will be along in a minute to advise on the legal situ as regards moving your kids away from their father but you sound miserable and it can't continue.
I don't make any any effort at all with the expat community. I don't really have time. I go out one evening a week to a local sports club. I don't see how things would be that much different as a single parent in the U.K...
I have seen a solicitor. I know the legal side of things. My kids are happy and settled here. Do you think I just need to sit it out?
I'm a teacher, hence why I think life in U.K. could well be even more difficult...
I can see that moving back to to UK will deprive the kids of their dad, so whilst posters will suggest it...not that easy
some options to think about
Teachers can change role fairly easily, are there any cities in your country where you think there might be more like minded souls
are you using the time when he has the kids to follow up on hobbies and things that make you happy, and really make sure you do
are there any new things or learning topics you are keen to do
are you exercising enough , getting fresh air and decompressing after a shit day at work
do you think there might be like minded souls in the expat community, who not try and make an effort and use the dad and Grand to cover you
lastly with the kids - do you think they are picking up on your mood? Mine are worse when I am tired
sometimes we can make some very small steps and changes, and although nothing has changed- we can be alot happier. It takes work though
Also baby steps here, 1 positive action per week
You sound a bit like you're saying no to any suggestion which is what I do when I feel ground down and helpless. So I would work on that ground down feeling if possible. What do the expats do when they meet? Drinks? Sports? Could you go along to, say, six meetings then see where that takes you?
OP are you considering to return to England in the future though? Then I'd rather do it sooner than later... how old are your kids? Do you see yourself growing old in the country you live in?
Can totally empathise with you. Am in same situ. Get solicitors advice and start process of moving back to uk. Do you have property there ? If the kids are small they will adapt easily to change. have a special chat with an expat mate, hearing another' english ' point if view will help you out . It is bleak, really bleak, being alone with kids in a foreign country, I know I've done it for years now ! Take some time off form work due to stress, and sort you head out a bit. Swimming, running, an headspace for your self will clear your mind and your gut will tell you the way forward. Good luck .
I do feel for you, and remember how hard it was in my student days many years ago when I had to spend a year abroad split between France and Germany.
I do have to say though, that it was getting in touch with the expat community that really helped me. I think you should find out more about them and try to make contact the next time your children are with their Dad.
My DD1 is 21 and recently spent an academic year as a teaching assistant in a Paris school. She loved Paris itself but felt ignored and unsupported by staff at her school. She met up with other expat students though, in the same boat as her. All back in the UK now, but they saved each other's sanity.
It must be harder for you because you have children, and I didn't when I was there. Possibly though you might meet other families in a similar position to yours.
And OP isn't doing a couple of years abroad but looking at a whole future in a foreign country.
I'm not English but I live here and I'd probably leave if I were to separate/divorce...Or would I?
OP, I'd also keep in mind all the EU / UK permanent residence issues that may crop up in the next two years...Do you have citizenship where you live? I think you have to ask yourself lots of questions and just socialising with other expats will not solve your problems I think...
Oh, and yes, work on the idea of getting back here if that is what you really need to do.
Teacher recruitment is in crisis in the UK, with some subjects worse than others. You therefore might well get a job, and from there can work towards finding another one that you would like better.
Whereabouts in Europe are you? Northern Europe is pretty well connected to the South East of the UK by the Eurostar trains now, so the kids getting to see their Dad reasonably often might be less of a problem than it would have been years ago.
I know what she is looking at, Beijing. My only taste of it was before I had children and it proved to me that I wouldn't be suited to it.
I can be quite the introvert, but still couldn't have coped with social isolation.
Are you teaching English? If so does that mean you are a fluent speaker of the language in your adopted country?
Probably stating the obvious here, but any chance of changing jobs? When you're stuck in a job you hate, it really spills over into the rest of your life and drains your ability to enjoy it.
What is your dream scenario?
I'm an ex-pat in Europe too and ex-teacher (now freelance translator) and can understand the feelings of loneliness. It took me about 10 years to build true friendships here and now have a very close group of native English friends (all teachers and all ended up staying for relationships). Though I speak the language well I've never really managed to establish good friendships with the natives -they're lovely but there's not enough shared experience to really sit down for a good, relaxed natter (preferably with alcohol and no kids). It's hard when you've got small kids but getting out with some other expats keeps me and my 'coven' sane. Out of our group of 6, two have recently separated and are thinking about moving back to the UK but are in a similar situation to you -legally tricky, kids' lives well-established etc etc.
I think you need to decide first and foremost where you want to be - if it's the UK, then start thinking about where you would live and work. Moving back can happen, maybe not immediately but at some point in the next 5 years. If you can imagine yourself staying put, then you need to start finding some friends (any other expats in the school where you work who might be up for drinks one night?).
Don't beat yourself up about the kids and their behaviour. The separation will have taken its toll on all of you. Not sure where you are located but it might be worth investigating some counseling (preferably in English) to give you some support and help clarify what it is you really want. Oh and don't worry about the kids' writing. They'll soon start having to write in English at school and will come on leaps and bounds (older friends have bilingual kids who went through the school system here but got into UK universities without any problem). I'm in NE Italy. If you're nearby, I am happy to pass on any contacts for counsellors, nights out etc etc
Thanks for the replies. I'm sorry if it sounds I am not taking them onboard. I am.
As far as returning to the U.K. goes, I am really unsure. I have not lived in the U.K. for around 15 years and I moved for a reason. I do think, generally speaking, people have a better standard of life here.
Also, yes, I own a home. In order to keep some stability for the kids, I bought my husband out and am left in a house that is too big for the time I have to clean it and it needs some work and furniture which I cannot afford right now so that's a bit depressing too. Not to mention the garden!
I know I should get out more but I don't really know when single parents find time to do this! I already go out once a week.
I know I should exercise more but again, my youngest is five so I am unable to leave the house when he is asleep and I work all day.
Thanks for helping me think things through. I wonder whether I should look at reducing my hours for a couple of years. At least I could go for a run in the mornings or clean up a bit.
Do they stay with their dad regularly? Is there any chance of reducing working days? Could you do tutoring?
Can you get out more in the evening with children? Any family activities you could do that would bring you into contact with more people?
The times I have felt (a bit) ground down by life, looking back, I could cope if I was working towards what I wanted.
So IMO you have to think out a couple of ideal scenarios and make active steps towards them.
And yes, the kids stay with their dad one night a week and every other weekend when he is not traveling with work. During that time, I catch up on my own schoolwork and the washing/cleaning etc. Maybe I am just crap with time-management.
Thank you to those if you who have suggested changing jobs. I could try but chances are few and far between and would result in me spending even less time with my own kids. I think therefore I should wait a year or two to do this.
OP, could you invite someone around for coffee, or a play date, they may reciprocate.
It does sound as if you have a nice set up, but are a bit lonely.
Could you do something else occasionally, instead of going to the Sports Club perhaps, broaden your horizons ?
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