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...To Ask Him To Commute?

(81 Posts)
StarryStarryNightShift Wed 29-Mar-17 21:43:53

NC - regular UN potentially recognisable. Cutted up pear, etc.

Background: DH main earner, 8-6 kind of hours. I work PT in a busy job involving shiftwork. My job is relatively transferable but I've recently (last 12m or so) found a team I like and I'd like to stay with. In order to transfer, the new workplace would have to be in/around a fairly major city. 2DCs, one in primary school, one in nursery. We've previously relocated a few times with DH's work, including overseas. I've not enjoyed the constant moving (every 2-3 years) but it's been right for our family to do it.

DH's company have recently announced they are moving a number of the regional offices to London. His choices are effectively:
1. Commute from current home - East mids, not far from East Coast mainline. Financial assistance will be given for at least a couple of years. Expectation would be 3 days in London office with the remaming two days from home or in a token regional office.
Pros: keep house, continuity for DCs/us, I stay in the same job/
Cons: Could be expensive if financial support withdrawn, tiring, isolating?, I'd need help with childcare when shifts fell unhelpfully.

2. Move to commuterville nearer London - one-off lump sum to help with relocation costs would probably be available.
Pros: closer to work/mates, would be a pretty much permanent move (though we hoped this last one would be too!).
Cons: House prices would be significantly higher, I'd need to look for a new job. Uprooting DD1 again. I'd still need help with childcare given how far out we'd probably end up living (see house prices, above).

3. Leave the company. This terrifies him, he likes his job, the company (despite this move!) and his colleagues. Probably not an option we want to look at - and prospects locally are probably only best described as fair. I'd become the main earner and would have to step up to FT work, at least in the short term (not a problem).

I'm tired of moving house, and I really quite like our home, our neighbours here, feel like we're making friends at school, etc. We have people who like our kids enough to babysit them regularly! I want to put roots down. He's of a similar view, but is afraid of the commute - he's worried about damaging relationships with the DCs, interrupting his hobby (does 2x weeknights at present), general exhaustion...

So I'm looking for your tales of commuting - mostly successes (please grin ), but cautionary tales also welcomed. Thanks in advance...

Msqueen33 Wed 29-Mar-17 21:46:12

Sounds like it could be a big commute. I'd ask him to trial it for say three months and then you guys sit down and look at it again and go from there.

DelphiniumBlue Wed 29-Mar-17 21:57:03

I think it would depend on how long the commute takes- it's not just the train journey, but how long would it take to get from the London station to his office? If he's able to work on the train, would that free up other time elsewhere?
If he'd get financial assistance, it might be worth checking out the possibility of him renting a room somewhere in London for 2 nights a week.

imthelastsplash Wed 29-Mar-17 21:59:22

My DP commutes from the east mids to London every day - it's quicker than when he lived in Basingstoke. We get a LOT more house for our money but the train fares are expensive (about 9k per year) but wages are better. We did think about moving south but I'm glad we didn't

StillDrivingMeBonkers Wed 29-Mar-17 22:00:45

Option 4 - he goes to a Travel Lodge Monday-Thursday and comes home Friday night

antimatter Wed 29-Mar-17 22:00:47

How long would be the door to door commute?

BreezyThursday Wed 29-Mar-17 22:06:01

Depends on distance to station at each end and whether it's one train that is easy to sit on, but relaxing (or even working!) rather than actually driving is great.
To be fair to both of you and DC at school I would say he has to try it and if it's really awful can then consider moving (job over house).

Hassled Wed 29-Mar-17 22:18:23

I think commute. At least try it for a year. DH has done the equivalent for about 10 years now - it's just our normal. He was away all week every week - now works from home at least one, usually two days. And it's fine - he misses the kids (but there's facetime etc) and I struggle (but don't work shifts) if I'm knackered from work etc but it works out fine overall.

Hassled Wed 29-Mar-17 22:20:05

Sorry - by commute I was thinking stay in a Travel Lodge equivalent for the London days, but you're thinking daily train - which might be knackering, depending on the office hours and how many late nights etc. DH stays in an aparthotel thing.

AgathaMystery Wed 29-Mar-17 22:22:55

My DH rents a room in a (bloody gorgeous luxury) flat in Richmond 3 or 4 nights a week. It's hard with DC & my shifts but we manage.

I am a bit jealous sometimes though.

Almostthere15 Wed 29-Mar-17 22:29:14

I wouldn't necessarily work away each night but perhaps he could stay over one night which would reduce the tiredness factor. Also it's worth considering that the longer commute will be offset by no travel time when he's working at home.

Train fares will be tricky as a season ticket often doesn't pay for itself if you're not going every day.

My preference would be to stay. You sound settled. But take a review point at 3-6 months maybe.

Ethylred Wed 29-Mar-17 22:29:36

The railway timetable will tell you exactly how long the commute will be. Except for when there is a snafu on the ECML.

Uprooting DD is not a consideration; young children adapt far quicker than adults. You mean that you don't want to uproot yourself; fair enough, but be honest about it.

(And Travelodge? Wow. What a life. Two thirds of it in a Travelodge.)

Pollypickypocket Wed 29-Mar-17 22:37:48

1/2 nights a week in a travel lodge would have been bloody bliss for me when my lot were little ;)

StarryStarryNightShift Thu 30-Mar-17 09:09:56

Yes, sorry to run off, bedtime took quite some time!

To clarify, he'd look to have an air B&B-type apartment 2 nights/week (though he readily admits a hotel with a gym would also be nice), rather than getting the train every day - though it's good to know some do manage to do that.

Total commuting time each way would be about 2 hours door-to-door (drive-train-tube-walk).

It is mostly me that doesn't want to move, I've no shame in admitting that. But we also don't want to keep moving the kids around, there does need to be a time where we say we're done with all that. DD is at an age now where friends are becoming very important to her.

1Evaline1 Thu 30-Mar-17 09:24:27

My dp works in England during the week and comes home every single Saturday morning and then goes back to England on Sunday night, we've done this for a long time now and we are used to it.

Ps he gets the overnight boat which is 8 hours plus 1 hour each way driving to the boat etc

EBearhug Thu 30-Mar-17 09:27:03

The railway timetable will tell you exactly how long the commute will be.

No it won't - it will tell you how long part of it will be. The whole commute includes getting to the home station - 5 minute walk or 15 minute drive plus parking? And onward from the London terminus. Again, there's a big difference between a 5 minute walk or two separate tube lines and 10 minute walk, or 3 minutes to a bus stop, then a bus journey.

The more components there are to a commute, the harder it is, and the more chances there are for problems which cause delays. It also makes it more expensive, if you have to factor in things like car park costs to get to the train. A journey which is okay in the summer with long days can be a different prospect in the short days of winter, when it's cold and wet, and there are delays on the over-crowded Tube, meaning you get to the railway station just as it's announced there's a broken-down train causing massive delays on all routes north.

So for each option, you need to look at the total costs in time and money - which could sometimes include extra childcare costs and so on, if he's less available for that when you're busy. Also, if he did take his least-favoured option of leaving, what are the chances of finding another job? Because it would be a poor option if he couldn't get another locally, and ended up having to commute to a new job anyway.

Would he still be working shifts with the commute? Because that adds another level of complexity, if trains do or don't run at times which would fit with that.

PippaH74 Thu 30-Mar-17 09:29:45

My DH commutes from Devon to London, works there for 2 - 3 days a week, has lodgings at an old friends house, and goes for a weekly curry and beer with him on a Tuesday and then commutes home again. Took a bit of getting used to, but works well, we love where we live, kids all happy in school and cost of living good. Explore all the options of where he could stay (Travel Lodge sounds like it'll be a bit grim after a while). Give it a trial and then see if it works for you. - Good luck!

NotTheMrMenAgain Thu 30-Mar-17 09:57:22

Hi OP, we live in the West Midlands and there have been periods where my DH has commuted daily to London. It's okay for a short time, but any longer than 3 months and it starts to grind him down. DH is a very hard working and used to plenty of international travel for work, so it's not that he can't be bothered with the commute - I think the daily repetition of it is just wearing. He gets tired and miserable and I'm just not interested in having a grumpy man in my house - there's no benefit to any of us him physically being there but being exhausted.

DH had been mostly working in London again for the past couple of years - he generally spends 3 or 4 nights a week in a nice hotel (paid for by work), which means his days are shorter, but he often works very long days so if he was commuting he wouldn't get home til late o clock. It suits us, but DD and I are used to him working away, it's always been this way (and it's how I like it because I'm quite independent and enjoy my own time/space).

At weekends we go to DDs activities together, make the most of 'family time' etc. I think a long daily commute puts quite a lot of stress on someone, which can build up - and then there will be the times when there are problems with the trains, or your DH has to work late or go to an event.....on these occasions he might be rocking up at home at 10pm, 11pm, midnight etc and then have to get up early for the morning commute. For instance, DH is coming home tonight, but has to do a presentation at a team event after close of normal business hours - so I don't expect he'll get back much before 11pm.

Long term, I don't think the commute would be worth it from a quality of life point of view, but that's just from our personal experience.

Kiroro Thu 30-Mar-17 10:01:21

For three days a week I would commute, and get a room in London for 2 nights.

So go down Monday morning, spend Mon and Tue night in london, return home Wed night and have Thur and Fri at home/regional office.

Crumbs1 Thu 30-Mar-17 10:01:24

We decided to settle rather than keep moving when children approached secondary age. We'd moved numerous times until then and restarting was hard.
My husband has done various things but currently has role where he's away four nights a week. We've a flat near main office in Birmingham but he's not there that often. He drives to far flung places and stays in hotels but when he's in London (often) he does daily commute- about 6 hour round journey door to door. Maybe twice a week.
He does daily commute to Birmingham occasionally but gets driver to take him to Southampton for a direct train to New Street. Still a long day though. It's perfectly manageable to commute for three days - the daily grind of every day is harder. Would they consider two days office/three wfh?

EBearhug Thu 30-Mar-17 10:06:35

gets driver to take him to Southampton for a direct train to New Street.

I assume that is an autocorrect for station, otherwise, it's a bit of a detour...

TJEckleburg Thu 30-Mar-17 10:13:14

What's his hobby? Is it feasible for him to do it in London on the nights that he stays away

Quartz2208 Thu 30-Mar-17 10:14:19

Why dont you start trying 1 and see what happens? See how he finds it see how the commute is and agree that every 3-6 months you discuss how he finds it, how you find it and take it from there.

1 can easily segue-way into 2 or 3, the other two options once taken cant be backed out of.

Sandsnake Thu 30-Mar-17 10:18:10

One more factor to consider - if you move to a London commuter town then the house you buy will increase in value at a higher rate than if you stay put in the East Mids. Then when you move back out of London in the future you will have more money to spend on your next house.

I am NOT saying that is a good enough reason to move, but should be a factor. Good luck, I find decisions like this really tough.

JaniceBattersby Thu 30-Mar-17 10:21:28

I know people who do that commute from Corby / Kettering area and it's too much. It's really tiring and they get home and are just ready to drop. That said, I also wouldn't ssnt to live in commutersville if you're happy in the E Mids. Can he have a look to see what's out there in terms of jobs? I know it's terrifying. I'd be terrified too. But I'd do it if that's what my family needed and it sounds lime it's what yours needs.

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