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Moving to another country "You should be able to manage by yourself"

(27 Posts)
thedevilsinthedogstail Wed 29-Jun-11 06:44:03

We are moving in 3 weeks from one european country to another. We have 2 small children and given that DH has moved to a new job (he is working there during the week now) he is very busy. The week we move into the house he will not be around at all. I should preface by saying we have a company packing our belongings and will do some unpacking the other end - putting beds together mainly.

My best friend offered to come over the week we move and give me a chance to unpack and get things sorted out. Having thought some airmiles could be used we found that we would need to pay for a regular flight - which will cost less than I have just paid to get the post redirected for a year.

DH having looked at the price then said "you should be able to manage by yourself, why does she need to come over, it is not a good use of money, you don't need to do much unpacking why don't you take the children out and do some exploring and we can unpack at the weekend".

I reacted badly to this - largely because it was said shortly after a visit from his parents who will have said exactly the same thing - when I said to his mother that I had lots to do before the move she said "you'll manage - I did all of our moves" and then I got chapter and verse on what she had had to do to move them twice overseas.

Yes we are getting a lot done for us with movers and cleaners but is it so wrong to take help that has been offered?

Apologies if you think this is a AIBU.

frikonastick Wed 29-Jun-11 07:06:37

It's so infuriating isn't it. This bizarre idea that women should somehow be ashamed for asking for (or receiving) help. Like sucking it up while struggling and feeling miserable is somehow the morally superior choice.

Just say, sure honey. Whatever you think is best honey, and then don't unpack a single fecking thing. Let him do it.

PonceyMcPonce Wed 29-Jun-11 07:09:13

Bugger that, a mate to help you settle in, a familiar face to smooth the way for the children and free up sometime for you as a family.

He does not know best. One does MIL. You are the queen bee of your household. This impacts on you most, do what YOU think is best.

PonceyMcPonce Wed 29-Jun-11 07:10:02

Er that was nor does mil

ZZZenAgain Wed 29-Jun-11 09:32:59

I am with you, I can't stand people who have always done everything themselves and coped great. We are not all bionic. They should be more thoughtful and put a lid on it.

Just don't argue, say your friend's flight is booked and finish unless he is taking three days off work to help with things. It will be stressful, moving home, moving country is always stressful, even if you really want to go to the new place. You also have two children to drive you mad occupy whilst doing it.

Weta Wed 29-Jun-11 09:35:00

I think having your friend come is a great idea, and it doesn't sound like it's all that expensive anyway.

Maybe try to get your DH to understand that the move is a big deal for you (and no doubt the children) psychologically as well as in practical terms, and that it would make a huge difference to have a friend there. Moving is really stressful, and even more so with small children and your DH not around.

Try to leave your feelings about your MIL out of it - mine (who is lovely) sometimes goes on about having raised 4 children and not got tired etc etc, but seems to forget she had maids etc as they were expats. I think they just forget and it all seems a bit rose-tinted, but in any case it's you that has to move, not her, and you know what you need.

ZZZenAgain Wed 29-Jun-11 09:36:44

well the thing is maybe other people extract their own teeth with pliers and so on, doesn't mean you have to, does it? You are actually allowed to try and make your own life pleasant

BranchingOut Wed 29-Jun-11 09:38:40

He is probably underestimating the difficulty and upheaval of moving - after all, he has probably gone over with five pairs of underpants, 3 sets of work clothes and a can of Lynx so thinks it will be just as easy for the whole household to move...hmm.

I am with ZZZenagain, just say that you have already arranged it with your friend so need to stick to it.

karmakameleon Wed 29-Jun-11 09:39:22

How ridiculous. You're managing the move and it's up to you if you need help or not. Even if you can manage it all by yourself, what's the harm in having your friend around to share the burden with for a week.

Teachermumof3 Wed 29-Jun-11 09:47:29

Sounds like you need to have a mini rant to him to get across how stressed you feel about this!

Does he not like your friend?

Shanghaidiva Wed 29-Jun-11 10:29:46

Good to have some help from a friend and don't see why your dh is making a fuss. You and your friend can manage the unpacking and at the weekend all take a break and explore the area.
Even if you have a company packing for you, this can still be a stressful time. We moved from Austria to China and a good friend of mine took the children all day so that I could supervise the packers. We had three separate piles - air freight, sea and storage and despite everything being labelled mistakes were still made.
Not sure what they thought I would be doing with my wedding dress in China...!
Good to know that you mil was supermum though...:P

thedevilsinthedogstail Thu 30-Jun-11 18:27:14

Thank you everyone - just needed to vent and it is nice to hear from people. Clearly everything is a cost/vfm balance - if it were too expensive for her to come for 4 days then she would not do it - she was happy to pay for herself but it is DH who said we are now "obliged" to pay as I have whinged to her about how hard it will be.

Hard to put feelings about in laws to one side as there is a lot of water under the bridge and when I heard the stuff he was coming out with - I knew they had given their opinion - his mother is a martyr - his sister is married to a prat (in 3 yrs sister has not visited us as husband has not allowed it) so obviously I am married to a saint and my life is unbelievably easy.

Unfortunately MIL is too thick-headed to see that even if she can't bear for my life to be easy - making things easier for me is better for her grandchildren.

enough of my rant!

kakapo Thu 30-Jun-11 20:34:07

Take all the help you can get. Moving country is HARD. And it will be nice for your friend to have seen where you are as well, then she can picture things when you call/email her. Makes keeping in touch much easier.

thedevilsinthedogstail Fri 01-Jul-11 09:51:14

this leads me to wonder what other people do to facilitate the relationship of in-laws with their grandchildren.

I organise Skype once a week when they don't speak to me when we are on the call. I phone them at least once during the week for the children to speak to them. I have in the past been the one who has organised their trips over here.

When they are here - I get called "she" - everyone else gets their name but not me. I know they are here primarily to see the children and their son and I guess I find it upsetting to spend time with people who I feel don't care about me.

I don't want to be spiteful - they love their grandchildren - however they are not my family (don't have any of my own so that compounds it) so why do these things? Should I rise above it - or leave it to husband?

Obviously if I were say sending photos of the children to people - I would send them to them as well - but should I go out of my way to do things? Do I do it for the sake of the children and try to disentangle my feelings towards them?

ZZZenAgain Fri 01-Jul-11 11:04:03

Is there any reason at all you can think of why they refer to you as "she" and do not speak to you on the phone? It is very rude and such an obvious snub. Is it both MIL and FIL?

These family dynamics are so difficult, I really don't know what the answer is. If it is more MIL, I might have a heart-to-heart with FIL and try to see what it is all about and if anything can be done. If it is both of them equally treating you in this way, I don't know what I would do. I might, not just, but possibly might take both of them to a cafe on my own and confront them about it, without allowing myself to get angry. Just ask straight out why they do it, what it is about, say it affects you and can it be changed. Put them on the spot

ZZZenAgain Fri 01-Jul-11 11:06:31

is it that they are angry with you because you all live in a different country to them which is where you are from originally - so you are sort of responsible for their son being abroad? Could it be something like that?

Miggsie Fri 01-Jul-11 11:13:00

I worked for a banking family who moved all over the world several times and she always got help in, she said it was mad trying to do everything yourself, it is possible of course, but no bloody fun and very tiring. On the move I did with her she got a professional packing firm in to do the packing and unpacking because they finally had anough money to do that and she didn;t want to do it for the 5th time. Her husband didn't complain, he didn't want to pack and unpack cases and he didn't see why his wife should do somehting she didn't want to do if they could afford to pay someone else...he was a nice man.

Having someone to share the load will make everything so much easier, your MIL is just being a bag, I bet she's jealous you actually have a firend willing to help you. And your DH is being sodding mean.

mummytime Fri 01-Jul-11 11:19:50

I wonder if you can get any couples counselling. Not that I think you have big issues, but your ILs do sound a bit much, and it would be good to talk about the issues with someone helping you both to be open and not defensive.
The ILs just calling you she does sound plain rude, the fact your husband doesn't call them up on this, and how much he appreciates or doesn't what you do do; in my opinion these are all issues that you need to discuss.
Personally if we could afford it when we move I would have: cleaners at both ends, packers, maybe even extra help to weed out the rubbish, a break in the middle, the new home redecorated/fixed before we moved in, and as much help with childcare and unpacking as I could get.
How much time is your DH taking off to help with the unpacking etc?

thedevilsinthedogstail Fri 01-Jul-11 18:56:06

thank you for your posts. There is a long history - in many respects we used to get on quite well - even holidayed together but since getting married and certainly since having children the relationship has deteriorated and was for a time truely awful - but I think my pnd greatly affected how I was able to deal with things.

because of my own family circumstances (severed all contact with my family over 10 yrs ago and before that minimal contact since I was about 20) I wanted/needed a surrogate family and I'm afraid they have been a disappointment to me and the feeling is no doubt mutual. I have one close friend who I feel truely cares about me but otherwise my husband & children are the people I have.

On the recent visit I talked to my MIL about things that bothered me (a friend who had made no effort to see/send cards etc for my daughter) and things that made me happy (my close friend offering to help us when we move from one european country to another in 2 weeks time). His mother made no comment about either of those things and then agreed with/told my husband that why should I need help to move, I should manage by myself etc etc.

So I felt she took 2 things that were important to me and either ignored them or rubbished them. And then I think - how sad am I that I have so few people to talk to that I even want to share these things with her. And yet at other times she has referred to feeling like she would have a nervous breakdown when she had 3 children under 5 overseas. When I mentioned how much I had to do before we move MIL said "you'll manage" and then proceeded to tell me how she had done all of their moves etc etc.

Some of it is a generational thing - not complaining but some of it is also her.

Unfortunately the relationship with both of them has brought havoc to our marriage in recent yrs so I think even talking about it with my husband is not the way to go. We did have an almighty row and it cleared the air to a large extent and we both agreed that we would use "I" statements about things and i should have said to his mother "I don't like being referred to as she" and next time I will.

I think everyone is right in that if I stop trying to invest so much maybe I will stop being so angry with them. The only thing I feel it is right I continue to do is getting the children to speak to them once during the week - as we are overseas we have a call thing that gives us free calls in the evenings so I can resume that when we have moved and settled in and maybe they have visited us in the new place.

But birthday cards, skype, asking them to visit etc etc I will stop.

thank you again for listening

FriskyBivalves Fri 01-Jul-11 19:18:46

I just wanted to second (and third, fourth and fifth) all the other posters who told you to go ahead and tell your husband you need the help. When we moved from the Middle East to Europe, we had packers and unpackers...but their view of "unpacking" turned out to be just dumping everything on the nearest available flat surface - be it floor, table, chair, chair-upon-chair; you get the picture.

My wonderful, capable, practical sister came over and took charge. If she hadn't, I think I might still - a year on - be living in floods of tears with towers of boxes and crap just everywhere. Everyone always brings too much stuff with them when they move, and you need someone emotionally disconnected to look at certain objects, say with a smile, 'What on earth is that?' and persuade you to chuck it in the nearest bin. They also have tons more energy because they're not anyway at an emotional low ebb through leaving one home and establishing a new one , worrying about how everyone - inc dcs, and yourselves - will make new friends etc etc. They can keep unpacking for hours, and gee everyone on.

Your MIL does sound like that stiff upper lip generation apart. Some people from that era just aren't very good at confiding/receiving confidences...especially when they think (unfairly) that you're being a bit feeble given that, "in my day, we didn't have the internet, or aeroplanes, or mobile phones, and coming home from India for the summer took five weeks on the P&O steamer around the Cape etc etc". My sister's FIL was sent the length of Africa on a train when he was not yet seven to go to boarding school. He's wonderful, but he could easily not have been given that kind of early treatment!

nooka Fri 01-Jul-11 19:33:43

I think that your dh should be facilitating the children's relationship with their grandparents, especially given how unpleasant your MIL obviously is to you. It seems to be something that women take on, and I'm really not sure why - you don't often get fathers facilitating relationships with their ILs, so I suspect it is one of those assumptions that women should do everything.

We've moved countries twice. dh did all the unpacking the first time, and we did it together the second time. It was fun. But our children are no longer very small (9 and 7 at he time of the moves) and after several weeks of living with nothing it was a very important nesting activity for both of us. So I don't think he is being totally unreasonable as he is not expecting the OP to unpack on her own, but given that this is her best friend it sounds like an excellent use of a small amount of money.

Re the MIL I think that a bit of emotional distance is probably required.

MrsGypsy Fri 01-Jul-11 20:14:45

I've moved a lot over the years (hence the Mrs Gypsy moniker) and on my last move we went from a large 3 bedroomed house to a 2 bedroomed apartment. My DH was absent all week. I had no help. 6 years on, I still whine about mention the number of boxes that I had to unpack all by myself. The fact that the movers (that were paid to unpack) couldn't physically unpack them as there was no space in the apartment. The unpacked boxes were then stacked in the living room, taking up two thirds of the room. I unpacked them. I drank. I ranted. I cursed.

Fuck it. Pay for the friend. Wish I'd thought of asking a mate to help because believe me, I understand what it's like. In case of DH having a hissy fit, just do the "if I don't get it finished then obviously you're going to have to finish it at the weekend". And then leave two thirds for him to do. Bastard.

mummytime Sat 02-Jul-11 07:44:54

I wonder if it is a generational/background thing, and that she is the type who thinks you should "pull yourself together" to cure pnd. In which case this could be why she is so unsupportive.

How many times have you moved country? This is the kind of thing that does make it hard to make good friends. Do you have a "home base"? What are your long term plans? Are you going to settle permanently in your new country? If not where do you plan to retire to? What senior school system do you want your kids to go through? Where for university?

I think you do need to try to make more friends and build up your support network, and maybe your husband needs to acknowledge this too.

Good luck with the move.

Indaba Thu 28-Jul-11 01:57:41

take all the help you can get and b*gger your husband. grin

done international moves a lot and am speaking from experience

ninedragons Thu 28-Jul-11 02:10:36

We moved internationally with a 10-month-old baby and I honestly do not think we would have managed without a nervous breakdown if my mum hadn't flown over to mind the baby while I organised the movers. And that was with a company that packed every last thing for us.

It still took me months to organise - you have to start clearing out long before the movers turn up because they go through your place like locusts and pack literally every single thing. From a purely financial point of view, it is more economical to fly someone in to help you in the lead-up rather than pay to ship 15 crates full of junk and clothes that don't fit you anymore.

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