Impossible decision to make - can anyone help?

(6 Posts)
zippy19 Mon 02-Jul-12 08:59:23

Hi there. I wondered if anyone could give me some insight on a really tough decision we have to make.

I'm currently living in Austria with my husband (who is Austrian) as he got a good permanent job out here about a year ago. Our DS is 10 months, and the timing co-incided perfectly with my maternity leave from my very good job in the UK. We decided to come out here and 'try it out' while I took 12 months mat leave - we've had a good time and realise this is a great place for a family.

But now we have to decide whether to stay out here or go back to the UK. My parents are both 70, my dad's in really poor health and I have a really close relationship with them, and really want to help them in their old age. My job in the UK is very well paid, and secure. But my DH hasn't been able to find work back in the UK, so if I go back I will be on my own and he will be home at weekends - and this for an undefined period of time until either he finds work, or I realise it ain't going to work and quit and come back to Austria.

The alternative is to stay here. I have been searching for work out here most of my mat leave, and have the possibility of a 6month consultancy contract that may or may not lead to something more long term. I've always been very career minded, and the thought of being out of work in a few months scares the hell out of me. That and the thought of cutting all my ties with England, and basically abandonning my parents.

I am totally in a panic about this impossible choice, and am not sure what to do - I feel like I have to choose my husband or my family and career. I am reliving every possible scenario and getting nowhere. Thanks for any advice....

OP’s posts: |
Weta Mon 02-Jul-12 10:15:27

That does sound like a tough decision! I wonder if it would help to think about other factors apart from the work situation, since one of you has a good work situation in one country and the other one in the other.

Which country would you prefer to bring your DS up in? which education system and approach to raising children do you prefer? How about things like lifestyle and friends?

The issue about your parents is difficult - I guess if you all end up in the UK (obviously not an option right now) then he would be far away from his parents? Í'm from NZ and my DH is French, and we spent many years figuring out where to live but in the end I decided the home country/parents was a neutral issue because one of us had to be on the other side of the world and away from our family.

I don't think it's true that staying in Austria means cutting all ties with the UK - obviously there would be a difference in how often you'd see your parents, but presumably you could still visit every month or two if you felt the need?

How would you feel about going back to your UK job and having your husband come over at weekends? and is there any way at all of keeping the UK job open for longer while you find out whether the consultancy would lead to something longer-term?

sorry not to be more help, but I do sympathise with your dilemma!

LinzerTorte Mon 02-Jul-12 10:49:12

Hi zippy (I think I know who you are smile)

I really sympathise as we went through something similar about five years ago and were on the verge of moving back to the UK. We decided against it in the end, as a) it would have been extremely difficult for DH to find a job there, particularly in an area where we would have wanted/could have afforded to live, and b) we decided that we have a better standard of living and quality of life in Austria. However, our decision was made easier by the fact that as a freelancer, I can work anywhere so staying here didn't affect my career.

I still feel very guilty about how little my parents see their only grandchildren (they're also both in their seventies and not in the best of health). It's really only feasible for us to get back twice a year thanks to the school holidays and my parents can't/don't want to travel. However, I seem to remember that your family live somewhere slightly more "accessible" so it might be easier for you to get back more often (particularly before your DS starts school). Also, we decided that staying here was the best decision for our family as a whole - and although I know that my parents would love it if we moved closer, they do understand why it's very difficult for us to do so.

How does your DH feel about you moving back to the UK with your DS? Would he/you mind giving it a go for a year, say, or is it not worth all the upheaval? At least then you wouldn't have any regrets about not having tried it - and who knows, maybe your DH would be able to find a job in the UK in the meantime?

Good luck with your decision - it's a tough one, I know.

zippy19 Mon 02-Jul-12 17:40:07

Thanks both for your advice (and Linzer, you're right - I just didnt' fancy posting under my normal name)

I think that Austria is better for family life for a lot of reasons, and I prefer life here to be honest. But DH's parents aren't close (4 hrs away), so only weekend visits. We've met people here, but that takes time. So what is more important, a good environment or extended family close by. I just don't know.

I unfortunately don't have the option to keep my job open, so its jump into things here, or give it a go back in the UK.

I think going back to the UK will be hard - I did 4 months alone when I was pregnant and although you get into things its not great. DH is supportive of either, and wants us just to find the right way forward, but I think he's a bit unrealistic about things. In some ways I really want to give it a go back in the UK to see how it works, and to give DH a chance to find a job here, but that means passing on a possible opportunity of work here.

Thanks again. No easy answers here.

OP’s posts: |
Kladdkaka Mon 09-Jul-12 17:29:48

I had a similar impossible choice and a wise mumsnetter said that if moving back was right for me I'd be happily looking for solutions to any barriers in the way. The fact that I was torn says that deep down inside it's not really what I want, but what I think I ought to want.

It was so true. Thinking back to when I emigrated, I didn't think twice about it. Everything was about making it work.

zippy19 Mon 16-Jul-12 08:34:54

Thanks Kladdkaka - I kind of agree with you. I don't particularly want to live in the UK - I have to admit I don't miss one thing about it really - only friends and family. We'd been talking about moving to Austria for years and years, so now I wonder why I'm considering going back really. One wise person pointed out to me that even if I'm in the UK, working full time and being on my own with DS, I wouldn't exactly have much time to spend with my parents, and that they would be worrying about me being on my own etc, so we might be better off committing to regular visits instead. I'm going to wait and see if I actually get offered this consultancy contract and take it from there.
Thanks all for your advice. Its much appreciated.

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