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How do you deal with the guilt of living away from parents/grandparents?

(14 Posts)
ReloKayShon Tue 10-Nov-15 13:23:44

DH and I have lived abroad before, but pre-DC. We now have 2 DC (3 and 1 currently). I've recently applied for a job in Switzerland.

Usually DM lays guilt on thick and fast but has been surprisingly excited and supportive over this role. DF (my parents are divorced) told me today, half jokingly, he hopes I don't get it.

It's caught me off guard as he is usually so laid back. I know they'd miss us and be reluctant to see us go but it's really made me sad. I see both sides of my parents weekly and PIL every 2-3 weeks. All help with childcare when I'm working (I'm not atm).

I just feel guilty now as it isn't just me and DH anymore, it is the kids too. DF and DSM don't have a big life, so really dote on my DC so us moving would really create a huge gap in their lives. I know that's not my responsibility as such but after being so excited about this job prospect I now feel like I'm being selfish and ridiculous.

How do you deal with reconciling all this?

alteredimages Wed 11-Nov-15 16:00:15

Hi ReloKayShon,

I suspect that the reason you have had no replies so far is that it is a really hard question to answer!

We just decided this weekend to move back to Europe with the kids and DH will follow a few months later. I am relieved and excited but am dreading telling PIL because like your DF and DSM they have absolutely nothing else going on in their lives and live for the DCs. They have no other GCs and I am not even moving for a job.

So I guess I don't know, but I do very much sympathise with you!

ChipsandGuac Wed 11-Nov-15 16:05:03

It helps when both sets of grandparents are supportive. Both my parents and my pil's were very happy for us so it made it easy to go knowing that. They all come out to stay and FaceTime us regularly.

I find myself feeling more guilty about it now as they age than I did about taking their young grandchildren away. I want to be there more for them but it's hard when you're 3000 miles away.

ReloKayShon Wed 11-Nov-15 17:12:36

Thing is, my dad is a keen traveller and loves going to different places and when I said they'd be able to pop out to see us really easily and very cheaply, he was saying yes but it's so expensive there and by the time you add parking and everything on it's not that cheap. They are ok financially so I think he's just making excuses.

I dunno. I expected cats-bum mouthing from DM and guilt trips as she is famous for those... Just not from DF.

Such a conflict isn't it. I love my dear old dad and out of all the parents, it's killed me seeing him get older and noticing it so much more when you live away is hard. He's a great grandad and my DC love him. I feel like I'm being mean depriving us all if our relationships but at the same time feel really excited about the prospect of living abroad again and all that comes with it.

Thefitfatty Wed 11-Nov-15 17:17:51

You will find a way. That's the only answer. Skype is fantastic, low cost flights, etc. You adapt and adjust

DeepBlueLake Fri 13-Nov-15 06:25:45

I know what you mean OP, I come from NZ (living in the UK with my British DH) and the guilt is enormous now I have kids, there is also no chance of me returning in the near future.

Mum is widowed and it breaks her heart, me being all the way over here. I have just had DS2 and she is such an amazing Grandma. She has asked me to move back a few times but it is not viable atm due to lack of jobs, I also enjoy living here and have no desire to return to NZ yet. We will be back to square one as we will be leaving PIL behind.

I have no answers, just wanted to say your not alone.

EmilyAlice Fri 13-Nov-15 06:52:18

You will find a way.
Our DS lives in one country with his family, we retired to a second European country and our DD and family still live in the UK. We visit when we can, Skype regularly and make sure visits are special and full of fun with the grandchildren. My DD is without other family support so I go over for any emergency or just when she needs a bit of extra help. We didn't have either set of grandparents near when we were bringing up our family and my OH's family worked abroad, so I guess we didn't have the same expectations as others. I think my mother would have liked me to have lived nearer but she was always supportive of my career.
It may be hard for your family at first but I think you should put your careers and your lives first.

flymo79 Fri 13-Nov-15 07:51:01

I ave just had exactly the same from my df, saying if we go they will basically not visit at their age and in their state of health, saying medical insurance etc is prohibitive and he now hates travel. Then in the same breath trying to say it shouldn't change my mind.... emotional rollercoaster!!

Duckdeamon Fri 13-Nov-15 08:00:05

If you're sure of a decision best just accept that negative impact on extended family relationships is likely to be one of the downsides and acknowledge this - Skype etc isn't the same.

smellsofsick Fri 13-Nov-15 08:21:53

Hi OP. We're in Geneva with two DC and it is hard but the key for us is that both sets of parents feel we're doing the best thing for our DDs. They think the whole bilingual opportunity is amazing and see all the different experiences they're having as very positive.
We make sure they know they are welcome to visit and I take the DDs back now again over school holidays.

The Skype dates work well and they know that it takes less time door to door to get here then to tackle the rail network if we lived elsewhere in the UK.
Where are you heading to in Switzerland?

flymo79 Fri 13-Nov-15 08:48:40

duckdaemon sometimes gamily guilt gets in the way of feeling sure of a decision... I certainly find it hard to know which is the right thing. Although I can happily shout at the telly when those people on A place in the sun, Home or Abroad can't make up their minds, put in exactly that position it's a very tough decision. I sometimes feel like I'm having to decide between my parents and my marriage

ReloKayShon Fri 13-Nov-15 14:12:27

Thank you all.

Today, DSM was telling me about an article she'd read in the paper about expats returning from Switzerland... They said it was a pretty boring place to live and VERY expensive, and LOTS of rules.... <sigh>

I get it. They don't want us to go. I understand that. I'm just surprised as everything else I've ever done that they've not "approved" of they've just smiled and said something along the lines of that's nice dear. So it's like they are so distraught they can't help slipping in little negative bits.

I'm also job hunting here in the uk. The difference being I would have 1-1.5hr each way commute so would see very little of the DC during the week sad but the GPs would see them for a whole day each week as they would help with childcare. So obviously they want me to get a job here. But I think we could have a lovely life in Switzerland, and the opportunity for the DC to learn French at this age is marvellous.

All the parents got the hang of Skype when we lived abroad before and we would encourage it again with the DCs of course. It would be fairly easy and cheap to pop home thanks easyjet and I'd really hope they could visit lots too and that once they were with us it wouldn't be too too expensive for them.

smellsofsick the job is for the big food co in Vevey.

Crunchyontheoutside Mon 21-Dec-15 01:51:41

It's so hard. I still feel massive guilt about taking the kids "away" from my parents. Skype and occasional visits aren't the same but they do really help. And my MIL really can't visit right now. But my parents have adjusted to the new life better than they thought. They were totally distraught when we moved. But we said we really wanted to try something new and felt that it would be ridiculous to limit ourselves based on guilt. And that our parents wouldn't actually want us to do that. Also I think they have seen that our children can still develop a meaningful relationship with their grandparents despite not living nearby. But I'd say it has been the most difficult part of our move.

One thing that is worth mentioning is that once we had decided to go, and were confident in that decision, my parents stopped being so negative, because I was clear that in order to maintain our relationships, we needed at least some level of support from them otherwise it was going to put a wedge between us - and that it was their attitude and not just our decision to move that would do that. But I also acknowledged that it was going to be difficult and upsetting for them, and for us too as we miss out on their support!

CherryPits Tue 29-Dec-15 15:36:11

I had zero guilt until my two children (then a few years smaller than now) watched a cartoon featuring grandparents. They were very quiet and when it ended they turned to me and asked "Mummy, can we get some grandparents?"

And I booked a flight back to the UK, pronto, for a visit.

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