You+kids in 1 country...Hubby in another....(18 Posts)
We're about to embark on this very setup.
Hubby has always worked away....for 5 years regularly worked in Mon-Thu elsewhere then flew home on Thu nights. Even when he was 'home' he worked long hours so post bedtime most nights. So the whole not being there all the time thing is familiar to me and the children (aged 10, 7 and 5)......BUT......we have never lived in 2 separate countries......
Experiences? Thoughts? Anyone currently doing this?
Hi, I'm currently doing this. It's a bit ridiculous to be honest. We moved to
France together, but since January this year he has worked all week in Italy. Do far he has managed to drive back at the weekends but after this weekend he will be gone for a month.
It's hard. I have 3 kids and a job. So far I'm coping but a really have no me time at all. I could do something about that but I think my youngest 2 are too young to be in day care while I'm at work and then be left again at night.
When my husband does come home he doesn't know the routine and is pretty clueless. The kids miss him a lot. He does bed times when he's back at the weekend and it's terrible because the kids are so exited to see him they don't go to sleep. Sometimes they cry for him.
I'm Sorry to say this but I wouldn't recommend this set up. It's very hard on the parent alone with the kids. I imagine when my kids get older it will be a lot easier and probably quite fun, so I think it depends on how old your kids are. 10, 7 and 5 is probably a better age for it. My youngest are 2 and 10 months.
It seems you are used to doing all the parenting bit anyway so maybe it won't make any difference to you, you'll carry on successfully.
Not great but there are millions of single parents (many not of their choice) who manage 100% care and also hold down jobs. It depends on how much you like to have "me" time and whether where you are living gives you enough affordable child care options. As you already do the 100% parent some of the time, it won't be such a shock to you.
Would he be able to fly home as often as he does at the moment?? It sounds like he is a fair distance away from you at he moment anyway. How much further would he be? Is it the country boarder that is worrying you, or will the distance be significant?
We did it for 4 months while visas were sorted. But it is 12 hrs to get home, so minimal visits in that time. I don't think I'd have liked it long term, but we did this move for family time reasons - and DH home by 4.30 pretty much every night is worth some sacrifices.
We do this; I love it - and therein lies the danger.
I got used to it very quickly, and now I regard my husband as a visitor when he comes 'home'. I began to resent what I saw as his 'intrusion'. I'm about to move to another country, and we've agreed that we'll get a place with an extra bedroom for him to stay when he comes to visit.
This happened very naturally, and also, very amicably, and we're both happy with the situation. We have two children, and they don't know any different, and he's been working away since the first was a baby.
What's changed is that we now live separate lives in a more admitted, conscious way.
We have holidays together, Christmases and birthdays together, and a few other times in between.
It suits us, we're all happy, and certainly much happier than the rocky phase where we were trying to/refusing to admit to ourselves what had happened.
But it's not for everyone. At the moment we both like that we live our own lives, but we're not actually divorced. Not sure whether divorce will happen or not - we have no plans to, but it does seem to be the next natural step, and sometimes I think we're just gradually easing ourselves into it in a gentle way.
I have seen many many many expat families go through this - separation is much more common than one might originally think. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to keep things good in that situation, and to deal with the resentment that will naturally come on both sides.
andonwego I wonder if it's happening to me too. My husband and I are so tired when he does come home, we don't do anything. I wouldn't leave him now - but I could imagine doing so in the future. I need the weekend nights to sleep while he does nights with the kids, and he needs me to look after the kids. We need each other a lot more than we want each other now.
Or maybe this is normal? Interesting to read your post.
There is no way I would do this. Before DD was born I was working away in another country several nights every week and even without children it put a strain my relationship with DH. Now I would miss DD far too much if I accepted that kind of position, I just wouldn't do it.
I know lots of expats who do this. Some have split, some haven't. Spoke to a friend yesterday who is considering her husband working in Western Europe and she would live with the kids in hk (her home country). Both currently expats in the USA. I couldn't do it (my dh is away 50% of the time anyway and that's enough) but it works for some.
Thanks everyone. Some interesting points.
He would be a 5 hour flight away but with no time difference and so able to come down every couple of weeks for long weekends from Thu-Mon. Also the children have a 4 term school year and have 2 weeks holiday every 10weeks so we could travel to stay with him in the holidays too.
We are where we are living now for his work reasons - he is setting up a new business and so it is all consuming. We have only been here 6months. He has little capacity left for dealing with 3 children and all the trials and tribulations. It is working but not ideal and is often stressful for everyone. This work around though not perfect does provide some emotional space and proper time-out for everyone.
I have done most of the parenting on my own since the children were younger due to him working away and long hours. We have been doing this for more than half of our married life. I do enjoy the time I get to myself when he is away but I have never got to enjoy it so much that he is surplus to requirements. It has actually helped as we both like our own company so it gives us that.
Myself and the children will be moving to a new country too....we do not live in our home country now. So that for me is a big challenge too but it is one I am prepared for and it is a move to our next 'home' so we will be able to settle properly.
good luck, op
i would never do this.
if DH goes, we all go. so we did. we all moved together.
we have become a very tight unit and it has been and continues to be an adventure .
i have heard too many stories of families separating under the pressure and it would feel too dysfunctional for me to be happy
but i am sure it can be the best or even only way for others.
best of luck
It can and does work. We did it for two years when dh has a foreign posting, and we saw each other every 6 weeks or so. We spoke and emailed daily.
Ds was 8 when dh went, and we moved to join dh when he was 10. Ds is now approaching 21, and we have just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, so it can work well.
It helped for us that separation was normal in that dh had been an RN officer for most of our marriage, so that the default was him being at sea or working away and we saw each other at weekends.
It works. We did it for a year. 4hour flight. A bit tough on the kids to see him go on sunday. Tiring for DH but it was a great work oportunity and allowed me to wind down my business and move on.
If you need to make it work it does.
As a matter if fact, now that we do not travel at all for work, we wish we could have a break from each other some days!
We sort of do this. Maybe I am not a good example but will share some thought - I think it could work depending on your personalities and strengths. I originally met and lived in DH's home country but couldn't find work. My DH's business had a lot of stress/problems and I loaned my life savings/sold my flat in the UK, accumulated debts - all very irresponsible for me and out of my usual conservative financial personality. Then I had our DD and returned to the UK for work/repay the debts. Both DH and I travel up and down between countries but there is no consistent time together, and when I am in his home country he has a lot of things going on / seeing people (while I can go along it is often not practical to be out late and waking early with a toddler) . My suggestions:
- Establish clear financial requirements: based on your own personal situation; protect yourself for high-risk scenarios.
- Know yourself, do you need support around you/need time to yourself eg. for the gym, and have either family or financials to pay for help?
- Decide clear communications eg. do you skype/facetime/whatsapp. This is a big breaking point for me, when DH has no time to even send a message and I am juggling our child, 2 jobs without any family/friends to help.
- Time together - When you are together focus on all the enjoyment possible in that moment not all the issues that accumulate while separated.
Overall I think of everything as a phase of life and if you can manage through that phase it may be fine.
We are doing this for two years. DH works in the ME and I work in Asia, I am staying here while the youngest finishes school. We knew this was coming and planned for it, we decided it is the best solution for the family. The 5 hour time difference and different weekend days have been tiresome and the organisation has been hard but when we do get together we have a fabulous time. It is going much better than I worried it would. Our children being almost grown up means the support they need is different, we have one at uni in the UK so I juggle time zones, flights and facetime and sometimes don't get much sleep, but it works for us.
Any reason why you and the DC's can't move to where your DH will be working? Could you get a transfer with your employer or get a different job in the same location as your DH?
We did this for a few years because the nature of DH's work means he was never on more than a 6 month posting. It wasn't easy. He has changed careers since, as he became very miserable and the children missed him too much. He will now dabble in his former career and go away for 2-3 months a year, which we do for finicial reasons. It is miserable when he's away and I grin and bear it and hope it will pass quickly. This will slowly die down as his new career choice gets more stable. I don't know how people do this long term. He has colleagues that have done this for years. I cannot get my head around it tbh.
My in laws did this. They were both expats together before my DH was born at which point MIL came home. She stayed home from then on and FIL travelled for 8 months to a year at a time. This started in the '70s when the options for keeping in touch must have been really limiting but they managed and are still together 40 years later.
We did this for three months. I moved to Paris, and we agreed that DH and the DDs would stay in UK so that DH could finish his contract and the DDs their school term. It was awful and we swore never to do it again. We were all miserable. I came home most weekends. The reality was that I got a late Eurostar on a Friday night, and arrived home around 1030. The kids stayed up to see me/came to the station to meet me. Saturday was back to normal - I'd go shopping, take them riding etc etc. Sunday morning was awful - because of trains and engineering works, I'd have to leave straight after lunch and got back to Paris around11 pm. It was a huge relief when we finally all lived together in Paris.
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