Considering a move back home to the UK(8 Posts)
I'm a long time lurker, but I don't post very often!
At the moment, myself and DH live in France with our 2 DSs who are 7 & 4. We are both British and live here for work. DH works full time and travels quite a bit, while I work 4 days a week. DH and I have been here for nearly 20 years, and both the boys were born here.
We have no family in France so when DH is away I am on my own with the kids. We've done this since before DS1 came along, but we're now thinking about changing all that.
We have had an idea that would involve me, DS1 and DS2 moving back to the UK to live near my PILs, while DH stayed in France until his current assignment finishes and he could find a job in the UK.
This would involve me giving up my career, as I wouldn't be able to carry that on where we would potentially be living, as well as being apart from DH for the next 2-3 years. He would come and visit a lot, but that's obviously not the same as living together. On the other side I'd be near my PILs so would have support there.
I'm in two minds about my career, I've not found it easy being a working mum, and have had therapy for anxiety and stress. But, if I left it now, it would be almost impossible to get back into it in the future.
I'm also concerned about leaving DH in France on his own, and how he would cope with that.
This wouldn't be forever, but it doesn't have a defined end date, yet.
If you've got to the end of this, thank you!
I would just like to know if you think we're mad to be considering this.
No, we did it in reverse...dh went to work in Belgium, whilst ds and I stayed in UK. We did it for about two years, and then we moved to join him.
Lots of Forces families deal with this all the time with weekending or deployment. You have to do what works for you.
I wouldn't put all your eggs in the PIL basket no matter how wonderful they are.
Just anecdotally one of my siblings moved to be near our own parents after years of being told how much help she'd receive if she lived closer, and my mum bailed out of the school holiday childcare (for one then 4 year old) she'd promised within a couple of weeks. That sibling does still lean heavily on my parents but it was not what was initially promised as an incentive to move!
On a more personal note we moved abroad to DH's home country an hour away from PIL - they were not the only reason to move but we probably would not have moved had they not been within emergency help distance. They have been marvellous. and I went back to daytime work a couple of years ago with MIL (and FIL, but as a team) there as school holiday cover - MIL had a very sudden cancer diagnosis and went down hill fast, from being very fit and active and hands on capable of hi´king all day and carrying a 5 year old upstairs to bed, to needing a carer herself within 3 months, and FIL is obviously overwhelmed just trying to look after her (she's only in her mid 60s) and we are trying to help too. Its good for a different reason that we are near and she is constantly saying how glad she is that she got to know her grandchildren, but the only support we had is gone long before we would have expected of course.
Very doom and gloom but I wouldn't move just because you believe you'll have a support network made of one couple... If the move is for family support there would need to be an actual network of extended family, and even then things don't always materialise as you hope...
I've always been very aware of the research and anecdotal evidence that children under 10 will lose almost all of a language it when they stop using it extensively even though they were native speaker fluent ... That'd put me off moving to a country where my children wouldn't use their German... Will you do anything to keep the French up if you move back? Are you absolutely fluent? Would you speak only French to them strictly, all of the time? Would that alienate your in-laws? I think effortless genuine bilingualism is pretty much the biggest "free gift" we've been able to give our children, and I would have to have an incredible reason to effectively take it away from them again.
Sorry to be negative - I have no idea about the being separated from their dad most of the time for a period of years but I wouldn't think that'd be easy either, either for your marriage or the children.
Good luck whatever you decide.
Have you had (for want of another word) enough of France and would you prefer to live in UK, because if not, just moving to be near ILs is probably not a strong enough reason especially after 20 years in France?
I think that being apart for most of the time for a couple of years is fine, not ideal, but plenty do it.
Tbh, I dont understand the rationale for your proposal at all, unless there are major factors you havent mentioned in your OP.
Whilst some families do make a success of living apart, there are usually reasons for it (in forces, working offshore, financally lucrative hardship posting, very short term contract that's not worth taking kids out of school for). None of these seem to apply in your case though.
I just dont understand the "upsides" of moving back.
This does not sound a good arrangement at all. This does not sound good for your marriage or your career.
How's the schooling for your children? Is that a reason why you want to return? I'd want to continue my children's exposure to a foreign language at that age.
Why not try and build up a support network in France with friends or neighbours. Or pay someone to help you when you need it. I don't know why you want to return, from what you have said it does not seem worth it.
It sounds like a big decision and I think you have to go with your gut. We recently made the move back to living in the UK after a long time away and it really came down to a list of pros and cons but also just a massive leap of faith as knowing there were going to be loads of difficult aspects to the move. Unless you're very lucky, they're are going to be lots of unknowns about the move - future jobs etc and taking the plunge in spite of all of that takes a lot of courage.
I would say though that I don't think you can bank on the support - we made a few assumptions around that and it hasn't worked out for one reason or another. Family and friends support is something you crave when you live abroad with kids and I think it's easy to look at your home country through rose tinted glasses in that you'd have loads more help but I think you have to imagine you'll be doing it alone and then any help you get will be a bonus.
Another factor to consider is all the changes at once - change of country, change of schools, distance from partner/father, going from working parent to stay at home - this is all a lot of combined change so could be stressful - what support do you need to have in place to get you through all this if you go for it?
Best of luck x
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