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Dh wants to take overseas assignment - advice please!(16 Posts)
My husband is unhappy at work but has been offered a very good opportunity to work in the Far East where he speaks the language (his mother comes from there) and he lived there as a child. He obviously wants to go. It’s for a 2 year assignment.
We have two children aged 6 months and 3 years.
My feeling is I don’t want us to relocate; my mental health when pregnant wasn’t great and it’s only now I feel back on an even keel. My worry is that he will be working hard and probably travelling internationally and I will feel isolated and alone with the kids. He does travel for work and I feel quite panicky sometimes when he is overseas. My parents are great and come and help and I rely on them practically and emotionally.
It seems we have a dilemma. I hate to feel I am holding him back and he gets fed up of living in the uk and is often restless to experience new things. I on the other hand feel like I’m just keeping my head above water looking after two children and that’s with family and friends in the same country. I’ve struggled with anxiety, specially away from home and I guess my ultimate worry is that I won’t be able to look after my kids properly as I would want to away from familiarity and family and friends.
Does anyone have any experience of this kind of thing? I don’t want DH to resent me but I think I would really struggle with this.
I live in Asia
If you don't mind saying, where in the Far East?
There is a big difference between living in a big expat community with a good international school in Singapore or Hong Kong, and living in an obscure city in the depths of China somewhere.
I understand your fears, Peggy, I didn't really want to come either, but I've been OK and 14 years on, I am well established (moving back to Uk in July, but that's another story!)
As much as your dps support you, you are committed to your dh and your marriage (hopefully!?) so imo you need to support him. Your dc are not in school which will be easier I expect.
How often could you visit/he come home on leave if he went alone?
Can you visit before you go? If money is ok you could move between two homes for two years.
Thanks for your messages. It’s Tokyo.
I’m not sure we’d be able to split time between the two countries as my older DC would be starting school.
I find the whole idea quite overwhelming tbh!
Tokyo is phenomenal- I was there for 3 years and had a ball.
Regarding the lack of support, you might actually find you have more there, as long as you pick where you live very carefully indeed. I’m in China now and my husband is travelling crazy amounts - I’d probably have refused to come if I’d known he was never going to be here. But we are in a desperately uncool expat area and I am surrounded by families who have a travelling spouse and a trailing spouse. The village I lived in in the Uk was full of families who had granny round the corner and aunty over the road an both partners Home at teatime every night, and I felt like I was on my own. Nobody understood that I couldn’t just go out on a whim and that if I did go out it cost me £30 in babysitting before we’d even gone anywhere. Nobody ever got in touch at the weekends if I was on my own. Here, families muck in. People pick each other’s kids up from school and go out for dinner together and it is just easy.
Erm, sorry. I’ve re read your post and you have helpful parents and are not at all in the same position as me! In which case I would say that 2 years is hardly any time at all. It will take you 6 months to figure out shopping and housing and to get everything straight and meet some people. Then it is 18 months to get through before you leave.
Your children are Japanese, what a great opportunity for them to experience their father's culture (yes, even the youngest). Sure, the logistics will be difficult and scary, but I think it's an opportunity that you need to consider seriously.
I disagree with the pp.
1./ If things are hard now when you have family/friends support it will be much harder isolated abroad.
2./ it is not easier for the parent to move with preschoolers. You miss out on all the socialising of an expat school. You have to entertain to small kid in a country where you know nobody and most of the activities are in a language you do not speak (and will struggle to learn because you always have kids at home).
And I say all that as a trailing spouse with small children who has happily lived abroad in 3 different countries.
Pineapplescrunchie I lived in Tokyo with a baby, not a toddler admittedly, but there were loads of English-language groups and activities going on. Lovely toddler groups that I was just starting to think about joining before we left (DD was a year when we left). It is an easy city with loads of expat stuff happening.
How good is the "very good" opportunity? Life changing amounts of money? Certain step up the career ladder?
If you went, would there be any liklihood that DH would not want to come back to the UK?
I was resistant to an overseas opportunity in SE Asia that was offered to my dh and I had DC of 8 months and 3.5. We went and despite feeling homesick sometimes it was an amazing experience for me and my DC. I also had a helper which was seriously amazing with two little children to have an extra pair of hands. We also saved a lot of money. I would go but tell your DH you're only prepared to go for X number of years - it feels easier if you put a time limit on it.
OP - I suspect if you'd posted this elsewhere on MN you would have got very different replies. This board has a lot of hearty ex-pats!
I don't think you are mentally in a position to re-locate so far away from your support network and there's nothing wrong with that. You're not "holding your DH back" - he chose to start a family in the UK. Let him find another job here or tough it out - rather he be "unhappy" at work than you isolated and struggling with 2 DC in Tokyo.
You need to really consider going. Your children will all experience another culture and you are married to your DH not your support network. Maybe your parent's could come out initially. Risk makes life exciting and could really help your familys longterm income . Savings are a serious mental cushion
I would go. In my experience, there is no easier time for meeting expat friends than when your children are small - there are loads of baby groups, Mums at school gate etc. Much easier than when the DC are older and there is no school gate.
It would be an amazing experience for you all.
And regarding your DH being unhappy in his work, please don’t underestimate how soul destroying this can be. Yes, he could always get another job in UK, but there will always be “what if...?” I was offered my dream job Overseas years ago, and DH didn’t want to go, so we didn’t. If we had gone, it would have been a fantastic boost to my career, and I’d have done much better, so there has always been a residual bit of resentment there.
Are you bringing up your DC to be bilingual? This would be another consideration.
You need to support each other, it does not seem like you feel mentally fit enough to go and that’s ok, it’s for some people and not others, you don’t need to martyr yourself to make him happy.
But at the same time he is unhappy to and he deserves consideration to.
An open and honest talk I think between you is the starting point