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Do your parents visit you abroad?

(39 Posts)
admylin Tue 30-Jul-13 08:16:25

How often (if ever) do your parents come over to visit their grandchildren?

I haven't seen my parents for a few years now. They travel often and are both retired. They love a cruise or a trip to a Greek island, even Thailand but unfortunately never to Germany where we live. I know some people don't like to travel or go abroad but my parents go off atleast 3 times a year.

I keep getting e-mails about how sad it is that we can't make it over and what a shame it is etc. How they miss us. Maybe it's normal behaviour and when I'm a pensioner (and if I have got as much money as they have, which I doubt) I'll also be busy travelling and doing my own thing.

I just got thinking this week after yet another e-mail with please try to come over, shame we didn't see you this summer (we go back to school next week) and then my nice old lady neighbour crying as she told me about her recent visit to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and how she misses them.

Maybe I should send them an official invitation? My dc are teens and pay full price tickets now. Gone are the days when we could pop over outside the school holiday period all for 250€.

Barbie1 Tue 30-Jul-13 08:30:06


Our first expat post was to Dubai, my mum came out a few times in the 4 years. I could only get my dad and sister to come out once I had my first baby there. My dad hated it and my sister missed her bf too much hmm

My dad was more then happy to pack my mum off to us for a few weeks so have could have some peace at home grin

We also went back after each baby was born and for two of the four Christmases.

Last year we moved to France, my mum was a frequent vistor and even my sister made it over. My mum and dad used us as a base for a few weeks to explore the area.

Fast forward to three weeks ago.

We relocated to a tiny island off South Korea. My mum wouldn't come all this way on her own and my dad likes to go to California as his annual holiday to visit his long lost sister.

We are thinking of meeting them in Asia somewhere. We have free flight allowance to go home yearly so if my dad doesn't mind I might fly my mum back with us to help with the kids on the flight and at least she only has one journey to make.

It's hard isn't it? Part of me wants to use our holiday to go to far off places and lay on the beach.....

Hope you do get you see your parents soon.

DuchessFanny Tue 30-Jul-13 08:38:50

My lovely in laws visit us twice a year and we go home once a year so that works out well, my own parents ? My mum has never visited ( prob a good thing, she's really hard work)
My dad came for a week end earlier this year.
We've had lots of grief from other family about not seeing them enough when we're in the UK but despite lots of invites they never visit ... What can you do ??

In your case do try the formal invite, maybe they're worried they'd be putting you out ?

londonlivvy Tue 30-Jul-13 08:46:24

Well (this may come across as snotty, but it isn't meant that way) it seems that the current communication isn't working as they clearly miss you and the kids and you miss them. So you could either send them a specific invite, of how about you come in y month, perhaps including the suggestion of a local trip to visit x location for famous local carnival or festival or whatever, or just talk to them and explain how you feel and ask whether they could come over at some point. My family isn't big on emotional openness, but it's amazing the impact it has if you just launch in there and say how you feel and how they can help. Kinda cuts through the polite social niceties.

admylin Tue 30-Jul-13 09:27:36

londonlivvy yes, emotional openness isn't one of the things my family does well either! You're probably right and I should just invite them. We live in a flat but there's nice family owned hotel round the corner where they could stay.

DuchessFanny good that your ils visit. It's great for the dc to get to know grandparents isn't it? Especially when they are smaller they need frequent contact to get to know them. My 2 were always quiet and abit shy so would only just be warming up to relatives as we were packing to go back (we used to visit more often when they were smaller).

Barbie1 south Korea is a long way for quick visits isn't it? It's a good idea to meet somewhere then you'd all be on holiday together! I remember when we used to fly back when the dc were tiny everyone would be at work and busy with their day to day routines so meeting somewhere in the middle would have been a better idea. I do think my parents might even visit us if we lived somewhere more exotic!

DalekInAFestiveJumper Tue 30-Jul-13 09:37:29

My parents went ages insisting we visit them, as the travel would be too much for them. We couldn't always manage it, so not unusual to go multiple years without a visit.

Oddly enough, within two months of our moving someplace 'exciting', they announced that they were coming to visit! Even though we now live much, much further away.

Maybe find a couple tourism websites for your area and include the links in your invitation? grin

Sibble Tue 30-Jul-13 10:02:45

No, in the 11 years we have lived abroad they have not visited once. The only family member to visit was my sister who has visited once. I go home every 18 months. My parents holiday abroad at least 3 times/year. Yes, it annoys me!

admylin Tue 30-Jul-13 10:49:26

Dalek looks as if location must definately be an important factor! When we lived in Berlin we had loads of old friends and family suddenly getting the urge to visit us, even put a couple of friends up while they had job interviews to attend. Hmm, although dh keeps applying for jobs all over the place I'd quite like the dc to finish the next 3 or 4 years in their present school.

Sibble yep, it annoys me too - good to know I'm not the only one. I guess it's their loss though as they're missing out on their gdc growing up.

ifink Tue 30-Jul-13 11:29:40

hmmm, when we moved to Aus there was a lot of initial excitement from both sets of grandparents about coming to see us and they were visiting before we had really got settled. Father in law declared it 'too hot' despite us warning them not to come in summer months so he won't come back but keeps on at my DH about how he misses the DGC own father (as told to me by my DM) thought I didn't do enough to make him comfortable on his last visit - i.e. I didn't keep the air con on all day and night, I didn't keep our small DC quiet at all times, I took them to beaches which were too far away confused. So yes we had parents to visit, now we don't grin

Katiepoes Tue 30-Jul-13 14:09:49

Ha. Mine know my neighbours better than I do. They only came once or twice until my daughter was born, now we see them every six weeks or so. They take care of themselves though to be fair, and it's lovely to see the bond they have with my little one now. It's only an hour flight and they can come on midweek flights so it doesn't cost that much.

nemno Tue 30-Jul-13 14:13:37

My parents came for 3-4 weeks every year. ILs never came (or left their own home in that time). We went home twice a year, fortnight at Christmas, 6 weeks in summer (DH only 2 weeks of that though). We lived SE Asian countries.

NomDeClavier Tue 30-Jul-13 15:48:06

When we lived somewhere hot and sunny and vaguely touristy they came twice in 3 years. Now we live a short train and ferry ride away and they've been once. My brother and sister haven't been at all. We, on the other hand, go back a lot more.

MrsCliveStanden Tue 30-Jul-13 15:57:41

I think it must depend on location as others have said. I live in Switzerland and although mil visits (every month!) other family and friends have either visited once or not at all. I guess people just don't have Switzerland on their radar of places to visit.

admylin Tue 30-Jul-13 20:18:08

MrsCliveStanden I agree people just don't have Switzerland/Germany/other non-exotic countries on their radar of places to visit but you'd think regardless of location that the gdc would atleast be on the radar!

Tbh, if we could afford it, I'd rather go to the UK and stock up on marmite and have a few really good shopping days! I'll word an invitation e-mail anyway but I have a feeling my parents will have already booked their next trip somewhere with a nice holiday feeling.

chloeb2002 Tue 30-Jul-13 21:01:41

My mum has visited us. Co incides with each time we have had a baby. No more babies now... So we are trying to pin her down to a visit! Her dh isn't a fan of our big family! He likes the hot weather tho! So next trip they are house sitting and staying for 4 months in the area. If all works out! That way they get there space, and get to see us all .. Be involved at a distance! Hopefully one day they may finally retire here, that's my dream! My mil will never come. Threatens often but hates me as I dragged her boy to the other side of the world to live. My brother may come one day, aus doesn't appeal much. He is a winter sport person but may one day move to nz! Dh's extended family sister etc wont come out of loyalty to his mother.
Friends visit! Family politics are just stupid. I have no time for them! wink

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 31-Jul-13 01:31:45

Hi, I think it depends on everyone's individual situations and there's no right solution.

We've been in the US for a year and so far have had PILs twice, BIL and GF once, my DB and GF once, my parents once, my aunt and uncle once and various friends over. DM plans to come over to help later this year when DC2 arrives. We have also been home once this summer and plan to be here for three years, so may go back again next summer. We don't have flights as part of an expat deal so pay for everything like that ourselves. Sounds harsh, but quite frankly, we won't be here forever and so I'd rather spend time and DH's limited holiday time exploring where we are.

One of the issues for us is that we've rented somewhere close to the city centre so it's smaller due to less of a commute. Consequently, anyone staying with us gets the sofa bed in the open plan living room. It's not ideal! However, younger visitors (our brothers) have coped and the PILs/parents/aunt and uncle were happy to fork out for a hotel as they're all pretty well off and retired. I do feel bad about not being able to be more hospitable but if we were in the UK, we wouldn't be able to afford a house with a spare room for relatives either so maybe it's not that much different?

The other thing to remember is that life works in cycles and some of the visits (or lack of) are to do with timing and circumstance. Years ago, I worked for an airline and DB2 has recently been working in SE Asia. Years ago, I'd have been over at the drop of a hat in my jump seat. Nowadays, with a toddler and PG again, we actually haven't seen each other in person for 18 months. It's just how it is. DB1 actually flew through my city last week with work but as he was connecting straight to another flight, again, I didn't get to see him. However, he does have lots of spare flexible cash and loves the US so it's him who has been over and is eager to again.

I would like to think that if this were me, I'd visit my children, health etc permitting. GPs can keep in touch in other ways though - it can feel a bit intrusive, but the ILs Skype with DD at least twice a week and she absolutely knows who they are, recognises them etc. MIL also sends her weekly postcards (she's not even two!). We keep them all so she'll have them when she's older. My parents do this less and I think DD, whilst able to recognise them, would be less comfortable with them as a result.

amyboo Wed 31-Jul-13 01:48:12

My parents (retired) visit us and DCs at least twice a year. My sister visits fairly regularly as it's an easy trip from London where she lives. My brother visits every 2 years or so. SIL and her family haven't visited in 8 years!! They live in the same town as PIL so I think can't be bothered to travel to see family. PIL hardly ever visit even though we have 2 DCs. They come maybe every 18 months or so at the most. We live in Belgium, so I think fall into the trap of not being "exciting" enough for them. They have at least 2 far flung holidays a year. It pees me off a bit but then FIL is an arse so it's nice not to see him too often!

We go back to PIL's and my parents' at least once a year. PIL see their other grandkids every weekend. I figure it's their loss if they don't see our DC very often. DS1 is 3 and soon forgets who they are if he doesn't see them for ages. Sad, but if they can't make the effort then it's their loss. We invite them but they prefer to sit on a beach. DS2 was born under quite stressful circumstances this year and they didn't come until he was 4.5 months old, despite us only being in Belgium hmm

Mutley77 Wed 31-Jul-13 05:05:24

WE have moved to Australia (earlier this year) - DH's family live here but over the other side so still a 3.5 hour flight away, hence we are away from all our family now. We were living quite close to my parents in England before this.

My parents have already visited once (to help when DC3 was born) and have another visit booked for early next year. While we are here I anticipate them visiting a minimum of once per year. Tbh I would have been more reluctant to come here if I'd not known they woudl visit regularly.

DH's parents (while in the same country) have also visited once and plan to visit again in Sept and again at Christmas - despite saying they find it hard to travel and would rather us come to them but tbh I'm reluctant as it is not somewhere we would go for any other reason plus IMO is much easier and cheaper for them to fly than us as a family of 5 with a newborn baby. Also they have managed two other trips (holidays) already this year - which include flights - so I can't really take their "issue" with travelling that seriously wink - DH's mum is not happy that we won't take the children to her home though!

In your case I would probably visit England more often - can you not go during term time without your kids - assuming you have a DH who would be at home with them? It isn't that far or too hard a journey IMO to go slightly more regularly. Although I agree that your parents should also make hte effort.

kreecherlivesupstairs Wed 31-Jul-13 23:59:21

I am lucky that my parents are in good health and fairly well off. They came to Oman once (Dad) then when DD was born my mum and sister came out.
We moved to Thailand, they came four or five times in 3 years.
We moved to Switzerland. They came once.
We moved to Belgium. They came twice.
We moved to Malaysia. They've not long gone back to England.
ILs have never set foot in any country we've lived in. Even when we lived 20 minutes journey away they came over once.

AppleYumYum Thu 01-Aug-13 00:07:02

No hmm, not even my sister who promised she would when I left... Makes me sad

elQuintoConyo Thu 01-Aug-13 00:24:21

Have lived abroad 15years, DS is 19 mo.

Pre-DS they visited every 2-3 years, even though it's EU (Sicily, now Spain). My DSis moved to Australia and they visited every year whilst still not visiting me not pissed off at all

Now DS is here, we've been to UK once (no funds, even for cheapy flights) June last year. We won't be going again until maybe Easter next year.

DF visits maybe 4 times a year, long weekends. DM visits twice for 10 days.

DSis went to UK once with DNiece, and came alone to surprise me on my wedding day grin but I have never visited her, just tooooooooooooo damn expensive!

DS sees all family on Skype, so we are all very close.

Family-in-law all live between 2-4 miles away grin

stopgap Thu 01-Aug-13 00:50:02

I live in NYC, and my parents visit us twice a year (a week at a time) and we visit them twice a year (one week in early spring, two weeks in summer).

When DC2 is born next January, they will be coming for three months, which will be a huge help.

Bertrude Thu 01-Aug-13 03:54:43

Mum and dad come 3 times a year (dubai) as they are both retired and they can do a few other Hols too.

His parents have been3 times in 5 years still too often I my opinion and his brother 6 times. His sister twice

Turquoisehat Thu 01-Aug-13 06:37:19

the first year we lived overseas, my mom & step dad, dad and step mom, and pil's came over (pil twice) Its a 27 hour journey for my family, and 8 hours for dh's, so not an easy trip for any of them.
Second year, pil - once - no one else, but I was on mat leave and came home twice.
We are going into our third year and all the gp's and sil plan on visiting again. Dbro might, but is being non committal about it right now.
I think when we move somewhere else, we may see them all on a much more regular basis.

Shanghaidiva Thu 01-Aug-13 08:35:06

Have been in China for 5 years and my mum comes out every year. Pils don't like china as I will not let them flush their wet bum wipes down my loo! Have explained the reason for this, but still a major issue!
When we lived in Europe also had to virtually beg them to visit. It's up to them. We pay for everything, so it is not a question of cash. Dd is 7 and they have seen her twice .
I haven't been back to uk for 5.5 years.

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