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Two kids, new country, new job - losing my mind(5 Posts)
Hello. Please don’t judge too harshly - I’m really trying very hard to do the best I can. But I just feel like I need some support. In July, I moved from London to Switzerland, for work. And I moved alone with my two boys, 4 and 12. Up until then, I was living with my husband, but we’ve been separated for a year and living in the same apartment for practicality and later because of the lockdown. We were co-parenting the kids (the older one is from my first husband). Even though we are separated, we keep it civil, we are not friends though. Anyway, he has now moved from London elsewhere as well.
In Switzerland, I for the first time started to live as a single mum. I have a great new job but a very demanding job and I still have to prove myself. If I lose it, that’s it - I don’t have a partner with a second pay check. I’m very aware of that. My kids are trying to fit in, it’s not easy for them either. The 12 year old is finding it very difficult to learn German and to make friends, and has started taking it out on me. He doesn’t want to join any after school clubs, I have to force him to do homework, he just wants to watch Netflix all day. He’s got screen time restrictions but I feel like the second I’m not looking, he’s watching TV or playing on his phone. He is not helping around the house, saying that he would rather be in the UK and why did I bring him here. His dad lives in Oxford and I did have a serious conversation with my son and asked if he would prefer to be with his father - he says no, he wants to be in Switzerland. But it’s constant arguments with him to try to get him to do anything at all - even when I organise activities, as much as possible with Covid, outside and we drive somewhere, he’s very negative and is constantly blaming me for everything. ‘Why did you drag me out of the house? I hate walking. I’m tired. Why are we here?’ And so on. He also criticises everything I do. I have a nice but small car, he’s saying why am I so cheap that I can’t get a better car. When I say it’s no way to talk to his mother, he just laughs and continues. But his words really really hurt.
The younger one is a complete opposite, an extravert who’s generally happy about everything. I try to spend time with him and his brother after work and on weekends but I also find myself often unable to focus on my kids. I’m 40, I’m single, in this new country where I don’t have a social circle and don’t know the language. Until a few weeks ago, I was so depressed I was crying every single day, thinking that I’m going to stay single for the rest of my life. I’ve tried talking to friends and therapists, and they suggest going to the gym, taking care of myself and so on. Friends suggest dating apps. I’ve tried but when I do go somewhere, I feel guilty that I’m not spending time with my kids. When I’m with my kids, I keep thinking that I’ll never meet anyone, I’m too old, I’ve got kids, it’s Covid and so on. Yes I know it’s negative thinking and I should stop but it’s easier said than done.
Lately I’ve been thinking that maybe I should talk to my husband so that he considers that we live together and co-parent the kids, as it would at least take away the worry about my job and also help me spend more time with the kids. But then I think, but neither he nor me want to be a couple again so living together as a pretend family just for the kids will mean I’ll never be happy with a partner again. And he’s also said a few times that he’s certain I’ll fail on my own, that Switzerland is too expensive and I don’t know how to manage my money properly and I’ll just fail. I’ve been thinking to myself that I can do it, I can do it for myself and my kids, and I’ll show him that I can. But in reality, I’m worried about everything. That there’s only one pay check and no safety net, that I’m single and keep getting older, that I’m not spending enough time with the kids, that I’m not trying to heal myself either, that I am losing a connection with my pre-teen boy and his younger brother is seeing our arguments and is now starting to shout too... It’s not great at all. I am worried that I can’t cope and I don’t know what to do. I’m scared about writing here because I’m certain that some people will criticise me - but I’m really trying the best I can. Please don’t criticise, just don’t, I can’t take it right now. I’m constantly criticising myself and my choices already... thank you.
Op it will take a couple of years for you and DS to settle. In the meantime concentrate on him making community and friendship links where possible. A sporty hobby, bike ride, football. Talk to school about him seeming unhappy and unsettled and ask if they can support. Once he has a friend or two he will feel happier
Have you searched for an expat community for you and your son to get involved in?
Have you asked if he'd rather go to Oxford and live with his Dad? If he can't speak German it must be incredibly lonely and hard for him
Is there an international school he can go to? Once he is settled everything else will fall into place - it's hard to move at that age and not speak the language x
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