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Taking baby to Australia

(89 Posts)
travispickles Sat 17-Sep-11 22:03:07

I lived in Australia for a year many moons ago and have family and friends out there. They are dying to meet my DD (7 months) and have offered to put us up etc. I can afford to take her (just) next Summer, when I have hols (am a teacher). After the following xmas she turns two and then I have to pay for her, which I cannot afford to do. My DP (her dad) can afford to come (just), but the issue is his DS(11). We simply cannot afford to take him as well, as it adds on an extra £1000. I would feel bad not taking him, but I don't want my DD not to meet my family and friends because of this. What do I do? Take just her/ take the three of us/ not go at all so as to avoid disappointing DSS? (BTW DSS lives with his mum most of the time, comes to us every other weekend although we have him half the holidays as well. )

MerylStrop Sat 17-Sep-11 22:07:06

I think you have to save up hard and find the money to take him, somehow. I understand how much you must want your family to meet your dd - but you're all a family now. If your partner goes, then his son should.

I am not a step parent, but dh and his sister are step-children.

ladydeedy Sun 18-Sep-11 09:18:39

I think if he doesnt live with you then it's different and you shouldnt feel that you have to include him in everything you plan to do.
You dont necessarily need to feel that you should take him. The long flight in itself will not exactly be fun for him, for a start. He has the opportunity to do fun stuff with his mum too presumably? I wouldnt even discuss it as a possibility, just "we" and are going to see friends and family and that'll be happening during the half of the summer holidays that he'll be with his mum. I think that's fair enough. He may not even particularly want to go. Dont beat yourself up about it. Good that you are thinking about it ahead of time though and can plan accordingly. Also dont forget that kids forget stuff so easily. We have spent fortunes taking my DSSs away on lovely holidays with us over the years and they can hardly remember any of them smile so dont worry - just do some nice things with him when he comes to stay.

travispickles Sun 18-Sep-11 09:39:09

Thanks - good to get both perspectives. I must admit that I want to go back so I can catch up for coffees/ drinks with friends, which would be difficut with a very shy 12 year old boy in tow.

Atwaroverscrabble Sun 18-Sep-11 10:19:20

I agree with lady, he has two sets if parents and its not all your responsibility to entertain him with holidays etc if you cannot afford it. You have akready said about the restriction on needing to go before you have to pay for the baby and thats a fair point... He doesnt live with you so this can be scheduled for when hes at his mums and if your dh feels guilty then perhaps just you and the baby go?

Whata Sun 18-Sep-11 15:49:47

Not really a family are you then and speaks absolute volumes to a 12yr old boy whose father has a new DC, that new DC gets more treats than he does.

Sorry, I am of the view all or nothing. My best friend has a DD with first, and twins with new who comes from Canada - it is all or nothing, they either all go or not.

As for wanting to catch up with friends and not have a 12 yr old in tow - sorry that is life with DCs and regardless of how long he spends with you and his Dad, he is part of your family and that is his sibling.

I can see your point re money but pity the SS, you are being quite selfish.

whostolemyname Sun 18-Sep-11 16:35:32

You would have to take him! A 12 yr old would definitely be hurt if his father went to Australia with his 'new' family without him! Its not the sort of place you would visit often. Poor DSS. Agree with Whata totally.

ladydeedy Sun 18-Sep-11 16:37:28

I think that's an interesting perspective Whata, do all the 3 children live with your best friend, or does the DD live with her father?
Travis, I agree regarding having a shy 12 year old in tow, staying in someone else's home, it's awkward.
We had the dilemma when we went to Australia recently, we had planned the trip for two years and were going to stay with family there.
After having booked and paid for our flights, DSS came to live with us somewhat unexpectedly before our trip took place. He didnt want to come with us even if it had been a possibility (but it wasnt as was during term time). His mother wouldnt have him and so he chose to stay with a schoolfriend whose family were over the moon to have him. So we are definitely a family but made a decision which meant he didnt come with us. It all worked out brilliantly. Good luck to you.

Whata Sun 18-Sep-11 18:20:01

Not sure why it is an interesting perspective - DSS is part of the new family whether OP likes it or not. He has a new sibling regardless of where he spends most of his time.

As to my friend -he is male and DD is with him every other week and one day in the wek - so only two more days than OP, but DD is part of the new family to him.

Either they all go or OP and new baby go, unless he does not want to go, but if you ask him, then you ahve to be prepared to pay for him - but honestly to go off to Australia and exclude him without discussion is in my view cruel and people wonder why step kids play up.....

HerRoyalNotness Sun 18-Sep-11 18:37:54

Im sure your sS gets to do things with his mum too? Why should you feel guilt for taking your dd to meet her family and friends.

All of my family is abroad and i have taken my DC out there once to meet them. It had been 4yrs since I'd been home. It is my home, part of my dC heritage And their family we're visiting. I have no guilt whatsoever not taking SD with me/us. After all, her dad knew I was from abroad and that I'd want to see my family now and then when he married me

brdgrl Sun 18-Sep-11 19:41:33

I agree with herroyalnotness - I'd written quite a long response and my computer crashed - damn - let's try again!

I think there is a distinction to be made between a holiday and a visit to family, perhaps, too.

I am a foreigner, married to a UK citzen, so we have a similar situation. I live here because my DH is here, and his kids are in school here and he doesn't want to move them (fair enough). In our case, I have a one-year-old DD and two teenage stepkids. The kids live with us fulltime, there is no other parent to consider or to look after the kids. When I met DH I was already in the habit of returning 'home' at least once a year, and he well understands that is not going to change! So then the question becomes 'who goes?' on those trips.

I've been to see my family (all abroad, we are extremely close, includig my parents who are elderly and unwell) twice since DD was born. On one of those trips, only DD and I went. On the other, DH, DD and I went a week earlier and the kids joined us a week later and came back with us after a second week with my family. The kids were in school, so joined us when their holidays began. They stayed that week with a friend, which they loved.

DH and the DCs have also been on trips without me and DD, to visit DH's family. Good! They will go on one such trip on their next school holiday.

In November, DH and I are planning a trip to Prague. It is a great work trip for me, and I don't want to miss out on it because 1) the older kids are in school, and 2) we can't afford to take the entire family. But I need/want to take DD because of her age, and DH is coming to watch her whilst I attend the conference. The kids will stay with the family friend again.

The reality is that I will continue to take DD home to see her foreign family every year. Sometimes all five of us might be able to make a holiday of it, but the expense is enormous, and frankly, I know that the kids wold prefer their annual holiday NOT be taken up with visiting my family (although they like them very much) in my rather dull hometown.

If we were taking DD on a pure holiday, to some place with no work or family connection, just a fun vacation, that would be different. I'd never expect, though, and neither does DH, that I would be kept from seeing my own family because of the kids' school schedules (unlike me, DH will not consider taking the kids out of school at all) or our financial realities.

I think there is probably not one automatic answer to this one.

eslteacher Sun 18-Sep-11 22:52:24

It's a tricky one I think, and I agree with brdgrl that a holiday is not the same thing as a trip to visit family.

If this trip is planned as a catch-up with your friends and family, ie not visiting attractions and going to the beach etc, but just sitting around and talking...then I don't necessarily think you should feel obligated to take DSS. But will DSS be able to understand the difference, is the question? If he is likely to be hurt by all this then you do need to think quite carefully.

I too am living overseas from my own friends and family, and DP and I certainly don't take DSS with us every time we visit (about three times per year). For one thing there's a language barrier, for another thing he's 6 and has shown no interest in going, and for a third even if he was interested by the concept I think the reality of sitting around in my friends and family's hosues while we adults all chatted would be deathly dull for him. And from my own perspective, if I put it extremely bluntly I'm already resigned to living overseas, permanently separated from my friends and family because of the situation with DSS so I think it's fair enough for me to have a few weekends per year in my own country where I get to prioritise my own relationships with my friends and family instead of worrying about whether DSS is having fun, which does preoccupy me a lot on the occasions that he does come, and completely changes the dynamic of the trip.

Of course all this may change if DP and I have children and DSS acquires a does sort of change the whole concept of a family unit doing stuff together.

I guess part of the issue though is whether you think your 12 year old DSS a) would want to come b) would still want to come if he understood the reality of the trip ie not a fun beach holiday but an adult catch-up with friends and family and c) would be very hurt if he found out you had all gone without him. What does your DP think about your DSS's likely perspective on the matter?

lateatwork Mon 19-Sep-11 00:03:04


Your DD has just as much right to meet and be with her family as DSS. Your family are OS, so you need to budget to ensure she maintains contact. Are they DSS family too? Only you can answer this, and I think it depends on the cicrumstances. In our case, no.

When my DD was little, we wanted to take DSS (then 5) to Aus. We were willing to pay for him AND pay for his mother to come too if she didnt want him to stay as long (we wanted to go for 3 weeks...) or DP would have left early. She said yes, right up until the last moment and then bailed out and blamed it on us (ie the guilt thing... your father is going away and leaving you etc) which was totally rubbish. I wont make the same mistake again. And since that trip, the invite has not been extended and neither will it be. When we go, I visit my family so DD can have some ties with them. DSS mother has made it very clear that my relatives dont count and they are not part of DSS family. So, so be it.

savoycabbage Mon 19-Sep-11 07:09:23

What does the boy's mother think about it? She might not want him to go. I found myself unable to return to the UK by myself as being 26 hours away from my children just didn't seem like an option for me.

I think it would make the trip better with him there. It would make everything more fun. Somebody to do the more exciting things with that you can't do with a baby.

travispickles Mon 19-Sep-11 07:44:06

So many articulate responses - thanks to one and all. It is tricky though, isn't it, like so much of this step-parenting stuff. Lateatwork - his DM doesn't like me and would probably say that my family aren't his family. He would not be able to talk about his experience when he came back because of the poisonous comments etc (again, not sure I want to fork up a grand for him to come back and imply it was crap so that his poor mum doesn't think he actually has fun around me) hmm

hester Mon 19-Sep-11 07:51:42

I don't think there is one right answer to this, and I'm surprised at how many posters think there is. It entirely depends on the boy's own feelings and views, how he perceives his role in the family etc.

I find 'all or none' a strange rule: if applied rigidly, it would rule out a lot of fun/experiences iin lots of families, wouldn't it? I think everyone in my family has been away without all the rest of the family at some time, because of work commitments/priorities/opportunities etc.

OP, I really think that this is one for you and your dp to work out, thinking from the perspective of your dss and how he is likely to react. Clearly, if you think it would hurt him and drive a wedge between you then it's not worth doing (or worth just you going without your dp). If he's likely to feel fine about it, then go for it.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 19-Sep-11 07:52:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SeoraeMaeul Mon 19-Sep-11 08:04:30

I'm also a stepchild as opposed to a step parent and at 12 I would have felt very cut off from my Dad's 'new' family if he'd left with his 'new' baby to go off on a holiday (because at 12, IMO he won't understand the difference between holiday and family visit)
I think it's either you and the baby or you offer him the opportunity and be prepared emotionally and financially for him to say yes.
Maybe it doesnt fit your ideal of the trip, maybe it would feel uncomfortable at times but that's part of step families.

travispickles Mon 19-Sep-11 08:41:30

But he goes on holiday with his mum and stepdad as well. We are taking him to Italy for the first two weeks of the holiday so he would be away from his mum for the whole summer. I think we must remember that he has his normal life, with his mum, whereas my DD only has her life with us.

Bartimaeus Mon 19-Sep-11 08:50:34

I agree with Seorae - will a 12 year old see the difference between holiday and family visit? Especially as it's not just any old town in England but in Australia!

Isn't 12 old enough to ask him what he would prefer? Stress that you want to see your family and take DD, and see if he would want to come along too.

What does your DP think?

sleepevader Mon 19-Sep-11 09:02:23

I think he's old enough to make the decision himself.

£1000 is alot of money but doable if you make cut backs. Eg reduce groceries by dropping a brand, being careful about new clothes, not buying much at Christmas. Car boot/eBay stuff.

I think he should be given the opportunity to go or just you and baby go. If dp goes and he isn't given the chance to it will be seen as favourism.

Atwaroverscrabble Mon 19-Sep-11 09:13:35

Could you cancel the italy trip and use that money to take him?

travispickles Mon 19-Sep-11 09:16:05

But they are her family, not his. So it isn't favouritism, because that would imply that all else being equal. Which it isn't. I don't send DD to his mum's family functions!

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 19-Sep-11 09:24:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BOMBAYANDMJONICE Mon 19-Sep-11 09:25:26

Message withdrawn

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