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Moving/downsizing - yea or nay?

4 replies

OhWesternWind · 01/06/2011 20:00

I posted this on Chat but only one person replied (thanks WWLIAS) so I am hoping you regulars on here might give me some feedback. Any thoughts much appreciated!

Oh I am in such a dilemma and really truly do not know what to do. Please help me fellow Mumsnetters!

I have been thinking of moving back to my hometown for ages, and in fact a couple of years ago we put our house on the market but due to family changes ended up taking it off again. So this isn't a new thing with me. There is my mum there, and some acquaintances but I don't have any close friends still living there.

Now, I am a reasonably new single parent and ex has been abusive to me and the children, physically and emotionally. I am finding it difficult to cope with the children just in terms of logistics, and also to keep on top of the house and large garden in terms of work and also paying all the bills. I have recently been thinking again if this is now the time to make The Move.

Reasons why it would be good

1 I would be near my mum for company and support
2 The children would see my mum regularly
3 The children would have my mum's long-term partner nearby as just about the only male in their lives - very short on men in our family for some reason!
4 My mum would help out with the children
5 I could keep an eye on my mum and help her out as she grows older
6 The schools in the area are excellent, as opposed to the ones where we are now which leave a lot to be desired
7 The town is really nice, beautiful countryside all around and a good lifestyle
8 It would be good for dd to make a new start as she has been bullied at her current school and despite lots of visits to the head etc nothing seems to be improving
9 I know some people will have a go at me for this, but we will have some distance between us and ex and his continued harrassment of us and the worry about what stunt he will pull next. Children really do NOT want to have any contact with him at all due to his abuse, one is in counselling because of this, no contact order in place. It would be such a relief not to have to keep an eye open for him all the time, doors locked, phone number secret etc.
10 We would be living in a town not a village which would be so much easier in terms of getting places/day to day life - children could walk to school etc
11 There would be more children around for them to play with - at the moment we are a bit isolated in a small village
12 We could have a smaller house and garden which I could manage without getting frazzled and actually have more spare time/relax more without worrying about chores.
13 I could possibly buy a house quite a bit cheaper and really cut my mortgage payments down which could even mean I could afford to drop a day at work.

Reasons which are making me worry
1 Even though this house and garden are too much for me, I love them and so do the children who have been here all their life and are used to the big garden, instant access to countryside, plenty of space indoors, detached house so can make as much noise as they want
2 The whole thing of makign friends, putting down roots again, maybe more so for me than for the children
3 Work - although I could do a long commute to my current job with some help from my mum
4 Being under an obligation to my mum for childcare, support and all sorts of things (although maybe this will work out fine and will bring us closer once we can see each other more often but for shorter periods rather than long four-day visits etc)
5 Having to buy a drastically smaller house and probably not in the best area due to prices in that town being higher than here.
6 The whole hassle of buying and selling a house and moving by myself with no-one to help me or talk decisions through (okay I know friends and family will but it's not the same as it's not their move so a boredom threshold will set in)
7 Worries that I will really regret the whole thing and realise I have made a huge mistake once it is too late.

Has anyone downsized quite dramatically and how has it worked out, emotionally as well as logistically?

I know I have got more "move" than "stay" points but some of the "stay" points feel bigger than the go ones.

What a long post! Sorry. Any thoughts appreciated.

OP posts:
coansha · 02/06/2011 06:31

I am doing just the about the same but from Oz to Uk, with many of the same issues.
So I would like to give my 2 pence worth if it helps you any.
I have been in a state of limbo really for the past 2-3 years with the eternal should I stay /go argument, drove me nearly insane, got very down and emotional about it all and finally and most tragically (getting to my point honest) my beautiful BF here was diagnosed with terminal and very aggressive cancer, over the pitifully few months we had left together we talked it through and ultimately she passed away. She left me with a few insights :
Never LIVE to regret anything.
If its a mistake, no one will arrest you for it.
At the worst possible scenario it does not work for you and you could move back the only thing you may lose is money.

We will be coming back to rent, at least for 2 years, we will to live in a much smaller house , but overall its the quality of your life not the sq footage.
My dad thinks I am mad, so do my friends here only one very trusted BF has said she agrees with me as If I dont do it I will forever doubt my decision and one way or another will never have any closure on it.
My mum is joyous and counting the days down, its not worse or better, its just a different way of living.
I will add as your kids get older the garden is less important, the kids will be more independent, a smaller mortgage may be a huge help to you and having your family around very rewarding, especially for your children and a male role model if non in their lives a super bonus.
I do still have days were I question the rights and wrongs of it and that is normal I suppose but would never forgive myself if my parents had only next 5 - 10 years and we could not spend it together, my dd's are ecstatic about the move, how do your kids feel??
The only loser in our equation is my DH as he loves it but works away and totally understands my motives and supports me, despite his preference to live here, he knows that I need to do this.
I hope you get your answer and come to a decision either way, maybe another go for it might be another tick in the move column for you?
Best wishes......

Sparkles23 · 02/06/2011 06:52

I think it sounds like a fresh start is what you need for both you and the children, it's always going to be scary but if it doesn't work out then you can always move back.

How about renting out your house and renting somewhere when you move, that way it's easier if you do change your mind but if you love it then you can make the next step and sell your house and then buy, maybe doing it in stages to avoid a chain (therefore in better position when buying too) and also less stressful! Completely different situation but we were thinking of moving from London to lovely seaside town on south coast and were going to do it like this, less stress and easier to come back if we didn't like it!

Go for it, sounds like it would be great for your family, kids always make friends and adjust mire easily than you think! You can still see friends and have them visit plus you'll soon make new friends in the area through kids/school and if you join local class/group.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

nooka · 02/06/2011 06:58

Can you resolve some of your worries by more proactively looking at the potential options in your home town? Seeing what in practical terms you could afford, where you could live to give yourself less 'maybes'?

Maybe start looking to see if there are jobs that you could apply for that are closer geographically too - I woudln't like to go from a short to a long commute, but that may not be fixed in stone if you could change jobs too.

6 you can't really do anything about, and 2 and 4 do carry some risk that could potentially lead to 7, so I'd try and focus on whether you can manage the things where you might have some control and then look again at your pros and cons.

I'd start with looking at houses online because that's relatively easy. Get a few estate agents round to let you know what price range is possible for your place so you know what is possible (it doesn't cost anything and you don't need to make any commitments). Next look at your CV and what possibilities there might be in your home town or nearby. You could also apply for some jobs and see what happens, again you are under no obligation until you say 'yes'. If the thought of doing either of these things fills you with dread then think about why that is - is it the upheaval, saying goodbye to the life you hoped you would have in your marriage, or is it because despite everything you really want to stay where you are.

OhWesternWind · 02/06/2011 21:09

Thank you everyone! Really encouraging responses.

Coansha, I am so sorry to hear about your bf. Her insights are wonderful, and she must have been a great friend to you. What she says is very true. My children would love to move but would also miss things here, but I have been trying not to put the burden on to them. To be honest, they would do well either way I think. I have almost talked myself into moving - I phoned another estate agent today to try and get a handle on the value of my house (see below) and actually said I'm selling because I'm moving up north. Good luck with your move and I do hope so much it all works out for you.

Sparkles, the renting idea isn't something I had thought of - just looked at Rightmove and there is not a lot on there to rent but I think there might be other places to look. The renting idea definitely has appeal and then I have an escape route if it all goes horribly wrong! You are right that children do settle in and make friends quickly - they would love to be near their grandma and are very happy that if they did move we could have a dog as my mum would love to "go halves" on one with us - she's not up to taking another one on full-time since her old dog died and neither am I as we are out at work/school, but between us we could do it!

Nooka, I've had my house valued and got some drastically different valuations, almost £50k difference which is a lot as we are not high-end price wise. So I am not sure what would be realistic to expect. Houses at my mum's are more expensive as you are paying for the area. I could afford something that is fine just not the same as what we are used to. I think it is strange to be moving to something smaller/cheaper as all through life it's drummed in to you to move on/up/bigger/better (not just housing, everything) and in a way I feel like a failure for not providing this for the children. Stupid hang-up I know but there it is.

I AM filled with dread at the upheaval and, you're right, saying goodbye to the life I had expected to have here with the children, but most of all I am terrified of doing the wrong thing, whichever decision I make, not for me but for the children.

Thanks again to all of you for taking the time to reply, it's really helped.

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