|This town in NZ?source|
|...or this town in Lancashire, UK? source|
Jenny is devastated, but can't write about her feelings on her own blog (which by the way is honest and hilarious) for fear of offending family and friends. She wrote to ask me (and you!) for advice.
Jenny writes: I don't know what to do. Most of my friends - and people who can't stand me - think I'm an opinionated arse. I am. But I'm also a "sitting on the fence" kind of person.
Yes, NZ is great for the children, we get more space, hang out at the beach every day, my husband is happier there. It offers more opportunity but I'm not convinced that's the best reason to live there. I do love it there, it's just that I'm such a much better, happier person when I'm near my parents and I can feel the effect of my mental well being on family life with my husband and children.
I want to spend every remaining waking hour with my Mum and Dad. I am happiest when I am with them. So I am seething with resentment that I can't spend the rest of my life with them. I have seen the incredible effect on my children of having their loving grandparents on tap to go to the park with, play board games with and generally humour them with love and attention.
But the style of upbringing in NZ is way better than the UK. Everyone's so fucking uptight here - the only children we've had for sleepovers this year are the offspring of a Kiwi/English couple I met by chance.
Dear Jenny: If Mama ain't happy, no one's happy. Who said that - or did I just make it up? You can be in the most beautiful place on earth but not feel quite right. I appreciated living in the idyllic towns of Champery, Switzerland and Cheltenham, Gloucestershire but I longed for old faces.
Sounds like you have great friends in NZ and a lovely beach lifestyle. But being around your parents trumps that - because being with them makes you feel your best self. Also isn't it so nice being the child when you have children yourself?
But (and isn't there always a "but"?) your husband commuting three hours from London to Lytham in Lancashire every Friday night could not have been fun for him, you or the kids.
Solution?Could you alternate every two or three years between the two countries? Especially if both you and your husband work freelance? You would think your careers will suffer but in fact I know two families who have done this and have no problem with work. Both places have public health systems and good public schools so you're lucky there.
Or base yourself in NZ and make a firm date to go back every year for six weeks? Or two lots of six weeks? (This means your kids will miss some school, hope no Kiwi teachers are reading this.)
Friends in both NZ and UK need to feel an ongoing commitment from you. Many people won't make the effort with families who are living in their town only temporarily and this will colour your experience.
What do you think? Would you move for your partner's job and home if you're happy where you are?