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Travel back home for expats - what's typical?

  1. #9
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    We generally go back an average of once a year. Since my older daughter was born, twice I took her back to Australia for about 10-12 days to see my family (and my MIL) by myself. Once was because my mum was having surgery, the other time was because my husband was VERY busy with work and we weren't seeing him much anyway. I've never taken both of my kids back by myself.

    I do know that for us, my husband wouldn't want us to be gone for much longer than that 10-12 days, even two weeks is "too long" for him. BUT for us to get home, it's just 9 hrs flight. Not that long in the grand scheme of things. There's no real jet lag as there's only a 2 or 3 hr time difference... 10 days is doable for all involved.

  2. #10
    MommieMid is offline Registered User
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    New Mommie,
    If your husband freely travels for work and is usually OK with you being left alone with the children, then I sympathise with you that this situation must be frustrating.

    I know many expat Mommies that travel to their home country with their children, for the whole of the summer, whilst the father comes to visit for a week or two in the middle of the vacation. This is a normal part of expat life.

    I have spend months away from my husband during the time when I was pregnant awaiting a birth, and also over the summer holidays when our children needed to live freely in the countryside, whilst my husband was travelling Asia. This doesn't reflect the emotional closeness or distance within a relationship, this is purely functional as marriage and parenting becomes, when children enter into our lives in such a significant way.
    What concerns me about your particular circumstance is that, I believe that you need to examine exactly why your husband seems so reluctant towards your trip. His missing the children, may be significant, but I don't think is the specific reason for his objection.
    Is he worried that if you go, that you won't return? Are you both expats here in Hong Kong? Have you been having doubts about being here, and he knows it?

    I think that it is important that you examine with your husband, his specific worries. There may be more to this than he is showing you.

    Best wishes.

  3. #11
    AmyH is offline Registered User
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    I go back once a year and take both kids with me. I have family in Ireland and my husband's family is in England so I go to both. I couldn't only do two weeks though because it would mean only a week in each country which is too hard for me and the kids. I tend to go for about a month. Sometimes my husband joins us for two weeks but not always possible with his work.
    My husband misses the children when we are away but that is where skype comes in handy! He usually talks to them every second or third day on skype for a while and catches up with them. He has to travel quite a bit with his job too so he normally schedules his work travel while we are away so he can spend more time with us when we return.
    The issue we face is the fact that we don't really get a "family holiday" every year because we feel that we have to travel back to our home countries and my husband does not get that much time off work.
    I don't think I could go two years without seeing my family and friends back home so it is a sacrifice worth making for now. We do tend to travel around asia for short trips (three or four days at a time) so we can have a holiday.

  4. #12
    MommieMid is offline Registered User
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    New Mommie,
    I just briefly read your previous extensive old thread. I have a clearer picture of the issues that you face, and I think that I 'hit the nail on the head' in my last posting.

    My view is that, your husband 'knows' that you won't return and he is terrified about having to take a break from work to return to the US and fight to get you or the children back to Hong Kong. He would be unable to remove the children from the US and so he would have to be forced to alter his life in order to maintain contact with his children. You said that he's a lawyer, so he knows exactly what the legal issues are.

    I think that you know exactly what you need to do. You have been contemplating your future for the last two years. Only you know what to do.

    As expats, we all make huge compromises and sacrifices to be away from home. Some days, we regret not being in our settled chosen environment, and usually, we just try to get through each day. What you need to think about is whether your marriage is what is making you happy above all else, and whether supporting your marriage, is worth all the anguish.

    I suggest that you stop negotiating with your husband or discussing any move. You need to silently make your own plans, save money and make the visit to the US with your children, when you are absolutely ready for all eventualities, and the changes which will come in your life. You are going to have to be incredibly ready for anything.
    You need to be absolutely sure that what you are working towards is what you want, above all else, and you need to act on what is in your heart.

    I am completely committed and supportive of marriage and family life, but not at the cost, of living with someone who doesn't love.
    My opinion is that you urgently seek help of experts in these matrimonial matters who can counsel you to make the right decision for you and your babies. I don't think couples counselling, such as bringing your husband for therapy, is going to help, in fact it may prevent you from acting freely. You need to attend a relationship counsellor to help make the transition to single life, if that is what you want.
    There must be marriage guidance consellors here in Hong Kong. The counsellors don't support marriage above all else, they are there to help the individual come to terms with the changes that may be necessary.

    My thoughts are with you.

  5. #13
    genkimom is offline Registered User
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    My husband has taken my son back to his hometown for 2 months at a time during the summer, and while I missed him dreadfully, I dealt with it because I believed it was good for them both to be in contact with their roots. Plus, I was at work so many hours I wouldn't have seen much of him anyway, as summer was the busiest season for me at my previous job.

    There is Skype and all kids of technologies at your fingertips if he is so attached to his family. Plan on "meeting" up every day/night at the same time and assure him you will stay in touch regularly. It's a bit selfish, to be honest, of him to deny your kids a chance to be with their family just because he doesn't want to face an empty house for a few days. Tell him its a good chance for him to spend time on a hobby he hasn't had time for and live like he's single again for a bit. It will go quickly. Have fun!

  6. #14
    2010-NewDad is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by MommieMid View Post
    I suggest that you stop negotiating with your husband or discussing any move. You need to silently make your own plans, save money and make the visit to the US with your children, when you are absolutely ready for all eventualities, and the changes which will come in your life. You are going to have to be incredibly ready for anything.
    You need to be absolutely sure that what you are working towards is what you want, above all else, and you need to act on what is in your heart.
    I see you are answering quite a different question to the one that has been asked in this thread. You might be right, I have no idea how much NewMommie's position has changed in the last couple of years. I know children are life changing events so I wouldn't discount the possibility her thoughts have changed.....

    ... that said, if you are seriously suggesting she get ready to rip the family apart and kidnap her children away from their father then I can only react with abject disgust. How many mothers would feel the same way if the father was contemplating leaving without a word and kidnapping the children and forcing the mother to go through the courts (in Hong Kong and the US) to have any chance of access.

    Would you still be advising him to stop any negotiations, stopping any discussions with his spouse and silently make plans to facilitate this act which is both illegal and morally abhorrent?

    My view is that this action would be an abrogation of your rights as a parent, a spouse, an adult and as a responsible human being. Marriages do end, and it is normally a messy affair which is unpleasant for everyone, especially children. I do think that parents have a responsibility to try to do everything to save their marriage and when those options fail to do everything to make the change less traumatic and less impact on the children.

    Kidnapping them to a foreign country before even trying a marriage counsellor or discussing it with your spouse isn't a responsible path of action, and I couldn't condone it or stand to see it condoned under any circumstances.
    howardcoombs, AmyH and cuppatea like this.

  7. #15
    southside852 is offline Registered User
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    we also go home around once a year and i am very close with my family so my husband knows that i must make the most out of our home leave. my husband's family is in hawaii so we actually don't even see them - just my side in nyc. this means, i usually fly over 2 weeks before him with the kids, he comes and then we fly back together so all in all i get about a month home sometimes 5 weeks if i am lucky since i am a SAHM. it's compromise and if i am flying that far, we better make it worth it. my husband totally understands and supports this.

  8. #16
    Liquorice is offline Registered User
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    Hi Newmommie. My husband always moans when I want to go back home for several weeks without him too.

    He is the main one of the two of us that wants to stay in Asia - since I had my son I really want to be closer to family - so my argument is that us being away for a long time is part of the trade-off for living in Asia. I also always visit his family when I am home too, which placates him somewhat. Not sure how feasible this is for you.

    My husband travels a lot, like yours, so what he does is organises lots of business trips around the time we are away so that he doesn't miss us so much at home. Last time he also added a leisure trip on too - he always wanted to spend some time in Mumbai so he spent the weekend there before his work trip.

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