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First Time Grandparent - Separated - Brittany - UK

Posted by The-Singing-Tree - Created: 4 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by Hilary Briss - 4 years ago

frenchdog has put it very sucinctly

I know of a lot of people who have returned to the UK to"Be with their Grand children"only to find that after a few years they were left on their own and given up a very good life in France.Grand Children grow up and find their own life and friends Grand Parents grow old and are left on their own

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Posted by kate.fitch@orange.fr - 4 years ago

We didn't have children but my sister, who is much younger than me had two girls. By this time I was living in Portugal and in no position to return to the UK. I became very resentful about not being able to be there all the time. I managed trips to visit them at least once a year and we had a lot of fun, always having at least one day where it was just me and the girls, always the same routine, swimming at the local holiday inn, then the cinema then burger king, (their choice not mine, and once a year doesn't hurt). I loved every minute but suddenly they turned twelve and when I went back to uk to see them they were no-where to be found. Like little birds they had fledged  and the aunty with deep pockets was regarded as just  "mums old sister"!  Did it hurt?, you bet it did but it made me realise that what my older and wiser friends from Portugal had said was true- be glad you are living away from them, you mustn't stand on mum and dad's toes when they are bringing them up their way( what you don't see you can't fret about), make the most of your trips back to uk, ( ( three trips of 5 days is more exciting than one of two weeks, if you can afford it) and lots of phone calls, And of course, you will be special Granny because you live somewhere that's different and it will be exciting to visit you via the ferry instead of boring old motorway.

Hang on to Brittany, remember, they are only sweet little rug rats for a few years and then life goes on as before, your partner and Breton life will still be sweet. Best of luck.

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Posted by The-Singing-Tree - 4 years ago

Thank you to all for your honest responses to my posting, it is much appreciated and has helped me to put things into perspective.  I am so overwhelmed at becoming a Grandparent after years of thinking it would never happen, I want to do the right thing for us all.  I can see a little clearer now. Thank you so very much.

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Posted by heathertowie - 4 years ago

Being heavily involved with grandchildren's life is how most of us lived in times past.  The world has changed, families often do not live close to each other. You could return to the UK only to find that your family there move far away, for work. It happened to a friend of mine. She adored her grandchildren and spent a lot of time with them. Suddenly her son in law got a job offer in New Zealand and within three months they were gone,leaving a huge hole in her life. She had precious few other interests apart from her grandchildren. Also an extended family is great but only if every member is happy to live like that......

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Posted by kerguen - 4 years ago

Breeze put it so well. 

We chose to live over here and I visit my family at least twice a year and stay with each of my daughters for quality time with the grandchildren whilst there.  They also visit me so can be spoiled when over.         Skype, internet and facebook all help keep in touch.

 When grandkids are older and going here and there with all the various activities will have very  little free time to see grandparents even if they want to - much prefer to go out with their mates  - there are so many things children do in the UK nowadays. I certainly wouldn't see more of mine if I lived nearby so I appreciate my partner and our life together here.   As he says we are the old fuddy duddies now!    My daughters and families like coming over to france for a rest from the busy lives they lead.  Another advantage with living in Brittany is a reason for the grandchildren to learn another language and be able to practise using it when visiting you.

Only you know what you want in life and your families circumstances - but they have their own lives to lead and you can be as much a part of it from here, more so if you can afford to do frequent quality time visits (whilst they are younger at least) or help them out financially  to visit you if that is necessary.

Good luck whatever you decide..


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Posted by Jivedance-411773 - 4 years ago


You have had some sensible replies and advice. However in all cases like this everyone has different circumstances as has been pointed out here.

In decisions like this I always go with my gut feeling and do what I FEEL comfortable with.

Good luck.


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Posted by seashore-10052757 - 4 years ago

When I was a child I had one set of grandparents who lived close by while the others lived abroad. it might be hard on the local grandparents but the distant ones were the special ones. The time we spent with them was something to look forward to and enjoy. I have a neighbour who has returned to the UK to be closer to their grandchildren. Her husband has remained in France to sell their house. To finance the move, they have rented a flat, she has had to get a job which has long hours and low pay. In truth she hardly sees the grandchildren as they are busy and involved with their own lives. The quality of life that these 'grandparents' are experiencing at the moment is pretty low.

I am not a grandparent but I do have children in their 20s. I see more of them living in France than I would if I'd chosen to return to the south west of England. It is quicker, easier and cheaper for them to visit me here than to travel hundreds of miles across England. If and when grandchildren arrive I would expect to see them as much as I see my own children now. I would hope to become the sort of grandparent that my grandchildren look forward to visiting, as much for the environment I live in as for actually spending time with me.

There is no easy answer to your problem and only you will be able to find the solution that suits your needs.

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Posted by Dave Evans-439024 - 4 years ago

Be thankful that Britain is a great place to bring up children. As pointed out they grow up and once they start school full time you will hardly see them anyway. So once they are 4/5ish contact will be minimal. Like us you will be useful for child minding and emergencies. Our last grandchild has just started school so we very rarely see any of them. Been back in England now for a couple of weeks and still haven't seen 3 of our grandnips who only live a couple of miles away! I know quite a few families in Brittany who are ruled by what the man of the household wants! Suggest to him that you do not move but whenever you get the urge for seeing your family you go for 2 or 3 weeks and no arguments from him!!! Compromise is what is needed from your other half.

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Posted by Dibbyspot - 4 years ago

Even if you lived in UK what you may want may not be possible due to the competivie Grandparents of your childs partners parents and the competing demands of the parents time and the childs.

This can include child-care - in many UK familieis this is routinely takne on by grandparents as the children need to work to live and pay the bills. The free childcare promoted by the UK Government is largely an illusion. Besides this the family will make friends of other parents even  from the point of birth and these too play an important part in socialising any child.

It is also noting that what you may want may not chime with your children and their partner. Better they have a happy bolt hole in Brittany than on tap child care they may come to take for granted.

As others have said the UK is not the place it was while technology and transport links offer some solace. Take that and be supportive from afar rather than taken for granted on the expensive doorstep.

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Posted by pachypach - 4 years ago

breeze writes total sense :-)