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Dilemma: Do we move back from Spain to help with grandchildren?

Jo Brand / 18 December 2018

A reader living in Spain is feeling too far from her grandchildren and wants to move back to help out

An older couple walk along the seafront in Spain

Dilemma: We retired to Spain but now I want to move home and my husband isn't so keen

My husband and I retired to Spain, but our daughters both live in England. Our older daughter has two children at primary school, but I’m never there for the nativity play or their birthdays because I can’t afford to come and go as often as I’d like.

Now, after a long struggle to conceive, my younger daughter has announced she is pregnant, and I’d like to be around more to help her with the new baby. I’m torn between my husband, who hates the British weather and wants to stay in Spain, and my desire to be with my grandchildren more often.

Jo Brand's advice

There are so many unknowns and unexplained issues in your letter. For example, why have you decided it’s your younger daughter you should bestow your presence on, and why did this scenario not crop up with your older daughter? 

Do you feel your younger daughter and her circumstances are more deserving than your older daughter’s were?

Have you grown to like your husband a little bit less in the intervening years and therefore would find it easier to leave him to his own devices in Spain? Or do you want to drag him back to the UK with you?

You have to weigh up percentages. Can’t your husband stay on his own for a while? You could go to the UK for the first few months after the birth and then return to Spain. The thing is there is no right or wrong answer here. What do you actually want to do?

If you want to return to your grandchild and you feel strongly enough, you will. If you decide to martyr yourself, stay in Spain and seethe, that will pretty soon herald a change in your marital circumstances, I would have thought!

Think laterally. Maybe downsize to a smaller place so you can afford more flights. Or, when you return to the UK, let your place in Spain on Airbnb so you can pay for the flights that way. Remind the old git he’s had it all his own way so far. 

Finally, what does your younger daughter actually want? Have you discussed it? Does she even know that you are thinking about doing this? 

And if you do move back to help, how will your older daughter respond?

Good luck! 

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