I may be a dream-killer, even if it's better for our family
August 24, 2011 11:45 AM   Subscribe

My husband is about to get offered his dream job, close to his family. I don't want him to take it.

I lived in my husband's home state from 1993-2007. Ten of those years we lived very close to my in-laws. After we had our first child and it became clear that my in-laws had little interest in developing a relationship with that child, we moved to my hometown. We had another child after moving and my parents have been wonderful grandparents and they are very close to our kids. The kids spend several hours a week with them.

Now here's the sad part. My dad has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Even though he had his prostate removed, it was too late and the cancer had already metastasized. He's gone through radiation and hormone therapy but he hasn't beat it yet. My mom has had a stroke and is blind in one eye. She has glaucoma in her good eye. I have a sister, but she's 33 going on 15. Still depends on my parents to change the oil in her car, for example. She can't be counted on to help my parents at all.

I don't want to leave my hometown and my ill parents to move back near my indifferent Tea Party in-laws. Although the in-laws have a better relationship with our kids now, they still don't make a whole lot of effort. They forget the kids' birthdays -- stuff like that. My parents are doing okay now, but I can see them needing more and more help in the coming years.

My hometown is in a very economically stable part of the U.S. The unemployment rate here is below 5% and we have 5 or 6 Fortune 500 companies. We've only been here four years. I run a successful freelance business but my income is very small compared to what my husband makes. I take care of our toddler and elementary-school aged child, though -- they have never been in daycare. I would be willing to go back to work full-time, however, if we could stay here. My husband has a good job here, but the potential upside for the new job is greater. The cost of living in his hometown is higher, though, and the schools are much worse. It's a trade-off.

What should I do? Everytime I hear my husband talk excitedly about this opportunity I just want to cry. He is so excited and I feel like it will be the end of my kids' close relationship with their grandparents. I feel like need to be here for my parents. I like where we live now better and I feel it's a better fit for our family.

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts and feedback.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (42 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Whatever you do, don't make it about how much you dislike his parents. You need to help take care of your parents. That's all you need to say, and it's a good enough reason to stay where you are.

An outside of the box solution might be to move your parents with you, although that may or may not be a realistic option.
posted by empath at 11:50 AM on August 24, 2011 [11 favorites]

You absolutely need to tell him the truth. You need to tell him how you feel when he talks about this new job. You need to tell him why you believe that taking this job is not the right decision for your family, and you need to tell him that you want to stay. But mostly, you need to tell him about your feelings. He's excited because right now, he doesn't know the huge downside of this new job: that it makes you unhappy. He needs to know that.
posted by decathecting at 11:50 AM on August 24, 2011 [33 favorites]

Is it possible that he could leverage this offer to get another, better opportunity in your hometown?

How close is he with his parents? It's possible that he doesn't see how Big of a deal this is to you because his parents are relatively healthy, and his relationship with them seems different than your relationship with your parents. That said: don't make this about his parents. It's not. It's about caring for your parents when they need you the most. However happy he is about the job, I'm sure you'd feel much worse knowing that you're far, far away from your parents--he needs to know that.
posted by blazingunicorn at 11:58 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sounds like there's a conversation or two that needs to happen here that hasn't happened.

The solution is not to ask random strangers on the internet what we would do. The solution is to talk to your husband. If you can't do that, then counseling, for both of you, is probably appropriate.
posted by valkyryn at 12:01 PM on August 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

It's not productive to talk about his parents' failings and you'll probably regret going there if you make that the topic of conversation. Instead, present it as an opportunity which also has down sides. Be thrilled that your husband is recognized for his skill and experience, but suggest to him that there are a lot of details to be cleared up before the two of you make any decision.

Sufficient money can probably solve some of these down sides. You may want to take a step back to evaluate it from the perspective of what's best for the children. And calculate the cost of doing that so you can see whether the dream job really is great or if it's just fantasy.

You say, for instance, that the schools are better in your hometown. Where are the comparable or better schools located near your husband's family? What will the commute cost from those locations to his job? If no public schools are feasible there, what private options exist? You need to get the data from schools in your current location, as well as the proposed future location.

How much time do your kids spend with your parents? What would it cost to give them the same amount of time, annually, by allowing them to travel there? Do you and your husband plan on caring for your parents as they decline? What will that cost? Whose parents are in a better financial position to afford care in their later years? Can your parents move?

The employment rate where you are, etc. does not really seem to be relevant. First, job security, even in good times, is mostly a myth. Lots of people get sandbagged. Second, what matters is whether you and yours have employment. To be relevant, it would be better to look at what people at your age and experience in your respective industries are able to get.

That said, at the end of the day, you might be right. But your marriage is a joint venture, and you ought to lay everything out with your husband and solicit his help in addressing your family's needs and your concerns about whether you can meet those needs.
posted by Hylas at 12:05 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

What should I do?

You should tell your husband what your concerns are without mincing words or holding anything back (though, probably a good idea to phrase your opinions about his parents in diplomatic language). You need to communicate more with him. I suspect you're afraid that he won't be happy to hear that the situation with his dream job is not as cut-and-dried as would be ideal, but the fact of the matter is that it is not, and he needs to know that while there's still time to make important decisions. I know this is probably a daunting endeavor, but you must be strong and do something that is difficult because saying nothing would be worse, and you're trying to do the right thing for your *whole* family. You can do this.
posted by clockzero at 12:13 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Agreed about how to phrase it: not 'I hate your parents,' but 'we need to help mine,' etc. If he's like a lot of guys, he's only thinking about his job because it's sort of the most immediate thing for him. He may not have thought about all the fringe issues--family fit, happiness, schools, economy, etc.--you've noted here. I'd say just have the discussion with him. You two are a team in running the family, so act like it and help him understand your views on why this might be bad for Team Anonymous. If he's a reasonable guy, he'll put all these things in the balance and make the right call. If he's selfish or something like that, it might engender an argument or two, but hey, that happens.
posted by resurrexit at 12:14 PM on August 24, 2011

Basically tell him what you said here, but play up "The kids are so close to Grannie and Grampy" and less "Grandfather Dick and Grandmother Maude are assholes."
posted by k8t at 12:16 PM on August 24, 2011

I believe your concerns are extremely valid, and still I think you are being kind of selfish about this. It sounds like you think you've already paid your dues with his family, and you expect to be able to stick with your parents, your hometown, your life.

You will have a lot of pull when it comes to how your in-laws interact with your kids. You can, for example, tactfully remind them about birthdays and so forth. I don't think it will get you very far to couch this in terms of what is optimal for the kids.

It is terrible that your parents are growing infirm, but this happens to everyone as they get older (including his parents, who would surely be vastly comforted by having their son nearby). Your parents are entering the time in their life in which there will never be a GOOD time to let them fend for themselves -- there will always be something. Your sister may never grow up and take charge, but she especially wont if you stay and remove any need for her to do so. There is a lot of management you can do from a distance, and perhaps with the money your husband is making, you will be able to make frequent trips home.

Obviously you should talk to your husband as others here are recommending. But try to be honest about where all this is really coming from, and what sort of sacrifice you are asking someone else to make so that you don't have to make one.
posted by hermitosis at 12:23 PM on August 24, 2011 [4 favorites]

I would be asking myself and partner a lot of questions.

Ask yourself and partner:
- If everything went as you planned and stayed in your hometown, would you feel guilty about the decision later?
- Would your husband ever have a tiny slice of resentment due to being guilt tripped into passing his dream job?
- Is it possible to come up with a compromise?
- Is this a once in a lifetime opportunity?
- If this opportunity is with the same company, and knowing he already turned down an amazing opportunity, would the be less willing to offer anything near that scale again?
posted by amazingstill at 12:28 PM on August 24, 2011

I completely understand your situation.

What you should do is tell your husband your concerns about your parents' health and your concern with your children's education and future. Tell him how much you love your business and what you believe you can accomplish. Tell him if he can get this great opportunity that would uproot your family, he is valuable enough to be offered a great opportunity where you live.

I agree with everyone else that speaking about the lack of relationship between your in-laws and your children will not help. His answer to that is they will build a relationship once they are together more often.

You must think about what this will do to your relationship with your husband. You have to think of the worst case scenario and imagine how you will proceed. This may not be an easy conversation, but his taking a position at a company that requires the entire family to relocate, he should be considerate of what you want as well. You may want to tell him that as well.
posted by Yellow at 12:41 PM on August 24, 2011

I kind of agree with hermitosis on this one. If I put myself in your position and my wife in your husband's position, I have a hard time coming up with scenarios in which I would not do everything I could to help her follow her dreams. It sucks that sometimes your relationships with your extended family have to suffer because of job-related moves, but my daughter has always had an amazingly close relationship with her grandparents who (since she was born) have lived in Argentina, Italy and the UK while we have been in the US. You need to be honest with your husband about your feelings and misgivings, but if I were you, I would be spending my time trying to figure out ways to ameliorate the problems caused by this amazing opportunity.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:44 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mod note: From the OP:
Thanks for the replies everyone. We have talked about it, and I guess I'm just hesitant to "rain on his parade" when he's so excited. I would like to see him receive the actual offer, and then maybe negotiate a situation where he works from home, and maybe flies into his main work office a couple of times a month. He seems to think that's a strange idea.

All in all, though, I am fearful that I only have 3-5 good years left with my parents in relatively good health and I don't want to move away and give up those years.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:50 PM on August 24, 2011

The OP's father has cancer. Not an ingrown toenail, for the love of god. The husband's dream job is not an adequate reason to ignore that fact.
posted by winna at 12:52 PM on August 24, 2011 [30 favorites]

Also, re: grandparents.

My dad's parents seem like your husband's parents. They actually forgot to buy my sister presents for Christmas one year. My mother never liked them and talked bad about them around us all the time. But my mother's parents both died when I was young and my dad's parents were the only grandparents we had, and I think neither me or my sister had a great relationship witih them partially because our mom behaved that way around them. Now they're both close to dying and I feel like I never got to know them at all.

Paternal grandparents are often a bit distant, and I imagine its even worse if they're not geographically close. And sometimes grand parents aren't great around babies but have an easier time relating to kids as they get older. That was definitely the case for my grandparents -- i didn't really bond with them on any level until I started talking to them about books and sci-fi when i was 12 or so.
posted by empath at 12:53 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

It sounds like someone is going to have to sacrifice something. There's no easy answer, I don't think. You're being a bit selfish, but you have good reasons. So does your husband. I think, in deciding who makes the sacrifice here, you should consider your relationship with your husband before anything else. Which choice would best serve your relationship with him, and consequently, your family?
posted by smorange at 12:57 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

In your followup, you mention "fly to the office a couple times a month". Would it be possible for him to live with his parents, and come home to you & the kids on the weekend, or is it just too far?
posted by kellyblah at 12:58 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

I would like to see him receive the actual offer, and then maybe negotiate a situation where he works from home, and maybe flies into his main work office a couple of times a month. He seems to think that's a strange idea.

I also think that's a pretty strange idea. It's a nice idea, but extremely unrealistic unless your husband is in extraordinary demand as an employee.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:01 PM on August 24, 2011 [8 favorites]

The OP's father has cancer. Not an ingrown toenail, for the love of god. The husband's dream job is not an adequate reason to ignore that fact.

So when one's parents get cancer one is expected to abandon their career to move close to them and sit by the bedside? I understand how awful it is to be away from a sick parent, but millions of people manage to love and support their ailing loved one's from a distance every day.

I mean, there are a lot of specifics that we don't know here about the job and industry in question, the distance and ease of travel involved, and the father's prognosis that may affect my thinking, but it does not seem reasonable for the Asker to tell her husband to put his career on hold until her parents die because she would like to live close to them.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:12 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

An earlier commenter referred to you as being "selfish," and I just wanted to say that I vehemently disagree with this. "Selfish" is a really loaded word and implies that you are thinking only about yourself to the exclusion of anyone else. That's not the case here; you're trying to look out for your parents and your kids. There is nothing wrong with that.

And there is nothing wrong with having misgivings about your husband's career opportunity; feelings are feelings. You feel what you feel. That doesn't mean your feelings can't change, but right now you feel what you feel and that's ok.

You and your husband might have to reach some sort of compromise, but I just wanted to chime in with some empathy.
posted by Tin Man at 1:22 PM on August 24, 2011 [29 favorites]

I think that part of supporting your husband's dreams is making sure that whatever you mutually decide on is sustainable for the whole family. If he loves his job, but you're unhappy because you live far from your ailing parents, money is tight, you can't run the business you enjoy, and you think your kids are getting a mediocre education, that's not an ideal family situation.

I think a big part of this depends on his profession. Is this truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, or just a really good job? Is he in a field where being willing to move cross-country is key to career advancement, or could he find a new job in your current city/state? Is his hometown the hub of his industry, or just where this job happens to be?

You outline multiple serious considerations that legitimately swing this job opportunity from Dream Job to a job offer worth strongly considering. Therefore, bringing up your concerns isn't raining on his parade. However, you're probably confusing him if you're making small suggestions on how to avoid a move without actually coming out and saying what's on your mind. It would be much better to sit down and say, "I love you, and I want to support your career ambitions and dreams, but I have some real reservations about this job offer from Acme Co. and I'm not sure taking this job would be the best option for our family. It's hard for me to say this, because I know how excited you are about the Acme job. Can we talk about it?"
posted by Meg_Murry at 1:25 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

Tell your husband that you feel too strong a sense of obligation to your parents to leave them on their own in a different city. Give him the choice of staying in your hometown or taking the new job and moving but buying a house with an in-law suite for your parents. Your mom and dad don't even necessarily need to move when you do -- you said they're doing okay for now -- but I suspect having a designated space for them in your house will make you feel much better about the move. Or, you could ask him to agree to do the new dream job for 2-3 years and commence a job search for your hometown, allowing you to move back and help your parents when they have greater need.

I am sending you warm thoughts. I hope you're able to reach a decision that works for everyone!
posted by kate blank at 1:51 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Let's see, who benefits from staying where you are:
your kids
your parents
your sister, because she doesn't have to take care of your parents (not saying this is optimal, it's just true)
your husband, because everyone else is happy

Who benefits from moving:
your husband
your in-laws, though they don't seem to care much

I don't think you're selfish at all. Family has to be more important than career. The End.
posted by desjardins at 2:03 PM on August 24, 2011 [13 favorites]

What should I do? Everytime I hear my husband talk excitedly about this opportunity I just want to cry. He is so excited and I feel like it will be the end of my kids' close relationship with their grandparents. I feel like need to be here for my parents. I like where we live now better and I feel it's a better fit for our family.

You should do this: "Husband, every time I hear you talk excitedly about this opportunity I just want to cry. You are so excited and I feel like it will be the end of our kids' close relationship with my parents. I feel like I need to be here for my parents. I like where we live now better and I feel it's a better fit for our family. We need to talk about this."
posted by davejay at 2:13 PM on August 24, 2011 [6 favorites]

I would like to see him receive the actual offer, and then maybe negotiate a situation where he works from home, and maybe flies into his main work office a couple of times a month. He seems to think that's a strange idea.

I also think that's a pretty strange idea. It's a nice idea, but extremely unrealistic unless your husband is in extraordinary demand as an employee.

Really depends on the industry. In mine, that's pretty common actually.
posted by mmascolino at 2:19 PM on August 24, 2011

Marriage is all about compromise - for both parties. But I agree that sick parents trump really exciting job opportunities, every time.

One thing you may want to think about is whether or not your husband has been considering moving back to be close to his parents, since you originally left. I'm not trying to put words in your husband's mouth or ideas in his head, but he may have subconsciously been thinking "once we're able to (insert magical answer here), then everything will be better and we can move home." I'm sure he knows that you love being near your parents, but he may have thought all along that the family's plan was to move back when you could. He may have no idea of your thought process.

When you talk to him, focus on your parents' health, and don't say anything negative about his parents or the possible job. Ask him what the particulars of your life would be there: which schools the kids would attend, how your freelance business would work in that area and how often the family would be able to swing trips back to visit your parents, if you decide to move.

Personally, you didn't ask, but I don't think you should focus on your sister's needs. You have more than enough on your plate. Focus on your immediate family and your parents. I think your sister should learn to fend for herself, especially when your parents are going through so much. But that's just my unsolicited opinion; please don't take it the wrong way. Family issues are always difficult, and I'm saying this with the best of intentions.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 2:35 PM on August 24, 2011

When my dad bought his home in the early 80's (before I was born), he chose it based on the school district. Think of your kids -- if you move to an area with sub-par schools, this could have a big impact on their future and their possibilities for going to college. You might look into private schools in your husband's hometown, and seeing if the quality (and the expense) would be worth it.
posted by DoubleLune at 2:57 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

An earlier commenter referred to you as being "selfish," and I just wanted to say that I vehemently disagree with this. "Selfish" is a really loaded word and implies that you are thinking only about yourself to the exclusion of anyone else. That's not the case here; you're trying to look out for your parents and your kids. There is nothing wrong with that.

Not to harp on the subject, but just to explain: there's nothing wrong with that if these really are the OP's primary motivators. But what she should really explore is whether they really are. Is she seeing (or perhaps inventing) an extra need for her to be near her parents, or see extra problems with being in her husband's home state, just to reinforce what she already wants? I suspect that her parents would be sad to have her move farther away but would be unhappy to be used as pawns in the decision for her to stay.

I only offer this up for consideration because she has the entire case mapped out here in a way that show only advantages to staying, and only detriments to leaving -- aside from her husband's exciting new job opportunity. It's a very one-sided problem as presented, and I suspect that part of the fear of presenting it to her husband this way is that he'll be able to poke a hundred specific holes in her version of it -- details we mefites have no way of knowing about. I think the OP needs to be able to hear these things -- really HEAR them -- and treat them as valid points. If she disregards his arguments as "He is so excited about the job that he's only interested in seeing ways to make that happen," he can just as easily dismiss hers as, "She is so worried about her parents' recent health setbacks that she isn't thinking rationally about the long-term benefits of our moving" and no one gets anywhere.
posted by hermitosis at 3:16 PM on August 24, 2011 [7 favorites]

Is this dream job of your husbands' still going to be there in five years? If the prognosis for your father is bad, then obviously that's a perfectly good reason to sit tight. I think you should focus on him and when he passes and after you recover, reconsider the situation. Changes in the job market, health of your mom, finances, etc. may all make the solution more obvious when the time comes, but I think it's realistic to ask your husband to stay while your father is still alive and he needs your help and company. My advice might change if the cancer goes into complete remission and he goes on to live another 15 years, but I am operating under the assumption that he has, let's say, less than 5 years left. Sorry if that assumption sounds callous or like you're waiting around for him to die, of course that's not the intent - what I mean is that you're not asking your husband to live in the same place FOREVER, just while your father still needs you.
posted by slow graffiti at 3:21 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Good point, hermitosis.

To the OP - hopefully you and your husband will be able to communicate openly and honestly with each other about everything that you're both thinking and feeling about this situation, get everything on the table, and come to some sort of agreement. This sounds like it will be a major decision either way, so communication will be really important.
posted by Tin Man at 4:11 PM on August 24, 2011

If the new job place has crappy school systems, you will be paying a FORTUNE in private school tuition. A FORTUNE. (I know because I live in one of those places in the country where everyone has to do private school.)

Do some research now, and then do the math once an offer comes in. I bet it will be a wash financially, or even cost you more to live there. Not to mention the costs of traveling back and forth as your parents require more care, your loss of income as you re-establish yourself professionally, and so on. I bet in the end this new job will not be such a boon for your family and that may change your husband's view on the issue all by itself.

Best of luck to you.
posted by jbenben at 4:38 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

hermitosis: ...she has the entire case mapped out here in a way that show only advantages to staying, and only detriments to leaving...

I came here to say this. You spend 4+ paragraphs talking about why you shouldn't go, how wonderful your parents are, how crappy you think his parents are, and you spend only 1/2 of a paragraph talking about why this move would be a positive for him. I can't even tell what's good about this job offer; do you understand why it's such an important thing for his career? And you didn't even attempt to find an upside for your or your children - you've framed it as your husband vs the family, when in fact he's part of the family. You even say in your title "it's better for our family" as if there is no way that his way could be better!

You've chosen a narrative in which your side is the only correct side, which is a huge red flag to me. It makes me suspect that deep down you are determined to stay put instead of making this a joint decision, and you may be leaving out / ignoring salient details on the other side of things to make your way seem right.

I'm worried that you need to do some introspection as well as talking to your husband. Talking to him clearly is the right way to go, as others have said. But you also need to spend some time with your feelings and see if you can find a spirit of compromise. You got married to build a life together, not to bring your husband into your preexisting life. See if you can reframe it as "what is the best thing for all of us, not just for me." That might expand the options you're seeing. After all, there could be amazing schools in a nearby suburb. Your husband's job and resulting career path could be so lucrative and rewarding that it opens up opportunities that your kids would never have had sticking around the current place - after all, the example you two set by pursuing exciting opportunities will be a great lesson to your children about pursuing their own opportunities. And while you think that your kids' relationship with their grandparents is an unmitigated bounty, that's not objective reality - it may only be "nice." On the other hand, maybe this job is just a step up, not a huge leap, and maybe the cons of moving really do outweight the pros. But at this point it sounds like you're not ready to truly weigh the situation, you just want your (understandable and reasonable) feelings justified.

Either way, you need to be ready to truly hear his story when you two talk this out. If you only grow sad or frustrated as he pours out his dreams, that's unfair to him and will make it very hard to make this decision as a team. It's unfair just as it would be unfair if he stonewalled any discussion of your parents' conditions, which is a salient detail that you two need to consider. Spouses need to respect each others' desires, even when it's tough.

I am very sorry to hear about your parents' situation, and that certainly makes leaving a difficult decision. But there are plenty of families that are separated by distance, even when a family member is ill - I am unaware of anyone in my family who has regrets about distance, even distance from family members who passed away. And you are not a parent to your parents, and you want your husband to be a parent to your parents by sacrificing to be close to them. That may end up being the right decision, but as you introspect try to understand that it's a huge sacrifice you're asking. Consider whether you would make the same sacrifice if the roles were reversed - that might help you understand his point of view.
posted by Tehhund at 6:57 PM on August 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

I agree with Tehhund, above, but wanted to add that you could consider your husband moving without you. Give it a few years, have him visit every month or two weeks meanwhile, stuff like that. You may be unhappy, but you may be less unhappy-- hard for me to tell. Just wanted to put that out there.

It seriously depends whether it's really a 'dream' or a 'really great job'. If it's a dream, in my mind that trumps almost anything, because of the severe effects of not following those-- which include long-term bitterness, regret, depression, all sorts of things, up to and including health effects and relationship deterioration. If his spirit would be broken, that's a serious thing; if it's 'just a great job', none of this would be an issue, most likely. Your concerns are about what's important to you: when you say 'family', you imply that's your parents and kids. It's ok to value what you value; even though marriage is about compromise, it doesn't have to be about sacrifice. Just how much do you value his happiness and well-being compared to your parents'? It's not a question that should ever have to be asked, of course, but it's not irrelevant, because if things went your way, you are choosing one over the other. And, of course, you could visit your parents twice a month, too (especially if he makes more money with the new job).

Something else I wanted to call attention to is your dismissal of your sister. Everyone has to grow up sometime-- I learned that the hard way, 30+ and irresponsible as I was. Usually the hard way is how we grow up; people need to feel they're necessary. It's your sister; on some level you owe her to opportunity to be your parents' support, and to be believe she could until you know she can't. Something that struck me in your post is how much you seem to take on responsibility-- call it the big-sister syndrome. It's not a bad quality, this feeling of being responsible for everyone you possibly can. And of course, you want to be with your ailing parents. But if that's what you want, own that. My grandmother was like that-- when she was married to my grandfather, they lived with her parents. He and my great-grandfather didn't get along; it got to the point of choosing between them. She chose honesty: he moved out, they separated (didn't divorce). She came over to clean his house sometimes, it seems. Of course, as much as my mother loved her grandfather and cherished that relationship, the true relationship that meant most is the one she missed out on with her father. Grandparents are great, but it's ok to see them just 'sometimes'. That's what they're for, kinda, for many kids-- intermittent holidays, being spoiled, and so on. It doesn't make that much of a difference to your kids even if their other grandparents are distant; it very likely matters more to you than to them. That kind of behavior is 'normal' when it's all you've known. I was a lot closer to one set of grandparents than another; never traumatized me since I had a great relationship with my parents.

Anyway, you're assuming you know what's best-- for your parents, for your kids, and you think you can predict your sister's behavior, too. Allow the possibility that you can't guarantee you're on top of all these things, not 100%. Of course, you feel how you feel, and that's valid-- but the idea is to escape the dichotomy where your husband's desires are in opposition to your family's happiness. At the very least, think about how your kids' happiness is likely tied in with his, for instance, moreso than with their grandparents. Think about how your sister deserves time and space to grow up, to be one who's needed for a change. Think about how it's not either/or, and if you move away, you can always come back sometimes, or if he moves away, you can always follow. The thing that's not negotiable, that won't return or change, is this limited-time opportunity, this window. Once something happens, you can adapt, but if you prevent it from happening, you'll simply never know what you could have built together, to your own surprise..
posted by reenka at 10:10 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

There are plenty of people in this world who ended up deeply disillusioned with their "dream jobs" or laid off from it.

That aside, life as it stand now sounds pretty darn good (except of course for your parents' health and your sister) so it sounds like a considerable amount of upheaval for a lot of people (and risk) for something that stands a far-from-trivial chance of being less than dreamy for your husband.

The thought of giving up what y'all have for what y'all may have strikes me as ludicrous.
posted by ambient2 at 10:52 PM on August 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

You absolutely need to rain on his parade because it's not parade day right now and it's not fair to give him false hope that you'll agree to the move. Tell him the truth about how you feel, particularly the part about wanting to be near your parents to help them. I don't think you're selfish at all, if anyone is it's him for putting his career above your concerns. But if you haven't fully expressed your concerns yet you can really blame him for this.

Tell him clearly how you feel and see how he reacts. Another possible option - could you have a long-distance marriage for a while? I wouldn't ask your parents to move unless they want to, as older people who are dependent on others generally don't do well when plucked out of their familiar environments.
posted by hazyjane at 10:54 PM on August 24, 2011

Agreeing with the people who say that neither you nor your husband seem to have the full picture of pros/cons, and the only way to make the best decision for your family is to put your heads together and develop that full picture. In the end, as much as the job is a dream opportunity, it may make your husband/family happiest to stay where you are. Talk to him and confirm that.
posted by msittig at 11:04 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

After you have talked about it, it might also help to have the discussion from each other's points of view. Sometimes that helps understand the way someone is thinking. Just an idea.
posted by superfish at 3:25 AM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

There is no easy answer here. I will tell you my perspective, as an extremely career-driven person who has sacrificed a lot of the years to it. As I get older I come to realize more and more that one day, when I am laying on the proverbial death bed and milling over my life, I'm not going to be thinking about how my career went. I'm going to be thinking about the time that I spent with my loved ones.
posted by corn_bread at 10:00 AM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I can really sympathize - I hate those situations when the way I feel doesn't match the way I WANT to feel, or think I SHOULD feel.

Something that's worked well for me is admitting that - making that the starting point of the conversation.

"I feel really conflicted, because I am so happy for you that you got that great job offer and I am SO PROUD of you for that. ... At the same time, I'm having all these other feelings about really wanting to stay here. I'm worried about my parents, and I hate the thought of the kids losing the great relationship they have with Mom and Dad. I feel so much more comfortable with the job prospects here for both of us. The truth is, even though half of me is thrilled for you, every time I hear you talk excitedly about this opportunity I just want to cry. I want to be supportive and a good partner, and my wanting to be those things for you is making me hide my other feelings from you. I don't think that's good. Can we talk about all of this?"
posted by kristi at 10:32 AM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can you say more about what happened when you talked about this with your husband? Did you say everything to him that you did in your post? How did he respond?
posted by prefpara at 2:15 PM on August 25, 2011

Your family, both nuclear and extended, is more important than any job or career. It's not as if you're unfamiliar with your husband's hometown; you've lived there. There was plenty of opportunity to have a great relationship with your in-laws, and it didn't gel. I wouldn't mention that to your husband--I'm sure he knows that. Stress to him instead that your parents are close to the kids, they are close to them, and you want to be here for them in their old age. You have settled life with loving family now, plus a good thing going with the kids with regards to schools and friends. Why create upheaval and make the majority unhappy?

Jobs come and go. The time you and the kids can spend with your parents being (comparatively) healthy looks limited, at this point. Jobs are an iffy prospect. On paper it may be his dream job. Look at the number of AskMe questions here that talk about a dream job gone sour because of a crappy supervisor, coworkers, misrepresentation of position. Sounds like the money equation isn't going to be that great with a higher COL, even if you don't factor in private schools. There will be another job coming along eventually. Things will change. If you have enough money to get by on, my vote is to strongly stress that you need to remain where you are. Unfortunately, the time may soon come when there are fewer important reasons to stay in your hometown.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:31 PM on August 25, 2011

Jobs come, jobs go. You have only one set of parents.

Also... why was he looking, if you guys hadn't come to an agreement about this beforehand?

Some of these comments just... remind me of how strange it is to me about how so many Americans identify themselves so much with their job, above all else in their lives. I guess we are trained at an early age that career success == life success, and other things are just sprinkles on the job cake. If you make a decent enough living and he doesn't *despise* his job, why move? Do you really need a Lexus and a Hummer instead of an Accord and a Camry?
posted by marble at 9:51 PM on August 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

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