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"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles

  1. What Kind of Role Model Are You For Your Au Pair?
  2. When Your Au Pair Connects With Everyone But You
  3. 3 Ways to Help Your Au Pair Break A Texting Addition
  4. Countdown to One Thousand Posts on AuPairMom
  5. Responding to Surprise Request From Departing, So-So Au Pair
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search AuPairMom
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

What Kind of Role Model Are You For Your Au Pair?

The most wonderful thing a host mom or dad can hear from a former au pair is

“You taught me how to be a good parent.”

I will confess that I’ve heard this myself, from the two au pairs we’ve had that we’ve stayed in touch with and that have become parents themselves.

It was immensely gratifying to hear, especially since I know I’m not the perfect parent, not the perfect host mom. And, because I know how hard my husband and I try to create a loving, nurturing, positivelyrole model challenging environment in our home.

An an Au Pair Host Mom, I never set out to be a positive role model for parenting in general.

My objectives were much smaller scale, more local:
I just wanted to show my au pairs how I wanted my children to be treated, and how I wanted my children to treat other people.

It’s surprising what can happen, though, even when you’re paying attention to other things.

When I shifted from being a full time faculty member to a part-time professor with a consulting & research practice, I engaged a career coach to help me with that transition. As one of our early exercises, she had me brainstorm a list of what I wanted my daughters to learn from me.

At the time, I thought this exercise was irrelevant to what I was doing and where I was going. I was more focused on setting up a side business, managing my time better, and crafting a different “career path” outside of full time academia. I had no appreciation for an...

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When Your Au Pair Connects With Everyone But You

Not every Au Pair hits it off with every family member.

Sometimes there’s a kid or a parent for whom the Au Pair’s personality is a perfect fit.

3507408739_4131fde899_zSometimes the Au Pair is ‘primed’ to listen to one parent over the other because of the Au Pair’s own family history.

Sometimes the Au Pair’s home cultural norms can influence the strength of different relationships, such as when s/he takes directions only from the male or female parent because that’s what happens back at home.

And especially when Host Parents split the Good Cop/Bad Cop roles, or when one parent is the Default Parent and the other more detached, these patterns will influence the Au Pair to connect with each parent differently.

It doesn’t matter how normal it is…

When you’re the parent who’s NOT the one in close contact with the Au Pair, it can feel awkward.

Who wants to be the less-liked person in her/his own home?

What can you do, if the less-liked parent is you?

What can your spouse do to help you?

Ideas wanted!!


Hello CV,  I have been following your blog for a few months.  I wish I had found it before we looked for an au pair!  There is so much great information here.  

I currently have my first au pair and I need some advice.  I am having trouble connecting with her. She has been with us for 3 months now and has avoided talking with me. Instead, she seems to feel more comfortable interacting with my spouse, who works at...

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3 Ways to Help Your Au Pair Break A Texting Addition

… at least while s/he is On Duty caring for your kids.

harry-styles3-460x407-300x265SmartPhone addiction isn’t a metaphor– people actually get hooked on the physical rush of receiving a text. Like Pavlov’s dogs, a simple ‘ping’ starts them salivating for a connection with another person.

Another person on the other side of the smart phone, though.

Not that other person sitting in the high chair right in front of them, or on the swings across the playground, or patiently waiting– picture book in hand– for just one more story.

Not that other little person whose safety, comfort and growth they are in charge of.

Too much text-straction erodes the connection between a child and a caregiver.

We know this, and so we parents do our best to be good role models and look at our phones only when necessary if we’re otherwise supposed to be face-to-face engaged with our kids or other adults.

(Right? We all start there, with being a good role model? Okay then, moving on…)

Here are Three Ways to Help Your Au Pair Break a Texting-While-On-Duty- Addiction:

1.  Clarify your rules regarding Texting While On Duty

It’s probably not the case that your au pair is texting away because s/he’s unaware of the rules. Still, this is a place to start so that s/he has no excuses if her or his texting habits don’t change immediately.

Make sure that your rules are sensible and concrete–

e.g., “Check your texts “on the...

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Countdown to One Thousand Posts on AuPairMom

2283005370_d32d079ef4_mSome numbers are big. Some numbers are significant. Some numbers are just the tip of the iceberg.

And some numbers are just around the corner.

For me here behind AuPairMom, one number– One Thousand — is rapidly approaching.

One Thoushand is big, significant, and just the tip of the iceberg all at the same time.

“One Thousand” is big because– heck, 1,000 is a lot.  Imagine what you’d do with 1,000 books. 1,000 pairs of shoes. 1,000 friends.

I would never have imagined, back when I started writing AuPairMom, that I might actually get to the point of having written 1,000 posts (not to mention, the resource pages to go along with them).  That is a boatload of words.

“One Thousand”  is a significant number, because you’d expect that after 1,000 posts, we’d have pretty much covered every last topic there is to cover about being a good host parent or a great au pair.

Hahahahah– one thousand laughs on me to even imagine we’d reach the end of our conversation about All Things Au Pair.

But “One Thousand” is especially significant when you think about the sheer amount of words and wisdom attached to those One Thousand posts. It’s an amazing accomplishment.

We’ve been carrying on this conversation for over 7 years. That means thousands of parents helped, thousands of au pairs appeased or encouraged, thousands of LCCs with more context to address issues faced in their clusters,...

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Responding to Surprise Request From Departing, So-So Au Pair

Speaking of Au Pairs and a sense of Entitlement, Washingtomom writes: 

Our Au Pair just sprung what I hope will be her last ‘surprise’ request of us.

How should I respond?

hope abramsWe are at the end of our AP’s year, final date is August 7th. She extended with another family and the supposed start date is Aug. 10.

Her last official working day with us is July 31 as she is taking the last week as her vacation to travel to another city to visit, leaving on Saturday Aug 1 returning on Sunday Aug. 9.

She asked to keep her things here until the day she came back from the trip. That same day she’s supposed to go off to her next Host Family.

Well, now she just announced that she will be leaving our house on Tuesday the 11th instead of Sunday the 9th.

She “needs the extra day after coming back from her trip to clean, pack and have a farewell reunion with her local friends.”

I would be fine with this if she had at least asked if she could do this. She is aware that our new AP will be arriving that Thu ( Aug 13th) leaving me only two days to regroup.

My thoughts are, well,

  • What am I supposed to do with her for the 2 days that she is not technically working with us anymore?
  • Just let her come and go in and out of the house when she pleases?
  • Put some boundaries?
  • Simply ask her to leave on the 10th, the day after she arrives from the vacation?

I am sure that one of her friends can put her up, she has spent a few of the past weekends sleeping else where.


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