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"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles

  1. Is An Au Pair Right For Your Family? Not if you need a Housekeeper …
  2. Brand New Au Pair’s Extreme Homesickness — Can we turn it around?
  3. Au Pair Tech Update: Sharing SmartPhone Accounts & Apps while Staying Secure
  4. “Matching With” Versus “Selecting” an Au Pair: What’s your perspective?
  5. Au Pair Drinking Wine While On Duty: Okay or Ixnay? (Poll)
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search AuPairMom
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

Is An Au Pair Right For Your Family? Not if you need a Housekeeper …

When people ask me whether an Au Pair might be right for them, I sometimes forget to ask them what kinds of help they *already* have, that they are aiming to replace.

2303555607_45a4f6462f_mIf a family currently uses a childcare center or a home-based center, then switching to an Au Pair offers more schedule flexibility, care in their own home, and a young person to join their household and add to the learning and growing of the family.

If a family currently uses a live-out nanny, then the argument for an au pair — along with scheduling flexibility —  is perhaps a lower cost, and perhaps less competition with the nanny’s life and priorities outside of work.

When a family currently employs a live in nanny, however, a few more questions pop up.  With live-in nannies, families have a more experienced childcare provider, who is often older and often has a life of her own outside the home.  Also, live-in nannies much more commonly perform household tasks in addition to childcare.  They might cook for the parents as well as the kids,  do the laundry for the parents as well as the kids, iron sheets and shirts, grocery shop and run errands, and clean the house. They might even walk the dog every day and/ or clean the cat litter box.

All of these tasks fall outside the duties of an au pair.

Au Pairs can only be asked to do Childcare-Related Tasks. 

If you currently have a live-in nanny who also serves as a housekeeper and a family administrative assistant, as does the mom whose email...

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Brand New Au Pair’s Extreme Homesickness — Can we turn it around?

It seems like this brand new host mom did everything right (or, rather, took all of our recommendations) for getting started with an Au Pair.

Careful consideration, lots of advance learning, deep interviewing, a handbook (!), and lots of positive energy. Even after their new Au Pair arrived and presented the challenge of extreme homesick, this new CosyFarmHostMom did what I’d have recommended.

8417935780_9fcdebf551_mSo now what? Her Au Pair’s homesickness has not abated, one bit.

Here are all the details. After her email, I’ll offer a little feedback and then turn it over to you, wise readers.

First, can I just say how absolutely amazing au pair mom is?! The wealth of information is invaluable. I have spent a great deal of time pouring over the website in the last eight months. In January, we began to contemplate having an au pair join our family. My husband and I both work full time and we have two children (3 and 5.5). After a few months of reading, we made the plunge and matched with our au pair from Germany. She arrived in the US one week ago and to our home on Friday.

To be honest, I expected growing pains and an adjustment period, but I did not think I would be reaching out for advice so soon.

We went through an extensive screening process (thanks to TexasHM for all the tips). We emailed and skyped. We sent an excerpt of our newly drafted handbook. We sent challenge questions. Our au pair seemed great: engaged and excited!

Fast forward to her actual arrival: The...

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Au Pair Tech Update: Sharing SmartPhone Accounts & Apps while Staying Secure

You know that whole argument that you should make sure both parents know how to diaper, feed, and soothe a baby, so that no one parent gets “stuck” with all the hardest work because the other parent quietly “deskilled” him/herself?

I paid attention to that advice with my kids, and contradicted it with our phones, broadband, AppleTV, Netflix, and every other tech-y entertainment4367063185_6eb254b1dd_m thing besides my own computers. Also, I did this with wine.  Why?  I just did. not. want. to. be. in. charge.

But that’s come back to bite me, because I can offer absolutely no advice on SmarterPhoneHostMom‘s question.

I suspect that some of you other Host Parents have stayed on top of SmartPhone Tech?  

Tell us how you manage sharing, staying in control, and staying safe, while also making sure your Au Pairs can use their phones for personal use.

Please weigh in here! 

I have a question about security for smart phones provided by the host family. Since the technology and carrier plans are constantly evolving I was wondering if anyone had some some new ideas and tips.  
For our previous Au Pair, we added a line to our Verizon account for an iPhone 5.  We wanted our Au Pair to have an iPhone because my husband and I have iPhones and we have family sharing set up so we can share locations and calendars with each other.     

I especially like the location tracking, because I can see in real-time where she is with the kids if they go anywhere, and if there was ever an...

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“Matching With” Versus “Selecting” an Au Pair: What’s your perspective?

Writing about the AuPair interviewing process, I’m getting a little philosophical.

I just wrote this section (below) about the difference between “selecting” and “Matching with” an Au Pair. 7604470670_18218429cf_m

  • Am I crazy?
  • Do you make these sorts of distinctions?
  • Is this how you frame the process yourself?

What am I missing?  I’d love your ideas.

“Matching With” or “Selecting” an Au Pair?

Some folks like to think of this whole interviewing process as a “selection” process — like you’re looking at a line up of attractive boxes on a shelf, and you just pick one. In a “selection” process, almost all the power and the momentum is in the hands of the Host Family.

At AuPairMom we like to think of it differently. We see it all as a “matching” process — once where both the family and the Au Pair candidate take an active role in learning enough about each other to decide whether or not this is a relationship they both want to make a commitment to.

With “matching”, if both parties feel positively about each other AND the relationship, that’s a good thing. With a “match”, you can recognize that the other party is terrific and at the same time conclude that the relationship isn’t quite right. 

If one party doesn’t feel like there is a “fit” between them, it’s not a rejection of the other party. The candidate isn’t “rejected” and there is nothing wrong with him or her if the...

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Au Pair Drinking Wine While On Duty: Okay or Ixnay? (Poll)

4671257316_54fc8123fa_mDear Au Pair Mom — I have been an avid reader of your blog for awhile now and absolutely love the invaluable information and tips I have learned from it.

I’m not entirely sure this is an issue but I think it has the potential to become one so I guess I’m just putting some feelers out there to see if I could do something to nip it in the bud or if you think I’m just overreacting.

Our au pair has been with us for just over 4 months now. She is 24 years old and enjoys the frequent gin & tonic, vodka mixer and wine.

I have no idea how much alcohol she consumes when she is out on the weekend with her au pair friends and I feel it’s not my business to ask her as long as she is safe and doesn’t get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

The problem is there has been three nights within the past two weeks where DH and I either went out to dinner (our anniversary) or were running late with work so our au pair was in charge of dinner, baths and pajamas. When I returned home each of these nights, there was an open bottle of wine on the counter and the au pair has been consuming a glass.

Now to be objective, each time, it was around 6-7.30 pm time slot. I can imagine she’d had a glass of wine to wind down her day and/or to accompany her dinner.

On the other hand, I feel it’s completely within my right to ask her not to drink when she is on duty.

Our Au Pair has never been ‘drunk’ or unable to care for the...

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