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"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles

  1. If an AuPair is being exploited, is it okay for her to disappear?
  2. How to Get Your Au Pair Ready To Cook
  3. Smelly House: Host Mom Hates Air Fresheners
  4. My Host Family’s House is Smelly. What should I do?
  5. Should She Ask Her Host Mom To Read AuPairMom?
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search AuPairMom
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

If an AuPair is being exploited, is it okay for her to disappear?

We’ve heard the horror stories of au pairs disappearing while the host family is at church, or in the middle of the night without warning. Although this is often selfish behavior by an au pair and intended as a slap in the face to the host parents, there are actually a few situations where I might recommend that an au pair disappear.

girl with suitcase1Obviously if an au pair is threatened with physical or emotional abuse, he or she should leave the host family house immediately. No question about that.

But if it’s a situation where the au pair is being taken advantage of and where s/he’s either pursued some appropriate path for negotiating a change or getting a rematch, we step into a gray area.

What would it take for us Host Parents and Au Pairs to say “Yes, this is a time when the Au Pair should just pack up and leave”?

What would an Au Pair need to do — before disappearing — t0 feel like s/he acted respectfully (given the circumstances) and in a manner s/he can feel proud of?

Read through this email from au Pair, and let’s talk about what she should do.  Then, we’ll vote.

I‘ve been an au pair in (a northern European country) for a little over 2 months now. At first it is always hard getting to know the family and the routine and all these things so I just thought that the host-mother is just not that patient. But now it is starting to get out of hand.  

My schedule looks like this from monday to friday:


Read the whole entry »


How to Get Your Au Pair Ready To Cook

Once your host kids get past the ‘oatmeal and smashed peas’ phase, it’s time for an Au Pair to do some real cooking.

bagelEven au pairs who’ve cooked in their home countries find cooking in America to be a bit challenging.

Au Pairs need to figure out:

    • How our appliances work
    • What each of the foods is named
    • How American weights and measures compare to metric ones
    • What temperature in Fahrenheit is “hot”
    • Where all the stuff is in your kitchen
    • How to cook and mind the kids at the same time

And that’s even before you get to what your dear kids will actually eat!

To help our au pairs get started, the  smartest things I did were to:

  1. Buy a set of Metric measuring cups and spoons
  2. Type up a list of temperatures that foods should reach in order to be ‘cooked’, in both Fahrenheit and Celsius
  3. Make a set of menus for three lunches and three dinners, and
  4. Create some full meal recipes, where I wrote down what to do, for how long, in the right order, so that our au pair could start at 5 and have supper on the table by 5:30.*

Peachtree Mom offered a new suggestion:

Before our next Au Pair arrives, I’m thinking of sending her a link to  Although it is low on the priority list, we do ask our au pair to make dinner 1 to 2 times per week.

3 out of 3 au pairs stated they could cook. Each recited several dishes when we asked about it during Skype — but not...

Read the whole entry »


Smelly House: Host Mom Hates Air Fresheners

Attention readers: This second post about smells and host parents is absolutely unrelated to the previous post.  The Au Pair in the first post and the Au Pair here are not the same person, and the host parents aren’t the same people. It was coincidence that TACL brought up this issue last week….I already had the post from the au pair on the docket.thread

What does this tell us? That smelly houses may be more common that we thought!!

From TACL:

At the risk of hijacking this thread, I’m dealing with a new AP who is obsessed with odor.

I know my house doesn’t smell great all the time – especially this week where my usual September crunch month at work and my stupidity in agreeing to be PTA president giving me a crunch month at school collide. Housework has suffered. I suffer from exzcema use non-scented soaps and detergents (and wear non-latex gloves when I have no choice).

I have made it clear to the AP that I suffer from allergies, but keep them in check by controlling my environment as much as possible.

So last night, on the way to a work event, what do I find? an air freshener in the au pair car (which we took so she could have access to the one vehicle in which The Camel can sit). The scent was overpowering. Do I say something? A no-air-freshener-in-the-car rule is definitely going into the next AP handbook!


My Host Family’s House is Smelly. What should I do?

Everyone’s house has a smell.

Sometimes it’s “dog”, sometimes it’s “curry” and sometimes it’s just “ick”.

good airWe don’t usually notice the everyday smell of our own home because we’re accustomed to it. But when our au pairs walk in for the first time, they notice because the smell is new to them. Over time, they get adjusted and don’t really notice.

Unless it’s truly stinky.

An Au Pair writes:

Dear AuPairMom, My host family’s house smells bad. Really bad.

At first I thought it was the dog– except that they don’t have one. Then I wondered if maybe they just needed to open the windows. (They seem to keep their air conditioner on all the time.)

But I think that the smell is more serious than that.

I have been looking in the house for things that might be causing the smell. There is no pet, no one smokes, no one wears perfume, the smell isn’t the last thing that was cooked. The family is tidy so I don’t think there is garbage somewhere that I can’t see.

Anyway, everything in the house smells this same way more or less. The rooms smell and so do the pillows on the sofa.

I have been here for six weeks now, and the smell has not gone away.

I have been keeping my bedroom door closed, and opening the windows often, and I have washed all the linens in my bedroom. I have started to wear perfume every day so that when the smell really is bad...

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Should She Ask Her Host Mom To Read AuPairMom?

Dear AuPairMom -

I have been reading AuPairMom while I was deciding to become an au pair and I was expecting that what you have on this blog explains what an au pair should expect.

6847244791_bf2fd1ae57_zMy host mom seems to be having some struggles with having an au pair. I’m my family’s first au pair.

My family is a good family.  They are kind, their house is nice, the kids are great, and this feels like a very good situation to me.  I have been here with the family for two months now, and I am noticing that my host mom struggles with some of the things that you talk about on the blog all the time.  Actually I think I know more about having an au pair than my host mom and dad. Maybe I don’t know everything but I know I have thought about a lot of things.

Especially, she seems to have trouble with organizing my schedule. Sometimes my host mom doesn’t give me a plan in advance, then other times she does. Some weeks she gives me lots of time between events and other weeks I am scheduled down to the minute it feels like.

Also she has given me a few “pointers” about how she’d like things done. I got a few lists for putting the lunches together and doing the laundry. But nothing that is complete like the Handbooks that you have on AuPairMom.

I have been trying to be my very best Au Pair by following what you say on the blog.  When I read the post about What Kind Of Host Mom Are You it made me think my host mom might be helped by reading it.


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