"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles
We have a new and unconventional need for childcare.
Would an Au Pair be the right choice for us? How would we know?
My husband and I have had an awesome nanny (who does not live with us) for the last year since our son was born. However, my husband has to leave the state for training for a year, and as I am on call all weeknights and 1 weekend in six, we need to transition to in home care just so there will be someone in the house at night in case I have to leave or don’t get home until very late in the evening.
I will send my son to daycare/school for 5.5 hours a day, but the care giver would be expected to work in the morning until school started, in the afternoon till I got home and then be in the house every weeknight all night. They could go out but would be expected to come home if I needed to leave.
I only know one person who had au pairs and thought they were wonderful, but that was 15 years ago; she does the same job as me, but her husband was home.
Is an au pair totally the wrong direction for us? I’d love your thoughts. ~Nervous in Nebraska
The challenge this mom faces is with the overnight hours. Officially, if your au pair ‘has to be there just in case’ you have to count those as hours worked. Overnight hours: Should we be able to schedule Au Pairs to work overnight? If you could find a way t0 keep the hours at 45/wk, it might be possible (e.g., she’s on duty from 12 midnight to 8 am, then from 2-4). Still,...
I laughed with recognition of the dynamics in this Host Mom’s comment– who hasn’t seen their Au Pair and their kid(s)-of-a-certain-age get into squabbles just like 7th graders fighting over who gets to sit where in the cafeteria?
… I’ve got a concern regarding the “attitude” issue. Over summer vacation, issues that were small annoyances during the school year are becoming more problematic. I know that I need a “reset conversation” but I am struggling with the “clarifying the specific behaviors that are missing” part.
We have middle school kids and they essentially think that the au pair is angry at them all the time. From my view it is a combination of a reserved personality with a disbelief that they cannot do everything for themselves at their age.
On the other side, if I ask the au pair to make sure they get a specific chore done he tells me that they won’t listen to him. He also thinks that one of my kids doesn’t like him. I feel like it is turning into some sort of middle school drama.
I tried to talk to kids and au pair together several months ago about some of these issues but it turned into a disaster when my son interpreted it that we were blaming him for everything.
It’s challenging to have to talk with Au Pairs about their dynamics with the kids.
Sometimes being ‘part of the family’ draws out some of the negative dynamics from...
Four weeks in, and your Au Pair still isn’t doing what you’d expected. Worse, s/he’s not doing what you need.
You’ve finished up her formal orientation and in-home training, but your Au Pair hasn’t stepped up to fill the role. Is there anything you can do?
There are two kinds of early performance problems.
The first one is caused by a lack of skills or knowledge – where the Au Pair simply can’t figure out how to get the kids fed, clothed and off to school. Or she can’t get from dance class to the YMCA, even though they are a block away from each other.
The other problem is caused by the Au Pair not having an attitude that fits the family’s situation. S/he might be too strict for a casual family, too lackadaisical for a safety conscious family whose kids need an eagle eye on them at all times, or too much of a couch potato for a family of high energy types.
An appropriate response to the first problem is to identify the skills that are missing, map out a training/learning plan, and work with the au pair to learn what s/h needs to learn by a certain set time. You should only give up after training someone and being there to coach them as they learn. You need to let them prove to you and to themselves whether they are or are not ‘capable’.
The second kind of performance problem, the kind cause by an attitude that doesn’t fit, is harder to address.
In these situations, you should:
You can’t step into the same river twice.
So says Plato, quoting Heraclitus.
Ancient wisdom suggests that, even if that candidate loved being an Au Pair two years ago, the experience might not feel the same the second time around.
We might hope that someone with previous experience as an Au Pair would have a realistic sense of what it takes.
The returning candidate could have thought long and hard about what worked well and what was challenging. S/he may be able to make better choices about where to match, and with which sort of family.
Then again, the two years between leaving the previous host family and looking for a new one might have diluted memories of the difficult adjustments, the chronic challenges, or the toughness of the work.
If you came across the profile of a returning Au Pair, assuming s/he met all your other criteria, what would you consider before choosing to interview him or her?
This returning Au Pair would like to know:
I was an Au Pair in 2010/2011 for 18 months.
I am currently doing an internship at a European Au Pair Agency. I’ve thought about going back as an Au Pair before, and now during my internship these idea seems even more interesting.
I now wanted to know if there are any families or au pairs out there who can give me some feedback of having an experience as or with return au pairs. Are returning au pairs popular? Would families choose them over younger, not-yet-experienced au pairs?Note: There is a...
Many thanks to Julie Dye, an LCC with Cultural Care, for putting together this comprehensive overview from the Counselor’s point of view. We’re all in this together. When we understand the perspectives of folks who hold different roles in the AuPairing Community, we’re more able to learn from them and appreciate their wisdom. ~ cvh
As a host family with an au pair, there are a lot of things you need to know—State Department regulations, your agency’s rules, and how to help your au pair get everything from a driver’s license to affordable class options, to a winter coat or even that special cheese for her mom’s recipes. There are many other things that we, as LCCs, wish you knew (but we can’t always tell you) that will make your experience in the au pair program better.
I’m going to share some of those LCC secrets with you.
FULL DISCLOSURE: We’ve had 8 au pairs in my family, of which 5 were transition au pairs who were with other families before us. They’ve stayed from 2 months to 1 ½ years—my husband calls us the “home for wayward au pairs”. I’ve worked with Cultural Care Au Pair as an LCC for nearly 5 years. I am VERY passionate about my job and therefore my perspective is one of working with and hosting through this organization only, though I’ve supported families who found au pairs through (and then switched from) several other agencies.
We wish you knew this:
1) When in matching, tell the whole truth (and nothing but...
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