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"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles

  1. AuPairMom is thankful for … TaCL
  2. AuPairMom Blog Notes: When you email for advice…
  3. I Am Grateful for Our Au Pair, Because… : Open Thread Nov 20
  4. TurnAround Situations With Au Pairs and Host Parents: Do they exist?
  5. Share The Fun and the Not-So-Fun with Your Au Pair
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search AuPairMom
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

AuPairMom is thankful for … TaCL

We all know her. We all love her.

TaCL : the internet-famous TakingAComputerLunch.

thankful owlShe’s #1 of 2,200

Over the course of the 6+ years of AuPairMom, around 2,200 different people have contributed to the blog by offering advice in the comments.

It’s TaCL’s 5 Year Anniversary on Au Pair Mom, and I think it’s time we celebrated her. Don’t you?

One of the reasons that TaCL is so famous, and it’s the same as the reasons why we are thankful for her, is that she’s had a powerful, positive impact on this community. It’s not simply the volume of her comments, or the length of time that she’s been participating, but rather the usefulness, relevance, and straight-shooting kindness that her comments offer.

Here’s just a glimpse of  TaCL’s impact:

Other commenters have referred to her/her ideas in their own comments over 350 times.

TaCL has contributed not just through comments. She’s had some guest posts on the front page of the blog, and emailed me and others ‘backstage’ with more private advice.

You need help? TaCL is here.  

After a few comments we start to get to know you.  Many of you we get to know pretty well, because you comment regularly enough and honestly enough that we get a sense of the details of your lives, and of the depth of your spirits.

Over these 5 years, we’ve learned about The Camel and the challenges of a host child with special needs, we’ve learned...

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AuPairMom Blog Notes: When you email for advice…

[Note: This post should help to clarify what you can expect when you email AuPairMom with a question. It aims to put into black and white the principles by which we've been operating for a while. Please email with any questions! ~cvh]

When you email AuPairMom for advice, here are some things you should know:

1. I may take your email text, in part or in full, to use within a post about the topic you are asking about.

Often in order to share useful advice, people need some of the details of the situation.

Generally, I tend to edit the emails and remove some specifics, (e.g., city you’re in, actual country you are from, actual ages and genders of host kids) where those specifics are not critical

2. I will NOT post your name, email address or other specific identifying information, in an effort to keep the conversation about the issues that are raised and not about the particular individuals involved.

3. If you want to share your situation BUT keep some of the details private, you must TELL ME SPECIFICALLY which bits of information these are.

It is up to you to determine want you want to share with me/ AuPairMom vs what you want to remain off the blog itself.

4. I expect that your emails tell the truth as you see it, and that you aren’t adding additional ‘facts’ or over-dramatizing what’s happening.

We have to take your word for things since we aren’t there to assess the situation ourselves (obviously), so your...

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I Am Grateful for Our Au Pair, Because… : Open Thread Nov 20

IMG_0180My family is on our way to Ohio to see Grandma perform in The Glass Menagerie and to celebrate her 8oth Birthday!

It was on a long drive to Ohio back in 2008 when I realized that we needed  AuPairMom — so in celebration of (yet another) 8.5 hour ride, here’s an open thread for the long weekend.

This open thread has a special twist though:  

To contribute, you must use the phrase “I am grateful for our AuPair because…”

Then add anything you want to about why you’re grateful for her/him.   You don’t have to use this exact phrase– a reasonable facsimile will do.  Any threads that diverge from this concept of gratitude will be pended for another day.  Let’s see what we can make with this challenge!

(Au Pairs-- of course you can join in! Just tell us what you’re grateful for about host families, host kids, this au pair adventure, … )


TurnAround Situations With Au Pairs and Host Parents: Do they exist?

ReturningHM claims that they do:

We have had three major turnaround situations over the 8 years we’ve been hosting, two of which happened on the cusp of rematch, so they do work out some of the time!

tawny-owl-chicks-keith-marshall.jpgI have to believe this is true– with all the good advice that gets shared here, surely someone’s been able to put it to good use. Right?

But how does a ‘turnaround’ actually work?

  • What happens after the “reset” conversation?
  • How much time do you give it before you relax?
  • How much do you have to lower/change your expectations to make it work?

Host Parents– if you’ve been able to create a turnaround, will you tell us about it?

Au Pairs — if you’ve made a turnaround successful– or even started one yourself– do you have some tips?

See also: Your Summer Re-Set Conversation: What should you cover?


Share The Fun and the Not-So-Fun with Your Au Pair

Prompted by our conversation over the weekend about the au pair who was unhappy with the ratio of chores-to-child interaction in his work week, I’m reposting something from 2009:

One super-helpful piece of advice my friend Adelaide gave me when we got our first au pair was

“Be Sure to Share the Cream.”

Share both the good parts (the cream) as well as the tough parts of the job of caring for children.200909282010.jpg

Adelaide’s advice has stuck with me because it’s so appropriate to the challenges of sharing childcare.

When you have childcare help, as we do when we have au pairs, it can be tempting to give our helpers all the yucky or boring work (changing diapers, doing laundry, sitting at home watching the child sleep, cleaning up after meals) — while we take all the cream (going to the park, a fun play date, snuggling in the glide rocker with a book, interacting with the darling child).

The balance can also go the other way, where the host parent manages all the drudgery while the au pair does crafts, sports, and sing-alongs.

I’ve been on both sides of the equation myself, where I’ve found myself feeling grumpy and put upon as I cooked while the au pair and kids played, or feeling sheepish when I realized that our au pair was doing more housekeeping than I seemed to be.

Certainly, when an au pair ends up with the ‘skim milk’ part of the deal, we can address this concern by reapportioning who does what. If we’re lucky,...

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