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"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles

  1. When a Host Family Takes Advantage of ‘Pitching In’
  2. “Pitching In”: What does that mean in your host family?
  3. Open Thread: July 12
  4. Scheduling Your Au Pair: The Minimum Length of a Work Shift
  5. Do you really want to know what your Au Pair is up to?
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search AuPairMom
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

When a Host Family Takes Advantage of ‘Pitching In’

Readers- Here’s the email that prompted my earlier post about defining what it means to “pitch in”. Clearly, someone in this Host Family has a different interpretation of what that means.


Hi AuPairMom,

I need your help in forming an opinion for my self regarding dishwashing.

I am working with a family of 2 parents, 2 grandparents and 2 host kids.

I came in February and within a week time I picked up some family chores. I helped my hostmom cleaning up the dinner table and whiping clean the counters, box up leftovers and sweep the floor. Second week, I started to help cleaning the dishes by hand for breakfast and lunch.

I am working for an Asian-American family and they cook their noodles and rice every meal a day so pots and pans are used for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Their dishwasher never worked since I am working for this family and they only use it to stock up their chopsticks and china.

Soon enough my hostdad stopped cleaning the morning and afternoon dishwashing altogether and left it for me to clean by hand. My hostdad works from home and usually takes a nap while I clean the dishes.  

Then in my 4th week my hostmom asked me if I could take over the dinner dishwashing so she could have time to play with her girls in the evening. I told her we could see if that would work out. I didn’t say yes since I was not happy by the thought that now cleaning the dishwashing was made my full responsibility. So, over the day I spend about

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“Pitching In”: What does that mean in your host family?

What does it mean to “pitch in” with host family chores?

Pitching In (defn): To join the family in doing some everyday household upkeep, to help keep the household running smoothly

In anticipation of an au pair question that will get posted later this week, I wanted to sketch out the basic advice (okay, my aupairmom opinion) about what it means to “pitch in”.

Print by OrangeTwist, available for purchase at Etsy Print by OrangeTwist, available for purchase at Etsy

The idea that we ask our au pairs to “pitch in” — comes from the recognition of some simple facts of family life:

1.  Mess is a natural byproduct of living and living together. The mess in a household is created by everyone who lives there, doing basic things like walking in from the dusty outdoors, eating shared meals cooked in common pots, and tossing napkins into the kitchen trash can. “Mess” is the everyday, ongoing outcome of entropy.

(Note: Mess is not bathtub scum or dust in the corners of the stairs — that’s ‘dirt’ that is handled by ‘housecleaning’. Dirt and housecleaning are not au pair responsibiities.)

2.  Mess must be dealt with by the deliberate actions of washing off, picking up and putting away.

3.  Everyone in the household contributes to this mess.   

4,  When an additional person joins the household, there will be an incrementally increase on the overall amount of mess.

5.  Who precisely is responsible for which mess, and for how much of that mess, is impossible to...

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Open Thread: July 12


We’re baaaaack!

I know that you’ve missed the Open Thread — I can tell from all the re-directions in the comments on the posts!

Use this open thread to toss out any question or concern you haveexcept for one:  

If you are an au pair outside the USA whose host parents are somehow taking advantage of you, please read this post instead:

An Open Letter to Au Pairs without an Agency, Outside the USA

All other topics are fair game.   This thread will be open until Monday morning, July 14.  Enjoy.

“ColourByNumbers” experiential work with woollen threads,  by Peter Hindmarsh

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Scheduling Your Au Pair: The Minimum Length of a Work Shift

The US State Department sets firm, legal parameters for scheduling an Au Pair.  But the US State Department rules, and the contractual stipulations of each Au Pair Agency, form only the required, minimum guidelines for scheduling an Au Pair.

35334949_954c16af4d_zWithin this rough outline, host parents and au pairs need to negotiate what is sensible, fair, effective for the children, and effective for the rest of the family (Au Pair included).

We know that the regulations stipulate:

Some agencies (such as CCAP) also require that the full day and half-day off are consecutive. Other agencies do not have this additional requirement.

This basic framework leaves a lot of room for interpretation about how to schedule your Au Pair.    

Here on AuPair mom we’ve had conversations about:

Perhaps the one specific thing we haven’t addressed is whether there should be a minimum amount of time that an au pair is scheduled to be on duty.  


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Do you really want to know what your Au Pair is up to?

‘Let me live in my fantasy world, where where Au Pairs drink only Diet Coke.’ 

This is what I’d say to Potential Tattletail AP. How about you?

Dear AuPairMom- 

au pair, breaking rules, advice, secretsI have a bit of a delicate question that I would love to get some feedback on from a HF perspective if possible. 

I was an au pair in The U.S. last year and became Facebook friends with the girl who replaced me when I left. During her year, I’ve repeatedly seen questionable things being posted on her Facebook page, by her and others.   

Having worked for this family, I know their house rules and highly doubt they’ve changed for her; she’s much younger and seemingly more of a party animal than I ever was.  I’m not interested in judging her personally, but I do still care for the family and even more so the kids. I would hate to see something happen to them because of an irresponsible au pair. I’m not saying this is necessarily the case with her; I know people can be crazy drunk one night and a stellar employee the other, but let’s say she got caught using her fake ID – she’d get sent home on very short notice and those kids would be heartbroken.

Where am I going with this, you might wonder. Well, my question to the host parent community is – would you want to know?

Would you want to know that your underage au pair is using a fake ID to go out drinking? (As well as drinking in your house, smoking, and other things outside the rules.)

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