We all want to be generous, and we all want to be appreciated. And, there's nothing like having a third car for your au pair to use to make you aware of the tension that can exist when you want to be generous and want to be appreciated. When we bought ...

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"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles

  1. How to Help Your Au Pair Appreciate the “Au Pair Car”
  2. Au Pairs, Don’t Even THINK About Driving For Uber
  3. Choosing an Au Pair from Her Video: An example for your feedback
  4. How to Make the Most of the #WomensMarch on Washington or Anywhere: Tips from Feminist Activists
  5. Finding an Au Pair: Too Much Detail in Our Host Family Letter?
  6. More Recent Articles

How to Help Your Au Pair Appreciate the “Au Pair Car”

We all want to be generous, and we all want to be appreciated.

And, there’s nothing like having a third car for your au pair to use to make you aware of the tension that can exist when you want to be generous and want to be appreciated.

When we bought our first Volvo wagon to give our precious new baby a fancier, safer “ride” than my 8 yr. old Nissan, we decided to hold onto the Nissan and use it as an “Au Pair Car”. Like the archetypal “station car” in a John Cheever story, the Nissan was intended only to get you there and back safely. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive, but it ran well, was safe enough, and was in great shape.

Our first au pair drove respectfully and safely, as did our second, third, and fourth au pair. It wasn’t until our fifth au pair made a right turn from the left lane and smashed the front fender into someone else’s that the car started to look kind of junky. And it wasn’t until our sixth au pair that the third car was taken for granted.carkeys.jpeg

Up until that sixth au pair (who was in every other respect a FABulous au pair), I really loved having that third car. It seemed like a nice ‘carrot’ to tempt a desirable au pair. It relieved me of having to coordinate my driving plans with my husband’s or the au pair’s, and I was never blasted out of my seat at ignition by a radio set at high volume and tuned to a heavy metal station.

Quite an assortment of benefits!

But, when I...

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Au Pairs, Don’t Even THINK About Driving For Uber

When I saw the first mention of this in the comments several weeks ago, I was surprised.

Au Pairs driving the Host Family car as a second job?

What Au Pair would even presume s/he could use the Host Parents car to drive on off-duty hours to earn some extra money?

carsWith the Host Parents’ car?  You know, the car that’s worth thousands of dollars, that costs thousands per year to maintain and insure? The car that’s a lifeline for the family and the Au Pair? The car that’s a privilege, not a right?

I sent the commenter an email asking for “the rest of the story”, but imagined that there really wasn’t much of a story to tell.

Then today, I received this email:

I recently rematched my au pair, for many reasons (lying, falling asleep on the job, complete inability to cook or drive, etc.). When she returned her smartphone, I found messages on it showing that she had signed up to be an Uber driver, using my car!

The good news is that I never allowed her to drive my car, because I had her evaluated by a driving instructor when she first arrived. She got the lowest possible score on every single skill on the driving evaluation. Still, she was planning to take driving lessons at her expense (I don’t need a driver for the kids), and she clearly planned to work for Uber or a similar company in the future. My insurance doesn’t cover driving for Uber, so it would have been a financial disaster for me if she had gotten in an accident while...

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Choosing an Au Pair from Her Video: An example for your feedback

A prospective Au Pair from South America emailed last week– she has applied to be an Au Pair with Cultural Care, but hasn’t found a family.   She’s wondering — is there anything about her video that might be turning families off? Is there anything she could do to improve her video?

I don’t want to set up an expectation that I’ll post candidates’ videos on Au Pair Mom — but — I think that, this once, it might be interesting for us to talk about what’s in this video, and what we might also be looking for.

What do we really want to see in an au pair candidate’s application video? 

This candidate’s video is quite nice. It looks like someone with good camera and editing skills helped her with it. (Note all the shots where someone else is capturing her actions– and how well framed everything is.) I don’t believe that videos need to be this polished in order to be effective.

A few things I really liked where the scenes where she is playing with her dog (meaningful to me, since we have a dog that we want any au pair to love), and where she is coaching the cheerleading team.

My one concern I won’t mention yet– let’s see if anyone else picks up the same one. ( In any case it wouldn’t be a dealbreaker.)

watch here: 

I haven’t put the candidates name or country here, to help keep the conversation a little more ‘just between us’ on the blog.

...

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How to Make the Most of the #WomensMarch on Washington or Anywhere: Tips from Feminist Activists

In a rare bit of cross-posting, I want to share with you something I wrote for my consulting blog at FeministsAtWork.  I know that not everyone in the AuPairMom community is interested in progressive US politics, so for some of you this post won’t feel personally relevant.  However, since all of us stand to benefit from the focus on Women’s Rights that these marches and marchers are advocating, please share this with women and men who want to support the Women’s Marches

Will you be marching in DC or elsewhere? Let me know in the comments. Also, look for me on Twitter, and in the crowd. You’ll recognize me by the t-shirt on the outside of my soccer mom outfit.

On January 21, tens of thousands of us will be trekking to the #WomensMarch on Washington and to local marches across the USA.  We’re gathering together to make a public statement of support for issues that matter to women and to America.

Our collective presence will make a statement. But what else can we do, beyond “showing up”? How can we maximize our impact?

How can we make the most of our participation in the #WomensMarch?

I posed these questions to the Continuum Collective, a diverse group of feminists who’ve marched on Washington, picketed PTA meetings, lent their bodies to die-ins, danced in Pride parades, and held the peace at candlelight vigils. 

Here are our suggestions for increasing our impact at the March.

1. Wear Your Message on the...

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Finding an Au Pair: Too Much Detail in Our Host Family Letter?

When it comes to writing the materials you use to find and match with an Au Pair, I’m all for being comprehensive.

choosing an au pairI’d much rather lay it all out for a candidate (and for myself) so that s/he can make an informed choice about whether or not to pursue an interview with us. I’d prefer to weed people out with my materials, than wait until after we discover, in a conversation, that something about my family is a deal-breaker for the candidate. But that’s me; I’d rather write than talk.

However, for every good choice we make about how to present ourselves and how to go through the finding & matching process, there is always a downside.


Dear AuPairMom-

As an American Host Mom in Europe, I find my au pairs through Great Au Pair.com. I have a VERY detailed profile description, and have completed their 22 Interview questions for host families in a fair bit of detail.

(If you’re not familiar with the site, the questions cover topics like “What duties will be expected of the au pair?”, “Who does meal planning, cooking, grocery shopping?”, and “What modes of discipline and parenting style do you use?”)

I have populated all of this with lots of detail because I feel it lets a candidate know more about us. Right up front, they are able to make a well-informed decision about whether our family would be a good fit for them.

I like to use an Au Pair applicant’s questions back to me as a way to...

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