"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles
When your au pair arrives in your home, the way that you’ve prepared for their arrival can say a lot about how excited you are to get to know them.
We’re all away of the basic things we should have ready — a clean, happy bedroom, a freshly printed handbook, a personalized map, a training schedule, a phone, and a driving lesson.
There are lots of ‘optionals’ too, that depend on your own particular family situation, such as a poster from the kids, a trip to the local ice cream store, or a little gathering of other au pairs in the cluster.
The general idea is that we want to offer our Au Pairs whatever they need to get started, and to feel welcomed and wanted.
We also want to make sure that we begin as we intend to continue. Do you pay for your au pair’s ice cream treat on day 3? Then you probably should pay for her ice cream treat on day 308. Do you want your au pair to empty the entire dishwasher at once or is it okay to do it over the course of 7 hours? Show him right from the start that it’s all at once, or beware a sink full of mess.
First Time Host Mom Lauren is thinking about all the little things, because (of course) she wants to set things up so that her family and her au pair succeed. She asks:
Our first AP is arriving in a few months (we’re so excited!), and I’m not sure what is standard in terms of who pays for certain things. For example, when she first arrives I’m sure she will need a lot of...
One in an ongoing series of posts on very specific information to include in your AuPair Handbook…
HostMom MeanwhileInCanada writes:
I am currently in the process of revising the section of my handbook on give-and-take & related attitude (it’s in the section on “being part of the family”).
I know there have been multiple discussions on AuPairMom about this issues, but I’m having trouble wording it for handbook purposes in a way that might not be misinterpreted as me trying to take advantage of an au pair.
I would love to read some examples from actual handbooks so I can adapt it. I feel like I can’t get it not to sound petty.
Any advice & wisdom appreciated.
Image from Meg on Flickr
Once you’ve had your first Au Pair, you become wiser and more effective as a host parent. We think.
We’ve seen the cycle of the au pair year ebb and flow. We know, individually, that we’ve gotten more savvy and more organized year after year. We’ve gotten less patient — or maybe more patient?– with each new au pair.
I’d argue enthusiastically that thoughtful Host Parents get better with each Au Pair relationship.
But what about Au Pair Host Parents as a group? How are we changing?
Host Mom KLG suggested in an email that she wondered whether host parents as a group have gotten more lenient with late night driving and car use, leading au pairs to feel more resentful of the fewer and fewer families with car curfews.
This made me wonder– have we, as a group of host parents– changed our views and our practices over time? When I was preparing my presentation for the Int’l Au Pair Association Conference in March, I spent some time reflecting on what’s changed in the Au Pair Mom community.
Are there any trends that we can see, looking over 7 years of conversations on this blog?
This blog isn’t a perfect reflection of trends in the Au Pair industry, to be sure.
AuPairMom readers are a relatively select subgroup of the au pair community. People come here to share advice on creating strong relationships, not just to vent about au pair problems. We’re a ‘pro-au pairing’ group.
Even though we...
Dear AuPair Mom,
I am always delighted and relieved when my AP makes friends and starts spending time with them. I have never set a curfew since it seems to me that if I expect them to be responsible for my 4 children, I ought to reasonably expect them to be responsible for themselves; they are adults after all.
I make it clear at the beginning of the year however, that while they are welcome to go out with their friends, I expect them to show up for work well rested and able to take proper care of my children, reminding them of how hard it is to be patient and deal with kids when you are tired.
As the year progresses though, they tend to stay out/up later and later, and often get tired, run down and frequently sick. And then they begin complaining about how tired they are, and how they don’t feel well. At this point, and despite my usual warmth and friendliness toward my AP, I find it almost impossible to muster any sympathy for them.
These are not always “party girls” either, so setting a curfew is not necessarily a solution.
I had an AP who routinely stayed up until 2-4am skyping with friends, browsing the internet or watching movies, and although she usually didn’t have to work until 11am, she frequently complained about how tired she was! She even told me that she stayed up late because otherwise she would wake up early and “have nothing to do”. (I had plenty of things she could have done, but that’s a whole other issue.)
We Host Parents want our Au Pairs to be truthful with us.
Whether the topic is homesickness, feelings of depression, concerns about children’s behavior, or even our own emotional situations, we want our au pairs to tell us how they see things. As Americans, we believe that candor (being forthcoming) and honesty (telling the truth) make strong relationships possible.
When Au Pairs are candid about how they see a situation, they often reveal to us that their perspectives are not the same as ours. This is fine, most of the time, because bridging the gap between what they see and what we see is the very process that helps us resolve problems.
What’s sad, though, is when an au pair’s candor tells us something we don’t want to hear, such as that our toddler behaves badly, our house smells, or our relatives are meddling too much.
What’s absolutely the worst? When an au pair’s candor tells us that s/he doesn’t appreciate what we do to make their situations as good as possible.
Host Mom JJP just found this out, and now she’s wondering–
Should she pursue the extension she’d originally proposed to this au pair, or find someone new?
We’re at that point in our Au Pair’s stay to decide whether we’d like to rematch for another year. Our AP has been pretty good (I wouldn’t say “great”), and for the most part, we’ve been happy with our decision to hire her. She’s trustworthy and...
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