"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles
[Two years ago we enjoyed this post on gratitude, and au pairs. Since there are so many new and different readers of the blog now, that I thought I'd post it again. Following up this post is a chance to reflect what you're thankful and grateful for in your host family- au pair relationship. cv]
With Thanksgiving upon us, opening up the holiday season, all of us host moms & dads have a chance to be thankful about what our children and our au pairs bring into our lives.
Part of the reason I think that having an au pair can be so great is that it asks us to open up our families and to share our lives with others, in a unique way. We have to consider our values and priorities, translate these for someone from another culture, consider their personal and cultural values, manage the constant balance between employee and family, and collaborate together to support our children, our au pair, ourselves, and our community.
Thanksgiving gives us a (pretty obvious) opportunity to reflect on what having an au pair is bringing to our families, and how strengthening our relationships between our selves, our au pairs and our children can benefit all of us. Whether your relationship is more functional or more familial, whether you feel frustrated or delighted more often than not, there’s something good going on or your wouldn’t be in this relationship.
Take a moment to reflect on all of this, and to share your gratitude with your family and your au pair. (It’s okay to...
Sometimes with big decisions we feel some “buyer’s remorse”.
Often, the buyer’s remorse just goes away. Other times, you take the jeans back to Target and exchange them for a larger size. Whatever. That’s life.
When it comes to selecting Au Pairs (or Host Families), a little bit of discomfort over the decision is normal.
Hey, it’s a really big decision! You consider whatever criteria you have, you evaluate whatever data you can, and then you decide.
If it helps, remember that there’s No Such Thing as a “prefect match”.
We make good matches, and then we work like hell to create strong relationships.
It’s the work, not the choice, that creates Host Parent and Au Pair success stories.
But there is always the exception that challenges the advice — like this situation, from 2nd Guessing Host Mom. Read it through, take the poll, and then tell us in the comments–
When *does* it make sense to cancel your match?
Dear AuPairMom ~
I just “officially” matched with a young woman yesterday and I’m having serious anxiety about it. I’m so stressed I made a mistake but I feel terribly guilty at the thought of changing my mind and how mean that...
We’re a little sensitive here at AuPairMom about the subject of eating disorders among young women. Some of us Moms have struggled with them, and some of us have children who have had or are currently working through eating disorders. So, as we go forward with this conversation, please be especially thoughtful.
A brand new Au Pair writes (below) that she’s struggling with anorexia.
Her Host Family’s own eating behaviors and their commentary about her appearance (which might be neutral or unremarkable in other situations) are making the situation worse for her. She wants to leave at Christmas.
Trouble is — she’s only been with the family for one month. That would suggest that she chose to take an Au Pair year, and matched with a family, knowing she had an active eating disorder that would interfere with her ability to be a good au pair.
If an au pair is sick, whether with an eating disorder, a recurring digestive challenge, a bad back, or other chronic or long term illness, s/he should go home.
If a prospective au pair has any chronic or longterm illness, s/he should either choose not to take an Au Pair Year, or s/he should disclose the illness to the Host Family and discuss whatever accommodations might need to be made, before s/he agrees to take the position.
The fact that this Au Pair didn’t address these issues with her Host Family before matching is upsetting. If she did not disclose this situation on her Au Pair application,...
My host parents are very, very concerned about conserving water. We live in a part of the US (not California) where there has been a normal amount of rainfall– so a lack of actual water is not the reason.
In the house, the bathroom sinks have no hot water. I have to wash my hands always in cold water. There is also almost no water pressure — water comes put in a trickle.
It’s even worse with the shower. At home I would shower every day. Here, my host parents have made it clear that they don’t want me to shower every day. So I shower every second day.
The host dad has even explained to me that I should only turn the shower on when I am ‘using’ it. So, for instance when I am applying shampoo, body wash, conditioner I should turn the shower off and turn it back on only to rinse. I have been doing this even though it means that I’m often freezing cold. My host dad seems to hover near the bathroom when I am showering and I am sure he is listening to the water turn on and off. I use as little water as is humanly possible. It’s hard to feel clean.
My host parents themselves don’t shower more than once a week. The kids are only bathed once or twice a week.
Then there’s my laundry. I can feel my host dad get upset whenever I go to laundry room. For myself, I have been doing 1 load a week. Every second week I use the super-short water conservation cycle. I only have the clothes I brought in one suitcase, so I don’t have...
This Host Mom’s got it all falling apart.
Little seems to be going as expected. When this Host Mom emailed, I’d suggested to her that maybe it would be easier if we separated the topics and had one post for #1 and another for #2 & #3– but they feel too connected in the Host Mom’s eyes for them to be discussed as separate issues. I have underlined some key points.
Frankly, either one would have me thinking “rematch”.
1. She cannot control the kids, they do not respect her in the slightest.
Every time we leave the house all hell breaks loose and it is total pandemonium and chaos. Yesterday she had only two of the 7 (both age 5) and I was in another room and could hear everything that was happening. My children listened to nothing she said, were disrespectful and rude and basically steamrolled her. I had to intervene several times in a few hours.
I have given her tools to deal with this (time outs, taking away privileges, behavior charts, naptime etc.) and she does all of them but they still just laugh in her face. I also have lectured them (in her presence) and told them unequivocally that they have to do as she says, she is an adult in this house and an authority and if they don’t comply there will be consequences (and there have been).
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