This LongIslandHostMom's experience triggered PTSD for me.  All the feels. The ugly, angry resentful feels. All I could think about, after I readLongIslandHostMom's email, was how awful it had been to run into our former, “flame out” au pair, when ...

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"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles

  1. Au Pair Departs in a Huff, Then Moves In Next Door
  2. When You Discover Your Au Pair was Driving Under the Influence
  3. Teach Kids to Apologize to The Au Pair
  4. How to find South American/ Central American Au Pairs that fit our family’s style
  5. With Your Au Pair’s Social Life, Be Caring Not Controlling
  6. More Recent Articles

Au Pair Departs in a Huff, Then Moves In Next Door

This LongIslandHostMom’s experience triggered PTSD for me.  All the feels. The ugly, angry resentful feels.

6014069776_a13f2d2c70_mAll I could think about, after I readLongIslandHostMom’s email, was how awful it had been to run into our former, “flame out” au pair, when she showed up for a BBQ at my friend’s beach house with my friend’s nanny, acting as though she’d never dumped my family or hurt my kids’ feelings. As though everything was fine.

Because after a rematch, it rarely is fine. All the energy we spent trying to make things work feels wasted. At least one party, if not both, wishes things had ended sooner. Emotions were piqued, resentments amplified, and then all you want is to never. ever. see that Au Pair (or Host Family) again.

Can you imagine if your Au Pair ditched you, and then moved in next door with her “boyfriend”, the son of your neighbors?

Shudder along with me.

Here’s LongIslandHostMom’s email.  We’d love your advice.

Dear Aupairmom,

I am writing to share my story and to get support and guidance from other Host Families.

It’s been an exhausting couple of weeks. My Au Pair left us without any notice.

On 1/30, the day before my 6 year old’s birthday, she texted me at 5pm saying that she has decided to leave that day. By the time I got home, she has already moved out. We had just extended her on 1/8/17. I couldn’t believe she ditched us after spending a year with us.

Of course, we had...

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When You Discover Your Au Pair was Driving Under the Influence

Readers, I can’t really preface this one with anything but a request for some wisdom —

Dear Au Pair Mom —

We have just had an au pair debacle that we are trying to sort through and I was wondering if anyone has any advice.
27594932362_0daa769e36_mOur au pair asked to use our car to go to a nearby town with a friend for dinner. Since she’s covered on our insurance and takes the car from time to time we said sure. She’s 24, had a great relationship with the kids and seemed responsible. I felt like she was a great addition to our family.

The night she drove our car we went to bed assuming that everything was fine and received no calls or messages that night. The next day at 11:00am my husband and son went on an adventure to Costco to get a churro while I stayed home with our baby. Five minutes later my son came back inside our house crying and I hear my husband calling our au pair to please come downstairs because our car is missing.

Our au pair came downstairs with a post-it indicating where our car has been taken to impound and informs us she was pulled over for going 40mph in a 25mph and presents a speeding ticket. She came home with no car and did not tell us. She informs us the officer could not understand her so she was taken to the police station. Her English is pretty good and it didn’t make sense to me that they would impound our car for this reason. I asked her if she had been drinking alcohol and she says she was not drunk and had 2 beers in a 5 hour...

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Teach Kids to Apologize to The Au Pair

Hosting an Au Pair presents us with one opportunity after another to teach our children how to be kind.

In many of our conversations here on the blog, we worry about being kind proactively.

As adults, we Host Parents spend a lot of time thinking about how to be kind to our Au Pairs, to say “no” only when necessary, to offer explanations of tough decisions, and to be generous when we can.

We also try to model kindness after the breach — when feelings have been hurt, folks have been angry, or even just a little too self-centered.

I know that time and again I’ve said “I’m sorry for ______” to an Au Pair, and done this in front of my girls. I’ve wanted them to see that apologizing — being kind after having been hurtful — is a normal part of being a good family member. I wanted them to feel like they could mend a breach that they had created.

Finding Proof

As I was clearing out a drawer over the weekend, I found this envelope addressed to Clara, our Au Pair from when my girls were 10 and 12-ish.

The handwriting was obviously my older daughter — the one who’s just gone off to college. When I opened it up, I realized it was a concrete piece of evidence of one of my child’s magical qualities —

One of the things I’ve loved about my older daughter is that she is a model of saying “I’m sorry”. As a girl, she’d be angry or mean like any other kid who wants things her own...

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How to find South American/ Central American Au Pairs that fit our family’s style

Hello Au Pair Moms!

I am in search of our 3rd au pair, perhaps someone from Central or Latin America.  We really loved the German Au Pair we had, and would love another just like her… but I’ve noticed the European Au Pairs are not as available.

latin-america-political-mapI live in Chicago, which has a large Hispanic population that should feel welcoming to an Hispanic Au pair.

We had a Columbian au pair, but we rematched within 3 months. There was dishonesty, a series of miscommunications, homesickness, and a little more emotional hand holding and neediness than I had expected.

So with that being said, I’m gun shy on South/Central American girls, even though I’m sure many are wonderful, they might not fit with our family’s style.

Other moms have experienced some of the same issues, and I know our independent and direct family style of communication may not blend well. But I may be wrong.

Any of you host mamas (and dads) have great South/Central girls? Any tips on questions or how to weed out the ones who may be super needy or too homesick? Should I look for ones from larger cities? Any specific countries where the girls may be more independent and want to really enjoy their time in America?

And as for reference, we live in Chicago and have a 3 and 1 year old. Set schedule with weekdays only, and pretty flexible. Laidback and liberal. Not a lot of extended family nearby so just us.

Appreciate any advice and insight!

     

With Your Au Pair’s Social Life, Be Caring Not Controlling

If you can trust your Au Pair with your children, can’t you trust her with her own Saturday night plans?

5522241527_6f344c321f_mI wondered this, when I read the email (below) from the OverMonitoredAuPair.

I am a BIG believer in knowing how to find your Au Pair in an emergency during his/her off-duty time.

I am a BIG believer in knowing where your several-thousand dollar family car might be on any given evening. And,

I am a BIG believer in open communication between Au Pairs and Host Parents.

So it makes sense to me that an Au Pair should give Host Parents some information about where they are, when they are coming home, and when or whether to worry if they don’t.

With tools like “find my iphone” and car-based geo-trackers, it’s possible for us to snoop on our Au Pairs’ activity without their consent. With requests like “Text me where you are” and “Tell me what your plans are”, it’s possible for us to feel informed and at ease about what our Au Pair’s are up to, with just simple text messages.

However,  these are also ways to impose too much control over an Au Pair. To take away the Au Pair’s sense of liberty. To invade an Au Pair’s privacy. To spoil his or her sense of adventure.

For this Au Pair, I’d recommend a conversation with the Host Parents. It’s time for the Host Parents to back off a bit, and perhaps use some less invasive methods to feel comfortable that their Au Pair is safe...

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