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"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles

  1. What’s Your System? Tips from Host Parents
  2. Au Pair Asks: How can I tell my Host Family that they’re so noisy they wake me up?
  3. This Is The Open Thread You’ve Been Looking For
  4. How to Switch Au Pair Agencies, Gracefully
  5. How much can an Au Pair influence the positive climate of your home?
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search AuPairMom
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

What’s Your System? Tips from Host Parents

Some readers have teased me about my systems.

Labelers, dots on my fancy knives, saving my ice skates, stuff I tell myself so I calm down, the checkout task list 


But any time I write about one of my systems, a few brave ones of you will mention systems of your own.

(Clearly I’m not the only one that codifies, checklists, and organizes her way into a semblance of sanity.)

We’ve even had some wonderful guest posts where you’ve shared how you’ve organized and systematized you way through some pretty classic host family challenges.

So, I’d like to introduce a new kind of semi-open thread:

What’s Your System?

Here’s the plan:  

  • Whenever I open up a What’s Your System page, you all can add a longish comment about one of your systems.
  • After about 5 different contributions, we’ll close the page.
  • Then, I’ll reblog the systems as individual posts from you. (That will make it easier to search and find the tips later.)
  • If you share a system, when it goes up you can revise what you commented and add pictures, to flesh it out into a fully-formed guest post.

Let’s see how this works?!

See also:

Calendar Advice from CalifMom
4 Household Rules to Protect Your Host Parent Sanity
Tip: Know When to Blame the System (part 1)

p.s.: I’ve stolen the What’s Your System idea from the Tue/night blog. There is some fun stuff on that blog, so check it out.


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Au Pair Asks: How can I tell my Host Family that they’re so noisy they wake me up?

If the shoe were on the other foot, we wouldn’t hesitate to tell our au pairs that their early morning or late night behavior was so rowdy that it interrupted our sleep.

But when you’re the au pair, and it’s your host family just doing their thing in the kitchen, what can you do?

7049247419_287461c152_zAu Pair Nadia has the right general idea– the best solution is to ‘change the system’.

Fixing the problem by moving the au pair to a different spare bedroom would solve the problem once and for all, and might be less likely to put a damper on Sunday morning family fun.  But if the parents have plans for that other guest room (Home office? Grandpa space?) or if that extra bedroom is right above their own bedroom, a room-switch might not be possible.

What do you think Nadia should do?

The problem is that my bedroom is right next to (into) the kitchen. So every weekend I wake up from the talking and screaming from my HF. I understand that the kitchen is the most important part of the house and that they can’t ask the kids to be quiet but I’m awake now every weekend around 7:30. That is not fun after having a late evening the day before.

A lot of au pairs and one of the friends of the family (that I’m also close to) told me that I should ask if I can move to the guestroom in the attic that they are rebuilding. But I have the feeling that asking/claiming that room is wrong, because it’s not my house..

I dropped a lot of hints in the last few months when they...

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This Is The Open Thread You’ve Been Looking For

I know it’s been a while– and questions are piling up. Time for an open thread!


Keep in mind, it can take some time to clear the comment moderation gauntlet for first-time contributors. … This thread will be open until Monday. Got to it, readers!

Image: Evan Leeson on Flickr


How to Switch Au Pair Agencies, Gracefully

Host Families choose their particular Au Pair Agency for all sorts of reasons.

They might choose the agency their neighbors use, the agency that has the best promotional deal, or even the agency that has a name they can spell correctly when they are googling in the middle of the night having been awakened again by a child or by their own nightmares about being unable to hold everything together any longer.

8237593710_15f7bfc3f8_zFamilies occasionally switch from one agency to another when they’ve had a bad experience, such as a relentlessly unhelpful local counselor or someone at headquarters who won’t return their calls. When this happens, host families are happy to scorch the earth behind them.

Indeed, for some, the more huffily and dramatically they can leave their disappointing agency, the better. (Not because they are mean people, but because they seek to make a point.)

Agencies, for their part, generally want to make us host families happy. It’s much easier and less costly to keep a current client than it is to acquire and ‘break in’ a new family.

Smart agencies, when they see that our contracts are at the 8 month mark, start to reconnect so that they can help us move into a new year as a host family and a client.

What happens, then, if you’re perfectly satisfied with the service you’ve received from an agency, but you’re planning to switch to a different one?

Host Mom Deirdre has this question:

What do you tell your current agency when...

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How much can an Au Pair influence the positive climate of your home?

Add one negative person, and the whole ‘psychic weather system’ of a family can become depressed.

Having an au pair who is a grump, a complainer, a depressive, a wet noodle, or a ghost can really be a drag on the family’s energy.

evening in reykjavikBut is an au pair’s impact on the family climate as powerful the other way around? Can a positive au pair — someone who’s warm, friendly, smiling, attentive, welcoming, optimistic, and more — make a concretely positive difference?

I am a happy AP that lives with the family of four.

I have noticed that when my HD goes away for a day or two the family dynamic changes tremendously. He’s the one who spoils babies so usually they eat more junk with him, they misbehave more and generally they are much louder. When he is gone and HM is fully in charge there are no screams from the kids waking me up on weekends. The seem calmer and more laid back.  

After noticing the difference that’s cause by the Host Dad being here or not, I”m wondering if this is how is it with an Au Pair? I read here on the blog about depressed AP and their mood swings. Everybody is affected what automatically changes the dynamic. I read also about AP who eat healthy and gives a good example for the whole family. If things go well and an Ap does a great job HP are more relaxed and dont have to talk to each other about how s/he failed again and how much they wish s/he was already gone. I guess what I...

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