Would You Choose a Former Nanny as an Au Pair?

by cv harquail on March 31, 2015

Here’s a rare kind of email– a topic we have never discussed before.  I keep thinking there are none of these left, and then >boom< one of them lands in my inbox.

I‘m currently working as a nanny. I would really really love to come and do an au pair year in America. I love reading your blog and hearing the employers side and point of view and was wondering if you could help me tap into the sage advice of the experienced host moms.

patron-marypoppins-566A bit of background about me: I’m from (an English-speaking country) originally and I’ve just turned 25. I have a psychology degree, and have been nannying since I finished my degree in 2011. I’ve nannied in London and in the the Middle East.   I did a season as a summer camp counselor in the midwest and loved living in the USA.

I’d love to come and do another year. I am conscious of the fact that I only have until I turn 27 to do so and I’m also aware that with my current choice of careers an au pair visa really is the only way into the States for me.      [click to continue reading ...]


Notes on the Blog: Somehow, we broke the Interwebz

by cv harquail on March 27, 2015

I don’t know what happened, and I don’t know what fixed it back up to 98% of what it was before, but sorry about this morning’s long, long, long outage. Also, apologies to whomever commented between last night and noon today– your insights were lost in the ‘series of tubes’ that make up the worldwideweb. Back to our regular programming…. I hope. :-)


Reading the Tea Leaves to Find Your Perfect Au Pair

by cv harquail on March 26, 2015

I am driving myself crazy with thinking through this matching process, but this current fabulous AP kind of messes with all my algorithms and criteria. Maybe it’s just a one-time thing to get someone like this. … Maybe we are all just reading tea leaves and astrological forecasts. 

I wish I knew that were the case, then I would give up thinking I could actually choose an au pair who will be precisely as I wish.
~Host Mom ShouldBeWorking

Reading the tea leaves.

1030734_f520They should teach this in ‘prospective host parent school.  We all do it, in some way or another.

The phrase “reading the tea leaves” -  first proffered by ShouldBeWorking–  is just about perfect for  describing how host parents puzzle over Au Pair applications, looking for patterns, signs, anything, that might clue us towards the au pair candidate that’s just right for our family.

Multitasking Host Mom emailed to follow up on SKNY‘s request that HRHM divulge what she uses to find the ‘perfect for her’ Au Pair.  She wonders — what are we each looking for, that sets a certain candidate apart from the others?

Is it work experience, education, hobbies, personality traits, etc.?  What is it (beyond the concrete basics of age, driving, smoking, and home country), that we are each looking for?  Since we all have different childcare needs, we won’t all be looking for the same thing… but it would be interesting to know:

What are the top two or three things you look for when you read the tea leaves?


Au Pair Asks: Should I offer to rematch to solve a driving problem?

by cv harquail March 24, 2015
au pair, driving problems, liscence

Hi Au Pair Mom, I am currently an Au Pair on the East Coast. I arrived in Jan 2014 and extended another 6 months. Everything is amazing and we have had no issues in the time I have been here. But now a pretty big problem has arisen and I dont know what to do. […]

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How Should Au Pair Host Parents Respond to Charges Against the Au Pair Program?

by cv harquail March 23, 2015

While I was away last week, a very disturbing post hit the Washington Post Wonkblog, where the title shares its central claim: “Au pairs provide cheap childcare. Maybe illegally cheap.” In the post, the author describes a class action lawsuit being brought against US Au Pair Agencies by a Colorado group called Towards Justice, on behalf of […]

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Why Your Au Pair Should Go To Your Kid’s School Play …

by cv harquail March 15, 2015

… and all sorts of other family events. If having an Au Pair is a Cultural Exchange, school and community events are an important part of the excitement. Hey, I’ve endured enjoyed  enough grammar school orchestra concerts to be an expert on ways to butcher the violin parts of The Str Spangled Banner. But if […]

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Unhappy Au Pairs Can Start “Reset” Conversations Too

by cv harquail March 13, 2015

You don’t have to be a host parent to notice a problem in your Host Family-Au Pair relationship. Obviously, Au Pairs notice problems too. That’s why Au Pairs should try some using some of the very same tools we recommend to host parents, tools like weekly meetings, written schedules, and the always-useful reset conversation. One […]

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Helping Au Pairs Teach Second-Languages to Kids

by cv harquail March 12, 2015

Does anyone feel like s/he’s cracked the nut on having an au pair help teach a child a second language? Many host parents chose au pairs with this goal in mind, knowing these key things: Au Pairs also need to speak English so that they can achieve their language learning goals Few Au Pairs are taught […]

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When Your Au Pair Complains About A Fair Schedule

by cv harquail March 9, 2015

File this under: “Grrrrrr.”  You are a lovely family with an adorable child.  You offer a reasonably cushy schedule to your au pair. Most days it’s 2 hours in the morning and 4- 4 1/2 in the afternoon/evening. You go out some weeks nights here and there, to book club or (gasp) to the gym.  And […]

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Fun Au Pair Activities for Monthly Cluster Meetings– ideas?

by cv harquail March 8, 2015

Dear AuPairMom and Readers–   I enjoy reading the blog and learning from all your advice.  I wonder if we could crowd-source some ideas?   Our Au Pair Community Counselor is a lovely person, but sometimes she seems a little out of touch with what Au Pairs might think is fun or useful. Our Counselor […]

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