Readers- Here’s the email that prompted my earlier post about defining what it means to “pitch in”. Clearly, someone in this Host Family has a different interpretation of what that means.

sink-dishes

Hi AuPairMom,

I need your help in forming an opinion for my self regarding dishwashing.

I am working with a family of 2 parents, 2 grandparents and 2 host kids.

I came in February and within a week time I picked up some family chores. I helped my hostmom cleaning up the dinner table and whiping clean the counters, box up leftovers and sweep the floor. Second week, I started to help cleaning the dishes by hand for breakfast and lunch.

I am working for an Asian-American family and they cook their noodles and rice every meal a day so pots and pans are used for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Their dishwasher never worked since I am working for this family and they only use it to stock up their chopsticks and china.

Soon enough my hostdad stopped cleaning the morning and afternoon dishwashing altogether and left it for me to clean by hand. My hostdad works from home and usually takes a nap while I clean the dishes.   [click to continue reading ...]

{ 53 comments }

What does it mean to “pitch in” with host family chores?

Pitching In (defn): To join the family in doing some everyday household upkeep, to help keep the household running smoothly

In anticipation of an au pair question that will get posted later this week, I wanted to sketch out the basic advice (okay, my aupairmom opinion) about what it means to “pitch in”.

Print by OrangeTwist, available for purchase at Etsy Print by OrangeTwist, available for purchase at Etsy

The idea that we ask our au pairs to “pitch in” — comes from the recognition of some simple facts of family life:

1.  Mess is a natural byproduct of living and living together. The mess in a household is created by everyone who lives there, doing basic things like walking in from the dusty outdoors, eating shared meals cooked in common pots, and tossing napkins into the kitchen trash can. “Mess” is the everyday, ongoing outcome of entropy.

(Note: Mess is not bathtub scum or dust in the corners of the stairs — that’s ‘dirt’ that is handled by ‘housecleaning’. Dirt and housecleaning are not au pair responsibiities.)

2.  Mess must be dealt with by the deliberate actions of washing off, picking up and putting away.

3.  Everyone in the household contributes to this mess.    [click to continue reading ...]

{ 71 comments }

Open Thread: July 12

by cv harquail on July 11, 2014

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We’re baaaaack!

I know that you’ve missed the Open Thread — I can tell from all the re-directions in the comments on the posts!

Use this open thread to toss out any question or concern you haveexcept for one:  

If you are an au pair outside the USA whose host parents are somehow taking advantage of you, please read this post instead:

An Open Letter to Au Pairs without an Agency, Outside the USA

All other topics are fair game.   This thread will be open until Monday morning, July 14.  Enjoy.

 

“ColourByNumbers” experiential work with woollen threads,  by Peter Hindmarsh

 

 

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Scheduling Your Au Pair: The Minimum Length of a Work Shift

by cv harquail July 11, 2014
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The US State Department sets firm, legal parameters for scheduling an Au Pair.  But the US State Department rules, and the contractual stipulations of each Au Pair Agency, form only the required, minimum guidelines for scheduling an Au Pair. Within this rough outline, host parents and au pairs need to negotiate what is sensible, fair, effective […]

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Do you really want to know what your Au Pair is up to?

by cv harquail July 9, 2014
au pair, breaking rules, advice, secrets

‘Let me live in my fantasy world, where where Au Pairs drink only Diet Coke.’  This is what I’d say to Potential Tattletail AP. How about you? Dear AuPairMom-  I have a bit of a delicate question that I would love to get some feedback on from a HF perspective if possible.  I was an […]

45 comments Read the full article →

When Your New and Old Au Pairs Get Jealous of Each Other

by cv harquail July 6, 2014
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How hard is it to see the incoming au pair making connections with the kids, settling into the AuPair room, learning to drive in the USA, and talking about all she’s going to do in her year of adventure? If you’re the host mom, it’s not hard at all– you *want* to see this. But if […]

32 comments Read the full article →

Should We Extend An Au Pair While She Plans To Wed Her American Husband?

by cv harquail July 4, 2014

I need immediate advice from some of our host moms who have dealt with an aupair, wanting to extend, but also planning to get married, switch visas etc. Our aupair whom we love is thinking of marriage! her boyfriend has proposed? we are happy and excited for her, but not sure how to advice her. […]

40 comments Read the full article →

Talking Politics With Your Au Pair

by cv harquail July 3, 2014
au pair, talking politics, aupair-mom

“Obama never should have taken the soldiers out of Iraq.” So opined my neighbor’s au pair, over dinner last week. “Obama let the Iraq people down, because he promised that the US would protect their freedom,” she continued. My neighbor choked on her caesar salad, fighting back the urge to scream “Stop watching Fox News!“ […]

86 comments Read the full article →

Fun for the 4th: Bake a Flag Cake

by cv harquail July 1, 2014
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Does your Au Pair like to bake? Do your kids? If you’ve ever made a checkerboard cake, a heart-shaped cake, or a cake-like thing that looked vaguely like Thomas The Tank Engine, you have all the skills and equipment you need to make this very American beauty. The flag-making process and recipe come from the […]

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Extreme Scheduling: Is it fair to an Au Pair?

by cv harquail June 27, 2014
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 Extreme Scheduling: When you use all your 45 ‘on duty’ hours in one fell swoop People actually do this. I’ve heard from au pairs who are scheduled for three days in a row when no parents are otherwise present, even at ‘off duty’ times (such as when a mom is a pilot and works in 3 […]

77 comments Read the full article →