“There’s a lid for every pot”, we often say here on Au Pair Mom.

No matter how weird your situation, or how picky you are, there is an au pair out there for you.

Sometimes you’re lucky and you discover TWO au pairs who seem to fit your needs. So, how do you choose?

4069384258_686874d560_mThe problem is — there are 15 things that you think you want in an Au Pair, and you know you’re unlikely to get all 15. So you think, “If I can get 13, that’s great.”  But Au Pair “A” has one combination of 13 features, and Au Pair “B” has another combination of 13 great features.

Read the email from EenieMeenieMinyMoe HostMom, and then vote on which you’d choose.  Share your wisdom in the comments.  [click to continue reading …]


How to Reduce the Costs of Having an Au Pair

by cv harquail on July 23, 2016

Parents who are researching childcare options for the first time invariably experience “sticker shock”. Who knew that a year of childcare in America could cost as much as a year at a good instate university?

Whether childcare is provided by a retail day care center, a someone-else’s-home-based childcare center, a nanny, or an au pair, good childcare costs money.

506171455_f95e668148_mIt’s not surprising, then, that we often get emails from parents asking if there are ways to reduce the costs of hiring an au pair. Just recently, a new mom wrote:

My head is spinning… Why does it cost $7,500 – 9,000 to bring an au pair here?

Are there any resources where there are au pairs currently in the US looking for work or to extend a J-1 that i could use to cut down on the costs?

Are there other options for reducing the costs?

Yes there are some options for reducing the costs of hosting an Au Pair, and we’ll address these, below. But first we need to consider:

What *Should* Childcare Cost?

For perspective, consider the appropriate cost of childcare, as a standard against which to evaluate how much you feel you can/should spend.   [click to continue reading …]


Recently we’ve discusses Au Pair illnesses, when an Au Pair ought to share this information with Host Parents, and how / when Host Parents can best respond.

Now, the shoe’s on the other foot, with this email from HostMomWithGoodPrognosis.


Should this information be shared before matching with an au pair? Or later, once the au pair arrives?

As HostMomWithGoodPrognosis writes:

I suppose the answer is always going to be “it depends on the specific facts,” so here are my facts for consideration.

A month or so ago, I had a lump in my thyroid tested and received a diagnosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma. The good news is that the prognosis for this is generally excellent — without boring you with the details, the survival rates are extraordinarily high, and it’s likely that at most I will only need to have part of my thyroid out. I won’t need chemo or radiation so I’m unlikely to be debilitated for any significant period of time. I’ve been told repeatedly by doctors that “it’s the best cancer to have” (somewhat annoying in that I’d rather not have any cancer, but objectively speaking it’s highly treatable and highly survivable). The options on the table right now are either active surveillance or a partial thyroidectomy, to be determined after I get a second opinion from one of the leading experts at a major cancer center in a couple of weeks.

The way the timeframe is shaping up, though, is somewhat tricky vis-a-vis our AP candidate interviewing and matching schedule. Our current AP leaves in late September and we need to match with our next AP by mid-August.

We’ve recently made an offer to an au pair candidate we really like, but I did not disclose the diagnosis to her during the interview process, because the final treatment plan is still up in the air. For what it’s worth, pending getting the second opinions and formulating a treatment plan, I’ve only told my current au pair, my boss, my mom and my siblings, and two close friends, but not my kids or my larger social network.

The timing of the surgery, if any, is so completely up in the air right now that I can’t say anything more than “I might need surgery either soon-ish or maybe months or years from now.”

At what point do I need to tell our new au pair? I am really not comfortable telling her right now (when we have not yet officially matched) in part because (selfishly) I don’t want this to influence her decision, in part because it is not a huge health issue that’s likely to affect how I function in the household during her year here, and in part because it still feels very private.

Is it OK that I’m withholding this information until I know what treatment plan I decide on? And once I do know what the plan is, I hope in a couple of weeks, should I tell her before she arrives or wait until after she’s here?

Image: Curious by Liliana Saeb, on Flickr


Should I Tell the Other Host Family Their Au Pair Is Leaving Early? (Poll)

by cv harquail July 7, 2016

Dear AuPairMom —  My au pair’s good friend here is an au pair as well. According to my AP, the friend is scheduled to work for her host family for a year but will be leaving a few weeks early. The problem? The Au Pair hasn’t told her Host Family that she’s leaving, even though […]

24 comments Read the full article →

Easy Patriotic Dessert for 4th of July –Au Pairs & Kids

by cv harquail July 2, 2016

Fourth of July picnics are the perfect time for desserts that feature the Red, White, and Blue, the Stars n’ Stripes, or your own combo of patriotic symbols. Some of these are marvelous, and simply too complicated. Between all the beer, burgers, and babies, who has time to make a fancy cake?   Hence, I […]

3 comments Read the full article →

Male Au Pairs: Everything You Wanted To Know about BroPairs

by cv harquail June 30, 2016

Male au pairs are revolutionaries, and so are the families that host them. I love the ways that male au pairs and families that host them are pushing American stereotypes about masculinity and childcare. I love that male au pairs help us see different ways that our kids can connect to adults. I love that […]

36 comments Read the full article →

Chatting With Other Host Moms…In Real Life

by Frances Scher June 28, 2016
friend image

Frances Scher here again… I’ve been brainstorming this idea lately, and want to get some feedback. When we first started out hosting au pairs, my husband and I expected to meet a lot of other host families. Then we would know someone who had been down this road before and would be able to give firsthand […]

63 comments Read the full article →

Helping an Au Pair Whose Host Dad Is Acting Inappropriately

by cv harquail June 26, 2016

(Reposting from its previous place in another thread:) Writes Host Mom X, I need some urgent advice on an uncomfortable situation, with a new au pair and her Host Dad: One of our au pair’s besties recently ended her year, and our au pair has taken that host family’s new au pair under her wing. […]

52 comments Read the full article →

When & Why Do You Really Need an Au Pair Who Can Swim?

by cv harquail June 25, 2016

A new host mom sent a long email about several challenges she’s experiencing with her Au Pair (and we’ll get to them in the next week or two). Her concern about her new Au Pair’s swimming skills stood out to me, maybe because my neighbors down the street — with a new au pair– have […]

22 comments Read the full article →

Newbie Host Mom Totally Not Sure She Needs Help (She Does)

by Frances Scher June 22, 2016
owl mailbox

  Hi! I am Frances Scher, and I am taking a turn at the APMom mailbox.  First up is a letter from a new host mom. Her previous expectations of the au pair program don’t seem to be lining up with the current reality. The au pair is not doing her job and following the […]

31 comments Read the full article →