AuPairMom gets two kinds of emails– emails asking for advice on how or what to do, and emails asking for support in just dealing with whatever is happening.
Interestingly, every email we get is BOTH of those types.
Sometimes we know what we need to do. For example, almost every email asking ‘Should we go into rematch?’ already knows the answer is “Yes”. They usually want a reminder of what to do, but are most in need of support for doing it.
What does it mean, though, to give each other support?
Do we comment “Yes, that situation obviously stinks” or “That behavior is clearly out of line”? Is that enough?
I know that when I get emails from au pairs asking questions that I can clearly not answer (Like, what are the laws in Spain about vacation days for au pairs?) what these au pairs really want to know is that someone heard them. But is that enough? And how do I know?
The email below is a great example of an email asking for both support and advice. This one comes from a host mom who’s been active on the blog for years and years. She knows as much as there is to know from what we’ve all shared on this blog. She’s offered some marvelously wise advice to many of us.
And still, she’s in need of some help. Let’s see what we can do:
I have three kids (9, 7 and 3) and I am expecting a fourth in three weeks. Our au pair, second this year, decided to leave us. The first one this year was with us for two and a half months, but she was not a good fit and not good with children so we were relieved when she asked for a rematch. This one is with us for a month and a half and we like her but she feels she is not coping. We did mediation and all kinds of help but the rematch is going to happen.
I need help! Not to mention that I need someone in my home in case I go into labor at night and my husband has to take me to the hospital (with 4th kid you cannot procrastinate and have to go pretty much immediately). We recently moved so we don’t have many friends here yet, have no family nearby and no other options than to take all kids with us to the hospital… Not to mention that I could use help during recovery from childbirth, big time.
I know we are hard to match. Number of kids, non mainstream practicing religion, modest home under renovations, no weekly cleaner/maid… But we are a warm family that so many au pairs are looking for – can someone explain to them that a warm family usually doesn’t come with luxurious accommodations and servants? We treat our au pairs like gold. I cook and serve delicious dinners every night… They always have access to a car.
I need support and advice from other moms how to ensure a successful match.
I cannot handle another rematch this year, with the newborn, going back to work, etc… I am now with one of the largest agencies, and when we were in rematch two months ago, even though they had plenty of au pairs in rematch, they told us none was suitable for us (i.e. none could handle that many kids and those ages… those were reasons the girls were in rematch). So the advice of interviewing a local rematch au pair in person may not work, but any kind of advice, support and help is welcome .
What do we do as an online community that feels like real help for the host parents who email with dilemmas?
Is there more that we could do, or something we could do better?