Thanksgiving Thoughts about Gratitude

by cv harquail on November 24, 2015

[Two years ago we enjoyed this post on gratitude, and au pairs. Since there are so many new and different readers of the blog now, that I thought I'd post it again.  Following up this post is a chance to reflect what you're thankful and grateful for in your host family- au pair relationship.  cv]

With Thanksgiving upon us, opening up the holiday season, all of us host moms & dads have a chance to be thankful about what our children and our au pairs bring into our lives.

Part of the reason I think that having an au pair can be so great is that it asks us to open up our families and to share our lives with others, in a unique way. We have to consider our values and priorities, translate these for someone from another culture, consider their personal and cultural values, manage the constant balance between employee and family, and collaborate together to support our children, our au pair, ourselves, and our community.200911250811.jpg

Thanksgiving gives us a (pretty obvious) opportunity to reflect on what having an au pair is bringing to our families, and how strengthening our relationships between our selves, our au pairs and our children can benefit all of us. Whether your relationship is more functional or more familial, whether you feel frustrated or delighted more often than not, there’s something good going on or your wouldn’t be in this relationship.

Take a moment to reflect on all of this, and to share your gratitude with your family and your au pair. (It’s okay to give yourself a pat on the back too, parents.)

Folks enjoyed the article by Christine Kane that I shared a few months ago, and here is another one about Thanksgiving. It’s always a treat to find something well-written and insightful, and since Christine encourages her readers to share her posts in toto, I’m happy to send it along to you.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Why Gratitude Makes You Happy and Wealthy
by Christine Kane

Gratitude is more than being thankful one day a year. Gratitude is a practice. For some, it’s a way of life.

Why do some people swear by the practice of gratitude? Why do these people have joy-filled and abundant lives?

In other words, why does gratitude make you happy and wealthy?

• Because gratitude is about presence.

It’s about waking up in this moment and being here – really being here – and noticing what’s around you. Most people are so busy thinking about the next thing, or about their horrid past, that they don’t wake up and look around at their present moment – the only moment there is.

• Because gratitude is about honoring YOUR precious life.

Do you ever compare your life with someone else’s? Do you ever wish your life were better and more like [insert famous person's name here]? Sometimes we can lose ourselves in wondering how we “measure up” to some standard set by our families or by the media. Comparison is the mind killer. The antidote is gratitude.

Gratitude requires that you validate your own life. (And you really don’t have any other life, do
you?) It forces you to say YES to the gift that is you. The choices you’ve made and the changes you’ve gone through – they have brought you here. Even if here is a place that needs a little adjustment, that’s okay. There are always gifts in any present moment.

• Because gratitude is about attracting.

It’s difficult to attract abundance and joy if you are constantly saying “no” to what IS. You say “no” each time you focus on the future or past, or when you criticize something that is in your present moment.

Attraction is about saying Yes. When you say Yes, you shift.

Gratitude says, “Yes, I love this!” And then more of this is attracted, because the this is what you’re focusing on.

• Because gratitude is about choice. [click to continue reading ...]


When It Makes Sense to Cancel Your Au Pair Match

by cv harquail on November 16, 2015

Sometimes with big decisions we feel some “buyer’s remorse”.  

Maybe you should’ve gotten a station wagon instead of a mini-van? Or the size 12 instead of the size 10…?nancynance

Often, the buyer’s remorse just goes away. Other times, you take the jeans back to Target and exchange them for a larger size. Whatever. That’s life.

When it comes to selecting Au Pairs (or Host Families), a little bit of discomfort over the decision is normal.

Hey, it’s a really big decision! You consider whatever criteria you have, you evaluate whatever data you can, and then you decide.

If it helps, remember that there’s No Such Thing as a “prefect match”.

We make good matches, and then we work like hell to create strong relationships.

It’s the work, not the choice, that creates Host Parent and Au Pair success stories.

But there is always the exception that challenges the advice — like this situation, from 2nd Guessing Host Mom.    Read it through, take the poll, and then tell us in the comments–     [click to continue reading ...]


Au Pair with Eating Disorder – Should She Leave Early?

by cv harquail on November 14, 2015

We’re a little sensitive here at AuPairMom about the subject of eating disorders among young women. Some of us Moms have struggled with them, and some of us have children who have had or are currently working through eating disorders. So, as we go forward with this conversation, please be especially thoughtful. 

A brand new Au Pair writes (below) that she’s struggling with anorexia.

leavesHer Host Family’s own eating behaviors and their commentary about her appearance (which might be neutral or unremarkable in other situations) are making the situation worse for her. She wants to leave at Christmas.

Trouble is — she’s only been with the family for one month.  That would suggest that she chose to take an Au Pair year, and matched with a family, knowing she had an active eating disorder that would interfere with her ability to be a good au pair.    [click to continue reading ...]


Water-Conserving Host Parents Challenge Au Pair Cleanliness Preferences

by cv harquail November 11, 2015

My host parents are very, very concerned about conserving water. We live in a part of the US (not California) where there has been a normal amount of rainfall– so a lack of actual water is not the reason. In the house, the bathroom sinks have no hot water. I have to wash my hands […]

58 comments Read the full article →

Layers of Au Pair Problems…Leading to Rematch?

by cv harquail November 9, 2015

This Host Mom’s got it all falling apart. Little seems to be going as expected. When this Host Mom emailed, I’d suggested to her that maybe it would be easier if we separated the topics and had one post for #1 and another for #2 & #3– but they feel too connected in the Host Mom’s […]

116 comments Read the full article →

When Another Au Pair is Dating a Drug Dealer

by cv harquail November 4, 2015
au pair dating, au pair problems

It’s a classic case with a new wrinkle – What’s classic:   Your Au Pair’s friend, who is also an Au Pair, is doing something unsafe. Your Au Pair told you about it, because she’s worried. And she should be worried, since the Au Pair’s friend is putting herself and her group of Au Pairs in […]

68 comments Read the full article →

Should Au Pairs or Host Families Pay Extension Fees? (Poll)

by cv harquail November 2, 2015
amy gaines

TexasHM came across an interesting fact about extension application fees — it turns out, not all agencies automatically make these fees the responsibility of the Host Family. Depending on the practices of your particular Au Pair Agency, your family might choose to pay the fee yourself, split it with your Au Pair, or even have […]

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Halloween Fun for Au Pairs and Host Kids

by cv harquail October 30, 2015

Every holiday gives your kids and your au pair a chance to work together, have fun and build memories with holiday-related crafts and activities. Cultural sharing and just plain ‘ole relationship-building happens in the doing of things. Given that Halloween is one of the trio of secular, nation wide cultural holidays (the other two being Thanksgiving and […]

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Gentle Ways to Let Go of Your Departed Au Pair

by cv harquail October 24, 2015

Letting go of an Au Pair you’ve loved having as part of your family can be really, really hard. Really hard. Of course, it’s a nice problem to have … but it’s still a challenge. After all, you’ve had a wonderful year with your Au Pair — s/he’s been happy, the kids have been happy, you’ve been […]

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Welcoming Your New Au Pair While You Say Goodbye To Your Former Au Pair.

by cv harquail October 24, 2015

How do you manage to welcome a new Au Pair and create room in your heart for the Au Pair in your home, while you’re still missing your former Au Pair, the one who’s gone home? This question is not so much about “overlap”, when you have two au pairs in your home. It’s more […]

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