She’s safely home. And really upset.

Sure, the worst didn’t happen. But it doesn’t matter.

11999093926_62938a9c68_mThe Au Pair still had the experience of being dramatically unsafe, even though she’d done all the right things.

The Au Pair still has to drive the car, go out in the evenings, be the responsible adult, and continue being confident as she learns and grows as a guest in the USA.

  • What can her Host Mom do to help?
  • What resources should they look for?
  • What changes could they make in their expectations? What changes *should* they make, if any?

Dear Au Pair Mom:

My Au Pair was robbed last night at gunpoint. Thankfully she is ok, but she (& I) are shaken up. She was being safe, was in a group, and it wasn’t that late (only 10:30 pm).

I am sorely disappointed in the Agency’s response. I thought they might have some kind of support to offer my Au Pair. Thankfully our local coordinator has been attentive, with phone calls and (I hope) a visit later today. But, the agency “has no resources” and is at a loss to assist.

I am sad and yet sure other families/Au pairs have experienced situations like this in the past. What should we do?



This mom’s Au Pair has a very specific injury that is preventing the Au Pair from doing the job she’s needed to do.  

Sure, it’s an injury from which the Au Pair will recover — eventually. But until then? 

523894033_f174c12869_mWhile few Au Pairs arrive in the USA wearing a cast or a sling, many arrive with other health-related constraints (and even emotional constraints) that are temporary and problematic. Rising above the specifics of this situation —

  • When should Host Parents just roll with it until the Au Pair heals? And when should Host Parents just send the Au Pair back?

  • Who’s responsible for assuming the costs and wasted time/energy?

  • What’s the Au Pair Agency’s responsibility?


Dear Au Pair Mom —

We are hosting our third au pair who arrived last week. Our then current au pair showed us a picture about 3 weeks ago that our current au pair sent her of a swollen ankle. I asked her (while she was still in her home country) about it. She said she went to the doctor, and her ankle was sprained, not broken.

I know sprains take time to heal and I considered canceling the match then because walking our kids to and from school (.4 miles each way) is a necessity of the job. But she told me they anticipated she would be able to walk on it in a few weeks.

When she arrived, she clearly couldn’t walk (she was wearing a boot but only putting weight on her heal). We have a friend who is a physical therapist who looked at it and told us to get new x-rays, which we did last night. X-Rays show a broken bone. It’s been recommended that the Au Pair refrain from weight bearing movement for 6 weeks. She will need to see podiatry for casting sometime this coming week.

Our agency said we can decide if we want to send her home and rematch or wait it out. The Au Pair desperately does not want to go home–she was waiting for about a year when we matched and her initial visa was denied, so it has been an intense and difficult process for her (and for us).

We aren’t super invested as she has only been here a week. But our kids like her, I don’t want to force them through another adjustment to someone new, and I’m not sure that we would get someone here in 6 weeks anyways, unless we found someone in country.

I know a lot if host parents say they will go above and beyond for a rock star au pair but we don’t even know if she will be a rock star yet.

What do people generally do when the au pair arrives more injured that you knew?

Thank you!  Host Mom of Non-Weight Bearing Au Pair

Image by Soccerkrys on Flickr


Dear Au Pair Host Parents–

I need advice/support …. Our awesome au pair went in to an emergency medical situation a couple of weeks ago, where she came down with a stomach pain, which turned into appendicitis, and later a ruptured appendix. All told it was 5 nights in the hospital, and 10 days off the job.

2359035634_3bfb9fdacf_mThe challenges started the very first day, because she requested a mid-week day off to go into the city to interview for her passport (she had had that stolen while traveling recently). Of course, this is when we really need childcare, so it was hard to accommodate her, but we did.   Then, her stomach pain began, leading to a 6 hour visit to urgent care, then to the ER where I stayed with her until 1am.

This one bad day  turned into a nightmare, because she was hospitalized for 5 nights, came down with an infection, and then finally came home.

She was weak, zero energy, barely able to walk, and needed to be taken care by me because she was a ‘recovering patient’ here at our home.

We spent another 5 days taking care of her at home.  All along, our agency (who were AWESOME SUPPORT by the way) encouraged us to send our AP home, so she could be evacuated in emergency state. We pushed back, feeling that we were her “American family” and fully supportive of her recuperating and staying with us for the duration of her commitment (another 4 months).

My husband and I, both in demanding financial services jobs, took off unplanned days/staged our days and put our jobs on the line to take care of her and our kids while she was hospitalized or recovering. We paid out of pocket for other babysitters to come watch the kids this week, when I had to take conference calls (no easy feat to find sitters at such notice). My husband and I used many favors with our employers, to work from home on unexpected days; missed meetings; lost confidence from managers/team members / stakeholders.    [click to continue reading …]


Beware the “Au Pair Program Survey”

by cv harquail May 9, 2017
Screenshot 2017-05-09 20.38.16

Many of us long time Host Parents received an email today with the disarming subject line: “Tell Us About Your Au Pair.”  The email is actually asking us to participate in a short survey about the Au Pair Program. The email does note that the information “will be helpful to au pairs in pursuing the […]

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When a Host Child Has New, Psychological Challenges

by cv harquail April 29, 2017

Every host parent of a child with special needs or unique needs knows to look for an au pair who’s ready to handle these sorts of challenges. But, life being what it is, these challenges can show up *after* you’ve matched, and while the au pair is happily placed in your home. Many au pairs […]

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Latest Salvo in Campaign to Shut Down USA’s Au Pair Program

by cv harquail March 24, 2017

Host Parent Clients of Au Pair In America received a distressing letter from the Agency this week, sharing information about the ongoing legal action against all 15 of the approved Au Pair Agencies in the USA. The letter updates parents on the current status of the suit filed by lawyers from Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP, […]

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With Au Pair-Host Parent Problems, It’s Never Just One Thing …

by cv harquail March 19, 2017
tangled clothes

It’s usually a bunch of things, all tangled up in a knot, like when you put tights and long-sleeved T-shirts in the dryer. Just as with a laundry knot, you can’t just pull on (or fix) one thing, and expect the all the little pieces to unlock, unkink, and fold themselves up into nice packets ready […]

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The Worst Thing an Au Pair Can Overhear

by cv harquail March 17, 2017

Quick — what’s the worst thing your au pair could ever overhear? You telling your Host Parent partner how much the Au Pair bothers you? Some kind of grumpy food-related complaint you should be too adult to even have? You announcing that  you’ve tucked a speed tracker into the Au Pair car, so now you’ll […]

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Counting On-Duty Au Pair Hours When You’re In A Car or Plane

by cv harquail March 15, 2017

How does your family handle the Au Pair’s time spent with the family over a long car or plane trip? Formally and officially, we are supposed to count all of this time as “on duty” hours.   But, if you have a long haul to get to your vacation destination, you can use up a […]

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Any New Advice About International Travel During an Au Pair’s Extension Year?

by cv harquail March 2, 2017

There are some things I would never test. —  Whether the rope bridge across the gorge could hold me. — Whether that snake was was harmless. Or whether I could get my extension Au Pair back into the US after taking her with us on an international trip. With Federal Agents inspecting documents of passengers […]

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