Can you remember back to the first time you ever heard about the Au Pair program?

I can’t remember how I first heard about it (and I think I assumed I knew what an au pair was). But I *do* remember trying to explain the whole concept to my dad. And then to my coworkers, my next-door neighbors, my mother-in-law, and the receptionist at our pediatrician’s office.

Most people who aren’t or haven’t been host parents have no idea what an au pair is.

Because the term itself is French, people jump to two conclusions:


First, they assume that an au pair is something only snobbish people do, because who else tosses in a french term when an English one will do?

Second, they assume that simply translating the term into English explains the whole thing.    [click to continue reading ...]


There are some ‘random, crazy and true’ au pair stories that seem like urban myths …

The Fox in the Henhouse, the au pair who disappears two days after she arrives, and of course, the au pair who gets a second paid gig in the ‘tourism industry’.

poppins1 by keikolynnsogreat on Flickr

When I first heard stories about au pairs who were using their time in the USA to explore the “Pretty Woman” version of the American dream, I was sure that these stories were simply tall tales, fictions designed to titillate.  What young woman in her right mind would come to the US as a paid, live-with-a-family caregiver, and then choose to hustle for extra cash and ‘adventure’?

And then I became friends with a mom in my own town who had this happen with her au pair.

Why all the new clothes? Why was her au pair disappearing all weekend? Where was all this extra shopping power coming from?  After a few Friday evenings of her au pair being whisked into NYC by a Town Car, the host mom figured it out. Her au pair had signed up as an ‘escort’. When the mom confronted the Au Pair, the Au Pair displayed some alarming naiveté– she was just a paid ‘date’, the men expected nothing more. She was sure of it.

My friend was lucky: Her au pair had only a few weeks left before the end of her year, so the problem literally ‘went away’.

The host mom who emailed last night? She could really use our advice.   [click to continue reading ...]


Concerned Student Seeks Study Participants

by Admin on April 14, 2014

Dear Au Pair Moms,

In two weeks, as part of my senior (undergraduate) research project, I need to present an analysis of the needs of AuPairMom readers. I’m very excited about what I’ve learned so far about the AuPairMom community, but I have a big problem:   I don’t have enough data.

Fewer that 100 readers have participated in our survey— even though nearly 7,000 readers have come to the site in the 11 days since we put up the request for study participants.

That means that less than 1.2% of readers have participated. Even if we include the readers who shared ad hoc comments from the post about the survey, it’s still less than 2% of readers.  I need more people to respond to the survey questions. Ideally, I’d like to have 300 regular readers respond to the survey. (That would be 2% of the 15,000+ unique people who visit each month.)

Think about the number of times you’ve come to the site to vent, to laugh, to get a reality check, or just to escape annoying high school friends and their cats on Facebook.  The average person spends 4.8 minutes on the site each time she visits.   Isn’t it worth about 5 minutes of your time to ‘pay it forward’ and tell us what you’d like to see on the blog?

I thought so.  You can Click Here to Take The Survey! 

Thanks –  Shawn


Open Thread: April 11

by cv harquail April 12, 2014

 Welcome to our Weekend Open Thread!   Open threads are for comments on any subject at all, including past posts, things we haven’t posted on, what you’ve been thinking or doing, etc. You can even let me know if there’s a topic you think I should queue up for the coming week. Have you responded […]

95 comments Read the full article →

The Academically-Ambitious Au Pair: Options for serious education during an Au Pair Year

by cv harquail April 11, 2014

The education requirement for au pairs can be a bit of a fig leaf. The requirement makes Au Pairs “look like” exchange students for the purposes of Homeland Security and Immigration, even while the au pairs are here for what amounts to a full-time job.   Most of the time, an au pair’s education is […]

35 comments Read the full article →

What Au Pair Agency Selection Process Works Best For You?

by cv harquail April 9, 2014

A guest post comparing Cultural Care and GoAuPair, by MultiTaskingHost Mom On AuPairMom we spend a lot of time sharing tips for matching with an AuPair. It makes sense that we focus on the interview questions, how to evaluate experience in a certain skill, and how to interpret the vibe given by the potential au […]

74 comments Read the full article →

Photographing Host Children: What’s appropriate to shoot, and what’s appropriate to share?

by cv harquail April 7, 2014

All children are beautiful. When we, our au pairs, our families, and our friends see our beautiful child, it’s oh-so-tempting to try to hold that image of beauty still, to want to preserve it as a memory forever. When we adore these children, when we are proud of them, when we love them, we want […]

42 comments Read the full article →

Open Thread: April 5th

by cv harquail April 5, 2014

Welcome to our Weekend Open Thread!   Open threads are for comments on any subject at all, including past posts, things we haven’t posted on, what you’ve been thinking or doing, etc. You can even let me know if there’s a topic you think I should queue up for the coming week. Just be sure […]

122 comments Read the full article →

How does your professional expertise influence your Host Parenting?

by cv harquail April 3, 2014

All lot of us au pair moms and dads have interesting professional experience. I know from emailing many of you ‘behind the blog’ that we have doctors, lawyers, government service managers, someone who does pr for a city, customer service managers, law enforcement officers, a judge, school teachers, accountants, strategic consultants, small business owners, a […]

24 comments Read the full article →

Tell Us What You Think! Reader Survey

by cv harquail April 2, 2014

Share your anonymous opinions and suggestions, by participating in our Survey of AuPairMom Readers: Click Here to Take The Survey!

0 comments Read the full article →