Readers- Here’s the email that prompted my earlier post about defining what it means to “pitch in”. Clearly, someone in this Host Family has a different interpretation of what that means.


Hi AuPairMom,

I need your help in forming an opinion for my self regarding dishwashing.

I am working with a family of 2 parents, 2 grandparents and 2 host kids.

I came in February and within a week time I picked up some family chores. I helped my hostmom cleaning up the dinner table and whiping clean the counters, box up leftovers and sweep the floor. Second week, I started to help cleaning the dishes by hand for breakfast and lunch.

I am working for an Asian-American family and they cook their noodles and rice every meal a day so pots and pans are used for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Their dishwasher never worked since I am working for this family and they only use it to stock up their chopsticks and china.

Soon enough my hostdad stopped cleaning the morning and afternoon dishwashing altogether and left it for me to clean by hand. My hostdad works from home and usually takes a nap while I clean the dishes.   [click to continue reading ...]


What does it mean to “pitch in” with host family chores?

Pitching In (defn): To join the family in doing some everyday household upkeep, to help keep the household running smoothly

In anticipation of an au pair question that will get posted later this week, I wanted to sketch out the basic advice (okay, my aupairmom opinion) about what it means to “pitch in”.

Print by OrangeTwist, available for purchase at Etsy Print by OrangeTwist, available for purchase at Etsy

The idea that we ask our au pairs to “pitch in” — comes from the recognition of some simple facts of family life:

1.  Mess is a natural byproduct of living and living together. The mess in a household is created by everyone who lives there, doing basic things like walking in from the dusty outdoors, eating shared meals cooked in common pots, and tossing napkins into the kitchen trash can. “Mess” is the everyday, ongoing outcome of entropy.

(Note: Mess is not bathtub scum or dust in the corners of the stairs — that’s ‘dirt’ that is handled by ‘housecleaning’. Dirt and housecleaning are not au pair responsibiities.)

2.  Mess must be dealt with by the deliberate actions of washing off, picking up and putting away.

3.  Everyone in the household contributes to this mess.    [click to continue reading ...]


Open Thread: July 12

by cv harquail on July 11, 2014


We’re baaaaack!

I know that you’ve missed the Open Thread — I can tell from all the re-directions in the comments on the posts!

Use this open thread to toss out any question or concern you haveexcept for one:  

If you are an au pair outside the USA whose host parents are somehow taking advantage of you, please read this post instead:

An Open Letter to Au Pairs without an Agency, Outside the USA

All other topics are fair game.   This thread will be open until Monday morning, July 14.  Enjoy.


“ColourByNumbers” experiential work with woollen threads,  by Peter Hindmarsh



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