Today I got emails from two different au pairs, both asking for advice about going on vacations with their Host Families. In both situations, it seems that the Host Parents aren’t really following the rules around the 10 hours per day/ 45 hrs per week limits.

Scanning back through the archives, I realized that nearly all the posts I’ve written about managing vacations come from the Host Parents’ view — but what about from the Au Pair’s perspective?

Some time ago I wrote this list of 13 Tips for Vacationing With Your Au Pair, mostly to make sure the Host Mom got a legit vacation. I’ll repeat them here, and ask:

In addition to these 13 Tips, what should an Au Pair do, to make sure things stay sane and fair?

13 Tips For Host Parents Taking an Au Pair on Vacation With Them.

1. Be clear why you are taking your au pair.

Do you need her to provide childcare during the vacation? Wrangle one kid on the airplane? Speak Spanish to the tour guide? Are you worried that otherwise she’ll be lonely and feel abandoned in an empty house? Are you bringing her because you can afford to give her the treat of travel? Or, is it some combination of all of these?

2. Make sure that you communicate all of your expectations to your au pair.

3. Be clear even before you leave how much the au pair will be expected to work, and when you expect to need her to be on duty.

If you and your partner want a nice dinner out– tell your au pair beforehand so that she won’t assume she’ll have every evening free. [click to continue reading …]


New Au Pair Has A Rash: Could it be the water?

by cv harquail on August 1, 2017

Has this ever happened to you or your au pair?


Our au pair has been with us for a little over 2 weeks. She has a rash that has spread over her arms, trunk, and neck.

 She’s certain this is from our water.

This is our 8th au pair in as many years, and we’ve never had this challenge before.

All of our other au pairs have been from Europe, and this one is from Mexico.

Have other host families had au pairs that have contracted a rash?

I was thinking it might be our milk, not the water. She has tried her allergy medicine from home, but it isn’t working.

She is working with our area director to find out more about her insurance coverage and options so that she can see a physician (allergist or dermatologist).

I’d love to be able to help her on our end, especially if we can identify the actual source of the rash.   Any thoughts or ideas?

Image by Dan4th on Flickr


Dear AuPairMoms —

We have an au pair who is done with her year.  She decided she wanted to do another year, but not with us.  (redacted/ edited at request of OP, on Aug 4)

21044860080_29118d44bc_mShe found a match, but the new family doesn’t want her to arrive immediately after her contract with us ends.  So, the Agency asked if she could stay with us for an extra week or two or three.

I don’t want an open ended situation with a “soft” ending. And, I don’t want to wait ’till whenever the other family is ready.

My question is: What’s our obligation to continue to house/feed/provide phone and car for her after the completion of her year?

I saw on line that an au pair cannot be “evicted” but I don’t know what my obligations and expectations are at the end of a contract.


Different Defaults for Deciding When an Au Pair is “Part of the Family”

by cv harquail July 27, 2017

Who decides, and how do you decide, when an Au Pair should be included in (off duty) family events? Nearly all of the time, my default has been to invite the au pair, unless its a private event (e.g., friend’s kid’s birthday) or a boring-to-an-au pair event (e.g., company picnic where family is invited). As […]

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Step-By-Step Guide to Au Pair Matching, by TexasHostMom (update)

by cv harquail July 24, 2017

TexasHost Mom’s post, sharing her step-by-step process for contacting Au Pair Candidates, is one of our most read (and most appreciated) posts on AuPairMom. We love her clarity, and not just because sometimes we really just want to execute a good routine rather than obsess about what to do next. Long time readers know that […]

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Religious Au Pair Doesn’t Celebrate Holidays. Would you still consider her?

by cv harquail July 22, 2017

Celebrating American holidays with your au pair or host family is one of the biggest (and most fun) elements of cultural exchange. Holidays are a unique window into culture. The traditions, the food, the festive spirit all invite us to talk about the values behind the celebration. On the more personal, less ‘cultural’ level, holidays […]

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Our Au Pair Generously Let Her Boyfriend Drive Our Car — Now what?

by cv harquail July 19, 2017

Generosity in a host parent – au pair relationship is critical. Our inclination to give, to forgive, to cut someone else a break, is what creates important flexibility in a relationship.  That’s why we say strong relationships always have a little ‘give’. One of the biggest questions for Host Parents and Au Pairs alike is how […]

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How Should an Au Pair Explain Visible Scars to Host Kids?

by cv harquail July 8, 2017

Each of us bears scars from life events that have challenged us. Some of these scars are hidden, and allow us to keep their origins private.  Other scars are in plain sight, and their visibility raises the possibility that at some point, we won’t be able to keep their origins to ourselves. I have a […]

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Finding an Infant Qualified Au Pair Who Can Manage Twins

by cv harquail July 5, 2017

NowWeAreThree HostMom thought she had the whole family ready for twins, with her mom coming to stay for an entire year to help with childcare (what a mom!).  Sadly, her father got unexpectedly sick, so her mom can no longer come. This mom’s got to find a new childcare plan. What questions would you ask, and what […]

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Explaining “America” to Your Au Pair

by cv harquail June 30, 2017

4th of July is one of my favorite holidays… all about family, community and abstract patriotic notions. 4th of July is also the holiday when I am most likely to embarrass my children– apparently, as they get older, it is no longer cool to have a mom who dresses up in red, white & blue […]

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