I didn’t realized what a private creature I could be until we had our first au pair.

overshareWith roommates it felt like nothing was off limits, and with my DH the main thing I kept closed was the bathroom door.

But with au pairs? More of a challenge finding the right space between being closed and open.

Over-Share vs. Under-Share

There are under-sharers who say very little about what they’re actually thinking, and over-sharers for whom the acronym T.M.I. has no meaning.

With our first au pair, everything about being a parent and host parent was so new that I fumbled a lot, being open and closed in ways that (as I think back on it) probably made connecting with my au pair more difficult.  It was almost a help that our first Au Pair only understood half of what I said to her for the first three months, until her command of English caught up.

Later, I found myself managing what I shared and didn’t share more thoughtfully.

For example, I shared a lot (verbally) when it came to:   [click to continue reading ...]


Three Types of Host Moms: Which one are you?

by cv harquail on August 15, 2014

I have a theory:  Every new host mom starts off with a vision of herself as being one of three types:

The Bestie,
The SecondMom, or
The Boss.

guide to clouds

The Bestie

The Bestie is the host mom who wants to be her au pair’s good friend. She treats the au pair like a guest, buys her treats, aims to make her happy, and loves to stay up late in the kitchen chatting about Channing Tatum.

The Bestie goes shopping with her au pair, shares her clothes with her au pair, watches Clueless with her au pair, and uses her relationship with her au pair to drive out loneliness and bring in fun.

TheBestie’s worst fear is that her au pair will laugh at her behind her back because she’s so uncool.

The SecondMom 

 The SecondMom takes her ‘in loco parentis’ seriously. She watches out for her au pair, aims to guide her in her adventure, wants to teach her how to cook, and thinks up things to do that would be ‘good for the au pair’. She sees the au pair as a ‘junior adult’ or ‘parent in training’ in the household.

The SecondMom’s worst fear is that her au pair will not appreciate her. 

The Boss

For The Boss, it’s all about the time ‘on duty’. The Boss makes things official, has a really thick family handbook, knows all the rules, and emphasizes training and feedback. She wants her au pair to do a great job with the kids, but disappear for her own au pair adventures when she’s on duty.

The Boss’s worst fear is that her au pair will resent her. 

A Great Host Mom

A great host mom is a blend of all three types.   Even though we start from one of these types, we end up realizing that an effective and happy host mom finds the sweet spot between being an employer, a nurturing adult with a bit more worldly wisdom, and a friend who wants the au pair to have some fun.

As I think about the AuPairMoms who contribute a lot on the blog, I’ve pegged a few as one of these types.

But are there any types I’ve missed?

Is one of these types you?

Which Type of First-Time Host Mom were you?

View Results

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Also, how adorable is that little cirrus cloud!


Open Thread: August 6

by cv harquail on August 6, 2014

Hi All–

cornwall-map-naturally-heartfelt.jpgHere’s an open thread to enjoy while I get things back together over here.  A great business conference, a MIL visit, and all that freaking laundry from camp have kept me busy. What’s happening w/ you?



When Your Au Pair’s Visa Doesn’t Come Through– what to do?

by cv harquail July 30, 2014
apm visa

I’m expecting my first au pair to arrive in country on August 11th and to my house on August 15th. My au pair has not received her Visa and forwarded me the below photograph. Have you heard of this? What should we do? ~FranticSoonToBeHM

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English Words That Every Au Pair Should Really Understand

by cv harquail July 28, 2014

It’s easier to relax about your new au pair when s/he demonstrates a real command for the US version of the English Language.   I was thinking about this as I was perusing something called the “Academic Word List”, a list of 570 words that researchers think people should know if they plan to study […]

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Creepy, Crawly, Contagious Things- What if your Au Pair catches them too?

by cv harquail July 27, 2014
Gdaisy hair

(Reposted from our archives, since an Au Pair Asked…) When I became a mom I knew that that I would need to become accustomed to dealing with things that, pre-motherhood, had completely grossed me out. I’m talking about poopy diapers, vomit, bloody noses, fart jokes, and public belching. These were things that I would have […]

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AuPair in Rematch? Best Places to Find a New Family Fast

by cv harquail July 25, 2014

Sharing from behind the scenes here at AuPair Mom – I often get emails like the one below from either AuPairs or Host Parents hoping to help someone make a rematch quickly. As we all know, au pairs have only two weeks or so to find a new host family before they get ‘sent home’ […]

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Open Thread: July 24

by cv harquail July 25, 2014

Maybe you can tell it’s been a busy work week over here? I was actually afraid to sign into my blog email to see what was going on, and how many new threads had been started by impatient folks needing immediate advice.  Fear not, here is a chance for you to lob in anything at […]

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When a Host Family Takes Advantage of ‘Pitching In’

by cv harquail July 17, 2014

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, […]

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“Pitching In”: What does that mean in your host family?

by cv harquail July 15, 2014
Print by OrangeTwist, available for purchase at Etsy

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 […]

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