Here’s a tweak on the now-classic:  “Mediocre Au Pair, Should We Rematch?” question….

Dear AuPairMom ~~     We have had our 2nd AP for about 4 months, and she is the definition of mediocre.

14923911084_26abd6c457_mTo be objective, she is a good driver and our toddler likes her. However, her English is very, very bad (I need to speak to her in her native language to have reliable communication), she does the bare minimum in her job, and is abusing her car privileges. She does not communicate with us….. and simply says that everything is “good, great” all the time.

She is terrified to get sent back to her home country (she desperately wants a green card), so does not give us honest communication about anything. We have not loved her from day 1, but we decided that we could make it work for the year and remain in a “good enough” situation.

However, now that I’m pregnant (due in October, 5 months from now), I’m rethinking whether or not we should just “make do” with this mediocre au pair.

I’m due about 6 weeks before her contract ends. This Au Pair is not infant-certified, so I know she will not be able to stay with us or extend (she desperately wants us to extend with her, which she asked for since day 1).

Given my pregnancy and the less-than-ideal situation with this Au Pair, I wanted to ask the group’s opinion.

Should we make it work with her until I have the baby, then look for a good, infant-certified AP?

Or, should just put her into rematch now, and try to find and establish an infant-certified AP now, prior to baby’s arrival?

I understand that even an infant qualified au pair can’t be left with any infant under three months old — I’m thinking ahead to when the new baby is 3+ months old, as well as the time when our Au Pair would take care of just our toddler.

I can see the benefits/drawbacks of both scenarios.. but wanted to ask the opinion of the experienced group. This is our 2nd AP, so we are still relatively green.

~ SickOfOnlyGoodEnough Host Mom!

Image: Big Sister by Rafiq Sarlie on Flickr


Over the past two weeks there’s been a whirlwind of conversation and consternation in the Au Pairing community, over a situation with an Au Pair at Au Pair Care who’s been diagnosed with cancer.

sick-teddy-bear I can’t even begin to recap the steps and the facts, but they include that she was accepted into an experimental treatment program in her host family’s area, her host family wanted to keep her for her remaining contract months while she got treated, her agency decided it would cancel her visa and “send her back home”, but her Host Parents started a petition to keep her and campaigned to have the Agency reverse its decision. And more.

I’m not sure how it’s settled out, or even if it’s settled.

I reached out to a few folks I know at other agencies, hoping to get some more perspective on what the Agency was concerned about, what the rules were, etc. but it seems this is too difficult and confusing an issue for anyone else to take a stand on what was right or wrong.

Meanwhile, the Au Pairs on Facebook were whipping each other into a frenzy, and the anti-immigration trolls took over the comments in the Washington Post’s article about the situation.

I don’t want to rehash the details here, necessarily, but I do want to invite the AuPairMom community to have a conversation about the situation if you’d like to.

So, here’s a kindof open thread–

Please keep it focused on the general situation of

When an Au Pair gets gravely ill — 

What can and should we do in these situations?

What should we care about?

What should we advocate for?

What can we learn from these situations? 




See also: Washington Post:  ‘If I go back to Colombia, I’m going to die’: An au pair battling cancer fights to stay in the U.S.



Suing for Breach Of Contract?

by cv harquail on May 18, 2016

Apologies for being out of it this past week-– not to mention, avoiding any conversation about the controversy surrounding the Au Pair with the cancer diagnosis and her Host Family’s efforts to keep her in the USA for care.  I’ll post about that in a few days.

In the meantime, let’s vent about another contentious issue:

…  When your Au Pair breaks her commitment to stay a full year…  

and offers a frustrating reason for leaving, that’s unrelated to your family’s situation.  Legally-Blonde-2001-Promos-legally-blonde-14023182-609-609

A Host Mom writes:

I am tempted to sue my au pair for breach of contract. Has anyone ever done this successfully? 

We have always treated our aupairs very well and never had an issue with any, except for this last one. Our aupair has broken up with her boyfriend and has decided it’s too painful to stay anywhere close (they live 2 hours away anyways) anymore, so she is going into rematch. Trouble is this is her 9th month.

Our contract with both aupair and agency states there is no rematching after more than 6 month. Therefore, we don’t get any of our agen
cy fees back and only would get a small credit ($600) towards the new au pair who would have to stay a full year. Our kids are starting school this year so this was supposed to be our last aupair.
I am tempted to sue our aupair for the $1600  we are out because she wants to stay in the US and get married and a suit in small claims court isn’t too much of a hassle in my mind. I also strongly suspect she wants to rematch now to go to a larger city to find someone to marry her before her visa is up. Her sister did something similar several years ago, which I didn’t find out until our aupair was already with us for several month. Any advice for families thinking of suing their aupairs for breech of contract?  
Any advice would be appreciated.   ~HostMomOnHerWayToCourt


New Au Pair Has Whooping Cough and Will Be Infectious for Up to 12 Weeks!

by cv harquail May 9, 2016

Seriously Host Parents — can’t you send me emails about dilemmas that can be announced with catchy headlines??? Very rarely am I able to say — “I never heard of a problem like this before.”  While I like novelty as much as the next American, I’m not happy to see this problem now. This is a […]

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What Kinds of Relationships Do Au Pairs Want With Host Parents?

by cv harquail May 1, 2016

There are many different types of equally good relationships that we host parents can have with our au pairs. Good host parent- au pair relationships can vary by — their level of intimacy (e.g., seriously close or pleasantly distant), — the amount of time we spend together (e.g., every waking moment or “I’m off duty, see you tomorrow, […]

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How Soon To Schedule Au Pair’s First Day Off?

by cv harquail April 24, 2016

Venturing into the grey areas of Au Pair regulations and scheduling, a First Time Host Mom asks– how many days might a brand new au pair work before she must be given a day off?   (I phrased it differently in the headline of this post, but essentially it’s the same question).  She’s thinking about […]

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Is Two Weeks Enough To Time To Know We Need A Rematch? When I say “Yes”

by cv harquail April 23, 2016

When a new Au Pair arrives and is clearly not working out, sensible Host Parents start thinking about rematch.  If the Au Pair does something unsafe, dishonest, or mean — ask for rematch right away. With other situations, it makes more sense to give it a little time. You might think your au pair is […]

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Any Way to Change Behavior of an Au Pair Who’s Always Late?

by cv harquail April 15, 2016
Running Late Au Pair

What do you do when you’ve organized yourself and been clear about your needs, but find yourself unable to influence the behavior of your Au Pair? When communication or training differences pop up, we usually go back to the basics: Do you have a handbook? Do you have regular check-in meetings? Were you clear about […]

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Au Pair’s Increasingly Limited Diet is Increasingly Stressing Us

by cv harquail April 12, 2016
felt frog

Everyone say it together: Rematch. Now. New Host Mom, this au pair is putting  you through the wringer over food issues. You should try one more time to set some limits about what food you will and will not provide.  You were clear when you were matching, and it’s your au pair who’s changed the […]

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Well That Was Interesting …

by cv harquail April 12, 2016

I leave the country for FOUR WHOLE DAYS and the blog gets hacked ! Grrrrrrr. Thank you, friends, for emailing to let me know.  Password changed. I thought I’d have time to put up a post or two but I am stuffing my face with pain au chocolat and explaining to every American tourist I […]

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