What’s Your System? Tips from Host Parents

by cv harquail on October 23, 2014

Some readers have teased me about my systems.

Labelers, dots on my fancy knives, saving my ice skates, stuff I tell myself so I calm down, the checkout task list 


But any time I write about one of my systems, a few brave ones of you will mention systems of your own.

(Clearly I’m not the only one that codifies, checklists, and organizes her way into a semblance of sanity.)

We’ve even had some wonderful guest posts where you’ve shared how you’ve organized and systematized you way through some pretty classic host family challenges.

So, I’d like to introduce a new kind of semi-open thread:

What’s Your System?


Here’s the plan:  

  • Whenever I open up a What’s Your System page, you all can add a longish comment about one of your systems.
  • After about 5 different contributions, we’ll close the page.
  • Then, I’ll reblog the systems as individual posts from you. (That will make it easier to search and find the tips later.)
  • If you share a system, when it goes up you can revise what you commented and add pictures, to flesh it out into a fully-formed guest post.

Let’s see how this works?!


See also:

Calendar Advice from CalifMom
4 Household Rules to Protect Your Host Parent Sanity
Tip: Know When to Blame the System (part 1)

p.s.: I’ve stolen the What’s Your System idea from the Tue/night blog. There is some fun stuff on that blog, so check it out.

Image by Lenna Young Andrews 


If the shoe were on the other foot, we wouldn’t hesitate to tell our au pairs that their early morning or late night behavior was so rowdy that it interrupted our sleep.

But when you’re the au pair, and it’s your host family just doing their thing in the kitchen, what can you do?

7049247419_287461c152_zAu Pair Nadia has the right general idea– the best solution is to ‘change the system’.

Fixing the problem by moving the au pair to a different spare bedroom would solve the problem once and for all, and might be less likely to put a damper on Sunday morning family fun.  But if the parents have plans for that other guest room (Home office? Grandpa space?) or if that extra bedroom is right above their own bedroom, a room-switch might not be possible.

What do you think Nadia should do?

The problem is that my bedroom is right next to (into) the kitchen. So every weekend I wake up from the talking and screaming from my HF. I understand that the kitchen is the most important part of the house and that they can’t ask the kids to be quiet but I’m awake now every weekend around 7:30. That is not fun after having a late evening the day before.

A lot of au pairs and one of the friends of the family (that I’m also close to) told me that I should ask if I can move to the guestroom in the attic that they are rebuilding. But I have the feeling that asking/claiming that room is wrong, because it’s not my house..

I dropped a lot of hints in the last few months when they asked me how I slept. I really don’t know what to do anymore..


Read more:  Know When to Blame The System

Image: dorm room, Amy Ashcraft on Flickr


This Is The Open Thread You’ve Been Looking For

by cv harquail on October 18, 2014

I know it’s been a while– and questions are piling up. Time for an open thread!


Keep in mind, it can take some time to clear the comment moderation gauntlet for first-time contributors. … This thread will be open until Monday. Got to it, readers!



Image: Evan Leeson on Flickr

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

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