Dear AuPairMom,

I am an Au Pair in the U.S and in my 3rd month right know. About 2 weeks ago I came from one state to a new one through rematch. My first situation wasn’t horrible. I just had a hard time connecting with the kids (7, 9, 12) and the host mom openly admitted that she expected a different kind of personality. I am more the sweet type. She felt like we wouldn’t have a relationship as good as she had with previous Au Pairs. They’re really close.

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In the time period I worked for them 4 prior Au Pairs came and stayed for 1-2 weeks each which definitely made it harder for me to gain the girls’ interest. A problem for me was also that the mom was a stay at home mom, so the kids would always want her to do everything for them and get really angry with me. … Despite all that I could still have fun with the family and all. There would be long conversations on the dinner table, movie nights etc. I also had a very friendship-like relationship with the host mom.

A main argument for the rematch from my host parents was that they thought their family was too loud and wild for me. I admittedly sometimes need time for myself, alone in my room so I didn’t argue.

My new host family’s reaction to that was that their situation might be ideal since they are always gone during the day. I definitely prefer being the only adult in charge and won’t complain about that.

I decided to go for younger kids this time (2, 4) and my relationship to them is really good. The parents are nice too but nonetheless I am feeling quite bad about my situation lately. The problem is that the host parents come home at around 7 and are in bed around 8. In the meantime they just put the kids to sleep. There is no shared family dinners or time to chat a little. They don’t even have a living room.    [click to continue reading …]

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We can’t interview our way to a “perfect” Au Pair.

It’s the sad truth.  3344967282_9351fdfb4a_z

BUT…  we CAN interview well and screen out all the ‘known no’s”… which makes it a bit easier to find an Au Pair candidate with a lot of YES!

LongIslandHostMom challenged herself to summarize a lot of our community wisdom to turn it into a questionnaire to share with everyone.

Thank you!!

From LongIslandHostMom:

I wrote to you a number of months ago after my ex Au Pair left me suddenly and moved next door to live with her boyfriend. I am happy to report that we have since found a wonderful Au Pair in her extension year and this experience is what every Host Family can only dream of.

However, I feel like I only found a great AP by luck. I didn’t have a good method for the interview process. I conduct a lot of interviews in my professional life but it’s far easier in the IT world to gauge their skill set. Now that I am facing my AP’s upcoming departure in March, it’s time to get back on the search.

Though my Au Pair Agency provide a standard assessment, I feel like there isn’t enough depth to evaluate their personality and judgement.

I decided to go through all the subjects of your past posts and designed a screening questionnaire based on some real life situations. I created a second portion as a self assessment also to evaluate skills. I particularly enjoy the driving skill portion as I know many family struggles with their AP’s skill level. I think it will provide more insights than just asking them if they are good drivers.

I want to share a copy (downloadable, below) with your reader for feedback and suggestions. I think many of these questions will resonate with many host families. And the answer will paint a picture what the AP is like.

I can’t wait to see everyone’s comments!

Au Pair Questionaire from LongIslandHost Mom

 

Image: SnuggLePup on Flickr

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Could an Au Pair Bring Her Boyfriend With Her?

by cv harquail on November 17, 2017

Dear AuPairMom —

I’m interested in being an Au Pair. I love children, I love traveling, I don’t mind going on journeys by myself and discovering new places, Au Pair seems like the perfect position for me to apply for.

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But (there is always a but), I am currently in a very serious relationship. We both share the same values, we love traveling, exploring together, and would like to travel abroad together. He is supportive and encouraging of me wanting to be an Au Pair and wants to come with me while I am doing it.

Not with me as in living with the family with me, of course, but to be in the same town and country as me so we can explore a new place together.

My question is, is this even possible?

If my boyfriend lived by himself in the same town I am being an Au Pair, would I have enough time to explore and experience the country with him or will I be too busy with my responsibilities of this role?

Call me unromantic, but I’m not a big fan of this idea.

A critical element of an Au Pair adventure is figuring out how to manage being dropped into a new culture, a new family, and new relationships without much from your previous world to lean on. 

Au Pairs should arrive relatively unencumbered and maximally flexible. They should be free to experiment with who they are and how they want to be in a new culture. They should feel free to adapt their personalities, their activities, and their attentions without someone else needing them to stay the same.

One of the reasons Au Pairing works well for families is that Au Pair caregivers (unlike nannies) don’t have their own families right there.  While the Au Pair’s family back home needs attention, and Au Pairs need to stay in touch with them, these responsibilities can be met on the Au Pair’s schedule, when s/he is off duty, and not every day, morning, or evening.  An Au Pair never has to decide between staying home to care for a romantic partner or showing up to be on duty with their family. An Au Pair seldom has to decide between going away for a weekend with a romantic partner and attending a host kid’s birthday party.

This is made somewhat easier for Au Pairs (and families) because Au Pairs have few other competing commitments. They have to take classes, make friends, and travel around, but they have no emotional or facetime-related obligations to anyone else during their “off duty” time. Having a partner around means also having another relationship– and a significant one  — that you have to attend to while you are meshing with your family and having your own adventure.

While it’s conceivable that an Au Pair could do a great job with a family and not experience her boyfriend as a distraction, I can’t imagine that many young adults would be able to manage this situation well. Especially for an entire year.

What do you parents and Au Pairs think?
Image:Bethan Phillips on Flickr

 

See also:

The Boyfriend-Back-Home: Always bad news?
When Troubles Back Home Cause Distress

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New Au Pair Has Already Invited Her Mom to Visit. For Two Weeks. In Our House.

by cv harquail October 22, 2017
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The situation below features an Au Pair who’s been quite presumptuous– inviting her mom to stay WITHOUT asking her Host Parents. I can’t even figure out how to set this post up nicely because this situation would have me fuming. As much as I want to be generous, and welcoming, I’ve found that having other […]

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Au Pair’s Attitude is a Downer: Can we get her to change?

by cv harquail October 18, 2017
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“A wet blanket” “Debbie Downer” “Sad Sack” “Uninspiring” What a drag to imagine these words characterizing your Au Pair. When an Au Pair has a “not optimistic” attitude towards the every day, it’s hard to imagine them adding to the family spirit rather than subtracting from it. Is it possible to get an Au Pair […]

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Inexpensive Ways for Au Pairs to Ship Boxes Back Home

by cv harquail October 11, 2017
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I knew we’d had a few posts about sending Au Pairs’ stuff back home when they leave — but I didn’t realize it had been seven years ago! Let’s update our info on best rates and options:  What does your family do? Our au pair is leaving in April after spending two years with our […]

7 comments Read the full article →

Support Gun Safety Legislation

by cv harquail October 4, 2017
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Dear Readers — A girlfriend reminded me this morning that, as a person who runs a website that reaches 16,000 people a month, I have a responsibility to use this platform wisely.  To promote community, to promote growth, to promote learning, to promote cross cultural understanding, and to promote safety. One of the most horrifying […]

4 comments Read the full article →

My Au Pair Is Selling Products on Facebook: Should I care?

by cv harquail September 29, 2017
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Au Pairs who want to make extra money, beyond their stipend and in violation of the State Department rules, usually stick to a few basic strategies — working a few extra hours for their family, walking a dog or two, or taking the rare emergency babysitting job down the street. None of these jobs are legal […]

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Do you know what your Au Pair *needs* from you?

by cv harquail September 15, 2017
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A former babysitter and family friend got engaged last week, and to help her celebrate I bought her a few books on how to have a great marriage. (I know, kindof weird, but I am a BIG BELIEVER in trying to learn intentionally, especially when you can anticipate how your life will be changing.) Flipping […]

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When Au Pair Host Parents Are Too Harsh With Their Kids

by cv harquail September 13, 2017
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It can be truly disheartening to see how some people treat their children. There have been times (in the grocery store especially) when I’ve heard people say such mean things to their kids that I almost want to speak up and correct them myself. It’s hard to stay out of the fray when I see […]

5 comments Read the full article →