We received an email from a host mom who unintentionally became a doormat, and who wonders whether she should consider rematching. Since I feel confident at how you all will respond once your read her email (a link to which appears below), I thought instead we might consider how, when facing a rematch, we can do better with our next choice of au pair.
Rather than moving directly to what characteristics we think we want this time, in order to correct the disappointments of the past, another way to approach the situation is to see what you can learn about yourself from the bad situation. Try these three questions:
Now that I know what I know:
1. What expectations do I have for our au pair — whoever s/he will be — that are simply not negotiable?
(For us, these are safety, safe driving, non-smoking, and kindness towards the kids. Pretty much anything else I can deal with.)
2. How did I act at the very first sign of trouble?
Did you skirt away from it and avoid a conversation, hoping it would go away? Did you think “I’ll just give her a chance to use her turn signals/alarm clock correctly the next time? Did you speak with her kindly and directly about your expectations?
3. What was I afraid would happen if I constructively confronted the former au pair about my concerns?
Did this happen? Was the outcome I feared anything like what did happen? Was my fear worse than reality?
What other questions do you think we should ask ourselves?
Here is the link to the email by the distressed host mom, fyi.
Also, here’s a link to a post “What do you really want” from the blog “Lessons from a Recovering Doormat”— it’s pretty interesting!