A Holiday Wish

by cv harquail on December 20, 2009

Moms, Dads, LCCs and Au Pairs,

As things here at home get wild for the holiday, they sometimes get quiet online. I know that I have a lot of things I should be doing (and want to be doing) away from the computer.

_Users_celia_Library_Application-Support_ecto3_cache_C6618F6C-282F-4733-81AD-6BA85A8BE7D1.jpegYet, at the same time, I know I’ll be stealing back to see what’s happening and to have a little quiet time. So I’m in a bit of a quandry…. post, or not post?

How about we have an ‘open thread’ where you can toss in anything, on your own time, and then when each of us checks back, there might be a treat!

Here’s a holiday wish question:

If you could have a holiday wish come true (something related to your au pair, your kids, your family) what would you wish for?


CV December 20, 2009 at 10:17 am

I’ll start:

I wish that two of our au pairs, Collette and Krishnie, would get back in touch with us. They were both really special au pairs who my girls and I loved, and both of them went home to crazy & difficult family situations, and then lost touch. And I can’t find them on facebook!

PA au pair mom December 20, 2009 at 10:40 am

I wish that our current AP would decide to extend for another year. I know it’s selfish, but I can’t bear the thought of losing her.

franzi December 20, 2009 at 10:52 am

did you try googling their names? maybe they started to work somewhere and are now listed with a work email.

good luck!

JJ December 20, 2009 at 6:32 pm

I wish that everyone who is having a mediocre to bad au pair experience right now, be they host parents or au pairs, could know how great it can be when you find the right match.

MommyMia December 21, 2009 at 12:54 am

Ditto that!

PNW-Mom December 26, 2009 at 9:43 pm

We currently are with our first au pair. And mediocre best describes our situation. Enough so, that we are not sure if we will ever do this again. Our children are school age, and it should be an easy gig, but she acts like EVERYTHING is just horrible, and that we are beneath her (she is very educated). She did not expect to do anything but teach her culture. We did not know this, as she promised to “work very hard” during our many emails back and forth prior to finalling. We chose to be called Mom & Dad, big mistake for someone who is used to being waited on my the “Mom”. We have hosted foreign exchange students from her counrty for 11 years and never had this experience with the girls, a boy, but never the girls we have had.
We thought we had the right match, but are saddened by this. Our wish would be that she would decide it is OK, for our children to be American, or choose to leave, so we can find the RIGHT match for our children…

JJ December 27, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Seriously, initiate rematch on your side. Don’t wait for her to leave. It’s just not worth it. I stuck with it for 8 months with our first au pair, thinking if I just tried a little harder I could make it work… ended up making us all miserable and rematching anyway. Our second au pair is wonderful. It can be great! Don’t settle for less.

Mom23 December 29, 2009 at 10:28 am

I agree with JJ. There are a lot of really wonderful au pairs out there and some of our best ones we have had have been rematch au pairs. You shouldn’t settle, or wait for her to quit. Rematch on your own terms. I have BTDT that with the educated au pair who feels that everything is horrible and beneath her.

Calif Mom December 20, 2009 at 8:13 pm

I wish our au pair hadn’t holed up in her room for two glorious days of snow. If some food weren’t gone from the fridge I wouldn’t think she even ate.

She missed listening to the snow come down, picking out a tree, decorating, and making cookies. Last winter she liked the snow.

I wish she would tell me if this is b\c she has a boyfriend and she spent the whole weekend either catching up on sleep or chatting with him online. If it’s a boyfriend, I’m totally fine with that! It’s just too soon before the end of her extension for her to check out like this.

How does one broach this topic?

Sara Duke December 20, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Ah, the separation blues. I’ve always confronted our au pairs when they were at the separation point, and telling them how much I’ve enjoyed their company, how the new au pair that is arriving won’t replace them, merely succeed them, and how much I need them to keep on working even though they’d much rather be saying goodbye to their friends.

My mother said that I was so cranky and nasty before I went away to college that she was happy to say goodbye, and I’ve tried to keep that in mind as my au pairs prepare to separate. I’ve found that openly giving them permission to say goodbye means that they become more reluctant to do so, and more willing to participate in family activities

I’m in Washington DC and also socked in by snow. We gave our au pair the day off, but forced her to go sledding with my husband, my son and his friend (I have plenty of waterproof pants for these occasions). She had never been sledding. Would she do it again? Who knows? But I hope everything is worth doing once!

Calif Mom December 24, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Yes, except she’s not leaving until the summer! Perhaps she is just really not enjoying the cold weather. Last winter we all traveled to a much warmer state for Christmas for two weeks, so she had a break from cold weather. Maybe it’s as simple as that. And I know that she is thinking about what to do with her life after her next 6 months, so perhaps she is just thinking.

Happily, she has emerged and is enjoying holiday preparations now.

TXMom December 20, 2009 at 11:49 pm

There are a few topics in here I would like to follow up:
1. How to get AP’s “adjusted” to the weather
2. The “begining of the end” phase of the year
3. The American BF: the pros and cons of your AP’s serious relationship wrt the HF.

Aussie Mom December 22, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Hi TxMom-
Logged and noted. We’ll make them part of the January “fresh start” cv

anonymous au pair December 20, 2009 at 10:47 pm

I wish I could find an easy way to tell my host parents that I have to leave earlier than planned because of financial problems :/

Natt December 21, 2009 at 3:19 am

Just be honest with them. Let them know sooner rather than later, to give them a chance to find someone to replace you. Hope things go smoothly :)

anonymous au pair December 21, 2009 at 8:15 am

Thanks. I’m giving them a months notice, so I hope it’ll be okay.

E2 December 21, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Tell them before Christmas, please. They probably got you gifts and will feel a little betrayed if you wait until after you open them and then tell them you are leaving.

anonymous au pair December 22, 2009 at 3:32 pm

I’m not with them for Christmas – they were visiting her sister, so I went home – and I don’t want to tell them in an email. I thought it would be better to say in person :/

Anonymous December 21, 2009 at 9:41 am

I wish our absolutely lovely, intelligent AP would realize that her new American boyfriend is controlling and abusive. She’s planning on marrying him and will be getting in to a bad situation. I’ve tried talking to her, but it seems to do no good. She comes from a culture where males are dominate in the relationship, and I know that may be part of it, but it is so hard seeing what he’s doing to her.

I know she’s an adult and needs to make her own decisions, but I just wish she could see him for who he really is. :-(((

PNW-Mom December 26, 2009 at 9:52 pm

I have already talked to my au pair about this. We and she believes in marrying for love, but her culture is for money and status. We talked about God wanting her to be strong and happy, (she is a christian). However I am afraid if a financially independant suiter came to call, she would jump at the oppertunity to stay in US.
I would counsel her as I would, my own family and friends…

Hula Gal December 21, 2009 at 11:43 am

I wish my au pair were not an extension au pair so she could stay for a second year. And for a non-au pair related wish – I wish I could keep the job I have and work part-time for awhile so I could see my daughter more. Right now I feel like a weekend parent. My au pair sees my daughter more than I do. :-(

Natt December 22, 2009 at 5:50 am

I’m with you on that one. I wish I could work less, get paid the same, and spend more time with my girls. Time where I’m not tired, highly strung, and grumpy with zero tolerance for anything :(

Nancy December 21, 2009 at 12:56 pm

I wish our Au Pair had more energy for anything rather than just the internet and her computer. Also I wish I didn’t have to say everything, like that the laundry in the bathroom is clearly kids laundry, etc…

I wish she wasn’t so lazy.

Anonymous December 21, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I wish that I could trust that I’m going to do an OK job picking the next Au Pair. After 3 bad choices/bad APs, I’m pretty gun-shy. I wish I could know for sure which one is “THE ONE” . What a lousy way to spend the holidays :(

franzi December 21, 2009 at 5:30 pm

i just had an idea, why not ask a good AP/former AP that you know and trust to also talk on the phone with the girl(s) on your short list? maybe some red flags will show when she is talking to a peer/someone who was or is in the situation she wants to be in.

Anonymous December 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Funny you suggest that…#2 did talk to #3 and said she would be perfect. That was of course before we discovered that #2 was rampantly stealing from us. Oh, and #3’s entire app was a lie…she NEVER took care of any kids before and barely had ever driven. You can see why I’m a nervous wreck. LOL I know that you great ones are out there – please Santa, no more pathological liars.

Calif Mom December 24, 2009 at 2:53 pm

same thing happened to me! FAvorite AP helped screen her replacement, and she was a train wreck… I feel your pain!

What about asking your LCC if there are any good rematch candidates in town? Then you can meet them in person. I may do this for our next one, I’m super gun-shy, too…

franzi December 24, 2009 at 5:19 pm

you didn’t check her references personally? some agencies seem very lax on checking the references and you as potential host family on the other hand rely on them checking these things before the application is being shown to families…

if you ever have a german girl in mind, i’d be happy to talk to her for you! my christmas gift to aupairmom’s host moms :-)

MommyMia December 26, 2009 at 1:42 pm

That is so nice of you, Franzi! How great to have a former AP’s insight and experience to assist someone in making their decision.

Sota Gal December 22, 2009 at 10:27 pm

I am in the same boat. 1st au pair was wonderful, 2 and 3 were horrible. I thought our 4th was perfect, but it turns out she had concerns from the beginning that both HD and I work at home. And she wanted us to buy her her own car… The things that I talk very clearly about in interviews came back to bite me. I don’t know how much worse of a picture I can paint of my family and our situation. And they all talked to our 1st au pair so they have gotten her side of the story not just ours. Been with out an au pair for 3 weeks and am struggling to rematch, either in country or overseas.

Darthastewart December 28, 2009 at 2:33 pm

I’m so sorry to hear that. :( Are you just looking with 1 agency? sometimes if you fish in multiple ponds and stay on top of it, you get faster response.

franzi December 21, 2009 at 5:32 pm

if i had one holiday wish, i would wish for a plane ticket and some vacation days where i could just fly back to my host family that so graciously accepted me in their lives 8 years ago and surprise them with my humungous luggage in the driveway – oh my gosh, she’s back! and her luggage also ;-)

Euromom December 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm

My wish is for my last au pair who left us for something that she found out didn’t exist – to the girls out there -when it’s too good to be true, it usually isn’t!. I wish her happiness and the strenght to carry on regardless.

OB Mom December 21, 2009 at 8:30 pm

I wish the agencies could figure out a better matching system so that no family or AP would have to go through the stress of a rematch. I am delighted that I did rematch and am glad that will always be an option, but wish I had made the a better selection in the first place.

I also hope that all the host families are welcoming to their AP’s during the holidays which must be emotionally confusing for them to be away from home. I also hope that all the AP’s stay engaged in their HF’s over the holidays and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them to share in different family traditions.

Best wishes to all for 2010!

NJMom December 22, 2009 at 11:48 am

My secret fantasy is that my otherwise PERFECT AP learns how to cook. But I realize that you can’t have everything and I am eternally grateful for the love she shows my kids! Happy holidays everyone!

Au pair in AZ December 22, 2009 at 6:38 pm

I wish I could find a way to be the au pair that a HF would never forget. I’ve been an au pair for over a year but it seems like I am here just because, the more i try to do, the less i get to be a great au pair. Maybe i just cant fit in to the program? maybe its just not for me. Anyway i still can wish!

Amelie December 22, 2009 at 9:26 pm

I’m leaving my host family in about a month to go back home, after an amazing year.

I wish that they can have as many good memories of me as I have of them. I wish I was the best au pair I could be, since they were the best host family I could have. I wish that their next au pair is even better than me.

And, mainly, I wish I can come back to visit them very soon!

Anonymous December 23, 2009 at 4:51 pm

You sound like an amazing person and Au Pair! Rest assured that even though the day-to-day gets in the way of letting you know it – your host family really appreciates the gifts you bring to their lives. This goes for the vast majority of Host Parents. Merry Christmas!

maleaupairmommy December 23, 2009 at 5:58 am

I wish, hope, and pray that my new au pair turns out to be a great fit for our family. Our current one has been with us for two years. It was hard at times but great, majority of the time. Wish I could clone him. He told me tonight that he is going to be on top behavior to train the new au pair and tell-show him that he vacums the stairs every day. We both had a good laugh at that one it gets done but not every day just glad he understands the big pic of helping me train the new one the right way.

Anonymous December 23, 2009 at 10:24 am

I wish my current au-pair would quit griping about how much work it is the whole time kids are out of school. It’s only been two days, and I’ve already had to listen to it. Things like this make me wonder if I should rematch.

Jane December 23, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I wish I had been able to do more to show my thanks to our first au pair while she was here. She was the most helpful, amazing girl, and I definitely didn’t realize how special she was until she was gone. My wish is for everyone, au pairs and hosts alike, to focus on the big picture and not get too worked up about small stuff.

AnotherCAMom December 23, 2009 at 7:09 pm

I wish & hope that our current au pair (our second) will want to extend with us. She is wonderful, but now has had a friend go into rematch who matched with an extremely wealthy family — so now I fear our au pair may realize she could have an entirely different family & experience than our crazy existence!

I also really hope she enjoys and appreciates the holiday gifts we are giving to her.

AnotherCAMom December 28, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Crapola. I think she is seriously considering finding a “new” family for her 2nd year. CV – could we log a request to talk about how to handle being a lame duck HF? I can feel myself already taking the potential of this personally – so could use some reinforcements on how to be a grownup, keep things focused & positive, etc., if this is indeed what happens.

Darthastewart December 28, 2009 at 2:42 pm

I don’t think you’re a lame duck if she decides to extend with a different family. It could be she wants to see a different part of the country. Honestly my own experiences with extending haven’t been all that awesome.

CV December 28, 2009 at 9:00 pm

A CA Mom–
your wish has been granted… well, at least the part about a conversation about lame duck situations… let’s hope for some good insights! cv

CT Au Pair December 24, 2009 at 6:55 pm

I wish my Family were more sensitive in days like Christmas, I know they are Muslims but, at least try it hard for special occasions, when they know is my first Christmas far from my family. I don’t care if they don’t make me feel part of the family the rest of the year, but today I feel I am here just because I need to change daipers every 2 hours. They want me to extend with they, and now I am wondering if I should go and rematch! I need to pay the fee by myself anyway. This is far the worse Christmas I ever had! :(

Amelie December 24, 2009 at 7:37 pm

CT AuPair, this is very sad!

Don’t you have any au pair friends whose family is celebrating chistmas? Maybe you could ask if you could celebrate with them.

CT Au Pair December 25, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Well my AP friends are out of town for the Holydays, so I went bed early and New Year I have the same plan!

Sota Gal December 26, 2009 at 12:11 am

CT Au Pair, I am so sad for you. Under other circumstances I have spent Christmas and New Years absolutely alone and it is HORRIBLE. You sound lovely, I wish you were our au pair! :)

Hope you managed to get through Christmas alright. (((( hugs))))

Anonymous December 26, 2009 at 9:39 am

I’m so sorry. :( It sounds like your HF is just a bit clueless. Sometimes people just don’t think- okay a LOT of times. I seriously doubt that they meant anything by it one way or the other- it just didn’t occur to them.

PNW-Mom December 27, 2009 at 1:09 am

We can be cueless… We try to include our au pair in our culture, but sometimes lack in theirs. But we do care and try…

HMdc December 29, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I wish our AP has given something for the kids for Christmas. The kids were a litle bit dissapointed. All our previous aupairs gave a little present for the kids (candy, little toys, cards, etc). So, I was kind of surprised that she didn’t consider to buy anything for the kids. She knew we bought some presents for her and she bought presents for her friends. I’m wondering if I’m expecting too much from the AP. Did your AP give something for your kids?

MommyMia December 29, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Yes, ours did – far too much, in our opinion, as we had advised her that one small token gift was fine (they already get far too many gifts). She also handcrafted a beautiful photo collage/shadow box of our family, including the pet cat, which was a wonderful gift that we’ll always treasure. I think they must talk about this at orientation, or give the APs some ideas of gifts (if they don’t, they should). I think it all depends on their own upbringing and family traditions, so while I don’t think you’re expecting too much, especially if yours bought gifts for her friends, perhaps there was not a clear understanding on her part. If the children have birthdays coming up while this AP is with you, I think I’d talk to her and explain that they are “expecting” to receive something, no matter how small.

Darthastewart December 29, 2009 at 3:45 pm

All of our au-pairs have done something for the kids- no matter how small. The one that boggles my mind is the ones that don’t show up to the kids’ birthday parties. I’m not asking that they arrange the party- but they should at least show up.

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