At Best, Two Weeks of Resentment?: How to handle that rematch period

by cv harquail on December 22, 2010

How many among us who have lived through a rematch can describe the two weeks between agreeing to a rematch and having the au pair depart as anything close to a pleasant, respectful experience?

I’m not even going to put up a poll for that question. I bet, too, that one reason we don’t initiate rematches more often is because we just can’t bear the idea of up to two weeks of an excruciating wait, until he or she just finally leaves. (Yeah, we had a bad experience. No, I haven’t really gotten over it.)

201012222117.jpgI’m sure there are a few situations where the rematch was mutual, the au pair was respectful, the family remained kind, and everyone parted on good terms.

But for all the other situations — how have you handled it? How do we make the best of these two weeks, which seem almost automatically to be/come unpleasant? Can we rise above it? Set expectations and uphold standards? Or just grit our teeth and wait it out?

As JJ Host Mom asks:

I haven’t seen this one come up, but it’s something that I’m sure we’ve all gone through and I imagine people will have some great advice about it.

We just sent an au pair into rematch. I’m pretty sure he was smoking, since he smelled strongly of smoke, although to this day he denies it. Also, he was spending over an hour a day on the phone while he was supposed to be watching the kids. He needed to be micromanaged, not because he didn’t know how to do things like laundry, washing the kids’ dishes, etc, but because he didn’t feel like it. And finally, he spent zero time with us, aside from the time he worked, from the beginning. It was clear that he was only au pairing as a way to travel and go to nightclubs, etc. Really, it boiled down to a trust issue, at the core.

I have 2 year old twins, and don’t feel they’re old enough to hold their own with a potentially bitter au pair, so I asked him to stop working the day I told him we were parting ways. The au pair agency let him rematch, and we just finished up our 2-week obligation of letting him stay with us while he looked for another family.

During the rematch period he basically came to the house to sleep, and that’s it. He avoided me and my husband. That part I’m okay with, and kind of understand. But he also ignored the kids, which made me angry. Never once did he ask about the kids, or how they were doing in their backup care situation, or apologize for not being the person he said he was when we interviewed, and thus subjecting all of us to the pain of rematch. We let him continue to use the cell phone for interviews only, and he never said thank you, and still used it to call his friends and lied about it when I confronted him about it. Basically he acted like a spoiled child, and by the end of the two weeks, I was really angry with him.

I know it’s sort of an option for me to send him to the LCC’s house, but I know that many families do that, and frankly, she doesn’t get paid enough to deal with a constant stream of au pairs sleeping on her couch. Plus it’s the holidays and I didn’t want to burden her while she might be trying to have her own celebrations.

I talked to the LCC a couple of times and she talked to him, at which point he would come in, curtly apologize (usually when I had just gotten home from daycare with two screaming, exhausted children and was trying to get them settled to start dinner), and continue the same behavior.

What is reasonable behavior to expect from an au pair during rematch? Next time this happens, do I just suck it up and let the au pair be a jerk to all of us for 2 weeks? I also know, from his point of view, that he’s a long way from home, and I don’t want to just boot him out.   I also understand he just got fired, and so it’s a tough situation for everyone. But on the other hand, he brought it on himself. And it is my house, and I’m doing him a favor by letting him stay. And most importantly, my kids do not deserve to be treated the way he treated them.

Thoughts? Thanks as always,  JJ Host Mom


Cherry blossom in the snow from aranmanothUme blossom in snow : ?? from naitokz


NoVA Host Mom December 23, 2010 at 2:13 am

Been there, have the tee-shirt. I imagine many of us have. We handled it the best way we could have: in our case, we had the exiting-AP work minimal hours (just what we absolutely needed her to), and knew she was going on her own way on any and all off-hours. We did remove her cell phone for all purposes within the first days of the final 2 weeks (and made it clear she was obligated to return that, all accessories, and the METRO pass we had provided for school purposes). We were actually encouraged to do these things as we had similar issues (but ours also missed work hours and resisted all opportunity to try to talk things out). She lied frequently (and on things she knew I was easily able to check on, knowing I do actually check given her history with us), so I did not trust her not to run up the cell phone bill. We gutted it out with a bit more diligence for our daughter (then only 6 months), and as soon as we hit that final day, we had our LCC come and witness the final exchange of funds (what she owed, what we owed, etc). She had only been there for 4 months, so after we had paid for her full school cost, she ended up owing us money for that. It came as a rude awakening to her and she was most displeased (as she was when I demanded the return of the cell phone and other goodies), but frankly, it’s not like her hard work paid for any of it so I did not mind too much.

You really have to look at this as a “ya’ gotta do what ya’ gotta do” scenario. Gut it out, and know that it has an end. But I would certainly remove ALL privileges that you provided, including the phone. He can get a drop phone cheap at Cricket or some similar place to chat with his friends, and you are not responsible for paying for a phone so he can find another job after he failed to complete your contract. Here is where it is important to start thinking more as the employer and less as the HP. “Family” no longer includes him.

And yes, he’s going be be crappy towards your kids. He’s immature and will continue to act that way. Just know that it is highly unlikely that your children will have a long lasting memory of him, and someone better who will have a positive impression on him will come along soon.

Should be working December 23, 2010 at 5:05 am

Our two weeks weren’t so bad in that the AP essentially moved in with her boyfriend. But it was still awful. We had to have the LCC tell her that no matter what, she had to say goodbye to the children. But it was still a huge relief when she was truly gone. We had the luxury of being able to scrape by and manage without her, so she did not work at all.

I do wonder if the 2-week requirement is not CONCEIVED by the agencies as a deterrent to rematch. Is it in the federal regulations? If there weren’t that requirement I would have rematched earlier and had much less hesitation around it. If I had tons of money I would set aside a hotel-and-restaurant fund for future rematches, but I don’t.

cv harquail December 23, 2010 at 8:49 am

SBW, I don’t think that the Agencies are clever enough to be strategic that way…. and they set up so many other deterrents to rematch! I think the ‘real’ reason is that it just takes this long to get someone in a new situation– the au pair either home or with a new family, and the host family with a new au pair or alternative child care arrangements.

I saw an article about a retreat/respite opportunity for people who care for aging parents, etc. where the state paid for several days of backup care while the main caregiver rejuvenated… Although AP issues are not quite like having a mom with Alzheimer’s, your mention of a Rematch Hotel made me think that a Host Mom Annual Retreat would be a fun idea. We could have sessions about “Writing a Foolprooof Family Manual” and “How Not To Match With A Princess”, interspersed with cocktails and massages. Sound good? cv

Calif Mom December 23, 2010 at 10:27 am

Sounds utterly glorious! I’m in! :-)

azmom December 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I’m in!

NoVA Host Mom December 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm

I am totally in favor! Sounds awesome!

MommyMia December 24, 2010 at 1:44 am

Sounds fabulous!

MinneMom December 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm

That is a great idea!!

Should be working December 28, 2010 at 7:11 am

Yes! Would love to meet some of these HPs on here.

AnnaAuPair December 23, 2010 at 5:33 am

I know that quiet a few AuPairs act like this AuPair – unfortunately. They think that they you’re doing them wrong and I don’t think they really understand or (even worse) want to understand how hard they are making life for you.
It’s nice that you try to see it from his point of view – I think that’s a quality of a real good hostmom. But: don’t try to find excuses when there maybe aren’t any. He should have known what he got into!
Also I think it’s very considerate of the LCC to not send him there because “she’s not paid so much” – but: it’s her job! And after how he behaved, I don’t know how I would feel having him in my home for 2 more weeks.

I’m not sure if it’s a regulation and I somehow don’t think so. I think there is something to the AuPair’s Visa, which is only valid for two more weeks when the contract is broken or ended or something like that. But I don’t think its written down that the AuPair has to stay and / or work or anything. Especially because there IS the option of sending the AuPair to the LCC or (if she or he wants to) somewhere else for the two weeks of searching for a new family.
The two weeks also offer the families an opportunity to still have childcare while searching for a new AuPair – although I don’t know of any situation where this hasn’t been awkward or didn’t work out at all ^^

Talliecat December 23, 2010 at 9:03 am

We recently had 2 rematches in one month. We first had an au pair from Germany with minimal English who basically thought she was here in a vacation and to do a little bit of babysitting. I knew right off the bat that she would not work out. We rematched about 10 days in… my husband ( who is very mild mannered ) had to pull her aside and speak to her ( as she was eating and sleeping in our home) and tell her that she would acknowledge my children when she was in our home. She basically stopped talking to all of us and ignored the kids. She rematched in about a week to a German speaking family. I was so relieved when she left! it is just so uncomfortable having someone be a presence in your home when you just are DONE.

hOstCDmom December 23, 2010 at 9:09 am

We had a rematch situation that while motivated by a very serious situation, did in fact start out as civil, professional, and even keel. Until the AP went AWOL 3 days into it leaving all her things in her room and a cryptic note that sounded like a suicide note!(poor English probably influenced the wording, but to me, the HM, it read like a suicide note! Talk about a stressful time racing through my house searching the closets for my AP’s body! (It was later determined by some “HM detective work” that she was alive and well and had departed for the train station to a nearby major city…phew!)

Our AP was not going to be rematched (although she had not yet been told that by the agency, but I’m guessing she gleaned it from what happened, PLUS she was a non-driver (despite having said she was a driver) with weak English…not the best recipe for maximizing her chances of rematch). But the deal breaker for the agency (and us!!) was that our 3 year old was nearly killed while under AP’s care because AP allowed him to cross the street alone (she wasn’t watching him while out walking in town with him) and 3 year old was pulled back in the nick of time from the path of an oncoming car by his older (12 yo) brother. The agency actually told us that if we wanted to continue with this AP we would have to sign a waiver of liability.

Something new I learned from this situation:

Per SEVIS rules (SEVIS = the sub-dept of Homeland Security that manages the J-1 (and other) visa programs), technically an AP in rematch may NOT stay anywhere other than the HF’s home or the LCC’s home. The J-1 visa is tied to the HF, until such time as the visa is changed to reflect the new HF. The agency has a legal obligation to know where the AP is at all times during this period and not do anything to facilitate the AP violating the terms of the J-1 visa (i.e. by disappearing and overstaying the visa). Permitting the AP to go off and stay somewhere else could be perceived as facilitating the APs violation of the visa. Our agency took that rule seriously and told AP that she could only stay with HF or LCC. (We did offer to let her stay, but she was obviously not working or caring for our children!)

Per the terms of the J-1 visa, an AP may only remain in the US for 2 weeks from her last working day, other than the 13th month exemption for APs that successfully complete their AP cultural exchange program. I believe that the HF obligation to house the AP is both a practical, business arrangement for the agencies (they certainly don’t want to have a business model that requires them to pay for housing for APs in transition!) AND as a reasonable protection for the AP — i.e. a HF can’t decide that they want to rematch and then throw the AP out on the street in a matter of hours.

Re our situation, after I told the agency that AP was GONE, the agency had to contact SEVIS immediately and inform them that the AP had gone AWOL. This meant that the AP’s visa status was changed in the system (immediately) and she no longer had a visa and was in the US illegally. Per the department of Homeland Security regulations, once her visa was cancelled, if she tried to get on a plane, even on a flight back to her home country, she could have been arrested, taken to a detention center, and then deported.

Calif Mom December 23, 2010 at 10:29 am

What a nightmare!

hOstCDmom December 25, 2010 at 1:38 pm

One detail I left out- the AP I mention above didn’t go AWOL to another AP’s, she went to Big City to work in the underground economy and become an illegal resident of the US indefinitely….she never came back for any of her stuff….

CO Host Mom December 23, 2010 at 10:06 am

Interesting about the two week requirement. We switched agencies in August. Our previous agency followed the two week requirement and in rematch situations the AP could stay with the HF if the HF was agreeable, or the AP would stay with the LCC for the two week period. The AP was given two weeks to find a new family, and if she did not, she would return home.

I always assumed the two week rematch thing was a State Department requirement, but after changing agencies and my family was faced with a rematch situation, I learned that isn’t actually the case. My current agency requires the HF to house the outgoing/rematch AP INDEFINITELY. Seems insane, doesn’t it? So even if you get a new AP, if the outgoing AP hasn’t found a new family, you still have to house her. Now if she finds a new family immediately, she can leave immediately. But otherwise, the contract says you have to house her. You do not have to allow her to continue working, and can find alternate childcare immediately. And you don’t have to pay her during the period you are housing.

But to answer the original question…we ended up with less than two weeks from the time we told AP that we were rematching until she left for her new HF. It was a nightmare. The AP who couldn’t be bothered to spend time with the family, who rarely joined us for dinner, and who did nothing but party the three months she was in our home all of a sudden did nothing but hover around the kitchen and living room, weeping softly. She cried non-stop for those two weeks. And not cried to her friends or cried in her room, but rather, sat at the kitchen table and cried.

Our new AP arrived before the outgoing AP went to her new family, but fortunately another HF offered to take her in for those two overlapping days so we didn’t actually have to have both of them in our home at the same time.

Calif Mom December 23, 2010 at 10:36 am

In our experience, the two weeks while they are searching for a new host family are characterized by distance. We only had one (our very first, flameout AP, the fraudulent Pointy Boots) who was actively disrespectful. The others we sent packing were The Princess and The Morose One, and they both retreated blissfully and were basically decent during the interim. Didn’t really like them anyway, hence the rematch, so it’s not a great emotional loss.

You just have to grit your teeth, prepare for the worst, and get through it one day at a time.

Meanwhile, you’re trying to find your own replacement, so you’re usually busy enough not to have a lot of time to get too mired in the departing AP’s mishegoss. It’s a good idea to go through the balance sheet yourself right away, and if you know the AP will owe you money, you have the counselor there at the table with you, as mentioned above. The money shouldn’t be a surprise to you–ask your counselor for the form ahead of time so you can get prepared. There are some odd little formulas, as I recall, and some things you might not think of.

Hula Gal December 23, 2010 at 10:56 am

We’ve been through two rematches where the au pair stayed with us for one week and three weeks respectively. The first rematch was our first au pair who told us on Sunday (after she arrived on Thursday) that she wanted to go home. The only plane ticket she could find at a reasonable fare was one week away. We did not have her provide childcare since my husband is self employed and works from home and we did not trust her. She stayed in her room and went out with one other German au pair a few times. I had to go up to the room and check on her occasionally to make sure she was ok. I was very stressed at work and at night wondering if this girl was a psycho who would do something crazy while we were asleep. Fortunately, she left without incident. The other au pair was our second (a hasty choice unfortunately) and while she was not really qualified to care for an infant, since my husband was at home, we allowed her to provide minimal childcare so he could work. She stayed with us for three weeks while trying to rematch. Things stayed civil until the last day or two. But it was tolerable this time around. After these two experiences we have vowed to never house another au pair after going in to rematch unless the reasons for the au pair leaving are related to something other than unhappiness on either our part or theirs in being our au pair.

I was under the impression that we had to pay the AD/LCC $25 per day if we asked them to house the au pair? I recall reading this in my contract. I suppose it depends on the agency you are with.

Anna December 23, 2010 at 11:02 am

We’ve had three rematch situations (gosh, sounds like an awful lot)

Two were peaceful and respectful, and the au pairs worked for us during the two weeks. One of those was initiated by us – the au pair was sweet, but not qualified for our situation and not mature enough. Another was initiated by the au pair – but I quickly realized it was for the best for everybody (she couldn’t handle the job physically), and I really loved her as a person, probably as much or more as the best au pair we’ve had. She ended up working for us three weeks until she had to go to her new family; during this time I had to make her job easier and paid a friend to pitch in for part of her hours. I also let ALL the little things slide during this time, because I knew it doesn’t matter since its only … X more days.

One rematch that I still harbor some trauma from, is the one where a badly performing au pair was with us for 8 months, during which time I worked and worked and worked on the situation… but she didn’t as it turned out. What triggered the rematch was a big lie, and we had her leave our house as soon as we had our rematch meeting with the LCC. We couldn’t trust her anymore in our house.

Deb Schwarz December 23, 2010 at 1:59 pm

We’ve had a few transitions, and they have been typically easy, although our last one a month ago wasn’t easy (she tried to fry me with accusations that I threatened her – anyone who knows me laughs on that one). Every au pair is different – some au pairs (and host families) are embarassed that it didn’t work out and try to place the blame on everyone but themselves (it’s a maturity thing). JJ’s au pair is clearly not interested in children, so you shouldn’t be surprised that he is not talking to the kids (my last one was like that, too – sad but true). As an LCC, I usually find that once the “ice is broken” (so to speak), that things tend to ease up. It’s much easier if the au pair doesn’t provide childcare – and yes, the “avoidance dance” is common.

As an LCC, I really appreciate JJ’s sentiments about not hoisting their au pair on the LCC’s sofa over the holidays. I just had a host family email me last night that they are taking off today (unexpectantly) and leaving their transition au pair alone for Christmas. The transition au pair is not communicative, has no social manners, and no initiative (I suspect she’ll be sent home). Although I’m a big softie, my husband isn’t, so unless I want him upset for Christmas, I’ll do my best to help her without having her sleep on our sofa. Many LCC’s quit this lowly paid job because their spouse becomes upset with their home becoming a youth hostel, so after a few years of learning, I only do it in dire emergencies.

Going back to JJ: don’t take his disinterest in the kids personally – that’s who he is. The two weeks will be over soon – and he will be a distant memory – just avoid him and look forward to your next au pair who will, no doubt, be much better.

And yes, CV, I love the idea of an au pair mom retreat. I’m there!


Eurogirl December 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Oh… I have never been through any thing like this… I cannot imagine how difficult and horrible that would be. An au pair friend of mine did go through this, in Austria, she was Canadian and had to wait three weeks with a family who fired her until she got a flight home – which was even then very expensive. I had a lot of sympathy for her, because it was very unpleasant and she was very disappointed to be fired – her relationship with the host parents may have been rocky, but she really loved those kids.

Something I am SO glad never happened to me! I have a lot of respect for people who will let someone that they obviously have problems with stay in their house – even more respect if they can keep relations civil to that point.

In2weekRematchRightNow December 23, 2010 at 5:49 pm

We’re in this situation right now! We were very nice and gave her more notice than required, and she tried to tell me she would just stay here until her contract ran out! Um, I don’t think so!!!
So far it’s been 2 weeks of ups and downs and round and rounds! Ugh! Only 2 weeks to go, and counting!
Why is it that Gen Y feel so entitled?!! My husband would love to give her 2 weeks pay and shift her out the door, but instead I’m too big a softie and am letting her stay until her flight to be with a guy off the internet she’s never met… whole other story!!
I’ve learnt something from this 5 months though…. I will NEVER EVER tolerate such nonsense from anyone ever again!!
Merry Christmas to all!!

Eurogirl December 24, 2010 at 7:41 am

I’m sorry to hear your bad experience but please don’t tar a whole generation with the same brush! If everyone in “Gen Y” (a term I never heard before, by the way, but I have looked it up) was the same you would not have any positive au pair experiences… Hopefully I am not the only one who thinks that is not the case… There will always be bad matches, difficult families and useless au pairs – but for most of us it has been a great experience and it saddens me if you think all girls in their twenties are that bad!

In2weekRematchRightNow December 26, 2010 at 12:00 am

Sorry Eurogirl, let me rephrase that to “why does THIS aupair feel so entitled?!” I wrote that post in a moment of frustration, and I could continue writing an essay on this one…. I don’t think all girls in their twenties are bad (this aupair is 19), nor do I think all teenagers are bad… but I have changed my requirements from now on ;)

usa au pair December 24, 2010 at 1:54 am

I’ve been in the US for 7 months now, and I’ve seen a lot of my au pair friends getting into rematch. Two of those girls had hard times with their former host families and ended up hosted at my basement, with the consent of my host family.

Girl number one was threatened by the host mom, who kicked her out of the house with no cell phone, in the middle of a week day. The girl managed to get in touch with some friends online, through her notebook+wireless, and stayed with me for two days till she matched a new family in the same state. I still have no clue of why she could not have her Lcc hosting her, neither does my friend.

The second girl was a litttle bit more trouble…the family totally kicked her out of the house a couple days before Thanksgiving. She had no place to go, so I talked to my host mom and the girl stayed in my basement….for TEN DAYS! Of course I was working while she was managing to get matched with a new family, but it came out that the LCC was traveling for the holiday and could not host her. The girl matched with a family from another state, and the LCC of the new family could also not host her because of Thanksgiving. The new family itself would still have the other au pair till the end of Thanksgiving.

As a result, my host family took the girl to our Thanksgiving dinner with friends. I felt embarrassed, my host family felt upset, not because of the dinner itself, but because my host mom made a lot of calls to the girl’s agency (we were not even with the same one) and all they could do was telling us they would find a place/ LCC for her to stay, what obviously didn’t happen.

I am not saying that I defend or agree with whatever those girls did wrong to end up in rematch. I’m just saying that, whatever the problem may have been, they signed up a contract with some rules about rematch, and I bet none of those rules include being kicked out of your ex-host house with nowhere to go.

I’m glad I could host my friends when they needed, and I don’t even need to say it’s never gonna happen again – both host mom and I agree that we don’t need this kind of stuff happening while I stay with the kids, and that we should let the LCCs and agencies out there do their jobs, instead of trying to do it ourselves.

Gianna December 24, 2010 at 11:12 am

It is very kind of you and your host mother to put these girls up and I think that your last line sums it up: you should let the agencies and the LCCs do their jobs. They have access to families who are also in rematch and they know how to make arrangements. The rest of us cannot know the whole story. Sometimes aupairs do not tell the whole story either. Sometimes an aupair walks out on a family and then tells all of her friends that the family threw her out. Sometimes an aupair refuses to go to the LCCs house or makes up some excuse not to go there because she wants to work off the books or just hang out and tell her own story. And sometimes, yes, families do throw aupairs out on the street. There should be a very severe financial penalty to those families. They should not get another aupair, they should not get any money back and they should not be allowed to switch agencies. I’ve known LCCs who quit because they were paid very little and exploited by ruthless families – always just before the holidays. One LCC told me that she was beeped in church during her sister’s wedding.

MommyMia December 24, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Don’t mean to hijack the thread, but I’m amazed that and LCC even had a beeper on during her sister’s wedding! Ours never answered the phone, even during her “office hours” (10-4 weekdays) and would hardly ever return calls when messages were left–if she did it was normally 24-48 hours later, long after whatever issue necessitating the call had been resolved by us. Even when we were rear-ended en route to the final “cluster meeting” and called to tell her why we’d be arriving late, no response! This was supposedly the “farewell” (last meeting for our au pair), yet LCC didn’t even return the call when AP phoned her after arriving at the venue when she couldn’t locate the group! We are enjoying our new LAR and agency, and especially our new AP SOOOOO much! Merry Christmas everyone!

HRHM December 25, 2010 at 2:52 am

I do advise any well-meaning family that takes in their APs friend when their HF uncerimoniously “kicks them out” to insist on speaking with both the LCC and the HF. As HPs you know that it is rare that this truly happens for no reason (not that there aren’t really bad HPs out there, but this is rare) There is almost always more to the story. The LCC has a legal obligation to house the AP and you need to hear from her why she can’t. Even if they are on vacation, they are REQUIRED by SD laws to have a backup LCC covering them. And as a PP noted, once the AP has been out of the family home, technically her Visa is gone. Secondly, if the AP was ousted for stealing, mistreating the kids, doing drugs, coming onto the HD, do you really want that person in your house even for one night? The AP is not going to come out and tell you that those were the reasons for her getting the boot. She also isn’t likely to tell you that she “ran away from home” and her HF has no idea where she is and is worried she’s dead.
Due dilligence is on YOU. Also, this way both the LCC and the HF know where the AP is (their right seeing as how they are sponsoring her visa) and it’s important for them to at least know that she is safe and how to contact her.

NotSoNewAPMama December 25, 2010 at 3:27 am

And I am sure a HF isn’t going to be honest and say, “Yes, we kicked her out on the street or left her on the steps of the LCC’s house, etc.” While it might be rare, it does happen. And unfortunently, the majority of the time, the HF is believed over the AP, which is just sad.

Aupairgal December 25, 2010 at 8:20 am

Do LCCs get paid or is it a volunteer job?

MommyMia December 25, 2010 at 9:18 pm

I believe they are paid varying amounts, depending upon the agency and how many host HFs/APs are in their cluster. But I don’t think it’s much, and some agencies base the pay upon how many families they recruit to the program, some pay for each family interviewed (whether or not they apply with that agency), etc. Perhaps some of the LCCs/LARs who regularly post on here can supply details.

Taking a Computer Lunch December 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm

We’ve hosted many APs in rematch over the past 9 years. Some were good candidates for rematch, for others we provided a way station until they went home (only a few of the latter ever thanked us for our generosity). Only one AP who had been kicked out of her home caused us problems – she stole from our AP. The ones who did not rematch successfully tended to be immature, unbending and on the dour side. The ones who rematched successfully were bright, mature, and in situations where the HF bent the rules to the point of breaking. Not all lived in our cluster (but our LCC went to bat for those who did not as long as they were in our agency).

There are always two sides to every story, but I have found that my LCC is good at expressing the situation without breaking confidence. We have served as a reference for some of the women over the years, when they weren’t supported by their former HFs, but we were honest about what we knew and what we saw under our roof.

I will say, that we do encourage the APs in rematch to assist our AP and certainly not to detract our AP’s attention away from our children.

usa au pair December 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I do believe that every story has at least two different versions, depending on who’s telling it. We had the girls version and a very complicated communications with the LCC/ host family part, so we did what we could do. I feel glad that we could host them when they needed, even with the possibility that they could have ran from the host house…
But we all learn with our mistakes, and I learned with mine, not hosting anybody in the foreseeable future, and I’m sure the next au pair will hear something about it as soon as she gets here.

JJ host mom December 25, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Thank you to all of you for your advice. I guess the answer is to just grin and bear it, knowing that it will be over soon. I was hoping there was some magical formula that I had overlooked but that doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s good to know that my kids will probably forget about him as soon as our new, and hopefully great, au pair gets here. That’s my biggest concern.

Oh well. I’d rather go through a tough couple of transition weeks than live out the whole year with him as our au pair.

Calif Mom December 27, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Oh, the kids will definitely forget him when they have a new person around who wants to learn all about them! IMHO, the kids are much better at rematch than the host parents. It’s tough for us not to feel jaded or fight the last battle. And there is zero doubt that it’s much better to gut your way through transition than to keep limping through the year with a not-right au pair.

Think about what you will say to the new au pair, too, because they could be nervous since you have sent their predecessor into rematch (and they WILL learn this sooner or later, once they start circulating with locals)! The introduction period will be a bit more complicated for you, but when the replacement starts to settle in and things are SO much better, you will know it. Good luck!

JJ host mom December 27, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Thanks Calif Mom. Yeah, we were upfront with our new au pair about what happened. We offered to let her talk to him, as well as to our previous au pair (because that seemed a fair way to make sure she knew all sides to the story.) She talked to both au pairs, and apparently even the au pair we sent into rematch said we’re a great family, so that’s good. I’m mystified that he’d say that, given the way he acted, but thankful nonetheless.

SuziQue December 27, 2010 at 1:14 pm

We just completed a rematch transition period, which was awkward but overall fine. The key to the generally good outcome (in our situation) was partly that our AP felt that she needed our support to rematch — she felt like we were supporting her rematch process, and our LCC told the AP that she wouldn’t have been allowed to rematch (in this situation) except that I’d advocated on her behalf.

Did I stick up for her because I am so nice or she’s so great? No. I did it because she was a responsible AP who did a good job with childcare (another family could hire her with confidence) AND because I knew that a grateful AP would be nicer to have around for 2+ weeks than a bitter AP.

Along the same lines, we asked “How is the match process going? Any good families?” So that the communication lines stayed open and she thought of us as friendly.

Basically, we tried to take the high-road, support her decision to re-match (even though it cost us a LOT of stress/time/$), and even advocate for her with the LCC… which, in the end, helped us have a smooth transition.

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