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.)
I’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