Here’s a painful situation, about which this host mom could use some good advice. I’m sure that this kind of situation has happened to other families who’ve gone into rematch [Something similar happened to us with our flame-out au pair, and so reading this mom’s email got me all mad all over again. What went wrong here? This mom may never know. ]
Our 21 year-old au pair abruptly stopped speaking with both of us host parents on Monday, and then quit and moved out of the house overnight on Tuesday, after we tried to sit down and determine what was going on with her. She refused to speak with us when we tried to determine what was bothering her and, although she is in touch by email, we have no idea where she has gone or why.
This au pair traveled extensively with our family, received “perks” of tennis lessons, sailing lessons, and a club memberships. She has developed friendships with our friends and neighbors.
We opened our home to several of her friends for weeks at a time, and hosted her parents, sister and grandmother at Christmastime, providing car service to and from the airport and a case of wine for their enjoyment. The relationship, which was approaching its eleventh month, seemed fine from the host family perspective. We were pleased with her interaction with the three children (9. 8 and 4), and her growth as a member of the household. She has been interested in extending (we don’t extend beyond a year with anyone), and we encouraged her take what she has learned with us and apply it to a different situation, in a different region of the country, and we actively supported her efforts to do so, helping her tweak her online profile, etc.
Her suddenly invoking the silent treatment and then refusing to discuss matters with us has felt rude, immature and hurtful given the good year to this point and the generosity we have extended in sharing our lives with her.
We are an experienced host family, having had approximately eight years’ worth of au pairs, and we are completely flummoxed by the situation, but here’s the kicker…she wants to come around and say goodbye to the children.
My husband is of the opinion that our now-former au pair doesn’t deserve this privilege. He wonders who we are trying to mollify and feels that our kids need to move on. He feels that it is better for them to have the same reaction as we did (bewilderment, shock) so, as a “team” we can all pull each other through it. If the au pair couldn’t or wouldn’t explain herself to the host parents, what could she possibly say to our children?
At this point, the children are mixed about whether they care to see her again. They are hurt, angry and confused, as are we.
However I don’t want the rawness of our emotions at this time to cloud our judgment, and I am curious what more objective souls might say. — Dee
Share your thoughts in the comments!
And, obviously, we’ll need to hear how the rest of the story unfolds Dee…