When Your Au Pair Lies About Mileage on the Car

by cv harquail on November 14, 2016

Sorry for the long lapse in posting…I’m still recovering.  

To nudge me (and you?) back into the challenges of Host Parenting, here’s an email about a problem that we faced with our Au Pair too.    It was especially disappointing — and surprising — since this happened with perhaps our most mature, measured, and confident au pair….

11922754185_e5841fd683_mDear Au Pair Mom Community —
I have a question on a current situation with our au pair and would love community input.  

A few months ago our au pair told me she was taking my car to the mall to meet up with a friend to shop and get dinner.  The next morning as I’m coming downstairs for work she’s there to great me with some terrible news.  —

While she was at the mall her family called (she actually has family about 40 minutes north of us who emigrated to America in the 80s) to invite her over.  So she drove there (without telling me), and then on her way home got a flat.  She tried to put the spare on but broke a bolt and then called AAA and had the car towed home.  She did not call or text us once during this episode.

Obviously I was furious and we had a big conversation about trust and if  1) you have my car and plans change you have to tell me where you are going and 2) If anything happens to the car you have to call me right away.

But she takes great care of my son and she’s never done anything during working hours to make me not trust her.

Since this incident, I’ve been periodically checking the mileage on the car after she’s used it just to see if it lines up with what she’s told me.  This past Friday she asked to take the car to visit a friend in the next town over (about 3 miles away) and said she’d be home by 10PM.  At 11PM she texted to say she was staying the night and would see us in the morning as she was scheduled to work at 9AM.  The next morning I check the odometer and see that she put 80 miles on the car.

When I asked her about it, she said she was just driving around town with her friend. Ahem, this is a lie, since takes an awful lot of driving around town to put 80 miles on a car.  Today I asked her again asked and this time she told me she’s been seeing a guy (named David) who lives in a town that is 20 miles away. She drove there for the first time Friday night to surprise him and got lost on the way hence the extra mileage.

I’m not sure I believe this story either (I think she went to see her family), but either way she lied again about where she was taking the car.

What do I do here besides ban all car privileges except for driving to/from class or taking my son to the activities ?  Help!!!


Image: JLS Photography on Flickr 


Taking a Computer Lunch November 14, 2016 at 10:23 pm

Wow! I’ve only suspended driving privileges for 2 au pairs – one, from China, really could not drive, and spent four months getting to the “advanced beginner” level – with both paid and HD driving lessons, only to be brought back to square one by three months of harsh winter weather. By the time she indicated she would be willing to try to drive with snow on the ground, winter was nearly over and we had decided not to extend with her.

The other was an immature AP with no common sense. After blowing past a school bus with flashing red lights (she and HD and just had a conversation about stopping for them) she was on warning, but after she failed to yield at a stop sign and plowed into the side of a Hummer, we gave her a choice – go into rematch or have the car home by 10 pm. Yup, I know nothing happens before 10 pm, especially for an AP who wanted to follow her favorite garage band in a city 30 miles away. Despite her requests for the rest of the year, we held firm – that second incident of “distracted driving” was a doozie (and the only time an AP ever woke us up).

Now, we have a car that is more or less dedicated to the AP (we can and do put claims on it from time to time) and we don’t put restrictions on where they drive – once they have a US driving license. We’ve had APs drive 200 miles away. It’s their gas money.

So now, you have to decide at this point (and you don’t indicate where she is in her year or whether you are considering extending or have extended with her), whether or not to let her have greater distances (provided, of course, she return the car with a full tank of gas – are you sharing? – and that she pay the costs of any damage she incurs as a result of driving longer distances). If you decide to give her further privileges, make it clear that it is a reward for her care for your child, not because you’re giving in. Have her sign a contract that states she agrees to the conditions you want to set.

However, personally, you have at least two instances where the truth eluded her. I’d be tempted to say, “I’d love to give you greater privileges to drive and see your family, but you haven’t been honest with me about your intentions. The car has to be home by X time and cannot be kept overnight at a friend’s house.” It’s your car and your rules. I know that if you and your AP have iPhones you can track her whereabouts, if trust really becomes an issue. There might be other tracking devices you may install, and insist she keep on when using the car.

Bottom line – it’s your car. Her family wants to see her? Let them come pick her up!

AU pair November 15, 2016 at 3:19 am

I would never match with a family that has this many strict car rules. Was she aware before hand that she was only going to allowed to drive the car with permission, after telling you where she was going? (How old is she anyway? As a young adult I wouldn’t like this either. Too controlling. But it is your car, so your rules for sure. I’m just really interested to hear how many of this rules the AU pair knew before hand?
Is there public transport available? If she’s paying for her gas, I don’t see why it is such a big deal she goes visit her boyfriend or family. You want your au pair to get out and be social. Trust me, I’ve been in a situation where car rules were so over the top I was stuck in a basement for days on end. It’s borderline depressing. Of course your au pairs situation may be different, but if she’s a great au pair, I’d pick my battles.

massmom November 16, 2016 at 3:41 pm

I’m curious what you would consider to be reasonable car rules. Most HFs I know want to know where their car is going and when it will be back, especially if there is not a dedicated car for the AP. When she has the car during workdays, our AP runs errands and goes to the gym without telling me where she’s going, but on a weekend where I might need the car, I definitely need to know so we can balance everyone’s plans. I very rarely say no, but I feel like it’s a courtesy to give a heads up when you take/need the car.

Mimi November 16, 2016 at 3:46 pm

Even for those of us who have a dedicated car, we want to have a general idea of where it’s going for many reasons.

2 kids and a cat November 16, 2016 at 7:29 pm

It’s a big deal because it’s more than just gas – the cost of the car, maintenance every 3000 miles, and insurance. Our AP totaled the car in a negligent accident. If these kind of rules aren’t for you then you’re better off using public transportation on your own dime.

TexasHM November 17, 2016 at 10:43 am

Even my parents (grandma and grandpa) ask us to borrow the car and tell us where they are going and a ballpark on when they will be back. It’s not a control issue, that is what mature respectful adults do when they borrow a major asset from someone.

Now yes, having an AP there is much more frequent use but communication is still important because as others said, we don’t have an AP only car, we share multiple vehicles so we need to make sure we are communicating. We have had occasions where AP assumed and took a car and then had to come back because I had the back loaded up with something for an event that day or we had to trade cars at school because I had meetings and needed the smaller car to go downtown, etc so I would like to think ours realize its more about mutual respect and logistics and not prying. On the flip, I also tell my AP where I am going and when I will be back so it goes both ways.

As others have said the cost of gas is minimal in the big picture. I am much less concerned with gas and much more concerned with the risk of damage (especially if parking our car overnight on the street somewhere or in a part of town that is riskier) and the wear and tear on the vehicle (oil changes, service, parts, labor, tires). At this point we are used to the regular bumps and dings inflicted on our cars by APs but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we have pretty defined rules and we are one of very few families I know that host and have not had their AP get into an accident or have major car damage (knock on wood). If our car gets totaled the AP would at minimum lose all personal driving privileges and then as you said, would likely be miserable and end up in rematch anyway so in our case we feel it is best for everyone if we communicate often and have rules to minimize risk.

To give perspective – the federal mileage rate is 54 cents a mile. That is what they have calculated it costs to drive a car on average in terms of everything – gas, depreciation, maintenance, etc. So putting it in context of the OP – that AP joyride trip around town of 80 miles cost them $43.20. If you figure AP paid for the gas and it took say 3 gallons at $2 a gallon that means the AP paid $6 in gas and HF covered the other $37.20. The OP has every right to be concerned about this especially if she is doing this on a consistent basis. Let’s say her family is 30 miles away and she goes once a week and pays for the gas. That would mean the HF was eating over $1500 per year just for her to do this one trip weekly – not counting AP going anywhere else during the week.

If an AP wanted to buy a car we would happily insure it, pay ALL their gas and have no curfews/car restrictions but we have yet to have an AP do that. Until then we have to try and balance funding their personal transportation with the risk of losing/devaluing the asset and no one has mentioned yet the liability risk but that’s been discussed a lot on previous threads. (If AP causes an accident the HF can lose their insurance, have their rates increase for several years and be sued! I know of multiple instances where AP went home and years later the HF is still dealing with the fallout from a single accident.) It is the most dangerous thing an AP does personally and as a job duty for the HF so it warrants major rules/conversation etc.

hOstCDmom November 17, 2016 at 11:30 am

We had an AP whose father wanted to buy them a car. We said, no. We were not going to insure it (it can be complicated to insure a car you don’t own/have title to; nor were we going to reimburse AP for getting own insurance policy (single 20 year old male having his own standalone policy is way more expensive than he being the 3rd driver on our insurance plan.)) AND, we also did not want that dynamic – that is more like a live in nanny with their own car, than an AP, imo. If AP has own car, how are we going to have some of the rules we have in place for safety (particularly if we insure it) and communication re whereabouts, modeling behavior for our teens and pre-teens re shared car use in our family. It would be impossible, and “wrong”, in my view, to put rules and limits on what someone does with their own car that they own.

Exaupair November 20, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Would it still have been a problem if he had also agreed to insure it? It would seem strange that you wouldn’t agree to this situation when it would save you a lot of money and hassle. You wouldn’t need to worry about where the car was if it wasn’t yours, so surely that would be a good thing! Would you really rematch if a great aupair bought their own car??

momo4 November 20, 2016 at 4:29 pm

Interesting question ExAupair!
I would be delighted if my AP had their own car, as long as they (or their family) were responsible for insuring it.
My APs can do whatever they want in their off time, as long as it isn’t illegal. I don’t require that they tell me where they are, either. But then, they usually tell me anyway.

hOstCDmom November 20, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Yes, even if he insured it, it would be a problem for us, for the reasons noted above. Also, it is very hard to tell someone what they may or may not do with their own car; curfews; use parameters etc. For us, the model of AP childcare is distinct and different to a live in, or live out, nanny with his or her own car. It comes with trade offs, but for us one of the benefits is that we do have greater control over how our childcare provider lives their life, since they live with us and are a direct role model for our teens and tweens.

CaliforniaHostMom80 December 29, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Also, liability. The owner of the car is going to be the one financially liable for an accident – aupairs don’t appreciate the financial risk we have with their driving. In other nations, there’s no analog to the ridiculous, astronomical costs of healthcare and accident/injury liability. For example, a friend’s aupair rear-ended a car at a stoplight. That car, subsequently, rear-ended the car in front of them. The aupair was fully at fault.

Vehicle damage caused by aupair: $80,000.00
Physical injuries caused by aupair: it’s been 6 months, and one other driver is still in physical therapy. The estimate is around $100k.

A family can lose their HOME if an aupair causes a significant enough car accident in their vehicle.

HMof2 December 31, 2016 at 7:34 pm

Consider an umbrella policy to lower the risk.

LuckyHM#3 November 17, 2016 at 2:30 pm

We have a dedicated car and a car curfew of midnight and a driving radius of 30-40 miles to cover all the other suburbs around us that AP could potentially have AP friends at.. Oh and no driving to downtown because in our downtown, there’s typically a high probability that your car will be towed as many APs dont like to pay for parking.

We are on AP#4 who is turning out to be another rockstar. We have also interviewed/contacted possibly up to 80-100 APs since we started and ONLY 1 AP ever rejected us for our car rules. Every other AP was just happy that hey had a car and a dedicated one at that. The AP that rejected us was a 2nd year who in my view personified the word entitled. She was an AP in a city 1.5 miles away and our LCC introduced us because she was looking to stay in the state. We would not have matched with her after we got to know her but she saved us the trouble of communicating that by telling us once she found that she would not be allowed to take the car for a week vacation 3 states away. Apparently part of her American dream was doing multiple 5 state road trips with someone’s car. She didnt understand that just paying for gas doesnt make it okay for you to add 30K miles to my car over a 12 month period.

AU pair November 18, 2016 at 4:11 am

I will say all and any car rules are ~okay~ as long as all those rules are talked about, agreed upon way before matching.

Personally, I see car privileges as that, a privilege (although sometimes a necesity in cities with no reliable public transit) I wouldn’t consider myself entitled on this matter but maybe extremely lucky my long term host family in the us never even considered passing along maintance and depreciation costs onto me. An au pair makes less than 200 dollars per week, so at the risk of sounding entitled, I do cringe at the thought of all these costs being passed along to some girls (Luckily this isn’t the norm in my experience!)

I believe giving a mile radius is more than reasonable, not allowing long distance car trips as well, even have a certain number of miles per month au pair should stick to if she doesn’t want to pay her share of extra car costs beyond gas.
Use of the car with moderation should be expected. And of course if an au pair is abusing what you consider fair, then measures should be taken.

Charging that 52cents per mile federal cost to an AU PAIR for regular use of the car, does seem like too much and will be reason enough for *me* not to match with a family.

I’m an excellent caregiver, I am both generous with my love and time dedicated to my host family and the kiddies and I hope it’s not entitlement, but I do expect not to be nitpicked when it comes to those car costs. Your car is going to depreciate whether or not the au pair uses it –of course how much is a variable but as long as you set reasonable limits, spoken well in advance, I think this is more than a manageable situation.

About the comments of car safety and trying to avoid accidents —-definitely a valid point, yet one that is way too hard to control in my opinion. Accidents happen sometimes. It can happen to expert drivers such as yourselves as much as au pairs. These are unexpected events that are often unintentional. Besides hiring a competent driver, stablishing rules and making sure au pair understands and knows all safety rules and guidelines, I don’t see how you can control this by limiting car use. Of course if the reason of a car accident is negligence, that’s a different story.

For perspective, personal use of the car in my case was a privilege that was *earned*. Host dad made sure through several driving sessions with him that I was a safe driver (safe enough to drive their daughter places) and after obtaining state license personal use was granted to me. At my 21st birthday we sat down, rediscussed car rules and the fact that as a responsable adult in their household i was expected to never violate the law in this matter now that I was legally allowed to drink.
I stayed with them two years, never had a problem conserning the au pair car. Every time I go back to visit, I’m lucky enough to use the family cars like any other member of the family visiting from out of town would.

momo4 November 18, 2016 at 2:57 pm

“Charging that 52cents per mile federal cost to an AU PAIR for regular use of the car, does seem like too much and will be reason enough for *me* not to match with a family.”

I think you are completely misunderstanding TexasHM’s point. She was just providing some context regarding the real expenses of owning and operating a car, something many APs seem completely oblivious to. No one that I have ever heard of in 10 years of hosting has ever charged their AP “rent” for regular use of the car, nor is TexasHM suggesting they should. The point is simply that the cost of owning a car is a GREAT DEAL more than just the cost of gas, so it is not unreasonable or unusual for HF to put some limits on the use of their car.

AU pair November 18, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Hi, thank you for clearing that up. Makes me feel a bit better about the host moms here, but I did say that because from first hand experience, I have been charged myself by my “host family” those 50-40 cents per mile for every day use of the car. It was never excessive use of the car but each personal mile I had to pay for.
two or three months into my stay with them they decided maybe sharing the car wasn’t as easy as they initially thought it would be. Also apparently I wasn’t paying my share of car usage for the one time a week I would use it. And so they decided then I should pay them for every mile/km of personal use.

Needlessly to say I didn’t last much longer with that family but now I am very diligent when matching with a family that either shares cars with the nanny or has a separate nanny car. After that experience, I will simply not match with a family who goes to the extend to charge so much (to an au pair) for every day use of their vehicle.

LuckyHM#3 November 18, 2016 at 9:06 pm

@Au Pair…

I’m curious, are you an AP in the US? Only asking because your posts suggest that you are a longer term AP who’s been with a few families and you still talk about potential to match with families in the future i.e. you would match ether then because of xyz. I think I’d you are not in the US, it may be tougher to understand the intricacies.

I too have next heard of any HF that charged AP for mileage. However the cost of providing a car make no mistake is pretty exorbitant for us but we do it. For instance, our last AP was 20 when she arrived from LA. Our insurance went up $1,400 that year when we added her. In addition, we pay to fill up the gas tank 2x a month. Or AP car does 250-280 miles per tank. Our kids need about 200 miles per month for all their activities yet we pay for not then an extra tank a month for AP’s personal driving. Anything extra, they pay for themselves. The smart ones have made sure that didn’t have to pay. Last AP though a rockstar let herself become a driver for her AP friends till I noticed that she was filling the gas tank every 4 days with my card (we didn’t clarify the # of tanks before) so I had to put a stop to that which wasn’t a big deal.

Ultimately, gas is really the cheapest part of car ownership. And while depreciation and wear and tear happens whether a car is parked of being driven, it is way faster when one is racking up 000s of miles on the car

AU pair November 19, 2016 at 12:47 am

@LuckyHM#3 Yes ma’am, AU pair in the US. Stayed two years with my first Family in 2010 in a southern state. came back for a second term last year. First family this time around was the Family restricting car use horribly because they realized sharing wasn’t okay with them and so started charging me for car mileage. *very rural location with no such thing as transit which made things worst REALLY quickly.*

I personally of course do understand how costly it is to maintain a car, insurance alone in the States is bananas, but like you said, families do it because you * need* your children driven places in most cases. Those addded cast costs, however costly, are on the family in my opinion. It’s just one of those things that come hand in hand with the au pair problem. If you had a live out nanny, or were using daycare for your little ones, this wouldn’t even be a discussion, but when you bring a person from overseas into your home with a program like this, you are in for a whole lot of tangential costs. In my opinion the au pair shouldn’t have to “suffer” because of this.

But still, like I said before, if your au pair agreed to your car terms willingly before matching, that’s one thing. Changing the game rules half way because you realize the added costs of an au pair are actually quite big, not cool. In my honest opinion anyway.

LuckyHM#3 November 19, 2016 at 4:47 pm

@Au pair

Thanks for clarifying your Aupair situation. I couldn’t agree more with you that every side both HFs and APs should be honest and transparent before matching with what would work or not work for them.

My family takes more than a month to match so that all parties are comfortable and have enough time to ensure all questions are answered. I’ve even put together a sort of Q&A /FAQs that I also send to my potential APs because no one remembers to ask every question. I particularly respect APs who tell me no at the very beginning because a particular item or rule in our handbook wouldn’t work for them vs. those that arrive knowing and agreeing to them and complain after they are here.

Finally, it’s not totally true that HFs provide dedicated AP cars just for their children. In our case, we could easily share a car based on my children’s schedule but we fortunately had the means to get a 3rd car which allows AP to take care of her personal errands as well and of course it was just more convenient

momo4 November 20, 2016 at 3:27 pm

Wow AU pair, that’s awful! I’d most likely rematch too under those circumstances.

One of the greatest advantages of being a very experienced HP is the fact that I am rarely taken by surprise by anything having to do with hosting APs!

HFs new to the game often have a great deal of enthusiasm (more than I can usually muster after 10 years) and can be incredibly welcoming, but they have no way of knowing what they’ve really gotten themselves into yet, and the learning process can be really hard.

We do not have a dedicated car for our AP, and they drive my kids places all the time. I can’t imagine the headache of keeping track of my APs mileage and sorting it out from mileage that resulted from driving the kids around. I have much more important things to worry about and just couldn’t be bothered. I don’t make them pay for gas regularly, I only ask that if they are driving the car a lot that they fill the gas tank every now and then. Beyond that, I don’t worry about it. In fact, I have to confess I don’t even my APs where they’re taking the car or when they’ll be back. We have no curfew, and no distance restrictions.

All this being said, my handbook does specify that my AP needs to tell me where they are taking the car and when I should expect them to be back. It is a shared car, and all my APs have easily understood that their use of the car depends on my not needing it at that time. They always ask before using it, and if neither of our cars is available (which is pretty rare) then they make other arrangements with their friends.

Most of my APs arrive with very good to excellent English, and most of them are from Western Europe so communication barriers and cultural differences haven’t been a big issue. We review our expectations around car use and everything else before matching, and if we feel that something is becoming an issue after they arrive then we discuss it with them. I have to acknowledge that there is some luck involved as well. Matching is always a gamble on both sides.

Exaupair November 19, 2016 at 6:54 pm

I think you misunderstood the matter. HF needs to know APs GENERAL whereabouts to have an idea where the car is, not to pry on APs privacy.
You would want to know too if you lent your car to a friend.

Aupair Lauren November 15, 2016 at 5:16 am

I’m presuming you share a car and one of your top concerns is the wear and tear on your car?

I think she has lied out of a lack of maturity..ie. she thought if she told the truth she wouldn’t of been allowed to take the car 40 miles away to her family’s house and then to a potential love interests house overnight (if that was the truth).

I think you need to have a sit down conversation with her to go over your driving rules in your handbook. If she has signed up for and agreed to your job knowing she wouldn’t have limitless access to a car to take gallivanting around your state and she has dismally broken your rules twice already (that you know of) then I lean towards the view she may not be able to abide by your rules for the rest of her time with you. I think it would be acceptable for a tracker to be put on your car like TACL suggested (with her knowledge) to deter her but it depends on how much trouble you want to go to with keeping tabs on her verses if you can feel comfortable trusting her and believing what she tells you instead of having to check your odometer all the time. If her year is only in the early stages I think only you know if the lack of trust would cause you to consider rematch.

Another option to throw out there in car conversation could be that you will be keeping track of the odometer and she is allowed X amount of miles per week/month/whatever you decide and anything she goes over then she needs to reimburse you for the wear and tear on your car. To stop her deciding at the 11th hour she will sleep at a ‘friends’ house overnight then you could implement a “car has to be home by 11pm” curfew.

2 kids and a cat November 15, 2016 at 5:26 am

We caught our last AP in a lie about using the car when and where we had expressly told her not to. (After I previously found receipts that she put less gas in the car than we had given her money to.). We met with the LCC, old her that all personal driving was suspended for month, and that even though the federal reimbursement rate was 53 cents per mile, we would be willing to let her use the car for $75/month -prepaid- with a cap on miles. There was a long talk on the costs of owning, maintaining, and insuring he car. The LCC asked when she could regain “normal” driving privileges, and I said never – this was the deal, take it or leave it (we do have very basic public transport).
In the end, the issues of lying an disrespect were bigger than te car use, and I should have rematched then.(she went on to total the car).

TexasHM November 15, 2016 at 10:22 am

This is a really tough one. I will level set in advance that we list lying as one of very few automatic to rematch offenses in our handbook and discuss with the APs during interviewing. For us it’s pretty simple. If I cannot trust you then you will not live in our home and take care of our kids. Now, in this instance you are pretty clear that you have zero trust concerns about her caring for your child but you certainly do about her car usage so I guess trying to put myself in your shoes pushing to keep the AP (as it sounds like you are) I would definitely immediately suspend all car privileges. She did it once, got busted (which means she’s done it likely several times – what are the odds that happened the first time and more concerning – the lengths she went to try and cover it up!) and now when confronted with evidence that she has clearly done it again, lied again.

The one thing you don’t really mention is if she is allowed to drive to see her family and if you have mileage limits/restrictions on the car now. If you do not and she was lying and doing all this I would wonder why she doesn’t just tell you where she is going so I will assume you do have limits and she felt like these scenarios were outside those limits. I would have a reset conversation with LC present and have a clear outlined plan for her to be able to earn your trust back and car usage for herself (again, if keeping her is absolutely what you want).

Now jumping back into myself, the reason we rematch over lying besides that it makes me not trust you and I won’t leave my kids with someone I don’t trust but also because it is completely selfish. She has shown that she thinks what she wants to do (go see family and boyfriend) is more important than being honest with you and taking care of your car which is a privilege, not a right. Have my APs gone places they didn’t tell us? Probably, we aren’t stupid. But I can pretty much guarantee they were safe places in our local vicinity. One AP we found out at the end of her second term had been lying about going to eat after class and instead going to her boyfriends house (2 miles from our house) which was crazy because we wouldn’t have cared but she thought we didn’t like him (sigh…also oldest and most immature AP). We found out with less than 6 weeks left and they were engaged by then and I had full confidence she would have taken a bullet for my kids so we ignored and muddled through to the end but I did shoot her a look that made it clear I knew exactly what she did and she was on notice (her boyfriend let it slip in conversation at our house).

I’ll be honest with you, I have had lengthy conversations with many host families over the years and lying is generally a deal breaker in the long term. Not trying to scare you but those families found out later that there were other things AP was lying about. Luckily most were small things and not endangering but again, you need to feel confident in your caregiver and moreso – in your roommate. We don’t expect our APs to tell us every detail of their lives but when it comes to car usage, kid stuff, house stuff we have zero tolerance for lying. I don’t have the energy/desire/patience to deal with that level of immaturity/disrespect. It’s a character issue and we have very high standards for the character and judgment of the person that lives in our home and spends significant time with our impressionable children.

We have had a couple of APs mention this when they came to report car incidents. It’s usually something like “I am so sorry, I thought about not saying anything or telling you later but I remembered what you said about being honest”. Yep. it’s tough conversations for them to come and admit they screwed up but it’s part of being an adult and moreso – a trustworthy adult. None of those APs lost car privileges and in most cases we didn’t have them pay any damages and thanked them for doing the right thing even when it was hard. We tell them bad news unlike wine does not get better with age and they need to tell us right away no matter what.

In this instance you already gave her a warning by having the conversation about trust, telling her even if plans change you need to know and she still did whatever she wanted anyway so in my household we would be sitting down to create a transition plan to place her in rematch and us start interviewing but I also would have made that clear in the first conversation you had if we did decide to keep AP. (Ex: “AP you blew it big time. You lied, went outside radius and we can’t trust you. If at anytime in the rest of the term you lie to us again, abuse car rules, etc then we will be calling the LC to sitdown and do rematch paperwork.”) We would do it in writing and have her sign it and send to LC or have LC present for the conversation (again, only if you decide to keep her).

I’m guessing she didn’t show remorse for what happened the first time? Did she pay for the tow? (She certainly would have in my household given those circumstances.) Even if she did seem sorry she obviously wasn’t as she continues to do the same things. I don’t know. I am trying hard to find a scenario where we would keep this AP and I’m just not seeing it. Trust is trust and once broken very hard to regain and your most precious little is involved here.

You also don’t mention if this is your first AP or not or how long she has been with you other than mentioning the AAA incident was a few months ago. I guess if she was at the very end of her second year with you and you’d hosted for years and felt like you could still trust her and she had built up a lot of good will then you could as said take away car privileges for a time period and try to move on and finish strong but you need to get her commitment to move forward with a good attitude and work ethic. The last thing you need is a tantrum on top of lying and car abuse.

Susannah November 15, 2016 at 2:10 pm

I think that you owe it to whatever good relationship/feeling you have/had towards this AP to be open with her. I don’t really know what her motivations may be, but I think that the longer you wait to talk candidly about this with her the more resentment you’ll have and the more complicated and thorny this conversation will end up being. Especially if you like her work with the kids, i think you should do your best for a adult and open conversation. (These are the facts of what’s been happening recently, including numbers, etc. I am not sure that yo uhave been honest about where you have been going.) Then once you lay it out there you can give her different options for regaining that trust (strict milage limit, tracking device, whatever you think would work)

West Mom November 15, 2016 at 9:11 pm

It would be helpful to understand what your car rules are. It sounds like you are sharing a car, but it’s not clear whether you have a mileage limit, or any type of curfew. From your post, it sounds like you are basically just wanting your AP to tell you where she goes and when she will return. This might work for a very mature and respectful AP, but it clearly doesn’t work for yours… In my experience, most AP relationships work best with clearly defined limits.

At this point if I were you, (assuming you got over the lying part…), I would give her a mileage allowance for the month (ours used to be 300 miles), and I would have a night curfew on the car (ours was 1AM). Buy a tracker (we did for one AP), and let her know that you will be monitoring for the first few weeks until she has regained your trust. We have only had to use the monitor once, but believe it or not, AP still did silly things with the car even though we told her we would monitor…

HMof2 November 15, 2016 at 10:49 pm

What are the rules?

1) Is AP supposed to tell you where she goes every time she uses the car? Does it matter to the OP to know exactly where the car is or is it more about knowing where the AP is, such as for safety reasons in the event something terrible happened and she did not return home as expected?
2) Is there a limit on miles per week/month that AP can have for personal trips?
3) Are there only certain places or a drive radius she is allowed to drive?
4) Is AP allowed to keep the car out overnight?
5) Are there certain people that the OP do not allow the AP to drive the car to meet?
6) Was AP explicitly told to contact OP immediately if something happens to the car, like an accident or a flat tire?

There is a difference between breaking clear rules that were communicated, understood, and agreed to in advance and then deliberately lying and covering it up versus not wanting to share details of your life with your HF, in order to maintain your own privacy and to make up something because it is an easier more convenient answer so as to avoid unwanted questions and judgement from the HF.

NJ Mom November 16, 2016 at 1:09 pm

Normally I might chalk this up to some language barriers, possibly not understanding the rules, etc. We give the rules both orally and written so the AP can use google translate if needed. From the narrative, it really sounds like she premediated lying in order to get use of the car and only fessed up when you confronted her about it. If I had to guess, these were probably not the only times she’s broken the rules. Just the 2 times she got caught.

For us, repeated broken rules + lying would result in suspension of personal driving priviledges. I would meet with the LCC to communicate the situation. I would establish some milestones to gradually earn driving priviledges again. I would also start tracking the car or phone location with her knowledge so she knows you are serious about the rules and will enforce it. And also make clear that going to class/AP meetings means straight there and straight back (since she’s already shown that she will lie about where she is going or change destinations to get what she wants). I wiould also keep an eye on how she is handling the consequences. She may be stellar with childcare now, but if her performanace suffers with loss of personal driving, then I would go into mediation/rematch.

One of the things we did instittue with an AP, is that any change of destination or staying out later than originally said with the car requires both a call/text from the AP + a confirmation from HP that it’s ok. That she needs to receive permission and not only inform. It wasn’t so much that we didn’t trust what she said. She would say she’s going to x and then come home many hours later only to tell us that after x, she went to y and z. There was no lying involved, but we felt it was more of matter of commen sense and used the permission system to guide her on making responsible decisions. Also we did have a car curfew (no AP curfew) which the AP was actually thankful for when another AP’s parked car was totaled when they stayed overnight at a friend’s house. All in all, we had rules on destination, driving circumference, car curfew, no drinking, passengers, phone use while driving, and permission procedures. We’ve made exceptions for special circumstances. We’ve also relaxed the rules as the AP displays adherance to the rules, obtaining a state DL, good driving skills/habits, and responsible decision making.

RoseMarie November 20, 2016 at 9:42 pm

I haven’t read all the posts but for me it comes down to if the car is dedicated to the
Au Pair or not. In our case, the car has been dedicated so I don’t concern myself where she is going with it on the weekends or if she keeps it overnight. Our Au Pairs have been pretty responsible so I wasn’t worried. We have house rules that limit the mileage she can go away from home and if she were to break that rule by a significant degree, I might be concerned. Only if it was a pattern.

The bottom line for me though is that my most precious possession is my children so if I feel confident in how she’s caring for them, I’m confident in how she takes care of my car! I like it when our AuPairs are making the most of their time off. I feel like they will be much better with the children.

momo4 November 21, 2016 at 10:42 am

It’s interesting how often the themes of trust and honesty come up in these threads. It is a critical aspect of our relationships with our APs since without complete trust the whole relationship starts to unravel very quickly.

There are so many instances given in these threads where APs are perceived to have lied about something, often not related to their childcare responsibilities, and often quite trivial from the AP’s perspective; but the HPs then question the APs judgment and fitness to be an AP overall since they feel they can no longer trust the AP. I wonder if APs realize that this will happen?

In all my years of hosting I’m not sure I’ve ever come right out and told prospective APs that any lie, no matter how small, will cause me to begin to mistrust their judgment and maturity overall. It’s the sort of thing that may be in my handbook (which I share with APs before they match) but to come right out and say it in person before they even arrive feels uncomfortable somehow, like I’m saying I don’t trust them before they’ve even had a chance to show me that they are trustworthy. But shouldn’t they have fair warning? Or is it something that they should just know?

I’m curious how other people handle this.

NJ Mom November 21, 2016 at 12:07 pm

I absolutely agree that mutual trust is the underlying issue. This is something we discuss early on and we have in the handbook. We have some items we consider unacceptable and we list those that would be instant re-match. We go into a lot of detail not for the sake of having rules about everything, but to give a candidate AP a sense of our values so we can find someone who is a good match. I think living with someone who has a different value system makes the year more difficult for all parties involved.

We also tell AP that we understand that there may be occasions that they may make a questionable decision, but as long as it’s not a pattern of behavior we won’t hold it against them. AP have come home telling us about minor accidents, needing assistance, driving through a toll, etc and it’s ok. If a HP want AP to be open about fessing up, we also have to gain their trust that we won’t overreact to “bad news”. That there is room to explore and make mistakes. That what’s important is to learn from it as not to make the same mistake again, and also preventing the really bad ones in the first place. Sometimes we use this as an opportunity to practice parenting teenagers!

TexasHM November 29, 2016 at 10:10 am

I feel like this is another opportunity during the interview process to measure an APs reaction. We do discuss honesty/trust and it’s in our handbook and like NJ Mom we have a short list of rematch worthy offenses and explanation. I have found over the years that it helps me weed out candidates! The mature rockstars get it immediately, it makes sense to them and they appreciate the short list because it doesn’t leave them guessing where the land mines are hidden and they tend to respond with something like “of course! You are interviewing a total stranger from a foreign country to care for your irreplaceable impressionable children! Plus your straight to rematch things I would never do anyway so I’m confident we won’t have any issues with this”.

Less mature APs or APs that are trying to game me or the interview often will suddenly get nervous and serious and start asking a ton of questions “what if your AP did x or y or z?” Or “would you really rematch if you had an awesome AP and she sent a text while driving”? Gives me some insight. This is a real job with a lot at stake – kids, cars, our home and property etc. Smart empathetic APs totally get it and appreciate the conversation and clarity in my experience.

Aupair Lauren November 25, 2016 at 1:27 am

Happy thanksgiving aupair moms!

HMAdvice November 28, 2016 at 2:19 pm

I used to be a little hesitant about having these types of conversations but I have learned that it is better to just tackle stuff like this head on and have the conversation. Without having the conversation, you can’t really know what the au pair was thinking. I understand that having the car means having a life for an au pair but au pairs have to realize the sacrifices that a HF makes in order for them to be able to drive. It really isn’t something to be taken lightly and if an au pair comes in and automatically demands driving privileges whether they are a good driver or not, this would be a huge turn off for me. To me this would demonstrate a lack of respect and a lack of maturity on the au pair. In this case, if the HF is positive that the AP knew the rules, I would find out why they felt like they couldn’t be honest about it. Maybe it is something the HF and AP could work out? Like maybe she could take the car occasionally or maybe the family could work out a good driving incentive? I would also look into transportation alternatives and would the HF be willing to cover these?

HMAdvice November 28, 2016 at 2:33 pm

I also agree with the comment about communicating where you going being a sign of maturity. I tell my significant other where I am going and vice versa. It is just a common courtesy in my book. It isn’t so much about prying as it is about giving the people that you are living with peace of mind that they know not to expect you home for a few hours.

N.B.W December 11, 2016 at 11:52 am

This happened to a friend of ours. Their au pair was putting a lot of miles on the car in the evenings and on weekends and just making up excuses about going to see friends or what not. Right before she left, she confessed to being an Uber driver on the side and picking up passengers during her off hours. It was very frustrating because at this point her term was up and she was leaving anyway.

cv harquail December 13, 2016 at 2:13 pm

No way. An Uber driver? Seriously? I guess that’s the “new economy” version of ‘becoming an escort’…

CaliforniaHostMom80 December 29, 2016 at 3:58 pm

I’d suggest to your friends that they contact Uber and make a complaint, and threaten to contact the State Department about failing to do sufficient diligence on ability to work in the US for any employer. That aupair was here on a J1; she can’t work for Uber. Somehow, she was allowed to, and that’s on Uber. They’ll be doing a huge favor to other host families if they can get Uber to pay more attention.

CaliforniaHostMom80 December 29, 2016 at 3:47 pm

Current aupair is somehow putting 1,200 miles/month on the car. The job requires maybe 10 miles/month, and I have set very specific geographic restrictions. Something isn’t right. So, easy solution, I installed a tracker GPS on the car. They’re very affordable, now.

Liz January 2, 2017 at 6:55 pm

I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry: au pair was covering her tracks by topping off the gas to compensate for using the car while we were out of town (we live in a very urban environment where she has no need for car access for fun). She put diesel fuel in the car! We are awaiting word on whether the car is totaled. I hate having these untrustworthy people in my house — one is worse than the next!!!@#$%^&*()_

GitHM January 3, 2017 at 6:05 pm

wow, @Liz! How did you guys find out she had put diesel fuel in the car? if this is a fresh incident, I would be crying.

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