Au Pair Mom Admin: When Au Pairs comment … Poll

by cv harquail on April 10, 2009

Hi Moms & Dads,

I’ve been wondering how you all feel about the comments by au pairs on various posts, and whether you’d like me to take a more active role in managing the participation of au pairs in our conversations.

kissing hand.jpg We have had some really useful comments from au pairs, where they have asked questions, offered helpful advice, offered helpful perspectives, and added to the conversation. And, we have also had a few comments that have been downright grumpy, defensive and/or critical. Once or twice I’ve blocked these comments, when the comments have been unkind or unfair. (Here is one comment that I did not ‘approve’ but did not delete, so you can get a sense of what you aren’t seeing.) But otherwise, I’ve let them through.

As I’ve laid out in the About , First Visit? page and the R U An Au Pair ? page, this blog is for host moms (and sometimes host dads). I think that au pairs have places to talk with each other, and LCCs have ways to talk with each other, and it’s really the host moms & dads who need a place to vent, ask questions, and share advice. So, this blog is really here to serve host moms and dads. As kind as au pairs can be, this is supposed to be a place for us host moms (and dads).

*** Let me be clear: I’m not interested in "banning" au pairs from the conversation. I think that overall the au pairs who have participated have been great. It’s more an issue of protecting and facilitating a conversation for parents . ***

There are a couple of options for how I could address the role that Au Pairs can play as commenters.  I’ve set these up as a poll so you can tell me what you think. You can vote for more than one option since these actions are not mutually exclusive.

How should I address comments by Au Pairs?

View Results

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Are there other options we should consider?
I want to keep this blog a safe, useful, friendly, honest place to talk about ourselves, our families, our challenges and achievements, our relationships with our au pairs, and the positive difference we can make in each others lives. So, please share what you think…



NY-Au Pair April 10, 2009 at 6:39 am

Sorry that I (an Au Pair) is commenting on this, as I now really get the feeling that we are not welcome here at all. I do understand that hostmoms want a place to talk with each other and discuss their situations, but to block comments from Au pairs? Seriously? As an Au Pair I find this page VERY helpful and I have read all the posts and comments so because I want to know what I can do to make my host family happy. And the reason why Au Pairs comment here (very rarely I would say) is most likely to do the same to you host moms; help you out. If I was hosting an Au Pair, I would love to hear “from the other side”. Just sayin’

D April 10, 2009 at 6:54 am

I think all comments should be added. But just to advise everyone on both sides to be positive in a way that helps the board to be positive & creating nice relationships

Maya April 10, 2009 at 7:14 am

Just to give everyone a perspective, I and another host mom who also posts here, have found, read, and tried to participate in the Au Pair forum (a message board). And I can honestly tell you, that I have never felt so unwelcomed on the internet, as in that forum. There, aupairs (past, present, and future) basically do what we do here, vent, complain, ask for suggestions, and support each other. However, just by the fact that I am host parent, I am looked at as an opposing, evil being out to get them. You should see comments they made about this blog.

I don’t mind au pairs posting here at all, but, before they complain about the comments that they read here, they should understand that this is not ‘their’ forum; it is a place for host parents. And as much as we all would hate to admit it, we are on the opposing teams, regardless of how good or bad host/aupair relationship is in each particular case. Just because au pairs read and post here, does not mean that hosts should not have a place where they are comfortable to discuss their issues.

Oh, and another thing for au pairs: there are always exceptions, but 70% of au pair comments on the au pair forum that I have read have to do with how to find family who will give them a car, take them on vacation so they don’t have to spend their own money, or will not take on vacation because they hate being in the car with kids on long drives or complain that travel time is not counted towards their work time 100%, will not make them work on the weekend, pay for a bunch of extras, and so on. So, before you complain about host parents comments, please see what au pairs post about families.

Rayann April 10, 2009 at 8:21 am

I think the au pair comments are valuable for us as host parents. The APs see things from a completely different perspective, that most of us really can’t understand. Although I think communicating with our own au pair is critical, sometimes having input from a different AP is helpful. I may ask “Why is my AP doing (fill in the blank)?” and other APs may have much better insight in to things that other HMs do. Just as an example, our recent topic about whether your au pair joins you for dinner – I think AP input on that is great – they can let us know why they do or don’t eat dinner with their HFs. Is the family doing something to make them feel unwelcome? Do they just need the privacy? Are they worried about intruding? Or is it something else that never occurred to any of us….???

My two cents, of course, but I think we can learn a lot from the APs who are willing to come on here and share their thoughts/feelings/opinions. And while the criticism may often be unwarranted, let’s be honest, sometimes a little criticism is good for all of us.

Calif Mom April 10, 2009 at 8:22 am

Thoughtful comments that address the issue at hand are always welcome! I do get annoyed when it’s clear that an AP doesn’t really understand the host parent’s point and is reacting to a different idea. But truly, whether AP, host, or just a random web surfer has an idea that might help unravel a relational knot, I’m all ears. Even my sister-in-law, whom I nicknamed Carrie Bradshaw, has useful insights sometimes.

Busy Mom April 10, 2009 at 9:15 am

I agree that au pairs should participate in this forum. It is valuable to have their comments as long as they are on point and courteous. In fact, I would have personally posted the “one comment” note above that you suppressed.

In reading various posts, I too, find that some of the host moms appear to be very controlling. I’ve had live-in nannies and an au pair and have found that trust begets trust. Okay…so there was the one time that I set up our video camera to make sure our very first nanny was following our naptime instructions…but that was an exception :-)

My one caveat on au pair postings would be that if there end up being more au pair posts than host mom posts, this forum will no longer accomplish its purpose.

au pair April 10, 2009 at 11:12 am

I would be sad if Au pairs couldn´ t post here anymore. Its really RARE when au apairs leave their (our) comments here and this website really helps girls like me who wants to make their families happy and understand their point of view of common aupair – hostfamilies situations.

I agree some au pairs are a little bit critical on what you guys write but some girls , like myself, just want to help you out and get some advice as well.

I believe we all can learn a lot from each other.

Franzi April 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm

ok, here are my 2cents.

first of all, cvh, it’t your blog so it is your decision which comments you approve or not. be they gentile be they hostile.
but the more traffic you get, the more unintended readers you have.

as a former au pair, i am biased on the question you raise because the outcome might be that i am not welcome to post anymore. this blog has helped me to see a different perspective and had i had known about it when i was an au pair i might have done things differently or at least would have been able to understand my first host parents better.

this blog has also helped me with regard to the drinking/stealing issue i had with my former host kid recently. what was needed for me was the perspective of host parents which is why i raised the question here. i have many former-au pair friends but the perspective host parents have is different and refreshing.

i would like to be allowed to participate here as i try to keep my comments more reflected (my active AP time was 8 years ago). this is not an AP blog and every commenter should be aware of this. when you specifically asked parents to answer, i did not comment – unless i noticed that you let other non-parents comments through as well so i figured, ok, i have an opinion, i post as well (eg the dinner question i initially understood to be for the parents only).

actually, that might be a solution – stating who you want to post and thus deleting comments from people who do not belong to this group yet posted anyway (if they don’t respect the rules on your blog, you have even more reason to do so).

{quick reply to Franzi — I couldn’t figure out an easy way to categorize you, since you’re a unique contributor… the only former au pair who also has several years of perspective on her experience… I think Franzi you get a special invitation to stay active!!!! cvh]

problem: you can never be sure there aren’t “au pairs in disguise” around. but that’s the risk of life, i guess. ;-)

Calif Mom April 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm

RE: Ann Levine’s comment on the sample post — Look! I’m trying to keep all the comments in one place–sometimes au pairs ARE a burden. Sometimes, not always. Sometimes, some hosts posting here sound controlling to me, too, but vive la difference!

But we hosts also post comments OFTEN here about what a joy our APs are, as well, and how we prefer this arrangement to traditional nannies, etc.

I think most of the hosts who post here are under a lot of stress — probably now more than ever — and IMHO it’s a rare AP who really understands the juggling act that goes on in a working mom’s head within the course of just one day. But for those APs who do, who can see the hosts’ perspective and share insights here on this blog, I appreciate their thoughtful comments. I would hate to cut off helpful, caring commenters at the knees just because some of their peers aren’t as mature or sensitive.

CVH, I do appreciate your screening out the hurtful ones — it must not be a lot of fun to carry around some of those comments!

cynthia April 10, 2009 at 6:40 pm

I think it’s great having another perspective from the au pairs. I have seen comments where they do seem off base, but that is also true of host parent comments or complaints that I also have felt were off base as well. I think we all could learn alot from the au pairs opinions and maybe it will help us to understand our au pairs better as well.

Dawn April 10, 2009 at 7:22 pm

I also appreciate the input and perspective we can get from APs, and I would miss that if APs were “banned” from posting or just generally made to feel unwelcome. However, I do think it might be helpful (hopefully cutting down on the need to delete or block certain comments) if you gave some more explicit guidance on the kinds of comments that are/are not welcome. Maybe something along the lines of a “reminder” that this is primarily a blog for host parents, but you welcome input from APs when they are posting respectfully in an attempt to offer another perspective — but that insulting, offensive, or complaining comments will be blocked. (Come to think of it, that kind of guidance could also apply to Host parents! I’m just as UNinterested in reading a host parent’s “complaints” about their AP unless they are presented in order to set up a question or request for advice.)

Abby April 11, 2009 at 4:29 am

I like the au pair,s opinions, As long as they realize that this is a forum for host mom/dads who need advice. It,s not a place for them to complain about their families or argue with how we raise our kids, but to hopefully help us see things from a different point of view.
My 2 cents worth.

Jeana April 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm

I would like to see the comments of the aupairs. I agree this is a host mom’s forum, but I feel we can benefit from the comments of aupairs. Also, for the new families, it is good to see how different our perspective can be, from the goals and perspectives of some aupairs.

Chris April 14, 2009 at 12:44 am

I appreciate all the comments. I’d generally lean toward letting au pairs post, but making it very clear this is a site, foremost for host moms and dads ;-). And I absolutely agree that if au pairs begin to account for too many of the posts, to reconsider your approach.

Au pair agencies go out of their way to hook up au pairs, but not au pair families — at least Au Pair Care did not do the latter.

Host families really need to be able to learn from each other — I still don’t get why Au Pair Care doesn’t do more to help host families link up. Then again, I guess they think it will hurt their business. Of course, letting families twist in the wind on their own is also a sure way to lose business. They lost ours.
Our very first two au pair experiences were absolutely horrible, so we’ve just recently said no to au pairs, at least for awhile (and we have an absolutely wonderful, German-speaking live-out nanny — hope we can keep her).

In any case, I’m just grateful that there is something out there on the Net for au pair host families like this site. Host families really need this type of site, and others too!

Jillian April 15, 2009 at 4:27 am

I appreciate hearing what the au pairs have to say as long as the comments are constructive. But I think the same goes for the host parents. What I like about this site is that there is venting and support from other parents in addition to helpful advice and giving perspective. There’s a reason the site is called Au Pair MOM, I would like to see the site stay mostly as a “mom zone” but if au pairs have helpful things to suggest then great!

Anonymous April 16, 2009 at 6:47 am

YOU GO MAYA! I totally second your post!

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