When Your Au Pair Resents Working on Saturday Nights

by cv harquail on April 2, 2014

There are two kinds of host family schedules:

  1. Host Families that use up all of their 45 hours during the host parents’ Mon – Fri work week, and
  2. Host Families that don’t.

I can pretty much guarantee you that if your host family schedule is the second kind, and you try to use your au pair hours regularly to have an au pair on duty Saturday nights, you’re going it get a lot of crap for it. il_570xN.350485139

I know that we did– in fact, this is the issue over which one of our two rematches occurred. That au pair “just couldn’t stand it any more” that she was being asked to work one or two Saturday nights a month. Our schedule was “ruining her social life”.

Yeah, right.

Even worse, our LCC told me that we were being unreasonable, asking our au pair to work on Saturday nights when “all the other au pairs” had Saturday nights off. She also told me that it didn’t matter that our au pair usually worked only 30 hours a week anyway– Saturday nights were still ‘not fair’.

(Insert string of expletives here )

What can you do to address the Saturday Night Situation?

I’ve tried very hard to make working on a Saturday night both “normal” and not such a big deal, by doing things like:

  • Stating up front in our family letter and during interviews that we scheduled our au pair to work one or two Saturday nights a month
  • Stating up front in our family letter and during interviews that at least one of these Saturday nights ended at 10:30, leaving plenty of time to get out and party.
  • Balancing our this ‘horrible’ demand with liberal use of an au pair car, a cosy room, and well-behaved host kids.
  • Scheduling our new au pairs to work on a Saturday night their first weeks here, so that it was already part of normal.
  • Asking my host mom friends to do the same, and trying to coordinate with them so I wasn’t alone with this.
  • Talking to my LCC and asking her to make it clear (to herself and) to the au pairs that Saturday nights were indeed fair times to ask an au pair to work.
  • Planning these Saturday nights out way ahead so our au pair could schedule around them.

The whole ‘on duty on Saturday Night’ thing is both a practical issue and a philosophical one for me.

Practically, one of the reasons to have an au pair is so that you and your dear partner can have a social life yourselves. Call me crazy, but I’m often too tired to go out on a weeknight/worknight, and I’m also too cash-constrained to pay an additional $60 to a babysitter so that my au pair can be off duty.

Philosophically, the Saturday Night Situation is one of those that surfaces a tension around au pairs and their motivations. Do they understand that the childcare part of their jobs takes priority over their leisure time, at least occasionally?

And, for host parents, do you feel comfortable asserting your own needs and saying- “Yes, we need you to work because we need to have time off ourselves”?

How have you managed the Saturday Night Situation?



Host Mom in the City April 2, 2014 at 12:56 pm

So this has always been a tough one for me and is a place where the conflicting purposes and perceptions of the point of the program just really comes to a head, particularly when what I think is the biggest draw to the program for host parents is a program where you can max the flexibility of the hours to work for your needs – whether it’s because you have an abnormal or irregular work schedule, you need that split before/after school schedule, you need help driving the kids to all their practices every weekend, or you just want to get out and have your own social life. That is really why the vast majority of the people I know in the program are in the program. So eliminate this flexibility, and you basically make the program worthless.

On the other hand, you’ve got a group of people who come to the US to have fun for the year – to travel, to meet new friends, to take classes, to learn and grow. And the only way they’re going to do that is in their free time, and of course, they want to do it with other au pairs and other young people. When all the au pairs have completely disparate schedules, it makes it really difficult to get a group together. And Saturday night is of course, the big night that everyone has in their heads is the night for fun. Everyone and anyone would be pouty about having to work on a Saturday night when all their friends are out. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. And when someone is working every other weekend, that basically eliminates half of the limited time they have during the year to dedicate to the real reason they came to be an au pair. That’s a tough pill to swallow.

The other issue is that we’re paying the same weekly rate whether your au pair works 20 hours or 45, whether she works just mornings or only evenings or all on the weekends. So we’re essentially ignoring the value cost of someone’s time – anyone would want to be paid more for doing more hours or more for working hours that are more valuable to them. From an au pair’s point-of-view – you’re paying me the same whether I work this Saturday night or not, so what’s in it for me?

I have had multiple au pairs at my house complaining about their host parents every year for three years now, and one of the complaints of every single one of them was that their host parents make them work on weekends. It’s not an issue that is rare to only whiny au pairs – it is universal. They don’t want to work on weekends, at least not regularly. Can you blame them?

So I’ve come to the conclusion right from the beginning of our hosting that weekend and evening on-duty time should be kept to an absolutely minimum and that Saturday night hours in particular should be no more than once a month at the very most. Our au pairs work weekends maybe 2-3 times a year, and I honestly think that approach pays dividends in terms of a happy au pair. There’s just no way, even if you prepare your au pair while in advance of even matching, that she’s going to be completely fine and happy working Saturday nights. And asking her to work every other Saturday night in exchange for “liberal use of an au pair car, a cosy room, and well-behaved host kids” just doesn’t cut it – I’m assuming those are not the payment for working Saturday nights; those would be the payments for a weekday schedule too.

We do actually have a weekly date night, but we do it on an off night (Wednesdays). We do the same thing we’d do on a Saturday night (we wouldn’t stay out until 3am on a Saturday either!), but we do it on a night that she wouldn’t have anything else going on any way. And on the rare occasion that we have something to do on a Saturday night, we plan with her well in advance. Although we’ve never had to do it, we’d happily pay for a separate sitter on a Saturday night if she truly had something going on.

So I guess I would say, do you really truly need to go out every other Saturday night? I completely understand being tired, but maybe you could go out every Thursday instead? Or just one Saturday a month and then another night on the other week? I’ll go out on a limb here, but I think asking an au pair to work every other Saturday night, whether fair or not (and I don’t think it’s fair personally), is a recipe for an unhappy au pair, even if you’ve got one that’s truly mature and responsible.

Host Mom in the City April 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm

I should add that my au pair frequently talks about her friends all being extremely jealous that she has most weekends off, so based on my experiences anyway, it seems like the majority of au pairs DO actually work on weekends.

virginia mom April 3, 2014 at 9:52 am

Great comment !

MommyMia April 4, 2014 at 8:17 pm

I agree with Host Mom in the City – we found that weeknights worked better for “date nights” anyway. Less crowds in restaurants, movie theaters, less expensive tickets for some bigger theatrical performances, etc. Over the years, we found that Saturday nights were a good time to plan a family movie night at home to give the kids some parent time without the au pair, or when the kids were a little older, to host sleepovers for their friends so that we could enforce lights out/quiet time, occasionally call parents of the homesick guest to come pick them up – things that would have been beyond the Au Pair’s normal job duties. As you said, a few times a year we DID want a Saturday night babysitter, so would either schedule weeks in advance or worst case scenario when AP had also booked something, just hire another babysitter.

Aupair in rematch July 22, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Excellent speech! I wish I have you as my host mother!

CAcapitolHostMom April 2, 2014 at 1:05 pm

From interview number one, I let potential au pairs know that she will work at least one weekend a month (because host mom and dad have to work one weekend a month). Also, I try and let them know what type of marriage/family we have. Specifically, I’m young at heart and I like to go out with my husband. Besides the chores and hours and things like that, I try and paint an honest picture of what my husband and my life patterns are like. Do we like having friends over for BBQs, do we like going to bars on the evening, do we go to school at night for that advanced degree, etc. How the host parents live on the their off hours affects the au pairs life. In this way, it’s very similar to having a roommate and you all must be able to tolerate the others’ lifestyle choices. So I think it’s best to share all that ahead of time.

But I suppose if we were to have an au pair who didn’t like working Saturday nights, I might have a conversation with her about different nights that would work (Thursday is the new Friday after all) or come to some type of compromise. I do think it’s unfair to have an au pair work every Saturday night. Just think how you would feel if your boss made you work every Saturday night. Sometimes it’s the little schedule changes that can really boost morale. Just like “Happy Wife, Happy Life,” there’s something to be said for a happy au pair.

Host Mom in the City April 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Your situation reminded me of something else – it seems (and this drives me crazy), that au pairs typically have a really tough time working when their host parents are not. I can see an au pair being completely fine with working one weekend a month when the host parents are working too. Or even fine when the host parents have something planned – a wedding or a concert or some specific event that requires the hours on a Saturday. It’s when they’re just going out to dinner a movie down the street every other Saturday night that it gets to be an issue.

I also think there’s a difference between one Saturday night a month (even better if the au pair can usually choose which) and every other Saturday night as a rule.

skny April 2, 2014 at 7:10 pm

It is true and I will tell as a former au pair that it really sucks when parents are home relaxing.
Kids dont usually want the au pair. They already see the au pair all week long. The want parents. Parents time. So you have to do magic to entertain the child, keep child’s interest, and there is nothing worse than the work it takes to entice a child away from a parent who is home.
Also they KNOW that if mom or dad are home they are the boss. So everything is harder, and they chalenge every second.
I used to work Saturday mornings with both mom and dad at home and those 4hs lasted FOREVER. The kids challenged everything I said, everything I asked… Forget nap, meal, clean up….
Plus talk about child seeing mom watching a show on TV, but not being allowed to watch TV or mom wanting some alone time. 1/2 of my time was convincing kids to leave mom alone… or calming their cry when I took them away from mom…
To the point that I always tell my au pairs, if I am home kids have free access to me. Dont worry. And I do not ask them to work when I am home and not working or doing something REALLY important. Because it is a no win situation

midwest aupair April 2, 2014 at 11:11 pm

This is horrible! Yes this makes me mad as well. I do understand that the parents pay a lot of money for an au pair, but this is hurting a child’s feelings. Especially if they are younger (under 8, which i think is the age the parents would need help). How can a child understand that mom wants some “free time” at home. and have someone else to entertain them??? NO, this does NOT settle with me!! They are your kids! If you need time to yourself, either leave the house, OR help au pair plan a fun outing, but by you being home relaxing makes a au pairs job almost impossible! This is like your boss saying: I won’t come to the meeting today, where i am desperately needed, I will be in my office hanging out, but please don’t come and ask me questions etc. I think the au pair hours should be used, YES of course. You should get your dates in if you have the hours, but use them based on how you would like your work environment to be like. And again, think about your kids. They will forever think, they need permission to spend time with their parents. Probably almost non of you do this, and i do not want to be disrespectful, but this is the HARDEST JOB for an au pair..

spanishaupair April 3, 2014 at 3:52 am

I cant agree more with both of you. Kids are a nightmare when parents are around, they want their parents who they dont see in all day and hey they are their parents, not the aupair who changes every year or two or less if they rematch, and they have to spend day with them
The worst part is kids for very young they are not stupid and finish resenting in parents and aupair because they dont get enough parents time. I think the most sad thing a kid has told me is “i wish you were my mum” after a few weeks that parents were too busy with work and their social life that couldnt spend two minutes with them

Dorsi April 3, 2014 at 11:35 am

My kids learn from a very young age that just because Mom is home with them, it does not mean that I am available to them. I work late nights and overnights and often need the Au Pair to watch my children while I sleep.

Children don’t understand the difference between “free time” at home or important things — like bill paying, sleeping, etc. Only Au Pairs make this distinction. So, if we can agree that a good Au Pair can take care of the kids while a parent is at home, the content of the parent’s time is immaterial. My 3 year old doesn’t know if I am responding to a post on Au Pair mom or if I am doing work paperwork. All of my Au Pairs have been good about keeping the children separate and allowing me space — except one. And we are in rematch (for a wide variety of reasons).

AussiePair April 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm

While as an au pair I agree that it can be VERY hard to look after kids when parents are home, obviously they want their parents over the au pair. An au pair also needs to look at the flip side of this, can you imagine how hard it is for a parent to put themselves first and get what they need to do done without feeling guilty that they’re not spending that time with their kids? Also imagine how hard it is to listen to someone else disciplining your kids, no matter how much they train the au pair there’s always going to be at least a slight difference in the way situations are handled. As au pairs we need to try our hardest to entertain the children and make it easier for the HP to use the time that they need.

Your HP aren’t making you work while they’re not to annoying you or because they’re selfish or whatever other negative thing you make think. They’re doing it because that is the only or best choice to get things done, usually so they have more time later to dedicate to their children.

American Host Mom in Europe April 3, 2014 at 4:23 am

FWIW, I think it IS manageable to have kids with au pair while mom is home, although agree that it is harder if mom is “relaxing”. I work full time, but from home, and my kids know that I work until 5:30 (dinnertime) every night. They also know that if I’m not on the phone, they can come into my office and play quietly, or they can do something downstairs with our au pair. Most of the time, while they might come up for a quick cuddle, they choose to stay downstairs. My kids are 6, 4,5 and 4,5. The alternative for my kids would be to stay at daycare until 5:45, instead of being picked up at 3 and getting to go to playgrounds, the library, bake, have free time to relax/play at home, etc., so having the au pair with them is a far better option. They’ve learned and I don’t think it is a problem. But, to be fair – I’m working, not watching TV.

spanishaupair April 3, 2014 at 4:46 am

I think is easier if kids are used too and they know the rules. I have worked with stay at home mum and didnt work but did chores at home, mind baby and so on, and it worked pretty well, at the beggining kids had to get use but after a few days no problems. But here parents work full time out of home and kids specially 4 yo are mad when they are home and ignore them to relax or do things and send them with me

Seattle Mom April 6, 2014 at 12:36 am

Yep, my husband works from home about 15 hours per week, and I work from home one full day per week. We have an office upstairs that is completely off-limits to the kids. They will occasionally yell up the stairs to me to say “Hi Mom!” or “Bye Mom!” but they never ever ever come up there.

There have been a couple of times when I was home and needed to relax while the AP was with the kids, and I would usually sneak into the guest room in the basement and read or nap… I would never let the kids know I was home and resting! I think one time I was sick and in my own bed, and they were actually respectful of that. But no, I wouldn’t sit around and do fun stuff in front of the kids and tell them they had to stay away from me. That just wouldn’t fly!

HRHM April 3, 2014 at 7:50 am

My sense is, if the AP has a hard time caring for the kids when HM is home (whatever she may be doing ) then she (AP) needs to get the kids out of the house. It’s not MY responsibility to plan her work days (maybe help a little in the beginning, but thats it) I provide membership to the zoo, aquarium, children’s museum, natural history, art museum. There is a chuck e cheese for bad weather and parks for good. If you are having trouble managing the kids in the house when HM is there, change the venue.

APs – imagine, that if every waking moment that you were not at work, you were NOT allowed in your HF’s home. If every second awake was expected to be a working one, if every time you sat down to Skype, read a magazine, eat a meal, watch an episode of TV or a grown up movie, even sleep, you were expected to be “on”, take care of the kids, be prepared to be interrupted. If any time that you wanted 10 minutes to yourself, you were told you have to LEAVE THE HOUSE. THAT is what you are asking us to do. I get that it may be easier to manage my kids while I’m not around, but it’s not impossible to do while I am home. And most HPs are asking you to do it a few hours a month at most. Just try to remember, when I come through the door at the end of the day, you’ve had all day to relax, read, run, watch tv, do your wash, hang out with friends – you only started working at 3:35. Meanwhile, I’ve been working for the past 8 hours and am exhausted. So, yes, I expect you to keep my kids (mainly) out of my hair long enough to get a few of the above tasks done and until I can recharge. I shouldn’t have to leave me own house for 45 minutes of “sanity time”

spanishaupair April 3, 2014 at 9:06 am

I said its the worst part but do it and never complained tomy HP even though the girl will hit me, called me whatever she wants because parents are home and will deny any discipline i do, time out the same as they do and asked me todo. And i cant take kids out so easy i dont drive, they live in the countryside in a country that rains most days.
Even though i think parents need their time. And yeah i have been almost or more hours that they do as my youngest hk is full time home.

WarmStateMomma April 3, 2014 at 11:16 am

I couldn’t agree more, HRHM. I think a lot of APs have never run a household and don’t understand the endless tasks involved. Even HPs who don’t work from home need to get work done at home. Maybe it’s tough for an AP with older kids to manage them while HPs are home, but it’s been easy with my baby/toddler. I love spending my time with my daughter more than anything in the world and would be pretty upset if my AP implied that I’m paying bills or cleaning the house to avoid spending time with her.

midwest aupair April 3, 2014 at 11:29 am

Sometimes I wish we could trade places. HM can be Au pairs for a couple days and Au pairs Hm’s. I think there is sooooo much we (Au pairs) don’t know about you Hm’s, and the other way around. I also think it is a cultural thing. I feel like that here in the U.S parents want to have a great career AND a great relationship with their kids.Unfortunately this can’t work, because honestly, there aren’t enough hours in a day to please both sides. My parents both worked when I was growing up, and we did had babysitters sometimes, but we were never entertained by them. (I.e. we played with each other (siblings), sometimes by our self etc.) It taught me independence and I knew how to entertain myself, when my parents needed a break. (And yes, I do think it is important that you get breaks) I NEVER (as a child) felt like my Mom did abandon me while she was relaxing and I was playing by myself. But I would have if there was someone there for me to keep me away from my Mom. (If they are under 3 I know, that is a different story) Most Mom’s I know here in the U.S feel bad that they are working and therefore want someone that gives full attention to their kids (entertaining etc.) I don’t think this is good, because they never learn that they are capable off doing things themselves. Your example above, about that we should imagine how it would be to always be on, etc. Whenever we skype etc. I actually do feel like I have to leave the house to FULLY relax. When I am at home, I can always her the kids running into my door or asking me if they could hang out in my room. (I do usually let them, because I really adore them). But we live and work at the same place, which is hard. I agree with you, that an Au pair should not complain about working on a Saturday night. It is her duty. I used to work night shifts, Sunday, Saturday, Christmas, you name it. I did not complain, it was my job.But in the end, it is all about your kids’ feelings. It breaks my heart when my 4!! year old comes down to my room and says: Mom said we should hang out with you, because she needs time to herself. This makes me sad, because i did not see her all day, I wish she would spend time with me. A 4 year old. Parents, your kids understand exactly what you do, or not do. Just my opinion, and again, I do not want to offend anyone. But when you are honest with yourself, kids want love. YOUR LOVE.

WarmStateMomma April 3, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Here’s the flip side: sometimes HMs would love time with their children without the AP. APs sometimes need to entertain themselves and let the kids spend time with just their HPs. Imagine never having time to yourself and never having time alone with your baby. I worked full time the first few months of AP#1’s year and had to care for the baby and the AP whenever I wasn’t at work. Other than when the baby woke in the middle of the night, I never had any time alone with the baby during AP#1’s year because AP#1 couldn’t entertain herself. Those middle of the night moments became pretty important to me because I got to have my favorite person all to myself. I would have been so grateful if AP#1 made her own plans once in a while so that HD and I could make our own memories with the baby.

I get your point about the host kid feeling unwanted, but kids and APs don’t see the whole picture all the time. HPs have other responsibilities they can’t avoid just because they had kids. Bills still have to be paid, taxes filed, the house maintained. My first AP had no idea what any of those chores meant. So if an HM says she needs “time to herself,” she may be handling other responsibilities that children and APs aren’t aware of. Or maybe she is just overwhelmed and trying not to lose her temper with anyone in the house.

midwest aupair April 3, 2014 at 12:36 pm

You seemed not have had luck with your first Au pair. I’m sorry. I think we will probably never be on the same page about this issue (HM’s and Au pairs). I think getting an Au pair is a step toward less privacy but (hopefully) more flexibility. Unfortunately we can’t get both. All the privacy you would get without the Au pair, but still the flexibility, and the other way around. Yes, bills need to get payed and all that. I think my point was more, having your Au pair work, while you are relaxing on the couch and don’t want your kids to interrupt. This is not OK. Not because of the Au pair, but for your child. We are in a strange culture. Entertainment is everything, and we are ALWAYS stressed. (Even though I think we are the ones causing our own stress). I think this is why the program was important and successful for me. Even though I love being an Au pair, I would never want one myself when I have my own kids. It seems to much of a stress (which I would cause myself), and unless you are very lucky, things don’t go well. I also think kids do not benefit from having Au pair after Au pair. If the program works for you, great! Get your dates in on Saturdays, you payed for them:) Good luck everyone.

WarmStateMomma April 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Midwest Aupair: You’re right about AP#1. She was another child and we didn’t know any better because we were first time HPs.

We love getting to know our exchange visitors, but we need a break from them just as much as they need a break from us. The AP gets to decide when she wants a break from the HF, but the HF can’t do the same with the AP. I can’t tell an AP that “we are doing X with the baby now, and want some time alone together.” That would make her pretty uncomfortable in the place where she lives and works.

I guess it’s hard for me to understand the scenario where an HP is relaxing at home while the AP watches the kids because it doesn’t happen in our house. That sounds pretty amazing, though!

FWIW – I agree with you about entertainment and we don’t allow my little one to watch TV yet. We keep a variety of toys and books accessible and she’s pretty capable of entertaining herself with them.

midwest aupair April 3, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Warm state HM: I really hope you get an au pair that understands that you need your baby to yourself. It is so important for the baby to bond with you, especially in the first few years. I might be wrong, but does she know that you would not be offended if she would not come along? Lots of Au pairs feel like they have to go along on every single trip, outing, walk etc. I felt that way too the first couple months. Now I usually attend 2 outings out of 5 a week. (walk, ice cream, shopping etc.) It is important for parents to spend some time alone with the kiddos. My hf went to Disney. I knew they wanted me to come along, but also wanted to enjoy the time with the kids. I suggested to come for a few days Friday-Monday. I took care of the kids, while mom and dad went on dates, walks etc. Great vacation. We all had so much fun. They got their time in with the kids and each other as a couple. I got my free time alone at home and some fun rides with my favorite kiddos:)

WarmStateMomma April 3, 2014 at 1:59 pm

@ Midwest: It’s really about balance. We enjoy having an AP in our family, but she shouldn’t be my shadow. I’m not even that fun! AP#2 was chosen in part for her outgoing personality and she’s making friends quickly. She and I are both enjoying the year. :)

Here’s a question for you and other APs: AP#2 has agreed to travel with us halfway through her year. Airfare and accommodations are too expensive for an AP to afford and it’s a highly desirable location. It’s a working trip for AP#2 (20-30 hours that week) and we want her enjoy her off-duty time without feeling tied to us but I can’t afford to bring a buddy for her. I thought about paying for her to enjoy a special experience or two as a surprise, but they may not be fun to do on her own. Any suggestions?

midwest aupair April 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Yes I do!! I went to Hawaii with my hf last winter. It was awesome. I always wanted to go there:) could not afford it though. They also payed for my fight and I slept on the couch. (Totally fine with me, I mean hellooo? It’s HAWAII! I would have slept on the bathroom floor if I had to:)
I was there for fun, and work. It was extremely hard to know when they wanted me to work and when they did not need me. Because they payed for everything, I kind of had the feeling I needed to “make it up” to them. Make a clear schedule, and let her know when she is free to do whatever she wants. My host parents asked me if there was anything i really wanted to do? I really wanted to go snorkeling. They payed for it and I went by myself. I had fun:) I think you should not be too concerned about her being bored or anything. She should look into a couple things, and she can also pay things herself if there is something she really wants to do. (I went to a massage, with the hot rocks:) but I payed it myself..) After all we do earn money.. hope this helped. Let me know if you have any more questions!

spanishaupair April 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm

I agree with midwest aupair schedule her so she can know when she is off or on duty and that she doesnt need to hang with you when she is off.
I think if you want to pay for something nice she may want to do alone sounds great, if not she can pay by herself, i think is really nice itself that you are taking her on to a nice place even if she is working a few hours.
Nice to hear that with AP2 is working better

WarmStateMomma April 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Thanks Midwest and Spanish. I can see where a clear schedule would help her understand boundaries. We want a couple of date nights, but we also want her to work with us around. (We just discussed that, I know. :)) For example, we want a third adult (the AP) to trade turns playing on the beach with the baby because you need two people snorkeling together for safety reasons. I count that as on-duty time because the AP is not free to make other plans during those hours, but it’s definitely better than working at home.

spanishaupair April 3, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Yeah thats reasonable and looks like a good change in routines :) More fun to play at the beach even with little ones than all day at home :)
Enjoy the hollidays

AussiePair April 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm

I went on a kind of working holiday with a host family and I think as long as you try your best at a rough schedule (on holidays this can be really hard as the au pair doesn’t have their network around to do things away from the family and may be nervous to go explore on her own, also it’s hard to be “off” on plane or car rides) and do lots of fun things as a family the au pair would appreciate it. I don’t think paying for an activity for the au pair to do on her own is necessary but is super nice, even giving the au pair $5-10 to go to a coffee shop one afternoon/evening would probably be enough in my opinion.

My host parents noted that I enjoyed looking at the fish but found it difficult to use the snorkel, so got me a mask that worked better than goggles but wasn’t as difficult to use as the snorkel that I could use in shallow water to look at fish, and I was amazingly appreciative! I felt even this was above and beyond after they had paid for me to travel with them (and I didn’t mind sharing a room with the 5yr old one bit)

German Au-Pair April 3, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Doing something on your own the first time can be hard. I definitely needed a push and love my HM for basically saying “You can either do it alone or not do it at all, but then don’t complain afterwards that you’ve missed it.” I did a whole day trip by myself, in a foreign, non-English speaking country, crossing the border to another non-English sepaking country. It was great and doing it by myself was an amazing experience. Give her a little push, if she’s not whiny she’ll appreciate it. (And, as much as you love a family, having this tme just for yourself feels great when you’re spe ding 24/7 with them.)
When you have her schedule planned out, you might want to giver her some advance notice so that she can find someone to hang. AP-FB groups are big and you get a lot of posts like “I’m in San Francisco then, who can hang with me?” Sometimes it works. Couch surfing is also a great way to meet people, they do meet ups, too. It’s pretty safe, especially at day time and when you make sure to pick people who have a lot of comments from people who’ve stayed with them. Those would be good options to help her not be alone.

skny April 5, 2014 at 8:45 am

I honestly think this is a cultural issue in some ways.
I am a parent and host parent now (used to be an au pair 10+ years ago).
In my country the norm is that once you have kids your social life involves the children. Occasionally grandma will watch on an evening night, but there are no sitters or weekend help. If you are not working, you are usually with your kids.
I do see your point though. I get tired and exhausted and probably could use some relaxing time at home. I still cant though. It just feels wrong,
So If I get home at 2 and my au pair is scheduled to work tiill 4, I will usually let her off at 2.
Now… my (American) husband has no hesitation in arrive home early, say hello to kids and au pair, and take a 2h nap until it is her time to be done working. Or go to his office and relax.
Again, probably cultural

Momma Gadget April 5, 2014 at 11:08 am

Does anyone else feel there is such a double standard with how APs view HMs vs HF even more so than society at large? I see so many complaints about HMs from APs.

In our family I am the one that 95% of the AP responsibilities falls on. I worry about making sure the APs feel welcome and that their rooms are cozy and comfortable.I help them get acclimated.I always stock the cupboards with their favorite foods. I make sure the schedules fall with in the program rules & deal with all the AP agency requirements . I am the one they come to when there are any issues with the kids, or often their personal life or want something ordered on my amazon prime. I am the one who stresses over/delivers reset conversations. Anything remotely helpful/thoughtful that my DH does stems from my request/suggestion. I am the main bread winner and work a stressful job because that’s what it takes in this economy to provide a nice home, in a good neighborhood with a good school system for my children & family.( and intern the AP) Yet they begrudge me a few minutes of peace and quiet, and brand me lazy or worse-unloving when I happen to be home during the APs scheduled hours and I need a few minutes to myself… but it is fine & dandy if the HF disappears for 2 hours???

exaupair April 5, 2014 at 11:28 am

And he is doing the right thing here – if the AP is scheduled for the next 2hrs anyway and is being paid for it, the host Dad is free to have a nap or do whatever he wishes without feeling guilty :-)

Should be working April 5, 2014 at 12:14 pm

In my house I’m the “tough” HP. DH will give the AP his own head on a platter if she asks for it. So APs learn to ask him if they can borrow the car for a road trip, etc. I’ve had to train DH to ask me or tell the APs to ask me.

But weirdly, yes, if DH is home it seems easier for the AP to go about her duties than if I’m home. I always thought this is because DH works at home so that she is used to working while he’s home, whereas when I get home ….”Mama’s home!” But then this leads to me going to my office when I could actually work at home instead…which perpetuates the problem that when I’m home I’m not working. But yeah, I think APs have the double standard.

And, may I note that when reading AP applications I have only ever see them say, regarding experience with cleaning and housekeeping, “I help my mother with the housekeeping,” and NEVER have I seen, “I help my PARENTS with the housekeeping.”

spanishaupair April 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Haha in my HF also mum is the one doing all the aupair related things and deal with me.
But the other way for me is much easier to work around if she is home that if my HD is home, sadly usually is my HD who is home and im working, but he is much more cold and difficult to deal with.
About the housework part i guess is how the world works, specially a few years ago, that is when potential aupairs have grown up, usually the mum is the one doing the housework so yeah you help your mum doing the housework.

skny April 5, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Momma Gadget,
It is true.
In my family specially I am always the bad guy
We had a TERRIBLE au pair once who would let kids loose (1 and 3yo at time) while she sat in front of the laptop all day. EVEN when HF was home.
Well, HF was home on vacation (school teacher), and would text me every hr or so with reports: AP is on laptop and girls are running around messing the house. AP missed snack time, isnt the deal she makes snack?
So I was the one who would call home from work and say: Au pair, turn off the laptop and go watch the kids. AP why are the kids not having snack? and others.
I bet she was complaining to other au pairs how host father was this nice, easy going, fun guy, and I was always complaining about something.

German Au-Pair April 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm

There is a double standard and I personally think this dilemma can’t be solved.
In my culture, women who have a career like many of the HMs here have and have kids at the same time are looked down upton. They don’t provide for their children enough, their children experience money but not love and time and so on. At the same time, SAHM are somewhat pitied by many because is that really what you want to do with your life? Be a mom and manage the household? Did you get your education for that?
So the only way to please everyone would be to have a great job, that pays well and is appropriate for your level of education but only while the kids are in school. Then you should be home and devote your time to them (and here kids usually don’t stay in school until 3 but rather 1pm). That’s what you need to do to be respected as a woman and mother and worker. It’s insane really.
People here look down on all the American moms who work even though they didn’t have to to provide a living -meaning the ones who work to have a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood and more luxury. If the decision has to be made, a woman should choose her children over her career and dedicate her life to her children. And probably that’s even somewhat true when it comes to what would be best for the children. But what people don’t see is that most of the same women who say that are secretly unhappy with ONLY being a mom without a lot of social life and a fullfilling job.
It’s all really weird and there’s no solution and that’s just another reason why I don’t want children myself.

HRHM April 5, 2014 at 5:42 pm

It’s a riduculous double standard that CAN be fixed. We (the HMs) are part of the problem because we have the attitude that if we don’t do it, it won’t get done. And the APs who come here from other countries with even more backward attitudes about working mothers, need to realize that it’s garbage. I am not a bad mother for working. And no, I can’t work part time or take a few years off. I’m a surgeon – how would you feel if you had an operation on Monday and then when you called with a problem on Thursday your surgeon said “Sorry, I only work Monday and Tuesday. You’ll have to wait until next week for me to see you?”

I’m an example for my girls. There is no reason I have to do everything for myself. I have an AP to help. It’s pretty contradictory for APs to come to this country as a part of a program that is paid for BECAUSE I work and then criticize my working. Really?

And yes, my DH does little to nothing in our house. It probably has more to do with my OCD and less to do with his gender.LOL

German Au-Pair April 5, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Um, just to be clear: I wasn’t saying that *I* think women who work are bad mothers, no need to be defensive. It’s the opinion that many people from my culture and I am sure many au pairs have. It’s the one side of the double standard while the other one is that just being a mom ist not fullfulling so so beneath women nowadays.

I personally think you need a balance. As long as the children know they are loved and supported by not only their caregiver but also their parents, the parents should definitely do whatever makes them happy and not give up their social life like is seems to be normal in some cultures. Being happy and balanced is actually a much better role model than doing what you think society wants you to do and being miserable about that.
But while this shoe certainly doesn’t fit everyone, let’s not forget that there are those people who care more about their career than their children, who have caregivers because they don’t want to bother and children because it’s what you do. There are children who feel unloved by their parents because the parents are too wrapped up in their own business, career and social life and those parents and children are another reason why “they’re your children, you should raise them” can be heard from some au pairs who have to witness this sad sad thing.

The one thing I really can’t understand is why a SAHM (not a WORK AHM) would have a nanny. Sorry, don’t get it. If you don’t need and want to work but chose to have kids, you could really raise them yourself.

hOstCDmom April 5, 2014 at 8:02 pm

@GermanAP- while not my situation ( I am a PT WAHM mom) a SAHM mom might have an AP for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with not raising one’s own children:

Volunteer work that the SAHM is engaged in that requires child are so that SAHM can do this work.

A large number of children and /or multiples ( we have 6 kids, and even if I didn’t work, bot I–and my kids– would DEFINITELY benefit from the help. At one time we had 6 kids under 8 yrs old, no multiples. Our life was much better with an AP, no matter whether I was working or not.)

Exercise time for a SAHM, be she serious athlete or not

Babysitting. Depending on the area, an AP can be an economically wise alternative if one wants or needs 20hrs of babysitting a week (and 2 evenings out and three mornings or afternoons can = 20 hrs!)

Language learning. AP helps facilitate an immersion environment.

Driver. SAHM of middle to older kids might want/need another driver

Pregnant mom of toddlers who has a high risk pregnancy, or pregnant mom with any age kids if she is on bed rest

Or, simply because a family can afford it and they find life more enjoyable, more flexible, and less stressful having the extra bandwidth of an AP

Devastated HM April 5, 2014 at 8:27 pm

@German Au Pair: but you see, part of “raising” your children is knowing what you need in order to do the best job possible. A SAHM who has the resources may wisely say “I can be far more effective and energized for my family if I have a few hours’ break each day.” As a mom who works away from the home, I see nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think that would arguably make her a better mom tHan one who needed and could afford some respite but who forged ahead without it because she “should” want to devote 100% of her time, energy and effort to the job of being a mother. She is the one raising her children whether or not she does it with help from an AP, and if having help makes everyone happier, why wouldn’t she choose that?

German Au-Pair April 6, 2014 at 6:14 pm

I have to admit, there are some pretty valid reasons there. Volunteer work and pregnancy doesn’t count though, because I don’t view that as a SAHM.
I personally still feel like when you are in the situation of completely staying at home (and not have many children who simply require another adult), it seems hard to justify a nanny to go to the salon and shopping with your friends.

But I do see that are circumstances that would require a SAHM to have an extra pair of hands.

But there are parents out there who shouldn’t be, who had children because that’s sort of what you do when you grow up and who have nannies to deal with them because they don’t want to. There are bad parents out there and they don’t have to be violent or abusive to be bad parents.This probably happens more with nannies than with APs but I have heard that from others APs as well. About mothers who had the AP work 45h and did nothing but enjoy herself with her friends while her husband worked and her children were raised by someone else.

And when I compare that to a working mom who feels guilty for being away from her child so much and has to trust another woman to help her raise the children, I just really don’t understand.

German Au-Pair April 6, 2014 at 6:22 pm

@Devastated HM
I thinkw hat you said is actually the main issue here. Does it make everyone happier?

If the SAHM has an AP to help her out, give her a bit of space, time to do things for herself and just make life easier, that’s all well and I’m sure the kids love that and benefit from it. But 45h a week is a lot and if I saw my mother doing her thing (that is not something like volunteering but just fun stuff a woman without children might do all day) during all that time and asking someone else to spend time with me, I think I might feel less loved and wonder why my mother wouldn’t choose to spend that time with me herself.

And as a grown up, I wonder why someone who tries to be away from her children as much as possible would have children in the first place.
In contrast, if I saw my mother work all day (and even ask the AP for some extra time after work so she can do her thing), I’d understand why my mom is not home with me. “I need some time for myself after a hard day at work” is just more reasonable than “I just need some time for myself the whole day”.

Should be working April 6, 2014 at 7:49 pm

I don’t think a small child knows the difference between Mommy “is gone all day for work . . . which is important” and “is gone all day to go to the spa . . . which isn’t necessary”. We teach them the difference, life teaches them the difference. But their feelings certainly aren’t different even if the mom is off saving the world–even for teenagers, I would wager. So I think the AP’s value judgments about what activities merit having an AP have actually nothing to do with the child’s experience.

Should be working April 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm

This point is where the family member vs. employee thing seems to me central and a big problem. As an employer I can make my AP work whenever I want, as long as I follow the rules. As a family member or at least as someone for whom I have personal affection and consider part of the ‘ecosystem’ in the house I don’t want to make the AP unhappy AND maybe more important, APs tend to start lobbying for their own interests–great concert tickets, party of a friend, etc. Employees don’t do that.

I don’t have a solution, but I do harbor some small resentments about trying to avoid going out Sat nights. I think once a month is in principle fine, but the AP will complain. Twice a month seems to be–from the “family member” point of view–too much to expect on a regular basis.

Our AP tries to wiggle out of Fridays and Saturdays and mostly accomplishes this. My resentments exist but are small, and she goes WAY out of her way all week long, cooking great meals unasked, doing tons of unasked grocery shopping, lots of tidying, excellent interaction with kids. I guess that is how it goes with APs.

Emerald City HM April 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm

We are the first category, the M-F family, but we do still try to adjust both our schedules and the au pair’s schedule so we can occasionally go out on a date on a Saturday night.

This roughly equates to about 6 Saturdays a year. However, it does not include travel weekends if we take our au pair, because we tend to travel on Saturdays, so she may have more than 6 Saturday evening interrupted. But again, traveling with us is nearly always optional for our au pairs.

I’m trying to think forward on how we are going to structure as our girls start school and so on. I tend to lean more toward using other week nights more frequently to do things in all honestly. We struggle with doing that now because of the 10 hour limit. We will definitely utilize having an au pair to do some of the things that I do now that end up taking time away from spending with my husband and the girls (since 9 hours a day with both girls is already a long time), such as grocery shopping for the girls, their laundry, and even cooking items that I put in the freezer for them. Even taking the au pair car in for oil changes (which of course we will pay for, but we can’t put car seats in that car and I don’t expect her to do that in her off time).

Host Mom X April 2, 2014 at 1:45 pm

We are a “use all 45 hours during the week” family, so our weekend AP use is rare, but we have never had a complaint to our face about it.

Personally, we could not make a weeknight date night work. I work insane hours, and am exhausted all week long. And my weeknights are not predictable. However, we do often schedule our weekend “date nights” as date mornings, and I think our APs have not much minded working a Saturday or Sunday morning every once in awhile (we try to start a bit later to give some recovery time from the prior night’s activities).

But I would resent AP resentment on this issue. We are very clear in the matching process that there will be occasional weekend hours, because we want a life too, and that we do our best to schedule them either in the mornings, or earlier in the evening so the AP can go out afterwards if she wants to, but that they will be part of the schedule on occasion no matter what. We understand that having weekend fun is part of the AP experience, and we want our APs to have that, but having a babysitter who can work a flexible schedule is a large part of what causes parents to sign up for the program. And without that parental demand for this particular type of child are, there would BE no “AP experience” for the having.

Obviously none of the above rationalizing can stop an AP from feeling what she feels, though. But I do agree with CV that mature APs will realize when they have a caring host family who does their best to see to it that the AP has a great “AP year” despite a few weekends, and if they see this coming through in all host family interactions (i.e. Flexibility with rules and schedule, accommodating travel and vacation plans, thoughtfulness in other realms, etc.), I would not think there would be this kind of resentment, and if there WERE, I could see it being indicative of other rematch-leaning issues.

Momma Gadget April 2, 2014 at 2:01 pm

We are predominantly M-F family and rarely use up our 45 hours.
On the rare occasion we needed the Ap to Work on the weekend due to a wedding, or Funeral, or if we had a big project we wanted to work on. None have ever given us any attitude over it.

We do try to give as much notice as possible, and if we schedule a Saturday night, we try to be home early on Friday night so that the Ap can go out then.

WarmStateMomma April 2, 2014 at 2:09 pm

We told our new AP before matching that she’d be working a half day on weekends, about twice a month. We said this was for errands, date nights and volunteer/work commitments. In reality, it’s been less often than that but we want to start going out again like normal people and we don’t use our full 45 hours anyway.

We told our AP that we will have a date night this weekend, but our plans are flexible enough that it can be Friday or Saturday. We left deciding which night up to her because she is trying to meet APs nearby and they have their own scheduling constraints. I’m rarely awake past 9 or 10 anymore, so an AP could still go out with friends after I got home. The two reasons I pay double the cost of day care to host an AP are for the foreign language immersion and the flexibility. If you reduce flexibility, I have to decide if the language is worth $10k/yr.

spanishaupair April 2, 2014 at 2:10 pm

I think it depends on the kind of aupair you have, if its a party one she will resent every single time you ask for babysitting, most of my friends resent the here and there saturday night babysitting. Im not the kind of party prefer travelling and cinema and that kind of things and dont mind doing the babysittings if its not every single weekend, indeed i find it the easy part of the work, you spend a few hours with kids and then they go to bed and you can do as you please at home instead of spending whole day dealing with kids that can be hard sometimes. And prefer saturday nights than weekend daytime even if i get an extra day off with this ones and not with nights.

HRHM April 2, 2014 at 2:12 pm

We are the family that barely ever uses close to the hours during the week. AND we do use weekends, sometimes 3 or 4 Saturdays a month, if needed (4/5 that is in the rare 5 weekend month) but more often 2. I will remain entirely unapologetic about this and maybe my position is more “employer like” than many HMs. We have the schedule detailed in our application, HF essay, intro email, HF handbook and in conversations. Our candidates can talk to our current AP and previous ones and they make no secret about the schedule either. Once a new AP arrives, we give advance notice but start using Sat nights right away.

I have a hard time feeling bad for our AP. I don’t look at it as “ignoring the value cost of someone’s time ” – after all, I’m paying her for 45 hours, so in essence by refusing to work Saturday, she’s ignoring the cost of my employ of her, not the other way around. It is never more than 5 hours, and never into the wee hours. We usually are gone from5 or 6 to 10 or 11. No one goes to the clubs before 11 anyway, so we are not interrupting her night out. And honestly, I’ve only ever had one AP complain (out of 6) and she complained about EVERYTHING. I think the people who get the most complaints are the ones who add it in the middle of the year, or don’t warn about it in the matching process.
FWIW, we are also VERY flexible with extra days off so that she can travel. I often excuse a friday once the kids are in school or a monday morning so that she can have a long weekend. If she wasn’t interested in doing Sat date night that flexibility would instantly dissapear (while I started the rematch process…)

WarmStateMomma April 2, 2014 at 2:33 pm

It sounds like your AP has a LOT of flexibility to take daytime classes during the week. For an AP looking to work on his/her education in the US, this would be a huge plus.

I agree about feeling little remorse over scheduling issues that were fully disclosed during matching. We tried to make our schedule sound more demanding than it is this time around just so anything less would be a welcome surprise.

Returning HM April 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm

We are exactly the same as HRHM and also are entirely unapologetic about it – and honestly, no one has ever asked us to apologize or complained (to us) about our schedule. We go out every other Sat night, whether we have a plan with friends or just go to dinner by ourselves, and our APs know they will work a few hours between 7-11 on these nights. We always offer that if our AP has plans or a party he wants to go to, then we will adjust our timing, particularly if it’s just the two of us, but few have asked for this – with the male APs, usually they have a gaggle of female APs who are very happy to come hang out and watch DVDs in our basement while they “work” (our son goes to sleep at 7:30 and daughter is pretty much never home on Sat nights, so it’s not hard work), and with the female APs from past years, they also had friends who came over and often stayed for the night, so they didn’t ask for the timing to be adjusted (when they did, we did if we could – it all worked out). It’s a reality of our schedule that they will work every other Sat night unless for some reason they are working on a Sat day, which happens in summer and winter (due to competition season for one of our children’s sports) but less often in fall or spring. So, weekend work, every other weekend, is a fact of life in our house. Frankly, it seems to be a fact of life in all of our APs’ friends’ houses too (few work 45 hours a week or even close), so I didn’t know this was even such a big deal until I started seeing people comment on it on here.

Like HRHM, we are really clear about our schedule in matching – from the first “dear au pair” letter to subsequent emails about the schedule to the skype calls and so on. Everyone knows our schedule inside and out, and I make sure that both I and the current AP walk the prospective AP through two weeks’ worth of the schedule, so that they really have a sense of what it looks like week on and week off. Finally, once we match, they become FB friends with us generally, so they get to know our activities – and our social lives, since that is what people mostly document on FB rather than their work lives – pretty well. As an aside, our future APs also get to know my obsession with my workouts, too, so there is no surprise when they come and are asked to work while I workout daily (I actually try to match with people who are workout-obsessed too, as it’s easier when they “get” it).

Overall, we just don’t have the complaints discussed above about being asked to work when we’re not working. I regularly use hours to workout, go food shopping, start dinner prep, even skype with overseas friends – in addition, of course, to my regular work hours. Our APs know I work extremely hard (and often late into the night) so if I stop working at 3 one day to do Insanity in the basement while they are playing Uno Attack with my son, so be it. Like HRHM, we are extremely generous about extra days off, friends coming over, travel time, etc., so it all works out well. We have had APs take off up to 5 or 6 weeks during the year, and that kind of flexibility would not happen if we were feeling cramped by someone complaining about working on a Sat night.

Pennsylvania HM April 3, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Our AP’s work every Saturday morning except for the 1 full weekend off per month, it is non-negotiable in our house. My AP’s know that I am up at 5 and out the door by 6:30, so Saturday mornings are my one day to sleep in and then work-out/do errands. We seldom get date nights because we don’t have the hours, but the few times a year we do have the opportunity our AP works in the evening as well and we do stay out late. I’ve never felt the need to apologize for this, no one has ever complained and we don’t offer much in the way of perks (phone with minutes and limited texting, AP car has a curfew and mileage limit, no additional vacation days, and we don’t go on vacation ourselves). My husband and I both work very hard and don’t have much in the way of extra’s ourselves; our AP’s have been very mature and understood that we treat them as equals, and expect they’ll work as equals too. I guess we’ve just been lucky (we’ve been hosting since 2008).

NNTexasHM April 2, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Oh my goodness am I on an entirely different page than almost everyone on this thread (except for HRHM). We would have NO USE for the Au Pair program and all the work involved including the disruption to our lives if our Au Pair didn’t work EVERY Saturday (excluding the one weekend off a month of course). My husband travels much of the week, plus I have book club, volunteer work, I coach during the week so a weeknight is just a possibility nor should it be! 45 hours is 45 hours and we barely require 40 but Thursday night and Saturday night are working nights for every one of our Au Pairs. I have been extremely open about this during the interview process and my thought is that should do it! If the Au Pair does not want to work those hours then she is free to choose another family. I can’t understand why anyone would judge that belief or feel bad about “making” the Au Pair fulfill her commitment because it’s a Saturday. If that is when you need the help and you are open about it and the Au Pair knows this going into the situation how can that be wrong or “unfair” (that is the strong vibe I’m getting from the thread – maybe unintentional).

Host Mom in the City April 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm

I think it’s just the vibe from me :) Honestly it sounds like the majority of host parents do ask for weekend hours, and many of them ask for one or more Saturday nights a month. I do completely agree that if you’re very upfront about it and very upfront about what that means for the au pair’s social life, and the au pair then starts complaining, that the solution (in black and white – obviously there is so much gray in this) should be that she needs to leave for another family that doesn’t need weekends (or ideally not match in the first place).

I’m just saying that not asking for weekends, or at least being very very flexible about it and about other time off, goes a long long way in having a happy au pair. But at some point, if you need weekend hours, you need weekend hours. And as I said, if the program started not allowing weekend hours, I’m sure host family interest in the program would drop precipitously. It’s a tough issue that I can see both sides of.

Returning HM April 2, 2014 at 4:09 pm

HMitC, I guess I’m just not seeing this (always) as a tough issue, because our APs – who have loved being with us – really haven’t seen this as an issue. Maybe because they work 4-5 hours a day (6 at most on a “long” day)? Maybe because they get a ton of free time off to travel otherwise? Maybe because we are super-flexible with them, coming home early to accommodate soccer practice, for example, or rearranging our schedule to support their attendance at a particularly interesting class for a semester? Maybe because we try to be generous and thoughtful (I got sushi for dinner for AP and me the other night, because I know he loves it and since HD is away, it was a perfect time for us to get it, and I also just got him an awesome non-leaking BPA-free water bottle because he was using a crappy one before he came to us)? Or maybe it’s because we pick young APs (19-21) who are used to having someone else dictate their hours? Or maybe it’s that they “get” our desire to be social and active – and we support theirs as well? I’m really not sure.

All I can say is that no one has ever, ever raised working on a Sat night as an issue. It does make me wonder if Sat night scheduling ends up being the straw man when an AP is otherwise just not that happy with a family?

Host Mom in the City April 2, 2014 at 5:08 pm

You’re right – if it’s working for you, then it’s working. And the au pairs that are complaining to us typically don’t have host parents that are working to go above and beyond for them in return or I suspect they’re just totally immature. So I guess I would say, sure, have your au pairs work Saturday nights frequently, but probably be extra flexible in return so that they don’t feel that they don’t have time to have a social life. Sounds like you’re doing that.

exapair April 2, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Exactly, as long as it works for both the parents and the AP it’s all a fair game. APs know the family schedule before matching – if they don’t like it, they are free to look for someone else.

HRHM April 2, 2014 at 5:27 pm

I will also point out (as I mentioned elsewhere on this site recently) that I no longer concern myself with making my Au Pair happy. I know this sounds callous, but I bent over backwards with my first 4 Au Pairs and here’s what I got in return : theft, lies, demands, lassitude, lethergy and NO IMPROVEMENT IN WORK PRODUCT. I found myself nursing an intense resentment because they weren’t responding with the intense gratitude that I felt I was due (and that I thought I would display if I was in their position) I felt that it should be a quid pro quo and that if I go out of my way to make their life better, to make them happier, they should be doing the same for me – only they NEVER did.

So now my plan of attack is to be a good employer, present clear expectations & reasonable constructive feedback and provide a pleasant place to live and work. That formula seems to be working so far. I don’t think current AP is any less happy than the past ones and I am definitely less stressed out and resentful.

WarmStateMomma April 2, 2014 at 6:14 pm

I’d bent over pretty far backward for AP#1 and didn’t feel that she’d appreciated my efforts or the stress they caused me. We’ve resolved to be more businesslike this time around – even though it doesn’t feel natural. AP#2 appears grateful for every gesture we make, we thank her for sincerely for everything she does, and everyone in the house is happy these days.

AP#2 was cheerful and helpful when a traffic jam made me almost 2 hours late getting home on Monday. The next time she asks for a favor that’s in my power to grant, I will be happy to say yes.

Alliinny April 2, 2014 at 9:08 pm

I’m totally on the same page as HRHM. I view myself as my AP’s employer. We like her and try to make her comfortable in our home but there is no fuzzy line in our house about why she is here. She works maybe 30 hours per week and she works every other Saturday night – and the weekends we don’t have her on Saturday night we often use her on a Friday night. But we made our expectations completely clear at the outset and there have been no issues. Over the summer 2 of my 3 kids will be away at camp and my 3rd in day camp all day – leaving at 7:30 and not home until close to 5. I just told our AP we expect every Saturday night except her weekend off and any other nights we need her as well. She said she completely understood and was fine with it – she’ll work maybe 15 hours a week during the day all summer – she got it. She wants to stay and finish her year so she’s happy to work within our parameters. The key, I think, was total clarity from the outset. And I also give her a monthly calendar of her evenings on and off at the beginning of each month so she can plan. I think that helps.

Momma Gadget April 2, 2014 at 5:52 pm

NNTexas HM- I completely agree with you.

Momma Gadget April 2, 2014 at 6:25 pm

I meant just to clarify – I completely agree with you if that is what you need and the AP agreed to this schedule before hand,s/he should honor the commitment.
It is not something we generally need, but it has never been an issue for any of our APs when we did make a request. Many of our APs offer/insist in helping shuttle kids around, or keep an eye on them when something unexpected comes up on the weekend even if they are off duty. ( of course that is when they didn’t have definite plans them selves)

spanishaupair April 3, 2014 at 4:06 am

I as aupair think that helping with the unexpected is part of living in a house, its not like you are pushing the kids to the aupair when she is off, but unexpected events and emergencies happen and if you dont have big plans that you cant change you shoul jump in. Its part of the flexibility and also HF will be more willing to help back in case you need it, even though i dont do it for that but because i like the family and live with them

Anonymous April 2, 2014 at 4:08 pm

I know this is probably going to annoy a few people but, you chose to have kids and that means the social life went out the window! I must say personally i wouldnt mind working a saturday night once in a whil but everyweekend would be annoying, your aupairs are there to also make friends and have a good time! Obviously aupairs no 1 priority is looking after your children but cant be at your beck and call! Fair enough have it planned well on advance and then there probably would be no problem but if you say ‘we are going out the weekend you need to watch the kids’ your aupair probs already has plans, so not really fair right!?

AussiePair April 2, 2014 at 9:52 pm

I think when out of the ordinary weekend plans come up, the majority of host parents would ask first if the au pair already had plans and would ask this time of the au pair, rather than demand it. I especially think that most if not all the host moms on this blog understand the importance of scheduling these things ahead of time to avoid having to get the au pair to alter her plans. I think as long as the host parents are coming from a place respecting the au pairs previous plans , with a willingness to compromise (we can come home x minutes early so you can still keep your plans etc.) and this “last minute event” isn’t a regular occurrence the au pair shouldn’t resent the parents. Parents deserve and need off time too, they work all day and then come home and need to deal with the kids before they can even think about taking a breath for themselves. They got an au pair to make their life LESS stressful, not more. They don’t need to spend their time worrying about whether they hurt the au pairs feelings for asking her to do her job.

Taking a Computer Lunch April 2, 2014 at 10:00 pm

If your social life as a couple goes out the window when you have kids, then what do you do when they’re grown and out of the house? In my opinion, if I’m forking out $23,000 dollars, plus car insurance, a phone, food, extra utilities, then I’m entitled to a quiet moment with my husband once in a while. When the kids were little we had date nights at home after they went to bed, but now that they’re teenagers, they’re likely to stay up later than we do at the weekend.

AP candidates, think about what you want in your year. If your goal is to party and have fun, then the AP program may not be right for you, because it is a job. And if you match agreeing to some weekend and some weekday nights, don’t be surprised if that’s what you get.

Anonymous, I wouldn’t think it fair if the HP were to spring the news on the AP at the last minute, “Oh, by the way, we’re going out tonight and we need you to work.” But, scheduled in advance, so the AP can work her social life around her caregiving responsibilities, is fair. Usually the choice comes down to 1) work 45 hours a week caring for infants, toddlers and/or preschoolers, or 2) working 30-35 hours a week caring for school-age children with morning/evening weekday shift and 5 hours at the weekend.

AussiePair April 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I think offices in the home country need to do more “coaching/investigating” into what type of family an au would, or thinks they would fit well with. I know I was never really told to think about this, until I was looking for new families when I rematch and then again when extending.

And I think au pairs really need to think long and hard on whether they would fit better with family type 1, or type 2. I thought and later confirmed that I fit much better with family type 1, not because of the no weekend hours, but because I’m not a fan of having a huge chunk of “free time” in the middle of the day, I would always be out and spending money or I would be feeling unproductive if I wasn’t out doing things.

I also think when signing up with an agency they need to tell an au pair more about the work aspect, they focus waaaay too much on the “fun au pair adventure” and for some people it can be hard to read between the lines and figure out that it actually is really hard work.

WarmStateMomma April 3, 2014 at 11:32 am

Anonymous –

APs come here for different reasons: improve their English skills, travel to the US (which may not otherwise be possible based on their nationality or finances), study at a Western university, etc. Partying hasn’t been high on the list for my 2 APs because they came here to improve their career prospects.

I pay double the cost of day care to have an AP, in large part for the flexibility and to reclaim my social life. My social life is a big reason that my AP was able to come to the US to work on her goals. I’ve hosted foreign exchange students. It was great, but now I’m paying for high-cost child care and I expect to receive it. An AP who doesn’t get that should sign up for a foreign exchange student program instead.

HRHM April 4, 2014 at 9:27 pm

“you chose to have kids and that means the social life went out the window!”

My guess? You have no kids and have never been married. What you describe above is a recipe for divorce and depression if ever I’ve heard one. I take great care of my kids. I love them to death. But, I can’t afford to ignore my husband and my marriage for the 15 years it’s going to take to get my kids from infancy to independence. A marriage/partnership needs time to remain connected and that means dates. People who don’t have Au Pairs hire babysitters to go out on Saturday. I don’t have to, I have an Au Pair…

Angie host mom April 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Haaa haaa haaa haaa haaa

This wasn’t annoying, it was funny.

We have au pairs because of the flexibility, and so if we decide on Thursday we are going on vacation for the weekend and bringing the kids and the au pair, if she doesn’t have tickets to something or really firm plans, we are ALL going. If I have to travel for work and leave on Sunday she’s starting Sunday night.

On the other hand, if she wants to take a 3 day weekend next week with her friends we’ll bend over backwards to make that work too.

We let our au pairs know up front they need to roll with it or find a different family. Once they figure out it works both ways they are generally good with it. Do they think we are a little spoiled? Yes, but you know what – they are too.

German Au-Pair April 2, 2014 at 4:26 pm

I know my life might be totally boring and I’m the biggest loser for not seeing the problem here…I mean I loved to go downtown on Saturdays and working every single Saturday would have sucked. But am I getting it wrong that most children are sound asleep Saturday night? Would there be any problem for the HP if while working Saturday night, the AP had a friend over for a movie night? Or just to talk? Would you all mind that if you know your au pair is still fullfilling her duties?
When I had to stay in at night with the kids (who were older so still awake but were happy doing their own thing) I often had a friend over. If the kids did need me, they were my first priority, other then that we left each other in peace and all had nice evenings. Yes, you can’t go partying when you work, but am I the only one who enjoys hanging with a friend just as much? Or are all HP strictly against that idea and if so, why?

WarmStateMomma April 2, 2014 at 4:55 pm

My toddler needs a lot of attention when she’s awake and I wouldn’t the AP’s attention turned to her friends while getting my toddler ready for bed. I would let my AP have friends over after bedtime (by 8 pm), so long she keeps an eye on the baby monitor and keeps the noise down.

Host Mom in the City April 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm

When we do go out on Saturday nights, we let our first au pair have friends over. We would let our current au pair have friends over, but haven’t gone out yet on a Saturday night this year. For our second, we did in the beginning until we found out that she would rush bedtime and put the kids into their beds at 6pm so that she could have friends over immediately. She would then completely ignore them for the remainder of the night. We came home not to a few au pairs watching a movie or chatting, but to basically what amounted to a house party with people smoking on our front steps, kids still awake upstairs. She almost ruined it for subsequent au pairs, but our current is so excellent that I trust her to do her job first.

German Au-Pair April 2, 2014 at 5:19 pm

By 8pm sounds totally fine to me…I’ve never had a movie night start before that. I’m just saying that this seems like a great compromise that makes both HP and AP have a social life and be happy.

AussiePair April 2, 2014 at 6:08 pm

I agree with German Au Pair, sometimes it’s nice to stay in and save some money. Also when host parents are super flexible about having friends over (ONLY once the children are in bed asleep, I would wait at least half an hour after they went to bed to be on the safe side) then I really don’t understand why an au pair should resent it. Maybe it’s because I have worked in 45 hour families, so Saturday nights were often infrequent and few and far between (except during the end when the schedule completely changed), but I honestly didn’t mind at all. I even worked an overnight once, and it wasn’t an issue, it’s actually easier work than a usual day as the children sleep for most of the on duty time.

exapair April 2, 2014 at 6:40 pm

The idea of having a friend over on a Sat. night when you have to work is ok as long as it doesn’t turn into massive party. As good as it sounds though, instead of mates drinking beers in front of TV I’d much rather had my partner over, which would probably be out of the question for some HPs. I think most of host parents don’t mind other au pairs in the house but would have a lot to say about a boyfriend hanging around while their children are in the other room.
My HPs were very private people and sometimes loners, so didn’t really want any strangers (strangers=not APs, and there weren’t really many AP in that area anyway) in the house, so outside of my duty time I liked to spend evenings/ nights elsewhere.

Said that, Saturday night is not ruined if you finish about 10 – 11pm, there’s still plenty of time to out :-)

German Au-Pair April 3, 2014 at 12:45 pm

I realize I’m boring for not even having thrown a party while my HP left me alone in the house for a week. But honestly, someone who seriously consideres throwing a party, especially with alcohol involved, while working seems unreliable to me and shows SUCH a lack of judgement that I’d probably rematch after finding out. The IDEA wouldn’t even cross my mind.

The other story probably depends on the HF. I’m sure mine would have allowed a BF over if they’d known him before because they would have trusted my judgement enough to know that I wouldn’t do anything inappropriate while on duty.
I do see your problem when it comes to not having someone you can actually talk to and inviting someone dull over would not be fun. But I think the majority of au pairs has at least one fellow au pair would she can have over and just hang out with.
I was alone with the kids for several days a couple of times and didn’t mind because I cold have a friend over and still have time to relax and socialize when the children were in bed -and in my case even before they went to bed.

midwest aupair April 2, 2014 at 11:24 pm

I agree:) looooove nights home with the kids and a friend:) my favorite:)

exapair April 3, 2014 at 7:33 am

I wasn’t as lucky as some with fellow APs. In my small village there was only one girl, who I’ve met maybe 5 times all together, in the nearby bigger town there was a group of local APs and nannies who used to hang out, and unfortunately they were the most boring lot I’ve ever met. It’s all down to the fact that I don’t get along with women in general and I absolutely can’t stand people, who can’t hold a conversation. Inviting one of them over for drinks and telly would be out of the question FOR ME.

JJ Host Mom April 2, 2014 at 7:44 pm

This has indeed been somewhat of an issue, even though we disclose from the very beginning that au pair will be working 3 weekends a month.

We try to stagger it – one Friday night, one Saturday day, one Saturday night, and one weekend off. When we do go out we’re back by 11:00pm so she can still go clubbing. Sundays and Monday mornings are consistently off, so she does get consistent weekend hours off per regulations, and personally I think this is very fair considering both my kids are school age and we don’t max her hours. But even so this schedule does cause disagreements. Lately we’ve been scheduling her Saturday during the day only, because we’re in the middle of a big project and need daytime hours to do it. That works better for her. Frankly it might be better for us for dates anyway, once we get back to that, since we’re not so worn out during the day and could go hiking and other fun things. But that said I fully reserve the right to schedule our au pair for weekends. I know she’s entitled to go out sometimes, but we are too!

exapair April 3, 2014 at 6:47 am

Then I’m surprised AP has issues with hours that were talked over and over before you’ve matched. I wouldn’t want to have a schedule that includes 3/4 of all possible Saturdays :-) but if someone knows it and agrees to it then later on they should just suck it up I guess.

Host Mom in the City April 3, 2014 at 8:08 am

I think I’ve been on the “if you agree to it before matching, you should suck it up” side of things in the past, but as I talk to more and more au pairs about the matching process, they really have no idea what they’re agreeing to. They’re excited to match, they feel pressured by the agency, they have to sit back and wait for a host family to contact THEM so when they get one it’s not so much of a true choice as we’d like to believe as host parents, all the host parents seem so nice on Skype, the orientation they went to featured au pairs telling only the positive things, etc. It also all happens so fast – within a week or two of first contact (for most host parents – we take longer and I know others here do too), you’re agreeing to live with someone for a year!

So I’m sure most of them agree to things during that period that when they get here, they find out don’t really work for them. While I agree that au pairs are adults and need to take some responsibility for their own happiness, I think we should be a little more understanding with the “I told you this when we matched, so why are you complaining now?” Just a thought I’ve had recently.

Should be working April 3, 2014 at 9:24 am

I agree, they have no idea what they are getting into and cannot see past the excitement of arrival. After 3 months it is a different story. I don’t blame them. The agencies hype them up with dreamy ads and stories and the everyday is not such an exciting advertisement. I always say “it’s just regular life in a new situation, and then it’s not new anymore.”

German Au-Pair April 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Sorry but that might have been the case 10 years ago. Now all the information is out there. The entire process is internet-based. There are forums in their native language, TONS of FB group, the big agencies have their own forums (at leats in Germany they do, but I imagine every big language has at least one). There are hundreds of blogs in many different languages. I’m not saying the process is not exciting and overwhelming but you have choices to get your facts, get opinion and hear from others.
When a family tells you, you work 3 Saturdays and you are 18 years old, you should be able to figure out that you won’t have 3 Saturdays for yourself. I personally would probably not have done that, or at least it would have been a big factor in deciding (meaning if everything else is perfect you can probably overlook it but if there’s something else you’re not sure about, it will help you decide against).
My HP didn’t spend a lot of time with me, not a lot of family time in general and sometimes I hated that and envied others for their close relationship with their HP. But they’d said that in there letter, they were really upfront about everything (mostly…) so I chose this situation.

The only thing that I imagine is something you can’t really picture before is the car situation. I would not have matched without at least regular access to a car because I had had my own car since I was 18 and knew how dependent you get. I imagine that someone who got by without a car completely might be surprised how hard it is to live without any access to one in a suburban area in the US. You think you get everywhere without one and might be surprised to see that more often than not you drive ten minutes to ne nearest supermarket. I can imagine that this is such a difference that not everyone can forsee what it means, but working on a Saturday is working on a Saturday everywhere.

Emerald City HM April 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

This is a very good point.

I’m not sure what to check for in a personality to see if an au pair has done his/her research. I’m not sure if it’s a motivation thing, a maturity thing, a way they were raised thing, or a personality thing. From personal experience, my 19 year old son has grown up in this internet era, in school they have classes about doing research online, but yet, he’s TERRIBLE google searching. Like no joke. He just cannot seem to find the information that I can. It astounds me.

exaupair April 3, 2014 at 1:52 pm

If I had a teen who wanted to become an AP for a year I would at least assume they did not understand fully what it would be like, teens and people in their early 20s see the world through rose colored glasses after all :)
I’d sit them down, read the contract together and ask over and over if they understood all the rules. If the contract stated they’d be on duty 3 weekends a month I’d make sure they know it’s 3 weekends working(not just sitting in the house making sure the kids didn’t sneak out), and how would it affect their potential social life.
I would like them to make an adult decision – you have your contract, you know what’s in it, you agree to it in the first place, so live up to it. Good lesson for the future.

German Au-Pair April 3, 2014 at 7:17 pm

ECHM, you could ask what they think their AP life will be like, what they think the difficulties are. What difficulties they’ve faced dealing with children before. My HD asked that on the phone and I was really straight forward and told him that I’ve dealt with children who acted HORRIBLY in situation X and Y and he asked me how I’d handle the situation.
You ask if she knows any other au pairs, maybe even only from the internet, how she’s prepared for matching, if her agency offers any forums, if she’s read any blogs. That way you’d get a decent impression on how much research she’s done, what her expectations with the kids are and maybe even give her some input on what kind of information is out there. The forum I was active in had former au pairs but mostly ones who were matching too, so not only did you go though it together, you got to have a feeling for what kind of families are out there and how you’d react to them, what the difficulties on the phone could be and so on. You learn a lot about your own priorities when you watch others.
You could ask if she knows any other au pairs who went to rematch or had difficult situations.

I could have answered all those questions, but funny enough, I couldn’t have told you what I expected. It actually one of my interview questions, and I just said that I’m not expecting anything because I’m trying to be open. I could not have pictured a typical work day and I would have sucked when it comes to the “what would you do, if…” questions because I think those depends so much on the relationship with the kids, their age, the situation and circumstances. I liked that my HP didn’t ask those questions but asked me about previous situations that actually happened (about which I therefore had all the facts) and how I’d handled them.

exaupair April 3, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Now I see I was a bit too harsh saying they should suck it up, but the point is they know what to expect before their arrival. Host Parents don’t lie about how the life with their family looks like, what they need and it’s down to the potential AP to decide weather they can and will provide what’s needed. If not they are free not to match and wait for another family.

I’m sure agencies pressure APs to make their minds up as soon as possible, but in reality no one forces them to.
APs pay agency fees too, and as soon as they pay they become customers (equal to host families), who have the right to expect their moneys worth. Therefor they can, and should take their time because ultimately the final product they buy is a successful year – and no one in their right mind would pay over 2000$ or so altogether to spend the whole year of their lives resentful and unhappy. Agencies can “encourage” but never force them to settle, even is matching takes months, unless they really want a bunch of unsatisfied customers, whose complaints will only discourage other potential APs.

By the way I thought APs have at least some families to view and choose between, I didn’t know that the only party that can “window shop” is HF. Is it always like that, or does it depend on the agency?

AussiePair April 3, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Not sure with other agencies, but with Cultural Care in particular APs get only one family at a time no matter the circumstances (it actually surprises me how few host families know about this).

I’m also not sure about other countries, but at least when I was matching there was kind of this scare tactic that seemed to be employed, that if you were too picky or took too long to decide you would end up without a family, and I’m sure a LOT of au pairs make the decision to match with a family a lot faster than they maybe should because of this fear of not getting a family at all.

Should be working April 3, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Anyone know what % of au pair candidates do NOT ever get a HF?

AussiePair April 3, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Probably less than au pairs think/are led to believe.

German Au-Pair April 3, 2014 at 7:28 pm

We were told (3 years back) that only 2% don’t find a HF.
But I have actually read from a couple of au pairs who were kicked out of the agency for not matching fast enough or at least threatened to be kicked out.

No agency allows the AP to look for the HP. We get 2-3 max in our account but we cannot look for them in the database. We wait until we are selected.

Also, honestly, APs are not treated like customers but like the product and I really believe we are. HP pay the big money to them and expect a product that is working. APs pay so little money compared to that and there are so many of us. Agencies are interested in finding the right match because it satisfies the HP. APs are coached for video, letter and interview so we can please the customers (and if it doesn’t work out there are other reasons at play of course.) We get told things like “even though you don’t want to do special needs, you really should because it increases your chance to find a family” -and it also increases the pool of potential APs.)
I’m not saying this in a resentful way, BTW. I never had any problems with the agency and once I’d asserted that I’m actually very sure about what I want and what not, they left me alone (I did have a ton of hours though). But I think realistically, the agencies could care less about whether or not we are happy or not (singal indivduals excluded). They are companies and try to deliver a product to the HPs. Why else would families who treat their APs horribly not get kicked out of the program? Plus, the AP has already paid to the agency, what do they care if she flies home then? The HF are the ones who can take their money elsewhere, not the APs after matching.

TexasHM April 2, 2014 at 8:55 pm

I am SO GLAD to see this post. Thank you CV for framing what I was clumsily trying to ask in a previous open thread.

I was asking how people make the AP program make sense with school age kids and a lot of my struggle was if you eliminate weekend date nights its really hard to justify a weekday part time AP. My husband and I both work full time so we want to see the kids at the end of the workday and spend time with them on the weekends (not that other HPs aren’t doing that) so for us, date times or the hours that would make the AP program justifiable once they are school age are things like Saturday am sports shuttling (we have 3 kids) and date nights. My husband and I used to play coed softball together and that would be awesome to get going again but those games are on sunday afternoons.

Weeknights we are too tired to go out and would miss seeing the kids so that leaves weekends. I was passive-aggressively asking before if it makes sense to keep an AP into the school years because I was thinking to myself that I don’t want an unhappy AP and I definitely don’t want to have to justify playing softball with my husband or weekend date nights or the hour in the morning to get the kids off to school so I can (dreaming) workout or prep for my work day.

At the same time, I want the AP to maximize their experience and would definitely be willing to be flexible (not schedule every Saturday, move things around to help them travel, etc) but it seems that some APs have an aversion to the idea as a whole and I would never be able to tolerate that. In fairness, none of our 3 APs have been drinkers and didn’t particularly like clubbing so on the rare occasions we asked for a Sat night it was a non-issue, they were done at or before 10pm anyway and we trusted them to have friends over to “help” or watch a movie or whatever as long as the kids came first.

Ironically our first two APs liked the Mon-Fri but would still often mention that everyone else was nights and weekends so they couldn’t hang out much. A studious AP would probably much prefer a nights and weekends schedule so I think it all depends. I do tend to agree with others on here though that the idea that we schedule weekends is unfair is hard to swallow. Especially when we will likely be using FAR less than the 45 hours I would consider that to be counting those weekend hours as overtime and even if we weren’t, didn’t they accept the terms before coming?

I guess this would be another “dare to match” bullet point for us once all of mine are in school. :)

TexasHM April 2, 2014 at 8:58 pm

PS because I can’t help myself – I think it maps to goals. If your goals here are to go clubbing on Saturday nights and snag a boyfriend then you are likely going to have much angst over this schedule. If however, you are here to work toward a degree or certification and have a serious boyfriend back home I doubt you are going to fight as hard on this but I could be wrong!

CADinAUS April 2, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Personally I have picked families who didn’t need me on the weekends because I enjoy being able to have two straight days to do explore. That being said I currently work monday to friday 50 hours a week. I’m more of a nanny yes. I am also more than happy to do babysitting for my family, or other families if it is agreed in advance. I prefer babysitting for other families because I am paid to do whereas I am contracted to babysit occasionally for my family. This weekend I have the children all weekend while the parents are away.

I can see both sides of the issue, au pairs want to play all weekend after a week at work no matter how man hours they have spent actually working and parents would like to do so too. Ultimately an aupair is there to help the host family. As long as you are ensuring that the aupairs know in advance about their hours and can be flexible occasionally. I do not think they should be complaining, they picked you too!

Dorsi April 3, 2014 at 11:06 am

This is why we don’t let Au Pairs babysit for other families (other than in the US it is against the rules) — You ARE being paid when you take care of the kids for you own family. Because it is part of the job that pays your stipend, room and board, cell phone, car insurance (at least in my home).

WarmStateMomma April 3, 2014 at 11:34 am

Good point! I will keep this in mind going forward in case a request is ever made.

German Au-Pair April 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Well if you use up all your 45 hours and still need babysitting (even though technicaly it’s against the rules) you’d pay your AP extra, too, wouldn’t you? If she works 50 hours and does extra babysitting on the weekends, of course she preferes babysitting for others.

Emerald City HM April 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm

I wouldn’t. I pay a different babysitter if we need more than the 45 hours or 10 hours in a day. We don’t offer those hours to our au pair and we are very clear on that when matching too, that we will not break the program rules. So the au pair that is hoping to pick up extra money should not match with us.

WarmStateMomma April 3, 2014 at 1:43 pm

We stay under 45 hours, but I agree that hours in excess of 45 should be paid for in excess of the stipend.

I know a lot of HMs would never, ever break the 45-hour rule, but I could see where this might come up on a family vacation. HPs and AP works M-F; family travels on Saturday. AP helps with HKs on the plane, at the airport, etc. (It would be hugely awkward anyway for her to sit there reading a magazine while HPs are struggling with squirming kids in tiny airplane seats.) She’s going to exceed her 45 hours but is probably not being exploited if the trip is one she wants to take. I wouldn’t feel guilty, but I would pay for the extra time.

AussiePair April 3, 2014 at 1:47 pm

There’s also the case of a HP commute, a lot of Americans work at least an 8-5 day 5 days a week, add in a commute and it’s near impossible to stick to a 45 hour week, when you have infants/toddlers etc.

Emerald City HM April 3, 2014 at 1:52 pm

So we might be an exception to this. We do not pay our au pairs for travel days and we do not count it in their hours for the week. Buuuuuuuuut (a very huge but here) my husband and I are very seasoned travelers (as is our oldest daughter) and our au pairs are not. So honestly, we really don’t expect much from our au pairs on the travel days.

We count it as any other family outing that happens on a weekend. they are there, we do not expect them to work, and essentially being there is optional (as we have don’t usually require an au pair to travel with us even if she does end up working part of the time or even 45 hours).

Taking a Computer Lunch April 3, 2014 at 4:06 pm

WarmStateMomma – we once flew Southwest and had an AP who decided she didn’t want to sit with us, because she didn’t want to work during the flight. She was beautiful, and several guys hit on her during the flight. After that, she ALWAYS put up with being with our kids! Nowadays we make it clear that the AP is to help with The Camel during the flight. HD, the AP, and I rotate seats, and everyone helps her get on and off the plane (even child #2).

WarmStateMomma April 3, 2014 at 4:21 pm

TACL – That’s a funny story!! I guess my feelings about whether the travel was “work” would also be colored by the trip. An AP traveling with us is not getting the same “upside” on a trip to visit my in-laws as she would if we were taking a vacation somewhere special.

AussiePair April 3, 2014 at 4:23 pm

I think it’s fair to count hours depending on what the au pair does, if you expect nothing count nothing, otherwise I think counting half hours are more than enough, after all the au pair won’t be 100% on the entire time. I travelled internationally with a family ( we had one seat apart from the others which we rotated) and obviously all that time wasn’t counted as “on” hours. The majority of the time while I was away with them however I spent with them, other than a few date nights, real estate visits and shopping trips, so we mutually agreed to not count hours and I would just pitch in as needed in the time I wasn’t alone with children.

OpinionatedHM April 3, 2014 at 5:37 pm

There have been a few posts on the over 45 hours question and a few on traveling with the AP and what counts as working or not. We never go over 45 hours. If we want our AP to help on travel days, we will put those hours into her schedule. If she is not scheduled, I would be fine with her reading a magazine while I am dealing with the kids. I would also expect her to be fine if I am reading a magazine when she is “on duty” with the kids. That said, I would usually have her sitting in a separate row from us if she is not scheduled, and I would put myself across the aisle if she is scheduled. That separation makes it easier to feel “off duty” while on the plane. My husband and I make the same trade off when we travel with the kids. Usually the deal is that the “off duty” person helps with the bathroom runs, either keeping an eye on the kid who is left or taking the kid who needs to go. For me, that falls into the “family member” or “roommate helping out” category.

HRHM April 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm

We don’t hire our AP for additional hours to babysit either. We have a cadre of teenagers, gymnastics coaches and others who we could call on if needed. We RARELY use the 45 to begin with but wouldn’t go over for cash. And no, she’s not allowed to earn income babysitting, dog sitting, waitressing, etc. It’s against the law.

Should be working April 3, 2014 at 6:15 pm

About the dogwalking in my situation (recently discussed at length on the open thread): I could imagine making an argument that it’s not the same kind of violation of the rules as when my AP would work for another family for money.

Reasoning: We are allowed to pay APs more than $200/week. We are also allowed to ask them to contribute to the household as a member of the family. 1 hr/day of dogwalking could (but I would never do this) be construed as a contribution as a member of the family. We don’t ask our AP to cook except occasionally simple kid food. She has no responsibilities outside her childcare and child-related responsibilities. When we have “family gardening day”, she does not have to be around or pitch in. She never takes out the garbage or helps get ready for holidays, nor empty the dishwasher if she isn’t on duty. I suppose we would have to say all this up front: Dog walking is your duty. And we wouldn’t do any of this. BUT in principle paying the AP extra is allowed, and in our arrangement she is allowed to choose whether or not to walk the dog. So if she chooses to walk the dog, we will choose to pay her. And she actually doesn’t even have to do it every day, sometimes she misses a day or two, so it’s not even totally obligatory. This is a tiny bit different than the babysitting for some other family or waitressing. It is not, however, in the spirit of the program.

Taking a Computer Lunch April 2, 2014 at 9:45 pm

We vary the Saturday times. Sometimes we have the AP take The Camel to her special Saturday morning class and then feed her lunch, which gives us time to do Saturday activities. Sometimes DH and I head into the city for a few hours in the middle of the day to go to a museum, see a mid-afternoon play performance, or go for a walk – without kids. Occasionally, we ask our AP to work a Saturday night. We book the AP’s schedule (usually) by the 20th of the month for the following month, but there are usually events circled on the calendar, so there are no surprises when it comes time to make the schedule. If the AP would like to head out of town with friends, all she has to do is ask – and as long as there isn’t an event circled on the calendar, we’re usually willing to accommodate.

I do tell my APs that it’s okay to invite friends over. I expect that my AP will not consume alcohol while she’s on duty (one never knows when The Camel needs an emergency lift to the hospital). Sometimes I return to a quiet activity – watching a movie or playing a boardgame – sometimes it’s a lively chat session. It depends on the personality of the AP whether our return is a signal to her to head out or to bed for the evening.

But an AP who pulls a long face or complains about working a Saturday shift when she’s working a 25-30 hour week will not get any sympathy – and a lot less flexibility – from me. (Now, unless I have my AP only work a half-day in the middle of the week – or give her a full day off, I do my best to schedule her for 5 hours or less at the weekend. I do my best to follow the spirit of the 1 1/2 days off, even when she has 6 1/2 hours off in the middle of most schooldays.

Aussiemum April 3, 2014 at 4:51 am

If I didn’t want weekend child care I could use long day care…

Host Mom in the City April 3, 2014 at 8:13 am

While brief, I think this is really a good point. As I said in my first post, the majority of the host parents I’ve spoken to spend more for the au pair program because the flexibility is worth it to them. If I could only have childcare 7am to 5pm on weekdays, I could save about $10,000 a year and just use before/after care (and have my house to myself). If there were no flexibility in hours, there would be no au pair program (or at least, very little demand).

And TACL makes a good point too – besides the few and far between jobs that really are only 25 hours a week total, your choice is really infants and toddlers for 9-hour days Monday to Friday, or just a few hours each weekday, but then hours used elsewhere.

London Mum April 3, 2014 at 5:14 am

We always put in our profile that we need 2 babysitting each week, one on a week night and one at the weekend. It’s very common here, au pairs expect it. Each week we have a chat to arrange our schedule, trying to accommodate each other’s requirements. Most au pairs have Friday off so they usually want to go out that night which suits us really well as we are often too tired on a Friday night. Once a month we swap an evening babysit for a half day Saturday afternoon so my husband and I can do something on our own. The au pair takes them swimming so they love it. This system works really well for all of us and there is no resentment. But then she only works 23 hours per week plus the babysitting so maybe that’s why she’s fine with it.

Peachtree Mom April 3, 2014 at 6:46 am

Our 6 yo daughter is in school all week sometimes late due to extra curricular activities. Euraupair states in the contract that the au pair must have and evening and subsequent day off sometime during the weekend with one full weekend per month.

I make it clear during the interview and matching process that we will use one of those working weekend days to the fullest. I have housecleaning, laundry and tons of stuff to do and yes I do like to take a nap. For our next aupair I am having it written into the contract that one time per month their days off can be during the week. I will make this clear in the matching process. I am flexible with them going out later and extra vacation days.

During the day I plan fun activities for them so my daughter is not longing for me. They are not here as college exchange students. But as someone states above I give advanced notice….if possible, try to honor any special requests they have and be flexible also.

Gianna April 3, 2014 at 8:12 pm

This is very interesting. I did not know that agencies allowed host families to modify the contract. Is this the agency going to re-write your contract or are you going to have a separate contract with your aupair. How did you work that out ? Did you ask your LCC or did you work with your corporate office ?

AussiePair April 3, 2014 at 8:30 pm

I think she means the personal contract between the HF and AP, as what she’s saying fits within program rules and wouldn’t need to be cleared by the agency or state department.

AussiePair April 3, 2014 at 8:32 pm

I.e. One and a half consecutive days off per week with one weekend (from Friday night – Monday morning) a month. Nowhere does it say the 1.5 consecutive days off need to be on a weekend

HRHM April 3, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Actually, I remember one of the agencies stating that the 1.5 days had to be consecutive, but not all do. CC, APC and APIA don’t. Next week my AP has Tuesday afternoon and all day Sunday off (needed a full day Saturday coverage for a work event…)

AussiePair April 3, 2014 at 9:49 pm

I’m with CC and always heard the 1.5 consecutive rule, maybe it’s just changed recently?

Either way, it wouldn’t really bother me, but this is just the regulations I’m used to.

hOstCDmom April 3, 2014 at 9:56 pm

CCAP’s contract and policy states that the 1.5 days have to be consecutive. It is a frustration for us.

TexasHM April 3, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Interexchange and APIA it does not need to be consecutive – just FYI.

hOstCDmom April 3, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Thx. We are a bro-pair family at present, so APIA didn’t work for us. Although I understand Interexchange has male APs – ?

Should be working April 3, 2014 at 11:57 pm

This has come up before on here. The agencies differ in their interpretations of federal rules that APs get 1.5 days off. CCAP has taken it to mean consecutive 1.5 for at least 5 years, when we started.

TexasHM April 4, 2014 at 7:45 am

Yes interexchange does have male APs. APIA probably never will because they used to but got sued when they brought a child molester over. Their response? They counter sued the family saying they should have known and should have watched their AP closer.

HRHM April 4, 2014 at 10:16 am

I’ve been with CC for 6 of my 7 APs and never heard that they required the days to be consecutive (never read the fine print on the contract either apparently!) But I’m with them now and DON’T follow that rule to the T and no one has said boo – not AP (maybe they aren’t aware, maybe they don’t care) or LCC. Hmm…

hOstCDmom April 4, 2014 at 10:49 am

It is a CCAP rule and in the Contract, but I think the LCCs take a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell approach on this point. Similarly, I would guess that happy APs aren’t going to rock the boat over this issue.

Should be working April 4, 2014 at 10:56 am

Our LCC has reminded us each time that it is a consecutive 1.5 days off. It does make Saturday nights a problem. If we are out on a Saturday night I give the AP Monday morning off and handle breakfast-lunch prep and school dropoff myself. Which in turn has led to APs whining that I “don’t really need them” so why can’t they sleep in? Which leads to me pointing out that then I would be one step closer to not having an AP at all. Recently I started exercising early morning for my own sake but it has made the AP paradoxically more content with the morning shift because she is needed and fully responsible for breakfast-lunch on her own.

Momma Gadget April 4, 2014 at 12:20 pm

hOstCDmom- we are on our second interexchange Bro-pair, one awesome, one OK. They had quite a few candidates. Male APs seem to be a growing phenomenon in our area.There are 3 male au pairs in our cluster now ( 2 have been invited to extend).

Dorsi April 3, 2014 at 11:10 am

I work a lot of weekend days and evenings. This is one of the many reasons we have an Au Pair. I have no issues with asking the Au Pair to work weekends, in the contraints of the program rules. I really haven’t had pushback, either.

I don’t know why there is the expectation that young adults go out two nights per weekend, every weekend. I don’t want to sound curmudgeonly, but I don’t think I have ever had a time in my life where I was going out with friends 8-10 nights per month. I neither had the time or the money or the inclination. It is fine if you do and don’t have other responsibilities, however it should not be considered a human right.

Southern HM April 3, 2014 at 3:54 pm


When our kids were small we used all 45 hours M-F, but once the youngest was in preschool, and now that all 3 are actually in school, we have “extra hours” and use them regularly on the weekends (affecting 1-2 weekends per month). Haven’t had any pushback really. We have had au pairs that went out every single Friday and Saturday (that they weren’t working), but we have also had au pairs that didn’t, who’d go out only once a month or so on a Saturday night and regularly just stayed in, even if they didn’t have to work.

Brit AP Abroad April 4, 2014 at 6:12 pm

I agree Dorsi – I really don’t feel the need to part every Saturday. I think all Au Pairs should really think about what they are signing up for – if the HF wants to Saturday Nights a month, that’s the contract they are signing and not one from another Host Family.
From an AP point of view, I do get frustrated working weekends, as it makes it harder to meet up with friends and travel places together. However, I don’t feel I have the right to complain as this is what I signed up for, so I suck it up and get on with it.

OpinionatedHM April 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm

I think there’s a huge difference in the concept of “weekends” among HP’s and AP’s who have worked shift work, retail, tourism, restaurant jobs, etc., and those who have always had a traditional weekdays 8-5 schedule.

I used to work 12 hour shifts with an alternating day/night schedule in an industry that runs 24/7 regardless of holiday or weather. I think any night of the week that I am not scheduled to work is a great night to go out. I can’t understand this idea that Saturday is the only “fun” night to go out with friends. And I truly have no sympathy for any AP who complains about her schedule if it stays within the program rules. Unless your host family promised you no weekend hours, you know what you signed up for when you took the job. Embrace the freedom you have within your schedule instead of focusing on the few hours a week you are scheduled and missing something.

Our AP’s are usually scheduled until 8:00pm weeknights and they are always scheduled for one weekend day or night. I am always clear with the AP during the interview process that we consider all days and hours to be fair game for scheduling as long as we stay within the rules of the program, no more than 45hr per week 10hr per day and not scheduled a consecutive 36hr per week or 48hr weekend per month.

When I was AP age, I was going out 5 nights a week, and they weren’t all Saturdays! ;-) As an 18-24 year old, nothing started until 10:30 at night anyway, and it usually didn’t finish until 2am. Now that I am well past that age group, I find that nothing for the over 30 set really goes past 11pm anymore, and most things start winding down around 9-10pm – that leaves plenty of time for an AP to still get out and meet her friends at the clubs/bars/etc. We do live 15 minutes from downtown, so it might be more of an inconvenience for an AP with a 30-45 minute commute to the party, but I still have an issue with someone complaining about it.

I have only had push back from one AP on weekend scheduling and I told her she was welcome to find a family that does not schedule weekends, but we do. If you don’t like your job, go find another one that you like better. We always try to accommodate any advance notice requests, like concerts or special events. We also keep a huge annual calendar in the kitchen which gets marked with every vacation, special occasion, and social/school/work commitment so that it is very clear what days are open and which are not.

I wish I was organized enough to do month ahead scheduling like TACL but alas, we are a week to week schedule family. I will adjust the schedule to accommodate an AP’s plans whenever possible, but there will be weekend hours!
And HRHM, thanks for pointing out the inconsistency of AP’s who complain about working while the HP’s take a little personal time at home. This is such a pet peeve of mine. AP’s feel free to paint their nails and Skype with friends while off duty, but somehow think that HP’s don’t have the right to do the same??

And to Anonymous who said that choosing to have kids means giving up a life outside of children and work, yikes. I don’t see children that way… My children deserve a full and balanced life and so do I. The best way to make sure they will do that is to show them how by doing it myself.

And to everyone who thinks its impossible to watch a kid when the parent is at home, it can be done. When the AP is in charge, she’s the boss of the kids, not me! If a kid comes in and tries to talk with me, I tell her the AP is in charge, it really is that simple.

Dorsi April 4, 2014 at 12:32 am

This is kind of what I was trying to say, only SO.MUCH.BETTER.

Peachtree Mom April 3, 2014 at 8:31 pm

For Gianni, I went through our LCC who then took up with the corporate office. We have been a client for over 3 years. My husband will be gone for an extended period for work and I take call at the hospital for a 24 hour stretch once per month. I have someone to help out after the “10 hour time limit” is done. But I need those 10 hours on both Saturday and Sunday for one weekend per month. The aupair has to agree on it and we will disclose it during our next match this summer. Considering the whole situation, I really do not think it is much to ask.

spanishaupair April 4, 2014 at 7:26 am

I think if you disclose it when matching should be no problem, yeah probably some candidates will refuse it, but them they are not the right ones, but you will find the one. If you keep with rules having day off during week is handy sometimes
I work lots of times at weekends for my hm schedule, most of my friends think im mad for it but indeed enjoy having that day(s) off in the week to have a break of kids and do the things you cant do during weekends because places are crowded or close,

Gianna April 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Thanks for this story – I think it is terrific that you were able to negotiate that. Your agency must have a great deal of respect for you as a host family and that is nice to hear.

spanishaupair April 4, 2014 at 2:09 pm

I’m not an aupair in USA so there is no agencies and aupair-HF’s work more or less as they like, there is kind of regulation about hours and days off but families finish doing as they please, i was lucky they usually stick to the 35 hours, 2 days off week and if work more probably will work less the week after. And yes work very often weekends and never complained about it, i prefer it and the other “perks” they give mainly that they are flexible back too, i dont get phone, car (i dont drive), or anything like that

exaupair April 4, 2014 at 7:36 pm

There are agencies in Europe too, but as I didn’t sign up with any I have no idea what the rules are – possibly the same as in US, except the 45hrs week maybe.
Not having to go with an agency is in my opinion a huge bonus. You’re free to negotiate anything you would like to gain from this experience, and there’s no one above you to dictate the rules. I choose to ditch agencies because being left on my own I knew it was kind of my game with my rules, instead of someone coaching me what to tell Host Families and what to ask them for. Another good thing that for me makes au pair websites superior to agencies is the fact that sometimes your stipend can be negotiable, it’s all down to mutual agreement.

exaupair April 4, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Sorry, I guess Stipend is only for the US, I should probably say pocket money!

Momma Gadget April 7, 2014 at 10:00 am

exap- flying without an agency is not without risk. It all depends on if both sides stick to the agreement. I have seen countless posts from APs ( sans agency) where the HF completely disregards the agreed upon hours, responsibilities , and even pay once the AP arrives.
At least the agencies do afford some protection (abet imperfect).

Repeataupair April 7, 2014 at 9:28 am

I work Saturday or Friday evening three times a month usually + almost every Wednesday evening. I knew it before coming, the only thing is sometime it is kind of last minute (I knew what was my weekend off of March 10 days before, it is too short notice to be able to plan a trip). Working in the evening does not bother me as I don’t like clubbing but my friends do so I stay busy while they go downtown.
I knew it before coming and I am allowed to have friends over during that time so sometimes one come to watch a movie or something.

exaupair April 7, 2014 at 10:41 am

Momma Gadget@ I’m not saying Agencies are bad, they are a must in the US, and as for Europe, you’re right – they are kind of safety net for potential APs who want/need some assistance once they arrive into foreign country. Every person needs to decide ont heir own weather to go with an agency or on their own.
I’ve decided no to because:
1) I’m a smoker so I believe not many agencies would even accept my application seeing me as “unmatchable”, and submitting my profile on a website I just ticked the box about smoking and looked only for parents who smoke too or would accept smokers.
2) Before I arrived I didn’t have solid childcare experience. My only “asset” was the fact I really do love being around children and I click with most of them. As dodgy as it sounds, but this was exactly what I’ve put in my application – I said I would love to have a big family on my own one day and as for now I would like to practice on somebody else’s kids. NO agency would have accepted that!
3) You can look through HFs profiles, instead of waiting for someone to contact you! And even when few host parents adds you to their list your profile is still visible to others :-)
4) You can negotiate your earnings – withing a reason obviously, but it’s possible.
5) You can take your time matching, no one will tell you do match withing a month or so.
6) If the family turns out to be dishonest you can always leave without having to worry about loosing your agency fee, or simple look for another family while still in the house. You can basically pack and drive off without a notice (harsh, i know) if someone mistreats you. Yes, there has been cases where the AP was told to leave within an hour and left on the driveway with nowhere to go. But said that, its always a two way street, not many people would have done it knowing that their AP could have done the same leaving them without childcare.
I addition to no.6: I have been probably more fortunate than some of the APs coming to England, if anyone tried to cheat on me I had means to take some steps, and I could have easily moved out to a rented flat or even to my boyfriends house within two days. For that reason only, if anyone can afford only to bring very little money just to get by before the first pay out – they should certainly go with an agency, that, if not fully protect, will at least prevent any dishonest family to kick you out without notice.

Host Mom in the City April 7, 2014 at 10:47 am

I don’t know enough to comment on agency versus no agency, and it sounds like you’ve thought things through. Somewhat a tangent, but I do want to say that as someone who has recently been thinking about the difference between just getting a live-in nanny and getting an au pair, one of the big reasons I’m still thinking an au pair is better is because of the protection and support of the agency for both our family and our au pair. That seems to me to be the one thing that would be hugely different if we went the live-in nanny path instead, since the total cost to us would be about the same.

exaupair April 7, 2014 at 11:03 am

I wouldn’t want to discourage any AP to go with an agency, it’s safer, especially for a very young people who are going abroad for the first time. They give some support at the very beginning, although I have no idea if they provide assistance from LCC as they do in US.
Maybe websites are for people who value some independence (both Host Parents and APs). And saying this I don’t mean cheating and breaking the rules from the very beginning, what I meant was some margin for negotiation. 99% of the HFs on those websites are genuine and would expect the same from their APs, although more lax rules on websites result in some bizarre statements in both APs and HFs profiles, like for example looking for a “live-out au pair” whatever that means. :-)

exaupair April 7, 2014 at 10:50 am

Funny thing I’ve experienced while matching through aupair-world.net :
I’ve contacted one family of 5 from Scotland, who seemed great in their application, they got back to me saying I tick all their boxes because they were very laid back, they loved to party, they smoke and drink a lot therefor they wouldn’t want to match with a girl who’d feel uncomfortable with their lifestyle and household rules. They asked me to add them on facebook so that they could get to know me better, which I did, and….after that the mum got back to me saying she’s sorry, but looking at my photos I’ve uploaded over there she thinks I’m not enough of a party animal for them to be the best match…:-(

WarmStateMomma April 7, 2014 at 11:55 am

I can’t imagine being an AP with that family would be a great experience.

exaupair April 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Apart from being heavy drinkers and chain smokers they seemed really nice, warm and bonded family. They had 3 kids, all of them older (not toddlers), they posted plenty of photos of them together,and their location (tiny village in scotland) sounded great for me too. I felt like that they would have been a good match.

TexasHM April 7, 2014 at 11:07 am

WOW. I would say you dodged a bullet on that one! What in the world?!

exaupair April 7, 2014 at 12:03 pm

I actually felt positive about them, they dumped me. Although till today I don’t regret keeping my facebook page fairly civil. They were this one in a million Family who would like someone crazy, but 99.9% of Host Parents would not want someone who only posts photos of them half naked or downing shots at a party.
Plus I would never “change” my facebook page in order to attract more families or one specific family.

Momma Gadget April 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm

exaupair- please don’t be offended, But I think you are incredibly Naive to what this family was looking for if they felt you were not wild enough… Much as I was at you age when I was navigating chat rooms on the hot new site “AOL” ( sorry I am really showing my age). I was mighty shocked to find out that ” watersports” was not for swimming enthusiast, and ” Dog Lovers” was not for people who are concerned about the welfare of canines… be thankful you were “dumped” (:-))

exaupair April 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm

MG, it’s ok I don’t feel offended :–), just for you to know, I knew exactly what I was looking for and thankfully I found it with another family. The party family found someone suiting them too, because they suspended their availability soon after.

anna former au pair June 17, 2014 at 6:48 am

Onekligen thing noone has brought up regarding ap’s going out on saturday nights yet is how this relates to curfew times for ap’s.

I had a 10 hour prior to next days work curfew, but no curfew when free the next day. Since I often starten at 7 or 7.30, this really limited my ability to meet friends on weekends, especially Since I did’t get of work earlier than 6 or 7 in the evening. I did have time of during the day, but usually 2 or 3 hours, so not really a lot of time to meet others either.

I did go into mediation with the hostfamily about this, and we decided to skip the curfew completely eventually and both me and HA were happy with the new arrangement.

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