Au Pair? Start here.

Welcome Au Pairs!

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It used to be that, if you’d have gotten to this blog and this page, it was probably because you or one of your friends knew one of my Au Pairs. Now, though, the blog has gotten popular enough that you au pairs are finding it on your own. Welcome!

Although this blog was really started for Host Moms and Dads, it has evolved. We’ve begun to include posts about topics raised by au pairs when these issues are relevant to host parents. And, we enjoy the participation of au pairs in the comments too. Please keep in mind, though, that this is mainly a resource for Host Parents. In contrast to you au pairs, who have country-based sites, Facebook groups, and MySpace pages, Host Parents have had, well, zilch. This blog is pretty much “the cluster meeting for Host Parents”.

We could also use some expert Au Pair input. I want to know what topics you wish Host Moms and Dads would think about. And, we’d like your opinions on a variety of AP-HM topics.

The point here is to figure out the ‘best practices’ of Host Moms & Dads so that we can have great relationships with our Au Pairs.  This can benefit you, because if you can have a great relationship with your host parent(s) you can make your adventure as an au pair even better!

I think the best way for me and other Host Moms & Dads to learn how to be better at the whole business of having an Au Pair is for us to be able to see things not only from our perspective, but also from the perspective of Au Pairs.

And that’s where you come in. If I post a “Question to Au Pairs” post– add your comments! If I send out an email asking for advice, send me your opinion!

Please join in the comments on each of the posts… making sure to keep in mind the guidelines for commenting that are listed on the “First Visit?” page.

JUST BE SURE to protect your privacy, your Host Family’s privacy, your Counselor’s privacy, and your friends’ privacy by not revealing too many specific details.

Thanks for your comments– email me at Mom@AuPairMom.com.

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{ 411 comments… read them below or add one }

Marguerite July 22, 2008 at 5:59 pm

I am so glad I found this website. I am a counselor who wants to share a great idea I got from one of my host families. They leave a camera at home with their aupairs with instructions to take candid pictures of their kids whenever the children are doing something particularly cute or fun.
This way the parents get to see some of those special moments and the aupair and the parents bond via these shared moments
Love your website. Marguerite

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Carolina Ortega March 8, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Dear Reader,
I would like to speak a little about me and I hope you like it.
My name is Carolina Ortega Muñoz; I’m from Colombia; I’m 27 years old and I’m agrozootecnista, my carrier is about production of animals and grows, I chose this career because I love animals and I like to know all about them and how to they interact with the environment.
I consider myself a responsible, lover, peaceful, and educated person who loves kids, nature, animals and learn different new things every day.
I am homebody, watching movies and I like dancing because I think that makes people feel happier.
I like to practice sports like swimming or skating in roads, listening to music, meeting new people and talking about life, visiting different places and making a lot of friends.
I lived with my sister and my pets, they are beautiful and wonderful. My sister is a hairdresser, she is a hard worker, friendly and a good sister, I love her so much. The dogs are our babies, their names are Peguy and Lily Mia, Peguy is 9 years old and Lily Mia is 2 years old, they are funny and sported dogs and they bring happiness to our life.
My parents are living in Spain with my youngest brother; their names are Gerardo, Nora and Christian Gerardo. They moved there because they wanted to know other culture and because there are more work opportunities for them.
My father had worked in different things such as meal seller, independent worker and other jobs but now he is working in a vineyard like an operator.
My mother is hairdresser too and she works in a barbershop.
They are my love; I am a lucky person for having these parents, they thought me all the good values and things that I know and they have always treated me with a lot of love.
Christian Gerardo, is 18 years old, he is a good person, he likes to study about cars and motorcycles, in this moment he is studying English like I, and this is something that I really like; he learns quickly because he is a intelligent person.
We are a close family; at home we have had a lot of love. If somebody has a problem, our family always gets together and is disposed to offer some help to find a solution for any problem.
When someone wants to do new things we support her / him and help with all, for this reason my family encouraged and supported me in my decision to come to another country to meet new people and to interact with their culture.
Now I live in new York, I am a Au Pair in America, I am working with a very good family where I am taking care 2 children, Andy is 3 years old and Max is 10, they are wonderful, I love them but I have to do rematch because my host-mom is a nurse, she is a good person but her job does not permit to have a regular schedule, for this reason I did not have a regular time for going to study English, and this is very important for me, now I want to get a good family who gives me time for going to the school and tries me like part of the family.
Since I was 15 years old I stared to help and work with kids in a community work program led by the government. I got experience in managing recreation groups, we played different activities where kids learn about interesting ways to spend their free time such us painting, reading and studying about art, culture and other subjects.
When I was 19 years old I started to work taking care of children, I’m worked on it once a week
Later a good friend introduced me with Jeny an independent worker. She had a baby girl who was 1 year old, I helped her taking care of her baby while she was working, I fed the baby, changed her diapers, played with her, I put her baby to bed and sometimes I cared the baby when she was sick.
Valeria is 5 years old now and I helped her with her homework, I thought her English, I put her to bed and we played together, we always did funny things such as play with her toys or we go skating.
I love her and she loves me, we love each other so much.
The other baby that I have taken care since four years ego is Felipe and now he is 10 years old, he has a babysitter but I help him with Maths, English, Spanish and Systems homework, I played with him and his friends and we have a great time, I was usually with him on Saturday every week and when his babysitter cannot stay with him and if I had some free time.
I have worked with different kids, I have taken care of kids all ages, for example I help a good friend with her child, and she is only 6 months old, she is so pretty, my friend is going to university and I can help her, so I her fed her baby, I change her diaper and I keep an eye when she is sleeping.
I have gotten experience working with kids because I love kids and I like to stay with them, they teach me different things and I teach them with so much love and patience.
I am so patience with kids when they don’t understand something I don’t have problem to explain them again.
I like to tread kids like kids, I enter in their world and I try to understand their feelings and their dreams that’s why they trust me and I can help and encourage them.
I am in USA because I like to learn about other culture, how is their lifestyle and if I can work with kids and learn English, this is perfect for me because I gain experience, knowledge about children care and I meet new and different people, moreover I can improve my English.

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Jenny March 11, 2009 at 10:26 am

Hi, I’m an aupair now and I found this blog quite interesting, it’s funny to see “the other side”, to see what “our” moms think of us and the whole au pair situation. After matching with this family, and coming to live with them, I made sure to ask my host dad why they decided to have an au pair, it’s kind of weird to me to have a “stranger” living in your house, because that’s what an au pair is and trust your children to the person… and yeah, his answer satisfied me.
Anyway, after being here for almost 6 months I’m pretty sure I came to live with the RIGHT family, they are just everything I could wish for and more… I love my host family (I talk to my host mom a lot and I’d say she’s a good friend of mine here, if not the best) and I love my kids, I can see what a real family looks like here, the opposite of what I’d think back in my country reading stuff other au pairs would say. Also, they are good to me, good in a way that only my real family would be, always making sure that I have all I need, that I’m happy and comfortable. I’m really thankful for everything they’ve done to me and for welcoming me into their family and lives like that. And I make sure I’m returning all the attention and care. Still, even doing anything in my power to make their care worth for them I don’t think I’m doing enough… being so comfortable and made at home, makes you feel like you need to do something else. They never ask me to do any kind of house keeping, even the lightest kind, but I do some stuff when the baby is sleeping or the kids aren’t home. Well, what I’d like to know from you is: what is it that makes an au pair great? What are you looking for in an au pair? And having your someone in your house and making them feel part of your family, what would you expect back?
I just want to make her year as good as they’re making mine. And I’d really appreciate some help. Thank you, J.

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Georgiapeach December 11, 2012 at 2:39 am

What makes an AP great is the willingness to open her heart, mind and self to a HF. I hear many AP stories on how bad HFs are, not much positive.
As a first time AP mom, someone with your thoughtfulness is what I hope to receive from an AP. I do not want my AP to do any work, even washing children’s clothes. I do not mind doing the work. All I can hope for is that she will think of us as family as we do her. :)

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cvh March 12, 2009 at 12:26 am

Jen, I’ll create a post about your question and schedule it for early next week. Please feel welcome to chime in on any particular post, if you think an AP perspective can help out!

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Salome May 17, 2009 at 2:30 am

Hy moms! My name is Salomé, and I’m looking for a full-time live-in nanny position ASAP!
I enjoy being outdoors with children and visiting interesting places,
such as local parks, zoos, libraries and art/science museums.I treat
children with respect, patience, and I affectibly use discipline and
love them as they are.

I’m looking for a family who really wants to open their house and their
hearts to receive a new member on their family.

some of my responsibilities with the family are:
Planning calendar of activities for the week
Driving children to/from school, activities, playdates, parties
Creating outside playtime and games, read books, art projects, handcrafts, and trips,
Preparing healthy meals and light household,
Doing the kids’ laundry,
Runnig occasional errands (e.g.: Milk, birthday present, kids’ prescriptions).

Other features:
I’m a Spanish speaker, I’m able to teach Spanish as a second language. (elementary/high school)
I have a very good English,
I’m available full-time, even during the night.
I’m fairly flexible, if you need me earlier/later than usual because of your work or any othar activity.
I have an international driver’s license and clean driving record.
I consider myself trustworthy, thoughtful, hard working, loyal, patient and intelligent when I need to decide.

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Limpika June 1, 2009 at 9:57 am

Dear moms,dad, aupairs and whoever is on this website,

I am an aupair since one year and a half now but I start to get really fed up. Is it normal than my host family make me look after her friends’ kids for free and quite often? Is it normal she doesn’t tell me bye or hello just because she is in a bad mood? Is it normal she puts all her kids’s clothes in the wash just because it was messy in the cupboard? Also, am I allowed to refuse to change her bed’s clothes?

thanks for any reply.

I am sorry if I am not asking advice in the good page but i read through a lot and I don’t know where to do it. Please, I would like to change family but maybe all she does is right and i shouldnt be upset…

thank you for any reply

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Notimportant February 9, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Ok, housework is not permitted. You can refuse to do that. Taking care of friends children is not ok. You can tell her that it is just too much for you and it is not in your contract.

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Hayley March 22, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Hi Limpika. I would suggest speaking with your host Mom and letting her know that these things she is asking you to do are not in your contract.

I would highly suggest calling your LCC (Local Care Coordinator) and let her know about your situation. If you are not comfortable talking to your host mom about these things, then your LCC will talk her. I was an Au-Pair and my first family was just a terrible experience. I felt so bad for the kids and they really got attached to me as I was the only stable thing they had in their lives. Unfortunately their Mom literally treated me like a slave and was pretty much the rudest person I ever came across and I had no choice but to change to another family.

My next family was amazing and I ended up doing a second year with another amazing family. Please try to communicate with your LCC or Host Mom before things escalate like my situation did because I was afraid to say anything. Turns out my first family ended up being barred from the program as I was their 6th au-pair in 3 years and they continually had problems.
You are here to be a part of the family and enjoy your experience and not to be taken advantage of!

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hating being an aupair June 2, 2009 at 5:08 pm

if you are considering being an au-pair do not do it
to parents do not choose to have an au-pair because y ou cannot manage alone. I have found that families needing au-pairs are money valuing workahloics with no time or intention to put 200 percent into their children, to me this is disgusting. The parents will never be happy with your job and will expect you to work far to much. Also the parents will be to guilty to discipline there children correctly.
I believe in caring and love for children and I strongly believe that people who need to hire an au-pair generally have misunderstood the lifestyle of having children.
If anybody can argue with this point please do, I would like to understand.

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Anonymous November 30, 2009 at 4:02 am

Dear “hating being an au pair”

i’dont think there is anything wrong with you, i think that you need a break, i was an au pair in 2005 and that was the best time of my life, i lived with a family that is now well known around here but besides that i think you need to speak to your LCC, if you are not happy then you cant enjoy your american year (unless you are an american). just an example we were 18 au pairs from our country in a community of 40 000 people 10 of them always complaint of how they want to be treated, they also deserve happiness, off time, fun with the kids, holidays with the family exc. but the whole point of being an au pair was to get the american experience, travel, meet some people & get momories with a family that you will love. host parent get au pairs to look after their kids cause they have to work to get money to pay you. I would think if you’re not happy and you really feel you need to rematch then do it. Not all host parent are like yours, most of host parents will go out of the way to make you feel at home, when you sick they bring you soup or call the doctor, when you’re lonely they organise a surprise visit from a fellow au pair or on you’re birthday they take you to that fancy restaurant. remember not all host parents are dreams come true, i sure did have the american dream. you can have it too.

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bubblemau April 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Hi!

I think I know what are you up to! For me Au Pairing was all about learning foreign language and cultural exchange. I met a wonderful AP mom and the cutest baby in the world. But than again, not long after my arrival, I have realized I was used! Totally, this AP mom was so lost, chaotic and unorganized that I wonder HOW THIS PERSON SURVIVED ALONE FOR THE 40 YEARS? She gave me hairdryer filled with water. I turned it on and luckily I have turned it off immediately. We almost finished in a car accident a few times because she was talking on a phone. I was staying with no food. I accepted the fact we won’t have a TV since I myself am not fond of TV. She will be late all the time. I had to clean a whole bunch of mess around her.

But than again, I was so tolerant and she knew to appreciate that. She paid for my snowboard daily course, she paid for my resident permit, two plane tickets and bought me a 555 euros lap top in exchange for my additional work for her as an editor and a designer. Sometimes I would end up working 10 hours a day, cooking everyday, cleaning the whole house on weekend, beside day to day maintenance.

But now I am done. I am alone, living in a Black Forest, with no friends, other AP, car or finances to travel around because 260 euros per month is nothing.

She and her family love me. The 4 month old baby I take care of loves me too, and I love her too so much. It was very hard for me to bring the decision to leave her, a single mom, after 4 months, but I just cannot end up crying every night and waking up depressed. Beside that, I am 24 and I just got married. But I gave it a shot. She knew it, my husband came to visit for holidays.

Now I think it is time to go home, and I would not recommend Au Pairing to anybody older than 18.

My best!

Bubble

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NekoEmmi September 24, 2013 at 7:44 am

Hi, I know this post is old too, but I thought since I’m here reading it in 2013 that others may be too. I just wanted to share my thoughts… @ hating being an aupair, I agree that I’m not keen on those kinds of parents who work such long hours and have kids that seem to be raised by someone else, and some parents seem indifferent to their children even at times when they are not working, it makes me wonder why they chose to have children in the first place! I mean, everyone and every culture has their own way of doing things, but I was raised mostly by my mum at home, I think a healthy family needs a strong parent-child bond, and I have every intention of raising my children myself, and not paying someone else to do it, and especially not exploiting someone else to do it under unpleasant conditions for a pittance.

However, I think that it’s really sad that you had a terrible experience as an au pair… I personally hope that I can hire an au pair for my children in the future. Or at least, similar to the style of “au pair” that my best friend does in Paris, where they have a separate small “appartement” for her, which is within the same building as their home, and she pays them a little rent for it but she has her own space and privacy, can have friends around for parties without disturbing the family, etc., yet she is still treated as an extended family member for all other intents and purposes. I would prefer this because I don’t fancy having someone else living in my house all of the time, I would like my alone time too, and also it helps to separate the “on duty” and “off duty” time and gives the au pair more freedom when “off duty”.

Anyway I digress, the important point for me is that although in the future I plan to be a “mother” above work and all else, I still think that having an au pair is a great idea. I had a poor language education and never was able to go on a school exchange to a foreign country. It’s something I regret about my childhood and I think in an increasingly global world, it’s important for children to learn different languages and discover other cultures. I think there’s no better way to learn a language than to try to speak and play with a young person who is a native speaker, suddenly learning ceases to be a chore and instead becomes a fun game! Even if I have no need for a babysitter or an au pair, I think my children would be missing out on something fun and educational if I didn’t get one, if I can afford it. For a similar reason, I want to send my children to play school (nursery/kindergarten/whatever you call it where you are, haha), not because I wish to work during the day, but because it’s important for young children to make friends and gain the independence and social skills that they can’t really learn at home with mum. Plus, I’m sure I’ll appreciate the odd bit of “time off” in the future ;)

I would never expect the au pair to do any cleaning or ironing etc. except to clean up after themselves, the meaning of “au pair” in French actually means “equal to”, and that you should treat them as an equal or family member, and not like a servant. It sounds like the family you were with were a poor example of a host family and it’s a real shame. I know that although some people will take advantage of the fact that they can get an au pair to work long hours for basically a very low wage and board, this isn’t the norm, I like to think that most host families are of a similar mindset to me and are doing it because they want a great experience for their kids, and also to enjoy sharing their own culture and language with their au pair. Although I myself have been working as a babysitter for only a few weeks, I’m really attached to the children already and their parents are great. I am sure I’ll stay in touch with them for many years, even after I leave Paris… I’ve made a cultural exchange not just for my few years here, but for life :)

Anyway I hope I’ve managed to shed some light for you on why people who aren’t lazy parents or wanting to exploit cheap workers might want to hire an au pair, and why I would recommend to young people thinking about it that it’s worth trying! IMO it’s definitely better to have tried it, than to regret that you didn’t for the rest of your life. x

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Calif Mom June 2, 2009 at 6:35 pm

You might want to look at the posts from host parents about their au pairs that we did for Au Pair Appreciation Week. Point by point arguments abound on those pages.

It sounds like perhaps you have not seen the full breadth of parents who choose to host au pairs; parents who enjoy the cultural exchange and sharing leadership of their children with young women who are fabulous role models for living an adventurous and curious life.

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CV June 2, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Hi HBanAP– I think I can probably speak for most of the parents on this list by saying that you must be having a bad experience. I’m sure that there are some families like what you describe (just as there are some au pairs who are self-centered and here to play rather than care for kids) but that is not how MOST host families are.
Your comments also suggest that you have seen only a narrow view of American culture, or that you are interpreting what you see in a narrow way. For example, women who work for pay outside the home don’t do this because they are “money valuing workaholics”, and they don’t do it because they don’t care about their kids. If you are having a bad time with your current host family, speak with the host parents and / or speak with your LCC. This situation sounds bad for all involved, and you should do your part to try to make it better. If you look around this site, you’ll see lots of guidelines and advice for host parents that you can use to set your expectations, and that you can share with your host family. Your Au Pair year should be one where you grow as a responsible person– take charge of your situation and see what you can do.

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Miranda June 2, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Limpika- No, I don’t think any of those behaviors are normal. If your situation is really as bad as you say and you are acting in a responsible and respectful manner towards the family, but are still being treated this way in return, I would definitely switch families if possible.

Hating being an au pair- I think you are unfairly generalizing these families a lot. I CAN relate to what you are saying- I am a nanny (soon to be an au pair), and you basically just described the family that I nanny for. The parents work ridiculously long hours even though they don’t need to financially, and they clearly enjoy work more than being with their children. The lack of discipline in the house is crazy (you should hear how those kids scream at their parents, it’s unbelievable).

But this is NOT the norm for families with nannies or au pairs, especially not host moms who care enough to spend so much time on this website. You are clearly having a bad experience and maybe have stumbled across some parents who really shouldn’t have decided to have kids, but most parents who have au pairs are not monsters and are not bad parents.

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Calif Mom June 3, 2009 at 2:04 pm

CV — well said!

Limpika — no, not normal. Have you tried talking to her in a friendly way? To suffer in silence helps no one; certainly not you! This is something I have sometimes had to teach my APs — that even though I want her to be in charge after breakfast so we can get ready for work, saying Hi/Bye before trundling everyone out the door for the day is very important to us.

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Limpika June 3, 2009 at 6:54 pm

once i tried to start telling what went wrong but the dad directly said that i shouldnt complain there is much worse…. since i never said anything. she knows it’s not normal, i’m sure. I came back from holiday on monday and I could see that she did nothing at all and I don’t know why but she put most of the kids’ clothes back to the ironing whereas i did it before and I’m good at it… is it like a revenge? I know she didn’t want me to go on holiday :(

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CV June 3, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Just a thought for those who wonder why 80% of American moms work outside the home … from Katie Couric http://bit.ly/bnarb

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Calif Mom June 4, 2009 at 9:35 am

Well, Limpika, while there are much worse, there are also much better! You sound very sad to me. You should be having a year where you learn a lot about yourself and build skills that will help you make your way through adulthood. Not that everything will be rosy all the time, but that you can grow through the hard parts. It sounds to me like you feel isolated. I hope you have made some good AP friends who can help you figure out what to do next to fix this or find a new place. Have you tried to talk to your counselor? Maybe she can help you think this through.

This mom has laundry issues! I think we may have an iron someplace around the house. Certainly the kids’ clothes don’t require one. I feel good if they are sort of folded and put on the proper shelves/containers.

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Limpika June 8, 2009 at 4:45 am

I don’t have any counselor, I found this family through a website. I have no contract and no official papers saying that I’m working for them (we don’t need it in England). I am not happy with them, maybe sometimes I am but it’s stressful all the time. I don’t know how to tell them that I want to leave as in front of me they never act badly, and the kids like me a lot :( it’s hard.
also I’d like to stay in England until december as I need to pass exams but I would not be able to find another family without having any referees and no one want an aupair for only 6 months, it’s really rare.

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Katie April 4, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I know exactlyhow you feel. Was an au pair in the netherlands and was exactly how you described!

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Katie April 4, 2010 at 8:36 pm

by the way if your unhappy about your situation what I did is sat down with my host parents and discussed how I was feeling and found what was the best solution which was in the end me wanting to leave just tell them and dont be scared you have as much right to say how your feeling as they do

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IJC June 14, 2009 at 3:33 pm

I know how you feel, I worked for a horrible host family and it is so unbearably stressful working for and living with people like that 24/7.

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Brittany June 17, 2009 at 10:15 am

Hi everyone. I’m a nanny, but I am an American girl, living in The Netherlands. I also work for an American family, which is great. :) I enjoy my job SO much, but there are a few things I wanted to get advice on.

For example: The baby I watch is 7.5 months old. He does not fall asleep on his own, I still put him in the Baby Bjorn, as this is the quickest way to get him to fall asleep…but after I get back from my vacation in July, I will not be putting that contraption back on…he weighs around 22 pounds now and my back is just taking a beating from that. When I get home in the evenings, it just aches and aches. Also, he won’t take a bottle from me unless he is in the bjorn or the stroller, about to take a nap. His parents are concerned about this, but he should be able to fall asleep on his own by now. He does not have his own room (I believe they’re going to set that up by the time I get back in July) and he doesn’t sleep through the night, ever. What is frustrating for me, is that when he doesn’t sleep through the nights, I get here and I can kind of get the vibe that they think it’s my fault b/c of the length of his naps in the daytime. So, I’ve lessened the naps, and still, he does not sleep through the night, and he does not fall asleep by himself.

So, my host Mom asked me to make sure he doesn’t sleep longer than an hour and a half at a time, so I’ve done that this week, and still, no change. However, when he wakes up in the middle of the night, his mother will breastfeed him/feed him to get him to go back to sleep…and usually, since he doesn’t want much to do w/milk, he just wants to play, so they give him toys and let him play at 4am. Then, I’m the one who has to deal with a fussy baby who is tired, but can’t sleep. There’s just no rhyme or reason to it at all, except that I’m convinced the baby has realized how to manipulate his parents! He’s never had to fall asleep on his own, and I don’t want to start trying to get him used to that if his parents will just destroy what I’m trying to do, by doing the opposite. This little boy is very smart and such a cutie, we’re great friends and he trusts me 100% and he already knows that I have different rules then Mommy and Daddy, and he gets that. I love him very much, and get along with his parents great, but I’m feeling bad for them, and would like to offer any advice that I can, without sounding like, “I think you’re doing this all wrong, and I’m sick of it.” kind of thing.

Thanks in advance.

Brittany

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Ferniie July 9, 2009 at 10:57 am

I enjoyed so much reading through all these emails. I’m looking forward to my time spend in America, and reading all the Mom’s post really gave me a lot of info on how to be a better Au Pair !

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Ineke July 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Hey Brittany,

stumbled upon this site and as a dutch mom of 3 thought i’d respond to your question.
There is no other way than to talk to the parents.
i guess you know that too but simply don’t know how to handle it.
ask them somewhere midday. not during rush hours or when the baby is almost due for dinner or napping or whatever.
ask them if you can have a word coz you simply care for your baby just like they do and would like to ask their advice and share your thoughts about this situation. be open. you seem like you truly care and the parents probably are doing the best they can too, without any party having the final solution. The best thing to keep in mind with babies in general is that EVREYTHING is temporary. In a month time (or during the holidays) things may have become totally different. Hang in there and if you ever would want to meet up with our au pair in Rotterdam, leave a comment at our site or check out my facebook profile from the rotterdamdailyphoto site

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NewAPMom July 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Limpika, I don’t know the whole situation but none of those things sound normal to me. I don’t know what to tell you. Sounds like you’re kind of stuck, actually. If at all possible I’d try to keep talking to them, and bringing back specific data about au pair’s responsibilities (i.e. as I understand it, they only watch the kids they’re charged with, and they’re part of the family and deserve common civil decency.)

Brittany, that kind of situation would drive me nuts, to be honest. Can you sit down with them and talk about a long-term sleep plan? Offer to do some reading about various sleep philosophies (No-Cry Sleep Solution might mesh well with them) and sum it up for them? It is definitely true that, from the HP POV, what happens during the day affects how well they sleep, and I am very adamant that my au pair not let my babies nap too much during the day, and sticks to our schedule, and keeps them active enough that they’ll be tired at night. But on the other hand, the HP also have to take responsibility for helping the baby to sleep at night. I think if you show you care about it and want to help them, your input would be well-received.

If you absolutely find that napping in the carrier is necessary, there are better carriers out there. The Ergo and the Beco are two examples.

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NewAPMom July 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Oh I meant to ask. Would any au pairs mind posting links to similar sites such as this that give the au pair point of view? I don’t want to pry, I just want to see things from the other direction.

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NewAPMom July 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Ack sorry for all the posts – just wanted to clarify that when I say “that kind of situation would drive me nuts” I mean as an au pair, not as a host family. I think I’d kinda go crazy being an au pair in that situation.

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TX Mom July 28, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Brittany,
I really recommend a book called, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Wouldn’t it be nice if kids came with manuals for everything? :) Your host family may be relieved if you find an acceptable solution.

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CV July 28, 2009 at 9:30 pm

I totally love this book and believe in the Dr Wiesbluth method. It really worked for us… especially the motto: Sleep begets sleep. A baby who gets good naps goes to sleep at night. Never understood quite why, but it worked.
My kids really learned well how to go to sleep after our sweet goodnight routine.

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Anna July 28, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Another fan of Dr. Weisbluth book here…

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Rachael July 29, 2009 at 8:24 am

Good morning all!
I am a 28 yr old American and I am trying to find an Au Pair position in Europe. I am currently registered with a matching website and have had luck finding compatible families. However, I have encountered one road block after another. I have yet to be able to find a country that accepts Americans, that are over 27. I was initially looking at Ireland and UK. Ireland is not issuing work permits for any jobs under 30,000E. I am allowed in the country for 3 months, but do not believe I would be allowed to work? The UK does not allow American Au Pairs, except through BUNAC, however BUNAC ended in December 2008. Does anyone have advice on where I might meet the work requirements? I have my bachelor’s degree, but graduated a little over 5 years ago. I do not have intentions on pursuing a post grad in the near future, but wouldn’t be opposed to language classes, if that is a requirement. Any advice will be welcomed and appreciated!
Thanks, Rachael

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Hans November 9, 2015 at 10:59 pm

Hello there Rachel! I have the same situation with you. I am almost 30 now and thinking way too old to be an Au pair but I am still eager to find a program of sort that could offer me language classes from another country. I am already working as a primary school teacher here in my country and wanted to travel so I can learn another culture. I have tried my luck for years but ended up turning 30 now and no host family for me yet. I hope you can respond me just in case you found one! best regards to you!

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Calif Mom July 29, 2009 at 10:47 am

The Sleep Lady’s guide (Kim West) was a godsend for a kid who would have thrown up rather than do anything close to a cry-it-out. Method absolutely works and is super gentle. Got it from my pedi, who used it on her third kid and wished she had had it for the first two. The separate sections dealing with different issues (in our case, reflux) was so accurate it could have been a case study on my child. And did I mention it worked, even at 1 year old?

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NY Mom August 18, 2009 at 11:49 am

Very interesting to hear different perspectives on this topic! I am a mother of three, a 3 month old , 2 and 14 (the 14yr. old is very helpful and independent). I am currently looking into hosting an aupair. Myself and my husband do tend to work alot, but we also take off alot of time, which I think is beneficial. We are very proactive with our children.

We currently have a nanny that loves us, especially the children. She’s is very helpful and loving. She cleans up, washes their clothing throughout the week, prepares and cooks light meals, she plays and reads to them, she’s great!She has had plenty of days off, especially during the summer. We have taken a few vacations, which have given her at least three or four weeks off. There are plenty of days we have taken off throughout the year and have gone out with the children , which allowed her to have off , unless we asked her to come along and even then we are very involved and do not leave her with a full burden.

We actually have friends that says we pay her too much for all the benefits we have given her, including our help when we are around. I am a very sympathetic, easy going person, so I cannot imagine not helping out if I am available, because they are my children and I care about the feelings of my nanny. If, there is anyone that is interested, please inform me, I am interested to know what agency’s are credible? After all these are my children and I want the best, especially since I think we are a great family to work for.

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mikim August 19, 2009 at 9:51 am

Hi. Firstly, I would like to thank for the great blog. Until the moment it has proven useful to understand some of the key points to the dynamic host parents/ au pair. I’m currently a 25 year old au pair in Germany. I began to work in this new job 3 weeks ago and I’m the first au pair the family has hired. The parents have treated me very nicely. They have tried to make me feel welcome and really treat me like a member of the family. The kids however, are I think, experiencing a sort of shock due to the change. There are 2 boys ages 4 and 2 and a half. They want their mother to do everything for them and they don’t want me to help them. 2 weeks ago, the new family member- another boy- was born. This may also affect their behaviour, but I don’t know how to address this issue. Today, I was supposed to take the 4 year old o kindergarden and play with the 2yo at a park. When we were supposed to leave home they started running and I had to chase them, until the mother had to come out and scold them. When they are without parents they obey me better, but in the house they say rude words to me and won’t obey me at all. They don’t want me to help them putting on their shoes and clothes and one day, when I went to pick the boy at the kindergarden he started crying, because it was me and not his parents. I told him I would give him a present and he came happily with me, but I don’t want to spoil them and give them gifts everytime in order for the to be nice. The 4yo is aggressive with his classmates and with me as well. Any advise? I would be very grateful. The kids tell me they don’t like me, but I suppose it is due to all the changes. What can I do to make this situation better?

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Notimportant February 9, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I’m also working in Germany as an Aupair with boys of similar age. Well, my situation is a bit different because there is no new baby and the mother leaves before the children wake up. First, I would say talk to the host parents. How would they discipline their children if they were in your situation? Also, when the parents are home I leave the disciplining and the parenting up to them.
I would suggest attempting to bond with them. Ask the 4 year-old what he would like to do or ask him about his day. Try to find some fun games or visiting the Spielplatz.
As far as the aggression thing, what I do(and no longer have to do) is if he hits me, I hold his hands firmly to prevent him from doing this for about 5-10 seconds. Do not get angry, but just calmly tell him you don’t like that and he is not allowed to hit. When he throws screaming fits I give him an alloted time (5-10 seconds with a countdown) to stop and then bring him to his room and let him scream and cry there. I haven’t had to do that in a long time because he understands the consequences. Just remember that although hitting is never productive you are still physically stronger than him. Also, children tend to respond very well to logic. Try explaining the situation and why you must do something.

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TX Mom August 19, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Mikim, you’re in a tough spot but your HF will be motivated to help you. And it’s normal to have this adjustment IME. Here would be my general advice to find solutions that work specifically for you. Meet with your HP’s regularly to discuss the issues (W/O the kids!) Make sure you and HP’s are aligned about the discipline they want you to use and when to implement it. Decide in your meeting your roles for discipline. (In our house HD is the BIG bad cop, HM is pretty flexible but blows a lid when bent too far and AP is the consistent one to keep herself and them out of trouble… They respect her when she says, “No, but I will ask your parents tonight if it is OK next time.”) Make sure your HP’s let the kids know you have thier trust. (HD periodically tells our kids, “AP is in charge and I don’t want to hear that you are not doing what she tells you to do – the FIRST time she tells you.” Your charges are probably too young for that lecture.) Be consistent with the kids! They are testing you; if you are a rock, they’ll quit trying to budge you. And if you have 2 physical little boys, take them outside and wear them out!!!

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loisa August 19, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Can someone give me suggestions? I just started as an au pair. I look after five kids, aged: 2,5,7,9,11. The youngest two take most of my time, because I have to watch them constantly to make sure they’re not getting into trouble, and they follow me around and want me to play with them almost non-stop. This is fine, except that I feel I am neglecting the older three. They don’t need help to do things and can amuse themselves, but sometimes they look sad that I don’t give them more attention. The 9 year old is shy and we have barely spoken, which is not good but I can’t seem to find the time to give the older 3 one-on-one attention. I try in my spare time but even then the younger two start occupying me. The older ones don’t want to do the same activities as the younger ones, so I can’t really get us to do something all together. Plus the younger ones really wear me out, I don’t have alot of energy left for the older ones. However, I don’t want them to feel neglected and I would like to get to know them better. I thought of asking the HP if I can take the older three on a day out without the younger ones, but then maybe the younger ones would feel left out? I don’t know. What do you all think?

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My 2 cents August 19, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Mikim: I have 2 young kids and this behavior is VERY normal especially in the beginning. Little kids always want their parents first and to do everything. Mine do this and we’ve had great au pairs. I have one that constantly would say in front of me that “I don’t like X”. Now she asks me where X is all the time and wants to know when she will get to see her next ! Eventually, they will start listening to you (somewhat, they are still young), so long as the host parents and you are consistent in discipline and the host parents back you up (which they should know to do as I assume will do this).

Loisa: talk to your host parents. I guarantee they have the same anxiety as you do. I know my friends with older and younger multiple kids do! Work as a team to come up with a strategy. Maybe you all could agree to let the little ones watch a show for 30 minutes a day while you help older ones with something (in the same room or very near by of course), for example. Maybe you could take the little ones to watch the older ones play their sports and cheer them on? I dunno. Talk with your host parents and come up with some ideas together and them test them out. Talk to the older kids too. maybe if they have some input they will be invested in trying to make it work. Bottom line: do not stress out too much. This is very, very normal in households with many children over a wide age range.

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mikim August 20, 2009 at 11:22 am

Thanks for the answers!

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Momof2girls August 20, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Loisa:
My2Cents’ ideas are good. Does the HM work outside the home? I don’t, so I keep offering to take my younger one some days so that the older one can do some special, one-on-one activities with the AP. Sadly, she gets neglected a lot of the time because she acts independent, and has gotten into the habit of having to entertain herself even when her younger sister is napping. This has gotten to be a really bad habit, as the AP now thinks that nap time is “free time” for her instead of engaging the older girl in activities. The whole summer when she could have forged a bond between them was wasted, as school has started again. The AP complains that she asks the older girl to do things, but she never wants to, and even though I plan outings and suggest things they could do. I feel that if the AP would have made more of an effort, they’d be good friends by now, but they just haven’t clicked. We’ve had several meetings to discuss this issue, but the AP says she feels things are going well. We’re going to try to implement some changes to the routine to tie in with the new school year. I’d welcome suggestions (other than re-match, which I’m sure will be offered) of ways to get them to connect more.

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CoCa August 20, 2009 at 3:22 pm

To ‘hating being an au pair’ and others with similar thoughts:

I think at the end of the day you need to accept that families make their own decisions as to what the “lifestyle of having children” means. Thinking that you, as a younger person without children of your own, are going to be able to persuade them that they have “misunderstood” their role as parents is bound to lead to nothing but a strained or even failed relationship.

That’s not to say I can’t understand why you would feel the way you do – I was once an au pair (I am now 20 years older and an au pair mom), and boy, did I think I knew better than my host parents (and just about everyone else, too) about how and why to raise children! However, I also knew what my position as an au pair involved, what was expected of me and what I would be getting in return. I knew that if I was so unhappy with the way my host family was doing things that it would affect my ability to work with them (I wasn’t, and it didn’t), then I would simply have to rematch or drop out.

What I can’t understand about these kinds of comments that pop up here and there is this: Did you not communicate with your host family before you decided to take the job? Did they not tell you truthfully what they did for a living, what kinds of hours you would be working and so on? When you say that they expect you to work “too much”, is that according to your definition or according to the au pair agreement?

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FSH September 2, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Hi – I have an Au Pair who unfortunately has not been able to re-match and has been taken out of the system after the standard two weeks. As her VISA is valid until next July, she is lookign to stay in the states and “Nanny”. She is a kind gentle, very tender girl who would be great with younger children. Very dedicated, thoughtful about cleaning up after meals and really wants to stay. If anyone is interested, please contact me

Thanks

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Anna September 3, 2009 at 7:50 am

FSH,

are you a hostparent or a counselor ? (trying to decide here if your characteristic of the au pair is true)
If she was not able to rematch in 2 wks, the agency usually cancels her visa. She won’t be able to stay and work legally outside the program.

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Emma September 3, 2009 at 8:08 am

Anonymous, since you don’t have a contract and want to leave, I think the most appropriate thing to do is to give them two weeks notice. Sit down and calmly explain your reasoning (trying to keep any blame as neutral as possible) and let them know you will stay the next two weeks, which should be enough time for them to arrange other childcare, and then you will leave.

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FSH September 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Anna – I am a friend trying to “assist” the au pair find somethign else. When you say her Visa is cancelled – are you saying that the agency would have notified Dept of State or Embassy as they legally only can cancel a visa. Just checking so I can advise her.

Thanks

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Anna September 3, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Yes, FSH, that’s what I mean. The agency is supposed to notify the authorities who cancel her visa.
Even if her visa is not cancelled and it was overlooked, her visa is connected to her host family. She cannot work for another family without officially rematching through her agency (legally, that is).
She can try asking her agency to give her more than 2 wks to find a family. Some agencies can do that. If she is as great as you say (which I doubt, firstly because you are a friend, and secondly she would find another family if she was so great), she should find a family without a problem.

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FSH September 3, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Thanks for your information Anna – not sure why you would criticize this au pair online if you dont even know her. She was told there are 35+ in country au pairs trying to re-match and due to the economy, there is a lot of competition. ..

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Anonymous September 7, 2009 at 9:57 am

I have a concern about ” friends” trying to help aupairs. In order to provide safe, competent advise, it is necessary to really know the rules of the agencies as well as the US government. Anna is correct. The agencies notify the immigration people and cancel the visa. No aupair can leave a family or an approved J1 program and work on her own.
I have no idea what the chances of getting caught are and there are a lot of people who will chance hiring someone in this situation.
My other concern is that although this website is open to all,
no aupair or friend of aupair has volunteered to give us any information concerning websites representing the other point of view. Certainly there are many host parents who are just as open minded as aupairs and want to see/hear the other point of view.
At least 2 host parents have asked about this on a couple of occasions and so far as I can see, no one has shared that information. I also wonder if the policy of canceling visas after two weeks in rematch encourages people to go off the books.
Every agency is different in some ways but the basic rules are the same.

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Anon1 September 22, 2009 at 6:35 am

Hi All. I am a South African and I am currently in the process of applying to become an au-pair in America. I would like to know from any ex or current Au-pairs what its honestly like?I am keen to make the best of my time over there, so any advise would be much appreciated.

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aussiegirl October 5, 2009 at 5:43 am

As a girl who as been Aupair and is thinking about being one again. I have a question not sure where to write so I thought I would try here. Its about affection with your children(hugs,kisses etc). It is something I have always wondered about. Is it Ok, how much is too much, what would you expect. (sorry my question mark key is broken :)

In my previous experiences I loved the kids to pieces and they loved me, we hugged and kissed on the cheek and cuddled on the couch reading a story . Is this sort of affection ok

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NewAPMom October 5, 2009 at 12:49 pm

I would check with your host family, but for me, that kind of affection would be more than okay. It would be great!

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lace October 12, 2009 at 1:18 pm

I’m an au pair for a family in France. I’m from Texas and I’m 22 years old. This is my first (and probably last) au pairing position as I didn’t take the offer to make a career out of it. I took the offer to experience a part of the world I’d never been to and submerge myself into an entirely different culture. Now, my problem is that the kids are SO misbehaved and not just for me. For their parents’ too. When their parent’s aren’t home I have to tell them 8-10 times to do their homework, take a shower, etc. And every time I get “why? Why do I have to do it? Why do you care? Well my mom doesn’t care? Well I’m going to tell my mom you were mean to me.” Every time without fail. It’s an 11 y/o girl and a 15 y/o boy. I don’t get it as much from the boy as I do the girl but the boy doesn’t talk back as much as blatantly defy me then I have to physically remove him from what he’s ignoring me with. Not as in pushing or putting my hands on him, but physically taking away his phone, or turning off the tv and taking the remote controls, or turning off the computer and taking the mouse. And when their parents are home they’re the same way and the parents don’t hardly do much of anything unless it’s something really bad. How do they expect ME to get their kids to behave when THEY can’t even do it?

I think this goes back to one article I read about some families hiring au pairs because they are workaholics, not because they need help with their family. I’ve been here for 4 weeks and I feel like I’m going insane and the homesickness doesn’t help, and the family is very french, in the same way I’m very Texan. They’re hospitable and nice but also very cold shouldered and hard edged where as I’m a generally open and sweet person so I don’t know how to address the issues with the kids to the parents or what they expect me to do when the kids misbehave…

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My 2 cents October 13, 2009 at 11:45 am

Lacie,
That’s a very hard position to be in. There’s no question the host parents should be consistent in enforcing their rules, and not leave to work it out alone. Also, supervising a 15 year old is near impossible for anyone, let alone someone closer to their age.

I disagree with you that all host families are workaholics. I think you are upset, and it sounds like rightfully.

My advice? Sit down with the host parents. Identify the behaviors you have noticed with the kids, tell them how you’ve reacted, and tell them what did or did not happen after that. Tell them you are struggling with the kids and that the discipline they have told you to do is not working. I don’t know if I’d mention that you’ve noticed they don’t do their part. I’d probably hold back on that, actually. I bet they know and, in any event, it won’t change them if they aren’t committed in the first place. Rather, work together to come up with ideas for disciplining, focusing on the aspect of respect for you as the adult, and then try to get an agreement amongst you all to commit to a way to discipline.

Give it the “college try” to make it work, and if it doesn’t, then leave. There’s no reason for you to continue to be miserable.

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Sabrina October 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Lace: Do the kids like spending time with you? Can you have fun with them? Could culture shock be an issue on your side? Have you met people, who you feel you can talk to, who are not part of your host family?

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Ana November 13, 2009 at 12:01 am

Hey! I want some advice!! I just arrived to america and it is my first time being and au pair, I matched with a family from India, but I feel very unconfortable, I dont know if Im right but please tell me what to do because I think I want a rematch but I dont know if this is worth the rematch.
My host dad picked me to the airport and he was very nice, when I came home the kids and the host mom said hello and the they told me I could go to my room and unpack, I have a twin bed and 3 drawes to keep my stuff.
The host mom tells me to fold everyone’s clothes, to put on the dirty laundry everyone’s clothes.
To cut vegetables like onions and peppers for dinner in largeee quantities while Im taking care of her child, he tells me to wash all the dishes (althought they have a dishwasher!) after dinner and clean up the kitchen.
They tell me to work 11 hours a day even though they know Im only alloud to work 10 hours max.
They are nice with me but sometimes I feel like the host mom treats me like a maid instead of an au pair or member of the family, tell me if this is normal or I am overreacting, and if it’s not normal what should I do!!
Please help! :( im sad because I expected more from this year…

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TX Mom November 13, 2009 at 11:32 am

Ana,
I would recommend you speak with your LCC about your duties which are not child related and the hours you work if you are not comfortable speaking with the host parents. There are some duties (like chopping vegetables and cleaning the kitchen) which you may be expected to do in many HF’s because you are an adult sharing family jobs, but, if your HF is routinely breaking some clear rules (like the number of hours you work) then your LCC should be able to help. If your HF is unwilling to meet the HF commitments, I think rematch is a reasonable option.

It sounds like you are not happy with this HF for reasons beyond the job requirements (time and specific duties) however. If you feel you need a re-match for personality reasons or compatibility, then you should tell your LCC straight up.

My advice: DO NOT dwell on material things – like the size of your room – or you will be disappointed with any HF.

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Anonymous November 13, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Ana,

I don’t know the full story, but helping with dinner and dishes doesn’t sound at all unreasonable to me. What chores does your host family do to help you? Clean the house? Take out the trash? If so, do they consider that you are treating them like maids? In a family, everyone has to do their share, including you.

Working more than 10 hours a day isn’t allowed, like you say, and that’s something to bring up with your LCC and/or with them. But I think the rest of it is completely normal.

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Rose November 13, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Ana, what can I say! My Family is from Pakístan, I have kind of the same problem. I love my kids and the Family is fine, not great but is OK (also, they allow me things that I don’t think all the families does, like I don’t have time to come back even when I need to work early next day, usually I come back at 3-3:30 am somes Fri-Sat, I use the car as it was mine) BUT today is Friday and I already worked 57 hours and tomorrow I will need to wake up at 8 am and be around 2 kids and 2 infants all day untill 8.30 pm so I will work 69 hours this week and that happen every week, I don’t want to tell them they are taking advantage of me, but they are!
Cultural Care’s LCC, do you have a “general e-mail” than remaind the rules to the families? Like we can help cooking the dinner, or making the laundry, (I also do it, but I stopped folding the HP clothes), or empty the dishwasher, but that is NOT part of our job!

They want me to stay another year but I dont want to do it if I need to work more, if they don’t pay me for all the extra hours, and to be honest I know a lot of Au Pair who work more hours and the HF pay for that.

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AnonymousHostMom November 14, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Rose,
I’m so sorry that you are being taken advantage of in this way by your host family. Caring for four children is already much more work than many APs have to deal with, and the fact that they do not compensate you for the extra hours you work is awful, IMO. Please be sure to get enough rest and take care of yourself – you need more than 4 hours of sleep nightly to function well and think clearly to care for this large family!

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Ana November 14, 2009 at 8:01 pm

hey rose!! talk to your LCC I just did and I dont know how things are going to turn now, I dont feel like my host mom wants an au pair or realize the idea of what having an au pair “as a member of the family” is. but maybe they can figure something out for you, why dont you ask for a rematch??
different cultures are so different to deal with but if you talk straight to the family maybe they can do something for you!! I just wish my family was more hospitable and nice with me!! I came with many desires to get involved in the family and the host mom I feel like she doesnt even want me here!! then why hiring an au pair??? but I met really nice au pairs from my area and that helps, I just wish the day is over all the time… :(

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Anonymous November 16, 2009 at 9:00 am

First off – with regard to the hours, what they are doing is wrong.

Having said that, you need to keep track of the hours (in a little notebook or the book that CC gives the host parents for communication) and then talk to them about it. They may not agree with what you consider to be “working hours” (they may not count it when you are sitting down to eat dinner, even if you are getting up to refill kid plates) or they may not realize how many hours they are using you. If you’ve already tried this and they just don’t care, then you need to talk to your LCC.

You MAY find, that when you complain about the hours and they get reduced, some of your other “benefits” may be reduced too…not too may families tolerate AP s who stay out late on work nights or “I use the car as it was mine” . I know I wouldn’t. Maybe they consider these extras as “pay” for working you harder. It is ILLEGAL to pay APs extra to work extra hours. I know some families do it, but the rules exist for a reason.

Secondly- cooking dinner for kids, washing kids clothes, doing kids dishes ARE part of your job. And unless you are doing the whole families dishes every day, doing a load of dishes twice a week for the whole family is not out of line (they don’t leave your dishes for you to clean when they wash their own, do they?)

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Rose November 16, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Hi, thanks for answer me. Yes, I think the same, they might put new rules if I complain about the hours, but I need to say I don’t go out often and wich can be the different if I am going out to watch a movie and come back at 12 and stay awake changing diapers up to 1?. About the dishes, yes I did it everyday, but then they start living their plates on the table, even the grandparents! and now I stopped, I just clean the kids dishes. And I stopped, too, doing their laundry, they mix all the clothes so I wash everything together and fold everything, but now I leave the parent clothes apart and they have 2 weeks without making it, I dont know if they are waiting for me to do it! I tolk with my LCC and she just told me I need to make it work. So I decide wait until December and when she is making “my schedule” tell her if she can be more *** (I dont know what word I can put here) with my hours. Any advice? Another one…

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Calif Mom November 15, 2009 at 9:22 am

Ana and Rose,

I think you need to talk with your LCCs, because these are clearly not fair situations. I would emphasize that what you want is to be part of the family, and you are disappointed that the family sees you as ‘staff’ not as cultural exchange.

And if it continues, or you don’t think the hosts are able to provide what you want during this valuable year–you will not get it back, after all!–then do seek rematch. A bad ‘fit’ is a bad fit and will not get better on its own.

Lacie–I’m so sorry for you! I have seen many spoiled children, stateside and in the Bois de Boulogne… at this age, if the kids do it to their parents and you are SURE they are not just testing you, you are hosed.
Bail

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PA au pair mom November 15, 2009 at 11:12 am

I agree. Not only are they not “fair”….they are against the rules of au pair contract. 69 hours in a week is not allowed as stipulated in the dept of state regs. It sounds like that is more the norm than the exception.

Talk to your LCC’s and if they can’t or won’t help, go to your program director.

I can assure you that the situation is unlikely to improve on its own.

good luck.

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katie September 8, 2010 at 2:13 pm

wow! that is all i have to say!
I am an Au Pair and i was with a family that re-wrote the contract so i worked 50 hours and that was too much for me. there is a rule in place for a reason my darling and that is becouse no one can do that! Working with children is ALOT of work and I know what you are feeling now, overly tired, depressed in some way, have you stoped talking at all to your host parents?

What I did was go directly to the derector and it got sorted out and i left. once somthing like this has happend there is no going back you can repatch the relationship and it is doing more harm then good to u and the family. Be selfish and think about yourself becouse its gotten to the point where YOU are unhappy!

Remember you have gone overseas to expereance another place not the 4 walls of the house!

good luck you are no meens alone xx

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Anon. November 28, 2009 at 10:42 am

I am an American aupairing in a non-english speaking european country… i look after a 12 mo and a 3 yr old… i am having a hard time with the 3 yr old, as they don’t speak english, and i don’t speak their language. i am currently in a language course, but i find that, while i am learning, the parents don’t seem to care to help me out by teaching me phrases to say, or helping translate what they have said. it’s very frustrating, and making it very hard to make a connection with the kid. i’ve only been here one month, and want to give it some more time, but i am terribly homesick and am constantly sad just thinking about my family and friends.

i’m not sure if i should stay or leave. i agreed to 12 months, but the thought of another 11 months here is so daunting i can hardly stand it.

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Louise January 31, 2010 at 11:36 am

I am in the exact same situation, an American au pair in a non-english speaking country. I am in charge of a three year old who does not speak english and is terribly spoiled by his parents. It is making me absolutely crazy and every morning I can’t stand the thought of being here another 11 months. I have been here a little over a month and it has gotten a little better but not much. On top of the language barrier, the family also has 2 one year old twins that are always sick and I work many many hours of overtime. I am sad and lonely, unsure of what to do! It’s comforting to think I am not the only one. What did you end up doing?

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Notimportant February 9, 2010 at 5:01 pm

You can always contact an your agency and ask for a rematch. When you do that, you need to be very specific about what you are looking for and what you expect. Also, explain your language proficiency. I am also an American aupair working in Germany. I already could speak a good amount of German so that wasn’t a problem. I did need about 1.5 Months before I got along with the kids very well. I am glad I stuck it out because now we have a good relationship. Basically, try discussing this with your host parents and if there is no solution then contact your agency.

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María November 28, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I need help because I don’t know what to do. I really love my girl and she loves me and enjoy taking care of the twins, the parents are good, but my problem are my host grand parents! They always complaint about how I am changing diapers, feed or hold the babies and I do it in front of the mom so I know I am not doing anything wrong, but is just annoying. I tell my HM but she told me they are old and I need to ignore them, but I just I can! I was planning to extend with they for another year, actually they (the HP) asked me to do it, but I don’t think I can resist 12 months of this! And if I want to change HF, I need to do it now because my year finish on Feb. I think I am a good Au Pair but also I am scare of not find another HF and need to comeback to my country. Any advice?

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English Au Pair..x April 26, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I know you’ve said you’ve tried, but with Grandparents you just have to ignore. It’s very normal for Grandparents to ‘dislike’ Au Pairs as they sometimes feel this extra person is taking away part of their role… which couldn’t be further from the truth. You just have to bite your tongue and learn to laugh it off… mentioning anything could cause a big rift and one you don’t need :) x

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More than 'au pair' May 8, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Haha. It’s so funny! I have the same problem! My HP are so nice and polite and they respect me a lot. But the grandparents are a pain in the arse! If I’m in the kitchen, in my free time, they put dishes on the side with the mention ‘this is for washing’. Or they give me tasks around the house. Worse, when I change the nappies, the grandmother ‘gives me a hand’. Now, I know that they think I’m young and I have no idea about things, but even so…. as much as I try to respect their advices, I still can smell the arrogance they show in front of me. I’ve complained at my HP but they said the same : smile and ignore! They will soon be gone! :)) And god, how i count the days while they’re here!

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mikim December 10, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Anon, I`m an au pair as well in Germany…. I have been lucky because my guest parents have helped me a lot, but I think you need to go outside from the house and you will also learn with new friends and have a great time. TRy teaching the kid a bit of your language, perhaps through songs and mimics…. making funny faces and those things… it worked for me, but I know it is tough. And Winter is tough as well…. If you are in Germany as well…. let me know…

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au pair December 11, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Mikim: where in Germany are you? I’m in Frankfurt.

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Brandie December 13, 2009 at 12:25 am

hey their y’all!

I am American and planning on going to Norway in a year (I’ll have just turned 20 then) to become an Au Pair. Any suggestions or tips as to what I should expect?

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Emma January 6, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Judging entirely from the southern slang “y’all” in your post, I’m going to suggest you go buy a warm jacket, some thick gloves, a knit hat, and some long underwear. Just saying =D (I’m in Denmark right now, and the two countries are very similar. I’m from the south and didn’t have enough warm clothes when I arrived here.)

Expect it to be cold and dark in the winter. I know that’s like duh, obvious, but you’d be surprised just how early it get’s dark (the sun is only out from 8:30am-4:30pm here right now, and you’ll be further north than me) it can get depressing, so be prepared for that. Also expect ridiculously high prices (high taxes) and a difficult, guttural language. You will likely not be able to reproduce some of the sounds in their language, particularly the ‘r’ sound. Unless your host kids are older than 9, they will probably not speak English, though the parents will and there will be American TV shows available in English. Many of the au pairs you meet will be Filipino, and its fully possible that you will not meet any Americans in Norway for months at a stretch. I’m not trying to talk you out, Norway’s a beautiful place and the people are so friendly (and that country pays one of the highest AP salaries,) but it is something to be ready for.

Tips: One of the best ways to bond with kids despite a language barrier is by doing physical activities. Play outside, chase them around, kick a ball around, paint, bake, sing karaoke. Even if they are shy, just keep pressing. It’ll happen.

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M in NY January 12, 2010 at 10:14 am

Very good respons, Emma!

I agree with most of it, except for the language thing. Actually, Norwegian is easier to pronounce than Danish. It’s “cleaner” and more like Swedish. But yeah, it’s not too easy for Americans ;)

Oh, and Brandie: be aware of the food differences, they’re not gonna have the food you’re use to.

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Aussie Au Pair December 29, 2009 at 1:33 am

My Au Pair year has almost come to an end and i am having major issues with letting go. I held my host daughter when she was less then 24 hours old. I feel like i know her better then her parents, i sing to her every day and read to her all the time, i know every noise and every cry. i know how to make her laugh and smile by doing the smallest things. I dont like the idea that she wont remember me, but most of all i dont like that i dont get to meet the new au pair who is going to take over from me, and my host parents, especially my host dad cant understand why. i dont think this is unreasonable for me to want to meet her, i mean in my heart she is my baby i would risk my life for her, and it scares me because i have spoken to au pairs who have hit their children and neglected them and i dont want that happening to my baby. I will be honest she is a very spoilt baby and she crys a lot and wants to be held all the time so its not going to be easy for the new au pair so im scared she will stress out and act in an undesirable way. let alone add the stress of her older brother.

i think host parents should consault more with their current au pair when selecting the new one, does that seem unreasonable to anyone??

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MommyMia January 5, 2010 at 3:57 pm

While I can totally understand your feelings and connection to the baby, you will need to prepare yourself to move on with your life and know that someday (if you desire) you will have your own baby to bond with. If you have a good relationship with the HF, ask if you can keep in touch and perhaps get birthday photos as the child grows up. Or why not make a “care book” for the new AP with your tips and advice for what you’ve found works best with the baby, her habits, etc. Even if the baby doesn’t remember you, you know that your love and attention have nurtured her and helped her start her life in a very special way. You will always have your memories of this experience to treasure, and if you can make a scrapbook or memory album of your au pair year, you’ll be able to share this with your future family. Meanwhile, take a look at the latest post: “When your departing au pair sours your new au pair” and you’ll see some reasons why many host families don’t consult with their current ones to help select the new one.

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Darthastewart January 6, 2010 at 12:13 am

We still have a great relationship with many of our former au-pairs. They come to visit fairly regularly, and are encouraged to do so (we will even buy some plane tickets- 1 a year.). They have a special place in our childrens’ hearts. Each one has her own place- all of them are different. It’s a lot like snowflakes that way.

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katie September 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm

dont try and detatch yourself from the baby strait away and distence yourself!! Becouse the baby knows you like a second mum you need to do this when you have left! the baby will notice if you start to change your ways towords it and this will be bad and make things worse. its hard but you have a picture (if you have asked the host parent) and keep it on your wall you can always see them again. xx

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Reena August 21, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Dear Aussie Aupair,

Tears rolled down my eyes when I read your post. You are the kind of aupair I would want for my 15 month old. Someone who loves my only baby like me.

Your HF is one lucky family and that baby is one lucky baby……..

Unfortunately very few aupairs have the kind of love for their children/babies like you do.

You be blessed for all the love you have given to this baby. Because you gave so much love in one of the most formative years of her life, you gave her a normal babyhood……….

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mikim January 5, 2010 at 12:59 pm

au pair in Frankfurt, sorry for the delay , I was on a vacation trip. I’m really near you in Mainz…. how do we contact each other? would be glad to help

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SquishyCass January 29, 2010 at 4:29 am

Hello. My name is Cassie and I’ve been an au pair for 19 months now. I firstly want to start out by saying that from my point of view, being an au pair is all about personal growth and experience. Some people become an AP under the understanding that all things will be rosy and great! (I know I did!!!)

Then upon arrival to their HF after a few days (weeks, months?) reality sets in as you get to know your new found family and friends. I’ve heard some real horror stories in my time here (in the US) but at the same time, i’ve heard some really good stories, AND got to experience the not-so great family, and the Excellent family. As an AP i’ve noticed that we like to compare our HF to our friends HF, this situation, to that situation – and that’s the biggest mistake we all make – assumably HM’s do it too! Each family is different, no one family will ever be the same and no one schedule or set of rules will be the same.

I had a family for my first year, that were – in hindsight – fairly mediocre, the kids loved me, the family were really nice, but – the stress of the house (ie discipline or lack thereof) and somewhat lack of freedom (rare use of the car on and off duty) and my HP’s forgetfullness (Forgetting my bday until 8pm at night) quickly made my decision of whether to extend or not, alot easier. Although I can’t complain – perks to that fam was that I didn’t have to do ANY laundry of the kids, nor did I have to properly clean my room as the housekeeper did that, but yes, i kept it tidy :)

Now I live with a family where I have lots of responsibility looking after 4 children, extremely caring host parents, my own private space of the house, use of the car etc etc.

I have seen both sides of the AP experience. I understand what its like to have the feeling of ‘oh i’ll just stick it out’. I’ve had the ‘bad’ and the good. And I just want to reassure any (potential) AP out there who is going thru a rough spot that there ARE families out there who aren’t crap, and that YES its okay to not do the HP’s laundry, you should not have to feel like you’ll get into trouble if you don’t. I have friends who have crappy situations, and I feel like the tables have turned now – I believe that I experienced a crappy situation with the support of great friends, so I could extend, and return that favour. Because now, I am that supportive friend who will come get you and go for a coffee, just because. :)

So a tip – if it’s too much for you to handle, rematch. If its not quite what you wanted, but bareable – seek out some good friends, ones who will be an ear to listen, without judgement, and offer a good hug and reminder that its not the be all and end all.

Above all; REMEMBER its all about the EXPERIENCE! There is one thing for sure, you will go home a changed person. :)

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Megan February 2, 2010 at 6:17 pm

This is my first time visiting this website and I have to say that it has been both helpful and scary!

As an American wanting to be an au pair in western Europe, I feel like some of these situations apply and some don’t. I have kind of gathered that being an american who wants to au pair somewhere else and being a non-US citizen wanting to au pair here can be very different situations. Both for the au pair and for the host family.

I’m wanting to au pair because I think it provides the best balance of child care (I love kids and have been a nanny to many families) and traveling to see the world. Wherever I end up I’ll have to have freedoms and privileges like I’m a member of the family. Not having access to transportation, like I’ve read some of the host parents on here do, is just out of the question for me. I’m not sure why anyone would want to au pair in that situation!

Anyway, I feel like I’m rambling, but my point is that I’ll be keeping up with this website as I plan out my own experience. I’ve started a blog about this journey of mine, which hopefully will have some helpful information in it about being an au pair in case any of you other potential APs want to check it out. http://adventuresofanaupair.blogspot.com/

Thanks for this informative website!

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TX Mom February 3, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Cool blog, Megan. Thanks for sharing. It will be great to check on your topics when you start AP’ing to get the AP perspective.

On transportation, I don’t think you have nearly so much to worry about in Europe as the AP’s coming to the US. You should still ensure there are good public transportation options for each locale, but start focusing on the other things you want to acheive during your year and define your non-negotiables.
Good luck!

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TexaninEU February 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I read some of your blog and it is quite wonderful. I could not agree with you more about the portion on the approach of European families vs. American families to aupairing. After reading a lot on this website, I would NEVER work as an aupair in America. Not only do I think 45 hours is quite a lot (technically those extra 5 hours are overtime if one were to be payed hourly) and the pay is lacking, but the other benefits are also not so tip-top. I read on this site about the health insurance and how most parents would not pay for medical bills and their insurance does not seem to cover much and was quite astounded. The fact that transportation is limited(even though many families can’t help that) would definitely turn me off.
My family here is quite great even though it’s not always perfect. They guarantee the basics but sometimes add in little perks because, I’m assuming, we get along so well.

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TexaninEU February 16, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I wanted to add this just for general information for everybody. Please host parents, don’t get all upset. I understand many of you give much more than the basics and I wanted to post this for some info and perspective and not to be essentially screamed at and be simply told that I am wrong and don’t understand the responsibilities of being a mom.*
Ok, please correct me if I am wrong but as far as I have found these are the basics or what is required when one is an au pair in the States.
-Their own bedroom with a door
-family pays for $500 toward courses (which the au pair has to take, also I’m not sure how much courses run in the US)
-$195.75 per week stipend(remember the dollar is at the moment relatively weak)
-2 weeks paid vacation per year
-1.5 days off a week
-can be worked up to 45 hours per week
The typical situation in Europe:
-4 weeks payed vacation during the year
-260 Euros monthly stipend
-family pays for a monthly pass for the local transportion (it must cover the cost to and from a language course)
-family covers health, accident, and liability insurance (there is no such thing as a “copay” and everything except preventative medicine (birth control, basic physicals) is payed for)
-One day off during the week
-Here there are very very cheap courses that one can take
*On a side note, every time I have tried to give any constructive advice to any of the topics on this site from an au pair’s perspective, I receive angry, to put it plainly, “You’re just wrong” type of statements without very logical explanations. Unfortunately the feeling I have gotten since I have contributed to/been reading this website is that its a constant fight against the au pairs because we are just the young inexperienced girls who don’t understand much. I feel that there is no point in me contributing when I am so frequently met with such negativity. I am honestly not surprised that many mother have complained about their au pair not being to talk to them about issues they are having. With that, I wish you all the best of luck!

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Anonymous May 7, 2010 at 5:59 pm

USHF.. how much do you have to pay for an AP…..
1. Agency fee $ 7,700.00
2. Application fee $ 350.00
3. Stipend – $ 9,800.00
4. Room & Board – $ 6000.00 (about the cost to rent a room in US per month)
5. Education $ 500.00
6. Vacation $ 392.00
subtotal : $24,742.00
7. Cell phone $ 200.00
8. Car Insurance $ 1,200.00
Total : $ 26,142 (about $ 2,178.85 per month after tax)
Honestly, HF do pay a lot for an AP. For any 19-26 years old AP: it is hard to find a job with a annual salary about $ 31,121.00 before tax and a car to drive without making car payments.

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aria May 7, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I definitely question the whole role of the agencies in the AP/HF situation (in the States, where it’s mandatory). Why?? I think it’s nice to have the option of an agency, but I really don’t understand why that’s the only way to host an AP.

Look at how much they take, according to Anonymous^: $8050. That’s $1750 dollars less than the AP’s ‘stipend.’ To be honest, I really have no idea, so I’m probably missing something, but I’m really curious as to where all that money goes…?

Lucky 7 HM May 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Salaries of office staff & LCCs, au pair school costs, recruitment, advertising, and a ton of general overhead. Cha-ching.

Taking a computer lunch May 7, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Yeah, so do we. I know it pays for the AP flight to and from the US, but beyond that, it’s the overhead. You can’t be an AP without going through an agency in the US, because they are regulated by the State Department. It’s a huge financial commitment, but quite frankly in my opinion – it’s worth it. APs are far more reliable and loving than the other options we have explored – and all of our APs have fallen in love with The Camel as much as we have fallen in love with her. However, when our kids were babies, every extra penny we made went toward the AP stipend and fees – HD and I had a lot of “date nights” at home with a cheap bottle of wine and a nice homemade meal after we put the kids to bed. (We were fortunate that my parents gave us — and our APs – tickets to visit them and to travel with them to nice places from time to time.)

FormerSwissAupair May 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I’m sorry, but having one extra person in your household does not cost you that much extra, especially if you buy food in bulk. I am a live-in nanny, and I know that my being here does not cost my employers that much extra. I asked her, and she said they barely saw that much of a difference bc she does all of her shopping at Cosco anyways, and it’s not like I leave all the lights on and water running 24/7.

Lucky 7 HM May 8, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Yes, the $6k room & board is a bit of a stretch if you are calculating costs to the HF of hosting an AP. If you are looking at it from the perspective of what someone would pay for a year of room and board there is probably a large swing on how much that would cost depending on lots of factors, but $6k is likely on the cheaper side. I think that’s the tact anonymous above was taking. While $6k is high for the cost to the HF if you just consider r&b, we take our AP out to dinner with us whenever we go, bring her on vacations, include her in family holidays (buy her gifts and fill a stocking for her like she is our daughter), and the list of costs posted by anonymous did not account for that, so the total posted is not wildly far off (in my opinion). That said, I do think it is worth it if there is a good match with a good HF/AP relationship.

anonymous February 8, 2010 at 2:41 am

Hi, I am an au pair in Europe, and au pairing is stressing me out! My host mum is usually nice, but she never praises me for what I have done right or good, she only critiscises me, for the little things I have done wrong, and makes it sound like its caused such a big problem…when it’s hasn’t!! I am really trying my best, but it can get so tiering when nothing you seem to do is right. I have only been with that family for one month ..so isn’t it only expected that I am going to make some mistakes as I am learning! All I would like is a thankyou once in a while..is that too much to ask?? I would like to know what other host moms think, and also if any other aupairs are in the same situation?

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Anonymous February 8, 2010 at 8:25 am

Sounds like my former family. In the end things just became too much (they were ignoring me unless they were criticising me) and I left. Where in Europe are you?

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anonymous February 8, 2010 at 10:03 am

see that’s the thing, they don’t ignore me, they treat me as a member of the family, but its just that everyday I just seem to do something wrong!! I am in Denmark.

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TX Mom February 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm

It’s hard to comment since your HM’s personality and cultural communication is in play. Scandinavians (very generally) aren’t as expressive as other cultures. At least your HM is giving you correction during your training time; she may intend it to be constructive though it feels critical to you. It may seem like she is making a “big deal” of little things but her intention may be to explain “why.” Don’t undersestimate the “thank yous” you receive!

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'sota gal February 8, 2010 at 2:54 pm

It may also help to talk to your HM. My family is swedish (I’m 2nd generation American) and I can certainly relate having had many friends call me a “stoic swede”. Perhaps you could start the conversation by saying that you appreciate her helping you learn your job and correcting things that you still need improvement on, it would also help you be a better au pair to occasionally hear about the things you are doing right. It could simply be that the act of saying thank you or good job is something that is difficult for her to do, or it could also be that she feels she is showing you that she feels you are doing a good job by treating you as a part of the family.

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former au pair in Norway February 10, 2010 at 2:39 am

I was living with Norwegians and kind of experienced the same thing. The family was nice….but the mom could be cold. She would nitpick about the weirdest things (the sandwich I was making for her daughter’s lunch, how I was cutting vegetables, how I made the oatmeal for the kids in the morning), and never seemed to appreciate anything that I did correctly. They treated me as a part of the family as far as inviting me to go places with the family (i.e. hiking a couple times, to the daughter’s ballet recital, and shopping once or twice with all the kids), eating dinner with them, etc, but they never showed any real interest in getting to know me. I think the host dad asked me what my dad did for a living 2 or 3 months into me living with them, and neither parent ever took me out anywhere without the kids, except to the grocery store a couple times. I ended up leaving early. The cultural differences between Americans and Scandinavians are subtle, but they do exist!…or maybe it was just them?

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Valériane March 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Hey everyone! I’m french nice girl, soon to turn 19, and i am looking for an aupair job for the summer. Does anyone have an idea? I’ve been searching for days, and i’m still waitting for answers. If anyone knows a family which needs an au pair for the summer, please tell me and use my email adress : valeriane.thool@gmail.com
Thanks a lot for helping me
Bye
Have a good day

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anonymous March 25, 2010 at 9:12 am

Hiya, so I am not sure what to do. I am really not enjoying myself in the family I am in. The first month was okay, the family were nice and treated me well. However, in the last month or so, the mum of the family has become very cold towards me. She never talks to me about anything personal- how I am doing, how was my day etc. I am always the one who tries to start a conversation. Even if I do so her replies are always short and uninterested. Lately she the only things she talks to be about are what my tasks are and to criticise me for something I have done. Her attitude towards me, is making me feel very uncomfortable and awkward when I am around her, and I definetely don’t feel like part of the family, when I am basically ignored. She has also raised her voice and shouted at me, on more than one occasion now, which I do not think is an appropriate way to treat a person. I am very unsure of what to do, I have been here for 3 months already, and another 3 months here seems unbearable, should I try to make it work with her, or should I just leave? I hope I can get some advice, because I am really sad and dissapointed with this whole situation.

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Anonymous March 25, 2010 at 10:44 am

I was in the same situation. I left. Trust me, just rematch – it’s not going to get better. I stuck it out, it got progressively worse and it ended up with me walking out.

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Melissa March 25, 2010 at 1:14 pm

That certainly sounds like an uncomfortable situation for you. Have you tried to have an honest talk with your host mom? You mentioned that she was treating you well in the beginning, so maybe something has changed? It could be that she is dealing with something in her personal life. Not that that is an excuse for treating you poorly, but at least then you’d have a better understanding. Rematch is of course an option, particularly because it’s early on in your year and you shouldn’t be unhappy for 9 more months. However, I think you owe it to both yourself and host family to try to talk about it your concerns first.

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anonHM March 25, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Hi– I’m replying as a HM, because I feel you could probably be my AP at some points in time. It’s not right, but (at least in my position), it’s probably not personal. If it was okay for a while, I would encourage you to try to talk to her. There might be other stuff going on that’s overflowing. I have to say, even though it’s not right, there have been points in time where I really struggled with my APs, even though they were wonderful. Between work, and struggles with my husband, and just generally stressful times, then coming home and still not having a “safe” space to decompress… it’s really hard sometimes. If you are your host family’s first AP, I would especially encourage a talk– just as it’s hard for the AP to adjust to a new place, it’s hard for HMs to adjust too; the guilt of being a working mom, not being around the home & children as much as the AP is, feeling a loss of control/responsibility/impact at home, business with work… And I have to admit, one current problem I have with my AP situation is that my husband doesn’t like our AP and is very mean about her, and doesn’t want her to join our family activities. That’s difficult for me!

So, no, it’s not right, and I’m sorry that you’re feeling bad. Your host mom should be the adult and step up, and she might be feeling bad that she’s struggling with doing that (I’m guilty of both, which made it worse for me). Try talking to her, and if it doesn’t get better, then consider a 3-pt meeting with the LCC, and then rematch.

And if you want maybe you can talk to one of my APs that suffered through this with me :/

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cv March 25, 2010 at 9:51 pm

AnonHM —
Thanks for that comment. You captured so much of what I’ve felt at times too — even with APs you just love, it can all get overwhelming. And when there is another adult in the house it can feel like there is nowhere to hide.

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Sara May 26, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Thank you for this comment, anonHM. It’s really opened my eyes to a lot that HM’s go through when they have an AP in the house. Do any HM’s have any advice on how to give them a proper amount of “space” during a stay? I struggled with this my first time as an AP, I didn’t want to seem distant but I didn’t want to be in her face either. It felt like I was juggling so much at times!

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Taking a Computer Lunch May 26, 2011 at 10:43 pm

The only answer to that question is “it depends.” If you asked 10 HF for their definition of “space” you would probably receive 10 answers.

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My 2 cents March 25, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Generally, I agree that at least having a conversation first is key. Everyone’s a grouch sometimes.

But here, I don’t know. You say this has been going on a while. Moreover, your HM should never be yelling at you, I don’t care what is going on their life. That’s just not how you speak to someone. If an AP actually yelled at me, I don’t think I’d just accept that maybe she was stressed, or depressed, or what have you. I think I’d let her go on grounds that her emotions and self-control were out of control. Therefore, she’s a danger. And I don’t mean if she was short with me or rude or even seemed exasperated to the point that maybe she did raise her voice a bit — I mean YELLING just so we are clear.

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aria March 25, 2010 at 3:55 pm

This is a tough situation and I relate. When I first came to my current HF, I adored my HM- she took me around the neighborhood, gave me lots of days off, and even bought me a ticket for a knitting convention because she knows I love knitting.

But lately (past month or so) she’s been very cold, and very short, and about a week ago, she took me to task about how I wasn’t helping out around the house enough. I didn’t even realize! My feelings were a little hurt, even though she was right, and I sort of closed off to her as well, and this past week, I felt like we were just in a pot about to burst, when she came home one day with a little pocket knife as a present for me (I had been admiring hers). I stopped going on the internet so much at night and instead stayed up to chat with her. She offered to help me with my university application and now I feel like we’re back at the beginning with a great relationship!

If you feel like it’s beyond fixing (and you will know, just trust your gut) then leave. Why make yourself (and likely her) miserable? I rematched after 6 weeks with one family, and I’m so glad I did, even though I obviously still had some issues with my new one. Trust your gut, darling. :D

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Diana April 4, 2010 at 5:33 am

Hello!
First of all thanks for such an amazing blog, I feel so good of having found this googling about au pairs.

I will be leaving to Norway in August to a family I contacted through Au Pair World. Here in my country au pair agencies are just focused to the United States, even though I like America a lot, Scandinavia has always been a place I have been interested in.

The family I’m going to is multicultural, European and Latino. Which I find nice because my family is multicultural too.
However, the host mom is very young, 28 and I am 24. I would expect her to communicate more with me, she has called me a couple of times, we communicate through Email, but I feel she has not given me enough details, I have seen just few pics of the kids and she just seems to be interested in when I arrive.

I have done all the paperwork, but I have been a little bit worried that communication in general wont be good. So I have written an email to her asking about family environment and such.
She replies every now and then, I don’t know what to expect.

Some people have even been scaring me telling me that some people hire au pairs and then it is a trap to get the au pair into other things.
This naturally is making me worried, I have done my research and all the information have seemed to match, they have even sent me copies of their passports for the paperwork. Am I just being paranoid?

Any good advice?

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Au Pair in CO April 5, 2010 at 1:09 am

I am from Norway, and it really is a lovely country, you should have a pretty easy time getting to know local girls your age, and everyone speaks English, so those things are pretty easy to handle.

I know there have been some controversy in Norway earlier about host families who hire au pairs, but make them work too long weeks, and have them do much more housework than they should. Of course, this is not true for all families, but there are always someone breaking the rules and making everyone sound bad..

I do think that most Norwegian families come off as a little cooler than for instance American families, and that there may be more of an employer/employee-relationship than a family member, but once again, that is of course different from family to family.

I think you should email the host mom asking more questions about the things you would like to know more about, and ask open questions so she has to answer with more than “yes” or “no”. Say that you would love to see some more pictures of the family/house/area, as it will help you prepare for coming there.

And if all else fails, there’s always people to turn to to get help in Norway, so as long as you can speak up for yourself, you shouldn’t worry about being taken advantage of:)

Good luck, and I hope you enjoy the country and your au pair year:)

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Katie April 5, 2010 at 7:15 am

here is an interesting interview for all
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAyNR0Ybkh4

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Anonymous April 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I watched this video. Although I believed that these young women were really aupairs and not faking, I do not think that they are the best representives for their particular programs.
I also think it would be interesting to hear their host moms side of the story. What I did find more compelling was the AuPair in distress video. I think, with small effort, a very serious documentary could be made about the life of an aupair ( good and bad ).

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Katie April 5, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Thats true couldnt agree more. Was just supplying something from an au pairs perspective as requested lots of times above.

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Katie April 5, 2010 at 8:18 am

okay so here is my experience as an au pair
when i wanted a visa which was suggested by my agency with my rights was isolated by family
3 yr old boy screamed at me in the face and parents laughed
boy stabbed me with a fork and parents did nothing
boy slammed doors in my face and when i told him it wasnt okay parents thought it was my fault
host parents strongly suggested me to go on a holiday for christmas making me feel like they didnt want me around
left for holiday at christmas with money in advance when i got back i was fired without any notice before my holiday so I hadnt really saved money for when i got back and then my agency arranged me a place to stay with a lady who made me clean her 4 story house and came home and criticised everything i did without recieving any pocket money. I stayed with her for 5 weeks. then when i realised cuz i only had 4 months left the agency wasnt going to find me a new family I decided to go home. This lady screamed at me on my last morning after an exciting call from my family who were excited to see me soon for not ironing her sheets or vaccuming her stairs and basically said I was a bad person. So I caught the train alone to the airport and went home
life is good now that i am not an au pair anymore
I just really wish I could have been told about the problems instead of having them all dumped on me during the christmas holidays which I was really looking forward to spending with my host family and friends happily.
Im sure the family and I just didnt click
but HF if you have a problem your au pair SPEAK UP
we are not mind readers

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Darthastewart April 5, 2010 at 9:37 pm

It sounds like you had a miserable experience, and a LOT of things that should not have happened. Hopefully here in the US, there are enough checks and safeguards to prevent this sort of situation.
Also, I’ll point out that the vast majority of the Host families on this board are here to try to figure out how to do this better- interview better, be a better employer, recognize our own shortcomings, etc.

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Katie April 5, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I know. I have to say when i first saw this site I was abit unsure. But I think its great for both host families and au pairs to get ideas out there and that lots of host families genuinely care about there au pairs. I wont ever be one again though just going travelling with a normal job next time aha

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Katie April 6, 2010 at 9:53 am

just got a job interview for the snow:)
I know this is out of context seeing as its not being an au pair but was wondering if anyone has worked at a snow resort and how they liked it?

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VA Au Pair/MAID/NANNY April 6, 2010 at 11:48 am

Katie, Oh i know how you feel. I au paired in 2002 and i had a blast ,i went home and 7 yrs later i’m au pairing again and what i taught i was gonna have a blast ,9 months down the line i was proved wrong. They a new host family and wanted a experienced au pair so that’s one of the reasons we matched but instead of me guiding them and giving them a good experience i get told by them i’m not doing what i surpposed to be doing anyway that’s a long story which i explained already on this site a few weeks ago ,i just wanted to tell you what happened to me yesterday ,their 4 yrs old girl bites me in the face for what reasons i have no freaken idea ,and as i was putting her in time out her father comes downstairs which he heard why i was putting her into time out and what does he say to her ” i told you not to bite” and end of story so need i say more?

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Katie April 6, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Well if your not happy with your host family I would say get out of there and get a rematch. I know it might be hard telling your host parents that. But just explain that your not happy there and you’ve tried to be for a long time. Trust me its better in the long run as it will only make things worse if you just continue staying there unhappy its not good for you or the host family. However TALK to them first. I told my host parents about my concerns even though we werent getting along. Which subject is that of your previous post??

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Katie April 8, 2010 at 1:48 am

Hey all au pairs/ host moms looking for an au pair perspective site here is a message board I just found http://messageboard.nannyjob.co.uk/index.php?board=1.0

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mikim April 14, 2010 at 7:14 am

What do you think about my current situation???
I ask her: – Why don’t you get your new au pair from Spain? Wouldn’t you do that?, any way its nearer and you could save a lot on paperwork, visas and that stuff.
She answers: – Well the thing is that we thought that if we invited someone from Europe, she could leave when she felt sad, or tired , or homesick. Whereas someone from South America…. (well she didn’t end up the idea, but it could mean couldn’t afford to buy the ticket …after all they bought it for me….) but I took it all so naively… as a good sign that they were nice persons.

When I heard this comment my first reaction was : I take a plane right now home. But then I began to think: my goal here is to learn German… if I leave now, I would have to go through a lot of paper work to be able to come back and learn German. Then I thought about it… how she said that to my face and I thought well at least it’s honest. Then I discussed it with people and someone said: well you have to view it as a matter of strategy.
Now I’m in this situation.

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TX Mom April 26, 2010 at 5:01 pm

You HM may not have meant to insult you; give her the benefit of the doubt before manipulating strategies. Consider there are more “barriers” to departing across the ocean than just money. For one thing, an AP who commits to go overseas (from South America) for a year may be more committed to learning the culture and language of the host country than an AP who can travel to the host country more easily. Every AP will feel sad, tired or homesick, but the ones who are doing the job with a goal in mind (like you) will work through those difficult times to reach their goal.

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Anonymous April 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Sometimes honesty is not so kind. It sounds to me like that answer was just cruel. I don’t think she planned to be unkind- she just spoke the truth. That doesn’t mean you have to let it hurt you. Just dismiss it as ignorant. I suspect alot of host parents think that way. They think they are just being practical. I once had a starter level job on Wall Street right out of college and I was not a good statistical typist but I was a great sales person. When I got an offer to move up in the company, I heard my first boss say ” I not going to hire anymore college graduates – those girls think they are too good to run errands for me “. It was not nice but what can I say…

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Previous au pair April 28, 2010 at 9:13 pm

I am aware this is a little off base. But does anyone know how you apply for working in a cultural exchange program? I am really interested in helping young people who want to travel abroad as my experience abroad has made me inspired for those to have a good time and get support. I tried looking through google of how one would be employed by an agency or other exchange program and havent really found anything.

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Zoe May 5, 2010 at 8:21 am

Hi there!

I’m an au pair in Germany (from the US) and have been having several problems with my family. I’ve been here for about nine months, and am supposed to fulfill a 13-month contract (until September). I have been trying to communicate with my hostparents that I want to leave, but they have been ignoring the issue and me. The issue I have now is that my boyfriend is coming to visit me for three weeks and I think it would be so rude to say “when he leaves, I’m leaving” … but I don’t see how to work this out. Throughout my stay here I haven’t been treated with respect by the parents or the two older children. Most of the time I take care of their baby (now 10 months) and I love her. She’s the reason I’m still here – but I know I have to leave her eventually anyway. The father works from home and is extremely controlling and hypocritical about many things. The moment the baby cries he will run into the room and ask what I did to her, but often times during my lunch break he’ll leave her crying for half an hour in her playpen while he’s working. I work many more hours than I’m supposed to, and only just secured a free day, and the schedule I created is often ignored (I’ve missed my yoga class for the past three weeks because no one came home to take the baby – no call, no note, just a no-show). The kids have hit and bitten me, for which I took away toys or TV time, and the parents ignored the punishment and let them have what they wanted.

I’m looking for a respectful way to say I need to leave, and the right time to say it, because thus far my approach hasn’t worked. The hostfather told me that they wouldn’t look for an au pair earlier, but I know they can’t be without one. I went to Brussels for three days and they insisted upon having someone else here for that weekend. I feel like somehow I have let them down, or maybe it’s more I let myself down. Any advice?

Zoe

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Previous au pair May 6, 2010 at 12:36 am

ha by the sounds of things I’d just tell them your not happy with the situation and youve been trying for a long time. Just simply tell them that you dont think its working. When both the host mother and host father are home or during dinner tell them that you need to have a talk and explain to them that your not happy and would like to go home when your boy friend leaves. Do you have an agency? if so speak to them!!
I wouldnt feel guilty about your host family not finding another au pair im sure they will and by the sounds of things they have been very respectful towards you or taken your feelings much into consideration.

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Aria May 6, 2010 at 6:25 am

Well, first I wonder:

will your boyfriend be staying with you, as in in the HF’s house while he visits?

Knowing them, and having the complaints that you do, how do you HONESTLY think they will handle hearing you’re leaving?

Example- I gave my 1st HF one night’s notice that I was leaving (te dad was also a sah). Was this completely unprofessional? You bet. But I was verrrry scared of my HM’s reaction and I knew she wouldve made my life h*ll if I gave her 2 weeks notice before leaving.

So my advice? If you think they’ll handle it ok, give them 2 weeks notice (but maybe your bf should stay in a hotel). If you think they’ll be irrational, give ’em a day and run.

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Previous au pair May 6, 2010 at 12:37 am

*they havent been very

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mikim May 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Zoe: I totally understand you and I think you should leave. I understand the letting down feeling, because I have it as well. But I have stayed because the hostfather is really really nice. The mother on the other hand, not so (she works at home as well and I know the things you’re talking about) . Thewy have not been respectful to you in many things and I complain about much less! I think we only have one life… and we should enjoy it. Why be bitter for another 4 months? My Host family wanted me to stay until September as well, but I already told them I will stay until july… no more, because I can’t bear it.

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futureAUPAIR May 20, 2010 at 11:10 am

Hi! I’ll be an au pair in the USA very soon and I think I found the best family ever. They are like my perfect match. I’m pretty excited that I will meet them, but lately I have thought about gifts I could bring them from my home country and I’m not sure what will be the most appropriate (kids are 10 and 12 years old). I thought about some book about my city for parents (in English) + nice box of chocolate and typical sweets from my country (for children). What do you think? I’d be very grateful for any kind of advice.

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HRHM May 20, 2010 at 11:49 am

Instead of sweets (not all parents like their kids to have candy) you might want to get them a game that kids in your country like that they could play together and with you. My current AP who is Czech, brought DDs (2 & 5) a matching game and a card game. She is here to explain the rules and they love to play with her. For younger kids, a small stuffed animal or children’s story (especially if its in both your language and english- we have a Russian Winnie the Pooh that has both texts) are also great.

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Should be working May 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Or you could email the new HPs and ask if sweets from your country would be ok. As a HP I would be fine with that, because I know the kids will have an immediate positive response to someone who brings them sweets, and I want to start things off on the right foot. Clearly there will be time for the kids (and AP) to understand that sweets are special-occasion items.

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anonmom May 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm

My children have received books from other countries and chocolates- which is why we have all become addicted to german and swedish chocolates! yummy!!! That was a big hit! I think it would be fine to bring some sweets as those children are older. Good luck in your au pair year!

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A May 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm

I think these are all great ideas. Another thing you might want to do it bring pictures from home (you would do that anyway), and show them to your host family your first night. My daughter, my husband, and I really enjoyed getting to know our AP by seeing pictures of her family and her old home.

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FormerSwissAupair May 20, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Music is also fun to share. Bring CDs or download music from your home to an iPod. My little girl loved hearing American music, and it really helped her with her English.

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Calif Mom May 20, 2010 at 8:56 pm

10 and 12 year old girls are “tweens” here, most likely. They have one foot in the world of little girls (and would love a small doll or toy from your country) as well as one foot in the world of teenagers (and would love any “pop” item that is popular). A big hit with my older daughter was rose perfume inside a doll. Also a cool hat or cartoon character on a backpack.

Depends a lot on what you know already about these two kids. Think about their interests and get something along those lines. If a boy, do they like sports? Then a shirt from your local sport team would be cool. If music, maybe your favorite band, etc.

have fun!!!

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futureAUPAIR May 21, 2010 at 1:41 am

Thank you so much! Those are really great ideas! You helped me a lot. Once again – thank you! :)

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Jessette June 4, 2010 at 1:06 am

Hi host moms, i am Jessette Chaib, im mexican and i am 19 years old, i LOVE children and right now i am applying in the program aupair in america, i would love to have a family soon and i am still waiting, if you could tell me what do you expect about an aupair, i would love to and also if you know about a family that’s interested i am very good at what i do and i am very responsible and commited to my works, i know that i am going to work and i would appreciate if someone , host family, could send me an email if you are intersted.
This blog is awesome, i loved what everyone is saying and i am very happy to go to USA, i want a host family!=)… Thankyou, i know someone would send me an email.

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Dee June 4, 2010 at 7:40 am

Where can I find a host family?
Hello everyone! I am an au pair from South Africa looking to work as an Au Pair in America.
I have registered with various Au Pair matching sites on the internet with little luck finding a family. I am 25 years old, speak perfect English, I have been driving for years and have years and years of experience. I want to know what sites and I can try because at the moment I find it difficult to even get a match on the site.

I want to know if any other au pairs have the same problem!??

Take Care.
D

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CS Nanny June 4, 2010 at 8:23 am

Have you registered with an actual agency? Like Cultural Care? Or Aupair in America?

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VA Au Pair/South African June 4, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Hey Dee,

African Ambassadors ( Au Pair in America), Contact Jane 011 726 1738 – JHB branch or Head Office is 021 689 2511 – CPT . Or email info@africanambassadors.co.za. This is the proper and legal one and i’m with them.Good luck

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dee June 8, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I am registerd with an agency. I am just looking for more family options.

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Sota Gal June 8, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Dee, can I ask what agency you are with and what arrival date you are looking for?

– Sota Gal (Stacy)

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Hula Gal July 6, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Are you on Great Au Pair – Deidre? I think I saw your profile. You were my next contact for an interview had we not already made a selection. If you are the same person I am thinking of, keep trying because I thought your profile looked great. I’m sure you will find a family soon.

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MommyMia July 6, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Hi, Deidre
I, too, think I have seen your profile on GreatAuPair…if so, it shows specifically that you wish to AuPair in Ireland (Dublin), so that could be what’s limiting your exposure to families in America, don’t you think? Or maybe there is more than one 25 yo South African on there and I didn’t search far enough down the list? Good luck!

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Aupair92 June 15, 2010 at 7:19 pm

okey, I need help.
I came as a aupair to germany 1 month ago. I was supposed to be here till December but now my mom gotten very sick. I really want to go home to her but i’m afraid to tell the host mom that and how i should tell her. I’m always postpone it and i’m affraid that after i tell her that, our relationship would be bad untill i go. I don’t know maybe it just me, maybe i shouldn’t go back home? .. dont know

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au pair in uk June 17, 2010 at 7:47 am

Hello… first of all sorry about your mother.
you need to tell your host mum straight away however, she needs to know as it involves the care of her children. Even if she is a tiny bit dissapointed anybody with a heart would be considerate to the fact that your mother is sick, you can then talk together about how to resolve it.
Don’t leave it too lond, if you do the relationship will be damaged for good. x

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MommyMia June 17, 2010 at 5:03 pm

I agree, talk it over with your host mom as soon as possible. While I, like Dorsi, would never have expected my daughter to return home while I underwent chemo and radiation for breast cancer, other families might feel differently. If you are worried about your mother, you won’t be able to focus on giving the children you care for your best, and that’s not fair to anyone. Yes, your relationship will naturally change after you tell your host mom (there are many other postings related to departure on this website), but several weeks is at least courteous and gives everyone the opportunity to deal with the goodbyes, arrangements, and providing of alternate childcare. Good luck, and I hope your mother has a speedy recovery.

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Dorsi June 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm

“Sick enough to go home” is a cultural definition. I did not quit my job and move back with my mom when she had chemotherapy for breast cancer and was unable to work. She would have never expected that. Do YOU want to go home? Does your mother want you to go home? Is there actual need for you to be there? Or is this a flare of a chronic problem and is it really about your mother missing you/your own homesickness?

I think you should approach your host mother as soon as possible and let her know what is going on at home. Before you do that, however, you need to figure out what you want to do, and under what timeline. It is incredibly disrespectful to give your host family less than 2 weeks to prepare new childcare, and that would only be appropriate if there was a life threatening illness at home. If you can give 4-6 weeks, I am sure they would appreciate it. Know what you can do before you discuss.

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NewAPMama June 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Dorsi, obviously if she is worried enough about how to tell her HF she needs to go home, her mother must truly be sick enough to warrant it. And I am sure she also knows that she is causing them stress regarding childcare. I think your comment about “2 weeks is disrespectful” to be in poor taste. She came here asking for advice in what must be a very difficult situation, not to be made to feel guilty. While we love our aupair and consider her part of our family, if something were to happen to her family back home, I would understand and want her to go. The only productive part of your post was asking her to figure out a timeline. To the poster of the question, the sooner you tell you HF, the better. They need to find another option for childcare, and to prepare the kids for your departure. Only you know your family, and please do not allow other people to question your motives for needing to leave. Good luck.

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Dorsi June 17, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I surprised you find the comment in poor taste. A lot of young people do not understand the importance of giving notice (aside from my own personal anecdotes I could offer, there are many stories on this website of APs leaving with no notice.) So, I don’t think it unreasonable to imply that AP92 might not understand this. She has been here for 6 months (I assume, since her year is up in Dec.) It would be a shame for her to misunderstand her obligations to her HF and ruin the relationship she has formed and taint the memories she has of her time here. Again, this is different if her family-member is in a truly life-threatening situation, but only if.

Also, we have very few details about the situation. I think that you are jumping to conclusions to say that her mother is “truly sick enough to warrant it” especially when AP92 says that her mother doesn’t want her to come home “just for this.” It may be reasonable for her to want to go home. There is no way for me to know that. Whether it is reasonable depends on the nature of the illness, the relationship between the AP and her (real) mom, as well as cultural beliefs/expectations. I feel that the AP needs to think those issues through before she approaches her HM.

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Aupair92 June 17, 2010 at 5:22 pm

thank you all (:
I’m going to sit down with her tomorrow and tell her. My mom don’t want me to come home if it is only becouse of her but i can’t be here. I’m always thinking about how she is, her doctor said that she sould spend as much time with her family and freinds they are not possitive about the future so.. of course i’ll stay here untill the family find another aupair, I couldn’t just go ..

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SOH June 19, 2010 at 7:22 am

I’ve been with my family for just under a month and I’m still finding it very hard to bond with them.. I would consider myself to have sufficent knowledge of the language (French) but low confidence means i find it hard to make conversation.
Also, I am having a hard time making a connection with the 12 year old boy and i was wondering if anyone had any advice for this? Ideas for things to do/bond over?
Thanks

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theGermanGirl-FutureAP June 20, 2010 at 8:13 am

Hey SOH,

when I read about the boy, I immediately thought “Football” …it’s worldcup-time and I’m pretty sure that your 12 year old likes football, and if you don’t find it super boring, you could watch France’s matches together, rooting for them or even go out and have a small match, just the two of you and if you can’t play football, let him teach you bits.

If he doesn’t like football, maybe cars, maybe an other sport, how about just asking him about his hobby, so he’ll do all the talking at first, you’ll loosen up and find new things to talk about…at first, ask him stuff, let him talk about himself until you feel at ease enough to talk about you.
He will most likely feel regarded and he will most certainly enjoy the attention and you will get to know him and bond.

One on one experiences always help the bonding, too, he could make out a scavenger hunt through your new home or take you to a tour, you could go to the park and fly a kitek, stuff like that where it’s just you and him.

And with the parents…try to tell them that you’re shy and that you need a little time to warm up to them and then I’d suggest that you take a week or so and at one point, when you talk to them do the following:
On the first day you ask them a question (about their day, about their life, about the kids, or just ‘how are you today?’) and tell them something about yourself (what you did with the kids, what you find great about where you living or simply how you’ve been feeling during the day).
On the second day you ask them two things, and tell them two things about yourself.
On the third you ask three questions and tell them three things and so on and so forth,
I know this might sound analytical and a little weird but it will help you get used to the concept of sharing your views and thoughts with your HF and that is essential, especially for someone who has low self-confidence because it will draw you closer to them as it goes both ways.

They answer your questions, share about themselves and then you can share stuff about you, because psychologically, they’ve proven themselves worthy for an answer, giving you one to begin with. Does this make sense?
But mind you, I would take it slow with the questions, normal small-talk-ones at the beginninga and once you’ve built like a firm first layer of trust you can get a little more private (of course only if you feel like they are willing to talk about that kind of stuff, if not, keep it shallow but keep in contact).

It will always take some time until you’ve completely warmed up to each other and it always helps to create a sense of community, a we-feel to it, for example at a playdate with another family where you play scharade or something on the lines of that and play as a team, the HF and you, that, I would think, would help fasten the process if you’re uncomfortable with the slight alienation at the beginning.

I hope you found this rant a little helpful and I didn’t just tell you stuff you already know, I hope you will get along great with your HF and enjoy your year in France!!

:)

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Margarita July 6, 2010 at 5:41 am

HELP
I came as an au pair to Germany through an agency which made the contract. At first everything went fine, but then things started to go wrong. I was supposed to have holidays free, which I don’t have and the family was supposed to pay for my language course ( I was counting on that for my travel budget), furthermore I should work five hours a day from which 1 should be spent on housework and the remaining 4 with the children, but it is exactly the opposite. I reccured to the agency, but the owner just told me you talk to your guest family about the issues included in the contract and about the holidays, Ohh I know I promised you that but forgot to include that in the contract. I am very unhappy in this situation, but most of all I would like to warn or prevent other girls from falling in the same trap. Does anybody know what I can do? To which organization can I turn to? I havbe tried tyo look for an institution in Germany, but I have found nothing. Any tips? Most of the other au pairs which came through this agency have had problems.

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Aupairgal July 6, 2010 at 7:48 am

I’m not sure which agency you went through but here are the guarantees of being an aupair in Germany.
-You are not guaranteed all holidays off, but do get 4 payed weeks for one whole years of work.
-They do not have to pay for your language course, but do have to pay for travel costs to get there.
I would also check if your agency is a member of the Au-pair Society. Here is their website http://www.apsev.de/ If they are not, and are not willing to help you, I would honestly try to find a new agency and through them a new family. This is the agency I used and have had very good luck: http://www.flyout-agency.de/ Another option is to start with the Ausländeramt, which is where you should have gotten your visa. They also might be able to direct you elsewhere to get more help. This family doesn’t sound like they are doing anything illegal, but if they are they can end up blacklisted from getting aupairs in the future. Also, don’t be afraid to be very direct and a bit pushy.

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CS Nanny July 6, 2010 at 8:43 am

You need to go to your local Gemeindehaus or Arbeit Bureau and tell them your contract is not being fullfilled, and you are doing more than what the laws stipulate. It is possible to change families in Germany. Where in Germany are you?

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Aupairgal July 6, 2010 at 3:01 pm

It might also be called the Arbeitsamt.

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Margarita July 6, 2010 at 9:29 am

I’m in Mainz, but I would like to study in Germany since I obtained a scholarship. However, I’m afraid that as a foreigner I’ll get into trouble. What should I do?

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CS Nanny July 6, 2010 at 9:46 am

How long have you been in Germany?

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margarita July 7, 2010 at 5:29 am

Its a long story: I’m here since about a year, so I wouldn’t do something for me, but for prospective au pairs. I’ll try to be brief but to include some details so you can judge.
I arrived to this family the last week of July last year. Everything perfect at the beginning, but the kids were mean to me. I though as I was the first au pair it would take time… I made a lot of efforts and after 11 months it’s still the same with the kids.
the mother doesn’t work, so she decided that she would take the kids to the kindergarden, etc etc. So they really don’t need an aupair, they need practically a maid. They are not obliged to pay my language school, but they sent a contract in which they stated they would pay for it. Didn’t do so.
In another document that the agency sent to me (not the contract), they promised law holidays as free.
I noticed the family didn’t give me the free days, so I asked them and made reference to the documents… and then they felt insulted that I had used the word contract and since then the relationship (which had never been excellent) started to deteriorate.
I went to the agency, (memper of the Au pair society) and the lady in charge told me ooohhh I forgot to include the holidays in your contract (what a “mistake”!), I will include it on the future contracts. Then, I learned that none of the other au pairs that came through this agency have had this freedays.

I work around 5 hours every day from Monday to Saturday. I say around, because sometimes this is not respected.I have Sundays free. This is what my work schedule has become:
Monday to Friday
7am – 8:30 or 8:46 am I eat breakfast on my own while performing the following tasks.
I prepare breakfast for the family and the kids, empty and refill the dishwasher, put breakfast on the table, take the garbage out, while they take their breakfast as a family. Then I pick up the dishes and clean.
8:30/8:46- 10:30 I fold the clothes of all the family.
10:30-1:00 I have free, thou sometimes she plays with my schedule …
1:00: 1:13 I rush my lunch (I eat with them but must be ready earlier)
1:13- 22:45 3:00 I go with the baby for a walk while the family sleeps.

Saturdays:
1:00-6:00 I am in the garden with the kids, who don’t listen to me because the parents are in the livingroom watching football.

I don’t eat with the family, because once she complained that I didn’t work enough and that I should substract the eating times from my working times. She told me as well once that I was sick ( a Saturday) that I hadn’t apologized for being sick and implied I should compensate the time I didn’t do. Would you feel ok on this situation?
Furthermore, I never find anything to eat in the fridge at first I ate some chocolates, but she sarted hiding them from me. Once I said I was hungry and asked if she could buy me some yogurt because what they ate was not enough for me and she bought the yogurt once and then “forgot”. In the evenings they prepare food only for themselves. When I have tried to cook for myself, she criticizes me or makes faces. Sometimes its hard to tell because the mistreatment is ore psychological and not so direct… you don’t have any proofs.

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CS Nanny July 7, 2010 at 8:42 am

Okay, well, since it has already been 11 months, I don’t think much is going to change. I do not know what country you are from, but I do know that aupairs from N. America can only aupair for one year. Have you already applied to a univeristy and recieved your student visa? If nothing else, perhaps you can leave earlier than your contract date. I would still report your host family to the local Gemeinde (governement) building in your canton or district. When I was in Switzerland, such reports were taken very seriously, and many times the families were no longer allowed to host aupairs. I am not sure whether or not this would be the case in Germany, but it is definitely worth trying out. Other than that, I would make yourself vanish when you are done for the day, or it is your day off. Sorry to hear that your experience hasn’t been a very nice one.

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Margarita July 8, 2010 at 4:02 am

Thanks for the support Cs nanny…. I will se how things work out.

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Alejandra Salinas Salum July 21, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Hello Host moms!, my name is Alejandra Salinas , I’m from Monterrey Mexico.
Im 19 years old and I’m a very reliable,creative,happy, and energetic person.
I love taking care of children and play with them.
Im with the program Aupair Care, and I would love to find a host family.
I have been taking care of kids since I was 16,with children from 6 months to 7 years, so I have a lot of experience.
I’m very excited to be an aupair and to have to experience of being in another country with an awesome family!…
my e-mail is : alejandra_s90@hotmail.com

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Laura McCallum August 8, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Hi, I’m from England and I am in the process of applying to be an au pair in america. I have not yet spoken to any host families, but will be soon. Any tips on what to ask? Im just quite nervous about getting it right, as it is the first time Ive done this. Also what sort of things are hf looking for?

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PA AP mom August 8, 2010 at 8:30 pm

I am a former host mom.

I recommend asking a lot of questions about where the family lives, what activities they enjoy doing a family and about the kids, their schools, activities, routines, etc.

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is BE HONEST when you speak to host families. If you don’t like driving in snowy conditions or on highways, just say so. It is much better to be upfront about it and find a host family that is right for you!!!

good luck.

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Taking a Computer Lunch August 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm

As a HM, I definitely want to hear questions about the kids (although I must admit, HD likes to reveal all), but I also want to hear about what’s important to you. One AP wanted help in finding piano lessons at a reasonable cost. Another AP made it clear that she was from a diverse community and was not interested in living in a place where she didn’t feel welcome (our community has no clear majority).

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darthastewart August 8, 2010 at 10:23 pm

You should ask questions about the family dynamics:
1. Kids’ personalities- how do they get along with each other?
2. What forms of discipline the parents use
3. What they consider to be most challenging about their children
4. What the family’s typical day is like
5. What kind of hours you’d be working.
6. What are the HP’s looking for? Can they tell you? Would you be first ap, or one in a long line?
7. Typical activities? What does the family do in its leisure time?

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Anonymous August 17, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Hi!

I am an American and have started researching to become an au pair in France and put some “feelers” out. I have fallen in love with a family via the website Aupair World. I know that it is smarter to enroll with an agency and go the safe route, but I will be sad to not be able to be with this family! Should I wait another 3 or 4 months and go through an agency or go ahead and give it a go with this wonderful family in Paris?
Also, what do I need to do to start getting my visa for being an au pair for up to a year? I hear so many different things, and plan on contacting the French Embassy here in the states but would love any suggestions!
This website is great!!

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MommyMia August 18, 2010 at 12:03 am

If you check AuPair World’s “Visas and Regulations” section under France, there is very detailed information. Another good source is: http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-become-an-au-Pair-in-France. Bonne chance!

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Nat August 31, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Hi. I’m an au pair in the USA. I’ve been with the same host family for a year and seven months. I have two months left of my extended stay. I decided to extend my year exclusively because of the family. I loved living with them and helping them out, and I could easily see how much they appreciated me. I thought my year was ending to fast and I wasn’t going to be able to say goodbye so soon. So I extended for nine months. They were so excited about it. And I was too.

Now, since before my last nine months started, everything started to change. I personally developed an extended social life, beyond my host family, and I think that was one of the things that contributed the most to the change. I usually work more than the 45 hours per week and the 10 hours per day than the law says, and I almost never know how my day is going to be until it ends. Since I started going out more and coordinating with friends to pick me up (I can’t bring friends to the house and I can’t drive farther than 20 minutes away from the house), I started asking my host parents for better ideas of how my day is going to be. That seems to stress my host mom a lot and now she thinks I don’t care about the family anymore. I do. Or I did when they were more kind and attentive with me. But now I feel they are abusing me and don’t know how to survive my last two months. I don’t want to leave earlier, especially because I want to use my extra month to travel around.

I never broke a rule (I can’t eat outside of the kitchen, I have to be home by 11pm everyday). I never lied about my whereabouts, in fact even when I don’t have to, I tell them where I’m going and with whom. Just for courtesy. But they keep acting as if I’m doing things wrong all the time. Even when in my work I do the same things or better (more educational, less TV time, more healthy lunches) than I used to do during my first year.

Please, I don’t know what to do.

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Nina September 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Hey Nat!
Hmm it’s a little bit strange that they’re acting like that all of a sudden. Though what I, myself, have noticed, as well as several other au pairs, is that as well as us APs having our “seasons”, HFs do too. I’m now on my 2 week benchmark before leaving to go home, and at about my 3/2 month mark my own HM started acting all funny for some reason; being incredibly distant, mocking me on occasions and telling me I couldn’t laugh at that joke or speak in that conversation because I am just her employee, also telling me that I should distance myself from the kids so that the au pair has it easier if the child thinks I’m no longer interested when I go back (which is really unfair as she said it was fine that I still kept in contact with the family after I left) or nit-picking on things I’ve done all year and only now suddenly says something i.e. I’m making her tea in the morning too early, I fold the towels wrong etc. (which I don’t have a problem with her pointing out, but I ask myself why this was not mentioned in my first few weeks!). It actually got to the stage where I was ready to just pack my stuff and walk out. Having spoken to my other au pair friends, it appears to me too that there seems to be a stage close to when the au pair goes home that someone in HF tends to become a little bit colder, distant or argumentative (although I’m sure many people on here will want to disagree with me :P). I didn’t speak with my HM, but I had a miserable month until she went back to being her normal self, and our previously amazing relationship suffered as a result.

You need to rip the band aid off and tell her what you think, otherwise you’ll end up being miserable as a result and your ending memories will be tarnished by her. It could however be something that you’ve done or said which upset her too, that she hasn’t mentioned for whatever reason but is letting it show.

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Nat September 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Thank you, Nina.

I know what bothers her, and talking about it just made things worse over and over again. I used to live for them. I didn’t go out much, I was very interested in spending time with them. But as time kept going on, I created a social life, I have more friends, I have a boyfriend, I have to use my time better to do all the things I want to do, so now they think that “my focus” is not them anymore. That’s making things worse, because now they question every one of my steps and make me not want to do extra things for them as I used to, which in turn makes them believe that my focus is not them again which shows in the way they treat me, and it’s a cycle and things get worse and worse.

I’m going to talk to my LCC about it and see if she can help me figure something out, but I doubt it–she is one of those LCCs.

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aupair21 September 2, 2010 at 2:02 am

Wow! I can just relate to SO much of what you guys are talking about!

Nina, I agree with what you say about HFs having stages too where they can become distant and/or cold. Happened to me and my beloved HF. And what you wrote here: “I didn’t speak with my HM, but I had a miserable month until she went back to being her normal self, and our previously amazing relationship suffered as a result”, is exactly what happened to me!

Nat; what you just described in this comment, pretty much sums up the story of my whole aupair experience!

Well glad im not alone

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Taking a Computer Lunch September 2, 2010 at 6:58 am

I will tell you that the same grief and sense of loss that you will feel before you depart, HF go through, too. And sometimes we distance ourselves or find ourselves irrationally angry about it.

The difference is that while you will be returning home to friends and family that you left behind in your home country, we are working through the process of finding another AP. If you’ve been an excellent AP, it will be very difficult for us to find “the one” who can succeed you and make us equally happy.

If your HP’s are sorting through AP applications and scheduling interviews and you have had an excellent relationship with them, I will say that their sense of loss is acute (having been there). If you are their first AP, they will not realize that you are undergoing similar stress as it dawns on you that you might not see your best AP friends again.

The last few weeks together are an emotionally charged time. The best thing to do is to call a meeting with your HP after the kids have gone to bed to clear the air. If they have been accustomed to your working extra hours, explain to them how much you need to see the friends you’ve made that you may not be seeing again when you return home.

Do continue to work hard and graciously when you’re scheduled to work. I will tell you, as a HP, when a AP grouses about working in the last weeks, it’s hard for us to take – after all we still need childcare and we’re still paying you a salary. Having hosted several APs, I try to be liberal with extra time off when polite requests are made – especially as other friends fly home – as long as my APs continue to work as they always have when I need them.

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Chev September 2, 2010 at 12:42 am

Ugh, i’m sorry your LCC’s one of those, i’ve had that before :(
Do you have weekly meetings or a time you can sit down with her no interruptions? I’d suggest just coming out and bluntly telling her that you still very much love the family and appreciate everything they do for you but you also enjoy spending time with your friends and wish to do this before you have to go home. Explain that when you asked for an estimate of finishing times it wasn’t a complaint that you work too much but rather it would just make it easier for you to arrange people picking you up instead of having them come before you finish and making you sad that they have to wait out the front for you.
I also work long hours and don’t have a set finish time so i know how exhausting and frustrating it can be when you’ve been finishing around 6 every day and then the one day you make plans for someone to pick you up at 6.30, you don’t finish until 7.
Hope you can get this sorted, i’d hate for your last couple months to suck because of it.

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Aupairgal September 9, 2010 at 5:26 am

Ok, I have to complain somewhere. First of all I must say that I am in the last week of my aupair year and that this week I have a new found respect for all of you host parents(I used to be a bit more judgmental).

The new aupair came on Monday and I am having to train her. I am soooo exhausted because of this. Her German is horrible and she doesn’t seem to understand anything I say, she doesn’t seem to take any initiative and is sooo scared of everything. I am also a little bit sad because I have to take her everywhere with me and what should be a week of saying goodbye to everything I have worked for here is now just me taking care of basically a 3rd child.

Most people might say that I should be more understanding and to put myself in her position, but the thing is, I WAS in her position a year ago. On top of that when I came I didn’t have another Aupair to show me around because the before me the family had a really bad Aupair which they had to get rid of asap. I had 3 days with the host mom training me with the kids and was then expected to do everything on my own. I had to make my own friends and figure out on my own where everything was in my area and how to do everything.

I’m not resentful because I am a very independent person but I wish this new aupair would just step up a little bit. I also really hate that I have to be the bad guy with the kids for my last week here. e.g. I have to pull back from the kids when they want me to do stuff so that the new aupair can learn how to do everything and I hate having to “reject” the children so much in my last week with them. On top of that I am the one that has to discipline them because she is too scared to. She also can’t seem to understand them at all which worries me a bit. I mean simple requests like “I’m thirsty” or “I have to go to the bathroom”. Anyways, I could keep complaining but that is not productive. Any opinions?

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JJ Host Mom September 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm

The best thing you can do for this family is to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with the host mom as soon as possible. From what you’re saying, this is not complaining… you don’t have any motivation to complain. You’re leaving anyway. So hopefully your host mom will listen to your opinion.

Can you block off some time with just you and the host kids, so your last bits of time with them don’t have to be affected by the new girl?

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Aupairgal October 4, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Which country are you in?

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MommyMia October 4, 2010 at 2:30 pm

She says “a major Italian city” so I’d guess Italy!

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abby February 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

i am from Philippines.

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NewAPMama October 4, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Greataupair.com has many listings for aupairs in Italy!

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Edith October 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm

What do you expect to be an Au Pair? & Why you want to be an Au Pair? I’ve talked with 3 families. They had asked these questions. The three times that I answered them, I said that I want to be an AP because I want to improve my english skill and I like children and I think it’s a good combination.

Whe they ask me about what I expect, I answer that I want a family that treat me like another member of the family.
I’m not sure about is this the answer that they want to hear.
Why do you think about my answers?

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Travlin_HD October 25, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Hi…I’m going to give you an answer as a Host Dad (HD) and hopefully this can give you some insight as to how we view the whole situation.

Host families are looking (generally) for help. Cultural exchange aside, we live in a modern world where childcare is very expensive and in the USA, usually both the HD and Host Mom (HM) have to work. Having an Au Pair become part of our family and assist us in doing this is a great thing. Problems arise when a truly honest, open, and complete exchange of expectations at the beginning are not done. If there are any expectations by either the Au Pair or the Host Family (HF) they need to be voiced.

As an Au Pair, you need to ask the HF for a written copy of your HF’s guide book of rules and expectations. This should be done BEFORE either party makes any commitments. That way any misconceptions can be addressed and any expectations can be discussed.

Having the opportunity to have someone come in as an addition to our family and to help us raise and care for our family is a huge leap in trust and partnerships between everyone involved.

Start chatting as soon as possible…get all expectations out in the open…and above all, do not commit unless you make sure you are happy with the HF’s house rules and expectations (to include duties, schedule, etc).

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specialneedsAuPair October 17, 2010 at 4:20 pm

can anyone point me in the right direction of a company or website the specifically pairs Au Pairs with familys who have special needs children? I am an american Au Pair, looking to work in Europe with a family who’s child could benefit from my experience with special needs children, and I’m having a tough time finding a way to find these families. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
Amber

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Aupairgal October 18, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Though it may not be wanted I am going to just offer some information. While it is wonderful that you want to be matched with a child that is special needs you can almost safely assume that the family is not hiring you at all to teach the children/child English. This also means that their child with special needs will speak the native language of the country and the parents will also probably use the native language at home. In my experience most Aupairs from America or any English-speaking country that do not speak the language of the desired country only get hired to teach the children English. What I am basically saying is that you might be best off applying for an aupairship in the UK if you are looking at Europe. If you speak another language as well then definitely apply to a country that speaks said language, but I doubt your chances of getting a family with special needs children AND don’t require prior knowledge of their language. Unfortunately I don’t know of any specific agency for families with special needs…but, I would try applying directly to an agency in that country (instead of going through an American agency that deals with the foreign agency) and specifically list that you are only interested in working with special needs children.

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lexie December 16, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Hi,
If you aply at a agency, you have to make a folder about yourself with al your experience! So if you have special care experience, the change of being matched up with a family that needs special care is pretty big. I’m a au pair with special care experience and have been spoken with to different families both how needed a person with that kind of experience.
But I’m from Europe and living in the USA now and taking care of a special care needed child…
So you should probably get more children to take care of so you can teach them English as well!

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Natalia December 2, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Aupair mom, is nice to find a place like these, at the moment im I am in the early stages of my application as Aupair in America. i have been reading a lot of posts, and it have been very interesting and helpful.
To be honest reading the perspective of HM and HD makes me feel more committed to my role and also gives me a little scared because my oral English skills are not the best, then I wonder there will be families with a willingness to help me in this?
I really want a family how incluide me as part of it and these is based in comunication, so im concerned that my english skill afect this.

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aussiegirl02 December 13, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Hey!
Stumbled across this blog today, and I think it’s great. I think I’ve been a little disillusioned about the whole au pair process though. I’m 20 and from Australia and would love to do something like this next year – I have the experience and LOVE working with kids. However, I’ve read many complaints about certain large au pair companies (starting with a C…?) and it’s sort of brought me down. I know it takes two to tango (so to speak) and often the problem can lie with the aupair, or with the family, etc. But can anyone suggest a reputable aupair company that they haven’t had any problems with? thanks!

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Anon December 13, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Cultural Care aka CC(AP) has work just fine for me. Pretty efficient, pretty cool tools, though matching it’s quite an stressing time for all parties involved I believe ;)
(Then again, maybe that process is the same in all agencies, so who knows…)

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HRHM December 14, 2010 at 2:30 am

I think the most important thing to consider is that in the end all the agencies must go by the same rules. Most complaints i’ve heard from both APs and HFs had to do with not getting what they expected in the match (ie one or other of the parties lied int the application or renneged on agreements after the match) and this can only be sorted out by the interviewer/interviewee. The agency may or may not do a great job of vetting applications (checking references etc)but in the end you are responsible for talking to the other party to sort out fact from fiction.
1) Get all the details you can in advance. Ask to see a sample schedule, find out how “fixed” it is (will it change during the summer or every week – get this answer in writing in case problems come up) Ask for their handbook (if they have one) and READ it cover to cover. Translate where needed and ask questions about anything you don’t understand. Ask to speak to their current AP but take what says with a grain of salt. She may have an axe to grind if she wanted to extend but they said no. If they are having issues with her and don’t want you to talk to her, talk to the one before her or their LCC. If they don’t want you to talk to anyone, that’s a red flag. Remember, this is a job. You need to have a clear idea of what you’re getting into.

2) Be honest in your application and during the interview process. If you walk to work or take the bus and sometimes use your Mom’s car once a month, don’t put that you’re a daily driver. If you smoke, don’t lie and then try to cover it up when you get here (we can smell it you know!) If you have never really taken care of kids, get some experience – don’t make it up. This isn’t McDonalds and OJT won’t cut it. Listen carefully to the question the family asks and get a feel if they are the family for you. Don’t take the first family you meet just because you want to move quickly. You will get out of it what you put into it.

Remember, there is a lid for every pot. Take your time and do due dilligence. Agency won’t matter if you do.

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lily December 19, 2010 at 10:27 am

Hi from one aussie girl to another!
I am a current AP in my 2nd yr in America, and having the best time. I currently look after a 2 yr old boy with cp and a 4 month old baby girl who I have been caring for since she was 5days old.

I changed families at 7months because I had a few issues with my then HM ( corporate lady ) however I had a fantastic relationship with the children and good one with the HD.

But it has been an amazing experience and I highly recommend trying it.
If you are looking for an agency they agency I came over through is Student Placement Australia they offer a Au Pair program with a company called CHI in America. I found them to be a little more personal then CC as I have an aussie friend here who came with CC.

studentplacement.com.au/programs/usa/au_pair

:)

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Kristina July 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm

AuPairs International is a pretty good company that worked for me.
My first match did not work out and I have received great assistance and support from the agency in finding new family. Now, I live a a wonderful home with family that loves and appreciates me very much. I am sure I will extend my second year with them.

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hilary March 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Hi,

Im going through Au pair International too. I just found my Host family…but I am now starting to get a little nervous. Is it safe? I have looked into and they seam to be a good company. I just want to make sure. This will be my first time going over sea’s and being an au pair.

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vicky January 20, 2011 at 6:02 pm

This is my view, I want to work as an au pair again (I have been to Austria and Crete) because I love travelling, love to be around children and teach them things, see what a different culture and language/delect is like. I love the idea of learning new skills, and I do feel working as an au pair before I have learnt some valuable parenting skill like how to care for children in their home and fully meet their individual needs, I have learnt alot about how children live in the moment, that they love simple games and activities, that young toddlers love to repeat things everyday. That children can teach us things to, like to slow down and relax more, they teach us adults to have more fun and enjoy life, children teach us to see the positive in the simple things. There are many more than this that I could mention and this the main reason I wish to work as an au pair or a nanny, children bring out the best in us!

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vicky January 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I want to say I am coming to America with Expert Au Pair agency from England, I should soon get Host Families contacting me for a phone interview and I agree that it is important to take your time and ask them lots of questions, also ask them if they can provide references and contact information of their past au pairs.

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Welsh Au Pair January 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Hi Vicky,
I am from Wales and I have just been matched with a family through APIA. If you have any questions about the interview and stuff let me know! I go to the states in March and I am so excited!

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vicky January 23, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Yes please, could you tell me what the interview process is like? as I haven’t gone to America before and I worry about scams.

thanks

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Welsh Au Pair January 24, 2011 at 11:10 am

No Problem. Well you will usually be contacted first through email, the family will give you some information about themselves and will most likely want to arrange either a phone or Skype interview. I would be careful to really consider the information that they have given you regarding the number and ages of the children that they have. It might all look great on paper, but the actuality of having say three kids under the age of 5 is not going to be all plain sailing. If you feel happy that you want to invest more time into getting to know the family arrange a time for them to call.
When they do call try and have a list of questions that you would like to ask. Going through the archives of this site is really useful to find ideas of what to ask. Make sure you find out about the kids schedules and when you would be able to complete the educational part of your year etc…Just try and be yourself, answer honestly, the family will like the fact that you are honest from the beginning so they won’t be faced with any unknown problems when you arrive.
Don’t say yes to the first family if they don’t seem like the right fit, it’s better all round if everyone feels 100% confident in the match.
Expert Au Pair is one of the regulated Au Pair programmes, so you shouldn’t need to worry about scams.

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vicky January 25, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Thank you “Welsh Au Pair” for your advice, I will definately take it into account all that you have said. It is very helpful to me, as though it isn’t my first time working as an au pair I feel unsure about what the experience would be like to live in America. I do know it is important to ask lots of questions when I talk to the family and I am prepared for it.

Kristina July 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm

my advice: find out if family lives in the area with adequate public transportation or if you will have a car available to you for monthly meetings and college and may be occasional (in-town) use.
Many families are not happy to share cars for AP’s private use and if they live in a suburbs of some town without any public transportation (quite possible), then you are doomed.

Nikki January 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Hey guys, I love reading all of your posts, it’s so interesting to get perspective from both APs and HFs.
I haven’t gone through an agency, and have not been an Au Pair before (though I’ve had tonnes of Childcare experience!). I will be having my first chat with a potential HF tomorrow, and I’m quite nervous that I won’t say the right thing or that I’ll start babbling or that I’ll basically just ruin it.
I’ve prepared some questions and things as well as had a look at your three questions post :) but I’m worried that I’m going to be nervous on the phone and that’ll affect what the HF thinks of me. Is it bad to be nervous on the phone?
Also, for any HMs or HD that may be reading, what’s one thing that would put you off an AP on a first chat?

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Chev January 21, 2011 at 5:50 am

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be nervous. If you have your questions written down then that’ll help with your nerves :) Also, if the conversation goes well but you think you were still a bit nervous, then i’d suggest emailing them and saying that you enjoyed chatting to them and aplogise if you spoke a bit fast or with a thick accent because you were a bit nervous. I know i tend to talk fast when i’m nervous and being an aussie sometimes the accent can get a bit thick :)

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Nikki January 21, 2011 at 6:31 am

Thank you so much for your reply Chev, that’s made me feel a little more at ease :)

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Christina January 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Hi!
I am new to the au pair process and am currently signed up on the website Au Pair World (Seems to be the best website I’ve found yet). I have had families email me and am interested however my confusion comes with the next step.

I sent a response email to one family saying I was interested and that I still had some questions. I proceeded to list about 12 questions ranging from activities in their town, convenience of walking vs driving in town, town’s safety, what the kids like for activities and what they themselves enjoy, what a typical day was like… to what they pay each week and if they could help me with my plane ticket.

These were all questions that I was curious about but I am worried that I was too forward about the money situation. I did not want to come off as being selfish but it is a major factor for me because I will be a post grad student with loans and ambitions.

So my question is: Was I wrong in choosing the content of my first email? What do you suggest I do in responding to other families? Also I can speak basic Spanish and attempted to write in it… should I stick to English?

Thanks!

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MommyMia January 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Christina,
I agree, AuPair World is a great site to begin with, and I applaud you for taking the first steps towards becoming an AuPair. I’ll offer my opinion here, as a host parent who has had five au pairs to date. Your questions are fine, and all relevant to you in choosing the right family, but if I were you, I’d wait until you’ve started a correspondence with a family–if I’m reading your post correctly, it was your first response (hopefully the family had also contacted you, not just the built-in automated reply that is sent by APW when you indicate you’re interested in someone). It depends on what country you’re interested in becoming an au pair – if the family speaks Spanish and indicated they’d like an au pair with this knowledge, definitely use Spanish. If you’re planning on coming to the US, the salary is fixed and already pre-determined, and you MUST be accepted with and apply to an approved agency, who pays for your airfare. Any host family here in America who offers to pay your ticket and not use an agency is violating immigration laws, and you would be at great risk of being deported, not to mention have no protection if they do no fulfill their promises, wouldn’t have medical insurance, a support network, etc. Yes, you will likely have to pay a fee to apply, or post a “good faith” deposit which is normally returned upon successful completion of your contract, but I would argue that it is better than fronting money for a plane ticket for something that may not work out. American families are pre-screened and interviewed by the agencies, as well, so in most cases you should not be sent to a situation that was not up to standards. I suggest that you read the sections on APW website or search the web for AuPair contracts in different countries; they also list the usual salaries for various locations, number of hours of work per week, etc. Carefully read the family description and base your questions on facts that are in their profile, until you have exchanged several emails or have spoken by phone or Skyped with them. Hope this is helpful, and good luck.

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Christina January 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Thank you MommyMia for your advice.

The family and I had already sent two interested automated messages and then they sent me a personal email. It was in response to that message that I listed the questions and am now waiting for their response. So like you said I hope it was relevant but from now on I will try to initiate a more personal correspondence.

Normally how many emails do you share with your au pair before calling it a match? Are there any other steps I should be aware of? I’d like to skype but my Spanish isn’t good, should I offer to skype but mention my speaking level of their language?

Also I live in America but I am looking to au pair in Spain. I have found that in Spain families don’t assist with the plane ticket but I am hoping to get lucky since it would significantly help me out..

Thanks again!

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vicky January 23, 2011 at 9:34 pm

I went to work in Greece last year and they don’t have any au pair agencies, so I went on chance mainly to work with a family in crete. They were very lovely people and they could speak, write and understand alot of English so I was at an advantage that there wasn’t too much communication difficulty. But there were still moments when we struggled to understand somethings either of us said and we had lots of misunderstanding, also the family had an advantage that if they didn’t like certain things I did they could speak in Greek about me either when I was in the room or behind my back often. My advice to you is that find out as much about the Families in Spain as you can, ask as many questions as you an in email and on the phone or skype. Find out as well if they have any requirements that you must do, house rules and find out as much as you can about their lifestyle, about their family like even the relationship they have with the kids grandparents, uncles and aunts. As I found I made a big mistake of not finding out as much as I could about the family before I went to Crete.

As I thought they would only require me to live with them for a year at the most when they spoke to me by email and on the phone, but soon after I arrived she told me she wanted an au pair to stay for 2 years. My Host Mom made it sound like we would travel and go outside often, but from the very start we never did any of the great things she described to me on the phone conversation. Then the other problem that she never made clear, was that she wanted her au pair to be like a teacher and teach her 2 year old daughter about Numbers, Alphabet, colours, reading and other such skills. I went to Crete with the knowledge that we would be a good match and that I would enjoy the experience. But I found I got bored of staying at the apartment everyday 6 days a week, I looked after the child until 10 pm at night. Also I found out not until near the end of my stay, that my Host Mum liked to be the only one to discipline her child and so I felt bad for even trying my own discipline methods.
So it is best to find out as much as you can before you go live in another country as an au pair, from my experience of going to Austria and later Crete it is very important. As both times I loved the children, but I was unhappy and felt lonely with no friends and we were not a perfect match for each other.

As you are worried about talking on skype in Spanish, then tell them politely that your Spanish is not very good and that you would prefer to speak in English. But it is best to speak slow and clearly, as it is very common that European Families struggle to understand accents, certain words and they will most definately tell you to repeat what you said if they don’t understand something. Which I personally have found very annoying and when I have to say it again I can loose my confidence and feel like I can’t do it. Oh yeah and it is best to go with an agency because when I went to Crete I had no friends and I felt so lonely, isloated though I was in a city and much like a stranger even though I was there for 8 months. I also didn’t have good internet connection to talk to my family in England and so I read books or magazines that I found.

I also didn’t really like the culture that much and so it made me feel comfortable, so that is another things make sure that you will be happy in a new environment and different culture, that you will like the area as well. I hope you will read this, I am not trying to scare you, just being honest about European countries and my view on it. I hope this has been helpful to you.

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vicky January 23, 2011 at 9:34 pm

*uncomfortable* I mean

Smamf May 19, 2012 at 7:01 am

Hi!
I have now found a family in France that I will Au Pair for starting in August! I also went through AuPair World and found it to be a really good website! I wasn’t sure whether I should have gone through an actual agency but I’m sure that my family are legit. I have Skyped a lot and spoken to previous au pairs and the children. I would just say to make sure you get to know them quite well before committing. I’ve paid for my own plane ticket but as I live in England it wasn’t too expensive for me. If I had gone further like America or Canada I probably would have asked if they’d be willing to pay half.
I’d contacted other families on the AuPair World website too and one family seemed really keen until I asked how much they paid. I never got a reply after that! So didn’t ask any other families and waited for them to bring the subject up! I’m sure most families wouldn’t have a problem with that question though as they will be paying you. Perhaps it was something else that the family didn’t like about me rather than me asking a cheeky question!
You can find how much ‘pocket money’ the family is supposed to pay you according to Spanish guidelines on the website though. I know that France is between 280-320 euros a month so Spain may be similar.
Good luck with finding your family! :)

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abby February 19, 2011 at 11:39 am

hi! there! where can i apply as a Au pair in a European family?

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Au Pair Anglia February 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm

I am always trying to give the best advice for my aupair candidates.
This blog is very helpful and so much good advice in the comments too.
Thank you for sharing your experiences, it means a lot for people who are new to this.

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Eleanor March 31, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I’m an American looking to be an Au Pair in Europe. I started the process of searching for a Host Family in December of 2010 and found a great website called http://www.aupair.com/. It is very straight forward, you create a profile with basic information about yourself and from there you can either search the families or they can search for you. There is a feature called “Hotlist” which is similar to “Like” on Facebook. Hot-listing a family notifies them you are interested in discussing the possibility of working together. Also, of course there is a automated messaging feature as well. Vice versa for families looking to host an Au Pair.
Information on the family profiles include where they’re from/live, contact information, family info (how many children, languages spoken, if they have pets ect.); job requirements (how long they would need you, preferred nationality, how much they would pay, ect.) All great stuff!
It is free to create a profile. However if you wish to be what is called a “Premium Member” which allows you to view COMPLETE address details and contact info of the families, it is about a $55 charge (39 euro) for a 3 month access. Totally worth it I think; having that information comes in handy when sending email after email becomes tiresome and you want to have a chat on the phone! (which is a great way to get to know your family and create a bond right off the bat)
Since I’ve started, I have found a fantastic family in Germany. We’ve been in contact for about a month now and I’ll be leaving in 3 weeks, I am beyond excited! We’ve made a connection and are on the right track for a successful match; I owe it all to the site! I would definitely recommend it to any prospective Au Pair who is just starting out!
Good luck to all and happy searching :)

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canadiantreat23 April 12, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I was just wondering about something. I am from canada and looking to be au pair in greece. I know they don’t have a au pair program so what do i do to be able to go there?
does anyone know or have a helpfull website i can look at?
Thanks so much

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Rachel April 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I am also from Canada, and I am going through an agency to Scotland in June. it is called Scotia Personnel LTD. Unfortunately I looked and they don’t have anything for Greece, Italy is the closest.
http://www.scotia-personnel-ltd.com/
Not sure where you are in Canada but, I enjoyed going through this agency. They were very helpful .

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Careway April 14, 2011 at 9:49 am

Hi everyone,
I work for an au pair agency in Ireland called Careway and we help au pairs from all over the world find great au pair jobs in Dublin and throughout Ireland. So contact Careway Ireland if you would like to come and work in Ireland as an au pair. Chat soon.

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B April 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Hi!

I’m going to be an au pair in Australia in June. I’m super excited and started a blog to talk about my experience and connect with other au pairs! If anyone’s going to be in Australia this summer email me or check out my site :)

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Marta May 3, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Hey everyone, I’m trying to be an au pair in USA. And is being very hard to me all the process. Because I’m avaliable to the families since the end of December, and till now I just had two notifications and none interview. It makes me so sad. Because have so many girls from here (Brazil), that in their first week online already get a match. And I couldn’t get even a simple interview :(. In my childcare experience isn’t bad. I was a nanny for 23 months, of 3 kids (differents ages). I helped in my church for 2 years or more. I have a valid license driver. 51 pictures on my profile and a video. I’m 20 years old. I have been very patient, because is so hard to wait so long :(. I have asked help for my local agency, but they just say to me wait. But I never have seen nothing similar. I’m almost more than 5 months online on APC, and I don’t know what is happening. So like my agency can’t help me, I’d like to know in the opinion of the host families what is wrong with my profile? What are the families looking for? Thanks.

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Carlos May 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Sad… :/ is the same situation as mine but you’ve been waiting longer… how awful :/

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Sara May 26, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Marta,
You should try aupair-world.net. Also, the guide to writing a bio on sittercity.com is VERY HELPFUL. It puts all of your experience into one nice paragraph if you follow it. Hopefully that gets you some more replies!

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Carlos May 22, 2011 at 4:16 am

I’m not new at this blog… I have like a month or something…
I’m writing here because I’m kinda getting desperate because I’ve been with cultural care for 2 months now and I have only gotten the same match twice and this family didn’t even give me an interview and I REALLY FELT like that was the perfect family… It was like they were looking specifically for me … but they didn’t even give me the oportunity to have an interview. Cultural Care says that they have been having a hard time trying to reach that family, I suppouse they don’t even notice I’m there…
So the reason why I’m writing this is because I urge to get a family, and not because I want to go to the US RIGHT NOW! It’s because I was planning to start my college studies on august and I’m planning to get all my papers to leave as soon as possible from now till august, if it’s later than that.. well.. idk but still…
I feel so stupid doing this but please… I’m a male au pair having a hard time to find a family and this is so weird because I’m such a good au pairs, I’m very good with kids, just leave me your kids for 5 mins and I’ll become their best friend…. REALLY! I’m very proactive and I can be very flexible with scheadules (regarding the last topic “saturday night drama”) …
Well… I’m sorry, I don’t do this… I don’t beg for a chance… but if you wanna give me one.. I promise I’ll not let you down

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Jasmine June 8, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Hey guys,
I’ve just sent off my application with an aupair agency called Swedish Connection which I’ve heard lots of good things about. I’m from Sweden and I plan on being an au pair in London starting in august/september assuming I find a host family.

I’ve wanted to be an au pair for a long time and as I’ve finally finished my University degree it felt like a perfect time to do so. As excited as I am, I’m still a bit worried and a little bit scared. I love kids but I still keep thinking “what I won’t be able to handle it” and I think the thing that scares me the most is “what if I end up with a horrible family.”

Au Pairs: were you ever worried that things wouldn’t work out? Do you have any tips or ideas? I really want to do it and do prove to myself that I CAN do it.
Host Families: Do you have any tips for a future au pair to think about?

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Carlos June 8, 2011 at 8:59 pm

There was a london family interested in me.. do you want their e-mail? I didn’t forward them because I’m currently with cultural care to go as an au pair to the USA. And also he didn’t answear some questions… do you want the info?

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Calif Mom June 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm

If you end up with a horrible family –like my current au pair did in her original host family–you will realize it quickly and make a change. You will survive. You will also learn a lot of confidence in your own ability to deal with Big Problems. And you will have a great year.

Things to think about? Be sure you really, truly, honestly LOVE kids, because they are a lot of work and if you don’t love kids you will be miserable.

And please know you probably won’t travel as much as the agency says you will.

And college won’t be like college in the movies.

Don’t watch American sit coms and expect us to be like that.

Learn how to cook and your host mom will forgive many other problems! :-)

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Jasmine June 9, 2011 at 10:08 am

thank you for the reply :)

I really do love kids and cooking is one skill I really have :) the way I see it I think I would be a pretty good au pair because I’m not a party-girl, I’m a good listener I learn quickly, I’m reliable, I don’t whine about curfews or having to run the dishwasher, or taking out the garbage, etc, because the way I see it – an au pair lives for free in a family’s house and taking care of their children so the least one can do is to make life a bit easier for the family by doing the smalls things. I honestly don’t get why some au pairs make such a big deal out of it. It solves so many otherwise would-be problems.

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Elise June 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I’m looking to become an AuPair after I finish my degree. I’m from the US and looking for countries to go to. Italy, Australia…. any recommendations?

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a June 11, 2011 at 6:08 am

France! That’s where I ap-ed AND I’m still here. Paris is amazing! Go somewhere where you can learn a new language! If you took Spanish in high school, why not try Spain? Or Germany, or Italy of course. Go somewhere you can picture yourself for an extended period of time. I made a mistake and first decided to go with a family in the dead countryside, and it didn’t work out. I know better now- I’ve got to be in the city. If you know you have a preference, go with your preference. Go somewhere warm… I’d love to go to the southern Spanish coast or something. Good luck!

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Jasmine June 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm

an update for those who might be curious: I’ve just been interviewed by the owner of the agency and she’s going to start looking for suitable host families for me. She said my application was great and that my written letter was wonderful and that she had no doubt I’d find a good family and that she had a few she thought would suit me.
A lot of my anxiety and nervousness is gone and I’m just really excited about the matchmaking process.
Since I’ve had a childhood where I’ve travelled and lived abroad a lot (especially Africa) and since I’ve lived on my own for three years I’ve gained an understanding of the world in a way that a lot of people might not. I’m not saying I understand things better not at all, but I think it’ll be helpful in my au pair experience.
I hope there’ll be a good family out there for me. London – here I come :)

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Carlos June 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Those are good news! :D

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Au Pair UK June 16, 2011 at 7:11 am

The information are all very helpful and i am from germany….and now i am woring in uk as an au pair, the host family treat me very well and i love their baby cute girl, that was my dream to come to uk and now its come true..i am so happy to be here and i wish you guys goodluck.

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Au Pair UK June 16, 2011 at 7:15 am

btw…i really hope you guys successful!!

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jack June 24, 2011 at 8:36 am

HI everyone,

I was an au-pair about 10 years ago. I am originally from Europe. Today I live in US permanently.
My experience was horrible – but I don’t want to discourage anyone. It can be fun. I think the culture shock can be too much at the beginning, but once you find a mutual language with your family – you can spend a nice year in US, or like me perhaps stay here forever.

Good luck everyone

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anonymous July 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Is there a limit on the number of times an au pair can rematch once in the US?

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Taking a Computer Lunch July 12, 2011 at 6:57 am

My agency (U.S.) generally limits it to 2 times in one year for both APs and HF, although they will allow more rematches for exceptional situations (HF abusing policies, AP who breaks the law, etc). An AP who can’t settle with a 3rd family is generally sent home, and the HF who repeatedly enters rematch for no good reason is sent packing. (It must be at that point the costs exceed the benefits to the company.)

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Zeljka July 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Hi!

I was an au pair in USA 2008-2009.I really want to do it again.I applied again.First time I was in the CULTURAL CARE AU PAIR,that is really great agency.But they no longer work in Bosnia :-(.My agency is now Au Pair USA.
I am interested in your experience with Au Pair USA agency???Thank you all
I hope that I will find me host family soon!

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Anna July 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I was with Au Pair USA for many years – I am a host mother, I like them a lot, and will definitely try to return to them next year! They are supposed to debut a new on-line matching system for families, that’s a great improvement. They also have a better reputation among host families than your first agency (as a rule).

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Zeljka July 13, 2011 at 5:35 am

Dear Anna,

Thank you,it is very nice to hear it.I am waiting for match,hope it will be soon.Even though I had already been,I am still excited.

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WonderG July 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Hi, I need some advice about my situation here.

On Saturday, one of my host kid had birthday party from afternoon to late and I was in my room the whole time cause I was tired and it was my off day. There’s lot going on on my personal issue as well so I just wanna relax that day. My host mother eventually wasn’t happy about it til now and I kinda feel confuse what should I do/say? She been quite and didn’t talk to me that much as usual especially on our dinner last night other than question me about that if i were sleeping during the party. I suspect she feel like i’m ignoring the family on her son’s birthday. The thing is there’s many people coming over in our house (about 10 kids+parents) for the afternoon party and then later evening we have the family from both parents side (grandparents, cousin, sister, etc) did come over which is too much noise for me. I did come down for a little while checking my host kid and everyone that afternoon and it seems everything looks fine cause everyone is busy playing and have a good time. The worst thing happen i guess I miss the party on the evening where they all celebrate with the grandparents and cousins. What should I do now?

Thank you so much!

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anonamomma July 18, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Honestly – talk to her – just tell her that you were overwhelmed (meaning it felt to big for you) and that you didn’t mean to be rude or ignore anyone

Basically you might have hurt their feelings (both the parents and the children) and now you need to make that up – the easiest way for you to do that is by putting a lot of effort into the children over the next few weeks – you might have hurt their feelings too – ask them lots of questions about what a great party they had – that you saw that had great fun – maybe do an extra special activity -maybe do a big family dinner

Good luck and let us know how it goes

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PurpleHeart from VA July 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Hey aupair mom your blog is so cool I am an au pair and I just feel identified with some of the situation you mention,my year until now has been awesome i love it in here

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Au Pair Jobs UK August 12, 2011 at 8:10 am

The best place for the Au Pair jobs is UK……. Here there will be no problem regarding transportation or any other problem have to be faced by the aspiring Au pair candidates. I am working for an Au Pair agency and and very much satisfied with my job and the host family………

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Carlos August 13, 2011 at 5:07 am

how about the current situation… is it still safe?

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AuPairCR August 18, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Hello readers, I am an AP, and right now I’m desperate for some advice… I would love some input to know what to do.

Me and my HM don’t have the best relationship, it sails between polite and “barely there” kind of thing. She is a stay at home mom, and i take care of her 4 children, they are younger than 8.
PROBLEM 1:At the beginning of my year, she started changing her ways, because she was annoyed by some things i did, we talked about it, i changed things the best that i can, and I am working really hard. With all the cleaning up after the kids, their rooms, the kitchen, the laundry etc. Even though i have done all these things daily I still struggle to get a good reaction out of her, every time i start a conversation she answers with yes or no replies and then we don’t talk anymore, she only addresses me to give me stuff to do. I don’t know what to do…
PROBLEM 2: i really love her kids, they are wonderful and they are all so different, I play with them all day and we get along very well, they say the love me and we hug and it’s a pretty nice relationship, but they are misbehaved, one of them likes to throw tantrums, and the other two boys are very violent sometimes with each other and sometimes with me. I try to handle these things by myself, but it has gotten to a a point i kind off can’t handle it anymore, HM sees when they disrespect me, and hit me or pinch me and does nothing. ex: yesterday at the pool one of them throws a tantrum because he is tired, i tell him to relax he subsequently throws a ball at my face and then kicks me, he is a 5 year old… I say hey don’t do that to me that’s rude, i’m not even yelling she immediately comes to me and scolds me. In my mind i think am i just supposed to let them hit me and talk to me however they want to?

I am starting to resent my stay here… I feel like I do all the work, and trust me when i say she does nothing(she only cooks and drives them), which is fine, that’s why she is paying me for, but she will give me an attitude every time i make the smallest mistake and not even talk nice to me about it… I dunno how to look at it, I just know that i feel very alone and clueless. Any help??? please!

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melanie August 22, 2011 at 8:17 am

Hello
Im a debut aupair mom and a little scared at the prospect as I need help at home but I really like my privacy too. Had a bad experience before with an aupair who left after a week crying for her boyfriend from day one( So it couldnt have been anything Id done!!) Anyway she literally sat on my couch and when I opened a glass of wine Id offer her one as I didnt like not to (is this a bad idea?) and she would drink all my wine too!!
How do you share a home but not your entire life (or you wine store!)
please help!

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Left Bank Manc September 12, 2011 at 6:46 am

Hi, I have been reading your blog today with interest, I can’t remember where but somewhere you mentioned you would like to find more au pair blogs so families can see it from the other side? Well I have been an au pair in France for over a year now, and have been keeping a blog which also features advice for au pairs. I have selected a random post which is heavily related to au pairing:

http://leftbankmanc.blogspot.com/2010/10/dont-be-skivvy-eating-shit.

I hope au pair moms aren’t too shocked by my blog, I really do love being an au pair and I really respect the family I work for!

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Left Bank Manc September 12, 2011 at 6:08 pm

To AuPairCr- (the au pair with the horrible host mom and bratty kids) say to the mum ‘you are really making me hate life, you are being horrible, I can not live like this anymore, do you want me to look after your kids, or not?’ if she wants you to stay she will have to be nicer, or she will have to go through the hassle of findng a new au pair and it sounds as though her kids are pretty difficult. If she says ‘no, go’ then you can just leave, knowing you tried your hardest, and afterwards you will look back and think ‘I cant believe I stayed there so long’. Honestly, just tell her!!! I know its hard but she needs to realise she is being a rude horrible person who shouldn’t have so many kids if she doesn’t want to be nice to the girl trying to look after them.

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bailey September 19, 2011 at 5:46 pm

my name is bailey, i am finishing my last year of highschool, and would like to be an au pair for a year in germany before i begin college,
i have basic german language skills only
my question is how long it will take me to find a family, and what most families expect from their au pairs. i love kids and i believe this experience would be great for me, but i do not know an au pair, so i would love first hand advice from someone. what can i expect when i get there?
what are some positives and negatives of being an au pair ?

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GermanHM September 20, 2011 at 3:06 am

Bailey,
I am a HM in Germany, so I’ll jump in here:
It is very hard to generalize what families expect and want, as of course every family has its specific needs dependant on age and number of children, family lifestyle etc. Look through the family profiles on the websites – f.e. apworld – to get a better idea.
What is your childcare experience – have you done babysitting? What ages? Be specific in your profile. The experience should not only be great for you, but also for the family.
A word of advice: Before applying, familiarize yourself with the legal parameters of the program in Germany. Often, the enthusiasm of US wanna-be-APs suddenly wanes once they realize how little they will earn. Don’t expect to be paid more simply because you are American!
It should be very easy and quick to find a family through a web site, many parents would like an American au pair. However, those who have had one have sometimes annoyed by their sense of entitlement… So be very clear not only about what you want but also what you can accept – and what you bring to the family.
You might want to try to improve your German a little before going, depending on how basic it is. Yes, most people speak English (it will be harder to get people you meet to speak German with you, they usually enjoy practicing your English), but if your host children are small, they will not!

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bailey September 21, 2011 at 1:39 am

thank you for your advice :) !

i know that the pay will be very small, my reason for going is the experience, not the money.
i am currently working on my german skills. i understand i will need to speek german with the children, i anticipate that.
my biggest concern is feeling over worked, or feeling like i don’t have ebnought time off to enjoy the culture. i have no problem with working, but i don’t want to feel like a slave either. i just want a family that is as excited as i am about this, and is supportive. I don’t think being american gives me any sense of entitlement, or means i will be payed more.

http://www.aupaircare.de/inbound/

this is a link to a company i am considering using.
has anyone used this company before and have complaints or good things to say ?

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GermanHM September 21, 2011 at 5:39 am

Bailey,
it’s good if you have already informed yourself about the details. I only wrote this because of the experiences I have had with some prospective APs, I am not implying it’s the case with every US AP!
I honestly don’t think you have to worry about being overworked. The legal limit in Germany is 30 hours per week, and while there are always horror stories, the HF I know are extremely fair regarding this limit. My APs have always had plenty of time to explore Germany and Europe.
And if you feel unhappy within the family you are placed with, you can terminate the contract within 14 days, and I’ll bet you money you’ll have found another host family within a week, especially if you are flexible as to region – most US APs seem only to want to live in Munich or Berlin! ;-)!

Re the agency – other US aupairs may have experiences to share about this agency, I can’t comment. But speaking as a HM again – I would not use an AP that comes through this agency. Why? I don’t like to burn money ;-)! The cost for the HF to use this agency is around 1500 EUR – whereas “normal” agency fees for a HF are 300-500 EUR, or 0 if you go through a website. Bearing in mind that you don’t have to use an agency in Germany, and that the agency doesn’t do much after the initial placement, why should I use them? I can get an English speaking – if that is what I want – AP from the UK at no extra cost through a website.
The tendency among HF I know in Germany is – use an agency if it is an AP from an exotic country or if it is your first AP. Else they tend to search themselves through a website – more choice and much cheaper.

For you as an AP, the agency offer is nice – you get your flight paid (normally you are responsible for this cost) and may have a local representative. But you are much more “expensive” than the average AP, so you limit your choice of families (and the region – this agency operates mainly in Berlin). The families you are offered are probably on the wealthy side, but of course that doesn’t guarantee that they are “good” families…

If I were you, I’d apply to this or another agency, but I’d also “shop around” on a website to see what else is on offer (hint: write your profile in German – it shows commitment).
Best of luck!

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MommyMia September 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Bailey,
GermanHM has some excellent advice for you! It is APs from other countries coming TO the US who need to use agencies, as it is required by our Department of State and offers legal protection to both the families and APs. As she rightly points out, the cost is often a deciding factor between two excellent candidates. We used a German-based website, AuPair-World.net, that I thought was an excellent forum – both the families and girls who posted profiles on there just seemed more professional and serious than GreatAuPair, at least to me. Definitely try out your language skills or post your profile bi-lingually – it does make a positive impression. Ditto that “good luck!”

bailey September 23, 2011 at 2:35 am

Thank you, both, for your information :) !
it was very helpful, and i am taking what you told me seriously , i will work harder in my german classes, and do my best to educate myself for my stay in Germany :)I have heard horror stories about au pairs being over worked, not having time off, and feeling stuck.
hopefully with your advice along with other reaserch, this will not happen to me.
Really, thank you :)

Are there any au pairs here, or anyone that knows of an au pair that took a gap year before college to au pair ?
If so what was the experience like for you, and was it harder to get back into the school mentality ?

phil C October 18, 2011 at 8:03 am

Hi there,

has anyone tried aupaircity at all? i understand its a new website for au pair’s and families its based in the UK as far as i can tell plus it donates money to charities. have a look http://www.aupaircity.com

please come back to me and tell me what you think, i have just registered as we are looking for an au pair.

Thanks Phil

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Riswan January 7, 2012 at 5:16 am

I’m a 23 years old experienced manny from India, trustworthy, reliable, hard-working looking for a wonderful family if anyone interested please mail me at riswaniofd@gmail.com

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Au Pair Gema February 1, 2012 at 10:31 am

I’m 23 year old student from Spain who would love the opportunity to be part of a Jewish family working as an Au Pair. I am looking forward new experiences, learning Jewish life and customs and also improve my english!! I’ve recently visited Israel and I was fascinated by the culture!! I’ m responsible, fun and I have had experience babysitting children. If you are interested email me: gem1bcn@gmail.com

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chant February 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm

hi all! i need some advise!
well im an au pair already and iv been an au pair for 3 or 4 weeks now! and my host parents are very nice but i feel sometimes not wanted! i do my job to the best of my ability and try very hard! im very homesick and get depressed! i like to travel and go to different countries and places, but i want to know how long does it take for me to feel like im doing my job right and does it take 3 months for you to feel comfortable in the host parents house? right now i feel like im just getting everything wrong and im dissapointing them! but i really want to make them happy and let them feel like everything is under controll! what do i do? do i just give it time and wait and see?

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AFHostMom February 21, 2012 at 10:12 pm

How long…it depends. Do they give you feedback? Do they say positive things about your performance (in addition to any issues they might bring up)? If they don’t give you much feedback, you might start asking them. We also have a new au pair and we started out with a checklist for her, on her request. We went over it with her every night for the first couple weeks. I feel like sometimes I criticize her too much–but honestly it’s just me addressing things as they come up, and for every negative I try to discuss a positive as well.
How are you dealing with your homesickness? It can certainly be overwhelming. Are you making new friends and getting out to spend time around other people?

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Darla February 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I’m an American who is more than a little surprised by the lack of religion-specific au pair and nanny agencies out there.

I’m 30 with loads of experience, international and State-side, in youth and education. Now, I’m looking to relax (hah!) and become a live-in nanny for a family–anywhere in the world. I’ve lived in many cultures around the world, learned from many religions, and am often asked to be a nanny. But I’m looking to help out a Christian family specifically and can’t seem to find them! I know there must be some wonderful Christian families in the world who need my help, so where are those agencies/websites that will connect us!?

Thoughts? Resources?

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Taking a Computer Lunch February 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm

It depends on what you mean by “Christian.” Many countries have an official state religion, unlike the United States, that is either Christian (meaning Catholic or Protestant), Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, or something else. You may able to post your resume on a web site, and find a family who has similar religious beliefs, but my guess is that agencies abroad, if they follow any explicit religious principles, follow that of the state.

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AFHostMom February 27, 2012 at 10:30 pm

I don’t really know if there’s a market for a religious-based matching service/agency, honestly. For those of us in the US for whom religion is important, we (both APs and host families) can look at an applicant’s beliefs in his or her profile, and only choose to move forward with applicants who have the beliefs we’re looking for. I would think that if you made your preferences clear in your profile, wherever you post it, you would likely only be contacted by families of the same religious persuasion as you.
For what it’s worth–for my family, a shared religion is a nice “bonus” but by no means a necessity to a good au pair. And we’re fairly religious.

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hilary March 4, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Hi,

I’m looking to become an Au pair. I’m registered through http://www.aupairinternation.com. I just don’t know if its safe enough. This will be my first time being an Au pair and I would love to go to Europe. So If anyone knows of better agencies or if au pair international is legit. Please let me know.
Thanks!

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sweetheart March 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm

ok I will start asking for a lot of advices…

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Jolie March 18, 2012 at 5:56 pm

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http://joliesoulie.wordpress.com/

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NewInThisTopic May 29, 2012 at 12:32 am

we just joined an au pair company and we were matched with a girl from Colombia. I was considering another nationality for my firts au pair however, her application is perfect for our needs. What do you think or know about Colombian au pairs?

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caro June 2, 2012 at 5:45 am

What do you think of a 25 year old AP (Returning Program)? I did it when I was 19 and loved it. A lot has changed ever since: I worked mainly as an English teacher or as an Executive Assistant. LAst year was extremely hard for me as I split with my my long- term boyfriend and feel that I need a year away, abroad and preferably in a family environment (seriously!). Host parents-what do you think about that? DO you think 25 is too old? Would you think there is something “worong” with an AP this age? :)

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Judy Ramler June 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Very good site! I really appreciate the way in which it’s always easy on my eyes and the information is clearly written. So i’m curious about the simplest way I could be warned anytime a new posting has been produced?

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SingleHM June 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Sign up at the top of the page (under the owl), for an email whenever a new blog post has been written…

I don’t think there’s a way to be notified if someone’s written a reply, though.

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Busy Mom June 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Judy, I set up a feed from this site in Internet Explorer. Left click on the star in the top right corner of IE. It lists all the comments since the last time I checked the feed. It’s not foolproof as I occasionally find that I miss some feeds, but I get 95%.

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Busy Mom June 13, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Sorry, that should have read “I occasionally find that I miss some comments.” This is different than what SingleHM suggested, because I see the individual comments, not just the new posts. So, I can see comments on old posts too.

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Laurena June 12, 2012 at 8:07 am

Hi i just want to know if this is a normal au pair situation or whether i should talk to my bosses? I have been here just under 2 months, and my bosses have asked if i will let a 18 year old boy stay in my flat with me. i’ve already said no, and expressed why. but they have mentioned it now three times and are almost trying to guilt trip me in to it. They finally agreed that he could stay in their house (he works for them) and expected me to be ok with this, after they’d sat and tried to convince me to let him stay, saying how the other potential au pair was ok with it, how its normal for people to share in staff accommodation, how they can’t afford to put him in the flat above me as it needs renovated etc. but i explained i was not comfortable about this, and also they didn’t tell me about this plan until i got here. even though they knew about it for months before hand. Because i got upset the third time they asked, my boss said i behaved wrongly and i was ‘B****ing’ and being ‘B****y’ and that i shoudln’t have reacted like that. he told me this when i was alone in the car with just him and the kids. I thought it was a bit innapropriate to speak to me like this and explained that i only got upset because i felt they were pressurising me. Besides from this they often give me in to trouble for things im doing wrong, but then do the same thing themselves. Because i don’t speak their language fluently, when they ask me to go out, they rarely speak any english to me, so often i sit there on my own in silence when in the company of them and their friends. They will speak english when it is just me and them, but if other family and friends are about i often will get a handful of sentences given to me the whole time im in that company. I feel quite lonely and isolated but i don’t know if im maybe just overreacting? The husband is also very very overley friendly, asking me to go on a trip to the capital alone with him, or to come and spend time with him alone when his wife goes out. although she knows about this. I often ffeel quite uncomfy with his behaviour but don’t know if he is just a very friendly person. I would just like to ask the other au pair moms if I am maybe being a bit immature with this, and whether this is just normal?

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azmom June 13, 2012 at 12:19 pm

are you an au pair in the US? it doesn’t sound like it? if you’re not under contract and you’re uncomfortable, then i would bring it up to them that you feel uncomfortable sharing quarters with someone of the opposite sex.

if you are an au pair in the US, then you are governed by US dept of state laws and are required to have your own private bedroom.

as for the language, you should be learning their language as part of the exchange. take some language classes in person or online (kindle has some options) and take advantage of their not speaking English to improve your situation.

as for things you’re doing ‘wrong’ that they do wrong themselves, it is your job to do it right. parents make mistakes but most parents know when they’re making exceptions and don’t expect that if they’re paying someone to do something to not do the same. i know i’m a lot more consistent in the ‘quality’ i do for my job than i am at home. i wouldn’t slack at work, and i don’t like a lot of TV for my kids, but i do it sometimes. but AP better listen to my rules. So even if you see them not doing something your job is to do it anyway (ie, your job is to make sure kids brush their teeth, you do that EVEN if you know that the mom doesn’t make sure it happens on saturday mornings when you’re off)

Good luck!

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Laurena June 14, 2012 at 8:33 am

Hi, Im living in Austria, and i’m meant to be going to language courses by law i think, which they pay half of, but i never have any time to go to them as im there all week. I’m only meant to be working 20 hours a week by law, however im working around 40, and will be doing more next month and from then onwards.

I also explained to them when they first asked that i wouldn’t stay with this boy, and explained my reasons why. The mother went in a strop with me, but it was agreed that he wouldn’t stay there and they would find an alternative. It was then mentioned again with the father and i explained again why i wouldn’t want him staying in my flat with me. I don’t know him, and either do they. And i wouldn’t feel comfortable. They told me before i came i would have the flat to myself, but yet they gave him a guided tour around the flat aswell before i arrived and told him he’d get to stay there. they say they ‘forgot’ to tell me this..They then asked a third time and tried to guilt trip me in to it, giving me reasons why i should let him stay etc. They then decided he could stay at theirs, and i left to go to my bed as i was quite upset at them constantly asking and trying to make me feel bad. Thats why the father called me ‘B****y’ the next day, and said iwas wrong for how i acted etc.

I also feel uncomfortable and not that happy at the moment, i explained this to them already, but still feel liek this.

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AuPairAbroad June 12, 2012 at 11:53 am

Ok I would like some input.

I am an au pair for a really wonderful family in Spain. I’m 19 from Seattle. Things are going well, I think.

Here’s what I’m worried about.

1.) Last weekend, the children were staying with the grandparents, so it was just my host parents and I at home. I went out with some friends and arrived home very late (almost 4am). When I went to turn the alarm off, I did something wrong and the alarm rang and woke my host parents up. I felt horrible and apologized profusely…Would this be a big deal to you? How would you respond?

2.) Since I’m in Spain and I’m 9 hours ahead of PST, if I want to call home, I have to do it only on weekends or late at night (3am or so). I’m a night owl anyway (I don’t work in the morning and it isn’t effecting my work). I don’t get internet up stairs in my room, so I go into the office and shut the door. I try my best to be very quiet, and speak softly, but I am worried that I might be bothering my host family. My family back home is going through a not-so-good time (problems with my younger sister/grandparents), so I like to talk to them almost daily. I am trying to respect my host family by being quiet. They told me a few weeks ago that I was too noisy, so I made sure to be more quiet since then, and they haven’t said anything else. Any advice??

3.) This is the last one, and it’s from today. I really screwed up today. My boyfriend is in town visiting (staying in a hotel 20 min from where I’m living) and long story short I misjudged how long it would take me to get to the school from the hotel (via bus) and my host aunt had to pick the children up and is bringing them to the house as I type. I have never done anything like this before. Would you fire your au pair? I feel absolutely horrible, and I can assure it will never happen again. What would be a proper punishment?? How would you handle the situation??

Thanks for the advice,
Brit

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A Host Mom June 12, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Hi Brit: Am I right that the alarm incident and the mistake today all happened within the last few days? Being that they were so close together, it may bother them because it may seem like your focus is on your boyfriend and not on your work duties. That happened recently with my au pair before she went on vacation. She dropped the ball several times and we had to speak with her when she returned from her vacation. My advice is to keep on top of your game for the remainder of your boyfriend’s trip and not to mess up at all (in fact, if you can do something over and above for the host family, do it).

About the calls in the middle of the night, that wouldn’t fly in my house and it would bother me enormously. It can be viewed as choosing to inconvenience your host family in order to accommodate your “at home” family’s schedule. It’s not fair to them and, honestly, I think you should stop it altogether.

I hope that helps.

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Boys Mama June 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm

As far as the phone calls at night, we wouldn’t have a problem with that at all as long as it wasn’t waking us up. In my opinion it’s perfectly understandable that there is a time difference and you want to connect with your family.

I’ll be honest with you- while setting off the alarm once is a simple mistake, you need to be very careful not to let it happen again. And missing picking kids up from school for ANY reason, especially your social life, is a very major problem. If I were your host mom, I’d be very seriously thinking about rematch on that basis alone. All these things together, and I think you need to make a major move to save your position, immediately. Be very clear that you are sorry and intend to be much more responsible for the rest of the year, and make sure they believe you.

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DCMomof3 June 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I would probably get rid of you for not being there when you were supposed to pick up the kids. You put the safety of the children in jeopardy just so that you could be with your boyfriend. Not acceptable. Last summer, I had an AP who wanted to go visit her friends at a pool about an hour from our town during a few hours that she had off while my kids were in camp. My husband and I were both away for work that day and I asked her not to go to the pool (even though she was off duty) because I was worried that she would not get back in time. She went anyway and did make it back in time. Her view was that she was free to do whatever she wanted during her off time. My view was that my kids’ safety was her primary reason for being here and if accomodating her social schedule caused me to worry all day while I should have been focusing on my work, then I did not need her as my au pair. That incident, combined with a few others, caused me to send her home early.

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Needy Aupairrr June 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Hi there, I’d like to share with you some of my experience with a HF in London, UK. I’ve been following this website since day 1 and found it really helpful.. so thank you!

I’d like to propose a new topic as well : Does your aupair feel like she’s overworking??

Well, first of all I have to say that being an Aupair in Europe is slightly different than USA. In most of the European’s countries there’s no law to determine the aupair’s wage, hours of duty etc. (Germany is one step ahead though).

So, when I moved with my HF I made sure I signed a contract with my roles and duties. I tried to assure them I was never ever gonna be a maid, and that the 2 and a half year old cutie I’m taking care of is still their child NOT mine. They seemed very reasonable and caring and I loved them.

I started working on mid-November 2011, like most of us, the first time as an aupair.
My duties were #1 mind the baby (play, teach him my native language, activities, cooking… typical stuff) #2 keep his belongings and room clean and tidy #3 some housekeeping: cleaning the toddler’s mess and don’t let the house get disorganized. (obviously this includes my room)
It sounded fair and easy…. Months later I’m really considering asking them for a rematch, because I just RUNNED OUT FROM ENERGY.

They always took off very early as they work full time, so I had to wake up at 6.30 in the morning if the baby didn’t wake me up earlier. There was some days (not usual, but unnaceptable) they would enter my room while I was sleeping (reaally early) and wake me up so they could get dressed properly and leave.
I smiled and said yes and took the baby without havent washed my face nor combed my hair… Worst of all, the contract said I’d start my duty when they leave home, Not wake up (I personally believe that I have to get ready and dressed for work, just like them. Making the exception that Im not his parent!)
It seems they got used, last two monthes they left home at 6.30 so I have to wake up at six… it’s not fair for me to wake up this time and I’m going to explain why:

I work as a full time aupair. The baby is with me from 6 in the morning till 5pm, if the parents decide to get on time and skip the gym (YES, Before it wasnt like this, but once I said yes they got used and now they’d leave me a note and leave the phone at home, THIS IS NOT JOKING).
And OK, the baby is the cutest, but when he’s not your child ,12 hours of crying, changing nappies and inventing games seem more than enough.
I know this might sound unfair, but I really dont need them to sneak somedays, the baby, like any 2 year all, is all ‘no”no’, hit face, push, bite, scratch….
Then, when they are home, they turn on the tv, play the cartoons and leave him there till 6.30-7.00 when he sleeps.

Sometimes I think he could sleep a bit later so I could wake up 30 minutes later (that’s my dream), but I know babies have sleep’s patterns and might not make a difference, still they have not tried.

I’m not afraid of work so I could keep going on like this for the rest of my programme but, I really am tired of their lack of consideration, they keep leaving leftovers of their dinner in the table (food included) and I have to load em in the dishwasher next morning, sometime they even left empty cans in the living room (I have not much time to go and chill out there) so they even told me once why the place was this dirty.
They clean their clothes and I never ever wash them (I ironed sometime, but that’s fine). I load three washes weekly for the baby and 1-2 for my own clothes. They leave their clothes hanging so I can’t dry mine nor the babies and I always end up folding their filthy panties (sorry they are a nice family but I’m soo PISSED with this behaviour in special).

SO WHEN THEY GET HOME THE SHARING AREAS (wich I not use cause once they home I dissapear from their sight) ARE SPARKLING, TIDIER THAN EVER AND BRUSHED (thanks god I own my bathroom that would be a nightmare)

The food is another problem. They are a wealthy family and spend a lot of money in fresh fruit and nice meat, they buy the finest bread and the most commercial cereals.
They are very strick respect what I or I don’t cook for the baby, he is a good eater. I always think of a menu and let them know.
If there’s a 500grams of chicken fillets I’d just cook two or three and It’s enough, but they tell me to cook them all (ok, chicken in the cooker is not a big deal, but there’s some extrawork as I have to cut and cut the proportional amount of veggies FOR THEM TO FILL THEIR GUTS!!………AFTER GYM!!!!)
They also don’t meet my ”special” needs respect food, I’m lactose intolerant so I need to drink soya/almond milk and I eat high fibre cereals……. also, not a big deal but those are products that I pay with my pocket money, and they are always very cautious about their sweets, they think I never saw their packs of cookies and chocolates hidden when I clean the kitchen every single day?? I really don’t understand why they hide that from me (I’m sure they hide it because I once entered the kitchen while this self was open and they were trying to hide it).
If I want a cookie, I think I deserve to have it, after all I’m responsible of their little baby and I live with them and that includes food.

And, babysitting… I don’t know but I would like to count their gym sessions as extracare. We never spoke about extra money, in the contract we just agreed of 2 nights (week and weekend or both week) and on weekend they would let me know with anticpation so I could make plans.
Sometimes they call me when I’m out to go back home cause they decided to make plans in that precisely moment… and of course I have to say yes because next week I’d do double shift if not.

And, of course, they don’t pay me the transport and travelling in London is very expensive!! If the baby and I go to the zoo or circus I’d have to pay it myself (If it wasnt for him I wouldnt go!!).
I once took him to the zoo and when I asked them to refund me the traveling costs they told me it was my choice to bring him there or not… so guess what…now we just go to the local park and It’s very repetitive.

I once got really anxious and exited and I politely told them I wanst happy the HDad took off saying I was overeacting and HMum conforted me, but keeping clear that it was my fault cause I let a 2 year old make loose my mind.

I also didn’t receive any english classes, in Europe is a privilege, I wasnt expecting it but I asked them for some info so I could pay for a title and If they could do something to make it a little cheaper (again, THIS IS LONDON)… I didnt get any cause my timetable after all.
I’m Italian but I really tried to make the best of my english, so I also can’t stant when I don’t know the name of something or I don’t pronounce properly and HE MAKES FUN OF ME. Does he understand english is not my mother tonge or not??
a 45 year old could do better for real.

So,
timetable: 6.30 am to 5pm, monday to friday (normally they arrive at 6.30 two or three times a week) —
babysitting: twice weekly, sometimes (usual) unexpectedly and when I am already out.
Valoration of duties:
-with the child: 2 year old, mosty running, always standing, nappies, cleaning mess of dinner. Patiente regards crying and punching. EXTRACARE
-with the house: common areas and babie’s room in perfect state when they get home, dishwasher, washing machine, bins, mopping and some dusting. Ironing for me and baby.

For: A nice big room with TV small bathroom en suite.
100 pounds weekly NO transport (public or car) NO special needs regarding food NO bathroom needs (as soap, toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo)

The family has been polite with me every second, they respected my privacy most of the time and never cared if I was back at 5 or 6am on saturday night (im very responsible and I wouldnt do that on a sunday, but they still very cool with my nightlife). They never got involved in my personal life and that is what i most care about

As far as I know an aupair means an extra hand and not a maid…. I think I work hard I respected their life and I’ve been polite, loving and caring with the family.
I am truly tired.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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hm2 July 1, 2012 at 5:33 am

Would it be possible to take a week off and travel? So you could recharge your batteries and think things through.

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AuPairEspana June 30, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Help! I need advice. I’m 19 from the USA. I’ve agreed to a 5 month commitment with my host family in Spain, and am just about to start my third month. Honestly, it’s been going OK, not great. We’ve had two “refocus” conversations (two bad days I had- once missing the bus so the aunt had to fetch the children *completely my fault* and once being unfocused and distant and generally not helpful during one day of the family’s vacation, which I was working *I was upset about my family and didn’t talk to my host parents about it and it caused a lack in performance*) They say that they need to be specific with me and that I only do as I’m asked but they want more, and I’m trying to do more, but my heart isn’t in it. They don’t like how much I sleep (9 hours a night) and comment about it, even on my days off, because they are morning people and I’m in bed when I’m not working until later in the morning, and when I am working I am up and ready at the time they ask of me, but not before. I’ve made friends here, but nothing really of significance, and I feel lonely being away from my boyfriend, friends and family. I’m just not really very happy. I’m struggling to decide whether to stay. I get along with the children fine, and my host parents are generally happy with my interaction and supervision of the children. I like my host mom, but my host dad and I are not close. I know it’s only two more months, but if I’m unhappy, should I stay? I would love some advice!

Thanks-

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hm2 July 1, 2012 at 5:27 am

You made a commitment, nothing is really wrong and at the end of the day this is a job. There are always times in every job situation when you aren’t 100% happy. It’s two more months, it’s summer – make the most of your stay there.

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EU.AP July 2, 2012 at 5:04 am

Yes. In the end it’s only two months, and it is the difference between being able to tell future employers that you made a five month contract to live and work abroad, or not. It would be a waste of three months to leave now, it’s a reasonably unique and interesting thing on a resume, and can boast a myriad of skills that future employers would find favorable.

Focus your energy on the things you can improve (taking more initiative, it sounds), and ignore the comments that you can’t (how much you sleep on your off days, it’s not really their concern.)

Close bonds aren’t formed in a couple months, and I know it makes it difficult. I’ve had my best friend living within walking distance since I was thirteen, and to only talk to her every month now has been a very hard transition.

If nothing else, enjoy the sun!

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AuPairEspana June 30, 2012 at 9:52 pm

** Nothing is really “wrong” and there is no pressing issue on either side to terminate the relationship early- I am just not really happy, and it’s affecting my enthusiasm and “gung-ho” for the job.

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HM Pippa July 2, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Happy is a choice, and 2 months is an incredibly short period of time. You have made a commitment; the mature thing to do is find a way to suck it up and stick it out. With a smile on your face.

One of my favorite wise elders said something like “sometime being happy makes you smile; sometime a smile makes you happy.”
Here is an idea how: http://liveboldandbloom.com/09/self-improvement/mindfulness-oprah-and-the-smiling-meditation-of-thich-nhat-hahn-2

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hm2 July 1, 2012 at 5:31 am

If you feel you are running out of energy and are tired of all of it you need a break. Is there a way that you could take a week off and travel?

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EU.AP July 4, 2012 at 8:14 am

My five year old can throw horrible tantrums. If he hasn’t had enough sleep, and I’m not cooking something he likes (all he likes is pancakes), and it’s the perfect storm.

He screams at me, begs for cookies — or anything else, swears, tells me to go back to my country.

The first time I took him to his room and told him to come talk to me when he’s calm. Not an easy feat, I have to literally carry him up several flights of stairs, and hold the door for a few minutes as he banged and screamed.

I gave up on the idea of dragging him to his room, mostly because I don’t like the idea of manhandling someone else’s kid. He spun that story to make me sound like an absolutely monster to his mom.

Since then I have given him his space when these tantrums break out. I have other kids to tend to, and it generally happens when I am too busy getting dinner ready to be able to give it that much attention. The other day it happened in the kitchen, making it absolutely impossible for me to give him the space I normally do. It also made him that much angrier that I wouldn’t go away.

Twenty minutes of constant screaming had me pretty close to tears, and I cant think of anything more embarrassing than HD coming home to find me crying.

Should I deny him little treats and privileges based on something that happened the previous day? Am I just being way too gentle, trying to ignore him? Is he old enough to grasp that he can’t just have cookies for snacks, and pancakes for dinner (in other words, does he understand how futile his cries are)?

I have a tricky relationship with him because we don’t speak the same language. Though he speaks bits of English, not enough to properly express himself, and not enough for me to explain that I DO NOT HAVE ANY CONTROL OVER WHAT I COOK FOR DINNER.

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amira July 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm

this sound very bad to me. and i think a lot of things went already wrong on the parents side. it is not normal that he is behaving so bad. i am sorry you have to deal with that. the first thing iwould do is, to talk toyourhostparents. tell them your problem, and that things need to change rapit. not just for your sake, but especially for him. tell them they should imagine he goes to a friends house and acts like that. how imberissing!! and if they tell you he would not, belife me, he will!! this kid sounds to my like, he has no idea where to stop or how to control himself. BUT he is still a kid, and our work is to help them figure ways out to solve their tantrums. i had a simmalar problem with my host girl. she was 4.5 at that time, and had lot of tantrums. while her parents chose to talk and talk and talk to her, i choose to act. and it worked!! i had rough 2 months with her. she had to sit in her room lots of times, wasn’t allowed to go on playdates etc. i jst had to show her who the boss was. ( i belife that kids need to know whom they need to respect) since then, we have the best time ever. even her parents followed my advice and said it is just great how that worked. they always thought talking would be best. but a lot of parents mix up their kids with grown ups. their brain is not trained to discuss a problem at that age, especially when they have a tantrum! they need the limits. it is much easier for them! by the way, i extended with this family, and we have a awesome relationship. they are great! my advice would be: if you want to stay there, talk to them, and you need to work as a team! if mom sais yes, dad maybe and au pair no, it does not work!! good luck for you!! show him the way to a better,easier life!

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Emma July 7, 2012 at 6:33 am

Hello!

I have recently become an Aupair in Madrid. However, already we are having serious problems. I love my host family very much, the parents have been very kind and accommodating to me. I only speak a little bit of Spanish but the mother can speak some English, however the father speaks no English so this has been a little bit of a struggle. The children are 5 and 6 – and they are a NIGHTMARE! I thought that my youngest sibling was a handful but this family’s children take things to a whole new level. The children never recieve any form of discipline, which i completely disagree with. However, it is not my place to say. I am here to teach the children English. However, the children are not trying nor co-operating at all. I completely understand that they are young and that my coming into their lives must be a scary and a different experience. However, the behaviour of these children is completely unacceptable. Whenever they do not get their own way they simply open their mouths and scream, and when i say scream i mean a full on screaming match. Their mother gives in right away. Only recently has the mother disclosed to me that they have many issues with their youngest daughter. That she has many problems in school and that her behaviour is not normal. She will not be around anyone else but her mother and is terribly behaved all the time. I am honestly at my wits end. For me, this is a gap year from university. Where i was looking to find a good family, where i could study my Spanish and help the family with their English, and most importantly be able to look back and say that i had a good experience. I feel so stressed out to the extent that i threw up last night with the stress. I am missing home so much and i feel like i am constantly crying on the phone to my mum and my sister. I just do not know what to do. I can either return to university at the end of the summer – i had planned to be with the family until August 2013. However, if the children continue the way that they are i do not think i can stay with this family. I feel so stressed and i suffer from anxiety attacks and everything is just terrible. I have never known children to act in this way!

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hm2 July 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Hi Emma, did the parents ask you to work on the children’s behaviour or are they okay with you following their lead and giving in to the children respectively letting them do whatever they want? How many hours do you work? Are you doing anything interesting in your free time that helps you recharge your batteries?

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Emma July 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm

The problem is that the parents don’t use a lot of discipline with the kids. Which makes it very, VERY difficult as half the time i want to grab her and just discipline her myself, not too mention whenever i try and speak to them in English and encourage them in positive ways all i get it ‘TONTO’, which means idiot. I know, she is a real charmer. I work 30 hours a week, however, i am working a lot more as it is the summer and the kids are not in a routine or anything so i don’t feel as though i have any specific working hours. In the last few days she has been ‘ok’, she is just so difficult. I have decided that i am going to give it until the end of July, and if there has been no improvement in the relationship then i am going to return home. I am not here to deal with someones problem child, i’m hear to teach English and enjoy this experience for myself! Need to change my outlook, thank god i’m not stuck here!

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Charly Swann July 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Hello Emma, this sounds horrendous! These parents shouldn’t have hired an au pair if they don’t even have control over their own children. If you are with an agency you can explain the situation and they could easily send you to another family if you would like. I am coming to Madrid at the end of August to au pair, I am hoping the children will behave for me! All the best Emma!
Charly.

Emma July 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Hi Charly!

Yes, i hope so too. Time will tell i guess. I’m sure your children will be fine … hopefully! Where abouts in Madrid are you going to be working? I am in Deganzo, just outside Madrid.

Taking a Computer Lunch July 7, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I would say off the top of my head that you should find another family. You were not warned that the family had a child with behavioral issues nor are you being given training to deal with them. Find another family. If you are so stressed out that you are vomiting, then you are not going to do the children any good.

I will say that many parents of children with behavioral issues wear out quickly. It takes rigor to establish boundaries and a safe environment for unstable children, and unless the family is getting outside support it is as exhausting for them as it is for you.

As the parent of a special needs child, affectionately known as The Camel because she protects her airway by spitting rather than aspirating food and liquid into her lungs, I am as up front as I possibly can be about my child’s condition (her behavioral issues are far less severe than her medical issues). The U.S. State Department requires me to sign a form the minute I match that I have informed the AP candidate of my child’s condition (that being said, I know parents of children with ADHD and milder issues are less likely to reveal them – not fair to the incoming AP!).

Walk away before you make yourself even more sick.

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Charly Swann July 13, 2012 at 6:29 am

Hi Emma,

I am not sure, I know everything other than the area actually! I know it’s about 10 minutes from the centre in a nice residential area but I can’t quite remember the name of the place, I will let you know when I find the document! Hope the children are better behaved today.
Charly.

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Emma July 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Hi Charly,

As anticipated, they were hellish. I have began to look for another family, my mind is made up! I feel a little guilty and selfish, but at the end of the day i need to enjoy this experience, not dread every day that comes!

No problem.
Emma

Charly Swann July 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Emma,

Oh no! Yes that’s a good idea, i’m sure they will understand and not be offended. Good luck in your search!

Charly

Emma July 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Charly,

I hope so. I am currently in contact with a new family, they have younger children, only babies, 13 months. (This is fabulous as they can’t answer back). I feel almost scarred from this experience! I am currently heading to bed with a pounding headache and i also spent most of tonight in tears …. my life here is just wonderful!! NOT. I really hope something positive comes from this new family.

All the best in Madrid, i’m sure your kids will be a lot better behaved than mine were.
Take care,

Emma

needy aupairrr July 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm

The truth is I don’t know If I would come back after that impossible week off.
The HF work way too much on weekdays, they get to see their child one hour daily before he sleeps. It would be really hard for them to find another person to take care of their baby that long (it isn’t a few hours and it’s a baby).
Forgot to mention this, but I had to work while I was really, really sick too (reached the 40 degrees of fever). It wasnt cause they would look at me badly, but I felt really bad for them and decided to work. I still thhink they could have found another solution given the fact they checked my temperture and knew I was truly sick.
And sometimes I think they might be taking advantage of me because I think I work way too much in housekeeping.
I’m more than OK to help at home, but everyday I tidy the living room they very often leavy very disorganized (including cleaning the table properly, throwing old newpapers and picking their last dinner), and I have to clean the kitchen as If I was a real cleaner or they’ll be home and make spicy comments to each other (and they know I won’t answer)
That plus the laundry and the ironing and the cooking (I cook elaborated meals everyday) with a two year old baby crying, shitting and playing around, and he doesnt like to play alone even if you are two feets away from him so my time is very limited.

I really love this baby…. I think the family should have to put their baby before the house…and respect me. They should know the baby (food, playing with him, and a normal chore in the house is more than enough for my timetable. If he would nap… but he’s hyper (MY GUESS POOR BABY)

My real family thinks I look tired, I lost 10k in the last three monthes and I have big dark circles under my eyes. When weekends arrives I still go out cause I rather dont sleep than risk they can make me do babysitting…………..

I dont know, not a good day today as well, he cried a lot. I still hear him inside my head. **** MIGRAINE.

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hm2 July 5, 2012 at 10:02 am

Well, what do you think is the best solution here? You try to see the family’s side and you have explained your point of view. So you have got all your facts and it’s always wise to base your decision on your facts. You either stay and toughen it out or you try to sit down with the family and reach a compromise or you let the family know that you will be leaving. It’s really you who has to decide…

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needy aupairrrr July 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Well, I already spoke with them and we going into rematch.
I told them I couldnt go on like this, is housekeeping or minding the baby (or more money same hours). This sounds rough, but I tried my best to be polite and correct.
They told me there was no way they could pay me more, I was just doing what aupairs are supposed to do, but they really wanted me to stay as I performe my job really good (they said, and of course I do, minding a baby and houseeeping for free what a bargain). So I went, took the duties letter they handled me in the beginning and asked them about things I do that arent in the contract nor in a aupairs duty (but a housekeeper).
They looked puzzled but ended up calling me moral and innapreciative… that was enough. I love them so much but honestly I love me more. So I just said no negotiation and more rematching, good luck with the next one.
I’m sorry but I never disrespected them, I can’t keep in this program with the feeling my family thinks I’m crazy. Not at all. Let’s see if next family appreciates me more. I’m going to make sure I choose the right family for me… I work really hard, but I need something back and never insult me as I’ll never insult them. I still their employee…
aaaahhhh this annoyes me so much

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au pair July 6, 2012 at 12:59 pm

you did the right thing!! hope you find a great family!! good luck!!

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mara July 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm

hey. i could’t quite figure out where i should post my post. so i guess i just do it here. i was hoping on getting some advice about family vacation. i’ve been with this family since over 1 year and everything works great, exept on vacation…it is so hard for me to figure out,when they want my help and when not…i try to ask things like; if i can help you with anything,just let me know..but this is kinda the only thing i can do.. of course i would do the dishes,hang up kids swim suit etc,and just try to be helpful. but i feel that i should stay away from the kids, because we went on vacation in order for the parents to spend time with their kids right? i sometimes feel very bad, because i am notdoing anything,but also dont want to sit around either…they would go to the beach/ pool every day. i went with them the first coupletimes because they invited me, but the kids started to hang on me all the time and wanted to play with me, i felt bad, and kinda avoided going with them all day. it is so hard to get things out of my hp in what they expect me to do. i don’t know if they are happy or not…even if i have lots of freetime during family vacation, it is way more stressful than a normal workweek.. by the way,kids are 1.5 and 4 so i offer to stay with baby during nap, or both so parents can have some time off. my question here is actually: what do you hostparents expect from us au pairs on vacation?

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NonCoastHostMom July 6, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Vacations are tricky. We travelled once on a work/mini-vacation with our au pair and it made us realize that we needed to be far more clear about our expectations before our next, longer, vacation.

My answer to your question is that different HFs want different things from APs on vacation. As a HM, I myself want different things at different times from my AP while on vacation! We are very busy while working, so on vacation we want some quality alone time with one or both of our kids and also alone with each other as spouses. We also sometimes need an extra hand with our kids. We found that our vacation worked much better when we had a pretty detailed and honest conversation about these different needs in advance. For out latest vacation, I set up a schedule that is far more specific than I ever use at home. I told my AP specifically when we expected her to be “on duty” and what that entailed (staying in or going somewhere / preparing a meal / taking care care of one child so we could be with the other or taking care of both). We also noted on the schedule when we would prefer some alone time with our kids (by gently suggesting that she do things on her own) and when we would like the whole family (including the AP) to be together. Pitching in with chores is, to me, always welcome unless I say it isn’t.

So, my advice is to have a frank discussion with your HF. Explain that you want to be helpful but don’t want to be “in the way” and are unsure how to balance that. Explain that you are unsure about HF expectations. Suggest that a basic schedule be prepared. Understand that HF may be unsure what they want and may want some flexibility to change plans while on vacation. I suspect this will be greatly appreciated. What I see more often on this site are complaints that APs want travel time to be purely a vacation for themselves and are therefore unhelpful when needed most.

A side note: we have taken some overnight trips where our AP joined us but was not on duty at all (havign used all of her hours during the week). While not required or even expected, we would have appreciated if our AP would have offered to sit with the kids for an hour or two later in the evening so that my husband and I could enjoy a drink or walk alone together.

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CallingItQuits July 11, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Another Aupair looking for some advice. I am just a summer Aupair, been here for 1.5months so far and do not have any form of a visa, just tourist as I will not stay longer than 90 days. I live in a very small European town about 20km from a larger city with actual stores/bars, etc. Although it is a two parent family, one is away weekdays, the other weekends. I do not get along very well with the HM even though we have tried several times to fix our problems. Things were going okay before, but now that it is summer I have the 2 kids all day and most evenings. The parents have been away for 4 of the last 8 days and I have been the only one home with them. In addition to when they came back I have the 2 kids all day and 2 of the past 4 evenings. Technically there has been no contract signed as the placement was found through a website. I am frustrated beyond belief but haven’t really even seen the parents to talk to them. To complete the scenario, there are a lot of family troubles at home for me right now and my own family would really like me to come home. I would really like to go home, but I feel terrible asking to leave as there is only 1 more month left in my stay. But at the same time, I don’t think I should be responsible for them 8:30-6 each day (at a minimum) and I’m losing my ability to keep up a happy face. Is it wrong for me to just call it quits and head home?

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hm2 July 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I think it’s wrong to go home when there is only one more month. Very obviously the family needs someone for the children and it is doubtful that they would find a replacement right away. It would be more sensible to explain that you feel overworked and give two weeks notice if you really can’t go on for another month. This way they have some time to organise some sort of backup childcare. Leaving on the spot/without notice is wrong.

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Hannah July 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I have been an au-pair before, so know how the perfect host family on paper can be a very different thing in reality.

This time round I am being very fussy, I want to au-pair in a country where I have family and I want to be close to them so if I ever need to unwind, I can do just that with people I can trust through and through.

I have found a lovely family, they are kind, have nice values and very sweet children, and to top it off live 10 mins away from my aunt. They are talking to two other au-pairs and have told me they would need at least a week to decide. ( I got in contact with them a week ago) They have also friended me on Facebook. I am not leaving until January so I do have plenty of time. However in the mean time many families are contacting me and I do not know how to proceed.

I really want to work for this family, but if i put off the other families and they say no I am pretty screwed. Likewise if I start talking to another family and the first family decide they would like me for the job I am left with telling the new family I have wasted their time.

I would really like an outsiders opinion to see what move I should make next, if at all.

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Taking a Computer Lunch July 24, 2012 at 10:11 pm

As a HM, I do the same thing – interview a few candidates and then make my choice. I appreciate when candidates email me and say “I have been contacted by several families, but I really would prefer to live with you. I don’t want to rush your decision, but…”

There have been times when DH and I have called a halt to the interview process right there and then, because the candidate was our first choice, too. There have been times, too, when the candidate wasn’t our first choice.

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Busy Mom July 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm

You should definitely continue to interview with other families. If things turn serious with one of the new families, contact the first family and let them know you really want them and don’t want to rush their decision, but that another family has made you an offer.

Familes presume that you are speaking with other families. As long as you are polite, the 2nd family will not feel that you wasted their time. It’s just a part of the matching process.

It’s similar to conducting a job search for a ‘regular’ job. You need to pursue all available leads in case one doesn’t pan out. And, sometimes, you end up taking a job that’s not your ideal because of timing.

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rm2082 August 6, 2012 at 6:44 am

I need some advice.

Almost 2 months ago, I moved to a new host family after a HORRIBLE 2 months with another host family (wasn’t getting fed, wasn’t getting paid, was working almost 24/7 with no free time even though the parents were often at home, was viewed more as a maid, the youngest had autism which the family did not tell me before I came and I was not qualified to care for her properly, et cetera). At first, this host family seemed like everyone’s dream family. When I interviewed, the host mum claimed that the kids picked up after themselves, that they were very easy to handle, that the youngest with ADHD was medicated, all sorts of wonderful things that seemed like such a 180 from the family I was coming from. I also got 2 weeks of every month off, which I was looking forward to. Plus, the kids are ages 9-14 which I assumed would be much easier than the 3 and 7 year olds I was looking after.
Since coming here, however, things have not exactly turned out as planned. The kids have openly told their mum that they don’t like me (which shocked me because I thought we were getting along well), they refuse to listen to anything I say- *ever* which makes almost every minute of every day that I’m with them a struggle, they lie to their mum and say that I allowed them to do something they are not allowed to do when I don’t, they have no respect for me, and they’re absolute pigs. My favorite moment of the day is when they walk out the door and leave for school, because it means that I will have about an hour or so of peace to myself before I start my duties.
I was under the impression that I would only be working an hour in the morning (before school) and a few hours in the afternoon. However, the work load that is expected takes far longer than that, and I usually spend my “free” time cleaning and cooking. But, regardless of how nice the house looks after I clean it all day, a few minutes after the boys get home it is trashed, and I have to juggle supervising them (they need far more supervision than the host mum thinks, seeing as they will go off and do something they know they aren’t allowed to do the second I turn my back) and trying to reclean the house before their mum gets home. As a result, she comes home and thinks I have done nothing all day, and has criticized me for my “time management” issues.
Also, the youngest one is no longer on his ADHD medication, which makes him very very difficult to handle.
I also cannot drive stick, and while I was willing to learn, I do not make in 1 month what 2 hours of lessons cost, and had assumed I would be able to sort of teach myself… my host mum won’t let me, so other than a bus that costs $10 round trip I have no way to get anywhere, so even on my off weeks I do nothing but sit around the house. I don’t have friends or anything, so it is very lonely. The beach is only a short drive away, but I can never go :(
On top of that, I am a vegetarian and am not receiving adequate meals. I cook all the meals, but have found that the vegetables my host mum buys for a week only last a few days, and she has mentioned several times that she goes over her budget as it is, so I feel uncomfortable asking for more money to buy food.

Anyway. I’m really, really trying to stick it out here. The host mum is lovely and, even though she makes me feel like I am not living up to her expectations sometimes with the things she says, I would feel really bad to leave her. I am *not* on a set contract, although we had talked about me leaving in December but seeing as her situation could change in October, we hadn’t really decided anything.
I’m really, really thinking I should go home. The place I have chosen to au pair is very very expensive, and the wages I get are very low (well below the monthly average) so as a result I do not have the money to travel, buy food when necessary, or anything else. I just feel miserable, and I believe it is affecting how I deal with the kids (I am more irritable with them).

Thoughts? :/

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rm2082 August 6, 2012 at 7:10 am

Oh!! I forgot to mention that the stress of all of this has really begun to affect my job performance. I have started to forget very basic tasks I am supposed to do, like wash school uniforms on Thursday, and as a result I think that makes my host mum’s life more difficult and makes her frustrated with me.
I try, I really do. Every day I flip-flop between putting in 3 weeks notice and trying to stick it out for just one more day, but then something will happen and I will screw up in a major way and I will be *convinced* I should leave, and the next day everything will be wonderful and I will be *convinced* I should stay…

I really hope some people see this and can offer me advice!!

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A Host Mom August 6, 2012 at 9:10 am

I think you need to take a step back and analyze whether au pairing is right for you. Being responsible for other people’s children of any age is a big responsibility. Also, if the stress of the situation is causing you to forget to do basic tasks, that is a big red flag that you may be in over your head. I think you need to sit down with your host parents and start making arrangements for your exit.

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rm2082 August 6, 2012 at 11:22 am

I have wondered this myself recently. My sister and I were both very well behaved growing up (military household- we had to be!), and I think this has sort of slanted my view of what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. As a result I find what others would describe as “typical” behaviors (not listening, being disrespectful, refusing to do what they’re asked) I find frustrating and unacceptable.
I guess my main issue is I would feel terribly guilty about leaving after only being with this HF for 2 months (3 if I give a month’s notice). Their previous AP was only with them a short time as well, and she packed her bags and left in the middle of the night. My HM is really nice (albeit sometimes very critical) and she commutes 4 hours every day for work, so I know she really needs the help.
Apart from the personality differences though, there’s the simple fact that I spend a week at a time with no social interaction, and financially, I’m practically broke (can’t afford food on my week off, bus fare, etc because I need a little “just in case” fund– I had to chose one of the most expensive countries to AP in!!)
I’ve been reading AP horror stories all night (similar to my first experience) and I know I should feel lucky that I’m with a pretty great family overall, but… idunno. :/ Maybe things will get better..?

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hm2 August 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm

If it would make you feel better to have friends there, why can’t you join a gym, language class, church group or whatever to meet people? Can’t you find other APs in the area (maybe through fb groups)?
Being an AuPair is also about being outside your comfort zone and seeing things you aren’t used to – have you asked your host mother for advice when it comes to the children’s behavior? Have you tried different approaches to bonding with the children?
Very importantly: if you quit and go home, what do look back on in a year’s time – two host families that you left after two months. Will you feel okay about this?

Rm2082 August 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Hm2- I just had a huge paragraph typed out and my phone deleted it, so forgive me if ths is less than articulate.
1) the friends issue has definitely been a struggle. I HAVE tried to make friends- I was very successful in making close friends at my other job, and to leave them suddenly and start over so soon was hard. I have connected with other au pairs, but they either lived very far away (45+ minutes) or we just didn’t “click.” there are not man au pairs in this area as it is a small, quiet area.
2) I could join groups, but I have a problem with transportation. I cannot drive manual, only automatic, and cannot afford lessons. The bus is $10 rt, which is not practical for daily use ($70 a week!)

I was planning on sitting down and having a talk with my HM this week. She is very busy and I do not think she notices a lot of the behavior. From my perspective she seems to give in to them a lot, which I don’t agree with but it is not m place obviously to tell her that. It is so frustrating when every single thing is a struggle and I have to tell the boys to do something 6 or 7 times before they do it, or to have them do the opposite of what I tell them. They do not listen to me at all.

And as far as how I will look back on it- I have NO regrets about leaving my first HF. They exploited me in every sense of the word (I was not fed, not paid, worked 60 hours a week, etc) and I am still haing to deal with them in court 2 months later to try and get any wages from them.
I wold, however, be disappointed with myself if I left here. I am not with an agency and do not have a contract, so there is really nothing holding me here, but I would feel bad because I know my HM really needs my help and she has been so accommodating for me. But I also know that sometimes, some people are not meant to do certain jobs, and it might be that au pairing just isn’t the right thing for me. Wouldn’t it benefit everyone overall if I left and opened the door for them to have a better au pair?

hm2 August 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm

For some reason I can’t reply to your last post, so I’ll just reply here… Are you in Europe then? Why is it that you are getting paid so little and can’t the family help you out by teaching you how to drive?

rm2082 August 7, 2012 at 12:57 am

hm2 I am having the reply issue as well but it seems to be posting okay?
I’m from Europe, in Australia. I have noticed things are about 2x as expensive here. I was supposed to get $550/mo which seemed okay on paper but since then the situation has changed and I now only work 2 weeks/mo so I make $275/mo instead. I have tried to get second job but it is not allowed on my visa and I have not been able to find relatively close jobs available. :(

I know it sounds like I’m complaining a lot, but I do not know how much I should be expected to “suck it up” and when it becomes better to just leave. Other than the bad experiece from my first HF this is my first time au pairing so I am still pretty new at this. But I left a lot to come here (good job, apartment, lots of friends) so…
I thank you for taking the time to try and help me though!!

hm2 August 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Well, if you left a good job and an apartment to go there it would be extra sad to return home early. It might also be difficult to find another family. I would be very careful if an AP told me she has left two families in four months… Isn’t there something that the boys like to do that you could do together and get on friendlier terms? Also, why do you clean twice a day? If the house gets messed up when the boys come home, just clean before their mom gets home. And again, why isn’t the mother helping you out with the driving lessons. If you really get two weeks off every month, you obviously will be unhappy if you’re unable to get anywhere. Have you talked to the hm about this?

Rm2082 August 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm

At this point, if I decided to leave I would just go back home. The country I am in is very similar to my own country, so I feel the time I have spent here is sufficient and I have still experienced some culture. If I went back home I could continue with university, get another job, and still say that I had a learning experience in another contry, which is really ok by me.
The boys have no interest in spending any time with me- I will offer to do things I know they like but they would rather surf with their friends or play video games. The time the boys are home is my “work” time when I must cook and clean, I do not get paid to play with the boys but just supervise :(
I clean twice daily because I spend most of the evening preparing the dinner. I cook very healthy meals but they are time consuming, and I usually start right when the boys get home, and my HM arrives before I am done. If I have spare time, I use it to clean more but it is never good enough.
I apologize, I did not notice the first driving question. My HM is very busy. She arrives home 18:30 and goes to bed 21:00 then leaves for work at 05:00. On the weekends she likes to spend time with her kids, and does not have time to help me drive. I am a very experienced automatic driver, but never manual.
I talked with my father tonight and he had an interesting theory. He say that perhaps my host mum has forgotten what the boys are like since she only sees them 2 hours a day every other week. He thinks she has forgotten how messy they can be and how they do not like to listen. They have been living with their father for the past few years and she only just started having them live with her few months ago when I started being her au pair. My father thinks this could mean we have a disconnect between expectations and what is reasonable. Do you think this could be the case?

hm2 August 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm

This is a difficult situation for the boys as well then! Your dad’s theory sounds very plausible to me. I wasn’t aware of the exact situation at this home but now that I know I think your dad could be very right. What does your hm think you are doing during your time off? Does she realise that you are sitting in the house for a week because you can’t afford to go anywhere and don’t know anyone?

rm2082 August 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Really… I do not think my HM cares what I am up to (or not up to) on my weeks off. She is very busy, I don’t think she thinks of it.
I have been so conflicted all week. I want to go home but I have a strong sense of commitment, even if I am unhappy.
It is a new situation for everyone. I sometimes have fleeting moments of bonding with the boys (like having a nerf gun fight on the weekend) and it makes things better, but then they return to their normal selves and do not care about me at all.

hm2 August 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm

You have only been there for two months and the boys had to adjust to a lot of changes. So probably with time you guys will bond. Also, they are school kids, they don’t depend on you like toddlers or babies. So it’s probably not that much to worry about if they take their time testing you and getting used to you and the situation in general.
Do talk to your hm about your feeling lonely and your sense of being stuck in an unsatisfying situation. You’re not really happy and with some adjustments and work your situation could probably be improved considerably. There have got to be ways for her to help you feel better about the whole situation. If she has no idea what life is like for you, you should tell her. Take it from there then. If she sympathises and tries to help then that’s marvellous. If she really doesn’t care, then you can still hand in your notice…

Rm2082 August 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm

So I just found out that my only grandfather is very, very ill. He is almost 100 and has had declining health for a while, but apparently the past 5 days it has gotten much much worse.
I am my mother’s only child and her and her sister do not talk- would it be okay for me to go home to be with my mother? I’m not sure what the protocol for this thing is…

hm2 August 13, 2012 at 5:56 am

Would the same question arise if you were stationed on a military base abroad or if you had received a prestigious scholarship at some high profile Australian university or if you were working for an international company and they had sent you to Australia for some time?

AP to be August 9, 2012 at 4:13 am

I have been reading this blog for a while and have found it extremely helpful in my preparation to become an AP in a few months time. I would really appreciate some advice. My HF informed me in the matching process that I would be overlapping with their current au pair for a few days. I thought this was great, as she could show me the ropes and so on. However, this AP has contacted me (mostly to introduce herself – she seems lovely) and mentioned that she will be on duty for 2 weeks after my arrival, and will be staying on for 2 more weeks after that. Meaning I will have a one month overlap with her. I am trying to look at the positive elements of this, and there are some. But I’m also scared that this will get in the way of me establishing my own unique bond and routine with the children while their much loved au pair is still around. I’m also not sure how things will work when she is technically on holiday but still there. On a slightly more selfish note, I’m not sure if the children will be exited or even want me there when they still have their old AP. Have any of you (HF’s and APs) ever experienced such a long overlap? How did things work out? I’m quite nervous about this.

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Au pair August 9, 2012 at 9:12 am

Hey:) 1 month is a long time for an overlap. But the old au pair is only in charge 2 weeks. The other 2 weeks she will be very busy. Saying good bye to all her friends, closing bank account, shopping, packing etc. About the issue with the kids. I don’t think that they will leave you out or something like that. You are like their new toy. New, exciting etc. They are so busy tesing you, i think you won’t even care anymore that the old au pair is still there. I think it is harder for her, to see how the kids start to love you too. I mean it depends on how her relationship with them was etc. Good luck!!

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Taking a Computer Lunch August 10, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Two weeks is a lot of AP overlap, unless, I suppose one of the children has special needs. I assume the parents do not have the luxury of taking time off to train you, and overlap as a substitute. I would say, as you learn the ropes, ask to have time with the children alone. Be as dynamic and attentive as you can – children really want someone to set boundaries and pay attention to them. Don’t set the outgoing AP as the rule enforcer and yourself as the “fun” AP or you will have trouble when she walks away and you suddenly have to enforce the rules.

How difficult it is for you to win their hearts depends on how well she did her job. If she was good, then it will be harder, but don’t give up and don’t try to be her.

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Alex August 15, 2012 at 3:36 am

Hey, I overlapped for almost 3 weeks, the first week I was fully in charge, just showing things around to the New AP, trying to get the kids to trust her and be willing to play with her without knocking on my door every 2 seconds. I’d say not to worry about the two last weeks she will be there, like the AP above me said: She will be very busy saying goodbye, closing accounts and such, but if at some point during those weeks you are in charge of the kids and they see her and go to her instead of you, don’t take it as something personal, transition can be difficult on kids and if she was good with them it’ll be even harder. Just keep in mind that for her will be even more difficult seeing you with them, I know I cried a couple of times when I saw the new AP and the kids getting along so well, but not out of jealousy or anything, I was the one leaving and is just never easy.
Anyway, just take it easy and be proactive, try to take the kids for a walk or parks, do things with them that will keep them interested. I think the first month (alone) is crucial for bonding

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AP to be August 15, 2012 at 5:16 am

Thank you all for the advice! I guess I’m just already nervous about the big change that is about to happen in my life, and any news of more things that will be different than expected can be overwhelming. Do you think I should tell the host family or the old au pair of my concerns, or should I just try and be positive and proactive as you all suggested? I feel like I would be more at ease if I knew what will be expected of me in my first two weeks there.

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Alex August 15, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I think it depends a lot on the family, but communication will always help you. I’d wait until I get there, see how things go and maybe after your first week, wait until the kids are all in bed, and tell your HPs you want to talk with them if you don’t feel comfortable about things. But honestly, just see how things goe first, you might get surprised (in a good way!)

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APgracee August 16, 2012 at 4:21 am

Good Day to everyone!

I just come up with this site because I was searching for answer.

I would like to ask if I can be an AP even if I have a family of my own already? I’m married and I have a 2-year old kid. They won’t be coming with me, they’ll just stay in the Philippines.

Hope someone can enlighten me.
Thank you very much.

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HRHM September 18, 2012 at 9:59 am

In the US, the AP program is reserved for single, childless young women 18-26 via the state department, so no you would not be able to come to the US as an Au Pair. I’m not sure about other countries.

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CierraW August 28, 2012 at 3:42 am

Hello,

I about to travel to Dublin, Ireland to be an Au Pair. I have never been an Au Pair, let alone travel across seas before. I’m from the US and am 18 years old. If anyone has had any experience with my situation please fill me in!

Thanks!

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Jessica September 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to share this experience to help future au pairs in what to do to prepare for au pairing. So I’ve been an au pair in Madrid for over a week now, before I came I was told my duties would be the usual; 4.30 until bedtime – homework, playing, dinner, bath, bed. But when I arrived I was told I would be doing 2 hours of english lessons every night followed by sitting in the playground for 3 hours alone while the children played. Then the family stopped offering me food, and began to get their cleaner to look after the children during the day. I am leaving this family at the weekend. A warning to all; make sure your duties and clear and stuck to before you agree to anything!

Good luck everyone.

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lostinfrance September 15, 2012 at 10:34 am

Hi! I’m an au pair in France at the moment and I have just changed rooms into the room of their 20 year old son who is studying abroad. While studying at his desk I smelt marijuana and then found it (about a couple of handfuls) in a box on his desk. It’s a big room, so for the time being I have moved the box into one of his drawers and I have cleaned the desk, but I am worried that the family will find it and think that it is mine (plus I can still smell it from time to time and think it’s disgusting!) However, at the same time I don’t want to cause a family argument. Any advice?? This is only my fourth week here. Thank you!

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R September 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I say just get rid of it…if it really mattered to the son, he would have smoked it or took it with him.

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Andrea September 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Hey,

I have been an au-pair in the USA for almost 5 months. In general, I’m pretty good, my host family don’t treat me as a servant. But…there is always “but”.

Last week I have whole week off. My host mum just came to me and said:”We don’t need you to work this week. My mother and father are coming to town, so you’re off.” I was really happy, that my host mum gave me an extra week off ( I went on a vacation in August and my second week is in February). My HM clearly said, that this is an extra week. Well, I went to Texas for a week. I got back on Sunday. That day I just wanted to order something from ebay and I check my account, if I’m not running out of my money. And then I saw, that still didn’t get my weekly stipend. I ALWAYS get it on friday. I was brave and asked my HM, when they¨re going to send me my money. She was in shock! She said:” You didn’t work! And it wasn’t your paid holiday.” And then she just left, because her baby started to cry. End of story!
But I know, that I should have gotten my money! I know, that I always have to be paid! Even though they don’t need me to work! And plus I didn’t want to be off – of course, it was nice to be off, but it was my HM who came out with that idea, NOT ME!!
I went downstairs to my bedroom and I checked my account again. What a surprise – I got less money when they had Labour Day. And I remember, that my HM told me, that they’re going to the beach and I can stay home and do whatever I want.

I know, this is illegal!! But believe me, even though you know that, it’s hard to talk about it with host family. As I said, I really like them and I know, that they don’t have so much money (they’re 26 and barely started own family), but if you want to have an au-pair you have to have money for her salary.

I got only 165.75 USD for Labour Week and 0 USD for last week. It’s a lot! What should I do. I know, I should tell them, but HOW! My coordinator is a b**** and she has never helped any girl in my area. She always supports ONLY families.

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Emerald City Host Mom September 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I would start with approaching the host mom again and calmly letting her know that she may not be aware of the rules, but it is illegal for her to not pay you.

Then the LCC. It may seem like the LCC does not side with the au pairs, and that may be true when everyone is following the rules and it has more to do with things that are not clearly a rule.

If it does not get resolved by that step, contact the main office of the agancy.

You should also check your pay for the 4th of July and Memorial Day.

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Taking a Computer Lunch September 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm

First, I recommend you find a quiet time to talk to your HM (right or wrong, no one wants to be accosted in the hall when they’re in the middle of family). Presumably you and she signed a contract when you arrived, quietly show it to her. Tell her quietly and without anger that you hope it was a mistake that she deducted vacation pay from you. In the United States your salary is the same for 51 weeks. If you get nowhere with her, then go to your LCC.

You have the evidence. Print it out and show it to your LCC. If she does not back you up with your HF, then call central. Try your HF family first. Tell them you’ve enjoyed your year with them and you want to continue on good terms, but you have a pit in your stomach over the issue of your salary.

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Andrea September 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Well, I talked to her. Her answer was:”Are you happy here?Do you feel homesick?” OMG? What? I just asked her about my money. And then she told me, that I should appreciate my days off. I’m going to talk to my LCC about that issue today. And we will see.

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kat November 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm

how did it all go, andrea?

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Andrea December 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Rematch

amy October 7, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Hello everyone. I have kind of a weird question.. It is about a friend who is also ans au pair. She is my best friend here,and we hang out a lot, because our kids have the same age. I really like her. She is a great friend, but she has some issues with her hostfamily which i think she causes herself.. And i dont know how to tell her. The problem is simple. She is interrupting her hostfamilies privacy..actually her hostparents.she tells me that she really likes her hostdad and spends EVERY night with him and sometimes her on the coutch watching tv. My friend told me that her hm sometimes seems rude to her etc. I tried to tell her gently that she needs to give them some alone time. That they also need a break from her, and she needs a break from them. So she said, no they are fine with me being around them all the time ( which i think they are not especially her hm) she also goes with them everywere she possible can!! It then so happend once that they just left without even telling her. And she was so sad. I dont know what to do!!? It seems like she really doesnt understand that she has to give them some space…she is not like that with me, but i am worried that they make her leave, and i really dont want that.. I just dont know how i can tell her that she needs to STOP! I am very greatful for your ideas. Thanks

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Mom Of 2 Cool Kids October 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I have been thinking about your post for a while and the advice you can give your friend about this situation. Of course there could be some other dynamics going on that neither of us know about, but here are a couple of things that hopefully regardless of the details may help inform her perspective:

1. When our au pairs first arrive, we are in a bit more of a house guest mode. Meaning, we help make sure they have the physical items they need, are eating well, we try to show them around town, and make sure they are meeting people and making friends. But, over the course of a few weeks maybe even a couple of months as we see them settling in, we move out of house guest mode. We assume they are developing a level of independence and revolve their life around us less. Our au pairs are always invited to events and weekend trips (about half the time they actually come), but not the run of the mill trip to the park with the kids when they need to burn off energy. So, it may be that your friend has not recognized that the host parents are spending less of their energy worrying about her because they think she can take care of herself and is settled in. When she spends time with them perhaps the host parents are just doing what they normally do during their private time. Some of the earlier politeness has worn off, not because they don’t like her, but they believe she is assertive enough to speak up for herself.

2. I worry about my au pairs getting burned out. Burned out with taking care of the kids and putting up with the things that she finds annoying about my habits and personality. Let’s admit it, everyone who has to live together has things that they put up to keep the peace. So that private time that you recognize as being important reminds me of the phrase “distance makes the heart grow fonder”. I like the private time because it allows us to appreciate each other more (when you have a great au pair and more importantly when you have a so-so au pair – it may be the only way you’ll get through the year). I don’t know how long she has been with her family, but she may find herself growing unhappy if she spends too much time with them – if that makes any sense.

As far as them making her leave, do you know if she is doing a good job? Do you think the host family is unhappy with her otherwise?

Hope this helps.

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kat November 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm

this is very nicely written.
I have a family I worked for and now we are good friends. The whole thing would have probably not worked out if we didnt each have own space, both in the house and timewise.

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Paloma ramos October 15, 2012 at 4:48 am

Looking for a host family In israel.I am a us itizen living in texas and want to tracel to israel and it will be a great experience totravel an. Work doing somethibg i enjoy.please email me at palomita_ramos@hotmail.com. To know more about me and more info
Thanks

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brand name lingerie November 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Frequently in a world like ours, it is very difficult to find genuine friends with whom you can share your innermost belief. And your office colleagues can never be your genuine friends.

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Pablillo November 8, 2012 at 5:58 am

Holahola

First of all thanks for such a great blog, It helped me quite a lot :)

I’m a 24 years old male Au Pair and I got accepted few weeks ago by AuPairCare (although they don’t usually hire maleAP from my country, Spain, they really liked my ‘resume’ and encouraged me to apply). I would like to know if any families found their maleAP using AuPairCare.

Take care,

Pablo

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eans liam November 8, 2012 at 10:56 am

i need a aupair for my son(samuel) if interested pls contact me on evansliam47@yaho.com

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jeffrey November 18, 2012 at 1:24 pm

To my dearest host,
Hi mam/sir,Im Jeffrey Sudio came from Philippines and i work now in Saudi Arabia.Im 25 years of age,,im looking for a host in Europe as a male Au pair.Im willing to join in your family,i have experience in house keeping in gardener also,im hard working you can trust me..than k you and god bless
Best regards.
Jeffrey Sudio
you can contact me in my facebook account..jeffreysudio@yahoo.com

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cd cover drucken November 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I really like your blog & appreciate your skills! Keep it up!

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Noemi November 30, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Dear Reader,
First, I would like to apologise because I write here, maybe it is not the perfect place to complain. But I need to know: Am I really a horrible au pair? I would use advices what is the wrong with me or what should I do…
Well I am an Au pair in the UK. I had previous au pair experience, I stayed with the family for six months, they gave me a wonderful reference I just simply adore them. I had to leave them because my boyfriend wanted to live with me and I was a live-in au pair there, so I had to choose and I chose the love (come on it was silly :) ).
Now this is the end of my first month with an another family. They looked like a really cool young family who are open-minded and want to treat me as the part of the family.
My first problem was with the salary. Before I accepted the job I said I need more salary (they offered 55 pounds per week) because I have to pay back loan in my home country and I would be happy to accept their offer but only if they can increase the salary. They wrote back it is not a problem if the child and they will be happy they can give me more. So I said okay.
I arrived on a Sunday afternoon, we went together for a nice walk, then they just left me the little kid for at least an hour because they changed the wallpaper on my bedroom’s wall. Okay I said, no problem. Of course it okay, but I thought maybe we should be together to let O (nineteen months old) to know me.
Then the week started. After a few days we fell in love with each other with O, I just adores him, and he feels the same. (Sometimes when his parents came home he just wants to stay with me because I never tell him “get out” for example as her mother tells him, never, he can come anytime to my room).
After the first two weeks I was totally unhappy and tired. I did the housekeeping mostly and they didn’t even realize it or appreciate it. I did the ironing (not just child’ clothes, theirs too), hoovering, sometimes mopping up, washing the dishes what they left there after the previous night, collect their dirty socks, clothes from all over the house, collect the toys, sometimes there are a lot of food on the couch like crisps and popcorn) and I didn’t feel fair, because I always leave totally clean house when they come home.
After two weeks I sat down with them and I said I need to talk with you, don’t worry, just talking (because I thought we can solve the problems without arguement or bad feelings). So I asked first, are you happy with me? They said yes, you are far the best au pair we have ever had (they had an au pair for five month, they said she was amazing, and they had an another one for a month they said she was horrible, a witch) and I am brilliant with O. I said okay. Then I started to talk about the wages (because I remembered they said if everyone is happy they can increase the wages). They said not yet, we can talk about it in the next year, because they have money problems. (I thought this is not what you wrote in the e-mail and I have loan to pay). Then they said I don’t work too much, they don’t ask too much and they think the 55 is totally reasonable for four days (which is not true, because two times I had the Thursday off but I did the housekeeping almost all day because when I woke up I found a list on the table with things to clean). I was really sad. They knew how important is the money for me right now and it wasn’t what they wrote before I came. (In the au pair programme for the uk: au pair wages, pocket money: 55-65: for up to 25 hours, 70-… up to 35 hours. On the first week I worked at least 40 hours but they asked me to dress up O on my days off or take care of him – such as feed him on my days off. On the second week it was more. On the third week it was around 45. So it should be lot more than 55 I guess.)
I also told them: Please can I ask you to provide me clean environment before you leave? Because I think it is a kind of respect for each other and I always try to provide you clean environment… (sometimes it takes hours to make the house acceptable after they left and then I can start to be with O finally). The dad was really angry, then they said okay. I also told them about my free day when they gave me the list about what should I clean and I said I cleaned the house for all day with some break to eat and they started to laugh on me, asked: what? we didn’t really write too much things. not at all. So I was really upset. They don’t respect me at all.
The next morning the dad started to wash the dishes what they left from the another night in the kitchen and the mother came in and she said: what are you doing? the man said: I am washing the dishes. The mum said: Don’t. It is ridiculous. Then she said with some irony in her voice for me: Can you hang out our clothes from the washing machine? I had to say yes, I was shocked.
After they left I cried. They didn’t take seriously what I told them. I thought we can talk about our problems because we are people, humans. But it didn’t work. So then I started to leave the things in the same condition how I got them (I didn’t pick up their dirty socks from the bathroom floor what we use together or I didn’t clean the toilet after they left it in a disgusting condition, they don’t even flush it down) but after a few days I started to clean up everything again, because it is not healthy for me and for O, to be in this environment all day.
Another strange things such as: they come home later than my working hours without a message, notice or anything, I don’t even know where they were. The mother moves the things in my room every day I don’t understand it because I told her my bedroom is a private thing for me. She comes into my room without knocking, after I finished my work. She says things to do, orders in my free time. I don’t get my salary when I should and after a lot of asking I still didn’t get it. On my days off I have to get back to the house until a time, an hour when they want me too – they are flexible in it as well sometimes. Thing what are not my business but hurts me, hurts my feelings: sometimes they just don’t care about O and he cries for hours. They don’t give him bath, so I have to on every day because he has a very sensitive skin, so he has to have a bath on every day, otherwise his bum will sore and will be red. After weekend his bum is red again, because he doesn’t have bath on the weekend by his parents.
On this week I worked for three days, but I stayed to help with the big Christmas cleaning, so I worked more hours. I didn’t work yesterday and today, because I was in bed all day I got tonsillitis from my boss (she said she got it from me because I said after the first week I have sore throat… well it is not true, I have never ever had tonsillitis I got from her. But I don’t blame her, it is not her fault, she can’t do anything with it). Yesterday morning I asked can I have a day off, I felt really bad, I had temperature all night, and they hardly wanted to give me the day off. Then I got it, finally. They took me to the doctor (actually the dad took me, it was really kind). But during the day I couldn’t really sleep because the mother came into my room without knocking several times. Sometimes she asked how i am (i just found out today she posted to facebook she is at home with oli, and she has a sick au pair etc. but I don’t really understand why, I guess she was bored with her own son who would need some attention…) then she came inside to get from me money to pay for the window cleaners, I said okay just take it, I just wanted some peace to sleep. Today was the same, but I woke up for O’s shouting and screaming. Then I heard the mum’s chatting on the phone about me. She said: She has to stay with O, and I am in the bed all day, and I was silly because on Wed she asked me to go to the doctor (it is true I said no because I always fine after my flu, it goes away after a few days, I have never ever needed doctor since I have worked in my life) and I said I will be okay and now I can’t work and oh my god I am in the bed all day. I started to cry again. I felt bad because I couldn’t work, and I wanted to apologise for it but then the dad came into my room (he knocked lol ) and he asked me to stay with O for an hour (which became 2, this is their habit). I said okay, I didn’t feel okay but I thought it is better to help them, and I missed O. Then they asked me to pay with my bank card for some bills because the mum’s bank has problems and they need to pay the bills today. Okay I said, but I think it was weird. Then I asked them to put my salary to my card too. And finally, they did it. I told them, they don’t have to pay for these two days when I was sick. And they didn’t pay. So I thought I will get the 55 for last week, at least but maybe I thought they will give more because I worked a lot of hours, more days, maybe more than 45 and if we count 55 for 5 days it means 11 for each day, so I thought they will give me 33 for the 3 days. And of course the money what the mum took out from my wallet for the window cleaners. But I checked my account and I got only 82.50. I was shocked and I just started to cry again, I couldn’t stop it. I can’t understand and now I am a nervous wreck. Why are they doing this to me? I started to talk with them but they laughed on my problem, no I just want to disappear and don’t see them anymore. I am always here for them if they need to go somewhere at night, if they ask me to go to the shop or stay with O out of my working hours, I even gave them my bank card because they were in trouble. And they still don’t listen and they pay me less, even when they know how important is the money for me right now because of the loans. I know I should concentrate know to cure myself, but I can’t I am totally stressed and I can’t go out of my room. I just don’t want to believe people like them can exist, they seem so kind and they don’t realise how they expoit me, or maybe they do???
I write the positive things about them, so then you can judge: when my friend came to visit me for a day from London they let him to sleep in the house. I was very pleased for this. They cook for me dinner sometimes. I can use an Iphone one phone until I work here and a laptop, wellies and a coat. They ask me what do I need when they go to shop (well, I don’t think they mean it, but kind anyway), they bought me a bus pass for a week (well they said in the advert they will always give buss pass for the right candidate or language courses but now I think a bus pass for a week is a big thing from them). I could go out on a Wed night and they will let me to go out on the next week to London.
Please anybody who reads it, write something. I feel I will go to crazy, because I feel sometimes I am the bad person and I should shut my mouth up, and then I try to, but after a few days I am unhappy again. I feel I should leave before Christmas so they can find somebody during these weeks and maybe I can forget all of these experiences and find an another family.
Thank you for your time and for your answer in advance,
N

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another au pair mom December 1, 2012 at 3:08 am

There are always two sides of the story. And obviously we know only one side. And while I understand that the rules in Europe are slightly different than in US, some of the things you described sound unacceptable.

It does sound like they don’t respect you. Dirty socks? Really?? Borrowing (taking) money from you, not paying you on time – those things should not ever happen. That’s rude.

Regarding the hours and amount of work you do in the house – that’s hard to judge without knowing the standpoint of the other side. Remember you are a “family member” and I think it’s OK to ask a family member to help a child to dress up or expect a family member to do some chores even when they are not on duty.

Regarding the salary – you should not have agreed for that. I understand you trusted them. Make sure to agree only to the salary you actually want next time.

All in all the situation you described doesn’t look good to me. Looking around for a new family is not a bad idea. Good luck!

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Noemi December 1, 2012 at 5:22 am

Dear another au pair mom,

Thank you very much for your response. I tried to write down everything how it reall happened, howewer I was too angry. It is true, there are always two sides. :)
Now I am calmer and start to be nervous. I know I will have to talk with them…
Thank you so much again. :)
N

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Georgiapeach December 2, 2012 at 2:52 am

Sorry to hear about your bad experience. I also agree there is 2 sides to every story. But, that is not to play under your bad experience. The things you help out with, is so kind of you. As for money, they need to pay on time. Do you have a local counselor who works for the agency that you can go to?
Correct me if I’m wrong but it sounds like you are not upset about the hours themselves, is it more about being used and treated rudely? I know my AP had a similar experience with her host family in UK. She left after 7 months and much health problems because of the stress. I am shocked such things go on. As a HM, I do consider it a duty to treat my AP as family. But it is soothing to know she feels the same.
Look for another family. My AP waited longer than she wanted because of the children. But, also know that no HF is perfect. Each will have it’s own dilemmas. This is the schedule for my AP if you want to use as guide when you research new family:
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri: 10am-7pm
Wed 2pm-11pm
Sat, Sun: OFF
This is the new schedule. When she arrived, HD was working nights, so her old schedule was:
Sat, Sun, Mon: OFF
Tues, Wed, Thur: 1-10pm
HD is not home much because of work, I stay home because we would pay more in childcare than I bring home in salary. But, with twins, it is literally impossible to do by oneself. For example, one night 1 twin’s congestion got very bad & I wanted to go to the drug store. She was off & volunteered to watch the babies while I go to the drugstore. Then, there was the night one twin was injured and the other asleep. She was off duty and watched the sleeping one while we took the injured one to hospital. Technically, she can say no. It made it easier to take 1 than 2 to the hospital.
When we interviewed on Skype, I told her no need for laundry, dishes, cleaning. Just need help to hold and keep twins busy so they don’t cry and cry because one feels jealous the other is held.
She has volunteered to wash bottles, load & unload dishwasher. Yesterday, she helped me to bake Christmas cookies & decorate the gingerbread men. I had to leave before all the cookies were out of the oven because I wanted to get to the toy store & get a money refund on an overpriced toy. I did not realize that until the night before. The receipt said I had 7 days. Yesterday was the 7th day. Anyways, she took the rest of cookies out after I left and surprised me with cleaning all the pans!
Last week, she insisted on vacuuming our upstairs! I thought that was very sweet of her. All of these, she did like a family member. We try and reciprocate; US law stipulates $195.87/week; we pay her $200/wk every Friday. Our thinking is we are not going to be so stingy to count to the penny so we round up. By contract, only need to give her 1 full weekend off per month, she has every weekend off (unless the girls get hospitalized) which, knock on wood, has not happened.
But, you should also know, we, like other HP’s are not perfect and cannot provide everything AP wants. For example, local AP’s have their own car. We are not rich, already stretched tight on money to have an AP. We may even sell my car to allocate money to her. HD uses his car to go to work. According to local AP’s we would be the HP’s from hell because all AP’s should have their own car. We live in the city but they think all Americans are rich. Public transportation is not good for them, they have to have car. One HM told me her AP got progressively upset because she was driving a Toyota Carolla and other AP’s were driving HP’s Lexus & BMW’s. Having own car is not a mandatory rule like having own room. That puts alot of stress on me to provide something I cannot afford. I hope she does not resent us for that because other AP’s are “poisoning” her.
In that sense, I hope you get a different perspective on the structure of a different HF.
As you can see, our family is not ideal for many AP’s. There is much crying here because 1 twin picks up where the other leaves off. My household is like a storm, always stressful. HD & I try to give the best to our AP but, in the end, we cannot afford everything.
So that would be the flip side of a different HF.
I wish you the best of luck. If you have any questions and want to ask me, feel free. Maybe my answer can serve as a different perspective, good or bad?

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Noemi December 2, 2012 at 6:37 am

Dear Georgiapeach,

I am totally amazed. You have totally different rules in America… I have read a few comments, au pair problems and oh my god. If the au pair doesn’t have car… She should be happy is she gets money to use the public transport. To have a car sounds unbelievable for me. About the another rules… I think you just simply respect your au pair, like a normal person should. In the Uk I start to think it is all about exploiting.

Yesterday I told them I would like to leave and I can give them one week, because right know this is the longest time I can stay (otherwise I would go mad. no honestly I would go mad. since I have been here I have different kind of illnesses ended with a tonsillitis. I used to be a healthy person) but I can help them to find somebody else all week, because I really love Oli.

The HM said: I can’t do it, because I have to give one month notice at least. I said, yes it is true, I know, this is why I want to help you. And I am sorry, but I CAN’T STAY. If I would stay more than a week I would be mad. Honestly I am not sure I will be able to work in the next few months after this one month.

Then they started to talk about their money issues. I almost cried … They also said if I leave they won’t be able to feed Oliver. Come on. When I went with them to shopping, they spent as much money as I get weekly, just for food for a half week or a week. I said, okay then you don’t have to pay me for the next week if I can help with it. The HM said: Well, we should get back your money what you have already got because you didn’t give the notice. I was shocked. I try to help in every single way. They won’t pay me and they still didn’t give my whole salary for the last week and they said they won’t. I would help them to find somebody else to put them in front of myself even if I am sure I have less money than they have and even if I know I won’t be able to work because of this experience. They didn’t need it. I do everything what they wish and after all the HM said I don’t love O. Because if I would love him I wouldn’t leave them like this. Since I have been here this sentence hurted me the most. I still don’t believe it. I thought they can say everything, they can humble me in every way, but they never dare to say this, WE LOVE EACH OTHER everybody knows it and they know it exactly. We loved each other after the first few days we are just like…two perfect match together, no matter what happens we enjoy to be together. So it is disgusting. I can’t find words how I feel. And I am angry because I am such an idiot, all of this is my mistake. After their behaviour I believe I should just pack and leave now. No respect, no money, I can even read the HM facebook posts how disappointed she is because of me… This one week will be a nightmare and I say thank you for myself because I am not brave enough to leave know.

I am sure not all the british families think how they do. I just know I don’t want to try again. My first HM in the UK was Polish so maybe this is why I had wonderful experience. I mean I don’t say it depends on only what nationality do you have but basically british people care about only themselves… I have been in the UK since one year and I have to admit I should’t try with a british family again. They don’t have the right to behave like this, I am not their slave and they don’t realize it!!!!!

So yes, the story has two sides. But this is all about their side. They are the first, and even after this I am the worst person in the world. They say. Of course on facebook…

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another au pair mom December 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm

It sounds to me like they play with your feelings in a nasty way. Saying that you don’t love your host child or that they would not be able to feed him if you live is not fair. You cannot be responsible for their ability to be parents. This is ridiculous.

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Georgiapeach December 4, 2012 at 4:49 am

I don’t know UK laws but do you legally have the right to leave without notice? If legally you can, do so. Don’t worry about Oliver. As much as you love him, they are using him as a pawn to keep you under their thumb. Any decent parent would not play that game.
As far as money, make sure you get paid, then leave. Many host families I know are not wealthy (us included) and struggle with finances. If they are struggling and continue to spend the way you say they have, then it sounds like they need to sit with a money manager & discuss a financial plan. An example of us saving: I clip coupons and shop on sale and thrift shops. We are watching our budget tightly and when push comes to shove, will sell my car. But we will ALWAYS make sure our AP needs to get where she has to be. We just won’t be able the luxury of giving her own car.
It does sound like the British operate differently. But don’t get too jolly on America. Many Americans are just as crazy. Respecting someone is a personal trait, regardless of country of origin. You either have it or don’t. On the same token, AP’s have to show HF’s respect too. Not all HP’s are mean. Many get taken advantage of by their AP’s. The same AP’s who have nothing in their country all of a sudden come to America and demand without concern to their HF’s. It is just as hurtful.
My AP has only spoken about other AP’s she talks to who are “suffering”. I know for a fact they are not. Just spoilt with a sense of entitlement. These girls came to my home for dinner. The counselor and I thought it be a great idea to get a group together to know one another better. The counselor truely cares about their well being. If those AP’s were really under duress, she’d be the first to help them. But they don’t tell her the truth. They tell each other lies. Example is them telling my AP that she must have a car. We are treating like a slave without it. Again I reiterate the car is NOT mandatory by the program. They only requirement is HF make sure AP’s get where they are going: bus pass, drive them & pick up etc…
I buy all my AP’s food & when she was sick, paid for her medication and doctor’s bill. I tell her to rest and not worry when sick. When she worried about her mom being sick, I told her she can go and see her however long she needs, we would wait for her. She was afraid we would rematch for that. I try and mentor her as I did the people who reported to me when I was working.
Ultimately, if an AP wants to have everything, he/she will have to work hard for it.
You sound like a very nice girl, someone we would love to host. Again, we are not perfect and I will always disclose that to any AP. We’re just a normal family hoping to find a special, caring AP for our children and to be a part of our family: gather together for meals, friends, movies, sport games. :) We do not want to be abused.
My advice is to think deeply when you leave. Things are bad now, yes. But there’s the possibility they would be just as bad elsewhere. The grass is not always greener on the other side. My AP is learning pretty quick that America has it’s share of hard moments. It is the land of opportunity. Key word: opportunity. But anyone who feels entitled, will fail quickly. Those wishing to succeed have to pay their dues. A person will get a chance, not be easily given one. And yes, it is expensive to live here too. You may be paid more than your home country but the expenses are higher. We have poor people who are just as poor as in your country, if not worse. Believe me, I know. I came from a very poor family and was on food stamps at one point to support myself as a single mom. I made it, became successful by pouring in blood, sweat & tears of lots and lots of hard work.
Hang in there, take any advice from this board from all the HM’s. Tailor it to fit your personality. Work hard, keep a good attitude. Don’t let other AP’s negativity influence you. You will make it and succeed, trust me.
Best wishes to you!

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Noemi December 19, 2012 at 5:47 am

Dear Georgiapeach,

Thank you for the message. Yes I started to believe the American hostparents are perfect. :) Its good to see (as you wrote) not all of them and there are horrible ones too. :)

I left the family and now I just try to live all of the best moments again and try to accept the bad moments… accept that those happened to me. I am not angry anymore because things happened like they happened, I think I understood their points. And this is what I have learnt from them (they don’t know it :). Now I can imagine myself to the another people’s place, so if something hurts me or somebody hurts me I always try to understand why did she/he do that, what were the reasons… So. I am happy because I lived with them, I learnt new things, experiences and now I am closer to find my way. I feel I am full of energy, I have arrived back to my home country yesterday and now I can be with my family a little bit… for Christmas :)

You wrote maybe you would like to host me? I thought you have your au pair. :)

Best wishes,
Noemi

Noemi December 2, 2012 at 6:38 am

And thank you very much for your response and for your help. :) It means a lot to me.

N

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Laura December 13, 2012 at 11:16 am

Hi everyone!

My name is Laura and i’m from Belgium.
I graduated in june as a childcare worker and i decided to put studying on pause and do something else for a while. Now it already is december and i still can’t find a host family. I am in an agency called CHI au pair usa and they said i would find a family but i already expected to have one. So this is me wondering if some people know families that need an au pair or even better if you are in need of an au pair. I am great with children and a trustworthy person that loves being crazy and creative but responsible at the same time.
Let me know :)

Greetings, Laura

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Jennine December 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Hi!!

My name is Sade Goatley, I’m an au pair in the US currently in NJ, I will be looking to go to a new family end of Feb. It has been difficult to make the decision to leave as I love the boys and the family.
I am worried I will not be able to find a good family again, I am really good with kids and stayed with the family (2year old twin boys) even after finding out after 5months they have been diagnosed with autism. I set up special activates for them and the improvement is great!
I’m looking for a family with kids the age of 3 up?
My profile will be on the AuPairCare website on the 28 of Jan? or email me at sjgoatley@gmail.com if you’d like to get to know me.
Thank you for your time!
Sade

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Jennine December 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I have a brother and sister that are 3 and 5, I have worked in a pre-school and day care center and baby sitting kids ranging from 1 year to 13 years. i have up to 6 years experience with children and plan on studying to be a kindergarten teacher when I go back home.

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FutureBrazilianAuPair January 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm

This website is SO GREAT!!

I’m brazilian and I’m apllying to be an aupair in United States. My documents are still not ready, but I hope they are ok soon, so I can travel to US this first semester of 2013!

It’s nice to know that HM’s are discussing a lot of different topics here. I’ve learned a lot of what you HM’s expect from us AP’s! And I think the most important message you’re trying to give on this site is that communication is the main key to a good relationship between AP’s and host family.

I can’t wait to be an au pair!!
And I know that if I get one reader of this blog as a HM, I certainly will be just fine!

Thank you AuPairMom for this amazing website!
I’m reading it almost every day ;)

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Same Day Delivery February 4, 2013 at 7:23 am

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Boiler Replacement March 26, 2013 at 3:29 am

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Richard Olsen April 10, 2013 at 9:12 am

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Unpaid Au Pair April 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I am in need of some advise. I have been an aupair for a month now and have only received $80. Our agreement was $100 a week (low, but I needed work). I NEVER see the kids, they are always at their other house, so I have been around them maybe a total of 20 hours AT MOST. the teenage boy decided to have me brought over to the other house to heat up food for him and walk his dog (I hate dogs and never agreed to pet sitting) and then was left the rest of the night with nothing to do. I was supposed to only work the days the kids are at the fathers house (weekends) but then I was being shipped between both parents houses and expected to do cooking and cleaning at both places. Our agreement was that I was there only to spend time with the kids and help with English, Instead I am a housekeeper who never spends time with the kids, I havent been paid, and I still havent had a day off! The teenage son treats me like dirt (he thinks he can talk down to me because I am the help, and he wants to go to MIT…he scolded me when I finally got a chance to see the city, told me that I couldnt take care of myself, etc…And another thing, I was told there was easy public transportation…instead, I live in a complex about and hour to two hours away from all the historical sites! If I wanted to be a dog walker, housekeeper, treated like crap, I would have stayed in America, I might as well be in the US because the only thing I see everyday is houses! I didnt come all the way across the world to stare at houses and clean! I have another perspective host in another country that really wants me, and I would be taking care of two young kids, which is what I want…so should I just give up and move on?

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Taking a Computer Lunch April 20, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Yes.

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CA Host Mom April 21, 2013 at 8:09 pm

I second that – Yes, move on.

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Dorsi April 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm

And get a written contract.

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Unpaid Au Pair April 24, 2013 at 8:47 am

im kind of trapped now…i have no way of leaving…was supposed to use the money to move on…but now what?

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Vicki Nell May 6, 2013 at 6:38 am

not sure If Im at the right place, but me and my husband both work full time and I need someone to assist my daughter in grade 8 to do her homework and projects ect probably someone who has a matric and is taking a gap year or someone that just cant find something else but could assist and guide her, she is really battling ans so am I with work house work and homework, hubby helps with shopping and cooking and all he can I just need a little more help

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Valeria Alessandra May 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Hello,

My name is Valeria, I’m 22 years old, and I’m from Brazil. In February this year, I started looking for a host family by an Interexchange agency in Brazil. I’d like to go to the USA this year to improve my English and to take care of children. I’m looking for a host family. May you help me to find it? Or, Is there any site where I could find it?

Thank you for reading.

Valeria Alessandra

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GermanyAuPair May 26, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I’m currently an AP in Germany and my HP is sometimes so wonderful but then other times I wonder why I am here. She has made it clear that I’m not really welcome in the family when I’m not working (weekends, 8pm). She’s never been mean about it but I just find myself wonderful why I’m here. It seems a nanny, who leaves when she is done working, would be such a better fit for this family. I have A LOT of responsibility in this family (Daily tasks: getting the kids fed and off to school, packing lunches in the am, 2-3 loads of laundry washed/folded/put away everyday, cleaning the kitchen, keeping the house generally tidy, making a hot meal for the oldest who comes home everyday for lunch, picking up and entertaining the young boys for 3-4 hours in the evening, putting them to bed and staying on duty usually until late with the baby phone until the HP gets home). I am happy to do it– I like having to work hard and stay busy but the lack of gratitude is exhausting. And everyday I feel like I need to sneak off down into my room to get out of the way when the parents get home. On weekends, if I am at home (which my HP said she’d prefer I not be) I feel I have to sneak to get food when I’m hungry because if the HP see me they seem frustrated that I’m home. Again, the thing that bothers me the most is the feeling that I’m not really welcome here and that no matter how hard I work to get everything done during the day, it never seems to be enough. I feel like I am constantly making stupid mistakes and feel TERRIBLE but its like I can never quite get it ALL perfect. The mom has commented that I am GREAT with the kids- but it doesn’t feel like it counts for much.
The mom never seems to be in a very good mood. And I find myself tip-toeing around her every morning to try to feel out if its another bad day or if she is in a good mood.

I just feel in the way most the time. I’ve read the posts that HP say are common frustrations with AP and I don’t think I do any of those things: I try to use my common sense. I try to keep my eyes open. But again, it doesn’t seem to be enough, and I don’t know what I did to make her not want me to be “a part of the family.”

Any other Au Pairs have a similar problem?

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Should be working May 26, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Not an AP, but I’m sorry to hear this. APs in Europe have reported this sort of thing before. If you told the HM straight out that you would like to spend more time with the family, and that you don’t want to be restricted to your room on off times and weekends, would that make things worse or better?

In my experience, Germans do not hide at all any feeling of grumpiness or negativity, and it can feel like it’s personally directed at you when it’s not. On the positive side, my experience is also that they will respect a straightforward, unapologetic conversation.

It doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong. Say how you are feeling. Germans aren’t much for guessing these things in my view.

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helpful one June 4, 2013 at 7:53 am

Hello so I’m a aupair for a family where the father is disabled, and he asks me to help him with a lot of things somethings i do not mind I.e making him snacks and drinks and with his coat but sometimes I get asked to do things that I am not happy to do and feel like I am here to care for dad also, when his wife isnt here he expects me to do everything for him that she would do and this I find very frustrating as he speaks very rude at me and nothing in do for him is good enough I’m starting to hate being alone with him as I find it very hard but how do I explain this without sounding very selfish :(

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HRHM June 5, 2013 at 8:28 pm

If you are in the US, there are limits to what things can be expected of you as part of your job. If you are being tasked with care of the disabled dad and you weren’t aware and agreeing that this would be part of your job in advance, then you need to sit down with both HPs and be clear that this is not something that you are comfortable with or willing to continue. You should ask the LCC to be present during this sit down so that she can counsel the family that they are asking you to do more than is really your role. If HD is permanently disabled then the family (HM) needs additional paid help and you shouldn’t be it. HOWEVER, if you are outside the US and took this job knowing about this expectation in advance and agreeing to it, then it’s unfair to change your mind now. Regardless, he needs to be cordial and pleasant with you – there is no excuse for rudeness.

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kacpo June 4, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Hello,
I’ve been an au pair in France in one family for about 2 weeks, but not feeling happy. The kids are mostly very very difficult, rude and mean to me and wouldnt listen and I live in a small village, from where it is hard to get anywhere, so I’m all week alone, but can see occasionally see someone at the weekend. The dad is very strict, punctual and gets angry easily over little things, which i started to ignore rather than cry over it as I used to…I dont know, if I’m being a cry baby or what, that I’m not happy….I’ve already actually got in touch with another family nearby, but dont know if I should say yes to them….I’m afraid of what my current family is gonna tell me if i tell them I want to leave…any advice please? :)

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Momma Gadget June 5, 2013 at 9:33 am

2 weeks is not a long time. It is a huge adjustment for everyone having a new au pair come in. You didn’t say how old the kids are. Usually getting down on their level to play with them, and really taking interest in the things they are interested in will win them over…. for my kids silly humor is a big help.
As far as the the HD- There are all kinds of people in the world. some are just not ” warm and fuzzy”. Some people are “yellers”.
Don’t take the ‘delivery’ personally… it will be good experience dealing with a difficult person for the future. He may soften up once you all get into a routine and get to know each other better. If you know punctuality is a pet peeve with him then make every effort to be on time.
As far as location- you agreed to work for this family knowing where they lived. I think if everything were going smoothly perhaps you would not feel so isolated. Again I would suggest giving it a little more time, and try to explore the area you are in.

All that being said, If after more time you don’t feel it is getting better, or you feel your treatment is abusive, you should try to rematch.
Good Luck

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kacpo June 10, 2013 at 3:58 am

they are two boys 5 and 8 years and 12 years old girl. The girl (the dad just told me recently) is exceptionally bright and in many cases she behaves as a 16 year old adolescent, so they go with her to a psychologist. I try hard to play with them and with the youngest one it’s sometimes good….the girl mostly doesnt talk to me and i just gave up. She often tells me off if i try to do something with her. I really dont know. I told last night the mum i want to leave in 2 weeks and she told me it’s not accetable and she doesnt have a problem with me. But i’m very unhappy and just the thought of waking up the kids and getting them prepared for school in the morning, stresses me out.

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Pete Jilek June 13, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Practically all this discussion on Siri amazes me. How can anybody rightly refer to a fairly uncomplicated voice recognition software program as artificial intelligence?

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Meg July 26, 2013 at 9:49 am

Hello looking for some advice I am aupairing in Germany and from the USA I have 9 years child care experience aswell as 3 years nanny experience and love working with kids . I love my family they are great and the little 2 year old girl I watch is just so adorable however, she is extremely mommy attached I’ve been here about 4 weeks now and yes I can play in her play room with her for short amounts of time but she screams every time she goes to long with out mom. the mom leaves once per week for about an hour and every time I am unable to calm the little one down. I have literally tried everything I know of to help the little one with this transition and I’m out of ideas… I’m not super good at communicating in the native language and I don’t want to stress my aupair mom or dad out our be a burden to them at all does anyone have any ideas as to what I can do? The family hasn’t said anything’s bugging them but I just feel like I’m not doing enough.

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Emma September 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm

It has been about 4 months since I left my host family. I returned back home after a year in that family. Well, it wasn’t the best expierence. But I was strong and survived a year there. There is a new girl in that family and I’d like to talk about her and how much I feel sorry for her.
First, my host mom always wanted girls under 21. Because they are not allowed to drink. She is 19, party girl from Brazil. As long as I know she doesn’t go to the clubs, but her friends sometimes take her to the houseparties. My host mom told her that she can’t go anymore. Because her friends are not good people – because they drink alcohol. I see her point little bit – she probably thinks that her friends could cause her a trouble, if she get drunk. And let’s be honest. If she was used to drink in Brazil, she will drink in the US too. But my host mom shouldn’t have said that her friends are bad people because they drink. She has only 3 friends because of the situation number 2…
Second, she is a prisoner. My exhost family lives in a forest in Colorado. 30 minutes walk to a bus stop. I could drive a car only for school and I was their prisoner too. God bless my friends for picking me up. They told her, that 30 minutes walk is like nothing but then I remember my host mom telling me that she would never walk in the night for 30 minutes. IF YOU ARE SCARED DON’T DO IT TO YOUR AUPAIR EITHER! They told her before she came that she could use their car daily. But their change their minds about it. They gave her a bike and she will have to use a bike for going to school!! It’s 5 miles away.

I feel sorry for her. But host families…. try to understand that your aupair wants to interact with other aupairs. If you honestly care about your aupairs, provide a way of transportation for her. And try to understand that aupairs want to enjoy their free time too.

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Brook February 17, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Host Families and Au Pairs,
I am from the US and trying to be an Au Pair in either Australia or New Zealand. I have never been an Au Pair before but have a good amount of child care experience (day cares, student teaching, paraprofessional at elementary school, summer day cares through the school district etc). I am looking for the best way to go about the process…. I have looked into sites like AuPair World but am looking for something with more support. I want to find a reputable site that helps me before and during the process without charging me a huge amount. Thank you in advance for any input!

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Kaity July 17, 2014 at 7:32 am

I know you want to find a reputable site but I found my family on au pair world and I’m in New Zealand and it has worked put great! Email me if you need some more advice! :)

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filleaupair March 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

I need some advice ASAP. My host parents both work from home and have a screaming 4 month old baby that cannot be put down for more that 10 minutes without screaming and crying. It causes me a lot of stress because I know they always hear him crying and sometimes rush to see what is going on. I feel like I am not given any freedom to give him care in my own way because the mom is always giving me reminders and suggestions about what to do better. Everytime I turn around she is commanding me to do something. She insists that I need to participate in family time more and wake up earlier on my off days to make sure “family duties” are taken care of. I do not feel comfortable at all around her and I dread being here. I feel guilty because when I try to assert myself she can me quite abrasive in turn. Our personalities are so different I am more of an introverted feeler where she is very much an extroverted thinker so when I try to tell her I never feel like I have time to myself because she wants me to be listening all the time for opportunies to participate in helping with the family chores or helping with making meals. She tells me things like she was not raised like me and I am not a guest here she does not want to feel like she and her husband are just serving me I need to help out more. I am always feeling like I am not doing enough or I am doing something wrong. How can I change this situation? I need advice. Should I really be judged so harshly because I am not helping with the dinner of waking up too late on my off days?

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LosingMyPatience March 27, 2014 at 6:01 am

Hi!
Although there hasn’t been much activity here in 2 years, I’m hoping that I could still get some insight from some HM’s or HD’s that still frequent the site. I’m not generally one to disclose information about work and such, but I find this situation to be very bothersome and I want to expose things as I see them completely, so as to get the best advice.

My issue is: I’m a 30 year old AP in the Netherlands (where the working hour limit is 30h/w). I have been with this family for nearly 2 months now but I’m quickly losing my patience with them.

I work 4 days/week, having the other 3 (fri-sun) off. I start my day at 7:15am, when I need to get the child’s breakfast and/or school lunch/snack ready. The child will get dressed and relatively ready for school. I am usually back from the school drop-off by 8:35am. The HM leaves me chores to be done that day. They are as follows:
– cleaning the diningroom/livingroom, kitchen and child’s bedroom, playroom, bathroom and toilet;
– cleaning other rooms in the house (guestrooms) or the staircase;
– cleaning the terraces;
– gardening work;
– ironing (the child’s clothes, their clothes, including shirts and suits);
– cleaning cupboards and drawers in the kitchen (about once/week);
– cleaning the laundry room;
– cleaning the TV room + piano;

By cleaning I usually mean dusting, hoovering, washing the floors. However, their house is HUGE and, as I’ve been told, everything in it is VERY expensive.
Usually, the morning chores can take between 3 to 5 hours to complete (depending on the day of the week).

They have never asked me to do their bedroom or bathroom or to do the laundry (other than take it outside to dry).
I am also not allowed to do grocery shopping for them, however I have to cook a proper dinner for the whole family every evening.

On some days I have to pick up the child at either 3:30 pm, 12:15pm or 11:45am-1:00pm (lunch at home). Of course, the chores have to be finished by then.

When the child is at home, I’m mostly not involved in any activities (the child will shout at me to get out of the playroom) but just supervise that the child is safe and the child can get some good snacks if needed. During that time I start cooking the family meal, which also proves difficult as to having to cook from what’s available, instead of planning meals in advance and buying everything that’s needed.

In the afternoon (from 5pm to 6:30pm), the child has to be taken to different activities. I have to have dinner ready by 7pm the latest. I’m expected to have dinner with the HF and help them tidy up. The earliest that I am free is 7:30pm, the only exception being on tuesdays, when I leave for my language course at 6:20 pm, thus not eating the meal with the HF.

In regards to the HF, the HD is cool and we have very insightful conversations however the HM is a very difficult person. She also seems rude at times. For example, one morning she was getting ready to leave when I asked her how their weekend was. Instead of just a “It was fine, thanks!” which I’d normally expect from a person, I got a 1 minute rant on how she was too busy and couldn’t talk. This has happened twice so far.
Also, once they had no fresh produce so I bought a head of lettuce (it was less than 1 euro) and I got shouted at because of that. The HM was shouting that their own food will go rotten and have to be thrown out. I calmly told her that there is NO fresh food that would spoil, to which she started ranting in dutch to the HD (so I understood everything she said) about how her food will go bad. The HD didn’t say a word, either to me or her.

The HM also insists that I should not give the child any cookies/sweets because they want to stay healthy, however I have noticed that, after the weekends, there were cake/cookie mixes being used (saw the packs in the bin). The HM always tells me of how much work she does in the weekend, around the house, however I find the house messy when I start work on monday and it gets difficult to believe her once she lies about other things.

Now…call me crazy, but I feel like she is taking advantage on me. As HP, what would you think of this situation? Am I being unfair to the HF?
I am unsure on whether to leave or not, as they have already had 4 au-pairs within a one year time period and I kinda feel bad about it, but I am also getting frustrated and not enjoying my time here at all. Also I dread to have the “I want to leave” conversation with them, as I’d have to tell them my reasons for leaving. Any suggestions on a good way of giving my notice?

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Louise113 July 25, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Hello,
I have recently signed up to become an au pair in France. The Family are wanting me to be with the 2 children aged 4 and 6, 3 days a week and carry out various tasks including bathing them taking them to school, homework and meals. They have told me that they are willing to pay me 265 euro is this a good amount?
They would also like me to sign up for french classes costing 600 pounds which I dont know if i can afford?

what will I do, any help would be fantastic :)

Many thanks

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Jenny September 15, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Hello.
I was an au pair for half year from last September til March. And I completely sucked in my job. I was a bad cook and couldn’t manage to control the kids when needed – also I was scared of my host mom because her temper was very fiery. She wasn’t statisfied with my work but never told me about it face-to-face; instead she complained to her friends and family and even the new au pair when she was interviewing her in skype. I left my workplace two months earlier than supposed to because the situation was a catastrophe.
My host mom is still liking my status’ in facebook, she invites me to gatherings etc. Still, when I asked her for a work certificate, she didn’t reply me. I’m also stressed out because I think she’s talking bad things about me to people. Our community is small. Not that I think I’ll ever try to be au pair again but judging faces are depressing – I just met a girl who was my host mom’s childhood friend’s daughter and when I told her I was an au pair in my former host family she was like “..oh… you where there..” with a pause.

Can you help me with this?
I admit I made a mistake when leaving to be an au pair without preparing myself enough, but that’s a mistake I’m sorry about and will never do again.

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NewbieAuPair October 5, 2014 at 7:52 pm

I’ve been an au pair (not in the USA) for a few weeks, and although the kids are lovely and the parents are generally nice to me, I feel like I am being taken advantage of.

I am off duty over the weekend, and for the past two Sundays I have gone out. When I returned, I find washing up from the previous meal (when I was not present) left in the sink for me to do, and that the kids mess had not been cleaned up. The first weekend I left the mess, and the following day (when I was back on duty) I was told off for not cleaning it up. Should it be my responsibility to clean up messes made when I am off duty and out of the house, or am I being taken advantage of?

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Danielle June 8, 2015 at 2:22 pm

I totally get this! Also had the exact same experience! Clothes that was washed when I was on my 5 day vacation, when I came back there was piles of it waiting for me to do it! I instantly felt used! I had nothing to do with it, I had my paid vacation! It felt disrespectful!!

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ten a pen January 12, 2015 at 9:04 pm

Hey, I don’t know if this thread is still active but if it is any advice would be mucho appreciated!

I have an informal-ish skype interview with a host family in spain and have no idea what to expect, i am genuinely excited and interested in the kids and travelling to a new place and feel like there is so much i could give and take from the experience…

however i get super nervous in interview situations, any tips?

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Confused Au Pair September 3, 2015 at 3:11 am

Hi there,

I’m an au pair in Germany. I’ve only been here 5 days or so and I feel extreme anxiety. The family is wonderful and so understanding of my anxiety disorder but I feel like I need to be home with my family at this time. I’ve spoken to them with my family back home and we’ve decided to try one more day and see how I feel. I feel it’s still best for me to return home though. I feel terrible but also feel it’s not fair to stay and then leave them in a lurch later on, if I know I should leave, I feel like I should leave earlier than later.

Have other au pairs or au pair families experienced this? Either dealing with an upset au pair or an au pair leaving this early?

Any input would be wonderful, thank you!

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mary December 26, 2015 at 3:26 am

I have gotten experience working with kids because I love kids and I like to stay with them, they teach me different things and I teach them with so much love and patience. a little tip for other au pairs, just found this website and uploaded my resume. http://www.bestaupair.co.uk/

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JeM Garro October 9, 2016 at 6:18 am

Hi,
I am an au pair in france. I have a schengen visa. Ive told my host family that I want to terminate our contract because of misunderstandings and we’re having good relationship. They asked me if I could just work until November so that they could find a new au pair. And the problem is that they are forcing me to go home but I dont want to. Can I still use my Visa as a tourist in other country or does my host family has an authority to ask the Migration for the revocation of my visa? Thank you so much! I really need your help right now.

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Steph November 18, 2016 at 10:18 am

In America if you terminate the contract with your family you cannot stay. You must go home within 2 weeks. A tourist visit is a different kind of visa. The host family can and should tell the Migration office to send you home.

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Inquiring Father November 26, 2016 at 2:59 pm

Hello!

So I have a bit of a unique situation. I am a single father of a 12 year old girl and I am looking for some “babysitting” options for her. What makes my situation unique is that I am an airline pilot and have to be gone generally 3-4 days at a time and I generally do that in three to four blocks per month. So I would need someone generally 13-16 days per month. My daughter is away for school from 7:30 am – 5 pm. She is self sufficient and really only needs someone there at night to help from time to time with homework and getting dinner made.

Looking at the numbers of the longest trip I am away is typically about 90 hours at a time. Take away the time my daughter is at school and that leaves it at 52 hours for the weeks that I am working a four day trip. That’s worst case scenario as there are times I might get back to back 2 day trips and I can be home every other evening.

Another factor to consider is that the 52 hours would be maximum of 4 times a month and the other 15-18 days per month would be 100% off including all weekends off. I am figuring that by the time it’s said and done the hours I would need to have someone available to be home would total around 200 per month.

Other perks available would be an extra 4 weeks off a year when I am on vacation plus a couple extra weeks that the Au Pair could use at their discretion. I would also provide unlimited use of a vehicle, an annual Disneyland pass, and non-rev benefits on my airline. I would also extend an offer to come on our vacations from time to time.

Is this something that would be be suitable for an Au Pair or should I consider other options?

Thank you!

Inquiring Father

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Inquiring Father November 26, 2016 at 3:06 pm

One thing I forgot. There would also be 2-4 extra weeks off in June-July when my daughter is visiting extended family or in camp during summer break. So that would be essentially 6 – 8 weeks (including the 2 weeks of Au Pair vacation) of paid time off every year.

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Rose78 January 16, 2017 at 8:46 am

Hey there everyone!

I’m completely lost at the moment, so I need your help asap!
I am an Au Pair in Germany since last June. I have to take care of 3 boys and a dog. Everything seemed fine at first, but since the 3rd month I was literally tired and exhausted.
Here’s what my daily routine look like:
6.20 I woke up
6.40 – 7.00 I walk the dog
8.00 – 13.00 I stay at home alone (It is actually my so-called “pause”, but my host mom prefers that I stay at home while doing the clothes and stuff and watch over the dog so that it won’t chew random stuff, does that count as work?)
13.00 – 20.00 I work; play with the kids, shower them, and brush their teeth

Here’s the thing. I came to germany to study and the au pair year was actually to improve my language. But it was not as i was expecting, I didn’t have time to study, to meet friends (since I live in a small city), and even for myself. Sure, I got free every night after 20.00, but it was just to tiring to go to the cafe or just to do anything else, since the next morning I have to wake up at 6.

The good thing is, I already applied for a university, and I got the invitation to join the Entrance Test this february. Do you think its a good idea for me to quit due to my studies? Will they kick me out immediately, when I told them I’m leaving?

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sUSAnaupairinamerica January 27, 2017 at 6:34 am

Woow I’m so happy that I’ve found such an interesting and helpful blog! Such an amazing idea and perfect to communicate and exchange stories with others:-) At the moment I’m waiting for requests from hostfamilies *so excited*

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