There are some ‘random, crazy and true’ au pair stories that seem like urban myths …
… The Fox in the Henhouse, the au pair who disappears two days after she arrives, and of course, the au pair who gets a second paid gig in the ‘tourism industry’.
When I first heard stories about au pairs who were using their time in the USA to explore the “Pretty Woman” version of the American dream, I was sure that these stories were simply tall tales, fictions designed to titillate. What young woman in her right mind would come to the US as a paid, live-with-a-family caregiver, and then choose to hustle for extra cash and ‘adventure’?
And then I became friends with a mom in my own town who had this happen with her au pair.
Why all the new clothes? Why was her au pair disappearing all weekend? Where was all this extra shopping power coming from? After a few Friday evenings of her au pair being whisked into NYC by a Town Car, the host mom figured it out. Her au pair had signed up as an ‘escort’. When the mom confronted the Au Pair, the Au Pair displayed some alarming naiveté– she was just a paid ‘date’, the men expected nothing more. She was sure of it.
My friend was lucky: Her au pair had only a few weeks left before the end of her year, so the problem literally ‘went away’.
The host mom who emailed last night? She could really use our advice.
Before we even get into it, let’s note that there are many views on whether ‘escorts’ are the same as hookers and whether sex work is or isn’t degrading to the women who sell their company. What’s at issue here is how this mom might respond, and what perspective would help her make a decision.
I am a first time HM to a lovely 23 year old girl. Firstly I want to say that she has succeeded our expectations and hopes of an AP and she truly is our own family’s version of Mary Poppins. She’s fantastic with our kids (2, 4 and 8) clean and tidy, helpful, organized, loving, kind and a pleasure to be around. Our main concern at the moment is that she is generous…too generous. My husband and I are becoming increasingly alarmed and concerned that she may be prostituting or being paid by older men for obviously some kind of …uhh service?
Let me explain: For the 6 months she has been with us so far she has bought little things for us and the kids – cupcake kits/baking sets/chef aprons and hats with rolling pins etc, bath toys, books, DVDs, barbie dolls, play dough tables, expensive chocolates and the like – the first few times this happened we of course tried to repay her for what she had spent and explained to her that it was not necessary and she shouldn’t buy presents for the kids as she should spend or save her money for herself as we know how little she is paid. She brushed us off and said the gifts weren’t expensive and she just loves to treat them now and again.
This didn’t set my alarm bells off at first until she began taking a trip away around once to twice a month. (She usually has every second weekend completely off and finishes on Fridays at around 2pm as I get home early then and love to spend the time with my kids.) So in the past three months she has taken off on the Friday afternoon/night to NY a few times, LA, Chicago, Houston and Miami.
Now yes I understand that AP’s want to travel and experience as much as they can in the time they are here and I absolutely encourage this and am thrilled for her to do so however what we are worried about is where the money is coming from. She has told us she saved a bit of money back home before she came here so that she could have the means to do this. I believed her at the start, until she came back from NY with a YSL bag, designer shoes, bags of new clothes and bundles of candy from Dylan’s for the kids. She showed us photos from her trip and she had stayed at a well known (and expensive!) hotel, done all the tourist attractions, seen a Broadway show etc..
And this isn’t an isolated incident. Most recently she has been deciding on where to go for her week long holiday that’s coming up. She’s decided on hiring a condo in Hawaii with another AP friend (one we are yet to meet) we looked up the condo she mentioned she will most likely book and it was around ten weeks AP salary for the week.
This is just an idea of what I am going through in my mind..every Wednesday night and some Thursdays she goes out once she is off duty at around 6 and we won’t see her until the next morning. I am not sure what time she is getting home but it is before we ourselves wake up.
One morning when she had to take my 2 and 4 year old to a play date and I was having some work to do at home I was putting away laundry and went to put AP’s folded laundry on her bed when rows of Tiffany blue bags all lined up neatly over her desk caught my eye. She also had shoebox upon shoebox in the corner of her room..Jimmy Choo’s and Christian Louboutins..I didn’t snoop around as I felt very uncomfortable with being in her room and her not being there so I just walked out and closed the door.
That night she headed out for her usual “dinner with friends” and I decided to settle down in the home office and finish off some work once the kids were asleep. My laptop had died so as I was charging it I decided to use our laptop that the AP had been borrowing most recently. As I typed in the search bar a huge drop down of searched things popped up.
To say I was shocked was an understatement! Up came “Sugar Daddy Sugar Baby” websites, how to perfect the perfect ***** and “how much should a sugar daddy pay a sugar baby” etc etc!
When my husband got home from work I told him and we were both so shocked we didn’t know what to do with this information! My husband suggested we signed up to the Sugar Daddy website and search to see if AP is on there. I don’t know how I feel about this and being sneaky to try and catch her out rather than being honest and telling her I had to borrow the laptop and this is what I found?
To be honest she is a fantastic AP in every other aspect, my kids absolutely adore her. I don’t know what to do with this.
I’m not sure I can handle someone who morally is ok with being paid monetary wise or in gifts for sexual acts, let alone that most of these “Sugar daddies” are most likely married.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated! ~ A Distressed Mrs. Banks