We haven’t talked much about the specific challenges of host parent – au pair relationships when there is only one parent, a single parent, involved.
There are some challenges that are specific to the gender & orientation balance, of, say, a female au pair and a single host dad, or a male au pair and a single host mom. These are situations where — **worst case** — the parent and the au pair could mimic all the household and romantic dynamics of a male-female couple in a way that complicates the appropriate job & role assignments of host parent and au pair.
What is more likely to be challenging, I think, in a single parent- au pair relationship is asking or expecting the au pair to take up the same kind of partnership that the host parent might get from another parenting partner. A particularly mature au pair could become almost that kind of partner, but it would be something that he or she needed to agree to in advance, since this really can take more psychic energy that a young adult might want to give for a year.
There are many readers out there who are (or who have become) single host parents. Let’s talk about what challenges are specific to single host parent – au pair relationships.
And, to start this conversation, let’s temporarily set aside the differences between host parents who are single by choice, by tragedy and by divorce. Then, in a few later posts (and we have one coming up) we can talk about different kinds of single host parent situations (e.g., after losing a spouse, during/after divorce, contested custody situations, and so on.)
So, what are some of the special challenges — and opportunities — for single host parents?