We’ve heard the horror stories of au pairs disappearing while the host family is at church, or in the middle of the night without warning. Although this is often selfish behavior by an au pair and intended as a slap in the face to the host parents, there are actually a few situations where I might recommend that an au pair disappear.
But if it’s a situation where the au pair is being taken advantage of and where s/he’s either pursued some appropriate path for negotiating a change or getting a rematch, we step into a gray area.
What would it take for us Host Parents and Au Pairs to say “Yes, this is a time when the Au Pair should just pack up and leave”?
What would an Au Pair need to do — before disappearing — t0 feel like s/he acted respectfully (given the circumstances) and in a manner s/he can feel proud of?
Read through this email from au Pair, and let’s talk about what she should do. Then, we’ll vote.
I‘ve been an au pair in (a northern European country) for a little over 2 months now. At first it is always hard getting to know the family and the routine and all these things so I just thought that the host-mother is just not that patient. But now it is starting to get out of hand.
My schedule looks like this from monday to friday:
1. Go for a walk with the dog at 9 am
2. Clean the living room, corridor and the kitchen (washing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms)
3. Every Monday and Thursday wash the kids clothes and put them to dry
4. Pick the kid up from school at 4 pm
5. Every thursday take him to music school by bike
6. Walk the dog with me and the kid
7. Make dinner
8. Play games after dinner for 45 minutes
9. Stand next to the kid while he washes his teeth.
For everyday doings, this is a lot cause I know that a lot of au pairs don’t do it. My family consists of single mother and a 7 year old boy. I have to clean a lot and the boy has a very hard character. The mother always yells and pours every bad emotion out on me.
The kid kicks and yells and doesn’t listen to me and I can’t control him. Even his mother can’t fully control him. So it’s hard on me, especially when I am tired of cleaning the house all day. Then the mother comes home after work and she is also tired and in a bad mood and she always pours it out on me when I try to ask something or explain.
Yesterday she came into my room and started yelling about me not cleaning the bathrooms. I told her that I did. I have to be clear on here, they are not tidy at all. Like the opposite of that. And so she didn’t listen to me and then she got mad that the boy didn’t have any clothes upstairs. And the clothes that were washed on Monday, weren’t dry by Tuesday night and she yelled at me for that too. But it’s not my fault that they don’t dry that quickly.
Today she told me that she is not paying for my monthly train card and when the language course starts in october, I have to pay 150 euros myself, the full money to go there and the 50 euro support I get 4 months later when the course has ended. She pays me 260 euros a month and it’s not much when I have to pay for everything. So 150 euros is a lot for me to pay.
The course is about 3 train stops away from where I live and she told me that I’m gonna pay for my train tickets myself or I’ll ride the bike there for like 45 minutes. But the bike is broken and the tires don’t stay full. I’ve told her that and she didn’t do anything and said that I was just complaining.
It’s really hard to clean here the house because the family has a newfoundland in their apartment so it’s always sand everywhere and mud. And they walk sometimes through the living room with their shoes on. And on weekends when I am free, they don’t clean at all, not even vacuuming so on Monday I always have an extra to do. I am exhausted and I don’t like talking to my host mother because she doesn’t listen and thinks things on her own way.
I told her that I wanted to go home when her vacation starts and she talked to me that long until I changed my mind. But now I can’t take it anymore and I am thinking of leaving at the beginning of the month, when they go for a walk with the dog, I’ll grab my things and go to my friends house because I know that if I’d tell her that I wanted to go home, she would say no and start talking about me staying. It’s really hard and I feel like the only way is to give back the things she has bought, take my things and leave, leaving her a note to explain. Is that illegal or if I don’t have anything else to do, is it okay? :( ~ Traurig und überarbeitet Au Pair