I’ve got a problem regarding my au pair that might actually be my fault.
Our au pair is personally wonderful, lovely to have in the house, very helpful. She’s been with us 19 months. She is 23 and from Bosnia. She has a great relationship with my 6 yr old and 4 yr old. She loves them and is very concerned about them, my friends all tell me she is super attentive and playful with them (for example at the park or at the pool and I’m not with them). Outside of the problems below, the only other issue I have with her is that she refuses to discipline the girls, saying she “loves them too much.”
I have been getting frustrated with her because I feel that she still doesn’t really understand me sometimes when I give her directions, and she does not use common sense.
- Two months ago, she took my daughter to a class and dropped her off, not even noticing the class was halfway over and she was late, and she had the wrong time to pick-up my daughter – my daughter ended up sitting by herself for 30 minutes!
- Last month, I needed her to take my daughter to a piano lesson while I was in a business meeting and she told me beforehand that she knew where to take her, knew the location, but of course she didn’t and ended up driving in circles and missing the lesson. Why couldn’t she have mapquested it??? I gave her the address! (And, yes, she has her own computer!).
- Then, she was nice enough to do my laundry – I didn’t ask her to do it but saw her doing it. I asked her not to put anything of mine in the dryer. She says, “ok, ok” and then I woke up and not only were 3 bikinis, a juicy sweatsuit, and 2 dresses in the dryer, but she had washed them with a red beach towel!! I talked to her about it and she denied putting them in the dryer. My husband and I did not do it, and I promise you it wasn’t my 3 year old!
- We get back from vacation (she was in the house for the week and we let her have friends come and stay with her during that week), and the TV in the living room is turned on and the piano bench is all scratched up with strange scratches…. She has no explanation….
- Today, I need her to come home with the kids at a certain time, so I call and say, “Can you come home after 12:15?” She says, “yes, yes, I come right now.” I say, “No, listen, not now – at 12:!5.” she says, ‘Oh, oh, yes, ok.”
You’d think that working with these issues with our au pair would be the problem, but here’s the thing –
This is her 2nd year as an au pair. We promised her that at the end of this year we would get her an I-20 visa and sponsor her while she’s in school. She would continue to help take care of the kids while I sponsored her, which I understand is skirting the rules but which we have figured out how to do fairly.
But now, I’m having second thoughts. If it were simply an issue of extending, we might be choosing a different, new au pair.
However, even though her misunderstanding/lack of common sense issues are a problem, I know it would devastate her to have to go back to Bosnia.I ’m afraid of crushing her, sending her back to a country where her life will be terrible. I also know she wouldn’t run off and get married (like my last au pair) to stay here because she is a really good girl…
So I’m looking for suggestions.
- How can I fix the relationship so it can continue?
- Do you think I’m being too nice and shouldn’t feel so responsible for her life?
- Should I go on to sponsor her?
- If I choose not to sponsor her, how do I go back now and tell her we don’t feel comfortable sponsoring her? That it will be VERY awkward around my house. Yet I can’t wait until the last minute to tell her – it would be terribly unfair.
I’d really like some help with this. I’m open to any and all suggestions.
Image by JekInTheBox