“Our Au Pair tells us that she is ‘uncomfortable’.” … but what does this really mean?
Host parents, can you help with this request for advice?
This is our first aupair…(well our very first decided she couldnt handle it and went home after 1 month). She is 22 years old from Colombia and has been with us for 5 months….I have 2 kids ages 4 and 6. Both my husband and I work full time.
Our AP says she loves my kids and they do love her. She likes me, but does not like my husband (her HD).
She is a good aupair, but not a GREAT aupair. I say this because:
- Although her profile stated she cooks…she NEVER cooks..doesnt even know how to bake a simple box of brownies.
- She is not very organized.
- She is almost always late. I many times have to knock on her door in the a.m. because I am waiting for her to get up so i can leave for work. Sometimes she even says “I have 3 more minutes!”
- She has wrecked my car 3 times (within the first 90 days). I took away her personal driving priviledges and charged her my deductible.
- She claims that all of the aupairs have had accidents and it is normal and not that big of a deal…(well tell that to my insurance co that just doubled my premium to keep her on the policy)
I think it is a personality mismatch between my husband and her. He tries to talk to her, she gives one word answers and hides in her room. Then she complains that he never talks to her. She thinks he doesnt like her but just says it is because some days he is nice and some days he isnt.
She has visited other aupairs in their host family homes and now is comparing the relationships and the situations.
Here’s an example: Once HD asked her if she wanted a hamburger on the grill. She said yes, and so he threw one on the grill for her. While it was cooking, she took off in the car to go run some errands. He thought that was very rude..thus…he stopped cooking for her.
Now, she thinks he is rude because he doesnt include her. The story goes on and on…
She has been with us for 5 months, and now 2 days ago she sat down with us and said she is depressed and unhappy because of this relationship. She is very “uncomfortable”. HD assured her he does like her but that it needs to be a give and take. He explained that we would like her to act like a member of our family if she wants to be treated like one, and not do things like go hide in your room with the door closed at night, etc.
Needless to say…the situation is now uncomfortable for all of us. We left the ball in her court about what to do, because again…the kids like her and she does a good job with them so I really don’t want to force a rematch. And, the thought of starting over again makes me nauseous.
However, I just can’t imagine this situation resolving….if 2 personalities collide…can you really change that? Any suggestions?
“I’m not comfortable either” Mom
Dear INCE Mom,
I think I can predict what APM readers will recommend… and that is that you rematch. The list of annoyances suggest that your AP isn’t showing much of a sense of responsibility in general, and the rest of the story suggests that she isn’t taking responsibility for her part in creating a happy family relationship.
Without her taking responsibility, there won’t be a change in the relationship. You’ll just have another 7 months of annoyance and disappointment– if nothing else comes to a head.
Yes, it is a drag to rematch, but the outcome is rarely worse than what you’ve already got, and most of the time is better.
Research shows that people overestimate the amount of pain caused by a single major operation (like rematch) and underestimate the accumulated amount of pain caused by a grinding, relentless annoyance. Ultimately, both situations are crummy.
That’s my $.02…. Let’s hear it from you Host Parents… Can this relationship be saved?
Images: My own dog, Coco, on the dock.