Check out this interview of an (au pair) Mom!

by cv harquail on January 6, 2009

All — One of the moms who contributes regularly to our conversations, and who has a blog and a business, is interviewed this week on Bizzie Mommie as the "Mompreneur of the month" !

In addition to her ‘mom’ blog WorkMoreDoMoreBeMore, Ann Levine also runs and writes Law School Expert .

There’s a reason we all have au pairs– to have our kids well-cared for as we work (for pay or not) and make other kinds of (important) contributions. Go check it out!

Let me know if you have a blog, and I’ll add it to the blogroll! Also, let us know if there are other nifty things you all are up to, even if there’s only a little bit of a link to having an au pair :-) .


Ann Levine January 7, 2009 at 2:29 am

Thanks so much for sharing this with your readers! And for adding me to a blogroll. We are about to welcome our 2nd au pair next week. She is from Bosnia. Anyone ever had an au pair from Bosnia?

cynthia January 7, 2009 at 1:53 pm

My au pair is from Bosnia. It appears there is a little network of au pairs from there from the same town, who all know eachother (it’s not very big anyway). It’s been fabulous because she already had connections here and a place to visit in NYC for New Years! It was a huge help in terms of her adjustment, she was able to speak on the phone to people in her shoes who also had experience from the very get go. Good Luck!

Cindy January 7, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Hey Ann,
Do you ask your au pair to do any grocery shopping? I am just curious since I do not ask mine to do anything beyond picking up the occasional gallon of milk or bread (mainly because I am picky about my groceries and fear she would get the wrong things, pay too much, etc.). I do know other families ask the au pair to pick up groceries (not a major weekly haul, but a few days worth) and they were told that this is inappropriate. Thoughts?


Maya January 7, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Hi Cindy,

I am not Ann, but I found your question interesting.

I do not ask my AP to do any grocery shopping for the same reason as you. I am too picky, mostly buy things on sale, and change my mind about brands I buy like the wind.

But, when we were going through transition with my last au pair who complained to our coordinator during our transition meeting that I go groceries shopping after work instead of coming home and thus she does not get to see me much (insert eye roll here), my coordinator suggest that I have AP do the groceries shopping during the day when she is free thus shifting her hours from evening to day. So, cannot say whether it is appropriate, but it is definitely something that is allowed by the program.

Oh, and now that I got my mind on this again (after not having to deal with that old AP for a while now), I am all pissed again. It’s not like my old AP liked me or anything, she just wanted for me to be home earlier in the evenings, so that she would be free sooner. What she did not realize, is that one of the reasons I was running my errands after work was so that she could have entire weekends off instead of working on Sundays while I do run my errands. She was taking a college class on Saturdays from 9am to 2pm so if I was not giving her Sundays off as well; she would have had no weekends as all (except for one a month).

cvh January 7, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Cindy –

About grocery shopping, I think that’s one of the gray/flexible areas, again because it’s a task where you can’t easily separate the kid stuff from the adult stuff to keep you AP focused on kid things.
I personally think that grocery shopping is fair. It isn’t that arduous (and can be kindof fun, from a cultural differences perspective).

I have heard of:

Families having the AP shop “because the parent and not the AP cook for the kids”. It’s pitched as a way of trading cooking duties for shopping duties, and the mom emphasizes that the food is mostly for the kids. THe mom also buys a lot of stuff (soap, detergent,) at Costco, so the groceries are mostly actual food.

Families that have the ap put away groceries that are delivered, or pick up and put away groceries bought on line. This is what we do in my family — our AP is home when the groceries are delivered and puts them away while kids do homework or play. I do the shopping online at 12:30 at night. bleh

Families that have the ap shop, and give the ap a budget for her own food choices. The idea is that this makes shopping fun, makes it a task benefiting both the ap & family and ensures that the AP gets what she wants to eat.

I’ll turn this into a full post soon – cv

Edina Stone January 9, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Hi! I would love to add my blog to your blogroll:

Thank you!

Edina Stone

Audrey March 15, 2009 at 5:14 pm

I had an Au Pair from Bosnia that just left. (Was kicked out) She was a mixed bag.

She was a little harsh with my 4 year old and told her things like she didn’t like her when she cried. But she also played with her and took her to the park and library regularly. She loved the baby very much but overfed her at every meal , basically jamming food into her mouth despite her protests.
She kept the whole house neat as a pin (we never asked her to and in fact asked her to stop) but she would sweep everything into drawers, closets etc and I could never find anything, including overdue bills, checks that needed to be deposited.
She was very flexible with her schedule but never told us in advance what her plans were and would dissappear for the weekend with our car without asking or letting us know where she would be or when she’d be back.
She did all the laundry, but she washed clothes constantly (daily tiny loads) and no matter how many times I tried to tell her how I wanted the kids clothes washed, she would never do it my way. In fact, whenever I tried to nicely tell her how I wanted something done, she politely ignored me.
I made the mistake of being tolerant of these little things because she was doing so much and was being so flexible. In the end we found that she was stealing from us (video camera, jewelry, clothing, cosmetics, the list goes on) and we kicked her out. I don’t think that had anything to do with being Bosnian, just a personality flaw. But next time, I will be more scrutinizing of behavior, because red flags in one area may be red flags for other problems as well.

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