When you read the email, below, you’ll think the challenge is about the au pair not being able to drive.
And not being able to learn. And really needing an au pair who can drive. And deciding to drive her back and forth to her evening class. And more.
- If your Au Pair arrives and can’t drive, you reassess how much you need a driver. If you need a driver, you…
- Give your Au Pair driving lessons, and ask the Au Pair Agency to help you pay for driving lessons.
- And if your au pair doesn’t seem able to learn to drive in a reasonable amount of time (say, 3-4 weeks TOPS), you go into rematch.
No harm, no foul on the Host Parents’ part: If the au pair can’t do the job s/he was engaged to do, especially if the au pair misrepresented her/his ability, that’s a problem to put back into the lap of the Au Pair Agency to whom you paid good money for a qualified candidate.
But that’s not what this email is about.
Look again, and you’ll see:
- The host parents are bending over backwards to help the Au Pair develop the very basic skill to meet their needs.
- Even though it should be clear by now that the Au Pair is not going to become a safe and competent driver, they are still pouring energy into teaching her.
- What’s more, they are overcompensating for the au pair’s inability to drive, by driving the au pair back and forth to her evening class
But the most troubling part for me is that the two host parents no longer agree on what should be done.
Time for these host parents to revisit the reasons why they wanted an au pair in the first place. To talk about what accomodations are ‘reasonable’. And then to consider why they aren’t on the same page and what to do about that.
It isn’t unreasonable to want an au pair who drives competently– especially when that was explicit criteria in your search. It IS unreasonable to imagine that you can teach someone to drive safely in 4-6 weeks — especially when s/he seems to lack basic driving sense.
Host Mom, please sit down and have a long talk with Host Dad.
There seems to be a gap between what your family needs and what he’s willing to settle for. You need to stand up for yourself and your needs, and he needs to stand up for himself and your family’s needs.
Call your LCC, and start the rematch process.
Host parents, what else do you recommend?
Dear Au Pair Moms,
Our AuPair has been with us for 6 weeks. She just turned 25 and is from China. She is our first AP. …
I like our AuPair as a person and she is VERY good with the baby. Our four year old tests her on a regular basis and I hope this relationship will improve, but that is not the problem. She is helpful around the house when given specific tasks. She aims to please. Also, she likes to take afternoon naps whenever the baby naps instead of helping out with clean up or meals, which I find irritating, but I suppose I can deal with that.
The major problem I am having is that we absolutely need an AuPair who drives and were certainly under the impression she could drive! We were VERY clear about this when choosing an AuPair. She has a Chinese driver’s license. She knew that driving our older son to school and any activities daily would be required and driving the baby to daycare two days a week. I also wanted her to do some grocery shopping. This was all discussed ahead of time as we exchanged many emails for 2 months before she arrived and we discussed the driving when we ‘interviewed’ her over Skype.
She NEVER hinted that while she has a driver’s license she had next to no driving experience.
My husband has been taking her driving seven days a week, one hour each day, to teach her for more than 4 weeks now. Some days they even go twice a day, but her driving is not improving.
(I keep thinking about all. the. other. things. this host dad could be doing for his family, other than acting as a driving teacher. yoikes. ~cvh)
She still runs over curbs, tonight she hit the gas instead of the brake and jumped a parking curb and she does not understand general rules of driving or the general concepts in operating a car. She had to be taught how car mirrors work, what blind spots are, how to change lanes, how to respond when traffic lights turn yellow, etc..
I got her a driver’s manual her first week here from the DMV, but she says it is too hard for her to understand the english. My husband is considering signing her up for professional lessons, but at $50 / hr I just don’t think this is fair to us.
To compensate for her inability to drive, I have had to extend the baby’s hours the 2 days a week that he still goes to daycare so that I can pick him up after work since she can’t get him after just a half-day like I had planned and make changes in my schedule. I wanted our four year old to take karate after his preschool, but we can’t sign him up for these types of activities because she can’t drive him there.
She asks us to pick up things for her at the grocery store since she can’t drive, when really I’m thinking – shouldn’t this be the other way around?
I feel very tricked by the agency and by our AP and I am angry about it. I don’t think she has done it purposely, but the reality is that she can not presently drive our children or even drive herself alone. It is a constant source of stress for me about when she will be able to drive. We do not live in a major metropolitan area so driving is not like driving in L.A. or Chicago and there is no freeway driving that she needs to master. That said, I am in NO rush to put my children in the car with her when she can not yet drive safely with just my husband in the car. My husband thinks in ‘a few months’ with them driving every night that she will be safe and understand driving.
Additionally, her college class starts tomorrow night and I am SO bitter at the prospect that we will have to drive her and pick her up two hours later two nights per week. There are not any bus routes near our home. I did not anticipate taking on this level of responsibility with an AP.
If people could please give me advice, I would GREATLY appreciate it. This is becoming a large source of tension for my husband and me as having an AP is not really improving our quality of life to the extent that I anticipated. I am VERY bothered by it, my husband is very relaxed and says that ‘we will just have to teach her and be patient’.
Driving, Comprehending and Bonding: Can this Au Pair relationship be saved?
The Best $98 You Can Spend On A New Au Pair
5 Ways To Assess an Au Pair’s Driving Skill
Driven to the edge because my Au Pair can’t drive
If the Au Pair Agency failed in their “due diligence”, what can Host Parent do?