When we have an au pair we really like, and even sometimes a so-so au pair, we start to think: Hey, maybe we should extend with this au pair… another 6, 9, or 12 months with the comfort of knowing what we’ve got, taking advantage our mutual investment in the relationship, keeping things stable for the kids, and avoiding the hard work of finding another au pair just as good.
We’ve also learned that deciding whether or not to extend, for both the host parents and the au pairs, includes a wild range of considerations, not just about family life, work load, and relationships with the kids, but also about education requirements, seeing the US, and fulfilling the au pair’s goals for her or his experience.
Since we’ve talked a bit about extensions from the Host Parents’ view, let’s turn it around and think about how an au pair might make his or her decision.
Here’s an email we got from an au pair, who has a great situation, and yet…. could use some thoughts on her decision-making process.
Should i extend?
People always tell me to listen to my gutfeeling.. but what if your gut lost its voice?
I’m an au-pair and have been with my family for 7.5 months. I love them. Most of the time.
Today they got a letter about searching for a new au-pair or extending with me. I know they want to extend. They say I’m the best au-pair they ever had. They have had 4 au-pairs before. They are just waiting for me, giving me time. I know the ball is all mine.
The thing is that everytime I start to think about the situation my tummy starts to hurt and I feel like crying. One thing I know for sure is that I want to work another year as an au-pair. But I’m not sure I want to stay here.
My family is great and my girl with special needs loves me so much! I have a great room, great car that I can use when ever I want. No curfew. Great counsellor, Great food situation (buy my own and give the family the receipt). Not many families would do that and be so okay with me experimenting in the kitchen. (I love to cook).
The only thing is the area where my host family lives. I hate it. I can’t get anywhere without a car, and there is no fun places to go. I live near nyc but that city is too big for me. My two friends are leaving and there are not so many au-pairs here.
And, I’m also curious how it would be in another family, with different kids and parents that are both at work (I have a stay at home mum now).
I know I would still enjoy it if I stayed. The family situation would be great, but I don’t know how my social life would be.
If I try to extend with another family I might end up with the worst hostfamily ever. With curfews, no friends and bad area as well.
Or I might not find another family and end up going back home. It’s a big risk. But still.. it could be perfect…
I don’t know if I should tell my host mum about my thoughts. Once I tell her I would feel weird if I changed my mind and decided to stay with them. Like they were a second choice or something. But I also feel bad not telling them. And If I said I want to extend, but not with their family, I know they will get hurt. This has been on my mind several month now. But now time is running out and I know they want an answere.. soon.
If only I knew what I wanted.
Extending with your current Au Pair: A Bad Idea?
Half-Full or Half-Empty? Extending the “so-so” au pair
Extension Candidates: How to interview, what to look for