AFHost Mom posted this in the comments of a different post, and I’ve moved it here so that it can have its own conversation.
Au Pair Moms, I need a reality check.
We’ve just extended with our South American AP. She is very loving, very sweet, and loves the kids a lot. Her care has been ok, but her help around the house and her positive attitude have both weighed in her favor. As a result I’ve let some things go. To be blunt, she’s not very bright, and she can be too permissive with our children. This is her first time living away from home (never again), and frankly, I wish she’d get a life. She depends almost entirely on us and on skype for her social life–which I find unfair because we’re in our mid-30s and married, and she is 22 and should be living it up in her off hours. We care about her but she can be clingy. (For instance when I tell the kids “I love you!” in the morning, she always says “i love you too!”….which is minor, but again, when I’m your only link to society, it’s exhausting). She also had a bit of an emotional breakdown recently and again, I was the one who helped her pick up the pieces.
I’m tired, folks. I have 3 kids and a full time intellectually demanding job.
Anyway, the urgent issue is that yesterday my husband was home sick from work. He and I were supposed to go out last night (shopping–nothing exciting), so he was going to relieve her at 1. He went to my little kids’ (2 of them, they share) room, and found my 4 yr old son jumping on the bed, my 5 yr old daughter pulling the nightlight out of the socket and plugging it back in, and the AP under their covers, seemingly asleep. She sat up suddenly and he said “were you sleeping?” and she answered “I was trying to.”
Side note: we do give her 5 sick days a year; she’s never taken one. He said “you need to be watching the kids during the day and not sleeping.” She said “oh, ok.”
He took the kids, emailed me (at work), and I tried to call her. No answer. I called the home phone….no answer. I emailed her and said to call me when she got the message. Never heard a word.
On the one hand, I know she was upset and talking to her family back home, but on the other, there was no need to ignore me for 3 hours. This is an ongoing issue too–oftentimes I’ll try to get her during the day on her cell phone and there will be no answer. Or I’ll try the home phone and it will be busy (usually because one of my children has played with it and not hung it up). I told her last time this happened that the communication issue was a non-negotiable and that if she couldn’t follow the rules, answering call waiting, answering her phone, etc, we’re done.
So, I left work (early), came home, poured a glass of wine, and we had another talk with her. Another part of the problem is that her english is not good. We told her we’d talk again tomorrow, and then talk with our LCC Monday, and we didn’t know whether we would rematch or not. She BEGGED me to talk to my husband and convince him to give her another chance. I said “part of the problem is that you don’t understand what we say when we talk to you. We said we don’t know yet. Not that we were committed to rematch.”
Anyway, I’m between a rock and a hard place. I think she is a nice girl, but the reality is she will not find a family in rematch, because I cannot lie about our reason for rematching. Also, I get the impression that her mom is very, very hard on her, and her going home would be devastating–and not something she could get over easily. Her care will never live up to my hopes–it just never occurs to her that “jumping” is not an activity, and my kids need to be playing structured games and prepping for kindergarten next year. She doesn’t take the initiative to do projects with the kids. I’ve tried, I’ve bought craft supplies and sent her ideas and talked till i’m blue in the face, but I just get the “oh ok,” then no follow through.
She asked me if, should we decide to rematch, we can convert her to a student visa so she doesn’t have to go home, because we had previously had discussions about her staying a 3rd year as a student, and I told her at that time I’d try to help her. First, I don’t think you can “convert” a visa, and second, her plan involves living with us, which aint gonna happen–because I need an au pair, not a boarder. And also, I don’t have the liquid assets in the bank right now required by the DoS–but that’s a different story.
How do I get out of this? I want to rematch, but on the other hand, we have put the fear of God in her, and one more chance doesn’t seem so bad, and my heart can’t handle the thought of basically destroying her life by sending her home.