Childcare arrangements for families with two sets of parents can be difficult for everyone.
The non-custodial parent often has very little influence over the childcare choices the custodial parent makes. If this parent knows very little about Au Pairs as a concept, or has only met Au Pairs who have not made a good impression, it can be hard for that parent to feel comfortable with the arrangement. Add on an acrimonious divorce, a non-custodial parent that’s kept out of the loop, and that is the father who’s hiring a young woman to ‘live in’, and the situation gets awkward really quickly.
In these “I don’t trust my ex-spouse” situations, what can a parent do?
The mom who emailed us (below) should quickly get up to speed about how an Au Pair caregiver works– so that she can feel comforted that an au pair can be a caring and often emotionally helpful addition to the family in the experience of the host kids.
She should also take heart that there are many single fathers who get au pairs — and rarely is there any problem with an inappropriate relationship between the dad and the au pair. Of course, everyone will tell you about that *one* dad who married the au pair… but that’s the exception that proves the rule. Remember, too, that single dads are not really what an au pair is looking for when it comes to an American boyfriend.
The more serious issue here is that the custodial parent, the dad, is refusing to let the mom have any kind of meaningful interaction with the au pair. Ideally, when children have divorced parents, the person who is their childcare provider can bring an element of emotional and behavioral constancy, helping the kids bridge the differences between one household/parent and the other.
— LCC readers, do you have any suggestions from an Agency’s point of view?
— Are there are any host moms or dads who might help put this mom at ease?
Dear AuPairMom– I am a mother of two little girls who needs some au pair related counsel.
After a bitter divorce my ex husband holds custody of my 2 kids. Last year he hired a Colombian girl from CCAP. Although I made several attempts to meet the Au Pair, I never did. My ex husband and I even ended in court because he never let me meet the Au Pair. The au pair turned out to be a party girl — even smoking inside the house. Her English was very poor and she wanted to go out all the time. She lasted for 5 months.
To replace this girl, another au pair arrived last Friday. All I know is her name. My children are 3 and 5, so they can only provide very sketchy details about the au pair.
I am concerned, because I do not know my ex husband’s intentions.
I’m insecure about what au pairs do in a household with an unmarried host father. I do not mean to be rude, but do au pairs and single host fathers get together? Is that a myth?
I’m also concerned because in his house the au pair doesn’t have a her own bathroom. She will share it with him and the children. Many things cross my mind, like “Will she wear a bathrobe? Will she get out of the shower wrapped up in towels? Are my kids going to see all this? What are the boundaries?”
After arriving for 48h he left them with her. I want to make sure my children are safe.
Our custody battle seems endless. And I actually don’t want an au pair in our lives. I believe that between the both of us we can raise our children.
Can you offer me some advice? ~~ DivorcedMom
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Can This Relationship Be Saved?: Host Dad’s au pair is causing problems for me, in my house