Don’t try to make your “two toddlers, small house, no au pair car” life “attractive”

by cv harquail on April 22, 2014

“There’s a lid for every pot.”

This wisdom was offered by HRHM four years ago, and it’s stuck with me. I love it because it’s just so TRUE when it comes to au pairs and host families.

No matter how weird unique your family is or how weird distinctive an au pair candidate is, if you meet the basic criteria of being kind, caring and qualified, you’ll eventually find your match.

Despite knowing that who we really are is probably just right for someone, we still traffic in fictions.


Many of us– especially our first few times through the selection process — go out of our way to present our families and our home situations in the best possible light.  Like the people who take photos of apartment interiors for the New York Times real estate section, we are tempted to use a special lens when we show off our families, a lens that makes everything look prettier, tidier, and more tempting.

Describing only your family’s very best features can create expectations that you can’t live up to.

You set the bar too high, and it doesn’t help. You disappoint not only your au pair, but yourself.

No family can live at their absolute sweetest, easiest and best. Especially if they have kids. Human kids.

The Flip Side

Going too far in the other direction can backfire too.

(There is a good argument for taking it all the way to the other extreme.  CalifMom describes this as the “I Dare You To Match With Us” strategy, and we’ll discuss it in an upcoming post.)

If we describe our family in the worst possible light, we might scare away potential au pairs who would be great matches.

Given that au pairs  compare potential family situations, how do we strike a balance between being accurate and being attractive?

What should you do, if your family situation isn’t the easiest, or if you home isn’t the biggest, or if your location isn’t the grooviest?

 Dear AuPairMoms!  Hello, I love your site, I read it as soon as it hits my inbox!

I am a first time Host Mom, searching for our first AP now. At the time of AP’s arrival I will have a 2.5 year old and 9 month old. I keep reading comments on the site about how people would not “trust”an AP with an infant, now I am getting nervous about it!  We are screening for maturity (not considering younger than 23, which means it’s slim pickings), intelligence, patience, and infant experience. We have already had 2 AP’s that we REALLY liked reject us.

Our matching coordinator said that one stated that she wanted older kids, even though during our interviews she stated and acted like she really loved babies and toddlers and said she was comfortable caring for them. The other did not give a reason for rejecting us, even though she also seemed so excited about us during interviews. We spent A LOT of time with these two candidates and I can’t help feeling rejected and drained from the process so far.

I try to make sure the AP knows that we realize that caring for two small children is not an easy job, I tell them that I don’t really care that much about keeping the house clean or doing things like kids laundry, and I will even make them food and bottles so the AP just has to warm it and serve it. All AP’s ask us if our 2 year old will be in preschool, she won’t, I am sure it would be an easier job to take care of school age kids on a lot of levels.

I want to stress how challenging infant and toddler care can be so they are prepared but I feel like I may be scaring them away. I am wondering what others have in terms of advice for choosing an AP to care for young kids, how to screen and interview, and how to make ourselves seem more appealing!  And some reassurance that my kids will be safe and cared for!

Also, a few other details…we live in a large US city (Chicago) in a great neighborhood, but we do live in a small space… 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom. I’m wondering if that turns them off too? They say they don’t care. We can’t change that part. We won’t have her using our car, but public transportation is great. They say that’s fine with them. We have a flexible schedule and sometimes we won’t use all 45 hours, but I’m not sure I want to mention that, just in case we do.

Also we would want an OCCASIONAL (once a month or every 6 weeks) weekend night out, just for dinner/date night and we let them know that, but stress we will work around her schedule and plans on weekends.

Advice appreciated! Thanks so much.  ~ FriendlyConfinesMom


Image: “Beautiful bees – Honest, Peaceful, Benevolent, Courageous, Gentle, Contented, Truthful, Patient, Prayerful, Modest” by Emma Paperclip  Some Rights Reserved



TexasHM April 22, 2014 at 4:28 pm

You’re doing the right things. It is VERY important to get real with candidates and tell them candidly that its not a cakewalk and what the challenges will be. It is also important to not sell yourself short on what you have to offer. We do not live in an AP hotspot but we do live 10 minutes from one of the largest airports in the US that offers cheaper and more direct flights than anywhere else so if travel is important to them, its a major perk. We also live in an area that has a very reasonable cost of living. This means our APs can not only afford the education requirement but can also often afford extra classes so if an AP wants to study for and pass the TOEFL we have a big perk. We also have a lot of family traditions so I make a point of sending an email that has links to the places we go every year (pumpkin patch, ICE! exhibit, university Easter egg hunt, renaissance festival, Texas State Fair, high school football Friday Night Lights style, Disney, Great Wolf Lodge, etc). Our point is that we work hard and play hard and the right person won’t get perks in the way of all expense paid cruises or driving a luxury car wherever she wants but will get treated as a true family member and a variety of experiences with our family throughout the year and the opportunity to supplement that with additional travel, friends and education in a city of over 7M.
Trust your process. I got so worn out the last round I almost settled and that would have been a huge mistake. It is exhausting but just like marriage when you find “the one” thats a keeper you will know and it will be so worth it. I will also note that I changed agencies and had a worlds better experience at our new one. I felt like the candidates had a much better understanding of the program (serious childcare obligation vs way to play and travel in US and oh yeah – watch kids sometimes) and what they were looking for from the program and Interexchange reserves your primary match so there isn’t so much shopping and perk comparing but a true analysis of your family alone and if its a fit. Best of luck!

Momma Gadget April 22, 2014 at 4:59 pm

FCM- first of All Welcome to the Au Pair program!

As hard as it is not to feel rejected. You should view it as avoiding a bad match.
You are who you are, and you offer what you offer. You do not need to feel apologetic, or defensive. There is a good match out there for you, sometimes it takes a little longer to find the right one.

There are pros and cons to every age group. Older kids maybe in school all day, but they also can have their own opinions, be argumentative, and uncooperative. Toddlers and infants are more pliable, and sweet, but there are long hours without breaks, and the whole diaper thing. Both APs we rematched with went on to have much better experiences with families, with cuddly, compliant toddlers. Our 1st rockstar AP extended to us from a family with toddlers/infants and was relieved to be with older children. Sorry if I am being repetitive but it is really about the RIGHT match.

We try to tell it like it is- not really oversell, or under sell- but paint an accurate picture of what life with us is like : Who we are. How we see and AP fitting in- Here are some excepts from our letter:

“We are fore most a loving, but busy family with two working parents and two teenage boys. They are no longer angelic cuddly little toddlers. They are energetic, imaginative boys, complete with ups and downs and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry.”

“Our home is almost 100 years old and is by no means a pristine and organized haven like the photographs in magazines. It is a tad short of chaos, with creative projects in every corner and a mini-zoo of pets, including reptiles, a frog, a goldfish and a large dog.”

“Through the years we have realized that having the right caregiver for our children is critical to the balance and happiness of our family. We view an au pair part big sister/brother, part friend and part guardian. We have been very fortunate to have several previous successful au pair experiences, and have high hopes for another.”

We go into more detail in the letter, and email exchanges. We get to know them better and get a sense of who they are and if they will fit into our lifestyle, and be happy. It’s kind of like panning for gold- through emails and Skype, we sift though the candidates letting the ones that really aren’t a good match us pass by until hopefully we are left with a great one. It is not fool proof, But our bad matches I can mostly attribute to feeling pressured by circumstances into making a choice.

Maybe broadening your search a little bit would help also. Our best AP ever was 21 when he joined us. Another regular poster on this site hit the nail on the head when she stated “age does necessarily equate to maturity”. Also If you have an experienced LC, ask for her input. They can read between the lines and have a lot of insight into what qualities make the best APs for different circumstances.

Good Luck!

Mimi April 22, 2014 at 5:17 pm

I think that as Americans we worry too much about some of the material aspects of our home offerings. HD and I have both lived/traveled abroad and have seen the standard accommodations most of our European APs are used to. Space is tight and public transportation is the typically used method of travel.

Don’t take the rejections personally. Depending on the agency you’re using, you may be part of a group that potential candidates are cherry picking from. We always solicit feedback on why someone chooses not to match with us and might get honest feedback 50% of the time. We know we aren’t the ideal family for all. I have 3 boys and a girl on the way. Some of our potential matches were really turned off by the idea of 4 kids, even though the older 3 will be in school and for the bulk of their year here, the APs primary responsibility would be one infant, M-F 8-5.

When screening candidates, we look for candidates from larger families with the expectation that it won’t be such a shock for them to live in a chaotic household like ours. If they have siblings and cousins, it’s an easier adjustment for them. We also live in a rural area so a car is a perk we choose to provide for our APs to offset the geographic disadvantage. We also have (inexpensive/local/library) activities we sign the boys up for so that everyone has a chance to get out of the house.

When we first started the program, I was very nervous about having a young AP home with my twin boys for a ton of reasons. We didn’t limit ourselves by AP age for a number of reasons because not only do I think that age doesn’t really equal maturity, I also feel that some of the older APs are less pliable when it comes to training them to do things my way. Our agency (CCAP) makes the screening process easier by prescreening infant qualified APs which makes a huge difference when it comes down to screening applicants.

Our handbook is pretty long. I include it when we start to get serious with an AP so they can see info like daily schedules and our household rules/structure so they have an idea of what they’re in for. The detailed section on discipline has likely scared a few off, but our best matches have seen that it’s an indicator that we’re serious about our children’s behavior and setting up our APs to be successful and less stressed by ‘boys being boys.’ I also try to focus on positive language in it so it doesn’t sound like a “thou shall not” list of miseries.

It’s easy to focus on the negative things in an effort to be honest, but you don’t want to scare good candidates away. So while we’re very upfront and honest about what makes us a good family to be with; it’s important to us that our APs make friends and experience the US with their peers, we approach parenting as a team effort and do what we can to make them feel respected and part of our family, we have a structured environment for the kids that makes them easier to manage, and for us a successful AP year is not just about our needs being met.

Matching can be a tough process, but it’s worth serious effort and you will hone your interview skills as you go along. Good luck!

hOstCDmom April 22, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Also, it’s kind of a side note to your main issue, but a small point struck me. Do keep in mind that many candidates will ask about preschool for a 2 yo due to their cultural frame of reference — in much of continental Europe (Central, Eastern and Northern Europe I know from 1st hand, living in the country experience – I don’t know Southern Europe or Asia in this regard) many children, including many with SAHMs, attend “kindergarten” or “nursery” from age 18mos or 2 years old. Thus, depending on where the candidate is from, it may be completely “normal” to them that a 2 yo is attending preschool/nursery/kindergarten, because all the 2 yos in their country do so (and their country provides high/decent quality, state funded, toddler-5yrs childcare!). Thus, I wouldn’t necessarily read too much into that question. :)

spanishaupair April 22, 2014 at 5:33 pm

I agree with that point, in Spain for example kids can start and often do for parents working, nursery when they are 4 months old. And it first surprised me that in UK and Ireland they dont start until 3-4 yo, then i saw how expensive it is and understood why parents take aupairs instead of sending kids to school, here most families dont pay agencies so costs are very low, 45€ for website plus leaving expenses and pocket money usually of 100€

Skny April 22, 2014 at 5:23 pm

I would also not tell that you do not require laundry or cooking.
You can find the person making full use of its benefits.
I have a 4yo, 2yo and newborn. Live in the middle of nowhere (think rural, farmland… walmart is 30 min away. Mall is 45 min away. School for ESL classes about an hr). I do offer car, but the closest Au pair is 1.5hs away. We have our own LCC and NO other ap in our cluster.
Small room in basement, shared bathroom. And I have been able to match with good candidates, who will cook meals to my kids, do laundry, and work a few (although rare) sat nights a week.
Don’t give up perks that will make your life easier. No sense to pay that much for program to have to come home at night and do laundry, pre-cook lunches, pre-make bottles….

hOstCDmom April 22, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Completely agree! I have 6 kids, and I find APs that do laundry, clean the kids bathroom, tidy/vacuum rooms, change sheets, wash dishes from kids meals, clean playroom etc.! Good, hard working, quality APs are out there! Including ones that will match with a family of 6 kids that homeschools!
(and, keep in mind your kids are probably of an age when they nap; APs should be on duty if they are at home responsible for kids during nap time; and nap time is a GREAT time for laundry, cleaning, bottle/meal prep to get done!)

hOstCDmom April 22, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Oh yeah – and we use 2 Saturday nights/month for DH and I to go out, and 45h/week, every week.

CAmom22 April 23, 2014 at 10:35 am

Also couldn’t agree more on this side issue. I also limited the amount of child-related chores I asked of my first APs (mostly because I’m a control freak :-)) but have found over time that all have been capable and more than willing to do these things (laundry, playroom clean-up, lunchbox prep, etc). You’re getting an AP because you need the help. Be honest with yourself about what would help you and then, as TexasHM and others have described above, paint a clear picture not only of the hard parts of the job but also of the positives in the situation you offer. Good luck and I’m sure you’ll find the right person!

Skny April 22, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Also I ve had Au pair being even more careful with my kids than I am. Like reminding me to give more water to kids day by day, or worrying about germs, snacks or other things I am more lenient about..

Angie host mom April 22, 2014 at 6:00 pm

You’ll find the right au pair. I personally wouldn’t limit on age, even with an infant. Our first au pair was 18 and she came when baby was 4 months. She was magical with babies! My in-laws called her the baby-whisperer. One of our more mature 23 year old au pairs would have been a baby disaster, couldn’t handle them at all. Luckily kids were bigger.

TexasHM April 22, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Ooh yes, I completely agree don’t offer up laundry, bottles and all that. There are much harder situations than what you are offering and those families still have APs that help with those things. As was mentioned, nap time is prime time for those type of prep/clean activities and even then our AP usually had some free time because the girls would nap everyday and the laundry didn’t need to be done everyday so don’t underestimate the contribution a great AP can make.
Also completely agreed on maturity. We did this our first round (limited to 24 and up what was I thinking?!?!?) and got an almost 27 year old that often could have been mistaken for a 17 year old. Our APs ironically have gotten younger each round (almost 23 for second AP and then barely turned 22 for current AP) and I dare say, more mature each round as well. Go figure! We do however, still stick to 21 and up because I have watched over and over the younger ones get into trouble and be miserable because they can’t traditionally go out without everyone else without getting a fake ID and praying. Its also worlds cheaper from an insurance perspective for us to stick with 21+ but if you don’t have those limitations I would eliminate age as a screening criteria entirely. Along with experience but don’t get me started on that… ;)

Ukaupair April 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm

I couldn’t agree more with the age thing! People are either mature or not it doesn’t matter how old they are! Personally I’m 19 and think I’m much more mature than any 23 year old i know! I always get told by people I meet for the first time that they think I’m much older they always think I’m about 22+ some even told me they thought I was 27 (didn’t know weather i should be offended or not!) ha! But this wasn’t by looks either! Guess its just because I’m a realist and don’t live in a fairy land like my friends! Ha, So you cant say that just because there 23 their will be mature!

I am also qualified in childcare. So caring for a baby/toddlers would actually be good for me as have my best experience from that age range (i work in baby room 6weeks-2years) which is a job you have to be mature for!

Maybe try an extraordinaire from AuPair in america!?!

Anna April 22, 2014 at 9:32 pm

I think you should broaden your search and register with a couple of other agencies. I had a very hard time matching with AuPairCare when I had two young kids and was expecting a third. They had a very limited pool of willing candidates and the ones I loved were snatched by more attractive families pretty quick. I registered with other agencies and found more matches there.

Emerald City HM April 22, 2014 at 10:57 pm

We definitely feel like that during matching, it’s difficult to not feel disappointed. I’m still not sure why, but we have never had a European candidate want to match with us. You might actually try interviewing candidates from middle and south america.

Taking a Computer Lunch April 22, 2014 at 11:17 pm

You can’t change your house or yourselves. My advice – don’t get defensive when an AP asks a question! She’s trying to figure out how life works in the U.S. For example, when a candidate asks if your older child will be in daycare, you might say, “No, but I think it’s okay if you end up having a close friend caring for children of a similar age to play together.” (As long as you’re okay with that.) That puts the ball back in her court – to develop relationships that are acceptable to you.

I take each rejection (and this year I’m facing more than ever now that I have an older teenager in diapers and a younger teenager in puberty) as a sign that that particular AP-HF relationship was not meant to be. I’d rather have a great match than limp along with a mediocre match (btdt).

One thing first time HP don’t have is a current AP with whom the candidate may communicate. Once you have someone in situ, then it gets much easier to find a successor!!

Persevere. You will find a good match!!

Oh, and one piece of advice – personally I’d be more flexible about age. I’ve hosted 9 APs, and only 2 were 23 (none older). The favorite AP was 19 at arrival and the worst 18. We’ve hosted fantastic 19-23 year olds! My first LCC said “If a candidate is 26, you’ve got to wonder why she isn’t moving on with her life – and quite frankly – those words have rung true with the 26-year-old candidates I’ve seen so far!

Dorsi April 23, 2014 at 12:04 am

I feel like you are apologizing for wanting someone to work for you! Can you imagine if you had to take care of 2 kids for 8 hours during a day — and the only thing you had to accomplish was taking care of the kids and their things? Not trying to squeeze in a call to the bank, a trip to the grocery store, presents for your brother’s wife’s new baby, pay a bill — and take care of your kids. It is not too much to ask someone to provide engaged, appropriate care for a baby and 2.5 year old and do laundry and food prep — when they have 14 hours per day off to tend to the rest of their lives.

It is harder to find APs who want little kids. We have three. We send out a very blunt initial email (and brief — I don’t want anything to get lost in a lot of text) with three points: you will work when you are working (no TV/text/etc), You will work weekends and evenings, You will work 45 hours per week. Segue into a paragraph about what makes us stand out as host parents (we thing there are great things about our family, too). And then the ball is in their court to respond. 75% never respond to the first email. But, we don’t need a lot of APs — we just need 1.

For us (at this point, this may be different in a few years), South Americans with some college completed have really worked well for us. There wasn’t as much cultural adjustment as I expected, compared to Europeans (I had thought there would be less gap for us culturally between us and Germans, but I don’t think that is true anymore). Our SA APs have been driven, hard workers, and soooo loving with small children.

You are providing a young person with an amazing experience, a chance to see America, learn english, know family life. One less person would get that experience if you don’t get an AP. While that doesn’t mean that everyone should get and AP, there is nothing to apologize about.

Reena August 19, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Oh, I can’t agree with you more. I am a first time HM. I have a 15 month old who is very easy to care for. But, I am beginning to really feel that our Aupair who has been with us for 4 weeks now is not engaging our baby during the day much. She is addicted to her cell-phone. I am afraid when she is on duty, she is most of the time texting and the baby is left alone, just running around either in the play pen or around the house.

Please advice how I can get my aupair to be more engaging and loving with our baby.

By the way she has very few responsibilities, I do not ask her to do any household chores except empty the dishwasher every other day, and vacuum the ground floor once/twice per week. Her other responsibilites are, feed and change diapers, clean baby’s milk bottles, do baby’s laundry once a week and put away.

American Host Mom in Europe April 23, 2014 at 4:20 am

I can relate to the challenge — when I first was really looking, I had an 18-month old and newborn twins!, plus we live in the countryside with no public transportation, in a country where gas is expensive — but I found many competent and good au pairs. My situation is reversed as many of mine have been Americans looking to come to Europe, but just keep looking. You’ll find the right person! And what you want is someone open minded about how things are done differently in different cultures (or households). And despite the ages of my kids — my au pairs helped make bottles, did laundry, cooked meals, took the kids on walks, etc. You live in Chicago, and some people love babies/toddlers — don’t undersell yourself!

Friendly Cofines Mom April 23, 2014 at 8:19 am

Thanks so much to everyone for your advice! Dorsi, your words really hit home for me! You are right. After reading through the comments here, we adjusted our age to 21 and older and we are taking South Americans more seriously, where as recently I was focusing on Europeans. One of the AP’s we fell in love with, and it didn’t work out (she did not have the fees ready when it came time to sign contracts) was from Brazil, and we keep going back to her, comparing everyone to her… so it makes sense for us, we like that kind of bubbly, kid-loving, hard-working aspect. I am also thinking that it is NOT too much to ask to do kids laundry and meal prep, especially if the are napping!

I am just so nervous about leaving my babies with someone we don’t know very well, especially my 9 month old. The whole thing feels overwhelming sometimes. But we really do like so much about this program too. I will keep plugging along, and keep reading here.

Oh, I have been reading the archives (I am sort of addicted to this site), and I keep reading about “Dare to Match” letter… but I can’t figure out what this is… can anyone tell me more details about this?
Thanks again everyone.

CanadaHostMom April 23, 2014 at 8:24 am

I echo everything else said here about not underselling yourself. Maybe try to reframe your thinking…. Instead of “no car”, you have a great opportunity for an au pair without a divers license. A lot of otherwise great candidates are passed over because of no drivers license.

Just for perspective, our family was “rejected” at least 10 times this round, but now we have two great candidates (plus a 3rd I’ve ruled out) who would love to the opportunity we’re offering. Many of the rejections were due to our school-age children (who are both under 10) being “too old”, the au pairs were looking for babies/toddlers.

And finally… Like everyone else, I encourage you not to advertise no laundry, food prep etc. The extra help in those departments is invaluable.

ReturnAupair April 23, 2014 at 8:54 am

I was wondering if you allow the Aupair to use Public Transportation with your Kids? I had 4 Kids and the oldest was 6 years old and i could have not be unhappy if i could not get out of the house with the Kids. I loved to go to the Park, to the libary, zoo, museum and to playdates with the Kids. I also had a infant who just came along with me. If i could not use the car i would have stuck at home with the Kids and actually i would not be an happy aupair.

Also when i was in the matching system i got tons of mails from family at the end i did not choose the family with the 2 older school aged boys(which offerd to match) i choosed this family with 20h more work, more stress, more kids, just because i found them symphatic.

I turned one family down, because i saw how the kids actet to theire parents and i found that if they do that all day with me i would not be happy.

Maybe just go look on a different agancy too. Iam sure to almost every family is a perfect aupair. I was happy in my family and in all familys of my friends i would have been unhappy. And they where glad they matched with theire family.

Seattle Mom April 23, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Good point. I have a friend who was an AP a long long time ago, and she ended up rematching with her first family- part of the problem was that she was stuck at home with nowhere to go but the playground with a toddler. The family didn’t let her use the car or take the kid on the bus- not that it would have mattered much, in the neighborhood where she was public transit wasn’t very good.

I didn’t let our AP drive the kids for her first 2 months so that she could have time to practice driving wtihout them (she was almost there), but I encouraged her to take them on the bus and there is decent transit where we live. Plus there are a lot of activities within a mile of the house.

HRHM April 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Yes, I think this is a very good point.

I know that I would be miserable stuck at home with my own kids all day every day – it would be even worse for an AP.

When we lived where there was good public transport, I encouraged the AP to use the bus and metro with the kids as often as possible. I provided smartrip cards for each of them with auto top-up. I helped by providing links to trip planning websites. One AP (we moved near the end of her year) had been driving everywhere and was just NOT going to use public transport no matter how easy I made it for her. Once she left, new AP was great about making it into an adventure. Both were German and used to driving everywhere at home, the difference was demostrative of their personalities in general (one very rigid, the other very adventurous).

Friendly Confines Mom April 23, 2014 at 7:24 pm

We live about a 10 minute walk to 2 libraries, 3 parks/playgrounds, and in a neighborhood full of kids and nannies. I’d love for our AP to do play dates. Also as time went on and she was comfortable on public transport, I would be up for having her taking kids to other activities.

Friendly Confines Mom April 23, 2014 at 7:27 pm

I tried to write a comment early this morning saying thank you to everyone for all the advice, but I don’t see it here…. maybe I am doing something wrong? Well I hope this one shows up! You all are great and I have really changed the way I am thinking about this whole thing in just the last 24 hours! I feel so much more positive now. We are expanding our age limits and already found one AP that looks really great.

cv harquail April 24, 2014 at 10:57 pm

First time commenter’s comments get held automatically until I clear them by hand… so yours was pended until I logged in tonight.

Thank you for making twice the effort to thank the other commenters for their wisdom!!

DCClick April 24, 2014 at 11:57 am

Yes, I totally let our au pair take DS anywhere on public transportation. Neither one of our two au pairs has driven with the baby (and this one doesn’t drive at all – after two drives with DH he became convinced she was going to “kill us all” and luckily she has no particular interest in driving).

But living right in the city, they have tons of opportunities to do things both walking and on the bus / train. The library, community center, and 3 playgrounds are all within walking distance, and Gymboree, the zoo, and the pool are a quick bus ride. Even though there’s plenty to do within walking distance, it’s a great adventure to take public transit, which they do at least a couple of times a week.

CapitolHostMom April 23, 2014 at 9:40 am

Everything you said sounds super reasonable. You just haven’t found the right one. Although, I really don’t think maturity equals older . The best Au pairs for my infant and toddler were 19 with some baby experience. Had they babysat 8 hours a day? No. But they were prepared for the one year challenge. Also they both had strong relationships with their parents and Skyped them often for advice. They have both told me there were secretly tears the first week. But think back to something scary you’ve done and I’m sure you shed a tear or two from fear or stress or anxiety. You are giving a young woman a chance at a one year job, she doesn’t have to parent forever. I think maybe focus on lists of chores, expectations, and the like instead of highlighting how difficult it will be. Let her make her own assessment. If she sees that her host parents take stress and difficultly with calm grace then she will happily learn to do the same. I hope this makes sense. Good luck!

TexasHM April 23, 2014 at 10:51 am

Such a great point. I tell our APs and my coworkers all the time – “if you don’t panic, they won’t panic”. LOL I am in sales so I often have to ask difficult questions or be the bearer of bad news and I can’t tell you how many times a coworker has freaked about having to tell a customer something difficult and then was shocked when I came back a few minutes later and everything was fine. They asked how I did it. I told them I didn’t panic and its the same with small children. If you speak in a calm, steady voice and stay rational the vast majority of the time people will mirror you. If they do start to freak for a moment, then your remaining calm will tone them right back down. You may be subconsciously jeopardizing yourself. If you give off vibes that the job is undesirable and/or incredibly difficult (and its not, my APs have had it harder than yours and did fine – MANY APs have 3-4 kids, 6 kids, 8 kids, special needs, spoiled brats all things harder than your situation) then you might be scaring them off yourself. Think if you were them and you thought – man the HM seems to think this job takes two people full time and isn’t a glamorous gig. Maybe I should look elsewhere. Vs – man this host mom has a clear list of expectations and needs, kids seem sweet and HM isn’t acting like any of this is out of the ordinary so must be a good fit.

Skny April 25, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Very Nice concept. I actually need to remember this with my toddlers. I tend to get overwhelmed and yell at times, and I have noticed that’s when they loose it too

WarmStateMomma April 23, 2014 at 11:12 am

In our situation, AP#1 turned 27 during her year with us. She was still a child when she left us. She took great care of the baby but still couldn’t manage the outside world by the time she left. She had also never lived independently but had instead lived in dormitories provided by her employer (lesson = living away from family is not the same as living on your own).

AP#2 is 25 and has only been with us for a month, but she is clearly an adult. She is slightly less cautious with our now-toddler, but I don’t have an extra child around the house. She cheerfully does everything we expect of her and we all honestly enjoy her company.

We didn’t really consider age with these two matches and the 27-yo girl has us convinced that life experience matters more than age. Next time, I will look for someone who has paid her own rent and had a year-round full-time job because it seems to be a better proxy for maturity than age.

A 3-br apartment in a nice Chicago neighborhood is probably a selling point for an AP from another big city. APs from China for example usually can’t drive and they are used to small, urban apartments. I don’t think Chicago is as well known as other major US cities in a lot of countries, so you may want to describe the city a bit. I personally would take Chicago over DC or NYC any day if the winters weren’t so intense.

As far as trusting an AP to watch your baby – APs are (usually) not professional caregivers, but most first-time parents are not professional caregivers either. Ideally we’re intelligent and motivated enough to pick it up. I’d look for an AP who is bright and eager, rather than someone who may have more experience but thinks she has better ideas about childcare practices.

Your circumstances are not that challenging and the right AP for your family is out there.

WarmStateMomma April 23, 2014 at 11:16 am

Also – my AP just told me yesterday that a friend of hers (another big-city girl) is very, very happy with a family in Iowa. The family has 6 kids!

Old China Hand April 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm

I second the comment about APs from China. If you don’t think the language/cultural barrier will be too great, Go Au Pair works with an agency in Henan (Zhengzhou) that trains the girls at an orphanage for handicapped/abandoned children. They do all sorts of work and come here with realistic expectations. All theoretically can drive but none can. They are used to caring for lots of kids and doing everything to take care of them. Our AP is from there and other than me making some first time host mom mistakes (mostly about timing of her classes), she’s been great.

Old China Hand April 23, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Oh yeah, and our AP came when our son was 8 months old. She extended and will finish in the summer. I’ll be on maternity leave for 6 months and then we’ll get another AP for our then 2.5 year old and 6 month old. :) I intend to go with someone from the same place in China.

Repeataupair April 23, 2014 at 11:39 am

As an au pair I would find your situation quite attractive if I had liked caring for this age group.
Let’s be realistic, the material side can be the difference from one family to another when they are quite similar but you do offer good opportunities. Living in Chicago: Experience american weather, live in the middle of the country: great for travelling, close to Canada, best place for St Patrick’s day, lots of au pairs in that area, served by bus, train and airport, a lot of things to do. No laundry, not so much evening babysitting (I currently do 2 a week, one every month is nothing)…
You have a lot to offer but you are also right to be realistic on the work that comes from taking care of both a baby and a toddler, you want an au pair who knows where she is going.
I would put upfront, 45 hours, childcare, very limited chores, 1 babysitting a month. Yes your kids are young but there are naps, the au pair gets breaks during the day.
Keep in mind that some 23 yo are immature and some 18 have a lot of experience, one of my best friends here was 18 coming and greatly takes care of a 13months kid and a 4 and a 6 yo :) Same as you the host parents used to only look at older candidates and their counselor told them to check everyone just in case.

Good luck finding the right au pair :)

Emerald City HM April 23, 2014 at 12:00 pm

I realized I also wanted to address the “trust” comment with infants and au pairs. Our first au pair started when our oldest daughter was 5 months old, she was 22. Our second started a year after that. I had our second daughter part way through the year and the second au pair started watching her full-time as soon our youngest was 3 months old, she was 19. I was home on maternity for 3 months of course, so I had the opportunity to show her how to care for a newborn. Now certainly things weren’t perfect, but it worked and I did trust them.

I also did have my son at a young age, so I do know that the younger generation are perfectly capable of taking care of babies. We only look for older au pairs now because of car insurance costs. If we could get away with not needing an au pair to drive, we would open the pool back up to younger au pairs.

Amelie April 23, 2014 at 12:47 pm

There’s an au pair for you out there, be sure of that!

I spent my au pair year in a situation that was very similar to the one your offering: no car (but I lived in DC, so it wasn’t a problem at all – in fact, I WANTED a family who lived in a big city and didn’t need me to drive), 3 young kids, ages 4, 3 and 1 (also a preference for me, I didn’t want to work with older kids). Ah, and I worked the full 45 hours every week, MF from 9 to 6.

Some other girls told me I was crazy to accept this family. But it was the perfect match for me. I had a great year.

Ah… My family didn’t have a huge house, but I did have a room with a private bathroom. This was important to me, but many of my friends shared the bathroom with the kids or even with the whole family and where ok with that.

Good luck!

Amelie April 23, 2014 at 12:47 pm

There’s an au pair for you out there, be sure of that!

I spent my au pair year in a situation that was very similar to the one your offering: no car (but I lived in DC, so it wasn’t a problem at all – in fact, I WANTED a family who lived in a big city and didn’t need me to drive), 3 young kids, ages 4, 3 and 1 (also a preference for me, I didn’t want to work with older kids). Ah, and I worked the full 45 hours every week, MF from 9 to 6.

Some other girls told me I was crazy for accepting this family. But it was the perfect match for me. I had a great year.

Ah… My family didn’t have a huge house, but I did have a room with a private bathroom. This was important to me, but many of my friends shared the bathroom with the kids or even with the whole family and where ok with that.

Good luck!

exaupair April 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm

You can consider yourself lucky, agency will always screen for housing conditions :-) when I was looking for my host family through various websites I found plenty of offers clearly stating that the AP will have to sleep on a sofa in the sitting room, share the bedroom with the child or even 2 kids.
Back to the original question, I think your offer is actually quite good, you will attract many people who are not very good and confident drivers and would be otherwise ignored by Host Parents who only want skilled drivers. Your house – 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom is not small, I would say it’s an average house, plus the bathroom is shared between only 3 adults(I’m not counting your kids) – it’s really not that hard to manage. You live in a big city – another advantage for an AP who would like a bit of a social life. A HP night out only twice a year? – well some APs are on duty 3 weekends a month plus evening babysitting, so the situation you offer is great.
You will find a good candidate faster than you think I reckon.

Anonymous in CA April 23, 2014 at 1:06 pm

This is so timely! I’m feeling the doldrums of now being rejected by 7 AP candidates – each had a reason and I take those reasons at face value (want younger kids, want more than one kid, want different geographic location, etc.). But it IS hard not to feel sort of like an awkward middle school girl and it does make me examine what we are and aren’t offering and consider whether our situation is realistic. I ‘think’ we’re being realistic, so I persevere.

I also agree with all of the comments already made…the right match is out there and I needed to hear that too. So grateful for this community!

Should be working April 23, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I’m guessing these high numbers of rejections are from HFs that use APC or another agency with wide-open matching and competition between families. The one-by-one and/or exclusive matching would, I imagine, be less prone to so many rejections.

There are positives and negatives to that, if I’m right: It might be good for new HFs to get a little “hardened” to the matching process, make it more a human-resources project than a lovelorn search. It does indeed mean that APs truly choose an HF, among other HFs, which might be seen as good.

I still ultimately see it as a negative. Just like internet dating: choosing among more candidates doesn’t mean you’ll come to love the chosen one more and doesn’t even necessarily mean that the chosen one is the best one. It’s just the one that survived the process.

And in my view, the process of selection is TOTALLY separate from the experience of having an AP. And selection requires a TOTALLY different skill set than managing an AP. And after about 3 weeks to 3 months, it doesn’t matter what the AP thought she wanted or signed up for, she settles into the new life and sees it as what it is.

I feel for new HFs. The selection process is SO important but they haven’t had an AP yet so they can’t really know what it will be like to live with one’s “chosen one”.

OpinionatedHM April 23, 2014 at 2:38 pm

So True about the selection process being different than the reality of being in the home. You hope you asked all the right questions. You hope the AP made all the right conclusions about what you are offering. You hope they truly know themselves well enough to be honest about what they are capable of doing. You don’t know until they arrive and settle in. In the end it’s a leap of faith and you hope everyone has the same commitment to making it work.

Mimi April 24, 2014 at 11:38 am

“the process of selection is TOTALLY separate from the experience of having an AP. And selection requires a TOTALLY different skill set than managing an AP. ”

Totally true!!

Momma Gadget April 23, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Chin up!
If we can find an APs who not only accept our invitation, but are awesome additions to our family, then you will too!

The right dossier just hasn’t come across your screen yet.

Seattle Mom April 23, 2014 at 2:12 pm

I want to echo what everyone else said: you’ll definitely find someone good, don’t lower your standards and don’t try to sugarcoat the reality of your situation! There is someone out there who understands how the program works and knows that the most important thing is to find a nice family with reasonable parents and kids they will love. You may need to be rejected 10 times. You may exchange emails with 40 different prospective candidates before finding the one: 10 will outright reject you, 10 will stop responding (or never respond to begin with), and 19 you will decide aren’t right. But as someone else mentioned, you just need THE ONE.

I have definitely settled out of fatigue with the process, and I always regret it. But I’ve also gotten two amazing APs. One was a 27 year old Thai woman who came to us from caring for 5 kids (she had extended with us) in rural NY- she loves toddlers & babies, doesn’t ever want to work with a family with big kids again if she can help it. Now she’s looking for an AP job in Western Canada, if anyone knows someone who is looking…. yes she’s a bit of a “career” AP. Not all that many opportunities in Thailand and she loves living overseas.

Seattle Mom April 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I should change that- you will not “definitely” find someone good, but if you keep doing what you are doing there is a good chance you will find someone good! No definites in life, of course :)

OpinionatedHM April 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm

My advice:
Sign up with more than one agency to get a broader pool of candidates.
Your situation is a good one. If the AP has concerns about anything you are offering, let her bring them up. Try not to address a negative until you know there really is one. You might be giving potential AP’s concerns that they would not have had if you didn’t bring it up.
Chicago is my favorite city in this country. I have lived in a lot of cities. It has all the amenities of New York (which seems to be the holy grail for AP’s) and the added benefit of being friendly! If an AP seems concerned about living in Chicago, you can tell her about all the world class museums, shopping, nightlife, the lake, etc. and assure her that if she ever gets lost she will always be able to find a friendly person to give her directions. I love Chicago. But honestly, any AP who is more concerned about the city she might live in than the family she would live with is a red flag for me. I tend to move on from those pretty quickly.
Instead of talking about not having a car, talk about the ease of getting everywhere and how close you are to transportation. Do you provide a transit pass? It would be a nice perk if you feel the need to offer one. And certainly cheaper than a car and insurance would be in a city that requires a driver.
Age does not equal maturity! Our 18 year old AP was our most mature. She was also our best driver. We’ve had age 18,19,20, and 22. Our 18 year old AP was with us when our kids were a baby and toddler and she was terrific. Drop the age requirement and make a list of the qualities you are looking for in an AP. Go with that list and don’t compromise. Those qualities will be more important to you in the long run than the age of the AP.
Some people like working with babies and some don’t. Find someone who does and be happy that those who don’t were honest enough to admit it. Someone who likes working with babies will want to do all the things associated with caring for the baby. Your AP might feel that you don’t trust her to do things like mix the formula, rather than understanding you are trying to help ease her workload. Let your AP do everything that is necessary to care for your child. If she needs help, offer your help at that time rather than in advance. People will rise to your expectations. Set them high. You and your child deserve the best and their are great AP’s out there. Have confidence that your AP can do the job you are asking her to do. Let her be proud of her hard work.
Three bedrooms, no problem, 1 bath, might be a problem, might not. Let the AP ask about that if it’s important to her. I don’t talk about our house unless the AP asks. If the AP asks about our living situation before she asks about our kids, that’s a big red flag for me.
Be honest about the work, but don’t forget to talk about all the great things your AP will get to see your baby and toddler accomplish in her year with you. First words, first steps, the magic of watching a child experience something for the first time is indescribable. Talk about the interests of your children and describe their personalities. Make it clear your children are people that the AP will get the opportunity to have a relationship with, maybe for the rest of their lives! Our first AP and I joke about how someday, one of my kids might be her AP. You never know.
It’s hard to do, but be thankful for every AP who didn’t chose you, because if they had, it might not have worked out and that’s a lot harder than being patient and wading through the masses of applications. It’s hard not to worry and question. I think of it like dating, you wonder if you said or did something that made them decide not to choose you, is there something you could have done differently? The best thing you can do is just keep moving on to the next person instead of dwelling on the last. You will have an entire year of communicating with this person, sometimes under more stressful conditions than the interview process. It’s best to find someone who clicks with you and your style. Otherwise, you might spend the entire year re-convincing them that you were the right choice.
And finally, don’t forget that you are choosing them too. Make sure you are asking questions of them and getting your concerns answered. Make sure you are consciously choosing them. Don’t let yourself get so distracted trying to be attractive to a candidate, that you forget they should be trying to be attractive to you!
Good Luck, and please let us know how it works out.

Seattle Mom April 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Great comment.. but you are making me re-think my opening email to APs. I always mention that our house has 1 bathroom. We have 4 bedrooms, about 2000 square feet (not tiny!) but only one bathroom. And we discourage morning showers because we all need to be in & out of the bathroom and can’t have it tied up- I always mention this in my opening email, ever since having an AP who nearly had a conniption when I told her she couldn’t shower in the morning anymore because it wasn’t working out (we ended up rematching for other reasons, but her attitude about the shower was indicative of her general attitude). She insisted she needed it to “wake up.”

Should I not mention the 1 bathroom right away, and just stay away from the house in general?

Actually, I have an idea for a future post- I would love to see examples of HF’s first introductory email to AP candidates. Maybe I write too much and scare people off. Maybe I should start with the very bare basics, get them to at least respond with a “yes tell me more” and then hit them with the rest.

OpinionatedHM April 23, 2014 at 4:06 pm

I focus on our family. Personalities, schedules, activities. We talk about our city and tell a little bit about it and include some links so they can research on their own if interested. We don’t talk about our house, the Ap room, cars, anything like that. I like to see what the AP asks about in our interviews. It usually tells me a lot about what’s most important to the AP. One AP asked me what were the closest “fun” cities before she asked a single question about the kids. I think someone who has a realistic idea of the life of an AP would be more concerned about a good fit with the family than with the size of her bedroom and whether she has a private bath. While I realize perks are important, they are never more important than the actual job itself. I think understanding that is a key difference between an AP who is ready for the job, and one who is looking for a fun year in America.

HRHM April 23, 2014 at 4:12 pm

I think this is more a topic for the HFHB, if you have one. We don’t get into the house description until we are pretty sure that this is someone we would want to offer the position to. Honestly, there are very few APs that have lived in a house as large as (and certainly not larger than) the average American home. Most of my APs have come from single bathroom houses.

And really, the issue even with the rematch AP wasn’t the one bathroom, it was the “timing” of the shower. Honestly, my last house had 3 bathrooms, but my AP still wouldn’t have been allowed to shower between 5:30 and 9am because we would have run out of hot water if three of us showered! So, the AP can a) shower in the evening, b) shower after she drops the kids at school or c) be in and out of the shower before 5am. All chose a or b! :)

Host Mom in the City April 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm

We’re a one-bathroom family and I feel that it’s extremely important to mention it upfront. There are going to be au pairs that are really uncomfortable sharing a bathroom or that feel that it’s a big deal to them that they be able to shower whenever they want to. I realize you had other issues with the one AP, but I too simply must shower in the morning. If I was told I couldn’t shower in the morning for an entire year, that wouldn’t work for me. I would want to know that before I matched with your family.

We have never had an issues finding au pairs even with one car and one bathroom. We do have people that have turned us down based on that, and for some reason, every single upper-class Brazilian and every Scandinavian candidate has said no to us right from reading our letter. We usually have European candidates begging to match with us pretty much right off the bat. Who knows :)

Either way, I would always recommend being totally upfront and honest. And on that no aundry thing – did that one year in an attempt to “sell” us and it totally back-fired because I got someone who wanted to do as little work as possible in every way, and chose us partly because of that. That’s not who you want to attract.

exaupair April 23, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Host Mom in the City@ I was kind of worried before matching with my HF, as I always had a sole use of a bathroom, but turned out it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be! The Host Dad was using it at about 4am, Host Mum soon after so it was free before I even got out of bed. In the evening it was pretty much the same (dad, Mum, me) On weekend I was usually the one that used it first.
Would have been much harder if we started and finished our days at about the same time everyday, but based on my personal experience I say sharing one bathroom is no biggie! It’s all about timing!

Host Mom in the City April 23, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Yep – we’ve had three au pairs and not a single issue with a shared bathroom and no need for requirements about when they couldn’t use it. It seemed to be something we just sort of worked out. We all have blow dryers and make up and such in our rooms, so it’s really just a ten-minute period each person is in the shower. Obviously I can see preferring your own, but it’s been nowhere close to a deal breaker.

As one of our au pair candidates said when we asked them if they’d be ok sharing – “well, I’ve yet to have my very own bathroom my whole life – went from my parents house to sharing with multiple roommates, so I don’t see how this will be that different.”

Seattle Mom April 24, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Yes, that has been my reasoning for mentioning it in the initial email. I may wait until email #2 and just focus on family stuff in the first email as others have suggested. But I don’t want to leave it out entirely because it is important for us and I know that there are people who would have problems with that. When I was younger it would have been an adjustment for me too (before I was in the Peace Corps and had my world turned upside down). Though I’ve also always shared a bathroom.

cv harquail April 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Hi Seattle Mom– I’ve actually got a set of posts with email exchanges, shared by one host mom—- they’ve been hard to edit and I havent got them ready… yet…but soon. I’ll also solicit some more examples. Suggestion logged and noted! cv

Seattle Mom April 25, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Yay! Thanks. I know this is one part of the matching process that I still need to work on…. I think I might be scaring people away too soon with too much English.

MommyMia April 24, 2014 at 10:11 am

Opinionated HM, we hope our daughters may someday be APs for some of our former ones – no joke! Some have said they hoped this might happen, too. One European AP just had a baby, but unfortunately our oldest is only twelve, so not quite ready to embark on that adventure.

Returning HM April 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm

We actually have this plan too! My daughter isn’t sure if she wants an AP gap year or a study-abroad year while in HS, but either way, she is working hard on her German to be ready to join one of our former APs when it’s time. :-)

Host Mom in the City April 24, 2014 at 7:54 am

Also, I’ll add to the chorus of “don’t restrict yourself to over 23 and assume that means you’ll necessarily get mature.” We’ve had three au pairs – all of whom have been 20 when they arrived and turned 21 within a few months. First and third were/are rock stars. Incredibly mature and understanding of the job. Second acted like a 16-year-old, in my opinion. Age really doesn’t tell you much.

Now that’s not to say we don’t restrict it at all. I will admit that the 18/19-year-olds who have literally just graduated from the equivalent of high school and think they’re going to have this great fun year scare the heck out of me. We only look for 20 and up anymore, and only for au pairs that have completed school and either done some university, completed university, or who have worked a full-time job (surprise to me – due to not understanding the education system in her country, our immature au pair met none of these criteria even though we thought she did). I think what you want to look for is life experience and long-term commitment to something (school, music, job, sports), and lose the focus on age.

AussiePair April 24, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Something to think on for when you do find an au pair, because I do think you’ll find one (I have lived with a family with a VERY similar situation), be very aware of you rhouse layout. With a young child who may or may not be sleeping through the night, if the AP bedroom is very close to the room the baby is in, it would be beneficial to have a house with VERY good insulation or to invest in something like a fan or noise machine to provide some white noise. Not all people will, but some may wake up to a crying baby at night and aside from this potentially being bothersome to an AP it could also negatively affect her work performance during the day.

I wish you the best of luck, I’m sure that there is an AP for you out there!!

Angie host mom April 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Yes, house layout is important! We made a rookie mistake when we moved in to our current house, by giving the au pair the room farthest from the garage and right next to the playroom. If I had the energy to switch them, I’d put the au pair by the garage so she wouldn’t wake the kids up if she came home late and I’d put the kids next to the playroom so I wouldn’t feel guilty letting them play on Saturday mornings!

AussiePair April 24, 2014 at 6:27 pm

I guess this is a good reminder for any host family then! It’s something that’s so hard to think about beforehand though.

Maybe you can switch the rooms before you get your next au pair

Returning HM April 24, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Totally agree about house layout. We have a small and old house, but before we moved in last summer, we turned common space upstairs into a small hallway on one side and closet on the other, such that there is now a little hallway separating the AP’s bedroom from the rest of our bedrooms. He turns left at the top of the stairs, and the rest of us turn right. We also have fans in every bedroom, for white noise while sleeping. Taken together, these mean we literally never hear AP when he comes home at night, and he doesn’t hear the children at all when they get up in the morning.

Small adjustments like this (fans, care with room assignments) can make a small house very doable with an AP, and in fact, the only year we lived in a big (rental) house with a huge separate space for the AP was the one year we really struggled with our AP and ended up in rematch and then rematch again (at which point we quit the program for two years). Not sure what to make of that!

JenNC April 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Dorsi just to reassure , my first aupair came when my baby was 6 months old, my other two kids were 2 and 6. You just have to find the right aupair for your family, you are choosing an aupair to make your life easier, you want a girl who wants to help you and doesn’t have a problem helping with kids laundry, bottles, and helping clean kids toys and rooms, it’s part of child care duties as well as cleaning up after themselves, their own living space and helping and contributing in the kitchen. I have found both of our aupairs to be like family, younger siblings of mine or like a cousin. If you choose the right type of personality you will quickly find a woman who loves your kids and wants to take great care of them, but this relationship occurs from trust and to just having an aupair as a ” worker” y want them too feel apart of the family and they give so much more to you and your kids I return. Trust your instincts and do not sacrifice your needs for that “beauty aupair” because a great aupair will want to be your aupair and help you. Talk up the positives in y family your area, what is their close to you, find out about other aupair clusters in your area, schools, classes etc available to the aupair. If you don’t need a driver find a girl who isn’t used to driving because that way they are used to public transportation. A girl who is used to driving In her home country may have hard time giving up that independence. If you plan to take any family vacations with the aupair talk about your plans so they know what other experiences you will have with them. Don’t focus on all the negative, if they have cared for these age children then they know how it can be. And many live and share bathrooms at home with family, so again as long as they have their own private bedroom, let them know that bathroom is available to them all the time except maybe specific hours in am you are getting ready for work. Hope that helps. And also as someone stated look for aupair extraordinaire . Although both my aupairs were from normal pool and are awesome. Jen

CA-TXmom May 9, 2014 at 4:16 am

Reading through these stories of the complicated matching process, makes me wonder if we just got lucky or if it is the agency we use. When we got our first Au pair we signed up with two agencies APC and Go Au Pair. I found APCs process annoying with only interviewing 3 candidates at a time. Go Au Pair was easier to work with. Now that we are working on our second Au pair, the matching process took less than 2 weeks. There were so many candidates and some candidates that have been waiting over a year to try to be placed. Especially for Au pairs from SA it seems that there would be a ton of Au pairs who would love the opportunity to be in your household. Also, as everyone said before don’t give up on your chance to get help with laundry, meals or date nights!

Comments on this entry are closed.