How do other people see your au pair?
When you tell them that she or he should be treated as “part of the family”, what do your think that means to them?
Grandparents, next door neighbors, teachers, and mail carriers all have their own ideas about whether, when, and how an au pair is or is not part of your family. From these ideas, they have their own expectations about when they ought to include your au pair when they are doing things with your family.
When it comes to including an au pair in a ‘family’ activity with other families, there are a lot of perspectives to take into account.
First, figure out if including your au pair is right for you and right for your au pair.
Holiday meals, kids birthday parties, and trips to the Statue of Liberty seem like easy calls – of course your au pair is invited to join you. Other people’s weddings, date nights, family counseling, and long vacations are trickier.
Your decisions can change based on the event, your current au pair’s personality, the arc of your relationship with him or her, and what you as a host parent want to enjoy about the event.
- Do you want to share this event?
- Will it cramp your style?
- Will it be fun/interesting for your au pair?
Is the event appropriate for your au pair?
- Will including the au pair (in as much as s/he is a stranger/ newcomer) mess with the social dynamic of the event for the person(s) hosting it?
- Does your au pair have the conversation skills to get along with a lot of new people?
- Will there will be other people for her or him to hang with (like, other young adults or au pairs)?
- Will s/he attend as a guest or instead be ‘on duty’?
- Does s/he have appropriate clothing to wear?
- Will s/he know the customs of the event and know how to act in that setting?
- Will s/he will stay for the whole event, or leave after the cake and before the dancing/beer drinking?
Think too about the situation of the family throwing the event.
- Are they welcoming people?
- Are they folks who are generous with food, drink, and conversation?
- Can they afford another guest?
- Are they somehow interesting people, making it an ‘experience expanding’ event that’s worthwhile even if it might take extra work?
- Are they interested in people like your au pair?
Your decision for each particular event and (potential) invitation will be unique, but will also express your family’s general preference.
With all these questions in mind, you’ll know whether or not you’ll want your au pair to come along with you. So now you have the biggest challenge– communicating to your friends and family how you would like your au pair to be included.
- People who don’t have au pairs themselves need to be educated not only about au pairs in general, but about your au pair and your family’s relationship with her or him.
- Even with people who do have au pairs, you need to communicate how you feel about including your au pair, or not, in various kinds of family events.
- People will take their cues from what you say and what you do, so be sure to educate them about how your au pair ‘fits’.
What else should we consider when it comes to including our au pairs (or not) in family invitations?