Forget Overlap: Help Me Get My Departing Au Pair Out The Door!

by cv harquail on February 20, 2014

I need help handling the transition between our departing au pair and our arriving au pair.

I’m nearing the end of our year with our very AP, who is 26, from China, with excellent English.  Our AP#1 is kind and patient with our 13-month baby girl.  She is also immature.

12320217325_594e334c56_zAP#1’s term ends in less than two months. AP#1 has loads of bad habits we put up with for a variety of reasons, but we want to start with a clean slate when AP#2 arrives. We specifically want to avoid having our outgoing and ingoing au pairs overlap with each other.

When we were discussing the end of her year, I told AP#1 that she could leave on the AP#2’s arrival date.  This would be an early departure by several days, so I explained that we would pay her for the full time.  

Yesterday, I told AP#1 that we’d like to pay for her airfare to get to her friend’s place (where she plans on spending her 13th month) as a departure gift.  It turns out that she’d already booked her own ticket–  for 5 days after AP#2 arrives.  Even though we’d previously discussed her departure, AP#1 has asked if she can stay with us until her flight.  Since she was already weepy about saying good bye to my daughter, I said that she could stay.  Now I’m filled with dread.

AP#1’s bad habits have caused me so much stress this year and I have to keep reminding myself that AP#1’s devotion to my daughter makes it all worthwhile.  (They are very close and I am very grateful that my daughter’s first year was spent surrounded only by people who care deeply for her.)  The reason AP#1’s bad habits have not changed is because she cannot cope with any statement suggesting change, no matter how many compliments we give her.    

An example:  she made a mess by using dish soap in the dishwasher in her 10th month here (because she’d never lifted a finger to help with family things like dishes).  I came home from work and she complained about the mess she’d had to clean up.  Instead of delivering the rant expressing pent-up resentment and frustration that was already forming in my head, I said, “Please use this soap with the picture of the dishwasher on the package next time.”  She got teary eyed and nodded before fleeing to her room.  She refuses to ever discuss why she is upset, so whatever I’m doing wrong just keeps happening.

AP#1 has no friends here that she could stay with or even hang out with during her 5-day overlap with AP#2.  I’ve made many plans for the time when I thought we’d have no au pair– for example, it’s going to take me hours to clean our AP room/bath after a year of AP#1’s use/abuse. AP#1 doesn’t understand what cleaning means (see discussion above about dishwasher) and I can’t expect that she’ll leave the room clean.  

I bought tickets to take AP#2 to a special event to make her feel welcome and let her do something fun before she settles down to toddler care. Even if I did want to take AP#1 to the event, we can’t get an additional ticket at this point. 

So how do I get AP#1 out of the house before she shares her bad habits – or contact info – with AP#2? 
How can I do it without AP#1 crying for the remainder of her stay? 

I don’t want to make either of us miserable.
Thanks in advance for all your advice ~ WarmStateMamma

See also:


Evelina February 20, 2014 at 8:37 am

I was an aupair for almost two years with a great family and was very sad to leave them, but I did not want to stay and meet the new aupair. Fortunately my hostfamily felt the same way and we decided not to do an overlap, both for the kids sake and mine.
Maybe you could tell her it would be too confusing for your daughter to have both aupairs there at the same time, and try seeing if she can stay with her LCC for those five days/offer to exchange her flight ticket so she’ll leave the day before your new aupair comes :)

NoVA Twin Mom February 20, 2014 at 10:07 am

I ask – how much money are you willing to throw at this problem? :) Because I think this is a prime time to treat your departing au pair to a vacation somewhere for those (seven?!) days – whether it be a local hotel (your username is WarmStateMamma – are you near or relatively near a vacation destination?) or somewhere you could get a reasonable flight to, getting her back in time for her flight to meet her friend? Use Hotwire or something to get her a hotel room to “pamper” her after a year of hard work.

This will also get her out of the rooms you need to clean, and if you have her pack up before going, will allow you to find the items that invariably don’t quite fit in a departing au pair’s luggage that don’t get found until later. Then you can proceed largely as planned, though you may have to include some gift cards to pay for some meals and money for a hop-on, hop-off bus tour or something (start watching Groupon), as part of her reason for wanting to stay with you for those days may be to save money.

Like I said, it won’t be cheap. But if you’re really serious about not having APs 1 and 2 meet or spend quality time together, this will probably solve the problem.

Skny February 20, 2014 at 11:45 am

Like this idea. A hotel near by with free breakfast and maybe one massage might be cheaper than a full vacation

Skny February 20, 2014 at 11:46 am

And I’d tell her you plan to do some remodeling in order to explain hotel

Boys Mama February 20, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Yes that’s what I was going to add… be very quick to tell her you planned to do serious work on the room and just can’t have her there after the end of her year is up. There may still be tears but you aren’t being unreasonable. I’d say just be up front and explain there was no way around this, you are sorry.

For the record I think you can do this without paying for a vacation for her if you need to.

Returning HM February 20, 2014 at 11:05 am

Do you have a close friend whom you can call on for help? My sister (in another city) has been fabulous over the years at hosting our au pairs (and their friends) in her guest house, and this situation sounds like a perfect time for such an arrangement. Even two friends with couches and willingness to host AP for three days each could solve the problem. And this way, you present it to her as a fabulous chance to see two great new cities, and you’re free of her in the house.

Be forewarned, though: just because you don’t introduce them, doesn’t mean that new and old AP won’t otherwise “meet.” The AP whom we matched with for next summer is already FB friends with our current AP and three formers ones….

Good luck!

Taking a Computer Lunch February 20, 2014 at 12:34 pm

I agree that there is no way to prevent APs from “meeting,” so don’t try to stop it. Your LCC may have a list of local APs to which she’ll invite your incoming AP and new APs communicate with APs in their region.

Now that you’re nearly done hosting your first AP, you know what you want in your 2nd, so train for it. Rethink your 3-day orientation so that the chores you expect of your incoming AP are done correctly.

If you suspect that you’ll need a few days to clean out after AP #1, then I would recommend a room inspection ASAP. Use the state of her room to change your mind, offer to pay to change her ticket, and get her out of the house before AP #2 arrives. (If you permit her to stay, then make it clear that she needs to move completely out of the room on X date so you may clean it and prepare it for #2.) We offer a futon in our basement playroom for APs staying after their year.

It’s too late to change her pattern of behavior, but don’t let her teariness cow you into changing your mind. It’s okay to say, “I know that you think I’m being mean, but…” and leave it at that. If she hasn’t made friends, then your daughter is her life in America.

Finally, put a positive spin on it. “I’m asking you to leave because you’ve been so great with my daughter that she will be confused and angry with AP #2 if you’re still here.” – I’ll tell you right now, AP #2 might not necessarily pick up on #1’s bad habits, but she will acquiese to your daughter’s desire to be with AP #1. It’s much easier to let a new AP make her way and develop her own schedule if her predecessor isn’t there to tell her otherwise. An AP her owns her routine quickly is likely to be a great AP all year.

AnotherSeattleHostMom February 20, 2014 at 11:41 am

Well, this could actually be an “opportunity” to have some more 1:1 time with AP#2 while AP#1 looks after the baby. You can discuss your expectations around cleaning and housework with AP#2 and just be direct about it. Our 1st AP was similar. Did not cook or ever offer to help with any aspect of family responsibilities (just expected to be fed and complained that our housekeepers hadn’t been adequately cleaning her bathroom!). But she loved my kids and took great care of them. We had a week long overlap and I had her work with new AP to show her the kids favorite parks, etc. AP#2 left the house cleaner than we did and cooked and cleaned up after meals, etc.

So I think some of it can be improved with direct conversation (with examples) of your expectations. And some of it will be dependent on personality of AP#2. If she’s a slob she will be a slob at your house. If she’s tidy…

Gretchen February 20, 2014 at 11:42 am

You requested she leave by a certain date, she made flight arrangements to leave later than that. You had already offer to buy her the flight, so go ahead and do it now. Departing on the date you requested. Just explain that you do not have room to host two au pairs at once, even temporarily, and that you need some time to prepare the room for the new au pair. Do it kindly, but firmly. And hold your ground.

Good luck!

Skny February 20, 2014 at 11:48 am

In that case though pay for the flight change fee

Old China Hand February 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm

I was going to suggest the same thing – pay the flight change fee. There are all sorts of China cultural things I could have helped you out with earlier, but at this point, you need to just get her out of there if possible. The Chinese APs have a great network in the US (at least, ours does) and she should be able to go earlier.

If that can’t work, I agree with the other suggestions – have her recognize that she needs to be out of the room so it can be cleaned and don’t let her do direct training except as it relates to things she does well.

WarmStateMomma February 20, 2014 at 1:51 pm

OCH – I’ve noticed your posts on here and read them carefully. I just found the site a couple of weeks ago. At some point, problems had been going on for so long that if I mentioned them, she would have thought it was out of spite. Any tips you’d like to share so AP#2 and I can be on the same page would be very much appreciated. My former exchange students from Vietnam and Japan are now considered a permanent part of the family, so we didn’t anticipate a lot of cultural hurdles for China.

TexasHM February 20, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Completely agreed. You told her a date, she booked a flight for a different one without getting your approval in advance, that is not something you can be held responsible for. The only thing I am wondering is did she book the flight for her exact end date? If so, she might try to use that as her reasoning/justification for being able to stay. I know you mentioned you wanted her to go early, did you ask her to go 5 days early and she booked her flight for the end date? That’s a little messier. Does anyone know what the agencies say about this? When families are getting a new AP or leaving the program does the agency ask them to hold tight to the end date or do they care if its a week or less either way?
Taking that out of the picture for a minute and pretending like you wanted her to leave on her term end date so there is no excuse and she booked 5 days later, I would pay the change fee to change her ticket to the proper day and tell her like above, that you can’t house both (assuming thats true for space or in this case, sanity reasons). You don’t need to explain more, you just can’t have overlap.
OR – you can overlap on your terms (I don’t think this will work for you in this case given that you can’t give direction to departing AP without a meltdown). With our mediocre departing AP we split the training duties and I had her train the things she did well and I trained the things she didn’t. I didn’t tell her that of course but I created a plan for the first few days that mapped out who was covering what and when so that I could be sure I taught laundry and driving and she taught dishes/tidying up and kids favorite games, songs, etc. But like I said, if you can’t give this much direction without a meltdown it would be impossible to manage.
Do you have a handbook? I find it much easier to “correct” bad habits when they are clearly given expectations in our handbook. I think ours says the AP should change their sheets every two weeks. Do I count? No. But if I noticed it had been a couple months or the room looked unkept I might ask and if I got pushback I would show it to her. I think we also put vacuum as needed – recommendation at least once a month and I don’t track it either but you can bet if I walk by and it looks hideous I would either ask how long its been or ask if she needs the vacuum. Thats usually enough for them to self motivate and do it without me laying down the law. Cant say enough about expectation setting! HANDBOOK!!

WarmStateMomma February 20, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Her end date is the 24th. She asked to leave on the 18th b/c the tickets were $60 cheaper. I said that AP#2 was arriving on the 20th and we didn’t have anyone to watch the baby before the 20th or to drive her to the airport on the 18th. I said the 20th was the date we wanted her to fly out, but that we would still pay her through her official end date. (We pay her by bank transfer.) I was taken aback when she told me that she’d booked her flight without talking to me about a new date.

I’ve spent a lot of time on making a handbook recently after reading a lot of posts on this site. (Just found the site a couple of weeks ago.) We are definitely changing a lot the second time around – which is why AP#1 needs to go.

Taking a Computer Lunch February 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I have had several APs leave early – one was extending with another family (and Chinese), and we released her on a Friday so she could travel to her new HF on Saturday morning and train with them for three days, rather than hold her to the Monday depature. APIA had us sign a release waiver, which we were happy to do. AP #8 wanted to leave early to travel with friends and we let her go a week early, without pay, and our LCC confirmed that no release waiver was necessary. I released child #2’s Bar Mitzvah is scheduled for the weekend we would be training a new AP (he changed the date and I didn’t look at the calendar closely), so I offered our current AP a choice – stay a week later with extra pay or leave a week early without pay. She chose the latter, which allows her to do a West Coast trip before her desired date to return home.

I recommend to the OP that since the AP is known to be teary, that she call her LCC first, and discuss possibilities. She may choose to have the LCC present at the meeting, so that everything is hashed out by the books, as it were. That way there are no surprises.

I found that when I have had to deal with difficult APs (e.g., a “reset your attitude” conversation) that it was always best to follow up with an email, so my response was in writing. I copied the LCC on the message, so she was aware of the issues. I would then separately email her for how I wanted her to get involved – either by calling the AP to check in and see that she was okay, to confirm to the AP that my expectations were not unrealistic, or in the case of a departing AP, to give her a checklist of items to which she would need to attend.

Departures are always an emotionally loaded time, and if you have a passive aggressive AP who has used emotional instability as a means to reject parts of her job she didn’t like or thought were too tangential, then having a reasonable discussion may be too difficult without involving the LCC.

WarmStateMamma February 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Thank you for the thoughtful feedback. Unfortunately, we don’t have anyone with our current agency to provide support. They hired a PT school bus driver with no kids and no intercultural experience a week before AP#1 arrived so that someone could do the HF interview and home visit. He is worse than useless and advised us to treat Chinese APs as if they have autism because they take everything too literally. (Who would say something like that?!?!) He said he received this pearl of wisdom from the agency and I believe him after seeing evidence of other systemic problems with the agency. (To be clear – HD and I were appalled by this wretched, hateful advice.)

The new agency was chosen for its great LCC and the large number of APs near us. We have high hopes that things will be better the second time around.

Should be working February 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm

I agree with Gretchen, if you were willing to pay for a flight, throw that money (NovaTwinMom TM) at the flight rather than accommodations. I know that feeling of “get-her-OUT-of-here” and it won’t help the new AP to have you in that stressed state during your orientation.

WarmStateMomma February 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Thanks for all the great ideas. Unfortunately, AP#1 never learned to drive (despite assuring us that she could drive already) and public transportation is not available where we live. A “vacation” gift would be difficult for us to swing because we’d have to buy her flight and hotel to somewhere with local transportation and a flight to her friend’s house. Unless I can find a great deal on a hotel in the friend’s city….it’s a small city but an actual destination city…worth looking into.

TACL was right that my daughter is AP#1’s whole life here, which is a sad thought and makes us feel like jerks for getting frustrated with her. AP#1 doesn’t know any APs or have other friends so AP#2 will start with a fresh slate if we don’t introduce them. The current AP agency has 1 other AP 45 minutes away and she’s departing soon. The new agency was chosen because they have loads of APs much closer for AP#2 to befriend. Neither AP#1 nor AP#2 is on Facebook (blocked in their home country), although we will encourage AP#2 to join when she arrives so she can keep up with the other APs’ plans.

We have resolved to do things much differently with AP#2 and I’ve found lots of great ideas on this site. (My host family manual should be done soon – thank you to everyone who posted samples!) We want AP#2 to feel like part of the family when it’s time to clear the dinner table, not just when it’s time to go on vacation somewhere special. She will start her routine after three days of learning her way around and we have time built in for feedback and making adjustments.

HD and I are about to take the baby on a weekend trip without AP#1 to visit family. (She backed out of our last family trip at the last minute with no explanation so we didn’t invite her on this one.) She’s going to be lonely at home alone for 4 days and then has to work 3 days in a row when we get back. She just spent the last week bored and moping, so maybe after 4 days alone she will be thinking about starting the next chapter and will be happy that we’ve decided to let her start her travel month early?

I feel like a jerk for venting so much about someone who has taken such great care of the baby, but she has been extremely difficult for my husband and I to live with and we are trying hard to get things right with AP#2. Because she is incredibly sensitive and has been great with my daughter, it’s important that she doesn’t feel hurt by needing to leave on the date I requested.

I like the idea of moving AP#1 into the guest room a few days before AP#2 arrives so we can get the bed/bath ready with less time pressure. Is it harsh to ask her to switch rooms so we can prepare for her successor?

I will check for hotel deals and then surprise her with the good news when we return to a bored and lonely young woman early next week. If the hotel and airfare together are too pricey, we can still get the airfare (or the change fees for her ticket) and then come up with some story to explain that there will be no room at the inn. Family flying in? Any ideas for “filling up” the house so that we don’t have a couch or guest bed available?

Thanks again for all of your ideas. We hosted two foreign exchange students before and they came back to visit and meet the baby, so we’re not that crazy family that shouldn’t be hosting. We have learned that hosting an AP is very different from hosting high school exchange students, though….

Host Mom in the City February 20, 2014 at 5:52 pm

I completely agree with you that if you’re going to get #2 started off on a better footing, you need #1 out before she arrives. I’ve been through this and made absolutely sure that my second au pair (who was terrible) was out the door a few days before third one (who is awesome) arrived, and it was the best thing I could have done.

I think what you’re looking for is a way to do this in the same way it sounds like you’ve operated all year – tip toeing around your au pair’s tender feelings by just letting her basically do whatever she wants because you don’t want to upset her. Sorry, OP, that is a recipe for disaster for an au pair – I know, because I’ve been there. Best thing I ever did after #2 is decide what my standards were, and stick to them (obviously picking my battles). The way I did that was basically growing a back bone. Yes, au pairs are part of the family and all that, and I still treat my au pair wonderfully, but she is also here to do a job and to make my life easier.

My asking her to do that job isn’t being rude and isn’t overstepping my bounds at all. It’s actually helping her if done politely and respectfully – someone once pointed out to me that it’s much much better to have a supervisor who calmly tells you his/her expectations and respectfully clarifies those expectations if you do something wrong than to have a supervisor who can’t clearly tell you what he/she is looking for and seethes with resentment whenever you do something wrong and lets you make mistakes over and over again. I know I’d rather have a supervisor who states expectations clearly and corrects me the first time I do something wrong and explains how it should be done differently.

I think this situation is a good time to practice this so you’ll be ready to start fresh with your second au pair. And you really can be quite honest. “Au pair, I know I said it was ok if you stay until Y date, but I had a chance to think about it and I really need you to be on your way a few days before au pair #2 is coming as we originally agreed. I’m worried that it will be confusing for DD to have both au pairs here and she loves you so much, I’m concerned that she won’t be able to move on to getting to know au pair #2. That wouldn’t be fair to any of you. I also need a chance to get your room ready for au pair #2. I’d like to schedule a walk-through a week before you departure date so we can talk about what you need to do to help me get the room ready. I’m more than happy to pay for your flight to your friend’s house as a departure gift, so please let me know how much it will be to switch the flight to our initially agreed upon day. Thank you so much for being understanding.”

Just do it!

Should be working February 20, 2014 at 6:31 pm

HMitC, love this, esp. growing the backbone and remembering the au pair’s job is to make our lives easier. My husband has a tendency to feel guilty for making the AP work (well within allowed hours and rules). He thinks if we give her perks and time off it will mean to her “credit” for future good work. I told him it does not do that but instead sets her expectations to that level. So now when he says the au pair doesn’t NEED to work on Saturday afternoon as scheduled, I tell him that he can give her time off, but I am not available so it’s more childcare for him. Etc.

Angie host mom February 20, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Tough situation given the personalities described. I would say don’t worry too much about old au pair’s influence on new au pair – in my experience they don’t really rub off on each other much, even with overlap. By the time you are in month 2 the au pair’s base personality dominates.

Host Mom in the City February 20, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Although I do agree with you, I still think it’s valuable to have the first one gone for a few days before the next one comes. I know there are some host parents who prefer an overlap, but I’ve heard story after story about disasterous and simply not ideal overlaps, and I generally don’t think they are a good idea even with a great au pair departing. But for me anyway, it was also cleansing to have a few days to “myself” after closing the chapter with our bad au pair. I cleaned her room, processed (again) the changes I was going to make in my management style and basically worked in my host mom mojo a bit. It was very cleansing and I was then ready to start over (well mostly). I am a big advocate of a gap post-not-do-great au pair year.

Chris Sherman February 20, 2014 at 7:35 pm

From a counselor perspective, they have probably already talked via facebook chat or some other social media connection. Each au pair enters the match with her own experience and expectations. As Angie host mom mentioned, the new au pair will find her own way. If there’s something the first one does well, you can ask her to show the new au pair how she does it. It may bolster her confidence and make her pleasant to be around until she leaves.

CaliHostMom February 21, 2014 at 12:52 pm

I’ve had more than 12 au pairs over the last 13 years. Sometimes I welcomed an overlap, sometimes I avoided it at all costs, sometimes even though I didn’t want an overlap it happened, and sometimes I thought an overlap would be a good thing when in fact it was terrible. But I never had a match ruined by a bad overlap. I did have an old, disgruntled AP absolutely disparage us to the new AP, but the new AP ended up being a spectacular match for us and it was a happy year, all around.

If you are able to arrange to get old AP out using any one of the many fine suggestions you got here, then great. If not, don’t panic.

In the end, I have learned:
1) What others have already said: in the age of social media, there is no hiding the old AP from the new one and you should be fairly certain that whatever you say to one will get back to the other. Tread cautiously. Be honest, positive, forthright, and vague. For example, extol any virtues of the old au pair “what we loved about AP was her attention and loving care to the baby” and downplay the bad, “we didn’t always have the same standards of tidiness.”
2) Start fresh with the new AP and do not repeat the bad mistakes you made with AP #1 by tolerating her moodiness and bad habits so willingly. But do this without dragging the new AP into old drama by bad mouthing the old AP. Don’t make new AP “pay for” old AP’s transgressions.
3) Remember that no matter what behaviors the old AP displays and no matter what the old AP says about you and the family to the new AP, the new AP is still going to form her own beliefs and impressions herself. The new AP is at the hopeful beginning of her long-awaited AP year. She is not going to want to believe the worst of you. She will likely also have the sense to evaluate this poor, friendless AP of yours and understand or at least intuit that the young lady has some emotional issues.

Good luck!

Should be working February 21, 2014 at 1:32 pm

CaliHostMom, this is very inspiring! And you are a veteran.

Question: how do you NOT “tolerate[e] her moodiness”? I have found moodiness a problem, especially grumpiness in the morning. Can you tell someone to be cheerful and expect them to comply? I’ve tried this–directly said, “Fake it if you have to” but it doesn’t work. Maybe Germans in particular are more universally grumpy in the morning and all our Germans said they find it “insincere” or “dishonest” to hide their moods–I try to insist that this is part of the “cultural exchange”, that in the USA it is considered better to appear cheerful than to be “honest” about being in a bad mood. It doesn’t really work so far.

American Host Mom in Europe February 24, 2014 at 5:12 am

I had an au pair who clearly wasn’t a morning person (although not terribly grumpy, it was more that she was still half asleep), and actually suggested perhaps she could wake up a bit earlier so that she was totally “with it” by the time her day with the kids started. I got tired of her not hearing the “could I have the yougurt please?” requests from the kids because she was standing next to them, half asleep. This might also work for grumpy morning folks — or ask them to go to bed earlier? I have in my handbook that they be home 8 hours before their shift starts — I can’t force them to sleep, but I can at least require that they have a good chance for 8 hours sleep, which helps.

Taking a Computer Lunch February 24, 2014 at 9:12 am

My handbook says that the AP is an adult in my house. I don’t have a curfew, but I expect them to be up and ready to deal with my kids on top. The Camel has a rigorous morning schedule that includes bath, diapering, dressing, feeding and getting out the door to school. She’s a teenager, so the AP really has to be on top of things. She can be tired as she wants, but she has to be ready to do the job without yawning and acting exhausted. I had one AP who liked to burn the candle at both ends, and ended up missing a day of work (when the kids were home from school) because she was so sick. I told her if she pulled a stunt like that again, I would give her a curfew – it was her responsibility to figure out how much sleep she needed to do her job!

I don’t care how much an AP thinks it would be hypocritical to be bright and cheery in the morning with the kids – it is her job to be awake and alert to deal with them – especially if they are young and need assistance with their breakfast and safety. Personally, I’d give the AP a warning for being grumpy and moody in the morning.

Anna February 24, 2014 at 10:48 am

I had a Russian au pair refuse to properly interact with my then two year old so she doesn’t appear “fake” or “dishonest”. In our case we were not able to resolve it, this girl was not cut out for working with kids. I also tried to tell her to fake it if she has to, didn’t work.
I would tell her it is part of her job and her duty to be cheerful with kids in the morning so they can be properly ready for school. Maybe a call to duty and responsibility will resonate with a German au pair?

Host Mom in the City February 24, 2014 at 1:15 pm

I’m always defending the German au pairs, but having had two who were very different, I feel like I need to chime in on stereotypes. Our first was always cheery and happy and great with balancing her fun time with needing to be engaged on the job. Our second was a generally less cheerful person and was always exhausted from partying and thus, not engaged on the job. It wasn’t so much a German thing as it was an immaturity and commitment to the job thing. Your mileage may vary :)

Should be working February 24, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Anna, why did I never think before to phrase it this way? I sort of playfully suggest in our HF letter that we like an AP who is cheerful in the morning, but I never considered putting it in the handbook and treating it like a job criterion. And any AP who resists this in matching gets cut loose. I think I got used to grumpiness with the first couple APs and didn’t realize that I could actually DEMAND cheerfulness. Wow.

Taking a Computer Lunch February 24, 2014 at 3:38 pm

We do make it very clear that the AP work day starts at 6:00 am. I must say, we have had “morning people” for the most part. We’ve also had a few late-night party girls, but since there are 6 1/2 hours between the morning shift and the afternoon shift, those APs have chosen to go back to bed and sleep.

We’ve been fortunate in that all of the APs have been ready to get The Camel ready for school and return home/get up in time to get her off the bus and care for her. Most of them have been fairly quiet around her, I try to set a role model by talking to her, but I think it makes them feel uncomfortable. The Camel is happy enough, so I don’t worry about it.

Host Mom in the City February 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

We have a middle-of-the-day break too, and I think unfortunately for our own “late-night party girl,” she used it as an excuse to herself. I can stay out until 2am the night before I have to work, because if I can just get through the two hours in the morning, I’ll have five hours to sleep. So she would wake up two minutes before her start time, drag downstairs in her PJs, completely ignore the kids, etc. Sure she would get them to school on time and in one piece, but she didn’t really see that two-hour period as an important part of her job because she just needed to get through it in order to get enough sleep.

Fortunately, our other two have been very cheerful in the mornings, so it hasn’t been an issue otherwise. And I will clarify, I don’t need a robot with a big fake smile on her face. But I do need someone who gives my kids the message “I am happy to be here with you” rather than “I’d rather be doing anything but making you breakfast.”

Emerald City HM February 21, 2014 at 12:08 am

This post made me realize that I had a question about au pair overlap. I went to the “6 Potential Problems…” from 2008 and the end said that Tips for Making an Overlap Work was coming up, but I can’t seem to find that post. Did it get lost in a re-vamp?

I didn’t even think to try to read up on this before figuring out a match date for our incoming au pair, my husband didn’t want a gap (as we have plenty of room in the house and vacation time is precious) and now I’m terrified because we already chose a date that will end up with a weekend of overlap.

cv harquail February 21, 2014 at 2:58 pm

I think I never made it to that post…. probably got distracted by chocolate. Did you see this one:
6 Reasons to Have Au Pairs Overlap
Maybe i can generate some tips from the comments on this latest post….

Emerald City HM February 21, 2014 at 5:30 pm

I did see that. :). I’m somewhat hoping it will be that easy, but I actually anticipate it won’t be.

We will also have communication isues as our incoming au pair actually has better english than our outgoing one and they do not speak the same native language. But I am really hoping that our outgoing au pair can give some tips about working with our girls and what seems to help her.

TexasHM February 21, 2014 at 12:25 am

We just had an overlap due to rematch (outgoing great AP had family emergency) and it was fantastic because in 3 days our outgoing AP had the rematch AP trained and the APs got along great and kids bonded with the new AP easily but I’ll be honest, I was super nervous and shocked when it worked out that well. By day 5 it seemed weird that our outgoing was still around (we love her but once the new one is functional the departing AP has too much time to think about leaving) and was a wreck the last two days (we had a 7 day overlap).
It all ended fine but I was surprised it worked and then surprised that we were ready for her to go when she did. I don’t think the OP is even remotely the same position, just saying I have seen it work but even then, don’t do it too long. I have a HM friend that has a rock solid 4 day plan with training, milestones and departing AP departure info. She has them move out of the room 2 days before, they help prepare, then train, then go and she manages it tightly. She’s on AP #9 and swears by it.

hostmomincolorado April 16, 2014 at 5:53 pm

I’d love to see the four day plan! Our outgoing Au pair just texted me that she has pushed her departure date back so now instead of a child care gap, we will have overlap.

American Host Mom in Europe February 21, 2014 at 5:03 am

I have almost always had overlap, despite being worried about bad habits, and it has always worked well. And all of my incoming au pairs had “reference checked” us with current or previous au pairs – I think my past 4 or 5 are all friends on FB. There is no agency/LCC/network here, so it is actually a great say for each of my au pairs to learn their way around town and meet some people when they start. And saves me a bunch of time as they pass on kid food preferences, finding their way around my kitchen, where all the local playgrounds are, etc.

Taking a Computer Lunch February 21, 2014 at 7:54 am

I always ask my outgoing AP if she is willing to communicate with candidates. They have always said yes, and only one was apathetic about it (the one with whom we had refused to extend). Now that we have Skype, we give a tour of the house, and introduce the candidates to The Camel. However, we don’t show the AP suite. We tell the candidates that they must ask our current AP to see the room. The message we send candidates is a) we are confident that we have maintained a good relationship with our outgoing AP and b) we respect the privacy of our APs (which we do).

I did overlap once. A beloved outgoing AP had no money and spent her 13th month with us. We were warned that child #2 would have a tough transition going from a bilingual AP to one who could barely speak English. And then we took both on vacation. It was a recipe for disaster.

Host Mom in the City February 21, 2014 at 7:55 am

I have the names and contact info of both of my previous au pairs to #2 and #3 and they are all Facebook friends. I completely agree that you shouldn’t even try not to get them to “meet” each other. That wasn’t really my issue. My issue was that I didn’t want #2 training #3 at all – she never really for to know the kids or the job, but really thought that she did, so I was very afraid that she would pass on a bunch of wrong information. Not to mention all of her friends were immature partiers – not the type of people I wanted for au pair friends. So I was glad when #3 turned out very different – mostly because she is different of course, but also because I got to start her off right myself.

WarmStateMomma February 21, 2014 at 8:25 am

OP here. I tried responded to posts yesterday, but they didn’t appear. Probably user error on my part, so I’m trying again.

I don’t have anyone female in a destination city with public transportation or the capacity/willingness to entertain AP#1. I looked into hotels in the city where her friend lives and found some options I could probably live with if she can’t/won’t just join the friend on the date we agreed (5 days before her ticket).

Thankfully, AP#2 won’t be in contact with AP#1 if we don’t introduce them. They don’t know each other’s names and neither is on Facebook. (FB is blocked for most Chinese and AP#1 never set up an account when she arrived.) AP#1 has no friends here although she is “friendly” with the only other AP our agency has within a 45 drive. That said, we are changing agencies to one that has dozens of APs within the metro area.

LCC and the current agency are worse than useless. The LCC was hired the week before AP#1 arrived so that our home visit could be conducted. He is a school bus driver and said the agency told him to advise us to treat Chinese APs as if they had autism because they take everything so literally. We’ve seen enough of this agency’s treatment of other APs to know that the person who purportedly passed on this appalling advice may well have done that. Again, a reason why we switched agencies to one with normal people in the role of LCC.

Given AP#1’s teary nature, HD is unwilling to say anything that could upset her and sees managing her as my role. So I’m pretty much on my own here and am very appreciative of the advice and especially the perspective from all the other HMs on this site. The other posts I’ve been reading validate that my expectations are not unreasonable and really should have been communicated firmly and repeatedly to AP#1.

What we aren’t sure of is how much of the problem is cultural since AP#1 is the first person from China we’ve ever had live with us. She has gross habits but is personally clean. (Dirty diapers should be thrown away, not left in the play pen. Food that the baby throws from her high chair at lunch time should be picked up before I come home from work.) She can’t discuss her concerns no matter how heartfelt the inquiry. She refuses to drink tap water even though we all do and I’ve told her many times that it’s safe in the US. I’d love some more insight about hosting APs from China. A big reason we went the AP route was to raise the baby bilingual and it’s working! She speaks more than a dozen Mandarin words at 14 months – and we really want to stick with this and make it work.

I definitely plan to use a lot of the advice I’ve picked up since finding this site a couple of weeks ago (my handbook is almost complete!!) and know that we need to do things differently. I’m simply not willing to have the two APs meet and believe that allowing AP#1 to be around when AP#2 is training will be a counter-productive way to start the year. It will be several versions of me telling AP#2 “we need you to change the baby’s crib sheet every week,” and AP#1 telling her “I never do that.”

Yes, we let AP#1 get away with too much and we should have rematched when we learned that she lied about knowing how to drive before she got here and then was unwilling to very recently. Her unhappiness here stems from the fact that she can’t drive (no public transportation is available) and never made friends (no APs nearby, a shy AP, and no car = no friends). With no agency support and not knowing other HFs, we just had no idea. We’ve hosted exchange students that have returned to visit us, so we aren’t that whacko family that shouldn’t be hosting. The baby needs to get out of the house now that she is older and AP#2 has to drive her. If she has misrepresented her driving skills, she will have 30 days to learn or rematch. I’m not willing to keep the baby cooped up in the house all day that the AP is working and more importantly, I’m not willing to spend every day off driving the AP 50 miles round trip for her classes, cluster meetings, etc. HD and I did that 22 times in October and spent hundreds of dollars in gas and tolls that one month alone. Day care was looking pretty convenient then….

In the end, AP#1 is kind and loving with my daughter so I really don’t want to hurt her feelings although she has been difficult to live with for HD and especially me (the AP chauffeur). AP#1 is not mean-spirited but immature and she lacks self-awareness. I will feel better about myself if I do the right thing rather than what I think she deserves after all the stress and extra work she has put us through. Besides, there’s no telling what kinds of stress she believes we have caused her as she’s not willing to discuss her concerns with us.

We will ask AP#1 to move into the guest room the weekend before her departure so I can get the AP room/bath ready for AP#2. I will keep you all posted on how we send her on her way – not sure about that yet – but she must be on her way.

Thanks again for all the thoughtful feedback!

NoVA Twin Mom February 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Thanks for updating us! I just wanted to mention that you’re not alone in a few of these problems – I’d hosted high school exchange students in the past too, and it IS a very different experience.

We’ve also had an au pair that took EXCELLENT care of our girls – but was what I describe as a lousy roommate. Looking at the situation that way helped me to frame our experiences in a way I could live with – so maybe looking at your current au pair that way will help you too. Our current au pair is excellent, though – hopefully you’ll have the same experience in getting a wonderful “next” au pair.

Host Mom in the City February 21, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Agree – thanks for the update! I certainly hope you have a better time with your second au pair. The way you described your first year sounds miserable! Best of luck to you.

Old China Hand February 21, 2014 at 4:55 pm

I need to go meet with a student… but… it’s Friday afternoon so I’m adding my thoughts.

A few things came up in your post that may be partly cultural.

1) Lying about driving (and possibly swimming): The agencies in China tell the girls to go get a driver’s license and to say they can swim. I wouldn’t trust the swimming unless I saw lots of pictures of her swimming. Unless she has had a license for years and drives regularly, I would assume she can’t drive. Even if she meets those conditions, assume she doesn’t drive at a standard you would accept. I have a Chinese student (and our Chinese AP) who both have licenses and tell me they can’t drive. On the Go Au Pair app there is a section for “what makes you uncomfortable with driving?” and they are told to write “bad weather and night”. If you see that, she probably can’t drive.

2) Cleanliness. We’ve had a mixed lot with this one. We had two Chinese flatmates in a dorm-apartment in 2010 (in rural western China). They were slobs in the shared parts of the flat because they didn’t consider it “their house”. I’ve seen places where people are slobs in communal houses or where they aren’t invested in it. They are usually (apparently) quite clean when they own their own place, but that may be more generational. Apparently the entire country got much cleaner and living conditions improved just by letting people own property. Our AP is not fabulous about picking up toys but she is reasonable about doing the dishes and cleaning up. She doesn’t like to ask for help with where things go, so stuff ends up in the wrong place ALL the time. That plus a 20 month old…

3) Tap water. Chinese believe that drinking warm water is healthier. This probably comes from a very real problem with contaminated water and ended up with “you must boil all water”. My recommendation is to get an electric kettle for the AP. I can’t convince ours that she doesn’t need to boil water to drink or that it isn’t inherently healthier for women to drink hot water (and eat hot foods) when pregnant (as I currently am) or on their period or, well, all the time.

4) Toilet paper. I would put a section in your handbook explaining that US plumping allows TP to go down the toilet. It can’t in China. Very matter of fact but they need to know.

I think that’s it for right now… ask more questions and I may have answers. At least, I have had Chinese flatmates in China and a Chinese AP here.

WarmStateMomma February 25, 2014 at 12:43 am

Thanks! This is great information! I have noticed that AP#1 drinks hot water for any ailment (real or cultural). The kettle is a good idea, but we have a hot water tap in the kitchen. The little kind that puts out near-boiling water instantly because I drink lots of tea.

I expect to see toys scattered on the floor because DD is 14 months old and plays with her toys and books all the time. But dirty diapers on the dining room floor or in the play pen bother me, as do soiled clothes left scattered around the house. Do you think that level of uncleanliness is cultural or individual to AP#1?

We asked AP#1 about whether she had experience driving in cities and on highways. She confidently told us that she did and that she drove to visit family, run errands, etc. We felt tricked when we realized she’d lied to us repeatedly to get here. I’ve encouraged AP#2 to practice if she needs it before she arrives because driving is so important in the US, but it’s hard not to wonder if she’s playing us too. Both APs generally come across as very sincere so I’m not sure where we went wrong the first time or if we’re going wrong again.

What do you think about showing AP#2 exactly how to use cleaning products? It strikes me as condescending, but AP#1 actually asked me what the lysol wipes were for when I gave her a fresh bottle to use in her bathroom after she’d been here a few months and I assumed was running low on the ones in her bathroom when she arrived. I get the “dorm” idea of not bothering to take care of something that’s not yours, but it’s mine and I don’t want it trashed. It feels like it’s a lack of respect that would cause someone to treat your home and contents so carelessly. Is there another explanation?

Taking a Computer Lunch February 25, 2014 at 8:11 am

After AP #8 revealed that she had never done a load of laundry or cleaned the house (and snarkily said “I didn’t come here to be a housemaid”), we have added an explicit question about chores the AP does at home. We have had lovely candidates with children who have special needs say, “Well, if my Mom asks me to do it, then I will help.” And I think to myself – I don’t want to spend a year telling you what to do. After job coaching AP #8, I decided I did not want to go through that again.

I do think it’s okay to show how you want the house to be cleaned. It’s your house. And I think, if you have to be obtuse to get your message across about dirty diapers, then I think it’s okay to say, “I know you love X very much and wouldn’t want to hurt her. Having her play near dirty diapers might make her sick. I always throw them away the minute I change her. I wash my hands after I’m done.” (And personally, blech!)

Old China Hand February 26, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I wouldn’t worry too much with Asians about showing them how to use cleaning supplies. It is totally different! No vacuums, for example, and mopping often means running a dirty mop around a floor. We had to teach our AP to use the washing machine and dryer and what the dishwasher was (she thought it was a dish sanitizer). I think levels of uncleanliness are a mix of cultural and individual. Our AP is such a clutter person that I’ve given up on getting her to tidy up my son’s room at the end of the day. My husband saw it yesterday and was horrified. But teaching the AP your standards and how to use the cleaning supplies you have can be done in a totally matter of fact, this is my house, sort of way.

WarmStateMomma February 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Thanks, OCH. I remember my study abroad roommates and I having difficulty identifying cleaning products overseas with our limited language skills. Our professor used the bathroom when we had our class over for dinner one night. He was pretty red-faced and informed us that the product we thought was hand soap was actually a “feminine product.” We all found it really funny – it’s memorable enough for me to recall 12 years later – but I should have realized that our AP wouldn’t recognize how to use US products. I asked her if we should write down how to use anything for AP#2, but she claims it’s all the same. (“The same” in that she probably didn’t clean anything in her school/work dorms either.)

I like the idea of just approaching it as “we have different products here and let’s show you how we use them in this home.” Maybe she can add masking tape labels in Mandarin to note the uses of the main products.

Multitasking Host Mom February 23, 2014 at 11:48 am

Since you mentioned that you were going to move your AP to the guest room the weekend before her departure, I thought I would share this link about a check out list for the departing au pair. It’s from an older post that CV put together. I customized this list to our family situation, and it has been super helpful for me not to forgot anything to ask the current au pair to do in the craziness of preparing for one AP to leave and another to arrive. Hope it helps.

Host Mom in the City February 21, 2014 at 8:37 am

Old China Hand – are you around? I’d be interested to hear about this from a culturally sensitive POV. I think you mentioned that cultural differences might have something to do with this?

Old China Hand February 21, 2014 at 9:57 am

I’m around… waiting for data to import and reading people’s thoughts since yesterday at lunch.

Here are a few thoughts:

Chinese culture is really indirect. Really, really indirect (though not as much as Koreans and Japanese). The outgoing AP has probably never gotten direct feedback in her life about anything. So if you are giving a Chinese girl direct feedback it probably comes across as significantly more harsh than you intended it to. If she is sensitive for a Chinese girl, she would probably not want to take anything more direct than mild suggestions about ways in which it may be easier for her if she did something differently.

I think what I was getting at was that even if you are bilingual, you aren’t necessarily bicultural. She probably learned English mostly from Chinese teachers and didn’t have much cultural exchange. Americans are very direct compared to most other cultures, especially Asian ones. I’ve been told that I can’t be subtle if I try, but I like to think that I can navigate in China without pissing off everyone I speak with.

In any case, there are weird cultural triggers that we don’t always understand. Our AP is completely obsessed with how fat she is. She isn’t – she is beautiful, fit, and well-endowed. But she doesn’t fit stereotypical Chinese perceptions of beauty (thin, white skin, small lips, petite). And because culturally it’s not good to praise your children or close friends/relatives because you may bring them bad luck, you always criticize them. The more you love them, they more you criticize, preferably criticisms that are not too important but will keep the bad luck away. So our AP was told her entire life by her mother that she is fat and ugly. Her mom loves her so much that she was telling her this to protect her. Our AP is really self-conscious and so she took it to heart. Now she is obsessed with losing weight.

I wonder if there is something similar with this AP related to the indirect thing. In the US we consider it passive aggressive, but from an Asian perspective, it’s simply polite vs rude.

Hope that helps a bit!

Host Mom in the City February 21, 2014 at 10:50 am

Super-helpful – thank you! So I guess the question I’m left with is, how would someone advise/manage someone who is culturally sensitive to direction on what to do and how to do it and correct them if they do something wrong?

Old China Hand February 21, 2014 at 9:06 pm

I want to preface this with the following: I asked my au pair what she would do and she was like “well, if I need to fix something I’m doing with work, then I need to fix it so as long as it was polite, it should be ok”.

Also, this is going to sound really passive aggressive. Sorry. What we call passive aggressive is what other cultures call polite.

Ok, so say the issue is the clutter when you get home. Here are some options, in order of directness:

1) Gosh, the house feels so much better when the clutter is all put away.
2) I really like coming home to a tidy house where all the clutter from the kids day is put away.
3) When I am getting ready for my husband to get home for the day, I like to pick up the kids’ clutter.
4) I find it really helpful for you to clean up before I get home.
6) It’s a bit cluttered here. Could you please make sure to clean up before I get home?

So… you can get pretty obtuse to be indirect but it may work better. Still, it makes my skin crawl if I have to do it in English. I had a huge fight with my husband recently over his sister inadvertently being sort of Asian in her indirectness. Uck.

Also, “maybe” usually means “no”. If you ask something and someone says “maybe” and you ask again and they say “maybe” and nothing happens, then they mean “no” but are trying to be polite.

Taking a Computer Lunch February 22, 2014 at 12:12 am

In my experience, maybe is a polite form of “no” – except in the United States – in my experience. And it may be worth bearing in mind, when you hear it from your AP’s lips, and really need a “yes” or a “no” answer, that you tell her you would prefer a direct reply.

On the other hand, my first AP would say “yes” because she knew that’s what I wanted to hear, even though she had no intention of doing the task. She was a curious person, and asked me what “lip service” meant. I told her, lip service is when you say yes to my request and then don’t do it. A few minutes later, I heard her asking DH.

TexasHM February 22, 2014 at 1:08 am

Lol TACL, that’s priceless.

WarmStateMomma February 25, 2014 at 12:21 am

Wow. Polite and rude have such opposite manifestations in different cultures! I get what you mean about it making your skin crawl to be so indirect. It feels manipulative.

Seattle Mom February 27, 2014 at 1:43 am

Now I really understand why my husband does not want a Chinese au pair. He lived in Japan for years and traveled all around Asia.

But we did have a Thai au pair and she was wonderful. This makes me wonder though.. because in retrospect while she was a great person and a great au pair, the one thing that was difficult about her was that she did not take direction well. She was not particularly sensitive, but she did seem to get sort of angry when being told she needed to do something differently. Mostly it was stuff around the house- she had a tendency to use appliances wrong, put things in the wrong place, make stains with her hair dye in the bathroom (ARGH!) etc. But we realized that she was an amazing caregiver, we enjoyed her company, and her heart was in the right place, so we made a conscious decision to let all of that stuff go. Now I’m guessing that the not taking direction well thing was really pretty cultural. We probably were being too direct. Ah well.

It’s funny that my husband lived in Asia- he has NO CLUE how to be subtle in his constructive criticism. I like directness and I find him offensive at times. It’s really too bad that he’s home a lot more than me, because he should not do much AP management.

Multitasking Host Mom February 21, 2014 at 11:40 am

I feel for you OP. We had an au pair who was a sweet girl but just a so-so au pair. She was extending with another family so her last day with us was a Monday based on her original arrival date. In order to avoid a whole week or more without child care, I had to have the new out of country au pair come on the Thursday evening before, when her training was complete. So they overlapped for about 4 days. It was not as bad as I thought…and I had worst case scenarios going through my head! I asked old au pair to move out of her room to our guest room by Wed. morning, after requesting she leave the room the same way she originally found it. That gave me one night to really clean the AP room and bathroom and do any touch ups. The new au pair shadowed the old au pair on that Friday. (I did make it clear to the old AP that she didn’t need to train/teach, just let the new AP go through the day with her.) I spent the weekend training the new au pair, while old AP did her own thing. Old au pair flew off to her new family by Monday morning. This worked out because it wasn’t really a lot of time. I think if it had been more days it wouldn’t have gone over so well. Also, new au pair, who is very smart and mature which makes her a great AP, quickly saw through all of old au pair’s bad habits. New AP confessed several months later that she really didn’t like old AP at all, and was no longer responding to her on facebook. So my point is that just because old and new meet and/or hang out together, doesn’t mean new au pair will use old au pair as a role model. New au pair might just find her own path. After all, I am sure you picked a different type of au pair this time, in an attempt to not replicate your current au pair, right?

Multitasking Host Mom February 21, 2014 at 11:41 am

Also, wanted to add another component to this situation…The host family that old au pair was extending with wanted to have the AP arrive to their home at the end of the week and not at the beginning of the week. Apparently, they thought that it would just be like getting an out of country au pair where they arrive on a Friday evening, (I had switch agencies, so the timing was different from my incoming au pair who arrived on a Thursday). They didn’t figure this out, until two weeks before, that AP would arrive on the day that it actually said was her availability date on her application, a Monday. (Yes, I had some choice thoughts about that!) When the agency rep called and asked if I was willing to house the AP for another 5 days I said no. I really felt bad about it since I am normally the type of person who likes to keep everyone happy. But I had to stick to what I knew was going to be best for my family, and two au pairs for almost a week in my small house would just be too much in both space and confusion for the kids. So to the OP, my other advice is to repeat what has already been said. Just throw money at this and get the old au pair out, on the previously agreed upon date, in whatever way works. (You can be nice about it, like I am sure you will be.) But everyone involved will be happier for it.

Darthastewart February 21, 2014 at 11:52 am

I don’t think it’s possible to prevent all cross contamination, but I have found that I don’t want the old au-pair there when the new one arrives. Too many problems that way. I just tell them that I want them to be able to focus on leaving, and the new au-pair to focus on their own arrival, and training.
I found that the outgoing au-pairs focused on where to eat, shop, etc, but not necessarily the things that the new au-pair needed to know to get her job done, so it was a constant re-training, after they told me they had been trained.

I’d probably find another place to go, or help pay her flight change fee.

midwest aupair February 21, 2014 at 4:37 pm

I did not read all the comments, but this is what I think.
I think you should not ship her off to someone else, just because you don’t want her around. Even though she caused you many problems. In the end, if I understood this right, she took care of your daughter and kept her safe, and your daughter loved her. I think you should really try to make her fly to her friend earlier, even if you have to pay a little extra. I think you can pull the card, of that your daughter will be confused with two Au pairs etc. and honestly this isn’t even a lie. It is not good for kids to have, first of all change in caregiver every year, but even more so to have one that they love, someone else is coming doesn’t know child, new Au pair doesn’t know what to do, old Au pair is jealous because new Au pair will be like the new toy etc. It’s not pretty. It can work, but usually it doesn’t. In the end, with all respect i have for you, i think she deserves a nice departure to a place where she feels welcome. But i guess i don’t know the whole story, and maybe she doesn’t deserve it. Good luck anyway!

WarmStateMomma February 25, 2014 at 12:12 am

Thanks for giving an AP view. The situation is complicated with AP#1. I’m not willing to let her ruin the fresh start we are hoping for with AP#2, but I want to part ways in a way that doesn’t make AP#1 feel bad. We agreed on her departure date and then she booked a ticket for a different date to save a few dollars. She then did not tell me about her new date until I offered to buy her ticket as a farewell gift.

My problem is that she needs to leave on the date we agreed and I am trying to find a kind way to tell her that, but she doesn’t handle direct communication very well.

Old China Hand February 22, 2014 at 9:45 am

Since we’ve been talking about Asian Au pairs a bit on this post and I was reminded again this morning how terrible our LCc is, I’m wondering what agencies have lots of girls from china? We may change agencies…. Thanks!

Taking a Computer Lunch February 23, 2014 at 8:23 pm

APIA used to have a lot. DH and I selected a Chinese AP because we wanted to stretch our cultural experience. For my family, it ended up being too much of a stretch on both sides. I eat passive aggressive people for lunch, so it would have helped me to have your tips.

Old China Hand February 24, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Our agency is moderately redeeming itself by a Chinese girl apparently going to a family in a town just 5 miles away… the potentials for carpooling make the prospect of getting APs to social events they don’t like with an LCC who doesn’t move them around to our side of town much less daunting. So… we’ll see what happens in the next few months. We have a while before our next match anyway.

Anna February 24, 2014 at 6:49 pm

GoAuPair agency has lots of girls from China

Old China Hand March 3, 2014 at 3:42 pm

That’s who we are with (and unhappy with) right now. Basically it’s the LCC. But I may stick with GAP because they have the orphanage in Zhengzhou that trains APs and so they come with more realistic expectations about what is involved in childcare. And our current AP said she knows the teachers/staff and will talk with them about who is hardworking.

WarmStateMomma February 25, 2014 at 12:01 am

API had a lot from China last year, but I wouldn’t recommend API. APC had several when we were looking the second time. APC apparently works with a Chinese agency that encourages the APs to film themselves driving and add the clip to their application video. The girl that was visibly terrified of driving through a parking lot with no moving vehicles reminded us a lot of AP#1 behind the wheel. AP#2 had footage of herself calmly driving down a city street with other cars on the road.

It’s amazing to watch my daughter become bilingual and we really want to make Mandarin work for her. I’d hoped that she would pick up some of the culture as well over the years, but I’d rather she learn to be resilient than politely indirect/passive aggressive.

WarmStateMomma March 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm

UPDATE: HD spoke to AP#1 yesterday after her driving lesson. (She wants to learn even though it’s too late to drive our daughter.) HD let her know that it would be difficult for our daughter to have AP#1 and AP#2 there at the same time because she is extremely attached to AP#1. So AP#1 spoke to the friend she plans on visiting for her travel month and has agreed to leave on the originally-agreed date. We thanked her for being flexible and considerate. I bought her a new ticket (because it was actually cheaper than paying the outrageous change fees).

After the “talk,” we took some nice portraits of AP#1 with our daughter (AP#1’s request) and then we shared all of the photos we’ve taken of AP#1 this year. We are trying to keep the departure discussion as open and friendly as possible, so that the date issue is just one detail among several positive ones for AP#1. There’s been no pouting or crying – just a brief quiet period – so I think it all went as smoothly as possible. We made a really pretty photo book on Shutterfly of AP#1’s year to let her know that we wish her the best in the next chapter of her life and are grateful for the care she provided for our daughter.

Thanks for everyone who helped out with advice! I’m sleeping well again. :)

Should be working March 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Great news. Sounds like you are being very nice and considerate. I really work hard for a ‘happy ending/departure’ even when I have simmering resentments. I figure it’s for the kids and the AP, and I can be the one who privately rants or sulks.

WarmStateMomma March 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Thanks, SBW. It just feels “right” to part as friends. A weight has been lifted and I feel ready to embrace AP#2 with the positive attitude and warm welcome she deserves.

Returning HM March 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm

This question is about overlap, and I’m including it here because the other threads on overlap all seem to be closed to comments.

I posted last week that our amazingly fabulous ( au pair tore his ACL two weeks ago and hasn’t been able to walk or drive since. He is scheduled for surgery 2 weeks from today, and then he will be with us an additional 10 days, until he can be cleared to fly home. He is scheduled to go on the 30th of March – so sad because he had barely reached his six month mark. Our new AP arrives from transition this Saturday, much needed since we have been two weeks without a driver.

My questions for everyone are as follows: This will be a more than 3 week overlap, without any room to shorten it (i.e. we can’t and don’t want to shorten the stay of current AP as he can’t walk now and won’t be able to for most of his time here, and we desperately need new AP so can’t postpone his arrival). What in the world do I do to manage this loong overlap? Next week will, I think, be easy, as the two guys will be together, going about the daily tasks with the children, with the new AP driving and the current one navigating and showing. But the following week, what in the world do they do to keep from stepping on each other? Current AP will move to the playroom, to give new AP the bedroom (though new AP is resisting this – he wants current AP to be comfortable), but we still have a small house, and this is still tight space for two 21 year old guys.

What about payment? Current AP isn’t officially working anymore, since he can’t drive or do much of our job, but when I drive the children home (I have been leaving work at 2 each day to do so), he is great about doing all the in-home care that he can (minus laundry and stuff that he just can’t manage on crutches). I have been paying his full stipend and consider it appropriate, but what about when the next AP comes? The full stipend is fine for the first week, maybe, but what about in the second week, when new AP doesn’t really need current AP anymore? What about when current AP is recuperating from surgery? Do I pay then (other than the room and board that of course we will provide)? I want to be fair but we also don’t have extra money lying around.

Finally, what else do I need to be thinking about here? We have had NO luck with overlapping APs the two times we have tried, but this is a totally different situation…and frankly, these two guys are great, are already bonding over FB and texting, and are committed to making this challenging time work. Current AP just wants our family to be happy and new AP is thrilled to have found a new family at all (male APs can have a hard time in transition), so everyone wants this to work. But I would love some advice from sage HMs out here….to help all of us get through this as smoothly as possible.

Oh, did I mention that I will need surgery in the next couple of weeks too? Same orthopedic surgeon as AP’s…mine on a dislocated shoulder/torn cartilage. We are really quite a household right now, so we could use this overlap period going as smoothly as possible.

Thank you.

German Au-Pair March 6, 2014 at 5:01 pm

I think when guys are mature enough to come and be au pairs -which is a much harder choice for males than for females- they should be civil enough to manage it without much input from your side. Since incoming au pair seems so respectful towads outgoing’s needs, I don’t think there’ll be much of a problem.
I was temporarily replaced by a live-out-nanny when I broke my ankle (I was lucky enough that they could keep me do to perfect timing) and at first it was a bit weird because you feel SO useless when someone else is doing your job. At first I tried to avoid her but we actually ended up bonding with her quite a bit and we talked and shared stories and she offered to take me out for food because I couldn’t drive. In this situation she was an American with her own life and we are females…
I would assume that incoming will appreciate outgoing’s tips and that they will take advantage of one knowing the area and people and the other being able to actually drive there.
I actually wouldn’t worry that much about it. As for the money: I’m sure he’ll understand that you can’t pay both of them. Maybe, if you can afford it, give him a tiny stipend so he can go out with incoming to enjoy his last week and I’m sure he’ll appreciate that a lot.

WarmStateMomma March 11, 2014 at 8:12 am

Wow, that’s a tough spot. Were your bad overlap experiences also with bropairs?

Momma Gadget March 6, 2014 at 3:55 pm

UGH ! When it rains it pours!
I would just tell your out going AP exactly what you said above-
That you feel terrible that what looked to be a promising year was cut short, and that the whole family is just as disappointed as he must be.
I would discuss how you want him to train the new AP, and at that point tell him that you will pay him for the training week, but unfortunately you can not afford to pay two APs after that. I doubt that he would have difficulty understanding this, and you are giving him enough time to budget his money.
I think the harder thing will be having another body there…. no clue how to handle that aside from grinning and bearing it.

Comments on this entry are closed.