When in doubt, use a decision rule.
It can be clumsy, or crude, or sometimes nearly irrelevant, but a decision rule usually helps when we have so many choices.
With choosing au pairs, we often employ decision rules that are good proxies for the information we really want but can’t quite get. For example, we use years of driving experience as a proxy for driving skill, and time spent away from home as a proxy for “won’t get too homesick”.
And, we use country of origin as a proxy for culture, and culture as a proxy for personal behavior.
This works fine, much of the time, to narrow down our choices to what we can manage to consider in more detail. These decision rules get us from 379 available au pairs to 25, and from 25 to 3 that we might phone. Which works.
Although, sometimes it doesn’t.
How many times have we wondered if the right au pair for us was out there, but his or her application never got to us?
Au pairs feel the same way– they want to find their best fit with a host family, and they want to make sure that any good host families consider them. So, it can be hard on au pairs who don’t fit our decision rules and proxies, but actually do — in fact — have the qualities we are looking for.
Case in point? Brazilian Au Pairs.
Dear Au Pair Mom– I am a big fan of your blog, this page and your community is helping a lot to understand the American family mentality before to have my aupair year. Thank you very much!!
I’ll talk a bit about me and after I’ll talk about a doubt that I want a advice if possible.
My name is Marisol, I am from São Paulo, Brazil and I’m 23 years old! Last year I graduated in business administration, but right now i decided to take a year off, and to do something different, and since i already have a lot of experience in working with children and I love them, being an au pair was just a natural decision for me, since it will give me an opportunity to do get to know another culture, explore new country and make new friends! I have worked with two families with four children aged 5-11 and I’m also helping my sister with her son aged 2. Furthermore, I am trilingual (Portuguese, Spanish and English), I have 2 years of experience as a driver (with manual cars by the way) and I am not looking for a specific city to be aupair.
So, my au pair profile is online has 3 months already (at one agency) and I just received 2 contacts until now and sincerely, I can’t understand why, because I think I have a pretty good “curriculum”. But I realized through feedback from host moms in references, by emails, or even during a conversation by skype that families have noticed the large number of Brazilian aupairs, but that they seemed to be so negative. No family speaks directly about this, of course, but the way they say leaves the impression that “we wanted au pair from another country, but the Brazilians aupairs are the majority so we do not have many options”.
Brazil is a huge country with 190 millions of people, on the schools they always motivate the young people to make exchanges outside of Brazil to have a good curriculum on the market in the future (also on the novels on tv they are doing this), and the AuPair Program is the most cheap exchange program too, so of course the demand of Brazilians AuPair will be high.
So, I want know what the host moms think about the high demand (amount??) of Brazilian aupairs actually!?! Is this a problem to the host families when they are looking for a new au pair? I’ll be very grateful for any advice or comments.