Have Au Pairs Come to Expect Too Much? (Poll)

by cv harquail on May 29, 2015

A few weeks ago I raised the question:  How Have Au Pair Host Parents -As A Group- Changed Over Time?   BeachTown HostMom wrote to pose the other side of the question —

(How) Have Au Pair expectations changed over time?  

She writes:4388929290_592a8d51e9_m

I’ve started to noticed some changes in the au pair community and wondered if you or others have noticed as well.

The situation: We’ve been a “successful” host family for many years now. We’ve had what is considered great matches with great au pairs. And for the most part we’ve been very happy. We’ve met some great young ladies. We’re been attempting to match with our newest au pair for the past couple months through one of the large Au Pair Agencies and I’m beginning to reconsider:  …is any of the pain associated with hosting an au pair worth it?!?!

This is a surprising realization for me, since our family hasn’t had to deal with any major au pair issues. No car accidents, no rematches, no stealing….

Every year that passes the expectations of the au pairs I encounter seem to grow. They all seem to know someone who knows someone who got “x.” “X” gets bigger and more elaborate every year.

And I get it (and have seen it written on aupairmom before!) [cv note: this post from…2008:  Host Family Advice: Resist the Amenities Arms Race].

Manage your au pair’s expectations. Yada yada yada.

I’m not sure if I can afford to pay more to keep up with au pair expectations.  

We live in a beach town, au pair has a car, au pair has a private suite, only has to work weekday hours with a consistent schedule, etc… and yet… that appears to be too much for most young women I reach out to interview.

I’ve been told by multiple au pairs that they would not consider a family that did not live in NYC, Florida or California, three kids was too many, other families were paying more than the stipend, etc.

Entitlement, defn: the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

All of this entitlement has put the spot light of some of the reasons I really dislike the program. I’ve had to “break in” every au pair to remind her that kids are hard work.  Every single Au Pair has needed to be reminded that independent use of the car is a privilege and not a right.

I appreciate that there will be people that say this is a great way to weed out bad au pairs. Driving, weak English, culture shock, homesickness. None of these are the major issues frequently discussed by the large Au Pair Agency we’ve worked with …they are just normal issues associated with hosting an au pair.

Basically, I’m tired. I only have some much energy at the end of the day. I like the idea of the program, but I’m not sure anymore. Combine that with the complete lack of help from the agencies (our LCCs have been no help. The Agency  matching coordinators have’t helped much either). And that’s a shame.

 Our family is well suited for hosting au pairs, but we don’t want to be a part of a program anymore when the “me me me” attitude just seems to be growing.

Is anyone else noticing a growing sense of entitlement?

The au pairs we’ve had have been great, but it’s a lot of work for us to get everything to hang together.  (It’s been tough for the au pairs too).

Combine this with how few decent applicants I’ve seen and I think the program is gong to squeeze out good host families.

 I myself have just signed up for a local nanny agency and afterschool care.

Then the program will really only be left with all the bad host families that all of the au pairs seem to complain about.

Experienced Host Parents, what do you think?

Have Au Pairs Come to Expect Too Much?

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See also:  The 3rd Car: Avoiding a sense of entitlement

Host Family Advice: Resist the Amenities Arms Race




Mimi May 29, 2015 at 3:27 pm

I’m a yes here and I think I griped about it in another thread. I’m also seeing this in the rematch applicant pool where APs have initiated rematch because of location, lack of a dedicated car, etc. It’s hard to say if those were excuses used for rematch purposes on some but for others, it’s clear they were the primary issues.

Didi May 29, 2015 at 4:56 pm

I would agree with this post a lot. I have been au pair 2012- 2014 and after staying in US after, I continued to work for my host family for some time as a nanny.
For the last 3 years I have been invested in au pair world/culture/community and I have been in contact with several LCC’s and au pairs that are in program all around the world. One of the main reasons why I am blogging about au pair and nanny life, is exactly because of situation like this. Entitlement. The idea au pairs get from their friends and promotions of au pair agencies makes au pairs not willing to see past their selfishness, and I just wish I could be there, assist, talk and make them realize that au pair program is two way street.
I can not explain the passion I feel for this program, desire to see things going smoothly and ability to help young girls and hosts to focus on priorities.

What I am trying to say is, that in this past 3 years that I have been involved, I notice big, big changes in way how au pairs function, the way they behave, what they expect.

It’s not bad program, and they are not bad girls, but look at all the agencies and ways how they promote them selves. They are promoting American Dream. They are vaguely touching the idea of how hard work that is, and their focus is on new culture, easy money and experience.
Being childcare provider, regardless what your title is, is hard. It takes dedication, love, maternal instinct, common sense and ability to predict and handle problems as they come, and if au pairs come here with expectation that they will have to work little bit, and if it’s not working out they can rematch-it’s set to fail.

Giving up on program might seem easy, just because au pair pool is full of girls that are influenced with numerous fb groups with advice and venting, girls who think they “deserve” everything and extra, but if you were in au pair program for so long, think about pro and con of having a nanny.

I am nanny now. I am full time employed, I have great benefits and everything that comes with that, and I am not ungrateful, but it is the same as with au pairs, if not worse. If you choose nanny without much experience, there is many obstacles you will have to deal with. If you find amazing, great fit for your family, chances are that she will have her wish list, she will know her worth and she will act like she is doing you a favor.
I wish to believe I have respect and integrity and will to always look out for my boss and a child because of my background, but maybe it’s just me. and I don’t feel appreciated, and my hard work doesn’t seem to be noticed, so I tend to, on occasion, think about leaving a family and search for more/better, but in the end, it always comes to the same.
Saying this from nanny’s perspective, being in touch with dozens nanny’s on daily basis and seeing the way how it works, I would say, for a parent, au pair program is way better.
You have control. It might be hard, exhausting, you feel like you are a mom to her, etc, but in the end, even if it’s not just for financial reasons, you get way more out of it.

There will always be Au Pairs coming to the program with idea of what they want and they will be not as invested in you as a family and what you have to offer, It might be cliché, but there are many agencies, and there is many au pairs who want to experience culture and “American dream” but not on the cost of everything else.

Sorry for long post and good luck :)

Julie May 31, 2015 at 12:20 am

I’m an 8 time host mom and LCC and I’ve been overseas in two different countries for orientation sessions. I’ve also seen every piece of marketing and training information that our au pairs receive and A LOT of that information is about how much work it is, how it’s hard, how there are a lot of communication and a cultural issues, etc. The orientations can be a little tough and it’s a lot of information–BUT, what they hear from other au pairs they know is how much travel that au pair did (even if it was rare and during travel month) and they see the photos au pairs show of their year and they remember those images and all of the good more than all of the warnings about what a tough job it is. I think the agencies (at least my agency) have also really changed the message into a “you are doing this for growth and experience, which can help your career and make you a stronger person” instead of the “best year of your life” message that a lot have had. Honestly, it is the best year of their lives, often, but the greatest year isn’t generally the easiest one and many au pairs are not expecting it to be so hard. I definitely would not say “They are vaguely touching the idea of how hard work that is, and their focus is on new culture, easy money and experience.” and hope you wouldn’t see that on any agency site. If you do, please let me know.

NJmama May 29, 2015 at 6:00 pm

I wonder if it’s gotten worse bc of FB and blogs so people have a more public way of venting and comparing notes?

I have been in the program for 5 years. And when we were in our unlucky stretch I would say that this sense of entitlement – coupled with the first rematch au pair finding each successive au pair we got and trashing us – was a huge issue. My house isn’t big enough, my car isn’t big enough. APs seemed to want to match bc of my location but then didn’t want to work so late/so many hours (even though I’ve only had APs when my kids were in school so they’ve always typically worked 35/week), etc.

Our current AP leaves in July. We’ll have a two-week gap before the next arrives. And I’ll be in transition mode after. My oldest will be turning 12 during the next school year so I’m really hoping this next au pair is our last. It is exhausting. Even when it works well – like it is now for us – I always feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Also even when it works well I do feel there is still this pressure of always being compared to other families and made to feel like you’re not doing enough.

I know there could be similar issues w nannies but my hope is that if I get 1 or 2 college girls to split the afternoons and drive the kids to there various activities and basically make sure they don’t kill each other or burn the house down, I feel like that would be better. Perhaps I’m being naive – I don’t know. But I definitely share the OP’s pain.

I guess my one suggestion would be to broaden the search by going with more than one agency?

Jennio May 30, 2015 at 9:44 pm

NJ Mama,
I have been using those “college girls” and it is a total circus. They can be great in every aspect – have great refs, experience, personality, and be amazing with the kids. BUT there is drama. Even in the ones that seem like there would never be an issue. It has been a real eye opener. Things can be going along for a month or two without a hitch, and then BOOM, it all hits the fan and you’re left with no help and back at square one.

The worst irony is that the most reliable and stable ones are the worst with the kid(s). The ones who are like kid-magic, those are the ones who will come out of left field and have some kind of personal crisis. It’s nuts!

Because of the constant headache, I am choosing to go with an AP (arrives in July). It will be our first one. I had so many questions and skyped with her and her whole family (dad, mom, step-mom, grandma, siblings) before feeling comfortable. Her questions were crucial also in determining where her interests truly lie. Speaking from zero AP experience, I sure hope this works bc the college girl alternative has been my #1 stressor this year.
Thanks for sharing your AP insights btw. This topic is yet another eye opener.

MM June 3, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Yup — this is how we ended up in the au pair program too. After moving to our current city, we found that all of the local nannies were young (AP age range), had spotty experience, and when we did find one that we clicked with, she would inevitably either give us notice out of the blue, or were only ok with kids. Ultimately, their personal lives came first, and we were a very distant second.

After a year of this we decided that a one-year commitment from an AP — even with the possibility of rematch — was better than the past year. And it has been! We welcomed our Extraordinaire AP this January, and she has been AMAZING. The best caregiver we’ve had in our whole 4 years of needing childcare.

Plus, to stay on topic, she has had completely realistic expectations for her time her and how hard the work is. (My boys are 4 and 2 — yikes.) It helps that she is a recent education graduate (i.e. she worked in a daycare for the past year) and we were very upfront about hours, privileges, etc. Mostly, though, she has a very can-do personality, and seems great at shrugging off negativity. She will mention to us that X has a gigantic house, that Y only works 25 hours a week, or that Z’s kids all start school in the fall; but she’ll also mention that A, B, and C are in rematch or in bad situations. It seems like all these differences are just part of the experience for her.

We’re admittedly still new at this, but having tried every form of childcare out there, this is working out the absolute best for us so far. Now just watch me jinx this by posting here! [knock on wood]

momo4 May 29, 2015 at 6:56 pm

I agree with you NJMama. I definitely think social media are a huge contributor to the problem. But I also think that it’s not just the complaining and comparing notes that does it, but the more insidious image crafting that people do. There is a tendency for people to post photos and updates in a way that makes their life look enviable to others (Look at me enjoying myself on the beach!) completely out of proportion to the number of posts about the mundane or tiresome aspects of their life (Oh great, I’m cleaning up toys off the floor. Again.) and this breeds discontent in other people because it leads them to imagine that the poster’s life is better/more glamorous/easier/etc. than it really is.

I’ve been doing this since 2007, obviously it has worked for us, but I also find the process exhausting, and at this point if I had another option that would work for us I would definitely take it.

The comparison to other families is inevitable, and I find it quite tiresome. No matter how what a good a host family you are, there will always a HF somewhere else that is “better”. Somewhere, there is a family whose AP has her own apartment, drives her own Mercedes, gets paid $500 per week and only has to watch one adorable obedient 6 year old girl twice per week for 2 hours at a time, a girl who adores the AP and never talks back. And of course those HP are glamorous and also adore the AP and take her on shopping sprees and fabulous vacations to exotic locales (paying for everything of course). Needless to say, this is not my family, and never will be, and if I ever get an AP who complains about our standard of living she will find herself in rematch pretty quickly because I have no time or patience for that sort of thing.

Overall, I have had the good fortune to match with girls whose expectations are fairly realistic. I think I am fortunate to live in a location that is urban and has a good number of APs (so my AP is not lonely), but it is NOT one of the top 3 (CA, NYC, FL) and I have multiple kids and these 2 factors definitely work in my favor as far as weeding out glamor-seeking APs who are looking for an easy gig.

momo4 May 29, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Oops. By “I’ve been doing this since 2007…” I am of course referring to hosting APs, not image crafting on FB! (That I’ve been doing since 2008 :)

Julie May 31, 2015 at 12:24 am

I love that you said “image crafting”–THIS is such a true point. One of our own au pairs said something one time about how on Facebook, you decide which part of yourself you are going to be and you post what supports that. I think that’s really common with young people. They take all of these gorgeous selfies and you see them on a daily basis in sweatpants. I really love this point!

BearCo Momma June 1, 2015 at 9:48 am

Totally agree with this ! One of our APs – who was very naive and negative in general – would constantly compare her situation to others, and often times based on Facebook. She would say things like “I think Chicago seems like a better city for APs, it seems like there’s more to do” (we live very close to another major US City). I would ask, “like what?” “Well, like going to sports games” (or whatever she just saw her friend from orientation doing on FB). Then I would point out that 1) Every major sport had both college & pro-level teams in our area 2) she didn’t even like sports. Completely illogical !
For an insecure person, social media really can be a destructive tool, and I think for this girl it really was. On the other hand, another person with a different personality could have viewed those same posts and used them to give herself ideas for her own activities.
After this, “self-starter” and “positive attitude” became very important traits we screen for. (Looking back this seems so obviously crucial now but in the beginning it wasn’t!)

WarmStateMomma May 29, 2015 at 8:41 pm

Maybe it’s just the APs who fit your criteria? My current AP and last AP both raved about us and we are not providing the cushiest life around (or the hardest). AP#2 blogged about what a great experience she was having, developed a following, and fielded lots of inquiries when she later posted that she was looking for her successor. Their driving and English skills aren’t the best, but they’ve contributed so much more to our household than we could have asked of them and expressed a lot of gratitude.

Taking a Computer Lunch May 31, 2015 at 7:31 pm

I cannot understate the importance of using your current AP to communicate with her successor. I gave out contact information even for mediocre APs. I did not give out contact info for our rematch AP, but the out-of-country AP was given contact info for her three predecessors, two of whom responded to her (and supported us in our decision to match with her).

In my case, I want the incoming AP to know that the job can be done – she will be able to take care of a medically fragile teenager with special needs – and love doing it! And it she does her job well, she will find that the HF is very flexible!

Old China Hand June 1, 2015 at 5:40 am

I think having Au pairs from a country where they aren’t guaranteed to get a match helps. They are grateful to get chose and eager to please. And speaking with the precious ap helps loads too.

WarmStateMomma June 1, 2015 at 10:29 am

I think my APs have a better situation than some of the other Chinese APs they come to know, who accept any match offered. Mine have expressed sympathy for their friends who are caring for 6+ kids, “stranded” in a remote area, not allowed to drive, living with a family that doesn’t speak English or isn’t “American” enough, etc.

I wonder how many Chinese APs have a good experience – my anecdotal estimate is only around 50% – and how that compares to APs at large.

Old China Hand June 1, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Good questions. We are in the ‘can’t drive and live in the middle of nowhere’ camp, but that is changing as we will start letting her drive in the fall. And we’re in a college town.

SKNY May 29, 2015 at 8:47 pm

Yes, it is getting worse.
My advice: rematch au pairs.
Not the ones who started rematch due to silly reasons (you have to weed those out). But the ones who are in really bad situations (and those keep growing too).
We just matched with a rematch au pair who was in a family in famous California, but in a residential area far from everything else, no phone, no car, and no pay for 4 WEEKS. Cleaning whole house, cooking, laundry… Single parent host begged her not o tell, blaming it on some major emergency to which only au pair could help, and promising to pay soon. Her English was almost non existent so she was too afraid to call LCC.
So my family, in rural end of the world, with 3 kids under 5, but car, phone, only being required to do kids related chores, AND being paid weekly ended up being a blessing!!!
So in the end, my 3 kids under

SKNY May 29, 2015 at 8:48 pm

It is not pain free, and we still have to fine tune, train, get her driving par… But grateful attitude. No entitlement.

Anonymous in CA May 29, 2015 at 10:03 pm

Agreed and agreed. And I think that the entitlement thing is present also with people of the same age here in the U.S., not just APs. At least, that’s what I see in my office when we hire someone who has just recently graduated with no real work experience…the concept of working up the ladder is totally lost on many of them – they come in expecting a corner office! I completely agree that it’s partly to do with what people post on FB and other social media…it’s always the good and glamorous stuff, never the mundane – as a culture and society (maybe becoming globally?) we don’t discuss the mundane. I try to get out in front of the issue and often describe our family as very modest (which we are). So, yes, I think it’s getting worse. Sadly.

Host Mom in the City May 29, 2015 at 11:18 pm

Yep and this is the number one reason I think we’re done with the program after this year. It might just be my own neuroses honestly. My current au pair has never led me to believe she feels she should be getting more. But she’s a rematch from a bad host family and I agree with the PP that I think this affected her outlook on things quite a bit.

I work my butt off for my au pairs and I don’t think any of them have understood how hard it is to welcome someone into your family and your home. I don’t blame them – I’m just tired of feeling like if I don’t work this hard, they’ll feel like I’m not living up to my end of the deal. We have three more months to go and the. I’m going to try some other child care methods. We’ll see if the grass is greener after using aftercare for a few months!

Julie May 31, 2015 at 12:08 am

If you do decide to continue, I’ll help you find your next au pair, regardless of your agency. We’ve had 8 au pairs in my own family and I’ve been an LCC for 5 year. Here to help, so just let me know. julie.dye at lcc.culturalcare.com.

Old China Hand June 1, 2015 at 5:42 am

Julie, I wish cc recurtuited in China. We go with GAP and are overall unhappy with the agency, especially local staff.

AlwaysHopeful HM June 1, 2015 at 8:25 am

OCH, im a bit perplexed by your post. I have seen many Chinese APS in the CCAP pool!

WarmStateMomma June 1, 2015 at 10:05 am

CCAP does recruit in China and their office there is staffed mostly by former APs, but their recruitment is a bit misguided. If you can pre-match, CCAP is a good agency to use for Chinese APs.

Old China Hand June 1, 2015 at 3:15 pm

We looked before and couldn’t find any we liked. They seemed to all have fake child care hours.

Old China Hand June 1, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Oh, I’m also comparing to GAP, which has dozens of Chinese candidates.

Old China Hand June 1, 2015 at 3:18 pm

I keep hitting “send” too early… I should mention we were looking for IQ au pairs, so that limits the pool considerably.

Julie June 1, 2015 at 3:25 pm

My email is above–send me your email and I’ll send you what we’ve got. The general issue with Chinese au pairs is not that there isn’t anyone available, but that there is so much demand, they are all in family accounts right away. I’ve met the woman who runs the Chinese office and she is wonderful. It’s still kind building over there, as the reputation of the program builds. Can I send you some applications–we do have a lot of IQ in the candidate pool!

WarmStateMomma June 1, 2015 at 4:12 pm


I scrubbed hard for Chinese AP candidates at almost every agency last fall and eventually gave up on looking for anyone with child care experience (after out then-current AP admitted that she didn’t have any legitimate experience either and that we weren’t going to find it). None of the IQ APs at CCAP or APC had any credible experience working with kids. None could drive a car. Seriously. GAP had candidates who have experience working in an orphanage with disabled kids, but they didn’t have anyone who could drive.

We are currently hosting a fantastic young woman through CCAP, but she was a pre-match and CCAP’s China staff originally rejected her because she wasn’t an English or Tourism major and didn’t go with the template application for Chinese APs. At $3k, CCAP is one of the cheaper agencies for Chinese candidates and my AP said they had fewer extra charges than other agencies. Our LCC has been planning great outings for the APs. I would probably do a pre-match through CCAP again next time assuming it works out for the AP’s location in China but I probably won’t spend much time looking at any agency’s existing candidates again. I can send you my AP’s original materials when she applied to me and you can look up her application after CCAP China revised it if you’re interested in what the agency does before it submits the applications to the US office.

Julie June 1, 2015 at 5:03 pm

WarmStateMama, can I pass on your feedback? Would love to see what you have!

Old China Hand June 1, 2015 at 8:51 pm

We go with the girls from the orphanage. At least they at competent. We are dealing with the driving now though as our son will start preschool and although I could do drop off and pick up, I’d rather not lose that much more work time. But yeah, we weren’t impressed with the selection outside the girls trained at the orphanage, where both our aps came from. We don’t care about English level either as I speak mandarin.

WarmStateMomma June 2, 2015 at 10:09 am


Email me at warmstatemomma at gmail and I can give you a specific list of concerns. I’d really like to see this get better since we are pretty invested in hosting Chinese APs and there isn’t very good support for this yet.

Suburban Host Fam May 29, 2015 at 11:43 pm

We are new to this, as we are currently hosting our first AP right now, and we feel like her primary goal is to come and experience America. We just don’t feel like she approaches child care as a job that must be taken seriously and we don’t feel that she is really that interested in helping with the kids or trying to be apart of the family. We gave her an iPhone to use for the year w/ unlimited minutes (in the US) and text and use of the data plan. It was an older iPhone that had navigation, just not voice navigation, and so she asked if I could buy her a new phone w/ voice.

old au pair mom June 7, 2015 at 10:01 pm

CCAP what is that group? $3000 is a great deal. We are paying almost 6,000. for cultural care and we do live in the most beloved CA area and we have cultural care and as mentioned earlier, only have the one oh so adorable little one for the AP to watch 90 % of the time! I should call Cultural care for a discount! No doubt this post will be held back for review, as my post sometimes are, but WHAT is this CCAP?

Dorsi June 7, 2015 at 10:38 pm

I am pretty sure that she means that the candidate is paying 3K. Sadly.

Mimi June 7, 2015 at 10:45 pm

CCAP is Cultural Care Au Pair and the $3k is what she is saying the Chinese APs pay.

WarmStateMomma June 8, 2015 at 11:37 am

Yes. Chinese candidates pay anywhere from $2,900 USD to $6,000.

TexasHM May 30, 2015 at 12:29 am

Agree that social media is exacerbating the problem BUT I did see this a lot more at APIA than I have at IE or CCAP honestly and I think it’s because the latter two do a better job of expectation setting and don’t “sell” the program as hard.

Agree that rematch APs are generally VERY grateful and we got a rockstar when we had to go into that pool. In fact I know a LOADED HF in NYC that now only takes rematch APs after getting “princesses” when they went out of country. Rematch APs know the reality, make the decision to stay and fight for their experience and appreciate the opportunity (generally). We hope to adopt this strategy when our kids are a little older (only take rematch APs).

I try to screen for APs in interviewing that “get it”. The ones that realize that nobody has a perfect gig and there is no perfect family and comparing gets you nowhere. I ask situational questions around this and tell them that other families have cushier gigs and feel them out. Only our first had entitlement issues because she was naive and now she is our most appreciative (that we kept her) and married and bailed us out when we desperately needed help during our last rematch.

I am also VERY candid with our APs about the HF perspective and we discuss this blog all the time and have with our last 3 APs. They say they don’t want to read it because they know I post (one said she could hear my voice in her head when she read my comments and felt like she was reading my diary so quit!) but they are very curious about the topics and responses and I fill them in and get their perspective all the time. I think this helps avoid entitlement developing because they see first hand the expenses, investment and challenges of hosting an AP.

Our rematch burnout almost did us in. It’s a lot of work when it works, its almost intolerable when it doesn’t (if you get no LC support). Our ex-APs all rallied together and talked us into trying again. I heart them so much! :) We did do the nanny thing for 6 months in between and the kids (and we) missed having an AP in the house. It felt like someone was missing all the time. :( Kids are thrilled with new AP and she rocks. Someone please remind me of this when we have to interview again…

BearCo Momma June 1, 2015 at 2:22 pm

I didn’t vote, because I haven’t been in the game long enough to know how things have changed over time. All I can say is what I’ve seen from our limited experiences.

We screwed up our first time around and it was a bad match – our fault because we approached interviewing all wrong. Our AP wasn’t a bad person, and I believe she tried hard and wanted to be a good AP, but she was just woefully unprepared for both the job and the experience and in my opinion not suited for the whole thing. She often compared us (out loud) to other families and other APs set-ups – not necessarily complaining per se – but also seemingly unaware of how it sounded to us (ungrateful and insensitive) . For example, comments like “So-and-So’s family pays her extra each week and she only has to work 10hrs/week”….Me (still newbie HM): “You’re saying they pay her the equivalent of $25 an hour? On top of everything else? Why would they do that?” Her : “I guess because they really like her and consider her a real family member and want her to be happy”. Ugh.

After that, we approached interviewing very differently, looking for girls with real work experience and real childcare experience (not just babysitting cousins or doing the obligatory daycare volunteering) who would be more likely to understand what exactly they were getting into from the “work” side of things. In that light, we felt the pickings were very slim , but I’m hoping this will improve when we don’t need IQ anymore ? We also watched CAREFULLY their reactions and responses to being asked how they would feel that their other AP friends would likely live in bigger/nicer houses and drive nicer cars than them and we stressed that we were a very average, i.e., not rich, middle-class family. One that would truly integrate them into our lives and treat them with respect – but that we expected this to go both ways. This seemed to work well (in our sample size of 1) and we haven’t had any “entitlement” type issues since.

AlwaysHopeful HM May 30, 2015 at 2:14 am

I haven’t hosted long enough to tell whether things have changed, so i didn’t vote.

However we are on our 4th AP, spanning 3 agencies, and i have not found any of them to have an attitude of entitlement. My oldest and youngest had a bit of an “I’m an adult” complex (especially interesting in the youngest because he was sooo immature), but in terms of amenities we offer what we offer and not more, and no one has every complained. Another mentioned the size of a friend’s home, but just kind of as an observation, and he always made clear that he was grateful for our family and what we offered.

When I recently went through rematch, I was rejected by a ridiculous number of CCAP pairs based on location (mostly), age of my son, and too many rules. I also recall one APC extension applicant who noted that she hoped her next host family would be interested in her experience and less focused on the children! So I don’t doubt that entitlement is out there. It just hasn’t been an issue in our home.

One thing I got to see in rematch was a wide swath of expectations among host familes– wonder too if those have changed over the years. That was a real boost when, after back to back rematches, I was feeling like we were the dreaded “rematch family.” Having a window into other families made me feel better about ours!

Mimi May 30, 2015 at 10:14 am

I must confess that even though we have found our next match, I still look through the rematch pool to get some perspective on what drives rematch. I’m seeing themes and trends that are very interesting (to me at least). Entitlement/location/amenities, safety, misaligned expectations are high up there and 90% are Asian or South American IQ APs.

WestMom May 30, 2015 at 6:58 am

Sounds like millenials are now old enough to be au pairs! I see the entitlement expectations you mentioned in local candidates applying for professional work in my industry too. Expectations upon graduation are through the roof. Some of these kids have such high self esteem, they think they are the best thing since sliced bread. And apparently, it’s not only an American trend…

Cvillemom May 30, 2015 at 9:28 am

I’m on au-pair No. 4 and I can see the same trend. But it’s not just au-pairs. It’s the whole generation of the 20-29 years old. I do however have a great trick when hiring au-pairs. I try to hire girls from Eastern Europe, from families who grew up modestly. They tend appreciate things greatly. A car, a beach vacation, private quarters in the house, etc.

TexasHM May 30, 2015 at 10:51 am

I thought of something I wanted to clarify last night. I think social media has a big influence but not as much from the previously mentioned angle – image crafting – although that does exist most of the APs even the entitled ones seem to realize that everyone does that and they don’t buy what they see on FB most of the time. The bigger social media problem I keep seeing is the FB groups and WhatsApp groups where there is very much an environment of “us vs them”.

In the last few years I have seen the following play out in those environments:
1. APs looking for info on student visas getting “tips” from other ex-APs basically saying “you have the leverage now and they need you more than you need them and you need to make them pay up now” and “compare what they are offering to what we have gotten (tuition, tuition plus weekly spending money, tuition plus car, etc) and then go back to them and ask them to do better” etc.

2. APs venting (that is fine) about their situation only to be immediately told by dozens of APs to rematch immediately followed by a list of perks/areas/demands for when they are interviewing. I have seen two local APs (heard of more nationally) get talked into rematch (yes, they should have made their own decisions and resisted the group but lesson learned I guess) only to end up getting sent home because they either couldn’t find a family that would match with them or the families they talked with had worse situations than their current and they couldn’t bear to leave and take a lesser situation so ended up running out of time and sent home. Funny, these stories don’t seem to get mentioned on those pages and conversations. I have been shown (by my APs and their friends) countless conversations that are so anti-HP and perk driven that the most grievous don’t even surprise me anymore and frankly it infuriates me because there ARE great APs in abusive situations that could lose their experience entirely (our rockstar had a ticket home from the agency) and here we have APs whining about the one time the HP was 10 minutes late because there was a car accident or because the car they get to drive is a Toyota vs a BMW. Barf.

The great APs recognize all this as crap and toxic. They also realize there are two sides to every story. Current AP has an AP friend here that said her “HPs don’t let her drive even though they said they would in matching”. Sounds unfair right? Well then our AP dug in a little more and come to find out the AP is a weak driver, has had some brushes and hasn’t gotten a license because she failed the driving test (not sure how many times). The HPs also offered to practice with her but she “refused because they just don’t want me to drive so they won’t ever let me get a license anyway”. My AP told her that’s her own fault then! LOL The great ones see through all that.

To suburban host fam – we provide an older iphone too (new AP already cracked screen first week) and we don’t allow our APs to blindly drive off GPS anyway (they have to show they know where they are going and what route they are taking, GPS can be used as backup in case of wrong turn). All APs are here to experience the US so I wouldn’t fault her for that, were you clear about your expectations and definition of member of family during the matching process? If not that’s ok, you can still express all of that it is just going to be harder and she may never align with your expectations. Our AP gets a phone with unlimited minutes so we can call her during work hours if needed (we state this in the handbook). If they want a data plan they pay for it (cheap add on to our plan) and they are free to use the unlimited texts and minutes in their free time but we make it clear we provide a phone for us to reach them at work, everything else is bonus. If they want a different phone, they are welcome to go buy their own (one did at the end of her second year) and keep it after their term.

SKNY May 30, 2015 at 7:47 pm

Agreed. There is always someone who got better, and can help you get it too. I saw a post on an au pair group about Christmas gifts. The girl was happy because she had gotten 2 or 3 thoughtful gifts. Hold and behold tons of girls are making fun of her because those were cheap gifts, and some got iPads, trips, $500-1000 in cash, and list go on.., so then you get other girls feeling unloved/not valued, because they only got $100… Or cheaper gifts… Their families must be cheap… Ugh…
the other thing I observed is that your former au pair has the power to block you from matching with girls from her country if she is resentful. Many groups have beware of that family docs… They will post whatever they want and scare other girls away. Depending on the country, it is a lot. My new rematch au pair was able to connect with 3 of my previous au pairs in those groups. According to her, all she did was to post: anyone knows family XXx in XX?

SKNY May 30, 2015 at 7:49 pm

oh new au pair even saw videos of my girls that were posted by a terrible previous au pair… Luckily nothing bad but still

ChicagoHostMom May 30, 2015 at 11:30 am

We’ve been part of the au pair program almost ten years now and I feel the propensity to compare families, amenities, and locations has been constant, and the host family amenities race is probably slightly worse. I agree social media has not helped, because it facilitates the complaining and glamorizes the job. We know we are a good gig for an au pair – regular hours during the workweek, fun city, good transportation, nice (though not luxurious) perks, school age kids, some travel – and because of this, we try to select au pairs who come from working class families and have prior real work experience. We look for candidates who come from modest backgrounds and for whom the au pair experience will be a truly life changing opportunity – not just a gap year party or a string of Facebook posts. With a couple of exceptions, we have managed to find au pairs with humility and some degree of perspective to enable them to appreciate the opportunities we provide. All of our au pairs have loved our kids, but humility and perspective are the hardest characteristic to screen for and also the most likely to produce a successful long term relationship with an au pair.

fsteph May 30, 2015 at 12:04 pm

We are about to host our 8th au pair, started in 2006, 2 stayed for 2 years. We are with CC because the first time we had APIA and I hated the competing to get an au pair during the matching process. I’ve never had a problem matching with CC and never had anyone ask for crazy perks. We live in the suburbs of Boston, it’s a good 40 minutes to the city so it’s not a super desirable location. I give my rules up front, they get a car (2002 and an older iPhone, they have a nice room and share a bathroom with the kids. No other “perks”. I honestly can’t say I’ve experienced the expectation problem. I am not sure why, one thing I do that seems to help, I have a list of 15 things I won’t comprise on and ask my placement coordinator to only place people who meet those in my account. So far, every single au pair I’ve matched with was placed in my account by my placement manager. Maybe that has something to do with it? All 7 au pairs have been great, for us no other solution would work like the au pairs do. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect but what is?

BeachMom May 30, 2015 at 1:09 pm

OP Here. Thanks for posting my question (really more of a vent).

The context of the question is worth noting. We’ve been searching for an aupair for about 3 months. Sent out dozens of interview requests and had dozens of Skype interviews as well. We are honest about how it’s hard work, but point out all the many wonderful things that we do as a family. Remember…we live in a beach town on the beach. Life is pretty good. I’m going surfing once I’m done with this rant. My breaking point came when I had an au pair attempt to negotiate a higher salary. I just couldn’t imagine the gall. She told me that the other EX-au pairs said it’s common for an au pair with great experience to negotiate for a better deal. She learned about this from facebook.

My husband and I got to talking and we do believe social media and au pair agencies are to blame. Facebook is definitely a great tool for an au pair to connect and learn about an area. It’s also a great way to compare host families. And NJMama said it best… it’s just so exhausting knowing that you’re constantly being compared to other families. We are happy with who we are…sometimes that in and of itself is a struggle. Throw in an au pair who is pointing out all the areas you’re lacking in and it’s frustrating.

We’ve had great au pairs. It’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve really enjoyed learning about their countries. They’ve provided invaluable help to me over the years. But I hope every single au pair reads this…. it’s a lot of work to host an au pair. It’s expensive. It’s time consuming to set up a new au pair. It’s a lot of emotional energy. And as my kids have grown and gotten more complex problems I’m just not sure I can manage that and have to deal with the fact that au pairs are basically colluding on facebook to get more. I’m giving everything I have already.

After many years of hosting and having lived abroad most of my life I appreciate the au pairs perspective. Some go into the program with their hearts set on a certain region. I get that. Just politely decline our interview. I know I personally would have probably had many of the same issues my au pairs have had, but I didn’t have facebook to compare my host family to other host families. I wouldn’t have known about so and so’s family who took a trip to Hawaii and brought their au pair along.

Each individual family (minus the bad ones) can offer au pair a unique and wonderful experience. Same with au pairs. The au pairs I’m interviewing (or have interviewed) seemed to have lost that appreciation. Or were coached to “negotiate” hard for a better lot in life.

So yeah. This was longer than it should have been. I realize this problem is probably just a reflection of how social media is changing life for everyone. I just find it disappointing to see how it’s affecting the au pair program.

momo4 June 1, 2015 at 9:07 pm

Wow. That sounds awful! But it is really surprising to me too.
I would have thought that living in such a desirable location you would be subject to much LESS in the way of demands since there must be so much competition from other AP candidates who would like the chance to live there (Beach? Surfing? Hello?)

I’ve never had an AP try to negotiate for a higher salary, but if they so much as mentioned it that would disqualify them for me immediately, and if they tried to negotiate after arriving citing higher paid friends with better amenities they would find themselves in rematch. It may be common practice in the EU where there is so much APing going on outside agencies and where perhaps it makes sense since there don’t seem to be any rules (or if there are, there is no one to enforce them), but it certainly is not common practice here.

I offer what I offer, and the bones of the situation are not going to change just because someone thinks they are so awesome that they deserve more. For me there is nothing to negotiate. There are plenty of AP candidates out there, so if someone doesn’t like my location, # of children (4), expected working hours (45/wk), lack of exciting family vacations, shared car (Toyota/Honda), etc, then why even talk to me? I know that we treat our APs as family friends, that our home may be chaotic but that it is also warm, loving and easygoing, that we are incredibly flexible and accommodating, and our APs have been happy and had wonderful years with us despite the inevitable challenges of the awkward hybrid employee-family nature of the AP position.

Admittedly, we did have one fabulous AP whom we paid $300/wk, but this was something my husband and I decided after we saw how great she was, and she did do some extra hours (entirely voluntarily, this was an older AP who was no shrinking violet and she was given a choice without pressure). But while I am more than happy to (and always do) give extra perks to APs who are doing a great job, that is something earned, not taken for granted, and certainly not negotiated for beforehand.

I am with APC, so there is competition with other families, but even given my less-than-glamorous location (no where near a beach), many kids and long hours, and the limited number of candidates they have from western EU countries (my preference) there are still always candidates who are happy to match with me. It may be that I’m just not that particular when it comes to choosing my APs, but it still seems utterly insane to me that an AP candidate would be trying to negotiate a higher salary with a HF in such a desirable location as if they somehow had the upper hand. That would be my breaking point too!

Multitasking Host Mom May 30, 2015 at 1:30 pm

I do agree that a lot of this is this age/generation of APs. Millennials have grown up getting participation trophies for most things they do, and then are suddenly pushed into the work force and are shocked that they are not treated like they have been all their lives. Trust me, I worry about this for my kids a lot as I gaze at the many sports trophies and medals lining the bookcase in my oldest kid’s room and realize that only one did he actually win in a win/lose competition.
Because I am a scientist and this is how my mind works…I wonder if the OP will see this same sense of entitlements if she interviews American nannies in the same 18-26 year old age range? My hypothesis would be yes. That of course is one benefit of nannies is that you can get someone who is older and with more life/job experience. But of course, they would ask for (and rightly deserve) a higher salary and perks because of what they bring to the table.
And as I have stated before, I learned a lot after our first AP was just so-so at the job of taking care of my kids. My first criteria before I even look at the rest of an application for a potential AP is that they have some sort of job in the past. It doesn’t have to be full time (and most of the time it is not), but I do prefer that it lasted a whole working day. I am looking to see that they have had experience of showing up and being held accountable to someone else not related to them. I then do lean towards the “dare-to-match” strategy when interviewing. (The best complement I ever got from an AP was when she told me after being with our family a month, “This job isn’t as hard as you made it sound!”) We have had great matches with our last two APs, so when it works it is a great program.
But even then there is still some of that comparisons within APs that I hear about, but honestly that is just life. I think we all do that to some extent.

AuPair Paris May 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Wow. I feel like this is a really au pair/young people unfriendly thread. No one is *quite* saying “au pairs are all….” or “young people these days are all…” but my goodness is it getting there. I feel incredibly unwelcome here…

I won’t get into details that’ll start a fight, but I thought it was worth saying.

TexasHM May 30, 2015 at 8:36 pm

Aupair Paris several of us have outright said that our APs didn’t have this issue/participate in this behavior! We have also explained how we try to find the great APs that aren’t like this. The question was is anyone else seeing these types of behaviors and is it getting worse and that’s what we are attempting to answer. There have been some shifts in parenting styles / generations here in the U.S. and there are clear shifts in belief patterns and behaviors amongst the generations but even that doesn’t mean every person in that generation shares those traits. Also several of the posts above were by ex APs (Didi, SKNY)!

momo4 May 30, 2015 at 9:20 pm

I see where you’re coming from, but I still think it is an important topic that has clearly been an issue for some HFs.
I think that there is always a danger of mismatched expectations between APs and HFs, and this can easily result in unhappiness on both sides. The question is, how best to ensure that expectations and reality match? What unexamined assumptions are APs and HF making about each other?
We’ve only had one AP where this was a problem, and it was clearly a case of assumptions being made. Our AP knew that we were resident doctors, and somewhere in our HF letter we mentioned that we lived on a hill overlooking the city. She thought she was getting a mansion on a hill with 2 wealthy physicians, a housekeeper, and who knows what else. What she got was 2 stressed-out, overworked medical residents in debt living in a very modest 3 bedroom house in a working class neighborhood on a hill overlooking the city. She was miserable, and left after 2 months choosing to return to her home country since she realized that rematching wouldn’t guarantee a better position, and it wasn’t an issue of us not being nice. After that, we started including photos of our house in our profile and we’ve never had a problem like that since.
Anyway, I think it would be really great if people would share tips on how they go about ensuring that their AP knows what they are agreeing to and exactly what the HF is offering before matching in order to ensure mutual happiness. And also, what has worked well for screening out AP candidates who are likely to be dissatisfied with real life as an AP.
Personally, I am in favor of the total honesty upfront approach, but I would love to see examples of the dare-to-match letters I’ve heard so much about.
I would also really be interested in hearing from APs about how they select HF. How do they screen out undesirable situations? What questions do they wish they’d asked? What do they wish their HF had told them that wasn’t discussed?
Anything that helps AP and HF do a better job matching with each other happily would be all for the best.

TexasHM May 30, 2015 at 11:24 pm

Here is our last challenge email (some call it dare to match). I really hesitated to share this because again, it opens us up for judgment and criticism so please, if your reaction is to write back and tell me you would never match with us or you don’t agree with our policies or some other non-constructive criticism do me a favor and save it as I want to continue to share on this forum and try to help others as the regulars on here have SO helped me over the years! Also, please keep in mind that I am trying to downplay perks and play up how hard it is. We are far more generous than this implies.

Dear AP,

We like you very much and while we do joke around and have a lot of fun, we are very serious about who we ask to become a member of our family and be responsible for our most precious gifts in the world.

So, I would like to tell you very honestly about my concerns and discuss a few minor topics and give you a chance to process all this information and respond. (No rush.)

1. Driving – My husband and I believe (based on experience) that every au pair needs some help learning how to drive here. Now, you have more experience than AP2 did and probably about the same as AP3 and they didn’t have problems but AP2 also took the online driving course before she came and practiced everyday and AP3 learned in France which is very similar to the US and its very hard to get a license there so I am honestly not sure where you will be in the spectrum of driving ability but I have heard from other (her country) APs that it really doesn’t take long to adjust and that generally your country APs are strong drivers (which we need!). Also, we believe that some things can be taught and some cannot. Driving can be taught and we are prepared to invest in helping you. If we decided to match, we would send you an online driving course to take before you arrive. We generally limit driving area (our city only) and type (no highways, etc) until after we have practiced with you and feel comfortable that you have mastered it. We don’t want you to have limits but we find it necessary until everyone is comfortable. First its driving with us, then its driving in the our city area only (no highway), then our city with highway, then we expand from there. We would be clear about where you could go and how you would progress to less limitations if you were interested in doing so. (There is so much nearby our home that two of our APs were not motivated to practice highway driving so never mastered it and just caught a ride with friends if they wanted to go downtown clubbing or whatnot.). Do you have any concerns about all this?

2. Homesickness – You are very close to your family (which is great), it will be hard to be away from them for one year! We even had a mature au pair crumble under pressure from her parents and homesickness and she had lived away before. AP1 struggled at times, AP3 did not really but she also had a shorter term with us, she had already lived away from home a long time and had a career (ER nurse) and her mom/sister, boyfriend and best friend all came to visit in that time! I know you lived away from school but you’ve never left your country – how would you handle/manage homesickness?

3. Boredom – I am sure there are things you want to see and do but because your English is so good we want to make sure you have goals. Every au pair has difficult days and it is a lot easier to stay positive and focused if you have specific goals whether that is college related, work related or personal. You are obviously motivated, our concern is more around how you will stay motivated after the newness of everything has worn off! You said yourself you hate being bored, there are some boring days as an au pair and sometimes the routine can get monotonous. Over time, the challenge and excitement will wear off and while we do love adventures and travel we can’t/don’t do that every weekend or all the time so it will be up to you to seek out things of interest and make plans and not become complacent. Do you think that will be an issue?

4. Swimming – as stated before we have a pool and my parents live near the beach in FL. My kids are fish and LOVE the water. I don’t expect an au pair to be lifeguard certified and I am crossing my fingers that by the end of summer our youngest will be able to swim on her own but we still need to know that our au pair is a strong enough swimmer that if they hit their head jumping in or passed out or got into trouble somehow that she could rescue them. Especially with 3 kids at once its important that the au pair not only be vigilant (as I am sure you would be) but very comfortable in the water because if something needs to be done there is no time for hesitation/nervousness. Do you have any concerns about this?

5. Childcare experience – you have not previously had a scenario where you were caring for kids as a full time job and definitely not three kids at once! :) It takes a great deal of maturity, organizational skills, patience and determination. They are great kids but even great kids have their off days and difficult times. It can be exhausting, frustrating and maddening at times but you have to be resilient and keep your cool and not take it personally. They can occasionally say something rude or mean to get attention and while we want to know immediately and will handle it, you have to know that they don’t really mean it and that sometimes kids try things to mess with us! DS told AP2 once she wasn’t a real family member (not what he meant – he meant she had a different last name) and DD1 told AP2 once that she liked AP1 better (she was mad at her) and DD2 asked AP3 once if she could go home so AP2 could come back (she was 3 and didn’t understand how the program works) so as you can see, you have to have maturity and thick skin to be an AP! Do you have concerns about watching 3 kids full time? Would you be able to be strict with them when needed? How would you manage the off days/comments they might throw your way?

6. Animals – its obvious that you love animals and that is great, but as you know we only have a bird. Our first AP lives close by and has dogs and my friend that has an AP has two dogs and our AP and kids are always welcome over there but I know that’s not the same as having animals in the house. All three of our APs really missed their dogs while they were here. The kids are welcome to play with dogs but I would prefer they not play with cats because I am HORRIBLY allergic to cats. Dogs I can tolerate as long as they are not in my face so the kids can play with them and as long as I am on medicine (I am all year round) and they wash their hands or change clothes if needed then I am ok but cats would really mess me up even if it was only on the kids clothes! We have several ideas for getting more involved with animals (volunteering for example). Do you have any questions/concerns about the bird or lack of other animals in the house?

I know we have asked you 100 questions and that our interview process is extensive and can be hard on you but the great news is, we have found that if we talk about all of our expectations and your expectations in advance it really helps the process and we do not want to end up in rematch and I promise neither do you! (Ask AP3 about that sometime!) We are looking to make a very serious decision and that takes time and effort. We are going to be investing at least one year in spending time teaching you, taking you places, introducing you to people, places, ideas and you will teach us just as much, if not more! The great news is, if we decide to match you would know that after all this researching and interviewing and questioning that we think 300% you are the only AP for us and that the match will be successful. If we are not 300% convinced, we will not match both for your benefit and ours. We are very committed to this program and we really believe that there is “a lid for every pot” meaning a great match out there for every family and AP and that’s what we all want!

A few other side notes:
We prefer that the APs wear one piece swimsuits when with the family/kids. I am not the swimsuit police but that prevents wardrobe issues (the girls are still learning to swim and grab onto everyone), prevents the AP from being embarrassed (americans are more conservative so you might get unwanted attention) and errs on the side of modesty for our kids (as a role model). Same thing when going out, if you are wearing something revealing please cover up around the kids. Again, not the AP fashion police, just trying to set an example for our girls.

Some of the APs here often like to compare notes about families “I can’t believe your host family has a curfew on the car?! You are 21!”, “your host family has rules and you are ok with that?” – by the way I don’t personally know any host families that don’t have any rules and ours are modeled after what the majority of families do and what the agencies/host mom blogs suggest as best practices for having a smooth year. We don’t want to be unfair, but it needs to prevent headaches and frustration on our part too. You will also hear “your host family brought you to vacation city with them for Thanksgiving?! my host family left me at home alone” and “your host family is the only one I know that treats you like a true member of the family” so you see it goes both ways. The APs all want no rules but all the family perks. Grass is always greener, etc. You can feel free to ask AP3 about this (or anything else), just letting you know it will likely happen because it happened with all of our APs in some capacity. How do you think you would handle this?

Also, the other APs tend to dislike/judge our APs if they spend their vacation time on trips with us. Funny, once they see all the pictures they are suddenly jealous. Plus our APs don’t work AT ALL on family vacations. Many APs go on vacations with the families and its paid for but they are working all the time and don’t have any freedom to enjoy the places. AP3 just had this happen with a friend that went to Disney and came back very disappointed because she worked 14 hour days the whole time and didn’t ride a single ride! We try to be as generous as possible but we are not rich. Do I wish we could pay for everything for all 5 of us plus AP on all family trips? Of course! Is it feasible for us? No. We try to cover as much as possible but we are honest upfront and give the AP all the info so they can make their own decisions. For example, AP2 went with us to CA/Disneyland/LA/San Diego for 11 days, we only counted it as one week of her vacation (vs the 7 working days it actually was) and she only paid for plane ticket (I got for her for cheap), Disney tickets, her meals out at restaurants and we covered everything at the house/hotel and pizza, transportation, stuff like that so she ended up getting that trip for less than $800. She still talks about it. None of the other girls have done CA for less than $2-3k, even though their trips were much shorter and they shared hotel rooms with 3-5 other APs! Memorial Day weekend in vacation city cost AP3 $120 TOTAL for 4 days of attractions, eating out, condo, etc and $30 of that was one show ticket! I could give you several more examples or feel free to ask the APs – in June we went to FL and Disney and again, only counting as one week vacation for AP3 and she got 10 days in Florida and Disney for approximately $600 plus meals – not bad! :)

We invite our AP to lots of events around DFW. We try to cover as much as we can but generally, if its over $10-20 we ask the AP if they can cover their expenses. Again we would cover transportation and all that, but if there is an event ticket that’s $25 we give them the option to go or not. It probably doesn’t sound like much but we also eat out at restaurants regularly and always pay for our AP and I don’t know any other families here that do that so every bit adds up. So we might be stingier on events but more generous on eating out, I don’t know, we do our best. The only reason we do this at all is because that allows us to do more travel and trips and events. If you imagine the $800 from the CA trip from AP2 and the $400 I think she spent on the Florida trip we took (again 10 days but only counted as her one week vacation) plus all the numerous events we do during the year it was maybe $1500-1800 out of pocket for her for all that but we also likely spent about $1000 in meals out on her during the year plus the cheaper activities we covered plus gifts and perks during the year I think it ends up being a wash. We always tell the AP in advance what the activity is, if we can pay for it or not and how much it is. They get all the details and make the decisions. Sometimes they go, sometimes they don’t. If you have a better idea on how to handle we are all ears! We are flexible and over time this is just what the previous APs preferred. If the AP wants to pay for all their meals out at restaurants we could probably cover all events and activities with the family for the year but my guess is they get the better end of the deal by far with us paying for meals out. :)

We provide a smart phone but the APs pay for a data plan if desired. Its $25 a month for 2GB of data. There is free wifi at the house so they use this data plan mostly when they are out and about and that is just what the three previous APs have wanted so if you want to try something different we are open to ideas. We have unlimited minutes and texting so you wouldn’t have to worry about that ever. They use it when the girls are in classes and at sports practices mostly. That also gets them apps on their phone like WhatsApp that they use to connect and chat with all the au pairs in the area and send voice messages to everyone back home, they can also check Facebook and message and respond to emails while they are out.

We get flu shots to protect ourselves and the kids every fall and expect our au pairs to get one as well (we pay for it). Is that an issue for you?

We expect our au pairs to keep our kids safe, to get them to their activities on time or early and prepared (proper attire, gear, etc), and to enable DH and I to work by effectively managing and performing your work/tasks/duties during your scheduled hours. We are always happy to help but we don’t micromanage and we expect that you are another adult coming to live/work in our home and we will treat you as such. What are your expectations of us?

Please think about all of this and let us know what you think and if you have any additional questions for us.

TexasHM :)

Anonymous in CA May 31, 2015 at 2:13 am

Shamelessly copying and pasting! THANK YOU!!! I am a notoriously poor interviewer / manager…with APs and at work – they put up with me bc I am good at what I do and can teach the junior folks a bunch of substantive stuff …just not skilled at the delivery / management stuff – we laugh about it because I’m so totally aware of it. We all haver our strengths and weaknesses… TexasHM, you’ve obviously got a gift that I don’t have for interviewing and managing expectations. I am truly grateful for your openness to sharing!

FirstTimeHM May 31, 2015 at 7:21 am

Wow, this letter is going into our file for the next interview. Thank you so much for sharing this. I had no idea how to write a ‘dare to match’ email and will do that next time.
For what it’s worth, I think you are really generous and if my daughter was going to be an au pair and would receive such an email, I’d be glad because it shows that you know how to be fair and how to include her.

momo4 May 31, 2015 at 9:52 am

That is really helpful. You cover so much information in writing that I tend to cover in verbal conversation, but I think it’s much clearer and less prone to interpretation/misrecollection when it is written down.

meanwhile in canada May 31, 2015 at 1:44 pm

I so appreciate you opening up & posting your whole system including all 12 steps :) & texts for the major communications too! (in another thread & here). So much of your advice & areas of importance for you really really resonate with me & your words give me so much to work with in developing my own system. THANK YOU!

Suburban Host Fam May 31, 2015 at 2:30 pm

I also want to thank you. After having gone through our first match, I feel that there were so many questions that we didn’t know to ask and there are so many issues that have arisen which we simply didn’t foresee. I really appreciate you opening up about how you approach the selection process!

WarmStateMomma May 31, 2015 at 3:25 pm

I love this! I am going to simplify the language and use it the next time I’m on the hunt for an AP.

TexasHM May 31, 2015 at 5:13 pm

Awww thanks everyone! First off, the majority of the contents of that email stems from things I learned on here – thanks again to all the regulars that taught me so much and holy cow do I miss CalifMom – where is she?!?!

Also wanted to point out that this is NOT so much a template that I use, I craft a new challenge email for each AP based on every possible yellow flag/vibe/weakness/concern I get during the matching process. The sidenotes: section at the bottom is a template, that is the same for all APs but the points above that are totally personalized. This AP had never left her country so I brought that up whereas that didn’t apply to any of our previous APs. Same thing with animals – this AP had 6 dogs and cats and several farm animals and we have one bird, I know it seems like a minor thing but like I said – ANYTHING I think might haunt them or me I bring up here as this is it before we match.

As far as responses, I am looking to see how they take this. Our first AP got upset and we caved and guess what? Anytime we tried to give her feedback while she was here she got upset! And I mean little trivial stuff! Since then we look for APs that embrace the feedback and convince us that they are up to the task, committed to proving to us that these issues won’t be a problem and that we are the only family for them and it’s worked great. It also brings awareness to these areas so if they start to struggle they will recognize it and remember what we discussed and ideally, tough it out or make an effort to manage it.

Swimming, driving and homesickness make it into pretty much every challenge email I send. The first two are rematch pitfalls (if they can’t swim or drive we have no choice but to rematch) and homesickness has hit all of our APs at some point or another so it’s important to discuss proactively.

Momo4 – I wanted to make sure and point out that we discuss all these things during the matching process as well, I just always circle back to them again in the challenge email to emphasize that these things are important and to make sure expectations are clear. To post my entire 12 step process with all the emails and templates (yes, I need meds!) would bury this blog but I figured since I scoured so much of what is in my challenge email from the regulars and posts here it seemed horribly selfish to not share. :)

FirstTimeHM – your comment touched my heart, thank you! That is quite possibly the greatest compliment one could give in the AP program. :)

PS – I call it a challenge email just because I am challenging them to sell me on why these things won’t be issues and why we should invest in them vs someone else. Also keep in mind before I send this and during the interview process I also tell them things I love about their profile or them as strengths, this is the only time I press on their weaknesses. I ask about driving, it gets discussed and I save any concerns for this email. Same with everything else so they aren’t defending themselves or trying to impress the whole time. We interview and build the relationship and then right before we make our final decision I send this their way. I have had two APs not match with us at this stage and it was for the best in hindsight. One picked a family with more perks (and then didn’t even end up coming to the US) and another cracked under the pressure of needing to make a decision so we passed and moved on and stayed in touch, no hard feelings.

And WSM – by simplify the language does that mean trim my wordy ass down to less than 17 paragraphs?! Once you get it all concise and eloquent will you be a peach and send it back to me? ;)

WarmStateMomma June 1, 2015 at 10:13 am

TexasHM – most Chinese candidates don’t have the ability to digest that much English and especially not that much casual English. Very simple, direct, textbook-style English works best. For example, “attire” would be changed to “clothes”, and so on. Also, they usually don’t know what “funny” means and use it to mean “fun.”

But I love the concept and the tone – explaining the challenges and giving the candidate the opportunity to provide an open-ended response. I hate the responses where they just say anything is fine with them because that likely means they haven’t considered what I’m asking of them or they think they can finesse the situation when they arrive.

Multitasking Host Mom May 31, 2015 at 7:16 am

Like I said previously, we do lean towards “dare-to-match”. We talk about in the third paragraph of our host family letter that is included in our profile for the agency that our youngest has anxiety issues, that the AP will be able to learn techniques to help him work through his issues since he occasionally can get very upset about things, and that the AP will be giving him medication two times a day. I normally get about two or three APs who reject us right away because of that. And honestly, I really respect that and understand that they need to do that so they can have the AP year they hope to have. Trust me, I would much rather know right away that an AP is not interested in us, than spend a lot of time interviewing or even worst pick an AP only to go into rematch later.
Then during the second Skype interview, (the first is more of a “get-to-know-you” type discussion) we discuss the somewhat abbreviated handbook I sent them a few days before to look over. It includes all of the information I feel they need to know to make an informed decision about working/living with our family, but since I know this is not their native language and I do not want to overwhelm them I take out things that the AP would only need to know once they arrive like how to work appliances, driving directions, phone numbers etc. I do make it clear that we share my car with the AP. That I have rarely not been able to let the AP take the car when they want it, but I know this can be a deal breaker with some APs so I want to be clear. We talk about vacations, and what we expect the AP to contribute during that time, and the type of places we go. Once again trying to be as up front as possible. I mention the early morning hours that our APs work since I have to be out the door to get to my job before most birds wake up. Overall, I do touch on things that I know APs talk about, and just state what we offer. I then of course evaluate both their verbal and non-verbal reactions to these things.
Also, during this Skype interview, my husband and I talk about the worst things our kids have done and how they would handle it. Example: Our child was at a playground and due to an anxiety he has had a temper tantrum over something that most people would not even see as a big deal. Another, parent told us our son was too big to act like that (true story!!) and it was in general really embarrassing. How would you react in that situation?
We of course also talk about how we truly feel that the AP is part of the family, and that we have had success with our other APs who we still keep in touch with. We do temper the bad with the good!

Taking a Computer Lunch May 31, 2015 at 9:13 pm

Here’s mine (heavily edited to limit PII). For every 25 emails I send out, I receive 1-2 positive responses. It’s hard work and I dread it every year, but so far it has worked for me. I don’t even get into my guidelines here – I let The Camel do the heavy work.

Dear xxxx,

We saw your application, and like your extensive experience with children who have special needs, your sportiness, and your driving experience [This I edit to match each application -TaCL]. We want to interview you, but will first tell you some more about our family to help you decide whether or not we would be a good match for you. We know that you have access to our application. If, after reading this email, you are interested in us, then we ask that you read it thoroughly.

You may decide that you are not interested or able to live with us. We know, that because of The Camel, we are not a good match for everyone. Please email us “no” or “yes” promptly. It is okay to say “no.” If you are interested in learning more about us, then we would love to learn more about you. Please feel free to ask us questions.

We have two children, The Camel and Child #2. Child #2 likes to point out that we are not a typical American family.

The Camel is severely retarded and requires total care: diapering, feeding, bathing and dressing. She does not talk. At the moment she does walk with some assistance. She needs to be fed. We call her The Camel because she spits out her food when she is afraid to swallow it. You will be touching her constantly while you are working. She currently weighs 25 kg and is approximately 115 cm tall. She is healthy, but she is medically fragile and often goes to doctors’ appointments. She does not require carrying now, but our au pair must lift her onto her changing table, into the car seat, and put her into her bed. She is able to walk short distances, but often prefers to hold hands. If you cannot pick up 25 kg, then she is not the girl for you. It’s okay to say “no thank you” when we ask you to be The Camel’s au pair – our feelings won’t be hurt.

Child #2 is healthy, intelligent, and independent. Because The Camel doesn’t talk, Child #2 does all the talking (and a fair amount of shouting) in the house – unless he’s reading a book or on the computer – he never shuts up! Child #2 has several chores in our house, including setting the table, feeding our two cats, vacuuming the basement playroom, taking out the garbage, and taking out the compost. Child #2 is extremely independent and thinks he needs no care from an au-pair. But since he wants to forget that he needs to do chores, and to do his homework, we will depend on you to remind him.

Most of your duties would be focused on The Camel. Our au pairs get The Camel out of bed at 6:00 am, bathe, diaper, and dress her, and then feed her breakfast. Her school bus usually picks her up around 8:10 am. Then, in the afternoon, The Camel returns home around 3:30. You would be in charge of taking The Camel for a walk, preparing her dinner and feeding it to her. Your duties would end around 6:00 pm. In addition, The Camel has two out-of school activities. There will be times when we will ask you to provide transportation and participate in these activities.

In addition, we ask that you are flexible enough to care for the children when they are too sick to go to school, work occasional evening hours, and some weekend afternoons or evenings. You will work between 30 and 35 hours a week when the children attend school, and up to 45 hours a week when they do not (school holidays and summer vacation).

Our au pair needs to drive! The Camel has doctor’s appointments several times a year and needs to be driven to and from school before or afterwards. The route to The Camel’s school is on 3-lane city streets. Most of the roads in our area are three lanes wide. The school year is well underway, so we need an au pair who is ready to drive (although will provide coaching and lots of practice runs). We provide a minivan to drive the kids around. We also have a small manual transmission (standard) car which would be available for you use during non-work hours. We assume you are a good driver, but HD will do an assessment upon your arrival.

While we are currently hosting our 9th au pair, she will be leaving our home soon. We treat our Au Pairs as members of our family but also as adults. This means you will be always invited to eat with us, accompany us on vacations, and join our activities as much as you wish. But it also means that we respect your privacy and independence. We do not have curfews; just expect you to be ready to work on time.

X, who was our au pair, is willing to answer any questions you might have. We would be happy to send you her email address. In addition, another former au pair, Y, with whom we remain close, has agreed to answer questions you might have.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Mimi May 30, 2015 at 10:57 pm

AuPair Paris, it’s been obvious to me that you are not an AP with entitlement issues. Most of my APs haven’t either, but it’s been subtly changing since I started hosting. I expect some of this as times change and I become older and less “hip.” It’s good for us as HFs to hear other perspectives so we can understand that some of what we consider to be perks or amenities are now common use things/privileges. But to attempt to intentionally damage a car in order to get a new one was a shock that made me step back and look at all the non-essentials we added over the years that the AP at the time likely deserved but the next took for granted.

AuPair Paris May 31, 2015 at 3:32 am

Yeah, that’s crazy! A lot of the stories on here are crazy, and I feel bad for those who’ve experienced them. I guess what I mean is, it’s acknowledged that all au pairs aren’t like that… I only have my own experience too, but I’ve *never* met an au pair like that. (Emotionally unreasonable once – a girl who was resentful that her HF were open about having loved the previous AP – but never materially unreasonable)… So while I accept that there *are* instances of this, the idea that it’s “au pairs” or “young people” rather than just humans, who can have issues with entitlement, bothers me.

I had a host family once who refused to pay me, because after I cleaned their whole house (a responsibility not agreed in advance, but thrust upon me), they thought it was not sparkling sufficiently. That’s entitlement. And I know *tons* of stories like that, from millions of APs! But I don’t think “Host Parents have such entitlement issues… It’s probably their generation – they grew up in relative economic security and so…”. I think “wow, some *people* are AWFUL!”.

So yeah…

Host Mom X June 2, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Right on, AuPair Paris.

momo4 May 30, 2015 at 2:31 pm

TexasHM: I always think that nothing on the internet surprises me, and I guess it makes sense that there would be the sorts of toxic waste sites you mentioned, but I’m still kind of horrified to hear how bad it really is. It’s funny how people rile each other up by agreeing “your situation is horrible!” and thereby inadvertently make the situation even worse. And there really are some awful families out there too! I’ve heard stories from my APs about friends of theirs who aren’t allowed to eat any of the same food that the kids eat, aren’t allowed to eat with the family at all and have to wait on them, get paid once per month and maybe not at all… And some of these APs never tell the LCC or try to stand up for themselves because they are afraid they will have to leave the country. Knowing how bad some APs have it, it is especially irritating to hear how entitled others can be.

I was told by one LCC that Thai APs will put up with pretty much anything, so if they complain then you know it must be REALLY bad in that family. I have also noticed that my EU APs tend to be slightly more entitled, especially if they come from wealthy families. I believe individual personality and maturity are the most important factors, I am curious to know whether people have noted any correlation between the region of the world the AP comes from and their tendency toward entitlement?

Mimi May 30, 2015 at 11:01 pm

I’m not sure if I would say it’s a region or country in particular, but more tied to their expectations about average American households.

momo4 June 1, 2015 at 9:28 pm

Good point.
I also assume that a great deal of it also comes from what they are used to at home. If they are from a really wealthy privileged background, they will likely assume that whatever amenities their mom and dad would provide them with at home, their HPs will provide for them as well. They may not even see them as luxuries since these amenities are just the norm for them and their friends.

I have to confess that for this reason I avoid candidates that come from privileged backgrounds. Profiles with lots of photos of horseback riding and references to the dozens of countries they have traveled to on many week long vacations get an automatic pass. I know these girls may be lovely people who would make fabulous APs, but I’m just not going to risk ending up with an entitled princess who doesn’t understand how most of the world lives.

BeachMom May 30, 2015 at 3:06 pm

I don’t think I’ve really noticed a difference between regions. And I think I’ll see some of the same issues with nannies. The difference between au pairs and nannies is that we don’t have the roommate issue. I do believe the au pair negotiating for a higher salary has put such a bad taste in my mouth that for now I’m sticking with live out. To me it truly goes against the spirit of the program. And if she is being told that this is common and she knows other people who are doing it than I don’t want to be apart of it. Negotitating for salary is a live out nanny thing. I appreciate that ther are bad families, but this conversation isn’t really about that. I do believe that most families on aupairmom are here because we giving everything we have to make this a positive experience for everyone.

I do believe there are many wonderful things about this program though. I’m just not sure if I have the energy anymore. Maybe I am too sensitive?

Au Pair in France June 1, 2015 at 3:04 am

If she was also considering au pairing in Europe (or the other au pairs she was talking to were there), that would explain why she thought it was normal to try and negotiate. In lots of countries there is only a ‘recommended’ minimum wage and maximum hours, so with many host families, you do have to negotiate pay, unless you want to be working maximum hours, for 50 euros a week. It is also normal for the amount you get paid to reflect number of hours, and how many children you will be looking after, so it is possible that she just assumed the system worked similarly in america. When I asked how much I would be paid, I got answers like ‘X but, we don’t know what other families are paying, and we don’t want money to be an issue’, so they were clearly happy to discus and negotiate payment.

NewbieHM June 1, 2015 at 4:25 pm

Actually the $195.75 stipend IS the minimum. Au pairs do have the right to negotiate more. Whether families are willing to pay for it is another thing.

WarmStateMomma June 1, 2015 at 4:57 pm


I would not be offended by a candidate asking for more money but I’d have to really want that candidate to pay extra. I’d also have to be confident she wouldn’t rematch if a bigger paycheck came along. But if it’s going to cost her a fortune to travel in and out of the HF’s location, she has special training/experience (someone here hosted a PICU nurse), there are lots of kids to manage, etc., it seems reasonable to discuss.

This could be an interesting discussion, BTW. I wonder who has paid over and why.

Host Mom in the City June 1, 2015 at 8:39 pm

I wouldn’t be put off by someone asking either. But I also wouldn’t pay more, so that candidate wouldn’t be for me. There are so so so many candidates available and I already think my au pairs are very well compensated overall for our job, that I don’t need to or want to pay anymore. But I wouldn’t be offended by someone asking if that’s what they really wanted.

NewAPMom May 30, 2015 at 4:53 pm

We are only on our 1st AP but I do see the sense of entitlement. She asks for a ton of groceries (that we wouldn’t eat), despite me telling her that there are certain things I won’t buy. She has asked (and expected) us to take her to the airport for personal trips. I think she expects a cooked dinner most nights because on nights when she is off duty at dinner time she waits for our meal instead of making plans with friends or cooking for herself (most nights she’s on duty but I try to give her off early on Fridays and she’s usually off on the weekends). One night we were ordering out for a special occasion and had her off duty, and she expected to order with us! She also expects us to lend her things, money, etc, because she plans poorly.
I’m hoping the next au pair is a little more independent and not expecting us to do so much.

4th time lucky?! May 30, 2015 at 8:53 pm

I think asking for a ride is ok, expecting one isn’t. Food is always a tricky issue and has been discussed here before (just to point out that it is one of the irksome topics that come up time and time again, not saying it shouldn’t be brought up again).

Personally, I feel the cooked dinner / being included in take outs issue is one you might just have to get over… She lives with you and if she wants to wait for you to cook rather do something herself that’s up to her. If it bothers you and you feel she’s not pulling her (flatmate) weight around the house ask her to cook for all of you one or 2 nights a week.

Our AP also always eats dinner with us (if she’s at home), weekdays and weekends, whether she’s on duty or not. Maybe she waits for us to cook something, who knows, but it doesn’t bother me. We are cooking anyway most nights and let her know if we cook or if it’s leftovers or if it’s ‘every man for themselves’. She can choose if she wants to join us or not. If we order food in and she’s at home she’s included! She lives here after all and is a member of the family. Saying that, if we got food in we would also ask a flatmate if they wanted to join in (only difference in expectation who pays). If we don’t want to fork out the extra $ we do takeout on nights the AP is out during dinner time… Forces us to eat a lot healthier too!

In the end it comes down to expectations (it would irk me if our AP was expecting cooked dinner and be in a mood if there is none) and whether the AP reacts reasonably and mature if a request is turned down or if no dinner is provided.

NewAPMom May 30, 2015 at 9:04 pm

We usually do include the AP in takeout too, but this was one time when I told her there would be no family dinner, as my husband and I were celebrating a special occasion together. I put her off duty early so she could take care of her self for dinner. Instead she sat waiting for us to order, told us she had no dinner plans, and then we ended up ordering for her too because the whole thing was awkward. Part of it is I think maybe she just didn’t understand? In either case, it put us in an awkward place because now we were ordering dinner, and she hadn’t planned anything. I used to try and do the dinner menu with her too, but when she kept suggesting getting sushi takeout (which ends up running $50-60 for all of us), I started just doing it myself.

4th time lucky?! May 31, 2015 at 5:15 am

Thanks for clarification! I am totally with you – what you describe is odd bordering on unacceptable behaviour. It could be impertinence/ entitlement or a communication/ comprehension issue. A lesson to be learned, I guess – not my strongest point but being clear and upfront seems to be most important.

And no, AP suggesting take out (on her cooking night or otherwise) is definitely not an option for us either.

Takes us back to the original question: is it individual personality or age/ a general change in attitude…

exaupair May 31, 2015 at 8:10 am

I don’t imagine ANYONE being that rude, I think there might have been a communication issue. Where is your AP from? Maybe, and I’m being serious now, where she comes from it is perfectly fine to hang around even when the parents want to have kind of a ‘date night’. If she is very close with her relatives at home, the ‘just the two of us’ concept might not exist. Just a thought….

I guess next time you need to be very clear, or if you’re afraid you might unintentionally hurt her feelings…buy cinema tickets for her and her friend.

Peachtree Mom May 30, 2015 at 8:39 pm

Wow, I thought lending money was against the rules, that is written in the guide our agency gave us. Our first two aupairs did not have the entitlement aura but our last one did….and she was the youngest of the bunch. The other two were 26 (one from Germany, one from China), the last was only 19. I got the feeling she was kind of indulged with her home family as she was the only daughter. There were at least two posts that I read on this blog that REALLY disturbed me. They had to do with the aupair wanting better cell phones or a better car so they deliberately either broke or lost the cell phone and tried to damage the car. I thought that was criminal. Our present aupair is 26yo and pretty down to earth. The only thing she wanted was a library card.

NewAPMom May 30, 2015 at 8:55 pm

A couple times she ran out of money, or had to borrow from a friend and then asked if we could repay the friend until she could repay us. We said no, and made it a life lesson on learning how to manage money, plan in advance, and use ATMs!

Host Mom X June 2, 2015 at 2:23 pm

We haven’t ever had an issue like an AP trying to intentionally destroy things – that does truly sound crazy. Though we do put in our handbook that if the AP iPhone gets lost or destroyed, the backup phone will likely be one of our old “dumb phones”, and that we cannot afford to buy new, off-contract iPhones if the given one is lost or stolen. (We’ve only had one AP lose a phone, but that was in the days before we started giving out smartphones, and her replacement phone was just another one of our old “dumb phones”.)

And for the record, on the general topic of this post: though we have had three rematches in five years of hosting, it has never been due to what I’d label “entitlement” issues; my general comment for this post would be that I haven’t noticed the “millenials are so entitled” stereotype as prevalent among our APs and their friends at all. Maybe it’s because we only consider over-21 APs, and all of our APs (and consequently most of their friends) have been in the 23-26 range. So perhaps it’s more of an issue with young people generally who are just out of high school and haven’t had to care for themselves much, let alone others (which would have been the same “in my day” too), versus young people who are a few more years out of high school and may have had to do a bit of fending for themselves and caring for others out in the world (for instance, even a 23-year-old who still lives at home, as is common in most other parts of the world, will have been out of the sheltered cocoon of high school for several years – perhaps working for a bad boss, in a less-then-ideal entry-level job, expected to contribute some to the family expenses, maybe caring for other family members, maybe working an icky job WHILE going to college, etc.).

NJHostDad May 30, 2015 at 9:11 pm

Wow, i can’t even answer the survey question, since it’s A – yes, they are getting worse, or B — no, they’ve always been horrible. My answer is C — in my experience, my 6 au pairs have been wonderful, giving, appreciative women who have thrived in an atmosphere of mutual respect and responsibility.

I’m sure there are cases out there, but never in our interviewing process with any candidate or in our in-home experiences have we had anybody try to raise the stakes with comparisons to other families.

It seems to me it takes a lot of courage to leave your family, your friends, your culture, your country and commit to spend a year living with an unknown family, with the heavy responsibility of taking care of their children, living under their rules, all while in a strange country where you know no one.

As HF, we might want to take a second and look at it from the other side, and see if sometimes we aren’t the ones with a position-of-power entitlement complex. I mean, if expecting to eat dinner with your HF even when you are off-duty constitutes entitlement? Our au pairs are never off-family, even when off-duty.

Hopefully it’s not as bad as it’s being painted in this thread, and i wanted to give at least 6 data points that show another side, and i had to stand up for family.

NJHostDad May 30, 2015 at 9:19 pm

Sorry, NewAPMom, didn’t mean to pile on with the off-duty dinner thing. I started my response, did a few other things, and came back and posted, not seeing the other responses or your explanation.

NewAPMom May 30, 2015 at 9:20 pm

What I meant in my post was expecting a cooked meal. I don’t mind if she wants to sit and eat with us, but I don’t want to cook every night either. But she’s waiting around for dinner then and I feel obliged to cook sometimes on nights when I’ve put her off early b/c I thought she might want to go out with friends instead. (The other thing I didn’t mention is that sometimes too she will join in our meal when she is off duty which is fine, but won’t help clean up, which isn’t fine. In our house if you don’t cook you clean.)

NewAPMom May 30, 2015 at 9:20 pm

No problem NJHostDad!

TexasHM May 31, 2015 at 5:38 pm

NJHostDad – I thought awhile about whether or not to ask this but I can’t help myself. :) I wonder if because of your screening process, location and singular country hosting you aren’t seeing this issue perhaps the same way other HPs are.

Meaning you have very comprehensive criteria that I think automatically would screen out most if not all APs that might trend toward entitled behavior. We try to do the same thing actually when we screen for that same reason. I want someone who has worked a real job for real hours and who isn’t coddled at home and the majority of “princess” APs would not meet half the criteria on your list.

Location because you are in basically the #1 place APs want to go. Meaning since we live in an alternative geo APs tend to either need/want bigger better perks or really are looking for the right family match and don’t care about location (we screen for the latter). Just saying if an AP wants the geo bad enough, he/she will often put up with whatever situation she can get. Case in point, I have seen a couple of APs that were in horrible HF situations in primary cities rematch here and then become entitled. So now that they weren’t in downtown SF (in a basement with no car and no family relationship working 90 hours per week) they got here and now demand a car with no rules, push back on hours (30 per week is too much) and want extras and more pay because now they aren’t in NYC or DC or CA. Not making this up. Seen it twice in the last year (thankfully not in our family).

Lastly, having only hosted APs from one country (which is awesome, no judgment) but I wonder if that has sheltered you some as well because as another poster wondered, I have seen trends within certain countries on this. I would prefer not to share because I don’t want to perpetuate stereotypes but I can absolutely list a few countries/regions/types where this is a VERY common issue that I have seen first hand and have discussed with agency matching coordinators that agreed (they see the rematches and reasons and trends).

Anyway, again not saying all APs are like this and not even saying the majority is like this – thank goodness or we wouldn’t host anymore! We love our APs but there is zero doubt in my mind that there are entitled APs out there (we have interviewed several, far fewer now that our process is tuned) and that the issue is getting worse for whatever reason (in our area which is all I can speak for).

JJ Host Mom June 1, 2015 at 5:38 pm

I think you make some interesting points Texas HM but have another perspective on the “location” bit. As someone who lives in CA, I rarely have candidates turn me down, at least until I send out my handbook. But I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a good thing. IMHO au pairs who do match in places that are not NYC or CA are more likely to be down to earth and more likely to be au pairing because they want an actual au pair experience. I’ve talked about my high rate of failure with au pairs here and I’ve recently been forming an opinion that maybe that’s because the kind of au pairs who are looking for gigs in CA are sometimes (not always) the kinds of people who are entitled about lots of things.

Which would match your experience of au pairs who originally matched in CA vs. au pairs who matched in TX from the getgo and fit in better with the program.

I dunno, just another perspective. I’m still trying to get my head around why this program wasn’t working for us and this is just my latest theory.

TexasHM June 1, 2015 at 6:34 pm

JJ I was kind of theorizing the same thing about geo but was thinking NJHostDad might be counteracting that risk by screening out the candidates that might be entitled with his lengthy criteria.

As frustrated as I get by the seemingly overwhelming rejection in interviewing (way moreso when we were with APIA I think because of the open matching policies), I agree with you that at least at the end of the day I generally know that our matches are really looking for a great family match and not matching for geo (although I have had a couple candidates really want Texas we didn’t end up matching with them for one reason or another).

So I wonder JJHostMom, if you adopted some stricter criteria (just hypothesizing I have no idea what criteria you are using) would it help you screen out entitled candidates?

I tell people all the time if I lived in CA/NY/DC I would be screening for Mary Poppins! ;) She better cook, clean and write us original grammy winning songs for birthdays! Joking aside, there is an element of truth to that. It is HARD for us to both screen hard and have an alternative geo. Previous AP of ours was a burnout because I settled after it took 3 times as long to find a solid candidate as it had in the past (much smaller agency – IE). So we have to find rockstars whose priority #1 is member of the family basically because that is our only real AP goggles advantage. You could go the other way – have a litter of strong candidates and just have to figure out how to sort out the ones that want/need coddling.

I know that probably doesn’t make you feel any better but the good news is there are awesome candidates out there and you would likely have your pick given your geo! I wonder, do you use an agency with open matching or exclusive? I say all the time we need exclusive matching so the candidates will seriously consider us and not fall prey to all the noise (ignore us and flock to the CA/NY families pinging them or worse – bail out right before matching for a better geo or perks, get so stressed with talking to 4-6 families at once that they can’t make a decision, all this has happened several times when we were at APIA) BUT I would think having an ideal geo you might prefer open matching because then even if another family was talking to a rockstar you could reach out to them and potentially have a shot at them (stealing them from the TX families) ;)

Like I said before too I have also seen trends in certain countries/regions on this and I can’t remember where you hosted from but could that be contributing?

AlwaysHopeful HM June 1, 2015 at 6:45 pm

I actually was thinking the same thing, JJ HostMom. Not saying that just because one prefers California or NY (which are seen in the movies as the best of America) that the person is necessarily only interested in a good time, but au pairs who are *insisting* on a particular locale in general, I believe, are less interested in the full experience and more interested in the “get.” I too would imagine they may be the ones more likely to balk at rules, regular stipend, working scheduled hours, etc. During my most recent search, our profile was rejected by several au pairs for location. Some were extension au pairs, and I understand that somewhat… an au pair who has spent a year on the east coast wanting to go out west, or someone who endured a pretty tough winter here wanting something warm. Particularly for those in my region who wanted somewhere else — why leave your current host family just to stay in the same area?

I found the rematch au pairs with location preferences more perplexing (not only the hot spots– I saw au pairs who asked for various areas across the country, but many insisted it be a big city) . For someone to be so insistent on location that he or she would risk going home smacks of…something. Maybe not entitlement, but at least a misunderstanding of the various benefits of the program.

During the matching process, I make it clear that we are not close enough to the closest big city to go to it every day, and that when they go, my rule is that they have to park outside of the city and take public transportation in. We offer a smart phone because I like to communicate by text and Facebook message– but it’s not an iPhone. I don’t think any of my au pairs have liked the phone I provided, but they never complained or asked for another. It just is what it is. My au pairs have pretty liberal use of a car (with some restrictions) but… it’s not in any way a cool car, and they pay for their own gas– again, never any complaints. And I haven’t yet had any complaints about the (infrequent) times that I ask au pairs to work on a weekend or evening. I can’t help but think that any au pair that shows up to work in my town is not here for the “get.” There are certainly families in the area that can and do offer more than we do, but we offer what we offer and our au pairs have all seemed to understand that (even the terrible one who didn’t do any work– he did do the hours, he just didn’t do anything DURING those hours! )

AlwaysHopeful HM June 1, 2015 at 7:17 pm

Oh– that’s the part I forgot to mention. One thing I noticed in rematch (I used 2 agencies) was that the agencies’ protocols seemed to encourage or discourage entitlement in matching. CCAP’s exclusive matching, which could work well in regular matching (although I prefer non-exclusive) really creates a high stress dog-eat-dog atmosphere in rematch. I was rejected by many candidates before I even had a chance to view their applications (placed in my account by matching specialist) or after I placed them in my account but before I could send out my welcome email. Because being in my account meant their profiles were invisible to other families, and they had only 2 weeks to find the right family they had to make snap knee-jerk judgments based on very little criteria in order to keep their profiles visible. In contrast, APC allows two families at a time to place au pairs in their accounts, and, while they are in an account they are still visible to other families– just not available for matching. There were fewer au pairs available at APC, but no one rejected my profile outright. My matching specialist at CCAP was also extremely active (as I imagined others were as well), so au pairs were constantly in my account. In contrast, my APC matching specialist really didn’t contact me more than every few days unless I contacted her, and didnt really bother to figure out what type of person would work for our family outside of the basics (good driver, etc.) . In theory these may not seem like big differences, but in practice, I believe it made a world of difference, with the CCAP rematch au pairs being encouraged (by the structure) to quiclkly elimate families that dont meet set criteria to free up their profiles, and therefore being muchmore aggressively focused on what they expect to get out of the match, and the APC au pairs more willing to explore various options.

JJ Host Mom June 1, 2015 at 7:43 pm

“So I wonder JJHostMom, if you adopted some stricter criteria (just hypothesizing I have no idea what criteria you are using) would it help you screen out entitled candidates?”

We screen for Mary Poppins, and on paper, we’ve gotten it. I know this is going to make me sound like a snob but hear me out… My minimum criteria is full time work experience in some sort of childcare capacity, at least a year of living on their own away from their parents, and at least two years of regular driving. In all but one au pair we’ve matched with, we’ve gotten that.

I have a handbook that is so detailed that the last interview APIA gave me a hard time about it and asked me not to send it out to candidates lest I scare them. I still sent it anyway, and asked candidates to read it and then asked them questions about it to make sure they did. I make it clear that we ask for 45 hours a week, regular weekend hours, I have a full schedule of childcare tasks including doing the kids’s laundry, I expect engagement and activity scheduling for the kids, you name it. I ask challenge questions and we have at least three Skype conversations and exchange numerous emails before we agree to match. I used to be a hiring manager in one of the companies around here that is notoriously hard to get into and I use the interview training I got there to interview. Believe you me, I am selective, and on paper, the candidates I’m getting are amazing.

And then they get here and they’re great for a little while, and then things start to fizzle. Almost universally, they can’t accept feedback, and when I ask them to change anything at all, they get offended and the relationship starts to go downhill. Then they start balking at working weekends. Then they start doing less and less with the kids and interacting less and less. They start staying up later and bringing less energy to the job. And slowly it gets to the point where things are really not good.

Now here’s the epiphany I’m kind of having as I write this. Our one really really wonderful au pair was nothing like this. She had only done occasional babysitting and still lived at home. She was more the “typical” au pair, I’d say. She was part of the family from day one and we still keep in touch, four years later. We’ve visited her once and she’s talking about coming back here. She had a lot to learn but caught on very fast and was very receptive to feedback so that things got resolved while they were still “hey would you mind doing this please” kind of remarks and it never seemed like there was any conflict at all.

So all that to say that I think by hiring primo au pairs and living in a primo location I may be attracting people who are a little too big for their britches and are asking for more than your typical au pair, and it comes back to bite me every time. I will have to ponder whether there’s a way to recreate our awesome experience with our more humble au pair. I would love that.

You asked where our au pairs have been from. We’ve had 4 from France, 1 from the Ukraine, and 1 from Estonia. We’ve never hired a German (for no good reason, really, I just have found people from other countries first) but I’ve met some really great German au pairs here and there who make me think that maybe we’d have more success with a German.

momo4 June 1, 2015 at 11:00 pm

JJ Host Mom: I was quite impressed and somewhat awed by your description of your matching process. Your minimum criteria don’t sound totally unreasonable, but I think that your case illustrates something I have long believed: that there is always a trade-off.

A given AP may meet all kinds of criteria on paper, but every desirable trait comes with a potential down side.

Older APs with lots of work experience and independence may be comfortable with a lot of responsibility and know what long hours really mean, but they may also be more likely to view their AP year as a job, and view you merely as their employer. In some ways, being an AP is kind of a dead-end job for them, so there is bound to be the temptation to slack off as time goes by. (Although IME almost all APs tend to slack off over the course of the year.) Being older, more experienced and more confident, they are also potentially more opinionated, and less likely to be receptive to criticism. I don’t think that it’s so much a question of entitlement (or being too big for their britches) as it is simply the natural consequence of where they are in their lives.

Younger APs are inexperienced in general, may be less confident, often do not know what it means to work full time, but they are also less likely to have formed firm opinions about “how things should be done” and may be more flexible and teachable. Also, they may be more comfortable with the whole “being part of the family” because they haven’t yet had that much experience not being part of a family.

I wonder whether in focusing on getting Mary Poppins on paper you are inadvertently screening for coexisting qualities that you don’t actually want, and missing out on APs that don’t look as good on paper but might make you really happy.

All that said, I believe that personality trumps age and experience (note all the qualifiers in the above). Of my 8 APs so far, the best fit for my family (4 kids) was a 24 y/o with almost no childcare experience but training in hotel management (she’d worked in a restaurant kitchen, and those hours put the worst AP hours to shame, so being off every day by 6pm seemed like a great deal to her). A lot of it was just her personality though, and really, that’s the hardest thing to screen for, isn’t it?

I completely agree with you that your location makes screening harder since so many APs want to go there. I’ve never been told that my non-fantasy location was the reason someone wasn’t interested, but I’m sure it has been a factor!

TexasHM June 2, 2015 at 1:09 am

I totally agree with AlwaysHopeful. We too screened for Mary Poppins and started with an older AP that fit your criteria dead on and guess what? She was the only one with entitlement issues. Because she was older and had lived away over time she chafed at having a car curfew, at having weekly meetings, we couldn’t give her feedback and the relationship degraded.

After that I decided I needed someone that could accept, process and act on constructive criticism (this is a big part of why I started writing longer challenge emails). We also tried an AP that was younger (23 vs almost 27) , and not so removed from living under someone’s house rules, an oldest child and had gone away to college but never left her country and had a great attitude and a much younger sister with no real full time childcare experience but some real work experience. We hit pay dirt. After that it was a barely 22 year old rematch French ER nurse with very little childcare experience but a much younger sister (rockstar) and real work experience and now a 21 yr old South African that lived away for college but had never traveled outside her country and didn’t have full time childcare experience but two younger sisters and again, pay dirt.

In between we had a polish AP that was a youngest child (much younger) and no real work experience but tons of childcare experience supposedly and she didn’t make it 4 days on her own before we were in crisis mode.

Now I don’t even look at the childcare section much. I look for hustling. Someone with a real job finds our job easy. I test their natural chemistry with kids by plopping mine down on skype. Now I look for and see: Brazilian with two jobs in college, French ER nurse, South African college student that works long hours on the weekend in catering (suck!) and full time in the summers.

Think of your average 18-26 year old that hasn’t had a real full time job – no matter how long your handbook they are going to think they can do it all no problem. Then they get here and get the slap in the face of a real job plus culture shock and homesickness, it’s a lot for someone that hasn’t really had to work before.

AlwaysHopeful HM June 2, 2015 at 1:26 am

TexasHM, that was actually momo4, not me, but I also totally agree! Crazy as it seems, I also never fully got your last paragraph until you wrote it just now (no matter how long your handbook is, young, inexperienced AP will think she can handle and then she faces a rude awakening– I’m obviously paraphrasing ). I think that happened with my last au pair. I kept clarifying and trying to be more specific and detailed and really, it just wasn’t what he expected, what he was prepared for or what he could handle, and we were all miserable as a result.

BearCo Momma June 2, 2015 at 8:52 am

I think the younger siblings is huge – and more useful “experience” than full-time childcare work. Again, we haven’t been in the game very long so don’t have a big sample size as some others to judge, but it seems to me that an AP who has lived with small children day in and day out is just going to get what it takes and what it’s really like. Our first AP seemed stunned by toddler behavior was completely overwhelmed by it. Our current AP has a 5 year old younger half-sibling that she was heavily responsible for , and so she just knew what to do and how to interact without being told. Not to say that all older siblings will always be good with kids, but they will at least have been in the situation for real and hopefully those that aren’t actually good or a natural with them would know that they wouldn’t make a good AP. I won’t say that I won’t consider an AP that doesn’t have significantly (+5 yrs) younger siblings going forward – but it’s a MAJOR consideration for me.

momo4 June 2, 2015 at 11:58 am

BearCo Momma, I totally agree with you on the benefits of younger siblings. Kids often behave differently at home than they do in a daycare or school setting, and in my case, I know that my kids tend to “go with the flow” a bit more there than they do at home. The reality of 5pm in my house with 4 kids, 3 of them 5 y/o and below is just not something that can be accurately imagined by someone who has not lived through it :)

The day to day grossness of little kids is also not something that people who haven’t had much exposure to kids can imagine. How toddlers get their food EVERYWHERE, pick their noses, stick their hands anywhere and everywhere, and how they don’t understand the necessity of hand washing. That moment when your potty training toddler poops on the floor… Or even just how unbelievably awful a diaper can smell, and then it leaks all over their clothes and you have to figure out how to change them when they have decided they want to be doing something else…

Taking care of my toddlers is not for the delicate or faint of heart. Nor is it for princesses who imagine themselves sitting primly playing boardgames with appreciative well mannered kids who remember to follow the rules.

Having a substantially younger sibling, or at least experience in a real home situation with small kids lets me know that an AP can probably cope with the reality of life in my house. I imagine that experience with farm work would be equally valuable despite my urban location. ;)

JJ Host Mom June 2, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Wow, I think my whole house just lit up with all the light bulbs going on inside my head! I totally get it now.

momo4 your point about au pairing being a dead-end job for the types of people I’m hiring, and losing interest in the job just being a natural consequence of where they are in life, is a really good one. I completely see your point about how everything has a tradeoff and hadn’t considered the other side of hiring someone that experienced. I think you’re right.

Texas HM that is really interesting that you had an au pair who was much like the ones I’ve been hiring and had a similar experience. I’m always inspired by how successful you’ve been with the program so therefore am very, very encouraged that perhaps by approaching it a completely different way it could work much better for my family. The point you (and other posters) made about younger siblings being a better indicator of success than institutional childcare is a really good one and does fit with our experience. Even with institutional childcare experience, three of the au pairs we hired arrived utterly incapable of doing the job. They were used to working with a lot of supervision and all of a sudden having to plan out long days, have no adults to talk to, no breaks, and nowhere else to go after their shift was over, was just overwhelming to them. So that’s not a panacea either.

So to try to solve this and make it better I looked for increasingly experienced candidates, which in retrospect was indeed the wrong approach. I completely agree (and still believe) that successful candidates need to have fulltime work experience before becoming an au pair in order to truly comprehend what the job will take, and not be shocked when they get here. I also want to have some way of screening for people who actually like kids. It’s really hard to tell that on Skype, so I went with people who have experience with kids, but you know what, that’s not an indicator either. The person who most loved my kids was the one who had the least experience with the kids. As you guys say, she was the only one who saw them as “family” vs. a “job.”

I really thank you guys for offering your points of view because I think I really get it now, and understand a lot better what to look for if we decide to come back to the au pair program. I am so glad this blog is here, and so thankful for everyone who contributes to it!

BearCo Momma June 2, 2015 at 3:44 pm

Haha momo4! I think farm work might be the perfect “previous job” for corralling and cleaning up after toddlers! Maybe I will screen for that next time :-)

I also carefully watch the interaction with children in the AP video when I’m matching. Watching TV together, quietly coloring, or playing a board game? “X”! The most effective part of our AP’s video for me was her running after an infant, swooping them up and deftly changing their diaper like a pro, then picking her up and giving her a kiss and encouraging her to wave and smile at the camera. In another part she was actively chasing around a bunch of school-aged boys with a hose and also getting sprayed herself and laughing hysterically. Sold!

Cynthia @ You Signed Up For WHAT?! May 30, 2015 at 10:36 pm

We are in our 3rd year of the program and have not experienced an entitlement attitude. We’ve been lucky that we have found lovely au pairs who have understood the job of childcare and combined it with the experience of living in the US. The only thing that could be construed as entitlement would be the expectation of a phone with data, which after the past year we have also come to realize is a reasonable expectation in this day and age so we provide it. We’re not fancy, we have 3 kids, and we share the second car with the au pair but it works and we’ve had a great experience with the program so far. We’re with APIA and our au pairs seem to have realistic expectations. Just wanted to provide that perspective to counteract what was said earlier about APIA.

Anna May 31, 2015 at 12:41 am

It may be true among the group you are looking at… We are on our twelfth au pair and I haven’t noticed it. I look for older girls who have experience working, and who are busy, many of them have been working and studying at the same time, and their life is not easy. My current au pair and her three siblings support their mother. She lived with her, but she paid for groceries, and she is now paying for remodeling her mom’s house. SHe is a giver, not a taker.
Yes, I am offering more now, because time has passed and technology has changed.. Just this year I switched my au pair phone from a texting phone to a smart phone with a data plan. In the beginning we had slow internet, now we have a fast one. A few years ago I started paying for texting because that’s how au pairs communicate. But I have not changed any big things. We live where we live, au pair has a small bedroom and shares the bathroom, she uses one of our cars when it is available, we pay the minimum stipend, we have four kids, and she works 45 hours every week. Yet every year we find girls willing to talk to us and those who like us. Girls who end talking to us really like kids, and like our kids….

exaupair May 31, 2015 at 8:27 am

I thought there’s no ‘maximum’ and ‘minimum’ stipend in the US? Are you in Europe?
I think APs, who come to Europe might have stronger sense of entitlement, because there is no such thing as a fixed stipend, the money you will get is up for negotiation with half of families advertising (it’s not the case with agencies, only when matching through a website).
Be under no illusion that the AP is more likely to match with people who pay less then someone else, just because the kids seem amazing. I get the feeling it’s business for them as much as it is for HPs, and certainly both parties are allowed to dictate the rules. At least it was like that when I was looking for a match.

Anna May 31, 2015 at 10:35 pm

I am in us and pay the current stipend. However, there is no rule that you cannot pay more…

NZ HM May 31, 2015 at 5:28 am

I find this very fascinating and have been thinking about the issue for a while. I came across an article in a local current affairs magazine a while ago, discussing character traits of the millenials and comapring them with Generation X, Y, Z (and entitlement was mentioned, narcissism, egocentricity, social media use, etc. but also that they are just generally different from the previous generation, as is, I guess, always the case).

I was wondering if any long-time hostparents could give some insight into whether they have noticed any changes in their APs over the years (assuming families are always looking for APs of roughly the same age group)!

We’ve only been hosting for 2 years now and have seen different personalities which have brought with them a host of different issues (on the employment front as well as for the flatmate relationship): 1) entitled; 2) socially awkward; 3) totally mismatched for different reasons [messy and not believing in rules for kids – our fault, definitely]; 4) expectation mismatch despite being upfront, not quite entitled but definitely securely (?) anchored in the social media and instant communication world and no stickability; 5) just great, no entitlement whatsoever but reporting about AP friends complaining a lot about all sorts of things incl. HFs.

European Au Pair in Finland May 31, 2015 at 6:17 am

I didn’t meet many au pairs during my year, though I remember when I returned home talking with someone who had been an au pair in London. She couldn’t believe I’d accepted a family where I was paid the basic stipend (252€, about 30 hours a week). She’s been paid almost twice the usual pocket for au pairs in England and was quite clear that she thought it was disgusting that anyone should be paid less. Then she mentioned that she’d been treated pretty badly, the family certainly weren’t sticking to the spirit of the program. I was definetely much happier receiving my lower stipend in my lovely, warm and welcoming family!

OpinionatedHM June 5, 2015 at 8:47 am

Thank you for making his point. I hope many APs read your comment. When my APs have talked about the great amenities their AP friends have such as parties on private yachts and trips to Vegas, I’ve found that with further questioning the truth isn’t so exciting. The party on a yacht was after two weeks straight of 14 hours days and the trip to Vegas was spent in a hotel room looking after an 18 months old with no time off to see the city by herself.
Quite often what seems like a great perk is balanced by other compromises.

BeachMom May 31, 2015 at 8:34 am

OP: It’s inportant to note that I genuinely do not think all au pairs are like this. But after an unusually long time spent attempting to find a match and encountering similiar issues across different au pair countries I began to wonder if something is up. After reading this thread and reflecting on it I’ve decided Facebook groups are definitely a big part of the problem. I’ve had au pair say things and ask for things that my first couple au pairs probably hadn’t even considered.

Here’s a thought… Our current au pair said that a couple of au pairs in a Facebook book group had posted tips on how to get selected to be an au pair based tips they read about on aupairmom. Which actually makes a lot of sense, because I would send an interview request out to seemingly rockstar applications and the interview would not reflect her application. While I’ve encountered that in the past (and worked through it) there seems to be more of it and it seems to be a lot more tailored to what I typically looked for.

I never really thought about it, but now I kind of want to see what’s written in these au pair Facebook groups.

Eliana (ex au pair) May 31, 2015 at 10:54 am

When I decided to be an au pair I applied first with Cultural Care, and I got to get the feeling that families were going to give us much more than what they were supposed to. There’s something in the stories they tell, the pictures they show, or the way they say things that make it sound like a year off abroad, with great benefits.
The not-so-good part was always something like “and if the family is travelling to Florida for the summer, you will have to join them” (!!!) Or, “well, all of this comes also with changing diapers and helping kids with their homework”. To be honest, I saw there too many little princesses wanting to be an au pair, desperately trying to find someone with kids to sign their reference forms, and there were just a couple who had worked as nannies before and we had an idea of what it was like.
I applied with CC and my application was declined because I was being too honest (they didn’t want me to say I was taking meds, and they didn’t want me to state that my cousins, who I had taken care of for years, were indeed my cousins). Besides, many times they recommended that the pictures I uploaded were perfect, like covering up my acne.
When the application was declined, I contacted Au Pair Care, and as soon as I walked in the office, the vibe was different: the people who work there were human beings, not perfect dolls. They encouraged me to tell the truth and they checked all my references. They told me that it wasn’t going to be easy. They brought ex au pairs to the meetings so we could ask questions… And there I saw the little princesses lose their interest and leave….
So, to sum up, I think there might be some girls who think they are entitled to more because of their personalities, or it could have to do with the expectations the recruiters build…
I hope I was clear enough. :) Ellie

Taking a Computer Lunch May 31, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Out of the 11 APs I have hosted over the last 15 years only a couple have had a sense of entitlement that made me batty – and those were the APs that wanted to be the 3rd child in my house! I went into rematch with one AP who pushed back on her schedule – usually not more than 6 hours (split shift) a weekday and never more than 5 hours at the weekend unless she had been given a morning or afternoon off. (My attitude is – “I’m not your mom, and I don’t have to give into your wishes, although I’ll do my best to accommodate them when possible.”)

For most of my APs, this was not their first “real” job. Because I only look at candidates with previous experience with children who have special needs, most of the APs I have hosted have learned a) to be reliable, b) to work independently and c) to communicate before they arrive. Many have taught me little tricks that have improved my quality of care for The Camel over the years.

I do think the agencies “sell” au pairing as an adventure. Their message is “Have a great year in the United States, and oh, by the way, you’ll have to work!” I do think HF also contribute to AP’s self-focus by selling themselves as the best match. While it’s hard work for me, I don’t promote my family in my initial email – I weed. In my first sentence, I tell candidates that my family may not be right for them, and it’s okay to say “No.” And most do. (And remember, I ONLY look at candidates with actual experience with someone who has special needs – not any “special needs willing” candidate.)

As the parent of two teenagers the “light” schedule might look good on paper to an immature AP who doesn’t really want to work, but in reality she’s going to work hard handling a child with special needs who has the functional abilities of a 10-14 month-old. I sell the hard work. I do reveal that she will have access to a cell-phone, but that she’ll be required to leave it on as she’ll be the first one able to reach The Camel during a school-day crisis. I do reveal that she will have near-complete access to a car. We often grant more than 2 weeks of vacation, but I have been known to tell the most immature APs who choose not to join us on a family trip after they’ve used up their vacation time that they may go away – after they have completed a long list of kid-related chores (whether they feed the family pets is up to them – but I warn them that if I find a pet-sitter that person is free to enter our house when it is convenient to them – not the AP. Most APs choose to feed the pets.)

We had a Chinese AP who said, “X is lucky because her HF spoils her.” I’m sure there were translation issues there, so I decided to say, “Yes, she is lucky” and leave it at that. To the AP who stated, “I didn’t come here to be a housemaid,” I pointed out that she only did things that DH and I both did – we didn’t ask her to anything extra or relieve us of our duties (I should have gone into rematch – especially after she failed to yield at a stop sign and plowed into the side of an SUV on her 19th birthday – but DH didn’t want to). The one AP with whom we went into rematch acted like a spoiled brat one – and didn’t do all the parts of her job. Her nasty behavior caused DH – who had the flu – to get out of bed. We were in rematch within 10 days, when it became clear to her that I wasn’t going to reward bad behavior by relenting.

I’m not stupid. I know that the majority of APs did not come to the U.S. because taking care of children was a priority in their lives. Nevertheless, I have been extremely fortunate to have 9 out of 11 APs work as excellent caregivers. The majority of these fantastic women have gone on to have professional careers as therapists, psychologists, teachers, public health administrators, and social workers – making the world a better place.

Everybody has their golden qualities of what makes a good candidate – the trick is to figure out what works for you – and not to settle for less, even when you feel like time is running out!

Host Mom in the City June 1, 2015 at 9:14 am

Some of this stuff reminds me of that Internet Socrates quote – “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” I don’t know if that’s true, but the point is that every generation seems to complain about “kids these days.” :)

I’m a millennial myself and grew up getting a participation trophy for everything I did, but I don’t personally feel like I didn’t want to work hard or expect things to be handed to me. I bristle at the generalizations of my generation too, AP Paris.

I think my frustrations with the au pair program is less the sense of entitlement and more that au pair “culture” right now seems to be accusing host parents of taking advantage of young foreigners for cheap child care. So it does seem like some au pairs have internalized that are think host parents should make up for the low stipend $4/hour thing with huge benefits elsewhere. Not getting how much it costs host parents besides that stipend, including that host parents are, plain and simple, not going to pay live-out, professional American nanny wages for a live-in au pair that expects also to be fully integrated into the family and have all the benefits of that too (car, phone, vacations, etc). I don’t think entitlement is really the word I’m looking for so much as lack of perspective on what a great deal many au pairs are actually getting.

FWIW though, there does seem to be a fair amount of host families that don’t get that you’re supposed to be incurring costs beyond the $20k in stipend and agency fees and such. Fully including a young person in your family life is expensive. That’s part of the costs of the program. So I can see both sides. But I hope most au pairs can see and appreciate how hard their host parents work for them and how much money they spend on the program and don’t buy into that feeling undervalued thing.

Seattle Mom June 1, 2015 at 4:10 pm

I’m not denying that this happens, but it has not been my experience with any of my au pairs.

I think one thing that helps is that I am COMPLETELY up front about our modest living situation, and that includes that the whole family shares one bathroom. We are a 2 car family, but on the weekends the au pair is not guaranteed use of a car (we do live near good transit).

I am also up front about the fact that one of the important values my family holds is to be conservative about our use of resources- and that is both for reasons of financial responsibility and environmental conservation.

I do not necessarily require our APs to embody these ideals (so far none really have) but I make sure they are aware that we are not a family that spends money without a thought, and we are careful not to throw things away and almost everything we buy outside of consumables is used (car, furniture, clothes).

I think this really scares away the entitled APs. I have been turned down a lot (but hasn’t everyone?) and I never ask why- I just assume that they don’t want to live with a bunch of quasi-hippie intellectuals. Which isn’t exactly what we are (we’re really not that weird, I don’t think), but it’s a good image for us when we’re in the AP hunt, because it keeps away anyone who we really truly won’t be able to deal with, from a values standpoint. We have had APs who were seriously into shopping and all that, but they understood that wasn’t our thing and we’re not about living large, at least in a material sense. We do enjoy life, but our enjoyment comes from different things.

So I have not seen this at all, I think because the entitled APs reject me before we get past email #1.

NZ HM June 2, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Some great points, Seattle Mom! You could be describing our family and while I always try to describe us, our values and situation accurately, it has been lacking in the right phrases; I might borrow some of yours :-) I like the ‘quasi-hippie intellectuals’, sounds like us (and, yes, probably just that weird).

I also found that our best match happened when we focussed on comparable values and views rather than personality or child care experience. And as you said, all depends if they appreciate where you’re coming from: Out of the two ‘hobby- shoppers’ we had one was with us on values (recycling, car use, water / power use) and things worked out ok, the other one totally didn’t get it and got increasingly unhappy.

Dorsi June 3, 2015 at 12:51 am

I have yet to have an Au Pair who understood the word “hippie” – we use it frequently around here, often as a joking put down. We have friends we refer to as hippies, and if we lived in any other part of the country, we would be viewed as such. This is something truly foreign to the young women we have hosted.

Seattle Mom June 3, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Yeah we don’t *actually* tell au pairs that we are “hippie intellectuals” but that is the image that I’m projecting. And it’s not entirely accurate, but it is closer to the truth than the Hollywood view of mainstream Americans.

Taking a Computer Lunch June 2, 2015 at 10:16 pm

I don’t take it personally when candidates don’t want to interview with us and quietly thank The Camel for weeding out the good time party girls (one did get through). Very occasionally have I written back to a candidate who said no, with an email that starts with “I received your ‘No thank you’ email and thought ‘Well, that’s too bad.’ However, you’re such a good candidate on paper that I’m sure you’ll make a good match. I hope you have a great year.” While we rarely match with the woman that DH and I consider our first choice, we almost always match with a woman we consider a fantastic choice. Of the 11 APs we’ve hosted, we’ve asked 8 to extend with us. So far, 3 have.

MilHostMom June 1, 2015 at 6:04 pm

I completely agree with you, HMITC. We are currently hosting our 6th au pair (including the 2 who left early). Most of our AP’s have been wonderful young women who came here for an American adventure, but came to love our kids as their own and to feel like part of our family. To me, one of the benchmarks of a successful match has become the moment when our AP mentions to me that we may not be rich or live in the biggest, fanciest house….but when she looks at the experiences of her au pair friends, she knows she picked the right family. No doubt that some of those families have more or offer more (although we do now offer a smartphone with data plan and a dedicated au pair car…although that wasn’t the case with our first 3 AP’s, who had a “dumb” phone and had to share my car)….but the best AP’s can see past all that to see all the money and perks in the world cannot make up for a bad family experience. That said, our last AP (who was in rematch after 7 weeks) was a complete princess who complained about everything in our home from day one, frequently failed to adequately do her job, and then finally “traded up” for a HF in SF who live in a 3.3-million dollar home. It certainly shook my faith in the au pair program, despite all of our successful matches over the years. But my faith has been renewed by my current wonderful AP, who was in rematch after being in a very dysfunctional family who broke the rules and got kicked out of the program (yay!). She is mature, appreciative, flexible when needed, and tries hard to do her job to the best of her ability. The gems are out there…but that can be hard to remember when you are digging for them!

Host Mom X June 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Reading through this whole post and the patterns I am seeing, I am wondering if those of us who haven’t seen so much of the “entitlement” issues (even with multiple rematches, like my family) are avoiding them because just the basics of our family situations would necessitate a “pass” by an “entitled” AP just out for the absolute cushiest AP job possible. For example, my family has three children, and we’ve ALWAYS had babies, toddlers, and/or preschoolers for the five years we’ve been in the program. We’ve always required the full 45 hours, and we’ve never offered use of a car (though we have always lived in cities where everyone uses public transportation, and it is normal not to own a car, particularly as a young person or a person without kids). It seems like most of the 3+ children families on here (and also TACL, who has the challenge of The Camel and also the perspective of having been in the program since before the rise of the millenials) have avoided the entitlement issues (except maybe for TexasHM, who I know has 3 too – sorry, TexasHM! But just looking for patterns, not saying every case….). There’s just no way an “entitled” AP could possibly choose my family, unless they were truly desperate to get into the program and all other families had already passed on them after months of trying. And this is even when we still lived in the top AP city (I’d say we are probably in the “2nd tier” of AP cities now, but a popular AP location nonetheless).

And I’ve already expressed, as several others have, that I kind of don’t buy the “in my day kids weren’t like this” view; every generation says that. However, I do think the prevalence of easy communication and spread of info (social media) probably paves the way for greater knowledge to fuel any sense of entitlement someone may already be prone to. And maybe I feel this way (defensive of the young’uns) because, like HMitC, I’m pretty much a millenial myself. (Though I went to old-school parochial school, so no one gave me participation trophies. :-( Wah.)

Mimi June 2, 2015 at 10:23 pm

When we went from 3 to 4 kids, we started seeing it. We also ended going outside our comfort zone countries because of a lack of IQ qualified APs and had issues. When we look for working class APs with 2 or more siblings and other work experience (childcare or no), we are golden.

And as for the farm theory…our most unflappable AP was a farm girl.

Rosy June 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Yes. I found that like a usual thing in the training and through my year.
I met an au pair who had traveled through Europe during highschool, was 18 and never worked before: she asked rematch after the first time her hostparents ask her to work a weekend. Met several aupairs who were looking for fun and just work a little. Met a couple of au pairs who traveled to Italy and Brazil with their HFs and everybody around felt jealous and complained about not having the same chance with their families. My HF’s former au pair was asking them for an iPhone several times, after they gave her an old Motorola (that became mine after her year finished). Lots and lots of examples.

Yes. It happens. Yes: american families are expected to live in the first world and be eager to share it with the au pairs.

I worked with a medium class HF; my room was actually smaller than mine in México, and I always felt grateful. Christmas gifts? My HF got them from 5 Below and I was so happy to get nail polish and colorful socks. They never took me with them to vacation (they went to France) but I was always happy to be invited to share lunch with them in Cafe Río everytime. I had to ask for permission to use the car (a 2001 Hyundaii) and I felt happy to not have to use public transportation instead. I can say I was happy, despite not living in a dream house. I remember the brochure of EduCare (at least in México), it began with a: “imagine yourself driving a descapotable crossing the GoldenGate”: God, no. Au pair life, american family life is very far away from that.

I think what made those two years the best of my life, was that I was not planning to have fun during my au pair year. I was trying to grow up, to meet the life far away from home, to test myself and my capabilities, and of course: to live with a new family without ever forgeting that they were also my bosses. So, iPhones, descapotable cars and fancy vacations were not my target.

TexasHM June 2, 2015 at 6:31 pm

HostMomX I totally agree with this and you actually hit our scenario I think without realizing it. Our first AP was the only one to occasionally act ungrateful and it wasn’t until her second year. She was as you said – truly desperate because she was about to age out of the program and other families had passed on her after months of trying. When she first arrived and couldn’t speak a word of English or drive you bet she was super grateful and accommodating. It wasn’t until year two when she could speak ok English and drive ok that we started getting pushback. She still loved my kids, no doubt, she just started comparing everything and got sucked into the us vs them mentality of the cluster at the time. She also came from a country that I think really has an issue with this for several reasons – media, how the program is sold, culture in general and most of the candidates come from upper middle class families (with help) because middle or lower class candidates could never afford the agency fees (our AP worked 3 jobs for 2 years to get the money together). Our first AP now apologizes all the time for her behavior and says she was naive and got sucked into the toxicity and is our “worst AP” (she married an American so she has known all our subsequent APs). I tell her all the time, she was an excellent AP but a less than desirable roomie year two. :) Now that we had a burnout AP I have told her she definitely can’t use the worst AP line anymore!

My long winded point being I totally agree. We get turned down ALL THE TIME because we don’t live in XYZ area, because we have 3 kids, because we have a car curfew and because we are protestant (wink wink Warmstatemomma). And yes, I know these are the reasons because I ask the candidates to please level with me after I release them to make sure I am portraying our situation accurately and 9 times out of 10 they actually do come right out and tell me. And NJHostdad who mentioned he’s never had the problem also has 3 kids so good call there on the association.

I too am a millenial (80s baby!) but I will say that I thought most of my peers were spoiled and lazy. :P My parents hustled to bring home the bacon so I grew up a hustler too and I just didn’t see that much growing up (and I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon either). I also had tons of peers that graduated with me from college decide that it was too hard to find a job that “paid them the minimum they were worth” so they stayed on their parents dimes and got MBAs or masters in whatever so they could be even more educated and even less experienced. ;) BUT – I also went to a private highly ranked university on a majority scholarship so I was one of very few whose affluent parents weren’t footing the bill so that could have definitely skewed my experience a lot!

I’ve got it figured out! JJHostmom and those in AP desirable locations (or with fewer kids and no curfews) – just tell candidates you live in Texas, you have a car curfew and 3 kids and then once you match you can surprise the lucky incoming AP by telling her you actually only have two kids, no car curfew and live in CA! :) It would be like winning the AP lottery! Great family and super desirable locale! The Willy Wonka matching process (yes I am taking this idea so far as to name it). When you all use this and it works like a charm you can feel free to hit me up for my address to send cards, cash tips, chocolate and wine!

WarmStateMomma June 2, 2015 at 7:01 pm

Ha! I told my current AP she’d be working 5.5 days a week and it’s only 3.5. Maybe that’s why she’s always so cheerful. :)

JJ Host Mom June 2, 2015 at 7:34 pm

I really think you guys are on to something. We do indeed only have two school-age kids, so even with the weekend hours, we are like the jackpot for candidates who are searching out an easy gig. (The 45 hours I advertise actually include a lot of padding, although I don’t let on during interviews.) And we live in CA. (Although we do have a car curfew :-) ) It has actually occurred to me that it would be great if I could list an alternate location to see if that gives me a different candidate pool… I bet it would! I try my hardest to make the job sound scary during interviews but there’s only so much I can do. I do think there’s a corelation between the more difficult gigs attracting the more serious candidates.

Dorsi June 3, 2015 at 12:56 am

We have not had many issues with entitlement, but lots of issues with getting APs to respond to our initial interview. 3 kids, limited car, city they have never heard of, irregular schedule, and IQ — we have a tiny pool to work with. All y’all with your challenge questions, minimum standards, driving experience, birth order preference are drowning in riches. I want to find someone who has spent 8 hours alone with 2 or more kids. The last two times I have compromised on this point. I do think there may be a certain saving grace in undesirable situations (at least on the surface) – we get APs who are willing to give anything a chance. Current AP says that she turned down a job across the country with one infant because “it seemed to boring”!

TexasHM June 3, 2015 at 8:43 am

Dorsi when we started we were you! 3 kids under 5, Kansas City, definitely 45 hours a week, etc. We got shot down constantly so it took us longer (and mad patience I no longer possess) but we eventually ended up with 2 solid candidates, sent challenge emails and got through the whole process. I won’t lie, we extended in part with AP1 because then we would be out of IQ status at the end of her second year.

I wonder what agency you are with. I only ask because I swear exclusive matching makes a HUGE difference for those families that have tough gigs and/or AP unfamiliar locations. It was night and day for us. We still get turned down all the time but at APIA we often couldn’t even get the courtesy of a response! I don’t have that problem nearly as often now (CCAP). Also, I have found the candidates tend to really read your full profile and fully consider before cutting you loose because they don’t know if another family will come along and select them and if they do, they might not like that family as much so they seem to really consider every family instead of just reading the location and number of kids and ignoring it. Plus they have to respond if they want their profile released so others can see it! Just a thought.

We also originally screened for full time childcare experience with our first and as said, she was the only one we struggled with. Now I honestly don’t even read the childcare section. When you’ve been a full time college student working multiple jobs with long hours on your feet, an ER nurse or a full time college student doing catering and farm work you arrive here and think my job is a cake walk! The only time I bent this rule was for our last AP because she said things were so bad in her economy you couldn’t find part time jobs while in college (Poland) and she arrived and it was clear immediately she was in way over her head. AP1 stepped in when we went into rematch and loudly proclaimed (in front of rematch AP) “this is SO easy now! I had it way harder 4-5 years ago”. ????????????

TexasHM June 2, 2015 at 9:57 pm

Honestly JJ if it were me and you had the timing to do it, I’d do like my loaded friend in NYC and only take rematch candidates from bad situations. Her APs would seriously kill for her. They go from abusive situations (working 80+ hr weeks no additional pay, 8 kids and cleaning whole house, not being paid or pay withheld, etc) to NYC with live in housekeeper and driver and guest house out back in case they want to have anyone visit and beach mansion in the summer. Even without all the perks, there are rematch APs that get lied to that just want a family that follows the rules! Ours was beyond grateful and would have done anything for us. They have perspective and know how bad it can really be. Plus you could save them from being sent home! Win/win

JJ Host Mom June 2, 2015 at 10:30 pm

That sounds like a really good idea, TexasHM. Tell you what, next time I’m in Texas I’m bringing gifts of wine and chocolate and meeting you for a glass of wine! Again really appreciate your perspective

TexasHM June 3, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Ok I took a poll on this topic amongst my current and previous APs:
AP1 laughed out loud and said that there are definitely entitlement issues with APs and that she thinks its getting worse and in big part due to the WhatsApp groups and FB pages perpetuating it. She said she only once in two years knew an AP that didn’t get paid the exact stipend and it was because that family paid in cash every week and got sick of dealing with the change so just started giving her $200 even each week.

AP2 laughed and said almost exactly what AP1 said (keep in mind these two are from a country where I think this is definitely an issue) and said that she in 14 months never met an AP that made more than the exact stipend (yes they talk about it) but that several times APs tried to act like they were making more or said it in orientation only to fess up later.

AP3 (keep in mind she was a rematch from a family that was kicked out) said that some APs are princesses and are clueless and don’t know how bad it can be and how lucky they are and don’t appreciate what they have. She lived in Chicago in a huge cluster and here knew APs from all agencies and never met an AP that made more than the exact stipend.

AP5 (current) said that APs were bragging about making more at orientation. I asked her how much and she said one told EVERYONE she was making $250 a week (not Extraordinaire we are CCAP). She had showed me a conversation with this AP the night before with the AP asking what the minimum stipend was. Seems an odd question for someone making $250 a week so I asked our AP to ping her again and ask her what she was making (like our AP forgot). First that AP acted like she didn’t understand the question, then admitted she was making $200 but had also said something to my AP in a previous conversation about a few bucks a week being for gas or a grocery run so my AP is now convinced that she basically makes the stipend and is full of it. She said the couple others that said they made more ended up being they made $196 a week or something similar to this AP – $200 a week but fill the car up once a month with the difference. Current AP was really surprised and confused by all this. She wasn’t bothered by the idea that other families might pay more but didn’t understand the point in bragging and lying about it. She is extremely grounded though and we have to remind her at times to wear shoes when going out so princess behavior/entitlement is definitely not a concern for us at the moment!

Repeataupair June 3, 2015 at 3:34 pm

I believe the internet might not have helped.
I have a facebook page with a good amount of following i’d say, I use it as a blog and I dont vent much on it, I don’t really share the hard work I do but the advantages I have (I think it goes in pair) and it’s funny how many au pairs have come to me to ask if my HF was taking someone after me, when I was done etc.

People see one person having something and they want the same.

HRHM June 4, 2015 at 2:08 pm

I don’t think it’s gotten worse, there have always been entitled princesses. I think social media makes it more difficult for both APs and HFs to work well within the system. It’s so hard to generalize but I will say that my two more “princessey” APs came from more well off families (neither was rich, but squarely middle class with two professional working parents). They both seemed to think that they were coming here to be our extra kid! I think they both did a lot of growing up in that year.

I do think that screening and having some “crappy” aspect of your offer make you less likely to get girls who will engage in the arms race. In our case, we always ask for regular weekend work, we offer a split shift but with full time coverage over school breaks, we have a car curfew and APs must take both their vacations during our vacation weeks. The reality is far gentler, but I make it sound firm and non-negotiable because I’m looking for candidates who understand that nothing is perfect. In my past observation, I’ve seen some APs in really lousy situations (45 hours, no dedicated car, no flex on time off, wierd curfews, etc) who stay and do a really great job for their HF although they aren’t happy. And I’ve seen some APs in pretty great situations (my own included) who do less and less and less and want more and more and more. I honestly think the way to get a lousy AP is to offer an awesome gig!

Returning HM June 4, 2015 at 9:53 pm

I have been traveling for work and haven’t read all the 100+ comments on here, so I don’t know if anyone has posted this, but I do think that hosting male APs has somewhat screened us from a lot of the entitlement .I see among some of our APs’ friends and read about on here The male APs are told in their orientations in their home countries that they will have trouble finding ANY family at all, so when they see our application in their folder, realize that we have a ton of hosting experience, read our very fair and welcoming approach to hosting, and then talk to our many previous APs, we do not hear or see anything about entitlements or expectations. They are just happy to have found any decent family and a nice one at that!

Now, it could be that I make a big point of saying that our house – cute as can be, walking distance to a fabulous town, and walking distance to the train to a major city, in a location with hundreds of APs nearby – is one of the smallest in our very wealthy town. I make a point of showing them on street view how small our house is compared to most of the houses in our town (I don’t want them googling our town, seeing that it regularly makes top lists of expensive towns in the US, and thinking we are typical residents), and I also make a point of ensuring that they understand that ALL of their AP friends will live in bigger houses, drive fancier cars, and go on more luxurious vacations than they will while with us. I also sell our job as HARD – and since I travel for several days for work each week, they recognize that they will play a major role in handling the household on the days I am gone. So no “princes” have come to us. By the time we identify someone we are interested in and do even basic correspondence about who we are and what our job entails, we already know they will be the kind of person who will fit into our fairly frugal and down-to-earth family. We may live in one of the coldest areas of the US with – at least this year – the most snow of anywhere, but these guys have been smart and savvy enough to realize that they can travel to CA and NY and FL for vacations, but for day-to-day life in the US, it’s way better to have a warm family with few rules who genuinely needs and wants them as part of our family than it is to match based on location or perks or anything else along those lines.

futbolmom June 5, 2015 at 12:41 am

Just want to second that the 3 “bro-pairs” we have had are so grateful to find a family that entitlement has not been an issue. They have all been very accomadating to working the hours, happy with stipend and polite with asking for car use, etc. Some better with kids, some better with driving and some better with housework but none would I describe as entitled.

Mimi June 5, 2015 at 2:06 pm
NJ Mama June 5, 2015 at 4:31 pm

I will say that while I don’t use bropairs, once I started describing my small house – and that their AP friends will all have bigger houses, better cars, and go on family vacations, while we live in a 3-bedroom, 1-bath, have old cars and never go away – we haven’t had nearly as many problems. I wish I had found this blog when i first started hosting. I used to try so hard to sell us – now I do the opposite!

Mimi June 5, 2015 at 2:01 pm

I just came across a HF initiated rematch situation where an AP is in rematch for a second time and this got my attention:

“Host mom feels XX has a sense of entitlement. Host mom has asked her to do things around the house and XX constantly tells her host mom, that they are not au pair duties. After a discussion with the Program Director, it was determined these jobs such as helping with taking out garbage, helping with care of dog and unloading dishwasher are part of au pairs job. The host mom is not recommending XX for continued placement in the program. XX feels she is being treated badly by the host mom and is not thanked for the things she does. She does not feel like part of the family and feels that what the host mom wants her to do should not be part of her job.”

I know this slightly off the topic here, but it struck me for a few reasons and illustrates some of what folks here talked about.

Taking a Computer Lunch June 5, 2015 at 6:37 pm

But with these oblique comments, we really only have a “she said-she said” but no concrete examples. Was the HM unreasonable. Did she never thank the AP for what she did do? Did she push the limits? Did the AP have unreasonable expectations? Was she unprepared to be a member of the family?

After all, it’s one thing to say “Throw the garbage pail bag into the trash can outside when it is full,” and another to say, “It’s your job to take out the trash.” This AP could be another HF’s rock star. I assume the Debby Downer in my home found a better life with another HF (or she went home – I haven’t kept track). I considered a rematch AP who was kicked out after she was caught smoking, but when she gave the list of her tasks (confirmed by her LCC), my jaw dropped – she was just as much a personal assistant as she was AP – and she spent a lot of time driving her HK around that wasn’t counted as working time (for me, the round trip in any driving is factored into the AP’s day – even if she’s driving back alone and free to pick up a Starbuck’s latte).

What we can confirm in the case you describe is the the HM and AP didn’t communicate very well.

momo4 June 5, 2015 at 11:35 pm

From the description it sounds like the AP is simply unwilling to do certain parts of the AP job even when she has been informed that they are reasonable requests, which certainly suggests entitled princess behavior. That she is in rematch for a 2nd time… not good.

But without more information there is really no way to say for sure. For example, is she the only one in the house who ever has to take the trash out, load the dishwasher or take care of the dog, or are these things that other family members are also expected to do? If she is the only one, then it certainly could make for a Cinderella situation and explain why she says she doesn’t feel like part of the family. On the other hand, if it’s something that everyone is expected to pitch in and help with, then she is just sounds entitled. Maybe she comes from a home with a housekeeper who does all these things and feels it’s beneath her? No way to know with only the info given.

And we really have no way of knowing for sure how the HM is actually treating her. Interesting that it is a HF initiated rematch though, if they are treating her so badly, you’d think the AP would want to initiate a rematch, after all, why would she want to stay if it’s such a bad situation?

All that being said, I see no reason not to let her try to match again. Different families have different expectations, so maybe this AP can find a family that doesn’t expect her to do any of the things she feels shouldn’t be part of her job. There was no mention of any issues that involved the safety of the HK, so why should the HM care what AP does after she leaves?

Mimi June 6, 2015 at 10:40 am

The rematch docs are certainly open to interpretation.

TexasHM June 22, 2015 at 9:07 am

We don’t save money hosting Au pairs. In fact, it’s more expensive for us than other options and that’s before the time taken off for vacations and training, car accidents, gifts throughout the year, trips, etc. Our Au pairs are family and are treated as such. I don’t think any of the HPs that post on this site treat their Au pairs as slaves and we are here because we are invested in making it a great term for both sides. The HFs that want slaves I would venture don’t bother to read/post here. Just like I would guess the APs that don’t care about kids or having a relationship with their HF probably don’t make it here either. I don’t know any APs that live in the middle of nowhere (not sure what your definition of that is) and believe it or not, some APs don’t want to live in big cities. Many APs would consider DFW the middle of nowhere despite the fact over 7 million people live here! There are lots of great APs out there, but there are also APs that care less about the exchange/relationship and far more about the perks and that was this discussion.

It sounds like you and your family are a great fit – congratulations. It also sounds like you are doing a good job for them. If you have something constructive to add to the conversations on here we always love to hear more from APs.

BeachMom June 22, 2015 at 11:43 am


Returning HM June 22, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Laura – Your language and phrasing sound remarkably like the anti-host family poster who derails almost every post on the DCUM site by accusing host families of slavery. It was tiring over there, and it’s tiring over here as well. Please – go back to taking great care of your host children or enjoying your time off, if you are indeed an AP. Why would you waste even one precious moment of your extension year (again, if you are indeed an AP) arguing about something you clearly don’t know much about?

app June 27, 2015 at 11:04 am

A very insightful discussion, as we have been noticing a huge difference between our au pairs, and their attitudes and expectations of their experience here in America.
Aside from their personality differences, we have noticed how different their parents were in their interactions with their kids, and with us as their daughter’s host family (we have hosted all of their families).

We have had respectful au pairs and au pair families, who have been grateful for what we had to offer; we have also had au pairs and their families who felt entitled to take, often without asking, as much as they could possibly get away with, and are sometimes openly critical of what we can’t offer.

I have no doubts that they are all making comparisons with other au pairs and perceived “perks’; the ones who are able to put things in perspective and make the most of what they have in creating their own fantastic experience, are often the ones who come from families who support and value this skill set.

MarionAuPair September 28, 2015 at 9:43 am

I’m an Au Pair to be and I have to say that when I decided to become an Au Pair, my first priority was to find a really good family, where I would be at ease. It didn’t matter to me where this family was, how many children they had, because this wasn’t the most important things. For me the most important thing as an AP is to get along with the family and the children well. And that should be the most important thing for every AP. Because if you don’t get along with the family, you can’t learn from this, you can’t do your job properly and your year as an AP is not as good as it could have been. Maybe all of the AP who are like that are not meant to be AP. I have decided to become an AP, to learn a new culture, a new family way of life, and most of all to take care of kids, not to be in a big city or take care of only one child. Actually, at first I didn’t even want to go in a big city like NY or LA and I certainly didn’t want to go to Florida or Texas. And the family that chose me live in NY but at the moment it didn’t matter because I got along really well with the family at my first interview with them.
In my opinion, if you want to be an AP you don’t have to have to high expectations. What matter is your passion for children, the need to discover a new way of lifestyle and wanting to be in a good host family. And I also think that AP should be grateful to their host family because they spend a lot of money for them, they took them as a part of their family and it’s really important.

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