Have you ever regretted that you initiated a rematch?

by cv harquail on June 29, 2010

A host mom emailed to get my opinion on whether or not to go into rematch.

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This host mom and her family have a less-than-great au pair, one who is kind but can’t seem to complete tasks. Who is on time but ultimately not reliable. And, she’s not very smart. She’s so ‘not smart’ that her host kids (all very bright tweens) have a hard time connecting with her.

After 4 months of hoping things will get better, going over the handbook, writing reminders, having meetings and following up, it is Just. Not. Working.

They could go into rematch. But, you can never be certain that your new au pair will be overall better than the one who’s leaving. And, is this one really so bad that we can’t take another 7 months?

The truth is: Rematch takes a lot out of a host family and out of an au pair. Once it is initiated, it can’t be undone. Host parents usually need to feel completely confident that rematch is the right think to do before they are willing to initiate it.

Initiating a rematch is not something that any host parent takes lightly.

We have talked a *lot* on this blog about rematches… when to do them, how to do them, why to do them.  Reading over in my mind all of your comments about rematch, I notice two basic trends:

1. Host parents are reluctant to rematch.
2. Host parents who do rematch invariably say “We should have rematched sooner.”

One thing I don’t think we’ve ever seen on this blog is a comment from a host parent who said “I regret that we initiated a rematch.”

So, among AuPairMom readers, is there anyone out there who has regretted initiating a rematch?

If you are a host parent who initiated a rematch, how do you feel about it now?

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Share more about your experiences of rematch regret or lack thereof in the comments….

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See also:
3 Questions to Ask Yourself as Rematch Approaches

How do we know when it’s time to give up?

Images: regret. nothing. from Ed Yourdon
Regrets, I Have a Few from incurable_hippie

{ 63 comments }

Noelle June 30, 2010 at 8:55 am

I landed in rematch with AP1 after she decided to quit without any notice and left us without childcare. I was already not happy with her after 4 months and knew I wouldn’t extend – there were enough things about her that bothered me (for example, she never really bonded with my kids, and “thank you” was not in her English vocabulary).

For as hard as it was to accept that she could just quit and leave us in such a lurch, my anger and betrayal was QUICKLY replaced with relief that she was gone. I couldn’t believe it. Just the fact that she was gone….it was like i could breathe again, in my own house. We have no one to call upon to help us in an emergency, we had to rearrange our lives to cover the 5 weeks without an AP, and start AP interviewing all over again, but….it was so much better than having her here.

In retrospect, i wish I HAD initiated rematch myself, and sooner. And AP2 has been wonderful… :-)

Chatelaine Mom June 30, 2010 at 10:34 am

We have had dogs we adopted as puppies: they were beautiful, self-confident, but often a bit aloof. We have had rescue dogs: frantic separation anxiety, laughably irrational fears, but -oh!- how loving they were, never such affection. As a “rescue” family taking on a rematch au pair this time, the love is similarly much stronger than with AP1, with whom the 3-5 daily minor disappointments and the sneaking sense that she did not really like our children gradually added up to a caustic level of household tension. It was hard to put a finger on what was really wrong… but as you say, what relief when she was gone! friends wondered if I’d had a face lift. She effectively lowered our expectations, and now, like those rescue dogs, we’re tipsy with happiness simply when everyone is fed, clean, and smiling. –And through the neighborhood au pair grapevine we have learned that AP1 regularly complained that she “hated” our precocious daughter, confirming that rematch should have happened much earlier. Hard not to give someone the benefit of the doubt without proof. But the best advice was “trust your Mom gut,” and I should have followed it three months earlier.

Calif Mom June 30, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Well said! I will never raise another puppy, and our rematch APs have been remarkable! It’s not just expectations or lower standards, though. I have *great hope* from reading others’ stories on this blog that by doing a better job screening and interviewing my family can develop a good relationship with an AP who was not someone we rematched with. (Time will tell!)

Should be working July 1, 2010 at 12:42 pm

What I like about rematch APs:
1. They have already dealt with homesickness, arrival in the USA, and all those initial shocks. I don’t have the energy to be the huge welcome wagon to the USA as a whole.
2. They know what it means to be an AP. It’s about childcare, accommodating to a family’s lifestyle, and some housekeeping (I hope). The dream is a little less shiny than before they arrived.
3. I can get an LCC’s opinion, plus a host family’s opinion. The host family will tell me the negatives with this AP, and in the best case those negatives would not be negatives for me (e.g. AP better with older kids than babies; AP too independent).
4. The AP is, hopefully, grateful to get another chance and that translates to a willingness to work hard and fit in.
The disadvantage is that you have to cull through lots of candidates who have had big problems with the previous host family, and it’s hard to imagine you want to take on someone who has had a bad break from their previous situation. But I think that if we do host an AP again, I’d go with transition au pairs for that reason.

BLJ Host Mom July 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

So wait, am I correct in assuming, you ladies are talking about only looking at rematch APs in a selection process? I didn’t realize that was even an option (only on my 2nd AP now). So how does that work? Does that mean you have to wait until you need someone in 2 weeks to start looking? Does it feel like it is cutting it too close? Does it mean that you pay less than the full agency fee and get them for less than a full year, possibly? Sorry for the 20 questions, but this is quite intriguing to me, and frankly, I didn’t know about this method of finding APs…I thought you only looked at rematch APs when you had to rematch yourself or if you got into the program late in the game and time was such that you had no other options.

Should be working July 1, 2010 at 2:00 pm

BLJ, we started the AP program viewing only rematch candidates (because for complicated reasons we had less than a year to offer an AP), and then a few months later again I took a rematch AP when I was in rematch myself. But I believe that anyone can consider and accept rematch candidates, including families who are not themselves in rematch. Maybe I’m wrong–but my agency shows them on their ‘public’ site listing available au pairs.

And you are correct, you are then looking at APs who need to start right away, or within a few weeks at most. I actually liked this–I can’t imagine matching with someone and then waiting months for them to arrive. It’s very fast and a near-immediate gratification. I suppose that would be weird for families that have hitherto only matched the ‘normal’ way with out-of-country au pairs.

With regard to fees, I imagine that agencies differ. We don’t pay a ‘reduced’ fee, but we pay a ‘prorated’ fee, i.e. we pay the agency up front for the number of months we will have the AP, at the same rate that full-year families pay the agencies (about $130/wk). We also had to pay half the incoming AP’s flight from within the US. In other words, it’s not financially advantageous to take a rematch AP, but not disadvantageous either. The AP also is entitled to her/his full 2 wks vacation, even if he/she could have taken it during the time with the previous family. Also you pay tuition and so forth.

The trick is what happens regarding the AP’s end date. With our agency (agencies may differ) you essentially take over hosting for that AP’s remaining time, i.e. you keep the AP until the end of the AP’s year (or beyond, if you extend with her/him). So if you plan on getting another AP after that, you might consider if a ‘rematch’ AP you are considering has an end date that is ok with you and that is a good time of year for you to find another AP.

MeAgain July 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm

In my agency those au pairs are put in a group called “In country Au Pairs” …there you may also find au pairs who had a successful or ok year with their first family and are looking to extending with new families, these au pairs have 4-5 weeks to find a family while extension au pairs have 2-3 weeks…

Host Mommy Dearest July 1, 2010 at 2:34 pm

In my agency, the AP gets 2 weeks vacation if she hasn’t taken any, 1 if she’s taken one, and 0 if she has taken 2. Same idea with the $500 ed component – the AP gets the rest of her $500 owed to her – if it wasn’t provided for in full yet.

PA AP mom June 30, 2010 at 10:52 am

Add me to the list of host moms who knew in their heart they should initiate a rematch but didn’t have the guts to do it.

AP wrecked our car three times. Showed no regret. Never once said she was sorry. Stayed out all night without letting us know and wouldn’t answer her cell when we called. Said she had “one too many” and passed out (19 and not legal).

Things got really bad around month 10 when summer vacation started. Told her she needed to “step up” her duties with the kids. She told me she wasn’t really interested in any of the kids’ activities. I told her that it was her job to take care of them while I worked and she said “couldn’t your mom take them during the day for awhile”. I asked her why she became an AP when she clearly didn’t want the responsibility and she flat out said, “It’s for my resume. I hate children, especially S (our 8 year old at the time son).

We only had 1.5-2 months left so I sucked it up and S spent most of his time with my parents. The minute she waltzed through the security gate at the airport and out of our lives felt amazing. It felt as if a 3000 lb weight had been lifted from my chest. I stopped having stomach problems from anxiety, started sleeping better and felt great!

Looking back, at month 6 we should have initiated a rematch, but I was too chicken to do it.

Noelle June 30, 2010 at 11:28 am

“It’s for my resume. I hate children, especially S (our 8 year old at the time son).”

ARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH! My AP would be dropped at LCC’s house, same day service, if i heard her say that. I might even consider slowing the car down to let her jump out safely. UGH!!

I’m glad you’re feeling better, lord knows you deserve it after that.

DarthaStewart June 30, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Except for the car accident, you could almost be describing my last AP. I don’t know why I let her stay so long.

Mumsy June 30, 2010 at 12:32 pm

AP3 seemed like such a great match and then lost her sparkle at the end of her first week with us. She was extremely well-meaning but did not have good old common sense. We decided to keep her on as we knew she would be “good enough” but a year of settling was a source of endless stress. I wanted to rematch several times but then convinced myself that rematching just because she was not too smart was not a good enough reason. When she went home after a year and AP4 arrived, all the stress and tension of the year disappeared immediately. We really should have rematched after the first month.

Calif Mom June 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I won’t deal with another dim bulb. We had one that I limped along with for several months (also a Princess syndrome sufferer) because I dreaded the idea of rematching. I kept thinking that because her English was really good, she couldn’t actually be that dumb.

Here’s what would have happened if we had stuck it out: My kids would have quickly figured out ways to out-connive her, she would have grown intensely frustrated, then she would have start to take it out on them. (In dumb ways. Which would have hurt my kids, and which they would have not understood because they are not used to having to be led by truly dumb authority figures.)

no. regrets.

Jane July 1, 2010 at 10:38 am

We also had a suprisingly dim AP and sent her home with only one month to go, when she finally unwittingly gave me enough photographic evidence to send her home without feeling guilty about it. Wish I could have done it sooner, but without the concrete proof, it was hard to act on just because she was proving stupid and a princess.

Taking a Computer Lunch June 30, 2010 at 9:24 pm

My first 4 APs were exceptionally intelligent people. The Brazilian APs were used to working extra hard to get what they wanted (working full time, working part-time and going to university). Both of my European APs came saying “I’m not going to university ever,” and now one is 2/3 of the way through her program and the other will start in September. Neither of them had parents who went to university, and both sets of parents are extremely proud of the decisions they have made.

My current AP came having finished a university program at 20 (she had been skipped ahead in school because she was tall), but it turns out not to have been a BA. She has plenty of things she would have rather have done than the 3-year program she completed, but her exams along the way were never good enough.

Because her English was so weak, I always assumed it was the language barrier. And then she failed an English class outright (she needed a B- or better to move ahead), and had worked hard for us, but always seemed to miss the mark. And then I started to feel sad, because she worked so hard, but her best was never good enough. And we stuck it out because her best was good enough with The Camel, and of the special needs willing APs in rematch at that moment in time none had actual special needs experience and only two could drive. And I thought that an imperfect situation was better than tossing myself to the wind for a potentially worse match.

And at the risk of sounding bitter, I’m counting down. 5 1/2 weeks to go. My next AP has already earned an A on a major exam in her country, and her mother has promised her 600 Euros toward her AP year if she earns the second A in the exam required to complete her high school program. She has taken the initiative to contact other APs in my greater community. I feel positive.

Deb Schwarz June 30, 2010 at 1:10 pm

CV – OMG – how did you read my mind this morning??? We must be cosmically connected!

I’ve been tossing and turning all night, trying to figure out what to do about our current au pair. She is our 16th au pair, and I’m the queen of au pair advice – seen it all, done it all…… but when it comes to my own situations, why am I so terrible??? LOL.

I’ve always been very good at initiating a rematch for myself and advising others to do so (I always tell HF’s that if they are feeling like it’s not a good fit, more than likely the au pair feels the same) as everyone wants to have a great year, not just a “so-so” year. I’ve never had a host family regret a rematch – but it’s just the upheaval and emotions that most try to avoid like the plague.

OK – here’s my current situation. We’ve had our “new” au pair from Hungary for two months. She is great in many ways: conscientious, goes the extra mile, neat and tidy, careful driver, pleasant to be around, easy going. Now – here’s the rub. She isn’t assertive with my four kids (three 9 year olds and an 11 year old). One of the triplets in particular, seems to irritate her. Our au pair has been in tears several times during the last two weeks (don’t you just love the school to summer transition?) – and at one point told our daughter that she needed to go to the doctor to get medication to “calm her down” (in the past, this au pair had worked with an ADHD boy in England, so perhaps she thinks that’s the panacea for misbehaving?). Our au pair apologized, but does seem to be judging our kids and keeps saying that kids have always listened to her in the past. I explained to her that kids don’t always listen and have tried to teach her how to discipline the kids (we have privledges that she can take away), but she just doesn’t seem to be able to do so with confidence. I feel she’s out of her league. I have heard her with the kids and it’s sort of painful to listen to (she pleads with them instead of being assertive). Having said that – four school aged kids is no easy task (even on the days when they are wonderful)…..but we have had au pairs (former school teachers or experienced au pairs with 3+ kids) that have managed fine, but then again, the kids were younger. I’ve asked my kids what they think – and they are ambivalent. The one that seems to be acting out with her says that she doesn’t think she’s a good fit for us.

So – I’m sitting here second guessing my “gut” and terrified of a summer without help. And to top it off, we have two trips planned (Mexico for four night beginning on Friday) and two weeks on the East Coast in two weeks – with tickets already purchased for her.

So – do I roll the dice, especially during the dreaded summer, in the hopes that we can find someone with mozy?

My AuPair Mom friends – help me out, please. Thanks so much for your sage advice!

Deb
Tossing and turning in CA

DarthaStewart June 30, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Deb- you know what you need to do.
And- I’ll remind you that the majority of au-pairs come in during the summer, and there are tons of rematch candidates out there. It’s a good opportunity, and time to go ahead and deal with it. You can always write her a letter of recommendation for fewer kids, and possibly younger ones as well. It’s not that she’s a bad one, and I know that is part of what kills you, but she’s just not a good match for your kids.

Hugs.
Dartha

PA AP mom June 30, 2010 at 2:16 pm

I agree with Dartha. She may be a really great AP for another family, but maybe she’s not “the ONE” for your family.

good luck!

MommyMia June 30, 2010 at 5:00 pm

I agree, and wish I’d gone with my “gut feeling” much earlier–as everyone is noting–it feels like the elephant has finally left the house and you can breathe, relax, and everyone is much happier, including the AP, I’ll bet! Some lucky AP who wants to finish her year will be lucky to match with your family and get the added bonus of a vacation on top of getting to live in California. What are you waiting for?!

Taking a Computer Lunch June 30, 2010 at 1:34 pm

My first AP had tendencies like that, and I told her, “When you are on duty, you are the adult in the house. I don’t care if you hate being firm with the kids, but it is not appropriate to let them misbehave.” It didn’t take long for my son, then 2, to figure out if he threw a fit she’d buy him stuff in the store (now, this was the year we were paying over $10,000 in tuition to keep her on a student visa while we tried to sponsor her as employers, so we had absolute zero cash to reimburse her). This is the same AP who was still dressing and feeding him when he was 4 “because it was easier.” It was a relief when she moved on, because it took AP2 no time to whip the boy into shape – and tolerate all of his distress over losing someone who had cared for him since he was 5 months old.

You need to have a chat after the kids are in bed. Give her specific instances of words that have come out of her mouth that are inappropriate. Give her ideas of ways to say things so the kids will listen. Tell her you expect her to discipline them when she is in charge – they might be angry in the moment, but they’ll respect her more for holding the line. Tell her she needs to work through what ever issues she has with the child who is most ambivalent about her. Give her a chance, before you pull the plug.

Having said that, of course, I’m now in month 9 of my son basically ignoring my AP, who is really good at talking AT him (telling him what to do) but not WITH him (asking him questions, drawing him out). He’s not misbehaving, but she’s not enforcing anything either. They seem to have gone to their separate corners, and I’m counting down – 5 1/2 weeks to go!

Deb Schwarz June 30, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Hi Computer Lunch,

Thanks for the advice. The other night when I tried to point out the words that she was using (telling the kids that she was hurt that they wouldn’t come to the table) she denied that she said that, so I didn’t pursue it further. But perhaps I should go back to that… I think she has made up her mind that our kids are the problem, not her, so that makes it hard to give construction feedback.

Re: you situation: Oh, how I hate the “count down” time, especially when you can’t wait for them to leave – not fun! Have you thought about asking your current au pair if she would like to leave early? Sometimes they are feeling as frustrated and would ilke an early “out”. Do you have another au pair lined up already?

Deb

NewAPMama June 30, 2010 at 4:38 pm

I think you need to not only have a chat with your aupair, but also your children. Yes, children do misbehave. But ultimately, you are their mother, not the aupair. You need to be firm with them, and let them know that they HAVE to listen to you. 4 kids is a lot, especially with one who doesn’t behave. Let the aupair know (or tell her again!) that she can do x, y, and z if the kids don’t listen. If I found out my one of my kids was giving the aupair a hard time, to the point the aupair is in tears, you better believe we’d be having a conversation and things would change. It doesn’t sound like you are enjoying her and she isn’t enjoying your family. That’s not fair to either party. Good luck!

NewAPMama June 30, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Excuse me. I meant to tell your kids that they have to listen to the aupair. LOL. I hope they already listen to you!

Aupairgal June 30, 2010 at 5:11 pm

I agree. Letting your aupair know what measures of discipline are appropriate in what situations as well as going over some basic scenarios. I must say, when I first started, the children (then 3.75 and 1.5 years old) were just….not awful…but very much a handful. The first 2 weeks was all wonderful but then it became chaos. While I never cried in front of the kids, I would occasionally cry in my room at the end of the day. I had to talk to the mom about it and said if its this stressful all the time I can’t do it. She really helped me with encouragement and said that she thinks the chemistry between me and the kids is really great and that I just need to be stricter and that it takes time. She also went through some basic scenarios that were current (sharing, not hitting, dealing with tantrums) She was very much right. While I’m not as strict about some things as Mom, I am always listened to by the kiddos.

Anna June 30, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Deb,
I don’t think you can change the situation by talking to her and coaching her.
I think that’s who she is and she cannot suddenly imagine or pretend to be a different (assertive) person. In addition, your kids already figured her out, and will not be able to change to respect her.
I had a similar issue last year with an otherwise stellar au pair. It was not as bad, I discovered it halfway through the year, and my kids are younger and easier to deal with. It was not enough to rematch, but I wasn’t able to effectively coach my au pair for the “right” assertive behavior with my kids. Some things might have helped, but not enough. Somebody cannot turn from soft to firm fast… even if the person understands, and is smart, etc.; this is asking somebody to change who they are.

Taking a Computer Lunch June 30, 2010 at 9:46 pm

If she thinks your kids are the problem, then you need to have an explicit chat, “I don’t think you are a good match for our family. I’ve tried to give you constructive criticism. I don’t think my kids are perfect, but you are not listening to what I’m trying to tell you.” Tell her you think she’s a good AP, what you like about her, and that youp hope that other children will suit her better. Since you have typically developing children and extensive experience matching others, you shouldn’t have a problem. Yes, you’re out the ticket – in the post 9/11 world you can’t change the name on the ticket. Give it to her and suck up the loss if you can afford it. (Or try canceling the ticket – you might have to make up a story, so don’t do it in front of the kids.)

There have only been 2 APs that I have been happy to see go. By the end, our relationship with our first AP (after 3 1/2 years) had fallen completely apart. We made it limp along until neither she nor I could stand each other. She quit with three weeks before the next AP arrived, and I made it work without her.

I cannot afford to have this AP leave early. It costs me $15 an hour to hire a college student who is special needs willing, and the learning curve with Medicaid-supplied nurses is so steep that I’d end up taking time off. She’s not doing a bad job, just more aloof than ever (I must say that I took a certain joy in coming home this afternoon, thanking her for the day with the kids, rounding them up, and heading out without bothering to invite her to come along).

My next AP is coming after our family holiday. Because of The Camel we start interviewing in April for an August arrival. We usually make our selection by early June. We typically have telephone interviews with 5 women, some of whom turn us down, and others whom we turn down. We look for a certain “je ne sais quoi” and decent but not necessarily perfect English. Once we had an absolutely perfect candidate on paper, whose only answer we understood was to “Do you like cats?” It’s the only phone interview we ever cut short, besides a recent one where the phone connection was so horrible we couldn’t hear her.

Instead, I’m trying to let go. I have spent nearly 11 months trying to engage an AP who is aloof and doesn’t want to answer questions, and so I simply say hello to her now, convey the information that I need to, and move on. I no longer ask about her day, because that question has been evaded long enough and I’m tired of listening to the non-answer.

My DH, who is the softer, sweeter side in our relationship, said last night, “She’s a babysitter, no more,” which surprised me becuase he’s tired of listening to me kvetch and count down. We have a tradition of having a family portait taken with our APs and hang them in a special place on our walls, and he doesn’t want to bother.

Sota Gal July 3, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Deb,
It sounds like you already know you need to let her go. Perhaps she’ll be a great au pair for someone else’s kids, but not yours. My twins plus one are pretty overwhelming to many, even me at times! It takes someone special to have the energy to keep up with a larger family and certainly someone assertive. Begging and pleading with your kids will make for a horrible year for you all. They may feel ambivalent about her now, but its going to be a long summer and those feelings are sure to change as time wears on. Cut your losses now and find the au pair YOU need for your kids. I know that with the agency we are with there are currently more than usual in country au pairs and many of those are extension au pairs.

Good luck!

Deb Schwarz June 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Thanks Dartha….yes, you hit the nail on the head – that’s the hard part, is that she has many good qualities. I know I can find her a good home (I’m a top host family recruiter so I always have folks that are looking at my finger tips)…. I’m just trying to figure out the timing (before or after our East Coast trip). Ughhhh…..gotta bite the bullet.

franzi June 30, 2010 at 2:32 pm

yes, you know you will go into rematch. and that is ok because the way the situation is described, your current AP is not strong enough to withstand 4 opinions. so less kids or younger ones are the solution for her, an AP with experience with kids in that age range is probably your solution.

regarding the vacation, it’s a tough call. counting it all up, you are looking at more or less 3 weeks before starting the rematch. do you think you and your kids will be able to live with the situation until then? if so, then start the rematch after the trips. if not, start rematching right away. maybe one of your parents can accompany you to help with the kids in this case?

Deb Schwarz June 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Hi Franzi and Mommy Dearest,

Thanks for the advice.

For part of our vacation time, 2 of our kids will be in sleepover camp and another week we’ll be with grandma on the East Coast and a week at my beloved beach in South Carolina (with tons of kids activites) so a non-working transition would work. I guess we can play it by ear. I’m not doing the exit before we go to Mexico in two days as that would make it uncomfortable. I’m sure that time will reveal the answer….whenever I try to push a decision, I find that it becomes clear over time – I’m just so Type A – let’s deal with it today kind of gal, so I’m going to take a breath (did you hear it?).

My gut tells me that she won’t be able to grow a thicker skin, and given that she thinks our kids are not normal she might have a hard time dealing with life in our family without judgment….so rematch is probably the way to go. I’ll keep you posted, my dear Au Pair Mom friends.

BTW – I’ll be in Mexico on Friday with my family and current au pair at a “top LCC” retreat with some very experienced and savvy LCC’s – so I’m thinking that they’ll give me their two cents as well…a plus of working in the industry.

Deb

Calif Mom July 2, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Absolutely do it before vacation at the beach. You *all* will appreciate the break. It’s good for the family to reconnect a bit between APs.

Host Mommy Dearest June 30, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I would initiate before the trips and give her a non-working transition. I would pay her stipend anyway if you can. The economy is a little rough out there still, so there are college kids looking to provide summer help, and the east coast trip could be a perk for that – then you can take your time with the rematch.

Host Mommy Dearest June 30, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I voted that I had no regrets when I rematched. What I learned is that you can coach and communicate and encourage and warn your AP, and I know some behaviors can change even, but one thing I don’t think you can change is attitude.

There are things that make the AP not a good fit – like poor driver when driving is needed, or only likes indoor activities like arts & crafts when the family & kids want to get out and swim or kick the ball around. The great thing about a rematch when the AP is not a good fit is that you can easily give her a great reccomendation for a family that needs X, likes to do Y, and doesn’t mind Z. If you rematch due to bad attitude it is hard to recommend her to anyone (in fact I think it is your duty not to be open and offer up all your reasons for rematch, not just the ones that the next potential HF fished for and got).

Host Mommy Dearest June 30, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I think it is your duty * to be open and offer up all your reasons for rematch

iMom June 30, 2010 at 3:40 pm

We went into re-match after four months with our second au pair. Like Noelle above, my furor over the behavior that initiated the re-match (I’d rather not divulge for privacy’s sake) was very quickly replaced with relief. For four months I had been really TRYING to like this girl and never quite succeeded. I never totally trusted her – and that’s particularly tough when your kids are only 1 and 3. I was glad that a precipitous event made the decision for me and I could immediately move on. I don’t regret waiting four months because we were re-matched with the best au pair in the entire world (Yeah, I said it. She’s the BEST!) and we would not have found her if we had re-matched earlier. In fact, I am grateful for that whole re-match situation because it also taught me a lot about what to look for (and what to avoid) in an au pair.

CS Nanny June 30, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I feel no regret for quitting my HF after almost two years. They were horrible parents, and I got tired of working way more hours than agreed upon, and being treated like crap. The last straw was when they watched their 6 year old daughter bite me (because she didn’t want to take a shower), hard enough to draw a decent amount of blood, and refused to discipline her. I gave them 4 weeks notice, which I thought was fair, and found a new family. They tried to make me feel guilty, and said I was just too incompetent to care for their daughter. Considering I was their 10th aupair in 6 years, I am surprised I lasted as long as I did. The next aupair left after 6 months. I found a new family for my last year there, and was much happier!

Pa host mom of Two au-pairs July 1, 2010 at 3:20 am

I must say that when you have an au-pair with no energy it really sucks the life out of you. During Ap #2 first week, I about cringed she was worst than the snail in my garden, Upon my orientation with the area director 1 weeks after her arrival, I said ” OMG” I don’t think she is going to make it, we have such a busy life in which this AP was the opposite. We rush, rush, rush all the time and when I have a van full of kids heading out for a 2 hour trip and she was the last one to get into the van, I was thinking ” omg” let’s move along. After that trip, it’s was like a light bulb that burned out and you never replaced it.
When outside their was no bubbles, no running, clowning around or skipping, chalking, etc.. Inside same thing not much of anything, but following behind the children, feed them, dress them, turn the TV on etc. HD said if I want a babysitter I can hire one here. In fact, she never did much on her off time either. I must say, when an au-pair friends of her said to their host mom ” It’s like she is an old lady” I knew it was the best thing for our family, and I do not regret it! I just feel bad for the next HF that rematched with her. (She went to a HF that has a 3 & 5 year old) mine youngest two are 3 and 16 months.
My high school American nanny that has been helping until the new AP’s arrival, runs circle, triangles, and square’s around both of them. She cares for the two small ones by herself and supervises the older ones. It’s nothing for her to go to the park, grocery store, swim, out for ice-cream, storytime in a public places and clean by herself with all kids. I love this girl… and I am thankful I interviewed her when we knew we started to have problems. In fact, I can’t wait to speak to her mother again to tell her what a great job her daughter is doing. ( She has an older sister that is a nanny with another family out of state 5 kids ) and twin sisters.

Hula Gal July 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I think after browsing through these comments it is safe to say that there are no host families that have regretted rematch but instead have regretted NOT rematching. After going into rematch twice within the span of three months into our program, my husband and I have vowed to never question ourselves when we think a rematch is warranted. Rip the band-aid off and do it fast! If a host family learns just one thing from this website I hope the one thing is that they should rematch when their gut is telling them too.

Calif Mom July 2, 2010 at 8:48 am

Sing it, Hula Gal!

We had one match and two rematches within one year. That was a bad year. The economy had not yet completely tanked; perhaps that was part of it? The candidate pool was not great that year, and we had a new (lousy) counselor “helping” us match. But the rematch AP we finally found after 8 months of hell stayed with us for two years. Just last night my kids and I were remembering the second bad match of that year (The Morose One Who Doted on the Baby And Couldn’t Handle the Big Kid)–it seems that my kids have basically forgotten The Princess, a regular match, who preceded The Morose One. Makes sense–The Princess just hated our house and her perks, not really the kids, though she was too stupid to handle Kid the Elder and it would have gotten ugly anyway.

My point with this retelling? There are many ways to explain or justify to yourself staying in a bad match that your gut is telling you to flee from. It is much harder to push yourself into a rematch when you don’t have a ‘smoking gun’ of outright bad behavior on the part of the AP.

Should be working July 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm

But there were 3 voters in CV’s poll who indicated that they DID have regrets, I want to hear about those–speak up, please, people!

Hula Gal July 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Good catch! Yes – do speak up if you regretted it and why. Although I cannot imagine what would cause someone to regret their choice unless they intiated rematch over a silly issue.

Host Mommy Dearest July 1, 2010 at 2:47 pm

I’m with SBW. Also, since the agencies won’t give us any rematch stats, I would love for cv to post some kind of poll at some point (please?) that asks the HP readers how many rematches they have had – 0, 1, 2 or more (or something like that), and for the AP readers, how many have been in rematch?

Should be working July 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Hm, any statisticians out there to help formulate that great idea for a poll?

I suppose the most interesting statistic would be ratio of rematches to matches, i.e. what proportion of matches (doesn’t matter whether candidate is a rematch candidate or not, also whether family is coming out of rematch or not) end up in rematch?

cv harquail July 1, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Hey Host Mommy Dearest– I have off & on tried to figure out a way to do that using the free, simply tools like poll daddy. The challenge is finding a way to get a ratio or percentage… one can get counts of # of matches and # of rematches per respondent, but the surveys don’t do the match between the two questions… or, people can calculate their own percentage (1 of 5 would be 20% for person A) and then tick a box for that percentage, but either way people are presented with a long list… okay, now that I’ve complained about simplistic tools , maybe I can look into it more closely… ;-)

DarthaStewart July 1, 2010 at 5:10 pm

I’m pretty sure I skew your numbers. ;P

SotaGal July 3, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Not once, and unfortunately we’ve had 4 since December of 08.

Our first go round with rematch, our talkative active kids were just too much for our reserved au pair. She was with us 3 weeks. We knew within days that it wasn’t going to work – the noise of our house made her shut down, and we were afraid that it would get to her when we were out of the house and she’d feel like she needed to go to her room and close the door leaving our 2 yo at the time twins and big brother on their own. She also said that she didn’t like our son but she’d be happy to care for the twins. Tell me how that would work???? It was easy to say goodbye to her. Oh wait! She hopped out of our car at the AD’s house before anyone had a chance to say anything to her!

Number 3 (second rematch) almost made it to the end of her time with us, but we fired her last year this weekend. It involved underage drinking, drugs, hooking up with 2 guys in one night and her calling our closest friends (she was at their party) and all of their friends who witnessed it liars. We were left without an au pair for about 5 weeks before our new overseas au pair arrived. What really angered me is that she was supposed to be sent home, but instead our AD placed her with another family short term. In the end the AD was reprimanded but I was upset that ultimately she was let off the hook.

Our next au pair was fabulous, great with the kids, part of the family, hard worker, great driver, lots of friends but didn’t get in trouble. If only she had told me in our interviews that the families she had nannied for in the past had work at home parents like us and she hated it! It’s certainly not something we can change but would have given me something to consider before matching with her. She also turned into a bit of a princess – she had the nerve to ask us to buy her a car!!!

Our last one was just not right from the beginning. No honeymoon, nothing. We tried to make it work, my only regret is that we tried so hard for so long.

Now we’re taking some time off and going without an au pair for the summer. Waiting until things settle down and kids are back in school and on regular schedules here before we welcome a new au pair into our home.

Here’s to better luck for us with AP #6!

Anon. July 6, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Number 3 certainly sounds like a nightmare with some of the stuff she was up to but I have to ask : what’s wrong with hooking up with 2 guys in one night?!

NewAPMama July 6, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Are we talking about making out with 2 guys in one night? Or having sex with two guys in one night? That is quite a difference.

Anon. July 6, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Oh yeah, if it was sex then fair enough. But I wouldn’t have thought making out would have been that big a deal!

Hula Gal July 6, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I think maybe the problem SotaGal had was that this behavior occurred in front of her friends at a party hosted by her friends. Is that right SotaGal? How is your relationship with your AD/LCC now after that incident?

SotaGal July 6, 2010 at 5:23 pm

It was sex with 2 guys in one night and I have a huge problem with that, especially when it is someone that we’ve invited into our home to help us raise our children. I need a positive role model for my perceptive kids not a young woman that sleeps around and repeatedly has pregnancy scares. She was at our friends house, out in the open no less. First class girl. Thank god my husband and son had already left for the night! She also got falling-over-vomiting-drunk (at 19) then tried to hang out with us the next day (July 4th). She was so hung over that she was shushing my kids – at a BBQ and pool party and expected me to wait on her hand and foot. She tried to tell us that our closest friends were liars, were drunk and didn’t know what they were talking about. Little did she know that they are recovering alcoholics and don’t drink at all. There were only a handful of people even drinking at this party…

My relationship with our AD is still the same, I go to her if I absolutely need her but I try to work with the main office whenever possible. I complained about her up the chain of command with no results after this incident.

NewAPMama July 6, 2010 at 5:26 pm

My gosh I can’t even imagine! That is just crazy!

Anon. July 6, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Sorry, she sounds like a total nightmare! At your friends’ house…wow…

SotaGal July 6, 2010 at 5:35 pm

She was a nightmare to say the least. She was out of our house in less than 12 hours after that final confrontation. Thankfully I learned about her pregnancy scares after she left… She thought she was pregnant 3 times in the five months she was with us. I’m 38 with 3 kids and have thought I’ve been pregnant three times and two of those times I was. Can’t imagine thinking I was pregnant at 19 (3 times in 5 months no less)!

Melissa July 6, 2010 at 5:55 pm

How awful! It’s stories like these that make me feel like I’m 100 years old — I find myself thinking things like ‘How morals have changed! You never heard of young women acting like that when we were 20!’. Or maybe I just lived under a rock. lol. But really, some of the stories that I’ve heard from other APS and have seen on Facebook just blow me away.

NoVA Host Mom July 4, 2010 at 12:24 am

I, too, voted that we have had no regrets about rematching. As HulaGal said, once the process was started, the relief we felt was instant, obvious, and made us regret ever hesitating about rematching. We dragged on for more months than we needed to put ourselves through, but now realize there was hope on the other side.

To be fair (to ourselves, anyway), we were new HPs. So, we (and by that I mean mostly I) trudged along, hoping against hope that things would improve, that our AP would wake up and decide she did not need to be a Princess of our little castle after all, that she really meant what she told us in all of our interviews and emails. Yeah, and I was ready to put a down payment on a bridge in Brooklyn. ;)

Looking back now, with what I have learned from this blog and from learning in a “trial by fire” mode, certainly there is no way we would have let it drag on as it did. I remember being on the phone with our LCC (after we had the “pack your bags” chat but even before we had found a new AP to interview) and telling her how much better I suddenly felt. Sure, we were at that moment without clear child care for our infant and DH and I have jobs that are less than flexible to the outside world, but none of that mattered. AP1 was leaving, we had a date for that set in the very near future, and our home was filled with a joy that had been missing. It really was a feeling of relaxation and that horrible weight everyone talks about disappearing.

Now, I am a firm believer that it’s true the human race are the only animals that ignore, intentionally, their “gut”. I’ve used it that saying before professionally (who else tells themselves to walk into an elevator with a strange man giving your gut a huge red flag just so the stranger won’t think you rude — no zebra will do that), but it is true as a HP too. You know there is a problem, something is not “clicking” but rather than rock the boat or risk the unknown, we “take one for the team” by beating the dead horse that is the needing-to-be-rematched-AP living in our homes.

And yes, rematches can be great and fantastic and better than believed! Our replacement AP was in rematch herself, and was so fantastic and such a part of the family and household she ended up staying for her second year.

PerfectHostMom July 6, 2010 at 3:04 pm

We are planning to go into rematch next week with au pair #3 (and would go sooner but our counselor is out of town). Our first au pair was great caring for our kids and keeping the house running, but lied to us incessantly and did not like us (and it was mutual). Our second au pair was a model of perfection and stayed for two years. After having au pair #2, we should have rematched with #1 due to attitude problems, and especially when we discovered her lying to us, but she did a good job so we toughed it out. Au pair #3 is just clueless about child care and needs express, detailed directions to do anything around the house, and it is not a language barrier. Unfortunately, she does not compensate for her lack of child care and domestic skills by having a good personality or a can-do attitude. After having a truly great au pair who was also a good personality fit, I am wiser and know that if it seems bad at 2 weeks, it is time to rematch rather than dread the year ahead. I have to believe I’ll find someone with better manners, better attitude and better skills (or at least better skills).

My question: For those of you who rematched, how long does it take to get her out of my house?

Should be working July 6, 2010 at 3:32 pm

My experience was 2 wks from the time you let her and the agency know. It was important in my case to have alerted the agency a few weeks earlier that things weren’t going well; they seem to have a requirement to give the AP a last chance after explaining the problems. You can also keep her longer, i.e. until you find a new AP, but who would want a resentful, not-very-good au pair longer than necessary? We also had to pay the outgoing AP her 2 vacation weeks.

Hula Gal July 6, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Why did you have to pay the au pair her 2 vacation weeks? How long was she with you?

West Coast Mom July 7, 2010 at 12:09 am

It can be very fast, depending on the circumstances. If AP does something really over the line, you can ask LCC to take her in for the 2 week notice. The LCCs are basically required to do that, under certain circumstances, at lest for APIA.

In our case, disaster AP was out of the house the same morning we had our “talk”. She stayed with her BF until the agency arranged her transport home. We never saw or spoke to her again.

Should be working July 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm

She came to us out of a 4-month-long match and had not taken any of her vacation time, and then was with us for 4 months. Our LCC said vacation is accrued per au pair, not per family, which I actually find very fair to the AP. We simply had her do a non-working 2 wks in our house (she moved to her boyfriend’s anyway) and paid her those 2 wks as vacation.

Karin Six July 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I help ‘incountry aupairs’ as I have seen many good au pairs go home. (I will not post the website here but if you would like the web address, please send me an email.) The benefit is that you can get an au pair immediately and that the au pair is usually very grateful to stay in country. If you are really looking for a ‘proven au pair’, try an extension au pair as they already have one year under their belt and wish to stay another year (usually in a new area).
You are right, West Coast Mom in that LCC’s (like me) will house an au pair while they are in rematch (if necessary). I call it a perk!!! We enjoy having au pairs stay with our family. Our daughters really jump for joy as they have someone new to play with them!!

Mumsy October 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

In mid-July, our new AP arrived and within a few days she went into rematch. I have heard from other AP’s in our area that she is now with her third family. Unfortunately, she interviews really well but when it comes to doing work, she is just not interested. I also heard that her second HF asked her to rematch for the same reasons that we did but that they had stuck it out with her for far longer than we did. I wonder why the agency continues to place this AP – I think that if her 2nd family was given full disclosure, they would not have selected her. Now, it looks like a 3rd family is being duped ….. I have zero regrets in having rematched.

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