How do you communicate to your au pair that something in your home is ‘off limits’ to them, even though you host parents enjoy it liberally?
Things like hot tubs, wine, the ‘nice’ car, the expensive balsamic vinegar, or a favorite coffee mug can become a source of tension, when these things are purchased or reserved for the host parents as a treat to themselves.
Au pairs may look at these items and assume that they are available for any adult’s use, and host parents may have trouble explaining why an item is only for the parents themselves.
3txmom brought up the specific example of the Keurig coffee maker in her home.
“We see the Keurig as a convenience luxury, and we don’t offer it the the Au pairs to use. We do have a regular coffee pot and coffee they are welcome to use.”
The Keurig might be an easier one, since you could suggest that the Au Pair buy his or her own pods/cups and let them use the machine itself. But with other items, you actually have to explain not only the ‘rule’ but also the principle behind it.
That’s meant I’ve found myself saying:
“Don’t use the two sharp knives with red dots on the handle. They are the fancy knives I bought for myself so that I always have a super-sharp knife for paring and carving. Most people find that the regular chef’s knives we have work fine, so use those when you cook.”
Honestly, sometimes I’ve felt uncomfortable having to sort out what’s ‘good enough’ for an au pair, or child, or other person in my house, versus what’s a luxury that I don’t want to share.
How about you?
What do you say, and how do you feel, about reserving luxuries just for yourselves?