All lot of us au pair moms and dads have interesting professional experience.
I know from emailing many of you ‘behind the blog’ that we have doctors, lawyers, government service managers, someone who does pr for a city, customer service managers, law enforcement officers, a judge, school teachers, accountants, strategic consultants, small business owners, a few entrepreneurs and at least one graduate of a famous chef’s academy.
Yet, very rarely do we call upon our professional experience when we share ideas about au pairs and host parenting.
Why is that? I know that for me, the book learning related to being a management professor tends to make everything more complicated. My brain hurts when I think about applying theories to our everyday practices when, so often, what we really need is empathy and common sense.
But how about with you? I’ve wondered for a while, so when I was exchanging emails with a regular contributor a few weeks ago, and her title showed up in her email signature, I decided to ask.
This mom, dear reader, is a “Human Resource Professional” with a specialty in “Performance Management”.
“Yes, CV it’s true”, she replied. “My job is to help supervisors get their employees engaged, train them to communicate expectations and handle difficult conversations, and advise them on what to do with poorly performing employees.”
Does it help you much with your aupairmom-ing? I asked.
“I think it’s actually made me more neurotic as a host mom because I know all the studies and best practices of how to manage employees, so I over-think things.
I think that contributed to our failure with our fourth au pair – I kept think that if only I managed her better, she would be a better au pair. But sometimes you’re just not a good fit with someone, and I needed to have known when to just pull the plug.
I don’t ever tell anyone at work that I “manage” an au pair, and I don’t tell my au pairs much about my work. But being a host parent has immensely informed my work in the office, because I know for a fact just how hard it is to give someone feedback, help them set goals, and hold them responsible. “