Housework. The contested terrain.
Just what housework tasks are appropriate to ask your au pair to do?
"The rules" say that your au pair is in charge of things related to the kids. BUT since the kids shared the house with at least one adult, there is always some overlap as well as jointly-created mess. So where do you draw the line between what’s part of your au pair’s job, and what is not?
Are my APs the only APs that are not required to do any cleaning other then clean kids rooms one a week?
How much cleaning do you require your APs to do? Does the amount of cleaning/chores depend on the total amount of time they work (out of their 45 allotted hours) or does that not play into it? I am curious now.
Here are the lines we draw in my house. Your mileage may vary…so don’t get mad at me, okay?
– Clean her room, do her laundry, clean her bathroom (if she has her own).
– Wash any dishes & pots that she alone uses in the kitchen
– Pick up after herself in kitchen and rest of house.
– Tidy kids’ bedrooms (daily).
– Change kids’ sheets.
– Wash kids’ sheets.
– Wash kids’ laundry.
– Leave laundry room as tidy as she found it (which is not asking that much, in my house).
– Tidy up after kids in the bathroom (e.g., put away towels).
– Clean up any mess made during the preparation and enjoyment of kids’ meals.
– Keep designated "kid areas" tidy. (Kids areas in my house include worktable in kitchen, kids’ CD collection, "art room" (corner of laundry room), kids’ toy closet, kids’ coat closet, back seat of car.) Tidy means: neat and organized enough so that the kids are able to put things away themselves. (Remember, my kids are 8 & 10, so they do some of their own stuff. Often, the au pair supervises or helps them with their chores rather than cleaning herself).
– Sweep the kitchen floor after preparing kids’ meal.
– Occasionally clean the sink, after preparing kids’ meal.
As far as ‘pitching in’, we ask our au pair to empty the dishwasher and dish drainer as her family chore. I don’t expect her to do any other kind of house stuff beyond that and helping to clear the table, etc. after a family meal.
Host parent stuff:
– None. And I mean *none*.
I personally don’t think it’s fair to have your au pair:
– Clean the bathroom that only the kids use (the big, weekly cleaning).
– Vacuum the playroom (unless there has been a glitter-spreading event).
We all know that it’s "against the rules" to pay an au pair to do extra housework.
Still, I know that some families try this– so let’s save that as a topic for another day. In the meantime:
What do you ask your au pair to do?
What’s the rationale behind where you draw the line?