Infidelity more of a concern than you’d think

by cv harquail on March 25, 2011

Hi readers-

A quick note here before I dash off to work today– I took down the previous post about the au pair who saw a host parent’s infidelity. Why? Because not one, or two, but three different and unrelated people emailed me to say that the post ‘hit too close to home’ for them.  I’d have taken it down if only one person asked, but to have three people ask tells me that this is a bigger issue than you’d think.

We’ll have a quiet day or two until I get another post up. Until then, be kind and generous of spirit to your au pair or host parents… cv


Anna March 25, 2011 at 10:05 am

I think it was a wise decision.
Also, can we keep the focus of this place on host family perspective, and answering host parent questions? I understand why you published that post – it is an important issue to get host parents’ point of view; but lately there have been too many posts with questions from au pairs up for discussion.

JJ host mom March 25, 2011 at 11:23 am

I totally disagree that we should only talk about host parent questions here. I love the questions from au pairs because knowing what au pairs are dealing with helps me be a better host mom. I also don’t know of any other venue where au pairs can come get the advice of anonymous host moms, and I think that must be really valuable in situations where it would be awkward to talk with their own host parents.

The motto of this blog is “helping host parents and au pairs build great relationships”. That goes both ways.

Taking a Computer Lunch March 25, 2011 at 11:01 pm

I agree with JJ host mom. I have learned a lot from different HM’s responses to AP questions. When I consider different opinions, it really affects how I respond with my AP. Everyone has a valid point of view, and it is useful to hear how AP’s approach their decisions as well. I have found it very useful to hear the AP point of view, because it is often much more complex than that for which we HM would give them credit.

Personally, I would not want APs to feel unwelcome – I think they have a lot to contribute to the discussion. And while I don’t feel that CV poses the majority of questions on their behalf, I do think the points they raise are valid and compelling. “Stuck” clearly struck a nerve with her problem, and while for some of us it was theorizing, for others it was too close to home.

While I think it’s understood that this is a HM blog, I for one would not want the APs to feel that their opinions were unwelcome. I want to hear what they say – even if it takes me some time to internalize it.

Tristatemom March 25, 2011 at 11:47 am

I welcome the removal of that thread mainly because I feel Anna’s sentiment that this website should be for us host parents.
The fact is, for me at least, when I run into a problem with the au pair, there is no place to exchange ideas with other host parents. My counselor is not helpful and it seems that her default position is always that the au pair is mistreated and the host family is the bad guy.
I know of at least one au pair website that is for au pairs and from au pairs. (Hint: it is listed here under Au Pairs &/or Parenting on the right hand side).

My 2 cents March 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I hear you Tristate Mom. I didn’t read that thread. But I guess I need to ask, apart from that particular thread, do you feel you can’t post or answer truthfully using your moniker because of the au pair involvement? If so, why? Not judging, just asking. Because if that’s the case, then that’s a problem.

Rachel March 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Hi, I don’t usually comment on anything on this site, just read it and take the advice.
But it seems like a lot of the host mom’s on this site just think it is only for them! Do they WANT their au pairs to learn about what they expect? Or just magically know? I have also looked at all the sites for “au pairs” that is under the “Au Pairs &/or Parenting on the right hand side” and there is still nothing really for only au pairs, at least nothing that anyone has updated since 2008.. and then the others are still for mothers.
I think that this website is for everyone and those of you who keep saying that they only want questions for host parents.. well maybe YOU should look at some of the other sites.
I am not trying to sound snotty or anything, but it is very discouraging that some host mothers don’t want questions from au pairs to be posted here. I also believe that the post that has just been taken down is a very real issue and SHOULD be discussed.
Put yourself in the au pairs situation..

My 2 cents March 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I think CV does a good job of vetting the multitude of issues that must come in from the au pair community. I don’t get the impression that host family concerns and questions are being turned down to post an au pair’s. Could be wrong, but I doubt it.

This site is far from running amok (sp?) with au pair questions and concerns. It is isn’t turning into an au pair chat room or a facebook page as far as I’m concerned. If it were, that would be a different concern and regulars like me would leave. While I don’t agree with some of the au pair posters they come here, the regulars posters are generally at least respectful and do present a perspective I enjoy hearing even if I’m not wild about the particular opinion. The more emotional and less mature au pair posters tend to drop their bombs and then leave, thankfully.

This is her site and she must spend a great deal of time coordinating it. Posts are thoughtful and well written. Let’s leave it alone and let it continue to be the great resource it’s become.

As always, just my 2 cents.

Rachel March 25, 2011 at 2:28 pm

I do agree with what you are saying, it just seems recently I have noticed quite a few posts from host mothers saying that this site is supposed to be for host family’s questions and not au pair questions. Just slightly discouraging when, myself going to be an au pair in June for the first time, enjoy reading about other issues that au pairs are encountering and hearing everyone’s opinions about that subject. Especially the opinions and advice from the host families.

I also understand why this post was taken off, obviously the readers of this site have to be comfortable with what is on it if they are going to keep reading it!

Sorry if I sounded snooty or anything with my previous post

AFHostMom March 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I looked at the link in the blgoroll once–the one that seems to be “for au pairs”–and as stated it’s not an active site, AND it left a bad taste in my mouth because the creator talks about her decision to choose one family over another, and it’s about amenities and pay–in fact if i recall right she never even mentions the children. Not exactly where I’d suggest my AP go for advice.
As for posts from APs, I think it’s reasonable…CV can decide what she wants to do with the site, and it’s good for APs to be able to come here to get a HM perspective. A lot of discourse helpful to HMs comes out of many of those posts as well.

Calif Mom March 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I’m sorry that the infidelity conversation struck too close to home. That must be very painful indeed. I’m all about kindness right now. (Are the Ides of March over yet? Please?!)

When APs ask thoughtful questions or pose situations that needs exploration from multiple perspectives, I find them worthwhile.

When APs are just pitching their wares or flamethrowing, it’s annoying, but usually short-lived thanks to CV’s diligence and speedy multitasking skills! :-)

I don’t think we can just say that questions from APs shouldn’t be posed, because that would cut us off from a whole lot of interesting conversations and opportunities to learn. And really, without au pairs there is no relationship! This is indeed “Au Pair Mom dot com” but I think it’s a great place for APs to read, think, and learn, and pipe in when they have a relevant perspective or question that no one else is helping them with. We all know that the counselors’ roles are limited, and their skills are not uniformly brilliant.

CV has created a wonderful place that’s all about helping and looking at questions from lots of different angles. Sometimes the “specimen” we start to analyze is posited by an AP, but I don’t think our conversations stick with one perspective all that often. That’s what keeps it interesting.

Rachel, I would caution a little care in using hyperbole (I fall into this trap a lot myself, since it’s so satisfying to exaggerate to make a point stronger): have there really been “quite a few posts” recently that were annoyed at APs posting? Or is just that they jump out at you because they make you feel unwelcome? I certainly haven’t noticed this as a huge trend. Also, try to remember that the posts that go back years are still here, but if you read them ‘fresh’ it’s going to feel like ‘lately’ when really, we got over that one a year ago (or whatever).

I think it’s great that you are reading this blog; it will definitely make you a better-prepared au pair. Empathy and perspective are only helpful! Would that more au pairs were as thoughtful as you are.

Steff March 25, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I’m only going to say that…at least here in my home-country, you say “Au pair” “Host-family” and terms like that, and all you would get in response are “What? faces”. I don’t think I can stress enough how helpful and unbelievable beneficial & useful this site has been to me. People around here don’t really know what in the world an AP is, unless you spend half an hour explaining them how you are not just “the help”, so seriously, just hearing another people discuss about things that actually concern you and help you in all sort of ways, is just great in my opinion.
I really enjoy just as much HF’s questions as I do AP’s, because at the end of the day, both questions involve the “Host-family / Au pair” relationship, and as far as I know, that’s kind of the point of this site…All in all, I’m really just saying. I know I’m gonna keep coming here for as long as new post and issues get posted ;)

CO Host Mom March 25, 2011 at 9:11 pm

As both a host mom and LCC, I find it very useful to hear the APs’ point of view on this site. Often when us host moms are discussing something, an AP will chime in with a totally different view that I think a lot of us didn’t even consider.

I, for one, really like to hear the AP’s point of view in our discussions. It makes me a better host mom, and a better LCC.

Mom of only one March 26, 2011 at 12:09 am

Why are we even having such discussion? Why does it have to be only for host parents or only for au pairs? Can’t we have best of both worlds? I was an au pair many years ago and just now welcomed my first au pair to take care of my newborn and don’t understand the discussion. The concerns au pairs bring to the website make us think deeper about what we do and how we deal with them. I get the impression those who say they don ‘t want to see au pairs concerns here are the same host parents au pairs have problems discussing problems with. It’s not only about you, it will never be.
Just sayin’

anonmom March 26, 2011 at 7:30 am

Wow, I am just shocked that the discussion was taken down. If it was too close to home, for some, then they needn’t read it. It is a very real problem for many in the HF/AP relationship. I always gain great insight from reading responses, I neither have to agree or disagree with them, but they always reveal the human condition and the way people think, which may be different from my own. While I respect CV’s decision to remove it, I can’t say I agree with it. The plain fact that it made people uncomfortable is, in my view, all the more reason why it should remain. Should we not have discussed the ‘period’ issue, or use of drugs, because those, too were ‘close to home’? Just my .02.

StephinBoston March 26, 2011 at 8:45 am

I tend to agree with you anonmom, some discussions are not “pleasant” but worthwhile.

EuroGirl March 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Having been an au pair three times, I feel like I have a lot to say about a lot of different au pair/host family issues – and I love that as an ex-au-pair, I feel welcome on this site and like the discussions – seeing each others points of view and having a laugh (and occasionally shedding a tear) over my memories from those times…

Reading some of the comments this thread is the first time I ever really felt not welcome on the site…

Gianna March 26, 2011 at 5:43 pm

At the end of the day, CV is the one who puts in the most time and energy and she gets to make the editorial decisions. What I thought to be the greatest advantage of the thread that was taken down is that the aupair , who seemed very decent and mature, was asking for advise from mature, adult woman : host mothers. What I heard was a consensus of smart support for the host mother. Ideally, an aupair should be able to go to her LCC with troublesome issues but as we all know , a great many LCCs fail miserably in the support department. My eyes and ears have really been opened , thanks to this site , as to how poorly equipped most LCCs are to do their jobs. I think the worst thing that could happen would be for the aupair who started the thread to be forced to rely on the counsel of her aupair friends or perhaps the well meaning host mother of a friend. But I do not know the reason that folks asked to have the post deleted and I respect CV’s good judgement. We know very few details about the story and revealing them could cause enormous pain.

Anna March 27, 2011 at 9:14 am

I hear all the posters who disagreed with me. I don’t think I said I don’t want to hear au pair’s point of view. I do, and it is useful. It is a subjective feeling of proportion, that’s all.
About feeling welcome – it goes both ways. I have been here from the beginning and got my good portion of being bashed by vitriolic au pair posters, more than once. I don’t want my au pair to find this blog and read what I post, because I don’t do much here to hide my identity, and I too need a place to come for advice.

cv harquail March 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Hi All-

I’m sorry that there was some discomfort about this post, up or down!

It might have helped if I’d been a bit more explicit about why I took down the post, but had I been more more explicit I might have revealed the identity of the OP to the people in her community. She was afraid that she might get in trouble with her agency for having brought the issue up in a ‘public’ forum. Whether she was right or wrong, it was her concern, and so I wanted to honor it. My plan is to revise the post so we can continue the conversation, but I just haven’t gotten to that yet.

It’s interesting to hear the concern about the relative amount of issues from an Au Pair’s point of view vs. a host parent’s. I haven’t actually been keeping tabs (though perhaps I should), so I don’t know what an empirical assessment would say about the actual ratio and if it’s shifted over time. But, I do know that people read blogs with very personal goals, looking to find what they need in the form in which they need it. Some of the posts featuring au pairs’ points of view may just not feel right when a host parent has a pressing concern. The loneliness of being a host parent can be exacerbated when not even the g.d. host mom blog is talking about what host moms need! ;-)

Also, some of you many not know that for quite a long time I resisted having any au pairs’ voices at all — I didn’t want au pairs to hijack this place for host parents, and I certainly resented the au pairs who came to comment with their own axes to grind. I was eventually persuaded, though, by the many thoughtful contributions of au pairs who sincerely wanted to do a good job, wanted to resolve issues, wanted to be part of their families, and wanted to learn and grow.

I have really learned a lot from hearing the problems au pairs experience with us host parents and with the job itself. There are several parties in the au pair-host family relationship, and I think it benefits us host parents when we can learn from the au pairs too. I have learned a lot from you host moms and dads who’ve taken very different approaches towards an au pair’s dilemma, seeing your skills, experiences, insights and assumptions unfold in advice to the au pairs.

Plus, sometimes I’m distressed (shocked, amazed) at what some other host parents put their au pairs through, and I want to give us host parents a chance to show these au pairs that all host parents aren’t like the parents they have, and that another family could be better.

Yeah, I know I should update the blogrolls … and so much more … this is all on my mind. The one thing that makes me rest easy though, in the long spaces between posts, in that gap between intentions and what can actually get done, is that you host moms and dads and au pairs who make up this community just keep it rolling. You keep sharing ideas and advice (with or without help from me and any given post)! You rawk.

AZ HM March 31, 2011 at 1:43 am

Seemed a good time to say “thank you” CV for all you do to create, maintain, and facilitate this community so that host parents and APs have a supportive space to communicate and learn to be better in our relationships. I don’t post very often, but I do check in often and find this site extremely valuable. Thank you!!!

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