New Year’s Eve Thanks

by cv harquail on December 31, 2010

Some New Year’s Eve thank you thoughts:

Thank you to all of you host parents who are staying in tonight, so that your au pairs can go out on the town.

Thank you to all of you au pairs who are staying in tonight, so that your host parents can go out on the town.


Thank you to all of you host parents and au pairs who are celebrating the New Year together.

May we all awake tomorrow, refreshed and renewed!


PA AP mom December 31, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Our AP went to Denver to ski for a week and is in San Antonio tonight to celebrate New Year’s with her “old” AP friends from before she joined our family.

We were reluctant to let her go because our kids were out of school the whole week, but she does a great job the rest of the time so we arranged back up care and let her go.

We are staying in with friends and family!

Happy New Year to everyone on!!!

Taking a Computer Lunch January 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm

DH and I found ourselves short on cash and so planned on a special night in and gave our AP the day and night off. We were supposed to have a special family day today, but The Camel tanked and now is on watch for signs of pneumonia.

One of our AP’s friends asked her HF if she would be free on NYE, as several of the gang were off and planned on celebrating together, and the HF said “I don’t know” until the last minute. Such spontaneity can be really hard on APs’ friends as much as APs. I got an earful from my AP, and while I am sympathetic, I do think AP’s should plan on working on NYE and be pleasantly surprised when they don’t.

NoVA Host Mom January 2, 2011 at 1:59 am

Yet another holiday that I was working (ick). Actually, most I don’t mind, except this one. Our AP needed to stay in to watch the kids since both of us are on duty this weekend. It does tend to cramp one’s younger style, I think.

AFhostmom January 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm

“while I am sympathetic, I do think AP’s should plan on working on NYE and be pleasantly surprised when they don’t.”
Totally agree.
NYE was, by far, the biggest point of contention with us this year, and the main reason we are first and last year host parents. The mere SUGGESTION from me that we wanted our au pair to work (in November, with plenty of notice) elicited nasty looks, an attitude for days, and anger that would have gotten me fired or kicked out of my house as a young adult. Or now, for that matter. Ultimately we let her have the night off and told her we expected her to take vacation, but she was also indignant that we couldn’t just “give her the weekend off,” even though she’d already had 3 weekends off in December.
We ended up having a lovely evening with friends, and their kids and ours, in our home, but wow. The stress.

OB Mom January 3, 2011 at 5:43 pm

You really “let her have the night off and told her you expected her to take vacation”? Does her work schedule usually dictate that she work on Friday nights? Don’t most of us get a day or 2 off around NYE and Christmas? I agree that her indignant attitude when you had planned so far ahead is unacceptable, but I’m worried that your solution seems a bit severe.

We ask our APs to take the entire week b/t Xmas and NY as vacation b/c my husband can stay home and take care of the kids M-W and I was off on Th-Fri. That is part of our initial negotiation … one week of their vacation needs to be that week.

I can’t imagine dividing the 2 weeks into days here and there … seems like it would be hard for the AP to enjoy a week away to see the rest of the country. Our AP went to Seattle and Canada and had a great time. Now she’s all refreshed and ready to get back into the routine (generally M-F, with occasional weekend days).

Taking a Computer Lunch January 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm

I’m not one to take a hard line, but if an AP goes ballistic and pouty over a shift, and it’s more trouble than it’s worth to have her work it, then yes, it’s vacation time. I personally don’t interpret the AP “shift” to be the same scheduled hours week after week, and will occasionally stay home on a weekday to have a special night out with DH at the weekend. If DH and I want more than 5 hours on a weekend day, we’ll juggle the AP schedule so her half-day falls during the week (mind you, my AP rarely works more than 5 hours per day, but it’s a split shift, so I’m honoring the spirit of the regulation).

I do recall one particular fight – my attendance at a genetics conference was paid by an organization for which I volunteered, and a former AP went ballistic over a weekend shift (because she wanted to party on a beach and had made plans without looking at the calendar). At the thought of having to strap The Camel into a wheelchair for 8 hours (not to mention getting her to the conference and back via public transport because the AP wanted a car too), I said, “Fine, but it’s a vacation day.” People at the conference were supportive (The Camel has genetic issues), but it was hard to care for a special needs child, take notes, and pay attention in a meaningful way to assist the organization that paid my way. I held my ground on the vacation time despite the subsequent fight (and the AP departed not long afterwards over a series of ongoing issues).

Talya January 3, 2011 at 2:53 pm


Props to those HFs who were generous enough to let their au pairs have the night off! Seriously, I love this.

I am sorry to hear that some au pairs were giving their families a hard time for having to possibly work, however. While I did not like having to work on New Year’s Eve when I was an au pair, the only thing I could legitimately complain about was that my host parents didn’t tell me until the last minute that I had to work (FYI – outwardly I never complained, but inwardly I sure griped!).

The evening turned out not being so bad though, as my host dad let me call back home to the US to wish my family a happy new year, and we had a great dinner with friends of theirs, whom I also adored. I ended up getting to go out after the family returned home and went to bed, so there wasn’t too much partying I missed out on …

In any case, consideration is still important on both sides – it’s best when host families give their au pairs plenty of notice so they can plan accordingly. But it is also nice when au pairs are just as considerate and do their job without whining. Being an au pair is, after all, work!

AFhostmom January 3, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Yes, I most certainly did tell my AP that if she wasn’t willing to work on her scheduled day (NYE), that she’d have to use a vacation day. At the advice of my LCC, who did the same with her AP. Her AP used some of her (weekday) time off to stretch a few weekends (regularly scheduled off) into long weekends, and used the rest as a week. Given that we have 3 busy kids and 2 parents with full time demanding jobs, and our AP hasn’t given us the slightest indication of when she wants to take ANY of her vacation, despite my asking several times, we’ve had to push her into committing to something. ALso, frankly, her attitude and the fact that she went to our LCC and exaggerated (told the LCC we asked her to spend the night alone with the kids, which was plainly false), to elicit sympathy, made me not really want to go above and beyond to let her have every single weekend off in December. She usually DOES have nearly every weekend off, but the main reason we decided to get an AP instead of using day care was for the convenience of being able to go out as a couple and reconnect especially on holidays like NYE and Valentine’s Day. We made this clear to her from the beginning. We also told her that if she wants to exceed her 2 weeks, we will do our best to give her unpaid time off.
When I am scheduled to work and I can’t or don’t want to, I take vacation. Simple as that. When I used to work jobs that had schedules other than M-F business hours, I sucked it up and dealt with it, or took vacation.
As for getting “a day or two off,” read my comment. She had plenty. As a HM, I am beginning to feel like I’m expected to finance someone’s year long holiday in the US, and my kids are merely an afterthought. Not a warm fuzzy when I have to leave them all day.

Melissa January 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I agree that if you told her in advance that she would be scheduled to work New Year’s Eve and she said she didn’t want to, that having her use a vacation day is very reasonable, and actually rather accomodating of you since you could have REQUIRED her to work but didn’t because she put up such a fuss. We had something similar happen with one of our prior APs (not NYE, but another big day) and while our AP did not nearly go so far with the immature behavior, it did really disappoint and frustrate us. It’s funny how those types of things can put a shadow over your view of the AP program.

honeywhite January 3, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Our au pair mentioned about a week ahead that she was planning to go to New York with friends for New Year’s Eve (via about a six-hour bus-ride–yuck!). We had been invited to a neighbor’s house for NYE and knew that we were not going to need babysitting (though it WAS a work day for both me and my husband), so while I knew it would be okay for her to go, I did initially say that I’d have to confirm our plans, in order for her to sweat it for a day or two, and to realize that she couldn’t simply expect to take a few days off out of town around a holiday without checking clearly first that this was okay. I did let her know that she was free to go (and we took our daughter in to work that day, as the office ended up closing early), but that she would need to check with us in advance of making such plans in the future–and all ended up having a really New Year’s Eve!

Should be working January 4, 2011 at 4:26 am

In my view NYE is a much bigger deal for a 19-yr-old than for me, and the AP might only ever spend one NYE in the USA in her whole life, so I would never require her to work that night, and instead would want to be sure she had something fun and safe to do. With the good will we get from our AP for giving her NYE off, DH and I can have some long, relaxed weekend evenings out and lots of gratitude from our AP.

Immature reactions, pouting and drama are, however, not ok reactions on the part of the au pair when it comes to dealing with scheduling conflicts, or any conflicts.

Calif Mom January 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Totally agree. With an early-rising kid, it’s just not fun to stay up late like it used to be. We would rather go out late for a show or something rather than party hard on NYE. Besides, the weather stank this year!

So we supported our AP’s request to go play with au pair friends in a faraway city. She was actually gone for several nights (HD was planning to take vacation time himself, so it didn’t put us out too much, though he didn’t get as much done around the house as he had hoped). It was really nice for us and the kids to have a break, truth be told, after all that joyous togetherness of Christmas. AP had fun, realized that I was right to warn her about certain things, and came back feeling like she owes us one. She also came home with a cold (which I also expected!) :-)

NYE happiness is all about setting expectations early. I can’t imagine how peeved I would be at an AP who didn’t stick with an agreement if we had planned to go out, though. Totally not okay.

Eurogirl January 4, 2011 at 9:57 am

I was only an au pair on new year’s once, and that was last year. My hosts asked me what were my plans and I said I didn’t have any yet (I hate new year’s and it’s not a big celebration where I am from – just a drunken party for most people) and they were quite shocked – they had plans for a family party including children and whilst making it clear that I would be welcome to join them, they made it even clearer that they would be surprised if I didn’t want to go out and see fireworks, attend big celebrations in the city. Which I ended up doing, and enjoyed very much.

I’m surprised it would be considered a family holiday to be honest, I guess maybe the answer is to tackle this one in advance – but the majority of my friends’ hosts took the view that if the au pair works lots of long hours over Christmas they gave them new year free – I think (I was in Germany at the time) new years is seen as more of a young person’s holiday than a family or parent-aged person’s holiday. Maybe it’s different in the states, I don’t claim to know anything about that, but the idea there seemed to be that these celebrations were part of German youth culture and that the au pair should experience it.

Personally I thought at the time I wouldn’t have minded staying home or being with the family – but watching fireworks in surrounding I did, with important monuments lit up in the night turned out to be a fabulous and very memorable part of my year there that I am glad I experienced.

AFHostmom January 4, 2011 at 11:09 am

While the AP may only get to spend one NYE in the US, we as HF’s all have different experiences too. :) This was our first NYE in the US in over 6 years, besides the one year that I was here with my kids while my husband was in the middle east for 15 months. Last time we had a chance to go out on NYE was before our oldest was born, in 2003–and I was 7 months pregnant. Again, we’d made it very clear that we were looking forward to this time together as one of the perks of having a live-in. So there are two sides to every story, and not all HF’s have the same viewpoints, either.

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