Open Thread: Rooting for Rosie

by cv harquail on May 3, 2014


Today’s open thread celebrate’s New Jersey’s Rosie Napravnik, who’s riding Vicar’s In Trouble in today’s Kentucky Derby.

The Derby, and Rosie’s chance to make history, may or may not be on your radar screen for the weekend.  But in our house,  the run up to our annual Derby Party, plus the last week of classes, plus Senior project presentations, plus so. much. gardening. has put me really behind.

Have fun with the open thread!


Image, and a great article, over at the New York Times.


soon-to-be au pair May 3, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Hello Host Families,

I’m going to be starting work as an au-pair in Europe in a few months, and am looking for advice on things I could be doing in the mean time to make my time there more successful. Is there anything you recommend to your future au-pairs prior to arrival – books to read, etc? Or maybe things you wish the agencies would tell au-pairs before they arrive (I know the US has different regulations, but anything in general)? Things that impress you about an au-pair during the first few weeks? Pet peeves to avoid (childcare or house-sharing related)?

I’ve read a lot of the articles on this site which have been fantastically helpful. But any other specific ideas any HFs have would be really helpful – I am really invested in making this year+ work as well as possible, because I have a professional (in my regular non-childcare related career path) relationship with one of the host parents, but mostly because I would like to be as good at my job as possible!

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have!

cv harquail May 4, 2014 at 8:10 am

You all are freaking me out. 23hours and no comments? Is something awry?

WarmStateMomma May 4, 2014 at 8:26 am


NNTexasHM May 4, 2014 at 9:35 am

I have a question that was inspired by a comment from my Italian Au Pair, who is returning to Italy in July. She has been in the states for almost 2 years and came to us in her extension year. While she misses Italy, she told me she is somewhat scared to go back – when I asked why she told me it’s a combination of fearing her friends there have moved on, everything will be different and she doesn’t know what’s next.

This is new to me so I would love to get perspective from the members of this thread, especially Au pairs: have you felt this fear? Was it hard to adjust to home after being away (especially if it was 2 years). If so, what helped you adjust when you returned home?

Traveler May 4, 2014 at 10:07 am

Hej hej, i havent been au apir for 2 years but for year now and before i traveled a lot, by a lot i mean living every three months somwhere else. So i kind of know her feelings she maybe scared that they “forgot” her etc. Actualy with some it maybe true. But iy may sound as a cliche but the true real friend will stay. Anyway after such experience it may not be only her friends who are diferent. I learnd not to worry i always have close circle of friends who are there no metter where and for how lomg i am away these are usualy the one i comunicate with during my travels. But i thiink after such experience where you learn to meet new people tc. Why is she scared tell her to think about everzthing she was trought. She made new friends there etc. It will not be hard for her to make new friends back home to maybe more suitable for her new self

German Au-Pair May 4, 2014 at 11:05 am

This is from an unknown source but it’s true for EVERY au pair (who enjoyed her time in the Us):
A year has past and now we stand on the brink of returning to a world where we are surrounded by the paradox of everything and yet nothing being the same.
In a few weeks we will reluctantly give our hugs, and fighting the tears, say goodbye to people who were once just names on a sheet of paper to return to the people we hugged and fought tears to say goodbye to, before we ever left.
We will leave our best friends to return to our best friends. We will go back to the places we came from and go back to the same things we did last summer and every summer before.
We will come into town on that same familiar road, and although it has been months, it will seem like only yesterday. As you walk into your old bedroom, every emotion will pass through you as you reflect on the way your life has changed and the person you become. You suddenly realize that things that were the most important to you a year ago, don’t seem to matter so much anymore, and the things you hold highest now, no one at home will completely understand.
Who will you call first?
What will you do your first weekend at home with your friends?
Where are you gonna work?
Who will be at the party on Saturday night?
What has everyone been up to on the past few months?
Then you start to realize how much things have changed, and you realize the hardest part of being an Au Pair is to balance the two completely different worlds you now live in, trying desperately to hold on to everything while trying to figure out what you have left behind.
We now know the meaning of true friendship. We know who we have kept in touch with over the past year and who we hold dearest to our hearts.
We’ve left our worlds to deal with the real world.
We’ve had our hearts broken, we’ve fallen in love, we’ve helped our best. There have been times when we’ve felt so helpless being hours away from home when you know your family or friends needed you the most, and there have been times when we know we have made a difference.
A few weeks from now we will leave.
A few weeks from now we will take down our pictures and pack up our clothes. No more going next door to do nothing for hours on end.
We will leave our friends whose random emails and phone calls brought us to laughter and tears this summer, and hopefully years to come.
We will take our memories and dreams and put them away for now, saving them for our return to this world.
A few weeks from now we will arrive.
We will unpack our bags and have dinner with our families. We will drive over to our best friend’s house to do nothing for hours on end. We will return to the same friends whose random emails and phone calls have brought is to laughter and tears over the year.
We will unpack old dreams and memories that have been put away for a long time.
In a few weeks we will dig deep inside to find the strength and conviction to adjust to change and still keep each other close.
And somehow, in some way, find our place between these two worlds.
Are you ready?

MommyMia May 4, 2014 at 11:52 am

That was beautiful and should be shared with all au pairs. You have such insight and wisdom that I’m sure you learned and contributed much during your AuPair year(s)!

German Au-Pair May 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm

This is not by me unfortunately. It’s been known in the AP community for quite a while but there’s no source anywhere to be found. It’s true for everyone of us though and I hardly know an au pair who can read it without crying.

NNTexasHM May 4, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Thank you for sharing – I will definitely pass that along.

spanishaupair May 4, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Wow that was reallybeautifull and almost made me cry.
Last months on my second year and will have to return home. And i also have the feared described by who asked the question, just real friends will remain but new ones will come, thats what happens when just choose to live abroad for some time.
Also will miss too much all this here, specially my kids who i just spent the las two years with.

German Au-Pair May 4, 2014 at 12:29 pm

I can also recommend reaching out to people from other cultures. Maybe you find (American) exchange students at your uni or the uni near by. Maybe you find people who au pair in your country who are either close by or would appreciate doing a fun activity with a local. I still have elements of cultural exchange in my life and that also really helps with coping.

spanishaupair May 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Thanks for the tip :) I will try to find someone related to ireland whre im an aupair and good is not so far away and can always come back.
Spain is not so much on aupairs apart from sending to other countries, but probably some international students

exaupair May 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm

German Au-Pair@thank you for sharing this lovely post, didn’t make me cry though because I can’t quite identify myself with it.

Having read that, I am asking myself was I the only person who had absolutely no intention to go back?
I wasn’t afraid of returning home because it was never an issue in the first place, although it has never been brought up with neither my family nor friends, hardly any ties with my home country helped quite a bit too.
As for all those people I left behind? I stay in touch with some of them, cut off few others, after all, regardless where you live, there will be some people about, so there is a good chance of creating new memories.

German Au-Pair May 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Well if you never had the intention of coming back, then it doesn’t apply to you. For me there was never just the thought of staying in the US. Curious, if you planned on staying, how did you plan? Changing to a student visa? Getting married?
If you had ni intention of going back to your home country then settling into your life in the US has a totally different purpose than what normal au pairs have. For most of us it’s building a life out of nothing and then leaving it behind to return to the old one.
For me there was this distinct moment late in my first year and finally the life I had in the US didn’t feel like a life that I borrowed from my HP but like it was really my life now. Coming back from that is hard, especially because you know it will be gone forever. You never had to face those problems.

I do disagree with the “there will be some people about” though. Of course one has to make do with what the circumstances offer but I do have friendships that I’ve treasured for years now. Childhood friends whom I have known for 20 years already, some have been estranged for a while in between but the cicumstances have allowed us to find each other again and it’s like nothing has ever changed. I am sure that I have friends who will be my friends until we’re old and grey, no matter where in the world we’ll end up. Because talking to them is always easy and always like coming home. Finding new friends is great and exciting but it’s never quite the same as what you have with those special few. But to them, neither time nor distance matters anyways.

exaupair May 4, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Ah, I’m sorry, I should have been more specific, I was an AP in Europe, never needed a visa and work permits, so it was all super easy. I have initially applied for the AP program during my year out of the business I normally work for, because it was my only chance to look after children without any degree and experience. I wouldn’t have been able to work like that otherwise, because what I do for a living has nothing to do with childcare so no one would even consider employing me.
My choice of destination was based on the languages I spoke and the fact my boyfriend lived there – I ended up with HF just 10 miles from his house. I wanted to see if it gets serious enough between us. I was lucky enough not having to build the new life out of nothing because I already had something.

As for all those things I left behind, I’m in my mid twenties and during the time I’ve been given so far I’ve made hundreds of meaningless relationships which I brushed off within a heart beat and never looked back, but for the fraction of people who actually do matter I am always there, even if I’m not next door anymore.

MaleAuPairInTexas May 4, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Well I am not going back to my home country too, my au pair year ends in august but I was offered a a great job opp here, so I will be in a work visa :-), btw I have been following this website for a year now, it helped me a lot to be a good au pair!! Thanks CV for the great website and thanks to all the great hf and au pairs here that provided me great info.

German Au-Pair May 4, 2014 at 11:17 am

From my personal experience I can say that it depends on the circumstances under which you left. Leaving right after High School means you will have to go through the same thing everyone goes trough: who will be close enough to you to still be your friend when you don’t see each other every day anymore? Who can still be your friend even when you lead totally different lives.

I didn’t leave right after High School and my friends and I had already done this phase. Some had moved to different parts of the country and some didn’t. I managed to keep in touch with them through a distance before I even came to the US so me leaving was just like what they’d done before. I came home and everything was the same. In the long run I grew apart from one friend who couldn’t see that friendship is not about quantity but quality but I had expected that it might be this specific friend whom I might lose and it was okay. I’m sad it came to that but we just grew apart and that’s okay.
Other than that I can say I am surprised about how little trouble I had. I expected to be miserable for months because I moved back in with my parents, I am not as adult as I was in my HP’s home. I have maybe 1/8th of the space I had in the US. It didnÄt bother me a bit. It helped a lot that I was able to start something new -university- that actually helps me to move forward my future. My friends are all open to me talking about the US, sometimes they might be annoyed but they understand. I think real friends understand -or will at least tell you to please stop talking about it so much straight forward.
What helps me with homesickness is an attitude to look forward. I miss the US, I loved my time there and it means so much to me. But you need to live in the now, not in the past. Your past has shaped you but your present is what matters. I love looking back to it because it gave me so much but I think of it as a part of me and not something I desperately need to go back to. Plus I always make myself aware that realistically, what I miss is not the country itself but the time with the people, the personal and financial freedom you experience as an au pair. I miss the cultural exchange with all the au pairs, I miss having so much money just to spend on travelling and having little responsibilities when it comes to working towards your future. That’s something I couldn’t have back even if I was in the US now, so I make myself understand that just like a vacation, this great time had to come to an end. I value being able to study and do something that is beneficial towards my future. On the other hand I also allow myself to find expensive American food and watch my favorite American TV shows to make me feel a bit like home. It’s all about balance and attitude.
That’s also what helps with friends…if you tell them about the good times and show that you’re grateful for having experienced that, they’re much more likely to enjoy your stories than when you’re constantly whining about how bad you want to go back.

So my tip: do something new and fun that you can count towards being only in your new life and try to develop an attitude that has values the past but looks towards the future.

German Au-Pair May 4, 2014 at 11:18 am

P.S. it was two years for me, too. But when you have good friends, two years is the same as one. And the ones that aren’t such good friends don’t go with a hurtful bang, you just mutually realize it’s not the same anymore -and that would’ve happened even without you going to the US.

Seattle Mom May 5, 2014 at 12:29 am

I was in the Peace Corps for two years, and then returned to my parents’ house. I was 22 and a recent college graduate when I left, and 24 when I returned. So in some ways similar to the au pair experience. I don’t think I was scared to go home, I was excited to get on with my life. I think part of the excitement for me was that I knew I would be able to reconnect with many of my American Peace Corps friends back in the States- since I was going back to NYC, and there were a few other people moving there. So I had my old friends, and some new ones too.

Returning wasn’t always easy. I did find it hard to connect with most of my older friends because they hadn’t lived overseas before, and definitely not in Africa. And like many New Yorkers, they had that attitude that NY is the be-all end-all, and there’s no reason to ever leave and live elsewhere. I felt that I now had proof it wasn’t true, that there were important experiences to be had elsewhere- and it was hard realizing that my friends had no interest in these experiences. But the great thing about coming home to a big world class city was that there were lots of opportunities to meet like-minded people, and I got involved with the local returned peace corps group, and met lots of internationally-minded people. I started work at a law firm and because of my experience I was allowed to work on some pro-bono asylum cases.

So based on my experience, I would say that in all likelihood YOU the au pair, has changed more than your friends back home. And that might be the hard part. You have had this transformative experience, and your friends and family might not recognize or value that. They may not understand what you have been through. They think you had a nice vacation, or worked with kids, isn’t that nice. They don’t realize the profound experience it is to live in another culture, learn another language, and actually work with people who are so different. So you might need to seek out people who understand- either other returned au pairs, or people who have lived overseas. Maybe in Europe it is not this way, because you are more international because of the geography & everyone can travel within the EU easily. I don’t know. But I imagine that for most people, this will be the big challenge.

Another thing that is gratifying to do after you return is to help people who want to follow in your path. Mentor someone who is applying to be an au pair, or who wants to live in the US as a student. One of my former au pairs was an agent for CCAP for a while, and interviewed AP candidates.

AussiePair May 4, 2014 at 10:00 am

I’m not going home for another 7 months and I’m already scared to go home, and I know a bunch of other au pairs who feel the same. It’s a combination of being scared that everything has changed so much, and fearing that everything has stayed the same yet you have changed so much. I feel like everyone will just want me to “fit” back into the life I had, but now I’m a different person who might not be able to.

I’m really not sure what I’m going to do, and I’m sure it will all be fine, I guess we just have to reassure ourselves that our family and friends will love us no matter what, and that change is actually a good thing, no matter how hard or scary. If we can thrive while being away from home for 2 years in an unfamiliar place, there’s nothing that will be thrown at us that we can’t handle!

caring hp May 4, 2014 at 10:04 am

After returning “home” spending extended periods in either developing or other developed countries, sometimes I felt I had moved on from people at “home” or visa versa but more often than not, after quality time catching up the old relationships with close family and friends were as good as ever. Sometimes I found it was the people who are less deeply connected who drift.

I would suggest APs going home should be sensitive and not be seen to be bragging about fun overseas experience when meeting up with old friends and relatives who might have liked to have traveled, but didnt have opportunities.

WestMom May 4, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Great point about ‘bragging’ (I don’t think it’s bragging but may feel like that to other people!). I too left my home country in my early twenties, and I had so many thing to tell when I came back home after a year. Sometimes it’s not even about retelling one’s adventures, but adding to a conversation (‘Well in the USA, they do it like that!”). There is so much to tell, but unfortunately, the audience is not always that patient…

curious hp May 4, 2014 at 10:50 am

CV in chatting with several APs and HPs I got the impression we would find it helpful to have a survey on rematch and early departure rates. The agencies conceal or gloss over real rates and sometimes leave aps and hps thinking they are one of the only ones a certain situation happened to.

From our own friends experiences and those of our aps, I think the # of matches that “do not reach their contractual end date” is VERY high.

This is good info to keep in mind in deciding whether to join or stay in AP program, good info for a rematching hp or ap to know so they dont feel inadequate.
Suggested survey questions to run good indicative data are:
# of aps you hosted if u are a hf
# of hfs you worked with as a formal match or on a temp agency unofficial filler placement while they or u awaited a placement as both figures help this analysis
# of your aps who left due to rematch and went to another hf
# of your aps who left but didn’t go to a new hf (typically meaning they got a career job , University placement, had an illness or personal situation impacting ap or ap family back home, or ran off and got married etc etc).
A friend ran an informal survey at an ap community event a couple of years back and we had a group of aps and hps there. 2 aps and 1 hp in the group were sad and questioning themselves because of rematch or needing to leave early to start college. The informal survey at that event revealed 60-70% of the aps and hfs there had experienced these situations for 1 of the reasons above in the prior 12 months at least once.

I also suggest a question to flag more unusual situations. … like “do u tend to select shorter term or rematch aps if possible”. Some families do this and seek out rematches to cover short periods like a parent deployment or out of town contract where the remaining parent needs help, or kids school summer vacation or because they dont want to get too attached.

Should be working May 4, 2014 at 2:04 pm

When we lived abroad, as a family, for a year we had the same problems as listed in the post about au pairs returning home. It is so hard to come “home” and feel like you have changed so much but the old places and people haven’t changed much. But it does mean that you belong to the club of “world citizens”, people who have done that and have had that experience, so that means you sort of recognize people who have lived elsewhere and had that, like you have.

4th time lucky?! May 4, 2014 at 7:35 pm

I haven’t been an aupair but have travelled extensively and lived abroad (still do in the way that I am not native here but consider this home now) in 3 countries by myself and with partner/ kids. Culture shock also kicks in when you go home. The first time I went back to my home country after 1 year overseas I had a very difficult time adjusting, missing lifestyle, new friends, having difficulty with the language, not even remembering where the lightswitches are (different height, quite confusing when you’re searching in the middle of the night in the dark). Moving between different countries got easier over time but the first few weeks/ months are always hard. Moving around a lot and building up a life in different locations also means you’re leaving a lot of different sets of friends behind and there is more people and aspects about each country to miss.
One thing I absolutely notice, and a close friend in a similar situation (parents from 2 nationalities, born and brought up in a third country, moved to a fourth with family, then on by herself, back to her parents’ home country, and finally back to join the family in the place she lived as a child): If you’ve travelled, lived overseas, and experienced this different life, there is a lot of restlessness and a constant ‘the grass is greener’ feeling. Happy where we are but somewhat unsettled and wondering if the other place isn’t better for us after all… It’s an awesome experience and the “club of world citizens” is indeed special but sometimes I envy those who haven’t done it and are just simply content with what they know and have seen, because they don’t know what they are missing out on.

NNTexasHM May 5, 2014 at 10:54 am

4th Time Lucky – I appreciate your feedback as well!

NNTexasHM May 4, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Thank you Should Be Working for your insight – I will definitely share that thought!

Momto3Americans May 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm

New topic…

We made the tough decision to find a new AP and go into rematch. This was about 3 – 4 weeks ago. Since then I heave reached out to many AP candidates and received a few responses (what is with not even answering an introductory e-mail!). I recently had an interview with a great candidate who checks all the boxes and I think could be the exact match for our “crazy house”. My issue is that since we decided to go into rematch I stopped caring so much about the little things that were driving me mad as I took the “it will all be over soon” mentality. But since I have taken this mentality my current AP has started a real relationship with the kids. It still isn’t what we would like it to be but it is better than it was. Also she has started to spend a little more time at home but has not yet become the part of the family that we were hoping for. She still shows no interest in what the kids do outside of her hours which is my big thing. I want someone who will be a member of the family and want to experience our family – not just babysit during the week then switch off after hours and on the weekend. We really like the AP as a person but feel she is a little too “independent” for what we are looking for.

So now I am having second thoughts at actually changing AP. I feel like maybe I am not giving our current AP a chance (although she has been here since Jan). Maybe it is the rematch “guilt’s”? I hate that this will mean she has to find a new family because what if she doesn’t find another family. I want our current AP to have a great year too but so far we are not experiencing the year we signed on for.


German Au-Pair May 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Question: how many hours does she work every week?

Always Hopeful HM May 4, 2014 at 8:37 pm

I may be the lone voice of dissent here, but I think if the relationship is not what you were looking for, and you don’t think it will get there, continuing with the rematch makes sense. There are many different ways to view “part of the family” and even different ways to view different actions. For example, both of our au pairs spent most weekends away.but, it just felt different between the two. Au pair one felt more like a boarder or possibly roommate, while au pair two feels more like a young adult for whom friends are king (as I suspect it is with most kids/adults that age). So, the first felt more like a rejection of us, and the second more like how he probably was at home with his own family.

My point is that you know how your situation feels, and how that comports with what you want for your family. While you can try to adjust your expectations, if you truly desire a situation that looks one way, and you end up with something somewhat less than, you will be disappointed (and probably feel guilty that you are disappointed, because you “should” want less), and your au pair will be in a losing position as well. Even if she is doing a good job as an au pair, it will never be good enough because her personality or approach just doesn’t match your needs. Why not give her he chance to find a family who wants her, as she is? Granted, there is a risk for you both that you won’t find just what you are looking for, but you at least have this experience to further refine your understanding of what you mean when you say part of the family, and to search with that new understanding in mind.

Good luck!

Momto3Americans May 4, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Thanks for all the input. I really do appreciate it.

We are not officially in rematch. Since there are no in country candidates at the moment our agency has recommended we wait to give her notice until we find the right one. We have been through a “mediation” process with the agency reaching out to her and chatting to her about appropriate AuPair behavior (i.e. timeliness and respectfulness). I think the agency were kind of surprised at some of the entitlement that seemed to be happening.

My thing is just that we are now 4 months in and only have 8 months to go. Although we would not extend her for another year we do care about where she goes from us. And I suppose that it didn’t seem like such a difficult decision to make before we found a candidate that seemed so right.

I have always been a AVID supporter of the AuPairs having a wonderful experience year and finding themselves and new friends on this journey. This is all about fun! BUT I also think that just as important is the experience this is for the family too. This is OUR year too – our year to welcome a young person into our lives and family who will be a part of our family forever. Someone who I hope my kids will talk about for the rest of their lives – and someone that I hope we remain in constant contact with when their AuPair experience is over. A friend has an AuPair visiting soon for a big family event. The AuPair is bringing her new family with her. This is what I want in the future from our families AuPair experience!

Momto3Americans May 4, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Sorry I wasn’t clear… The friends FORMER AuPair is coming to visit and the AuPair is bringing her BIOLOGICAL family (the AuPair is now a mother)…

I just reread that and it totally didn’t make sense! Sorry!

Momto3Americans May 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm

She works between 40 and 45 hours a week.

spanishaupair May 4, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Working full time makes it more difficult to want to spend family time. Everybody needs a break of work, and living in your job and it being minding children makes it more difficult, specially with young kids that dont understand the being on/of duty and ask all time for playing and having fun

exaupair May 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm

40-45hrs is a full time job, after the whole day looking after 3 kids, the only thing I would dream about would be a going out for few drinks or a quiet me-time in my bedroom. I wouldn’t ignore the kids after my shift was over, but I think I would not want to engage so much in their activities during my time off. IMHO I think I would be just the AP from your worst nightmares, i.e. time off means I am actually off :-)

I don’t believe your AP slightly changed her relationship with your children because of the rematch guilt – right now she’s bound to be gone, nothing will change at this point so there’s nothing she can do. I’m sure she genuinely likes them and wants to finish her time with you on a high note.

Don’t be afraid she will end up going home, being independent might not work for your family, but is she was a good AP in general she will find someone who will appreciate what she has to offer, like for example giving the family some space instead of being around them every waking hour, which is also needed sometimes.

Momto3Americans May 4, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Thanks for your thoughts. I do want to explore all options.

We want her to make friends and to have activities outside of our home. That what the program is all about. But the program is also about becoming the member of the host family. Recently she has been spending Friday night through Sunday night (late) out. She stays at friends houses etc. I would just love a little activity with our family that isn’t all work. But the family time is, of-course, not the only issue that we have confronted – it is just one of the bigger ones.

Should be working May 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Momto3Americans: What are the “little things” that you have recently let go? How is she with the kids when she is working, does she have a good relationship with kids, do they like her, and is she reliable and safe and fun? When you matched had you discussed expectations about time off work and what “member of the family” means to you and her? What were her reactions when you first brought up rematch and when you decided for sure (most agencies require mediation)?

If she’s good with kids while she works, and reliable, pleasant and a good (responsible) housemate, I wouldn’t rematch. 45 hrs with the kids is a lot. If she’s giving the kids what they need, maybe the parents’ hopes for a real off-hours family member can be disappointed this time around.

Momto3Americans May 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Please excuse typos… Typing from my phone!

The little things are not completing weekly tasks during the week, telling her (for the 25th time) to not use diaper cream when changing our child unless a rash is noted, her assumption that we will pay her early because she wants to buy something new, not notifying us until 1130pm that she will indeed be home that night and we should leave the door open, and being late (albeit not much late) for 70% of shifts even though we have made it very obvious this is not acceptable, coming home from work at lunch to find her watching tv (baby was napping) then her asking me to stay with the baby whilst she goes to start a load of childrens washing as soon as the baby woke up (I work from home).

We were VERY clear that we wanted someone to very actively participate in our family….

Thanks for asking… I hadn’t put it on paper before and this was a great exersize. There is more but a little more detailed – I just went I over the basics.

Should be working May 4, 2014 at 7:51 pm

So if she’s not doing her job or sticking to basic guidelines, and has not improved with correction, then THAT would be reason to rematch. But I don’t think you can expect the next AP to for sure have the family-feel you want if you have a 40+ hr schedule.

Skny May 4, 2014 at 7:55 pm


HRHM May 5, 2014 at 12:23 am


She’s 20ish. Did you want to hang out with your family at that age? I didn’t. So, except for maybe a dinner out (paid for by you) when she hasn’t got other plans, I don’t think most APs will interested in hanging out with the family after working 40 hours. So that expectation, you may find hard to have met, regardless of rematching.

The other stuff – totally grounds for rematch. Keep moving in that direction.

LondonMum May 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Without causing offence, I do think it is a bit harsh to expect someone who has worked 40-45 hours in a week to then spend their free time also with your family. I would expect that she wanted to spend a year in US to go out and experience things. I’m sure she is very fond of your children but everyone needs a break and although she probably does feel “part of the family”, you are actually not her family and I’m sure her own family at home is very different, as all families are. I would rejoice in the fact that she is independent and not “needy” as that is much worse, if you have also done a 45 hour week, you would not want to come home to a needy AP.
I wonder, is this your first AP and if not, have any other APs spent their free time with your family, because personally, I would think this was a bit unusual for a young person. If it is your first AP, are your expectations reasonable and fair?

If your kids like her and she does a good job to the best of her ability, maybe you should cut her some slack and allow her to enjoy the free time she has!

Good luck with your decision.

German Au-Pair May 4, 2014 at 6:41 pm

All the things you just mentioned can add up to grounds for rematch if you want them to, I’m sure. However, if you feel like finding a new person is too stressful and she otherwise has a good relationship with your children, and does her work well, maybe you could reconsider.
The family-member thing is complicated. I didn’t work that many hours so can’t say how I’d feel after that. I can say I would definitely show up to special things like dance recitals -unless something really special is planned that day. But spending all your time with children is exhausting, even if you love it and them. Sometimes it’s not so much about not wanting to spend time with the family but rather needing to recharge. Children are loud and when you live where you work they’re also always there. When they are younger they also don’t realize when you’re off. A young adult want to spend time on her own, wants to experience things.
I am not sure if this applies to your situation but I can also imagine that leaving the house all weekend -if not due to reasons like a bf- is a way of escaping that limbo between being on and off. When you are around, you cannot ignore the children, obviously, and many HP have said (and rightfully so) that they kind of expect the AP to jump in when things get really busy on family outings -which I imagine can happen quite a bit with 3 young children. So obviously, as an AP, you wouldn’t want to sit there and do nothing and watch mom and dad handle all three children being difficult, but you’re also off and really want to re-charge after a long week full of work. Easiest way of avoiding this is to avoid getting in that situation and just leaving.
So again, I’m not sure if this could be the case for you, I would also make sure that when you do spend family time (be it with this AP or a new one) that YOU are in charge of the children completely and make a point of telling that to both the children and the AP. Of course there are emergencies but in general, when she spends time with your family during her off time, it should be just fun for her (and you) and not additional work with parents present.

4th time lucky?! May 4, 2014 at 7:20 pm

We had a similar situation with our last aupair (minus the other issues mentioned) and it drove me crazy. We hadn’t been really clear about how much family involvement we wanted – neither to her nor us, but it showed us that we wanted more of a family member than, as another aupair once described it, a “taxi aupair” (just drives kids around and is otherwise uninvolved in family matters).

Our aupair didn’t go out that much but spent all her time off in her room; it got increasingly worse over time with her actively avoiding us (leaving the living room as soon as someone else came in). It was apparently her way to deal with some unhappiness about the situation and she decided to initiate rematch/ leave which we were quite happy despite all the upheaval: we felt very uncomfortable with her behaviour but the decision was taken out of our hands. (just FTR we tried to talk and resolve but I think at that point she had already made up her mind)

Now, our aupairs don’t work 40+ hours and I can understand and agree with the comments that after being with the kids for that length of time you just want to get out of the house / away from it all. But I also think YOU have to be happy with the entire situation not just the childcare side of things. And I think it is not unreasonable to expect some family interaction, to ask her, eg. to join you at outings once a month.
Do you usually have meals together?

exaupair May 4, 2014 at 7:47 pm

The need of having a true family member instead of just a girl who lives in your house, eats your food and looks after your child can easily turn against you, and you might end up with a very needy AP who won’t leave you alone.

As for leaving the house for the whole weekend, it’s hard to draw a line between life and work when you work where you live. Jumping in when HM needs help is just common courtesy when living with other people, however some APs are simply being taken for granted. I’m sure you’ve read horror stories about APs expected to start doing their job whenever they leave the bedroom. At some point jumping in stops being what it should be, i.e. occasionally offering assistance when the parent needs help. Jumping in too often is pretty much doing overtime you’re not being paid for.
I’m not saying you are one of those sad stories, but have you thought that your AP wants to avoid being taken advantage of?

Angie host mom May 5, 2014 at 2:42 am

We’ve had au pairs on every point on the range on this one. Ones who didn’t do anything without the family, ones who didn’t hang with us much at all.

If you want them to spend time with you outside of work hours, make sure you are inviting them to join you doing things they like to do. This varies by person, of course. If you had a teenage daughter you wanted to hang with the family on the weekend and she was into theme parks you’d buy a pass to the local theme park for the family and go with her once in a while. If she was into shopping you’d hit the mall once in a while and buy her a present.

It’s not all about money either, make a dinner she likes and she’ll probably join you. Make a breakfast she likes on Saturday and knock on her door and let her know it is ready. Invite her ice skating or picnicking in the park.

If she’s working 45 hours a week, she does need downtime away from the kids… but she can still hang out sometimes and she will if what you are doing is better than her alternatives!

Skny May 4, 2014 at 7:53 pm

I will repeat I (as a host mom) don’t believe a typical Au pair will want to work 45hs and spend her free with kids. What does being part of the family means when you are all together on her time off? Does she need to assist as needed? As in… If a child asked for water or help in the bathroom would you be annoyed if she didn’t help? If kids are fighting or all over the place during family time, would you expect her to assist just for a little? Or would you be ok if she was just watching you handling with kids and relaxing?
As much as they do love the kids (most of the time), they are not their kids… And if I (the mom) need a break from the kids (and love when my husband takes them out of the house so I can relax), I can only expect my Aupairs need a break too.

NJmama May 4, 2014 at 8:45 pm

I wonder if the spending time with the family part would matter as much to Momto3Ams if the au pair was on time and did all the other things the HM asked her to do. In the past, depending on the au pair, I have sometimes thought things would go more smoothly if the au pair showed more of an interest in the kids outside of working hours. But in those cases there was always other, bigger issues going on. Once the kids have established a good relationship with the au pair whether or not she is in the house all the time doesn’t really matter if she’s doing a good job.
I think if you have already agreed to a rematch it may be better to cut the cord. That said, I know it’s scary sometimes – like that saying about the devil you know may be better than the devil you don’t. You have to figure out if the current situation is going to be ok if it continues like this for the rest of her time here or what happens if it gets worse.
One other thing is that I have been in rematch situations where suddenly the au pair turns into Mary Poppins – as so is as we go to rematch the house hasn’t been cleaner, the kids have never been happier. But I think it was bc the LC told the au pair that her job performance during rematch would be considered as she is interviewing other families.

Momto3Americans May 4, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Thanks for all the input. I really do appreciate it.

We are not officially in rematch. Since there are no in country candidates at the moment our agency has recommended we wait to give her notice until we find the right one. We have been through a “mediation” process with the agency reaching out to her and chatting to her about appropriate AuPair behavior (i.e. timeliness and respectfulness). I think the agency were kind of surprised at some of the entitlement that seemed to be happening.

My thing is just that we are now 4 months in and only have 8 months to go. Although we would not extend her for another year we do care about where she goes from us. And I suppose that it didn’t seem like such a difficult decision to make before we found a candidate that seemed so right.

I have always been a AVID supporter of the AuPairs having a wonderful experience year and finding themselves and new friends on this journey. This is all about fun! BUT I also think that just as important is the experience this is for the family too. This is OUR year too – our year to welcome a young person into our lives and family who will be a part of our family forever. Someone who I hope my kids will talk about for the rest of their lives – and someone that I hope we remain in constant contact with when their AuPair experience is over. A friend has an AuPair visiting soon for a big family event. The AuPair is bringing her new family with her. This is what I want in the future from our families AuPair experience!

Momto3Americans May 4, 2014 at 9:23 pm

NJMama – I think you are right. I think we would be far more flexible on the family time issue if it was the right person. I think we really like her – and I think she does like us. But I don’t think we will be happy in this relationship. I think if we don’t rematch then 2014 will be the year that my husband and I will talk about nothing but “should we rematch” as we will ping pong between “things are ok” to “we gotta rematch”.

I will be recommending her when we go into rematch because I think she will work for a different family.

Momto3Americans May 4, 2014 at 9:31 pm

I just realized that every sentence in my reply has “I think” in it… Appalling!

Anna May 4, 2014 at 9:51 pm

I think you feel that your au pair doesn’t feel invested in your family and kids the same way you are in her, and that makes you feel used. She is using you as a hotel, as a base for her social life, as a visa vehicle to get (and possibly stay afterwards) in America, and she doesn’t give a hoot about even doing basic stuff you ask and not even pretending to like your kids.
I had an au pair like that and it feels terrible. The atmosphere in the home is not open and friendly. This should be give and take relationship that both parties benefit, and I felt that I was the give and she was the take, for the most part.

Now we have an au pair who is a partier, and I don’t begrudge her the good times. I am happy that she is happy. We like and respect each other and she genuinely likes my kids. I don’t ask her to spend time with them outside of work. But I know she wouldn’t miss the big stuff like birthdays, and I know she IS interested in what they do when she is not there…

You say you like your au pair as a person… how come, she doesn’t even show you the basic respect by showing up to work on time, or doing her assigned duties? What do you like about her? I need to respect my au pair, and to respect her she has to be mature and hold her own against me, I am not looking to feel like someone’s mom or whip or alarm clock etc. I want to be a partner in caring for my kids and a mentor if she honors me as such

Momto3Americans May 4, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Anna, I like this person because I think she has good intentions and I do think she is a good person. I want her to have a good time. I like to hear when she has done something fun but I just think some things she finds too difficult to change – like getting out of bed on time for work, or remembering which entrance to meet the kids when they are picked up from sports practice (even though she has done the routine several times). I also think that maybe we aren’t the right fit. You meet many people in life and there are some that you would choose to continue a friendship with and others that you just let pass you by (in the flow of life). Doesn’t mean you don’t like those that you let pass by – just means you weren’t impacted enough to grab hold of them.

I know she is intelligent but think she lacks “the smarts” in many areas. There is a difference between being intelligent and responsible!

Anna May 4, 2014 at 10:36 pm

I can’t answer below your answer for some reason… so you want her to have a good time and don’t want her to go back home because of you… I have made this mistake when I was a new host mother too, I let a bad au pair stay too long because I thought about her… instead of thinking what’s best for my kids. She was cold with my young kids and that affected them negatively long after she left.

Putting your kids first, are you doing the best for them by keeping her? Is just “getting by” worth it, the au pair experience was supposed to be a good enriching experience for them, not just a good partying experience for her.

She has good intentions and is not an evil person.. this is not enough to be a good au pair for your family. This is just the basics we expect from any human being. From what you said, I think you may be better off letting her go.

WestMom May 4, 2014 at 11:06 pm

Anna, I think you hit the nail on the head. We are a 45hr family, and have had wonderful APs who genuinely cared for our family. We schedule their hours to overlap with family dinner so that we can have quality time together and get to know each other better. We always appreciate when once in a while AP decides to spend some extra time with us, whether it is attending a soccer game or joining up for Sunday dinner at the in-laws (and not just piggy-backing for a free dinner out).

Whether or not AP decides to spend the weekend elsewhere doesn’t make a difference to me. But I want an AP who makes the effort to integrate in our family. I agree with Anna that when an AP doesn’t make the effort to ‘belong’, I feel somewhat used… We screen for girls who want the same type of relationship we are looking for, and when it doesn’t happen, it makes me question being in the program altogether. If I wanted a caretaker to completely disconnect after hours, I would hire a live out sitter.

I have noticed in our 5yrs in the program that the APs who are close to their family at home tend to want a similar relationship here (the ones who visit grandma every week, or babysit little cousins for fun). Two of our APs asked many questions about how they would be treated in our family (would she meet extended family members? How would she be involved in holidays, etc.). We had amazing years with them and will always consider them as part of of our family. And, I did not find them any more needy than our other APs.

It was much more difficult to develop a deeper relationship with our two APs who had weak family ties. They were much more independent, and were not looking for a family relationship (even though they said they were when they interviewed!).

I think it’s possible to have your cake and eat it too! Screen carefully for APs with strong family ties, ask how much time they spend with family, what they like to do together, how they expect to be included in yours. We are not asking AP to spend every waking moment with our family, but want someone who cares about us :)

Taking a Computer Lunch May 4, 2014 at 9:36 pm

I agree with Skny – to a point. Don’t expect an AP who works 40-45 hours per week to want to spend her free time going to soccer matches and swim meets. We’ve hosted 9 APs in 13 1/2 years and only want actively wanted to do those things – once in a while. They’re young women – they want to be with their friends or have some down time when they’re not working.

There are ways to include your AP who works full-time. Invite her to dinner – knock on her door when dinner is ready. If she’s worked 45 hours, then don’t expect her to feed or help your children – so thank her when she does. Invite her to join you when you eat out as a family. Invite her to your children’s birthday parties. (You might think it’s pro forma – but she wants an invitation – and it’s something for her scrapbook.) When you have older children – then family game night or family movie night are perfect for including a willing au pair.

But – don’t be hurt when she says, “No thank you, I have other plans.”

So, if your AP joined your family in January, and now it’s May, then 1/4 of her year has passed. It’s natural to have cold feet about rematch. However, if she’s not getting her work done because she’d rather get paid to watch TV, then perhaps she wasn’t the best choice for you. (Although to be honest – when my AP was working 45 hours per week, all I asked of her was one or two loads of laundry per week and to wash up the breakfast and lunch dishes – but then again The Camel’s needs were time consuming and even child #2 had therapy to help him overcome the effects of bacterial meningitis.)

Bruna AP2B May 4, 2014 at 10:29 pm

New question.
Actually 2 different topics..

1) To the parents that hosts for many years: how do your children react year after year with a new AP? Is it always good? I know it also depends on their age, but do you think sometime these changes did no good emotionally?

2) I got online some days ago and didn’t make a video yet, my agency reminds me day after day that 80% of the families just select profiles with videos.. Is it really true? Some HFs wont even read my profile because of that?

tks :)

NoVA Twin Mom May 4, 2014 at 11:25 pm

We’ve had five au pairs in three years, and this is the first transition I’m worried about. It will depend on the kids’ ages and circumstances – my kids are three and a half. When the first (and second, who went into rematch soon after her arrival) au pair left, they were too young to understand. When the third left, they seemed to use their nickname for her as the word for babysitter/caregiver. Which probably wasn’t helped by the fact that, coincidentally, the fourth au pair had the same first name as the third one. But they didn’t seem traumatized or anything. The fourth one went into rematch within a week and the kids were sent to Grandma’s until a new au pair could arrive – so there were SO MANY changes right then that fact that the fourth au pair disappeared didn’t really register.

They LOVE our fifth au pair. All of us are really going to miss her. They’ll go visit Grandma for a few weeks again this summer (this time by choice), so that should make the transition less abrupt.

So I would guess that the older the kids, the more likely they’ll be impacted by the change. But the relationship they have with the outgoing au pair will also play a role – if they really liked him/her, then the transition may be harder than if they didn’t care for him/her.

As for the video – that will depend on the family. Personally, as I have a habit of looking at profiles during my lunch break, I don’t view the videos first. I’d have to have the sound off, which would make viewing the video not nearly as meaningful. I look at the letter from the au pair, but really look first at the work experience. (My first criteria is having regularly worked an 8-10 hour day doing SOMETHING. Waitressing even, but something where 8-10 hours of work is required day after day.) Then I move on to other parts of the profile, including pictures and the video.

My husband, on the other hand, is one of the people your agency is describing. He looks at videos first. He WILL skip to another profile if there’s no video. He likes to get a feel for how smooth a candidate’s English is, and what she thinks is important enough to put in a video. (Now, if I tell him specifically to look at a profile that doesn’t have a video, he will… but it’s the video that reels him in to a profile unless I give him another reason to look).

So your agency probably wants to ensure that your profile is seen by both types of people – those that look first at videos and those that look at something else first but do eventually get to the video. That will increase your profile’s exposure, which is what you want while trying to match with a host family!

As for the 80% number, that may be because so many of the profiles do have a video. Even with my “look at the video last” approach, because such a majority of the profiles have videos, chances are that most of the profiles I open have a video, so it will “look” like I’m choosing only profiles with videos!

Seattle Mom May 5, 2014 at 12:56 am

We are on our 4th AP and 3rd year of the program (one rematch). I think the last transition was the first one that was really hard for my older daughter, she was just about to turn five. She clearly didn’t like our new AP at first. She would say that she didn’t like her voice, she would avoid sitting with her or touching her.

I think it was so hard because she was very close with our previous AP, who had a much different style with her. The previous AP was funny and boisterous, and our new AP was much more reserved. But nice, and genuinely liked the kids and wanted them to like her. Our younger daughter hasn’t had a problem adjusting to anyone yet- she’s now 3.

After a few weeks my older daughter started sitting in the new APs lap and seemed to like her. She still occasionally complained that she didn’t like her, but then she would hug her and choose to sit with her. Now, 4 months in, she seems completely fine with our AP and likes her. It just took time.

To be honest, it probably doesn’t help that we weren’t sure about our new AP either, and DD must have picked up on that. She is not our favorite. But she has a lot of good things going for her, so we’re making the best of the year. She is pleasant and has a good attitude.

Angie host mom May 5, 2014 at 2:50 am

The transition is normally harder on the au pair than the kids. We keep in contact with our former au pairs so while there are tears it is not a permanent goodbye and everyone knows it. New au pairs are fun for our kids, they get to “break them in” and show them around and learn about them. New au pairs do have to be careful not to get conned by the kids like a substitute teacher would be – but we try to warn them up front and keep an eye on things.

The video is important. It is a better chance to show who you are than the rest of the profile. Not having a video means to us you didn’t bother to do a video and the other candidates did – maybe that is harsh, but it is how we’ve seen it the last time or two we’ve matched. Before that it was more of an option – but now since webcams are so common it is really not that hard to put together a short video saying hello host family!

We also make videos for au pair candidates to view about us – so that probably impacts my opinion!

Momma Gadget May 5, 2014 at 10:12 am

HI Bruna,

We’ve had 6 APs. How smoothly the transition has gone directly relates to how good a match the incoming AP has been. I always remind the kids that the new AP is just coming in and everything will be unfamiliar to her/him, and that we are counting on them to help the new AP out, and feel welcome in our home. They do get more standoffish as they get older, especially after a great AP’s departure.

Emotionally- People come in and out of our lives all the time.Favorite teachers are left behind each year. Best friends move away or fade into the background when different interests develop. Coaches move on at the end of the season. Important people in our lives die. God willing, parents and siblings are the constants in their lives. I think it helps prepare them a bit for life, makes them appreciate people more in “the now”, and shows them that keeping friends ( local or long distance) requires effort & investment.

Host Mom in the City May 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm

I love this. We’ve had three au pairs and have never had an issue with the transition. Kids are almost 6 and 8 now. I think it does help that they know from the very beginning that we only get a short time with each new person and that we’re going to get to spend time with this person for a year and then the person is going to move on to their next adventure. It also helps that we’ve kept in Skype and package-sending contact with our two that have left. The au pairs are not gone from the children’s lives at all, they’re just not living in our house. It’s one of the things I really like about the program actually.

Now I am concerned about when this one leaves, mostly because we LOVE her, and the kids are really connected with her. They’re old enough this year that they will both be sad, and I imagine that if we do get another au pair, they might have a harder time adjusting. But it hasn’t been a problem yet.

WestMom May 4, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Hi Bruna,
1) I think it might depend on the age of the kids… Mine are 12, 9, 9 and we are expecting AP#6. Every transition has gone very smoothly and the children understand that each year they are lucky to have a new big sister. Each child has developed their own relationship with each AP (and yes, they each have their favorite). We continue to skype, we have traveled to see past APs, and some have been back to visit. I wonder if it might be more difficult with younger children to transition between APs, and perhaps with APs who stay longer with the same family (we have never extended).

2) Out of 6 APs, only one had a video, and it didn’t really help in our decision. I enjoy watching videos, but honestly, they can either help a lot or not at all. If it’s not well crafted and doesn’t make you stand out, I would spend more energy on finding the right photos, and writing a heartfelt letter… But that’s just me ;)

NNTexasHM May 5, 2014 at 12:03 am

Bruna, I have a slightly different perspective. We have had 4 APs. Our first was a mediocre AP. She was very nice and calm and respectful of our home but she could not manage a child (a girl, age 5) and something in my gut told me her driving was “off”. It sure was – she was blind in her left eye which she concealed for a year! My daughter liked her but she sensed that the AP was a pushover. The second we went into rematch within 2 weeks. She lied about driving ability and that was that (especially my experience with the first Au Pair – ps in her next placement the agency did not allow her to go to a family that needed an Au Pair to drive!). I think immediately my daughter could sense this AP was floundering and I also unconsciously kept them a bit separate. The third was nice enough and competent but very independent, did her job and more closed off. She came to us with 5 months left on her 1st year after two other rematches and told us she wanted to extend but I’m pretty sure that was never her intention. Child liked her, still asks about her but the AP went radio silent, I found out later it was because she had lied about having a US boyfriend who she later married (I would not have cared). My child welcomed the fourth who is even more competent, less closed off. We will miss her when she leaves but I am looking forward to a new Au Pair and I expect my daughter to do the same.

In general, our daughter has always welcomed new Au Pairs although there is always a period where she tries to figure out how “on top” of it the Au Pair is. I don’t know that the relationship with the previous AP impacts my child’s attitude towards the new AP as much as how well a new AP can come up to speed in her job and project a competent, strong personality. My personal belief is that kids need to have a reason to respect their caregivers – whether it be APs, teachers, coaches, etc .

HRHM May 5, 2014 at 12:38 am

My DDs are 6 & 9. We’ve had APs since they were 3mos and not quite 3 years. Every year, our transition has gone relatively smoothly. There never seems to be a lot of anxiety or tears about the outgoing AP and the incoming AP’s adjustment is more based on how quickly she takes a position of authority. We had one who never really got there and she was still being brought to tears by the younger child after almost an entire year with us. Current AP got all that under control in less than a week – she still reminds them when she needs to that they may dig their heels in all they want, but in the end, she has to enforce the rules, it’s her job and what’s good for them. I hope the next one is this self-assured!

NNTexasHM May 5, 2014 at 11:00 am

HRHM – hear hear. I think kids respond very well to someone who sets a firm (but gentle) tone. On the flip side, feel insecure around Au Pairs who never “take a position of authority” and the ability to truly bond is impacted. That’s a great phrase and I will remember it for future discussions with potential Au Pairs.

Seattle Mom May 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm

I think there’s a lot to that and it’s part of the problem my older DD has had with our current AP. She has no backbone… I have actually had to push her to get her to enforce rules. I’ve had to very specifically tell her how to get the 3 year old to nap and tell her that she can’t just believe her when she says “I already napped” after she had been in her bed for 20 minutes, and AP didn’t actually see her fall asleep. It was also a struggle to get her to enforce tooth brushing and “no food outside the kitchen.” Meanwhile our previous APs were all stricter than we are. So it has been an adjustment for all of us.

WarmStateMomma May 5, 2014 at 7:52 am

We are hosting AP#2. The transition was smooth, but my child was only 15 months at the time.

We will only consider applications with videos now because we only look at APs from China (for the language skills) and we learned after AP#1 lied outright about driving that many APs from China do this.

Our current agency works with a Chinese agency that gets the APs with a Chinese drivers license to include a clip of them “driving” in their video. It’s pretty obvious who can drive and who cannot. Some clips are so bad we wonder why they include them in the video – if you’re going to lie about being able to drive, don’t offer proof that you can’t drive! One clip showed a young woman driving 2 miles an hour in a parking lot – not on the open road – trembling in fear.

Bruna AP2B May 5, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Thanks everyone for the answers!
I’m already prepared for the “adjustment” to be someone new in the kids lives! I know time heals everything eventually :)

As for the video, as soon as I have time I’ll make one, it was a relief though that one family contacted me at my second day online, some friends had a difficult time waiting for the first contact.. it makes you more secure that you’re doing it right ;)

WarmStateMomma May 5, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Best of luck to you, Bruna!

Host Mom in the City May 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Forgot about the video question. So I may be in the minority, but the video factors not even a little bit in my decision. Actually, I think 2 of my 3 didn’t even have videos, but I can’t remember either way. I have ruled people OUT because of the video (e.g., video of the au pair straight reading her letter obviously to hide poor English skills, video of the au pair DRIVING while holding her phone!!), but never in.

LondonMum May 5, 2014 at 4:43 pm

We always say goodbye to our AP before we go on our annual 2 week holiday and then (because I am a teacher and am off for the school holidays), I have 3 weeks at home with the kids, just me and them during the week when their dad is at work. This is a really nice time for us, especially because the kids are a bit older now, 6 and 8, so they can do stuff, we often go to music festivals or camping for a few nights with their friends and their mums. At the end of this time the new au pair arrives, one week before they go back to school, so she can get used to the local area and the kids etc. Because they have had a good space between au pairs, there has never been any issue. Old APs have come to visit and they are happy to see them but they know that it’s just a visit. We are on year 5 of APs so they are used them staying for just a year.

This system works well for us. Good luck

Seattle Mom May 5, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Good luck!

I don’t use the video much at all anymore. It does help me get more excited about a candidate if they make a good video. It also helps me get a feel for an AP’s personality, though I have learned to take it with a grain of salt. It is more likely to help me rule someone out, though the absence of a video would not make me rule them out.

Always Hopeful HM May 5, 2014 at 8:59 am

Question for au pairs: what becomes of the au apair year friendships you made one you return home? I’ve noticed with current au pair that a lot of friendships are made quickly and intensely, but the friends seem to fade from memory as they move on through rematch, AP year ending, HF moving, etc. It strikes me as odd and a little sad that someone who seemed so important can so quickly become unimportant. Has that been your experience?

spanishaupair May 5, 2014 at 10:41 am

In my case depends how deep and long the relationship was. Some fade and maybe exchange an email here and there. With others talk often on facebook if we were more close and with my best friend we talk almost every day by facebook about our lives and plans, and we were planning to do a trip in easter together but too expensive flights and when both set back home (im still in Ireland and she is in another country as an aupair) will go to visit each other home country

German Au-Pair May 5, 2014 at 3:31 pm

You have to see that when we form “friendships” we sometimes do so with people who we’d never look at in real life. We are sitting in the same boat, we reach out to strangers and then hang out because sometimes we have few alternatives. I’m not saying we hang out with people we hate but we do hang out with people with whom we have very little in common -sometimes the only thing is being an au pair (and partying for some, I guess.) Sometimes we meet people because we don’t want to do things alone and that’s it. We grow to like each other but that’s not what real friendships are based on. Plus sometimes there is a language barrier that makes connecting on a deeper level hard to impossible. You may be able to communicate about present, fun things and have the time of your life but you can’t talk about your dreams, hopes and ideas.
The other friendships are rare. I’m back for almost exactly a year now and am still in touch -as in, we personally share each other’s lives and text just to say “Hi, I miss you” on a regular basis- with 4 of my friends. Those are the ones I did consider real friends there.
From others I hear sporadically and we keep lose contact. We follow each other on FB and comment on different things, keep track of what the other is sharing. It’s always fun and great and even though it’s not the deep friendship type I’m always happy to hear from them and am sure I will see some of them again in the near future.

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