I have organized an au pair to come and help us for a month at the end of June. (This came through a work contact and I have spoken on the phone with the au pair and her mom) .
My problem now is that I need to travel to the UK for work purposes three days after her arrival for 5 days. I feel that this might be awkward for her as I won’t be there.
My husband will around, since he is not working. However, I’m not sure what to do about being gone myself.
Are there protocols about the first week an au pair comes to visit? Or maybe she will be fine without me there?
I’d love to hear what readers suggest….
— Traveling Host Mom
Dear Traveling Host Mom —
Lucky you! You get to have Host Dad do the orienting!
As long as a host parent is with the au pair her first three days and able to orient her to the house and the important tasks, you’re covered.
You and Host Dad can both take part on orienting your au pair during her first three days. From days 4 through 9, it will have to be up to Host Dad to continue the orientation and also to continue to help you new au pair settle in.
Depending on how you and Host Dad share parenting and housecare responsibilities, it may be easy for him to teach your au pair, or challenging. Either way, it should be fine.
Keep in mind, too, that there is only so much that can get accomplished during “orientation” and during the first two weeks. If your spouse forgets something or doesn’t teach it to your au pair quite the way you want, there is still time to catch up.
And since Host Dad is at home (even part of the time) anyway, he and your Au Pair will need to figure out how to work together…. so why not start now?
I’m wondering if you are concerned that your au pair will be ‘home alone’ with just a Host Dad, and perhaps feel uncomfortable? After all, she won’t know you all very well and she may feel particularly shy or awkward with “the Dad” instead of both “the Mom and the Dad”.
If this is something you’re worried about, consider these ideas:
- Talk with her about it up front– not to change anything, but just to let you know you’re thinking of her
- Call her during the day or using email to keep in touch with her one-on-one. [I always find it tough when I’m away for work to keep connected at home… I usually just want t focus on work and come home with everything as it should be… but in this situation it may be worth the effort to keep in close, frequent contact.]
- Set up a visit from a female neighbor, or another nearby au pair, or anyone who could stop in for a cup of tea. The opportunity to have a conversation with another person in addition to Host Dad might help her get socialized in and not feel too isolated with just the one parent.
I’ll bet that the time will pass by so quickly she’ll barely have time to feel anything other than whoosh!
Readers, other suggestions?
(Me, I’m thinking that being away on a glamorous business, leaving Host Dad to do the initial training, is an *inspired* strategy…. heh heh heh….)