And speaking of trying to maintain some privacy around ones adult social life,
Here’s an email that has me completely stumped. How do they stay “host parents” to their au pair, and friends with their friend, and have any separate adult social life?
We really need your ideas here, folks.
Dear Au Pair Mom,
I am in desperate need of advice. First, I want to give you a little background on our Au Pair and our family. I am a 37 year old stay at home mother of four boys, ages 9, 5, 2 and 4 months. My husband works from home and is closely involved in our day to day lives. Our 5 year old son has a severe epilepsy syndrome and requires constant care. Because we have 3 little ones that always need to be watched, we have hired two au pairs to live with us this year. We have a 20 year old au pair from South America who speaks English very well and a 24 year old au pair from Thailand who speaks English moderately well. My issue is with our South American au pair.
She has been absolutely amazing in every way…she loves our kids, is always eager to help out, has the same religious beliefs as we do and is so conscientious in her work.
Yesterday, I dropped her off at the airport because she is taking a long weekend trip to visit her friends. Later that day, one of my husband’s closest friends came over and said he had to talk to us about our Au Pair. Uh oh.
In the past, we had some trouble with a nanny we had for 3 years…found out she was not at all what we thought she was. So my first thought was that our South American Au Pair had done something really horrible…I never would have imagined what he was going to say!
It turns out that, over the past few weeks, he has been giving our au pair a ride to the gym because they both took spinning classes. He had told us before that he just drops her off and they don’t even speak to each other while they are at the gym.
But things between them are more serious than he’d let on….
Yesterday, he told us that every night this week, they had spent all night at the beach together. And, on their last night together, she had told him she loved him. His feelings for her are not as strong, but he does like her. He is single and 27 years old. He didn’t seem to think that either of them had done anything wrong by sneaking off to spend time together…that her personal life is her business. But now that things are more serious, he wanted to let us know.
I am absolutely blown away by this and really don’t know what to do. If we didn’t know her and he had introduced her to us as his girlfriend, we would have been happy for him…concerned that she is so young…but happy…because she is an amazing girl. But this is different.
One of the ways my husband and I make having au pairs in our house work is by having a clearly defined line between them and us. We are very friendly and helpful – I believe that both au pairs are happy with us. But our personal life is ours! So now I’m left wondering how to navigate this.
I can’t help but feel betrayed by both of them…why didn’t they come to us before they started sneaking around our backs? Why did she go after my husband’s best friend? He is our friend, and a grown man….why would he do this?
If I tell them that if she wants to keep her job, they can’t see each other anymore, then I’m the bad guy. But how do we navigate them dating? How can I ask her to go take care of my kids while he is over at our house having dinner with us?
I feel like they have put us in an impossible position. It totally changes the dynamic.
My husband feels like the damage is already done and maybe everything will be ok if we just let it play out. But I’m angry at both of them and don’t know how to rebuild trust. I wish you could see a picture of our lives…my son has between 8 and 20 seizures a night and is at constant risk for sudden death. We have a very difficult and stressful life. And this is the last thing I need right now.
Thank you for any advice you can give me.