Parents, do you share this site with your Au Pair?

by cv harquail on July 9, 2010

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How many of you host parents share the URL of this blog with your current au pairs?

Or send them copies of posts using ShareThis or email?

How many of you hope to the good lord that your au pair will *never* stumble across this conversation?

Inquiring minds want to know, so without further ado:


Parents: Do you share this blog with your Au Pair?

View Results

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Another lovely photo from jek in the box

{ 50 comments }

Should be working July 9, 2010 at 6:38 pm

As I wrote when this came up on another post, I *wanted* to share this with my AP, but as it turns out I have ended up with some sensitive issues to discuss, so now I’m glad I didn’t. Likewise you never know when the good AP you’ve sent the link to might become or produce an unanticipated problem, and having shared the blog with her might cramp your posting style.

HRHM July 9, 2010 at 6:52 pm

I’ve copied/pasted a long conversation about car rules, but removed all identifying info so that she couldn’t see the whole site. This is MY space and I’m not sharing. LOL

Taidem July 10, 2010 at 12:50 am

Just look for two sentences of that conversation on google – I guess she will find this site…

HRHM July 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Fortunately (or unfortunately?) I’ve yet to have an AP that resourceful or self-sufficient.

MommyMia July 9, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Ditto HRHM – I can be very selfish sometimes! ;-O I’ve excerpted many things for our handbook too. Now whether or not our AP might have found it on her own, I don’t know…

West Coast Mom July 9, 2010 at 9:45 pm

What they said! This blog is just for me, but I try to stay reasonably anonymous, just in case.

Pa Host mom of Two au-pairs July 9, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I mention the site before and stated things about other AP’s and host families but I never gave them the actual site.. At this point I really don’t care if past AP’s see what I have written about them, hey at least I am not lying! Lazy AP’s don’t sit well with me not with my big bunch.. and going forward no I will not share this Blog with my future AP’s………

Chev July 10, 2010 at 1:33 am

I’m an AP and try to get my HM to read this blog when there’s something i think she’ll like :D

Deb Schwarz July 10, 2010 at 8:25 am

Hmmmmm….I’m a pretty open person so I don’t mind if my former au pairs stumble upon it – but my current one (given what’s going on that I’ve shared on here), probably not. Great idea about sharing the link of what to pack to my own au pairs and those in my group that are newly finaled….

Gianna July 10, 2010 at 11:36 am

I feel that I can share the information I’ve gained from this site without sharing the site itself. I can verbally share it or reformat the details. I do not share the website itself in the same way that I do not share other aspects of my life. I do not exspect an
aupair to tell me everything that she shares with her LCC or her friends. Also, moms need a place to vent and be honest but some of the postings on this site could be very hurtful to an aupair so no, I do not share the site per se. I would be very careful to be discreet , too.

Busy Mom July 10, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I actually found out about this site from my first au pair. She had it on her facebook profile (before I learned from the collective wisdom here that it’s best not to be your au pair’s facebook friend). Because I knew she was reading and because we had some issues with her, I was very careful to avoid including any identifing details. We have a good relationship with our current au pair, but I’m still a bit circumspect in my posts because that would allow me to freely discuss any issues that arise in the future. I’m sure that if she read a bunch of my posts, she could figure it out, but it would take some work. I would NOT tell her about it.

StephinBoston July 10, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I have mentioned the site to my current au pair many times, just not sent a direct URL. I’d be fine if she or future au pairs stumbled on it, if I did have a big issue I’d mention it here and change some of the details and probably go anonymous :-)

theGermanGirl-FutureAP July 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Today I shared this site with twenty future au-pairs I met at the info-day in Bonn and they all seemed very happy about the tip…so if your numbers in au-pair girls from Germany go up..that was me ;-)

franzi July 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm

i like the fact that this is a site primarily for host parents to vent, voice concerns and ask questions. there’s plenty of opportunities for APs to connect so i don’t see anything wrong with having sth that’s primarily for host families. plus, i do believe that it inhibits the host parent asking for advice on a detailed problem if the host parent knows the AP might be reading along.

nevertheless i like the mix of experiences that families and APs alike share on this site.

would i give the URL it to my AP (if i had one)? no. for the above reason.

massaupairmom July 10, 2010 at 8:43 pm

I gave the url to my current au pair, then wished I hadn’t because I felt inhibited about posting. I will not mention it to my next au pair for that reason.

AuPairMD July 11, 2010 at 6:28 pm

You have NO idea how many Au Pairs know this website and you have NO clue they do…

anon July 11, 2010 at 8:00 pm

This site has been extensely discussed on Ukranian AP forum in the past. I don’t know if those girls are still reading this site, but they definately know about it. At the time, they were not happy with all the discussion going on about handbooks, car rules, and cerfews. :)

Darthastewart July 11, 2010 at 10:52 pm

I’m sure that they weren’t. But it gives them a bit of perspective from the other side, I bet.

anonymous July 13, 2010 at 10:41 pm

LOL! If only I had seen evidence of their awareness of this site in some oh, I don’t know what to call it exactly…. empathy? Non-self-centeredness? Call that missing characteristic what you will–OH! maybe “willingness to work hard without judging others harshly” is the best fit–we won’t be taking a dip in the Ukraine pool again any time soon…

NJMom July 11, 2010 at 8:56 pm

What is this type of forum? For girls considering becoming AP’s? Or already AP’s? I would think that if they are already AP they would know about the handbooks, curfews, etc. I wonder if this could be a screening tool inadvertently if girls who read the site realize what it really means to be an AP and then decide against the program?!

anon July 12, 2010 at 12:03 pm

NJMom,

what a question to me regarding the Ukrainian Au Pair forum? Is so, then yes, it is a forum hosted by one of the Ukrainian AP agencies that works with 3 of the US agencies. Girls on that forum are potential future, current, and past au pairs.

Even if they are already au pairs, it does not mean that all families have hand books, curfews, etc. In any case, even if their families do have these things, it does not mean that they are happy with them. That forum is a good resource for these girls in terms of support and vending regarding the program and families. It does help them a lot and serves a good purpose.

Some of them do decide against the program for many reasons: cannot get their docs together, cannot find the family and give us, don’t want to leave their boyfriends, cannot get visas and don’t try the second time. Unfortunately, many continue to peruse the program even when it is clear they they are doing it for the wrong reasons. And then they come here and have nothing but disappointments.

Darthastewart July 12, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I have talked just as many host families out of the program, as I’ve talked into it. I really think that it takes a certain mind set to be an au-pairent, or to be an au-pair.

NJMom July 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm

That’s great that you do that. Save yourself problems down the road. I agree, it is NOT easy to do this and people need to go in with eyes wide open!

anonymous July 13, 2010 at 10:47 pm

And that’s why I hate the current APIA promotion–the only way to get anything more than the usual fee waive discount as a repeat customer now is to be willing to arm-twist your friends into hosting au pairs.

I can’t think of a riskier strategy. As a parent who has to deal with other parents in the community for years to come, there is no way I’m going to push the wrong family into hosting an AP. It could ruin friendships or my kids’ friendships. And as a business, this tells me they clearly don’t care about long term, repeat host family customers, because they should want to be increasing their success rates, not taking all comers. Some folks are terrible host family candidates.

This makes me wonder if APIA did any market research with actual hosts before launching that promotion. I can’t believe it’s going to be very successful in the long run. $500 ain’t nowhere near enough for me to take on that kind of risk!

Taking a Computer Lunch July 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Not explicitly, but since my LCC offers a link to it from her blog, I assume she has seen it. I’m not that good at disguising myself, however. If she read it, she might easily see who I am. However, she has not changed her behavior…

M2DAD July 12, 2010 at 12:48 pm

I wonder if there is a correlation between the nubmer of HF who complain about communication problems with their Au Pair and those families who stated that they would not share this site with their Au Pair.

IMHO some of the most relevant comments on this site come form the Au Pairs that do have access.

Calif Mom July 14, 2010 at 11:45 am

Totally agree with you that some excellent insights are shared here by APs. (Not sure what you mean they don’t have access, though…)

But “communication problems” come in infinite forms, don’t they? I’m not sure that inviting every au pair into this forum would add a lot. We have seen occasional flame-outs on this site between hosts and APs b/c we do come from very different places–and I mean that culturally and in our “time of life” as well as just plain not understanding nuances of written, conversational English–with a multiplier effect of being busy parents who only have a few minutes to dash off a comment, so sometimes our prose isn’t the most elegant, but it works fine for chatting with other hosts and the savvy APs who frequent this watering hole.

It feels a little bit oversimplified to me to just say if you’ve ever complained about communication problems that you are a hypocrite if you don’t want *your current au pair* to monitor these conversations.

Personally, I try hard to be fair even while venting, though sometimes that’s a tightrope walk! Here’s what’s funny: I bet if my terrific APs were to read the site, they could pick me out and I *hope* they would think I was fair. Because I do appreciate and love them, and they know this.

I just know that if Pointy Boots or the Princess or the Morose One were to stumble on this site, they wouldn’t bother to read much, and on the remote chance that they did figure out who I was (the Princess never would, it would be too much mental exertion for her), and also that I was talking about them, they would be righteously outraged and slam me to their friends.

Which is what they did without the site anyway. :-)

CO Host Mom July 12, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I share the link with my own APs and also I share it with host families and APs in my capacity as a local counselor for our agency. I think so much can be learned from both sides – I learn things from the APs that post on here, and I truly appreciate their input.

In the event I feel the need to discuss something sensitive, it is easy enough to do so anonymously here by changing my name or identifying details about my family.

Gianna July 12, 2010 at 6:42 pm

I said in an earlier post that I would not voluntarily share this site but I am not a fool and I am sure that there are many aupairs out there reading it who don’t tell us that they know about it. So aupairs , why don’t you want us to know that you read this site?
What’s the big deal ? I would think it would help you be a better aupair.

Pa Host mom of Two Au-pairs July 13, 2010 at 12:54 am

I agree with Gianna… I think this can be a great blog to get helpful feedback and vent a little why would I be a fool and want the AP to know that we are speaking about them even if we did have good communication skills. For HM that blog often I wouldn’t want to chime in on the blog being anonymous.

Former Brazilian Au Pair July 13, 2010 at 3:19 pm

I am sorry to be “nosy” but I just want to give my 2 cents as a former Au Pair.

I heard about this blog from another Au Pair last year (6 years after I was done being an Au Pair) and I thought: “If I had read this blog during my Au Pair years I would have understood my host parents better, much better”.

I think it’s great that Au pairs read this blog. It’s good for them to see the other side. And maybe learn from here how to be better Au Pairs. The problem is that some Au Pairs take some of the issues discussed here personally and end up being rude.

If I were a host parent I would certainly tell my Au Pair about this website. It could open their minds up a little more.

First time HP July 13, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Anything that helps people understand each other better is a good thing. On both sides its tough knowing what is the norm and what is not and sometimes hearing other experiences can help. I know I just found this site and found some good info on one of the sore points with our current, and first, AP regarding working over the 45 hour limit and will change how we handle it for the next AP.

Az. July 13, 2010 at 8:29 pm

I’m amazed that every au pair DOESN’T know about this site. I guess it would depend on their level of English, but before I started au pairing I read everything I could get my hands on! It seems like common sense to me, to search for “au pair advice” — although I do rely far too much on the internet so maybe that’s just me!

courtj July 13, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I fall into the camp that I tell my au pairs about the site. I think it is a fantastic resource for both host parents and au pairs. Anything I post here I have already spoken about with my au pair and maybe if she figures out the post is about her she may understand my perspective better.

EireAuPair July 14, 2010 at 7:29 am

My HM shared this with me and I think it will help me a lot to decide whether to go to the USA as an au pair after my au pair time here or not.
I think, you HP should see it from your AP’s point of view: We’d all like a blog like that, something that helps us to understand you better. Wouldn’t you like your AP to understand you better and get a better opinion about you? So, why not share it? Because you MIGHT write something bad about your AP? Well, you don’t have to tell them, who you are, have you? After all, this is still kinda anonymous.

some Au Pair July 14, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Just my experience, but for me this website was SUPER helpful!
Especially the informations about “bad, bad germs in day cares” and why the heck Americans are always so busy.

It helped me to see things from a different angle.

(I dont like all the things that are said about curfews, lets schedule the Au Pair for 45 hours even if we need her only for 30 hours, etc.. but thats okay. ;-))

Calif Mom July 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I hope, though, that now you see *why* some of us have this policy–it’s because when we tried it the other way, it worked out badly for everyone: kids, host parents, and AP.

We do recognize that not every au pair would react badly to a big jump in hours, but when it’s bad, it’s really really bad! This is one of those cases where a couple bad experiences ruins it for everyone. Sorry! :-( I know you would agree it’s better to avoid a 3-way bad and possible rematch over this issue.

Calif Mom July 14, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Just a tidbit of advice — if your AP shares your computer but you don’t want to share this forum with her, you should be sure to set your “History” tool so it isn’t recorded. Otherwise she will be able to see your screen name, too!

I’m ok with APs knowing about the site and like hearing from them. But I do want as much anonymity as possible to try to avoid hurt feelings or misunderstandings with *my* APs. If she stumbles onto it, great! It will probably help us both. But I probably will not tell my new AP about it right away, or tell her my screen name. There is a lot that could be misinterpreted (as we’ve seen happen before). And I don’t want her scared off! ;-) There’s a lot of good, bad and ugly in here. Which is why, after all, we keep coming back.

kat July 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm

just dont your username logged on, no need to delete the whole history!

NoVA Host Mom January 2, 2012 at 5:01 am

Okay, so obviously I am going through the months I missed with getting back to work and having the “Year Without Sleep” after Baby2 (really more of “18 Months Without Sleep”), but I finally got around to doing the poll.

I picked “Other” because it honestly never occurred to me to tell any of our APs about the site. It did not occur to me not to, either. Our first one was here for the purpose of skipping out on her visa and getting a green card the old fashioned way, the second was a great person who was not very computer-savvy. The 3rd, who just left last month after the most trying 10 months I ever want to NEVER relive, is very computer savvy and I have no doubt she knows exactly who I am and what I post. So be it. I have mentioned it to our current one, but I have nothing to hide. It is what it is, and since I make sure to Google any applicants as it is, I would think most do the same for us.

Should be working January 3, 2012 at 2:11 am

Hey, NoVa Host Mom, glad to see you back around here, I have missed your sane perspective on things. Has it really been 18 months since the baby?? Is there a complete story on the recently departed AP or was it just a bad match?

NoVA Host Mom January 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

There will be, but it will take a bit more editing (summary is that it resulted in the imprints of brick on my forehead from beating my head against a wall for so long — I know, not the best example when I knew better, but hey, we all figure out later that things were worse than we thought, and HD has been working at a more evenly shared AP management so he had a learning curve of his own). Anyway, we have a wonderful AP4 who came to us in rematch (starting to wonder why I shy from rematches so much when we find the most awesome APs that way).

It’s nice to know I was missed. Love seeing how many HMs from my area are here now, but wondering if I should adjust the moniker a bit. You guys have definately had some great conversations while I’ve been AWOL (will work hard to keep it from happening again, promise).

NoVA Host Mom January 4, 2012 at 12:35 am

Aannnddd… while looking at our cluster blog I finally noticed the link to this one. So, I guess even if I did not go out of my way to say anything, it’s there for the reading! Hahaha. Hopefully, it serves as a really great resource for them. I know I get some of my best ideas from you guys.

Carlos January 4, 2012 at 6:06 am

This is very interesting… I haven’t post any reply since like 7 months in here and now that I just happened to check this I realized what I was thinking back then and why I stopped doing this.. I actually felt like I didn’t fit in, this is all about you host parents talking about au pair stuff and I thought it was about the interaction between both.

It’s great because we can see how it is and learn a bunch of really important stuff here but now that I see that most of you don’t want your au pairs to see this it, somehow, sends me the message that I might not be welcome here as an au pair… I don’t know, maybe a wild guess? …

AFHostMom January 4, 2012 at 6:45 am

Carlos, I can only speak for myself, and my opinion is probably in the minority. No one should feel unwelcome, but au pairs have a tremendous amount of resources–cluster blogs, endless facebook pages, email and phone listings of other area APs, buddies, and (hopefully) a competent counselor to talk things through with. I have met 2 host families in my area, and only then because AP and I offered to speak at a new families meeting at our counselor’s home. We as host families have to WORK to be connected to other host families. We don’t get emails with every other HF in the cluster’s contact info monthly, and a quick search of facebook shows me that the only HF group there is designed to “connect au pairs and host families.” Frankly, for me this is a resource I treasure because sometimes I need to ask questions of other parents, like me, just trying to juggle it all. I come here for the perspective of other host parents, who have more years of experience with more APs than I do. Obviously, this forum is public and anyone can stumble on it, or follow a link and find what we say here, and I think we all accept that–but no, I’m not (personally) looking to interact with APs here. Often we have good posts from APs, which is great, but sometimes there is the nasty attitude from APs posting here stereotyping HFs negatively, which is just tiresome.
Having said that, I do think there is a LOT of valuable information for APs on the HF perspective here. Maybe some other HPs can share their opinions.

NoVA Host Mom January 4, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Honestly, I have similar feelings as AFHostMom. When I first became a HM, I did search after search for information about this crazy ride we were getting on. This one was it. Everything else seemed very “general info” or else was geared towards the APs only (even if the description for the site gave the appearance that both were welcome). Toss that in with the idea that every other AP applicant interviewed last month had an “I’m gonna be an AP” blog, and it appears that information and interaction is very heavy to one side of the scale. NP, since we have AuPairMom.

We have precious little contact with other HPs unless we have happened to meet them randomly. I’ve no doubt the logistics of planning a cluster HP meeting would be something of an experience akin to Dante’s 8th level of Hell, so I don’t fault anyone on that, but it would be nice to be able to share infomation much the way the APs do. While I have thought it was very valuable to get some if the input from some of the APs who post here, I did come here looking for guidance and ideas of what other HPs do, what has worked for them, and different approaches to the tons of bumps in the road that come up, and how to avoid them.

I’m glad that some of the more mature (frequently former, I notice) APs provide their POV to help us better understand or to give us another path to consider, but the slamming by people who obviously prefer to make sweeping judgements and treat this like a random FB page is a turn-off from wanting APs to participate more. Those “participants” tend to derail what are otherwise thoughtful (and sometimes very educational without being condemning) conversations among everyone (HPs and APs alike), and tend to make me less inclined towards total inclusion.

That said, I have no problem with my AP reading this. I have little doubt she would know who I am, but there are times it would be nice to be able to speak more freely or frankly with other HPs about a more specific issue. Those types of conversations I just have to hold onto privately until I have a chance to speak in person with someone, I suppose.

Dorsi January 5, 2012 at 3:05 am

So agree with the above! I only know other AP parents that I have met through non-AP venues — someone I work with, a friend of a friend, a doctor I saw. Most of these meetings are casual and hard to develop into relationships. I really appreciate the information I get through this website.

Sometimes the AP participation is good and interesting (and as pointed out above, often from former APs). There is a pattern here where a new Au Pair, angry ex-AP or almost-AP come in, posts on a bunch of threads, and then is never heard from again. [Example: the one who can’t stop talking about how great the family she had in St. Tropez is. The only one of her 8 relationships that worked.] That is not the community I am looking for.

Carlos January 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm

That’s good to know, thank you all :)

JJ Host Mom January 5, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I’ll provide another perspective. I welcome AP participation. It helps me see things from the AP’s point of view. Often, even if I don’t agree with what an au pair is saying, it provides another perspective that helps me better understand the dynamic of a situation.

I could do without the immature, sweeping judgements of host families. If you’ll notice, host moms very rarely make those kinds of posts about au pairs. If we could all be balanced and thoughtful in our responses then I think it could be a great community that all of us could use to better understand one another.

AFHostMom January 4, 2012 at 7:07 am

oh, and to address the initial question–no, I don’t share this with my APs. I chose the second No–that I don’t think current (or incoming) AP would be interested. I may be wrong about incoming AP but we carefully select APs to complement our family dynamic, not butt heads with it. It’s too early in the morning to explain myself well, and maybe I’ll find my words later today. :) But I also agree with Gianna and Former Brazilian AP–I know au pairs read this. I think it’s important for them to read this. I don’t censor myself.
I almost shared it with AP 1 in my early HM giddiness, but THANK GOODNESS I didn’t. She would have been really great at coming in and opining all over a thread, and not taking anything out of it for herself. Exactly the kind of AP post that most HPs posting here–who are actively looking for perspective and help–can’t learn anything from.

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