Policies for Hosting Out-Of-Town Guests: Polls

by cv harquail on January 25, 2014

 Let’s get a sense of how many of us have which kinds of guidelines about out-of-town guests.    

3941741024_7e4c35dbdbTake these polls, below  —- but EXCLUDE romantic relationships (e.g., boyfriend or girlfriend from back home) since these have been shown to have a separate dynamic. More on that in another post.

Does your family host your AuPair's out-of-town guests overnight?

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If you host out-of-town AP guests, how many nights may they stay?

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If you host out-of-town AP guests, how many times a year can guests stay?

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Please add details and questions in the comments!


Image from Flickr: AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Bunches and Bits {Karina}


Host Mom in the City January 25, 2014 at 5:18 pm

I voted with what I am most comfortable with (up to one week, 2-3 visits in a year). In practice, both of our au pairs have had a visitor each that came for two weeks, but it was too much for me, so I instituted a one-week rule for this one. But as with anything, for a wonderful au pair, I would happily allow “rules” to be broken.
I also know that 2-3 visitors would be my limit, but I’ve never said that anywhere.

Host Mom in the City January 25, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Hmm and I’m counting these as out of town visitors. All three of my au pairs have had other au pairs spend the night multiple times – at least a couple a month. I think that’s because we live near where they go out, so they sleep at our house rather than driving back out to the burbs.

Those nights have so little impact on us, that I don’t count them in this poll.

Pennsylvania HM January 25, 2014 at 7:37 pm

I voted in certain circumstances. Our handbook specifically says no overnight guests but when an AP is doing a good job we allow it as a special perk. Usually it’s been 1 friend overnight only once or twice a year. With 1 AP we hosted her birthday bbq at the end of the year and she had about 15 girls stay over; this year’s AP asked to have a friend come for 1 week which were allowing. All of our AP’s have been very appreciative of this as they knew explicitly from conversations pre-matching that we do not allow overnight guests at all.

Mina January 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm

I’ve learned my lesson after this au pair! Last year’s had two brothers visit for a long weekend tht was so nice I invited them to stay longer rather than moving into a hotel in the city for the rest of the week as planned. Somehow my current au pair ended up with four different family and friends visits…including a cousin with an infant! When her father came he stayed in her room the whole week because she elected not to take any days off and he didn’t want to sightsee alone. For the next group She had no vacation time left but I gave her unpaid days off because it had been so odd having an adult camping out in our house all week. Another set of visitors turned out to be so unruly I had to tell her we do not allow yelling in the house.

Also friends visiting are entirely different from family. Friends have tended to be very unobtrusive, helpful with dishes etc, even leaving a Thankyou card for a single overnight. But I find family to be entirely different…because it makes the au pair revert to a younger version of herself, plus there’s the element of needing to show off or prove how much more mature she’s gotten. Ive seen total personality changes when an au pair is around siblings and parents. So now my rule is 1 visit per year, 4 nights max, and she must use vacation days for the weekdays they are here. Otherwise it’s neither fair to them not to my children having her attention divided.

American Host Mom in Europe January 26, 2014 at 4:55 am

We’ve never set any specific limits as it has hardly ever come up. I would be comfortable with a few visitors during the year for a few nights each, but am open to taking circumstances into account. In practice, a few of our au pairs have asked to have guests for a weekend usually, sometimes two at a time, and it has always worked out fine. We have a room near the au pair’s room with two spare beds, and the nearest bathroom is the au pairs, so it mostly affects her.

TexasHM January 26, 2014 at 9:04 am

In our handbook it says we are happy to discuss visits, in advance (so we can discuss expectations and so we aren’t committed to anything). I didn’t want to put # of visits or days in there and then wish I hadn’t or have to renig later (like the OP that started this convo). We also haven’t had to deal with this much. So we ask our APs to come to us to discuss, if it was 4 family members for 2 weeks is likely encourage them to get accommodations elsewhere, if a friend for a weekend – no brainer. Case by case basis has worked so far but we haven’t had any parents or long term stays yet.

Darthastewart January 26, 2014 at 11:34 am

I’ve never had to think about limits, as I’ve never, ever had that be a problem. The longest anyone has stayed with us was a few days.

NNTexasHM January 26, 2014 at 12:31 pm

We had tense moments about this as our Au Pair arrived in September in the first few weeks thought it appropriate to dictate not only that we would be hosting her sister (we were fine with hosting and told her so) BUT she also told us she would be taking a trip with her – the timing to be based on her sister’s convenience. I think in our handbook I will update our policy to 1) visits from family members can be considered and we are happy to discuss (thanks TXhostmom) 2) any plans must be brought for approval (see how I did that) after the 1st month and 3) no visits in the first 2 months (we might make an exception to this if the Au Pair is so on top of things after the first month). I think hosting family would be challenging without ground rules clearly spelled out and it’s not a discussion that feels comfortable in the first month or two. It’s simply too much stress on a new relationship.

Taking a Computer Lunch January 26, 2014 at 10:29 pm

We don’t set limits, but we do ask that the AP ask for permission 6 weeks in advance any time someone intends to come for more than a week (we’ve housed some outgoing APs for more than a week on short notice – and we could always see why they were headed home – they were a drag and no help at all). We’ve hosted friends for up to 2 weeks out of 3 (one received a prize for a free flight based on her English scores) and parents rarely stay for more than 2 weeks and do travel around. I once slept on a cot for a week in the kitchen of a friend-of-a-friend who lived in a city where I needed to do research for my PhD. I made sure that I quietly got up, and folded the cot before my hosts got up so I would be out of the way, that I did their dishes before I went out in the morning, and that I took them out to dinner one night (I was a poor graduate student with limited means). They said that I was their best behaved guest ever.

I get it. Friends have limited funds. This is a trip of a lifetime to visit an AP. But, often, parents aren’t rich either. In my experience, the trip to visit their daughter was the first time the majority of the HP had been in an airplane at all. Some wanted the distance of a hotel, but others welcomed the opportunity to save a substantial amount of money that permitted them to take 1 or 2 extra long weekends away (with our without their daughter).

But – don’t do it if it makes you uncomfortable! If you have a mediocre AP and feel compelled to host, then you’re just going to be angry for weeks or months. It’s okay to say “No, I’m sorry.”

We do say no, when hosting comes at a difficult times (now that we have teenagers – no guests during exam weeks!), after the year is up, or when we have invited our own guests to stay in our home.

HRHM January 27, 2014 at 9:15 am

We have only had one AP who had a visitor from home. He stayed with us for a week and it was fine. He was actually a very pleasant guest and a good conversationalist. He was also fun and energetic with the kids.

But, realistically, I don’t think I would be comfortable hosting the APs parents or other “adult” relatives. I don’t want to play hostess and I could, in good conscience, ignore the AP’s young friends and let her rise(or fall) to the occasion. I don’t think I could do the same with her parents. So while I wouldn’t mind a sibling or friend from back home, if her parents were coming, they would need to find a hotel.

FWIW, we have a no limits policy on APs local friends sleeping over on weekends, and they frequently take us up on it. :)

Momma Gadget January 27, 2014 at 12:16 pm

We don’t mind when AP’s have their friends sleep over on the weekends when they are going/returning from an event or just hanging out. All but One of our APs have had friends stay over, they had a tight “gang” of friends and would take turns sleeping over at the most convenient house on most weekends.They were always respectful and asked if it was OK first. We have this in our rules, that they can have overnight guests ( of the same sex) as long as we are home and if they ask first.

With advance notice, a longer stay once in a while is OK if they are using our home as “home base”, and we aren’t tripping over them. Friends are easier, because I know they don’t want to be hanging out with we old fuddy-duddies anyway. As long as they don’t interfere with our APs responsibilities, we are OK with an extended stay of a couple of weeks.
Parents and older relatives are a different story- Maybe it is my own neurosis, But it is a different dynamic. We feel a bit under the micro scope- like there are expectations & judgements. A week is probably our limit.

3kids1dogHM January 27, 2014 at 7:07 pm

It was hard to answer this poll, because it really just depends. We are happy to have guests stay, depending on the guest and the circumstances. For example, we haven’t had an au pair with a boyfriend who would ask to come stay – so since that hasn’t come up, my “yes” is qualified by saying that yes, we are happy for our au pair’s friends and family to stay with us when visiting.

Second, the time limit? It depends, it hasn’t really come up – usually it’s a night here or there if it’s a friend from out of town visiting. We did have parents from abroad visit, but that wasn’t too long a stay before they went on vacation together with the au pair. And it was lovely to get to know them!

Should be working January 27, 2014 at 7:42 pm

We once had to ask ourselves the converse question–how long are our kids welcome at the au pair’s family’s house! When we spent a summer in her country (not far from her hometown) she came and got the kids and took them to her house for a few days, full of siblings and countryside pleasures. Kids didn’t want to come back. It was all lovely.

Momma Gadget January 27, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Where is that darn like button!

Angie host mom January 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Current AP’s sister is here now, goes home next week. Next week former AP is visiting with friend. Then friend is leaving. Then former AP’s other friend (a former AP in our area but not with us) is coming to stay with us too. Other former AP still living in area stays over on the weekend sometimes. Yet another former AP is visiting in summer.

Our only problem? We need more beds.

Seriously, though, I strongly recommend APs take vacation time when friends and family are visiting, but normally don’t require it. Staying with us is at our discretion but generally fine. Never have had an AP’s parents stay at our house.

emmiejane January 28, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Our au pair’s mother just finished up a 2 week visit with us. Our au pair is absolutely wonderful, and we did not even hesitate to allow her mother to stay with us. It is an expensive and long trip from South Africa, and I think asking her to get a hotel would have been too much in terms of cost.

We have a spare room next to the au pair’s room. It was not a problem for us. Our au pair is a hard worker and lovely person, and I can tell she wasn’t raised by wolves, and as expected her mother was great. Her mother pretty much worked and did her own thing while our au pair worked. They did go away for a long weekend. Her mother was actually a help several times. I did include her in our family dinners. Honestly, I am already cooking for 6 people and adding one more is not a hardship for me at that point. She often did the dishes and helped set the table, watch the baby etc…. Since we really love this au pair, we did also include and invite her mother on a couple of special outings designed to show her some of our city.

This is the second time we have had an au pair’s mother visit for 2 weeks. The first time, it was also fine. In that instance, the mother didn’t speak much English, but was still gracious and helpful.

I understand people not wanting to or being able to take it on. I just wanted to offer the perspective that we have done it twice, and both times, it was fine, and I felt glad to know my au pair’s mother. I also think in both cases, the au pair’s mother went home feeling assured that her daughter was in a good situation.

I particularly agree with all the comments that a great au pair encourages a lot of generosity on the HF’s part. That’s the situation we are currently in-we find our current au pair such a gift to our family that we really want to express our appreciation and happiness with her-hosting her mother was one way we could do that.

HostMomNJ January 29, 2014 at 9:28 pm

I am going to throw it out there being the difference of opinion and possibly being judged. I don’t want any out of town guests staying at my house. I clearly stated in my hand book that I don’t allow overnight guests. I’ve hosted a few au pairs overnight on the weekend from a different location. My house is way to hectic. I have 3 kids 4 and under. We both work crazy hectic schedules. On the weekends and the few precious hours I have not working, I really don’t want to share my house with strangers.

Taking a Computer Lunch January 30, 2014 at 8:23 pm

I think that is fine, as long as you’re up front with you are up front with the AP with whom you match.

Host Mom in the City January 30, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Totally agree. Just make sure that’s clear from the very beginning and double-check that she gets it before matching (just like any other particulars about your family that tend to be important to au pairs).

Momma Gadget January 31, 2014 at 10:22 am

I totally get it! I think it is completely understandable when you explain it clearly, and up front.

Busy Mom February 1, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Our handbook is super specific on this topic, but can be relaxed for a super au pair. Our 1st AP had acquaintances visit for extended periods of time. Ended up being a total of 30+ nights over 3 months – way too much! After that we limited longterm guests to only immediate family and 1 week max. We do relax if immediate family can’t come, but then make sure it’s a relative or close friend. Unlimited sleepovers with other APs. We’re not a hotel. I’ve had one APs parents stay here, but turned out we were away at that time so we weren’t in a position to have to entertain (which would have been awkward to us).

We also dictate vacation weeks, but we end up giving more than the 2 weeks, so none have complained :-)

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