If we only knew then what we know now… being an Au Pair Host Parent would be really easy. Okay, easier.
As our au pair parenting experiences unfold, we learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t, what we can change and what we can’t, how we can accommodate to an au pair and when we must remain steadfast. We also discover that parts of au pair parenting are easier than we expected, and that the converse is also true.
Our preferred strategy here at AuPairMom is to try to share our hard-won wisdom and put it to good use by helping each other avoid problems. We put that strategy into action in the previous post on The Host Parent Readiness Assessment.
Sometimes, though, the mistake can’t be avoided.
The cow is already out of the barn. It’s too late to shut the barn door, or even ask whether you should open it in the first place. Now, you’ve got to see if you can adjust to the fact that the cow is already on the move.
This is the situation facing the host parents of SouthpawAP.
Thing is, they haven’t even realized yet what the problem is.
SouthpawAP’s host parents are in the process of discovering that they aren’t actually ready to be Host Parents. And they are taking this out on her.
SouthpawAP has to figure out how to tell them, and she has to figure out if they are going to be willing to make some changes in their expectations.
Dear AuPairMom readers,
I wanted to tell you how much your website has helped me during my time as an Au Pair in the USA. It helped me to understand the American culture a bit better and through that understand some of the “strange” things about my host family. I am now an Au Pair for about 3.5 months. I am a 22 year old girl from a German speaking country and I am taking care of an under 2 year old. She is a wonderful little girl and we connected during the first three days.
My host family was very, very welcoming and I was in heaven during the first weeks.
But, after a few weeks the pink glasses vanished.
Not my pink glasses, but theirs. I knew what I was getting into in becoming an au pair. But my host family? They were very surprised. I don’t think that they understood what they were getting in to with having an au pair.
“A Live In Au Pair? Yes, that means that I’m here, living in your house! Yes, your kid will sometimes want to play with me even WHEN mammy and daddy are there! Yes, people will sometimes think I am the mother of the little girl! Yes, I am sometimes talking with your husband when you are not there!”
(I am sorry for that “outburst”. It’s just that, especially my host mum, make me feel more and more like an intruder, and less like a part of the family.)
And the thing is, I can understand why she might feel this way!!!
I don’t think that she really knew what it means to have another female person living in her house, playing with her kid, being in contact with her husband…
(Don’t get me wrong, I don’t DO ANYTHING to get the attention of my host dad. I never ever wear clothes that show anything, move in a “special” way or flirt or anything.)
The thing is, I am not complaining about my host family or my job in general.
The thing I am frustrated about is that I think that they were not ready to be Au-Pair-host-parents.
My host family doesn’t really seem to understand what it means to welcome a young person from another country into their home, and into their lives.
I will have to talk with my host mother about the whole thing and hopefully we will work something out that makes her feel better. But I am not sure what to tell her. How can they get a sense of what is normal, and what should be expected? How can they change how they are thinking and feeling? Should I even expect that they will try to make the best of things and learn to get along with an au pair in their home?
I want to do my very best here, and I like my family… and I want them to be able to enjoy having an au pair.
Thank you!! Just writing that down helped me to see my situation more clearly. But I would still like to hear your advice. SouthpawAP
Image: Cow in door from Toby-won