Responding to Surprise Request From Departing, So-So Au Pair

by cv harquail on July 24, 2015

Speaking of Au Pairs and a sense of Entitlement, Washingtomom writes: 

Our Au Pair just sprung what I hope will be her last ‘surprise’ request of us.

How should I respond?

hope abramsWe are at the end of our AP’s year, final date is August 7th. She extended with another family and the supposed start date is Aug. 10.

Her last official working day with us is July 31 as she is taking the last week as her vacation to travel to another city to visit, leaving on Saturday Aug 1 returning on Sunday Aug. 9.

She asked to keep her things here until the day she came back from the trip. That same day she’s supposed to go off to her next Host Family.

Well, now she just announced that she will be leaving our house on Tuesday the 11th instead of Sunday the 9th.

She “needs the extra day after coming back from her trip to clean, pack and have a farewell reunion with her local friends.”

I would be fine with this if she had at least asked if she could do this. She is aware that our new AP will be arriving that Thu ( Aug 13th) leaving me only two days to regroup.

My thoughts are, well,

  • What am I supposed to do with her for the 2 days that she is not technically working with us anymore?
  • Just let her come and go in and out of the house when she pleases?
  • Put some boundaries?
  • Simply ask her to leave on the 10th, the day after she arrives from the vacation?

I am sure that one of her friends can put her up, she has spent a few of the past weekends sleeping else where.

FWIW, she has not been the greatest AP.

This behavior of surprising us with a request at the last minute has happened before: She told me her mom was coming to stay for two weeks, one month in advance. Then I discovered the mom had booked this travel soon after the AP left her country — months earlier.

Just 3 weeks ago, she announced on a Tuesday that her sister was coming to visit and stay with us for the weekend

We accommodated that gracefully, but at this point I feel like she is trying to pull the “last” one on us.

How might I respond?

Can you help Washingtomom with some ideas that help her maintain her dignity?



Image: Hope Abrams on Flickr


Didi July 24, 2015 at 11:14 am

In one hand, it is only one day extra, but if you feel, in this point, that she has been crossing line and repeatedly not showing you any respect, this might be a good chance for you to state your mind. We all deserve respect, and even though she is leaving and you won’t have to deal with it anymore, it might be good for her to hear that her behavior is not welcomed.

That is your home, and you have plans, so it might be the best for everyone if she stays with some of her friends that one day.

Host Mom in the City July 24, 2015 at 11:56 am

I’ve had this type of au pair (and request) before and totally understanding how frustrating it is. Sounds like one of those things you would have begrudgingly agreed to if she had asked (which one should, of course – you would never just announce you were staying at someone else’s house, but the lines get so blurred with au pairs and their host parents’ house).

That said, she hasn’t been a great au pair and you’re probably done extending extras to her and ready to mentally move on. You need to consider what’s going to put you in the best mindset for your next au pair. On one hand, it’s only a couple of days and really you don’t need to be concerned about her at all. I don’t see the sense of putting any restrictions on her or really even thinking about her presence in the least – she’ll probably be out with friends most of the time anyway. But on the other hand, I’m a person that needs a week between even good au pairs just to mentally clean and prep, not to mention physically clean and prep. Two days would not be acceptable to me, and I would probably use that as an excuse to let her know that I would really prefer if she could find somewhere to stay for that last couple days.

What kind of person are you? Will you be able to let this announcement go? Or will you experience growing resentment between now and then and not be able to fully be ready to embrace a new experience?

Host Mom in the City July 24, 2015 at 2:26 pm

I should add here that for our other three au pairs who were excellent and also, made sure to tell me their exact travel month plans upfront, I welcomed them to stay as long as they liked and come back as long as they liked – so I certainly have no problem housing au pairs during and after their travel month assuming they have been great au pairs and also that they ask what works for me and not just assume.

Our second and third left their stuff in our basement and then stayed for a few days when they returned home from their travel month to say goodbye. Our fourth actually stayed for 10 days after she got back from her travel month. She was the best au pair we had, and I didn’t mind a bit. I will say that it was a little off-putting though how much she checked out – where she had formerly been really involved and helpful and great with the kids, she basically spent 10 days sitting around acting like she was on vacation. I seriously don’t care – she wasn’t working, nor was I paying her of course, and I didn’t expect her to do a thing. And she was such a great au pair. It was just weird to see au pair in a work status versus au pair who was officially not so much caring what we thought anymore. I was ready for her to go after almost two weeks of her sitting on the couch watching movies, having friends over, and not quite ignoring the kids, but definitely not being involved while our busy life continued around her.

Having learned from that experience, I think it would be best for my relationship with future au pairs to do the three or so day post-travel month stay and then end on a high note.

For a not good au pair with whom I was counting down the days? Definitely not spending a moment thinking about anybody’s needs but my own and my family’s at the end of the year. Sorry if that’s harsh :)

NoVA Twin Mom July 24, 2015 at 11:59 am

Wait – she needs the time after her vacation to clean and pack? That means she isn’t planning to clean and pack before her vacation. That’s the part I’d be questioning, more than the “reunion and say goodbye to local friends” part.

Particularly if she needs to fly to her new host family, it’s very likely she has very little idea how much stuff she’s accumulated over the course of the year and how little “packing room” exists in one or two suitcases. If her new host family is close enough to drive to pick her up, then you’re in luck and this warning won’t apply.

She needs to already be packing, not planning on packing after she comes back from vacation. We had one au pair who couldn’t seem to deal with the idea of transitioning from our house to her extension family, so she didn’t seem to ever start packing. Until the day before she was going to fly across the country to her extension family. I could tell by looking at her room that all her stuff was not going to fit in two bags, but she seemed to think she had a Mary Poppins carpet bag or something that would also defy the laws of physics and stay under the weight limits.

I ended up shipping boxes after her via the post office’s “slow and cheap” option. (My choice – she was fabulous with our kids, but we needed a different skill set than she had the following year). I have NO IDEA how she got all her stuff home at the end of her extension year – maybe some family members came to visit to “help her move home” and expand her luggage allowance.

Unless you want to be dealing with a weepy au pair that can’t figure out what to do with boxes of stuff that won’t fit in her suitcases, you need to encourage her to start “packing and cleaning” sooner rather than later. Maybe get the LCC in on this. Because there’s no way that part, nevermind any of the rest of this, is going to go well.

German Au-Pair July 24, 2015 at 8:03 pm

Naaah, I wouldn’t generalize here. I didn’t pack until I returned from my travel month -how would I with all the stuff that needed to travel with me? My room also looked like it would NEVER fit into the bags but everything fit. At the airport it turned out I had a bit overweight but I was ready for that and would have thrown stuff away had my airport ride not been able to take the stuff home and take it with her on her next visit to Germany. To me, it always looks like my stuff isn’t going to fit in the bags and I’m a night-before packer (for regular vacations) anyway.

Taking a Computer Lunch July 25, 2015 at 7:46 am

German Au-Pair, I’d say you were the exception to packing – not the rule. In my experience (14 1/2 years of hosting and 11 APs) is that all of the women who have lived in my house have underestimated 1) how much stuff they had purchased during the year and 2) how much time it would take to pack it. I would say all of them stayed up really late their last night with us trying to complete their packing before they started their travel month (they didn’t have the luxury of waiting until after their travel month – their successor would be arriving 2 1/2 days later and we didn’t want their belongings exploding all over the playroom for 3-4 weeks). Even my most parsimonious AP had too much stuff!

Now, I’m a HM that gives my departing APs an empty box and invite them to fill it. The one AP who didn’t fill it before she departed for her travel month didn’t get it sent until nearly Christmas – the rest had it home waiting for them when they arrived.

NoVA Twin Mom July 25, 2015 at 8:25 pm

This wasn’t an “it might be kind of close, maybe you should see if your stuff fits” situation. This was a “you spent every dime of your stipend every single week at the mall and your shoes are tumbling out of the closet as it is, how DO you think they’re going to fit in a suitcase, never mind the rest of your clothes” kind of situation. :)

EVERY year I idly wonder how our au pairs are going to get everything home and manage to pack on time, and every *other* year – much like you – they manage to pull it all together at the end. I know that, so I don’t bother asking anymore. That year? I didn’t say anything until 12 hours before we needed to go to the airport and nothing was packed. At that point, there’s a problem.

I see shades of the same problem occurring for the OP, so I’m giving advice. Before her au pair goes on travel, pack what she’s not taking up. It probably won’t be completely packed – as you pointed out, some of her stuff will be with her. But the rest of her stuff needs to be organized enough that the “travel” and last minute stuff just needs to be added, and there at least needs to be a plan for the rest of it.

Taking a Computer Lunch July 25, 2015 at 9:35 pm

I’ve snagged jackets, coats, and sweaters from departing APs who couldn’t squeeze it all in – comes in handy for their successors who need something warm (everything else goes to Good Will). Some have returned and reclaimed items they had left behind.

Having a relative visit in the last few months of an AP’s year and bring an empty suitcase is gold.

My favorite APs get the big box sent via airmail (I think of it as an end-of-year bonus). The not-so-great get a smaller box that travels more slowly.

WarmStateMomma July 27, 2015 at 11:16 am

“Wait – she needs the time after her vacation to clean and pack?”

I’d let her come back and stay the extra days only if she completely moved out of the AP room before leaving for vacation. That would give me plenty of time to prepare the room for her successor and any upgrades can probably be placed easily during the two days between current AP and incoming AP. But this only works if you have another space for the AP – guest room, pull-out sofa, bunk bed, etc. It doesn’t need to meet the AP guidelines for private room since she’s staying as a houseguest and not an AP.

Neither of my departed APs left their room ready for her successor. Both left themselves too little time to pack and I finally just had them sort things into piles for trash, donations, and “keep for the next AP”. Our high school foreign exchange students left their rooms as they received them but stayed up all night to do it, washing comforters and such. They also underestimated how much time it would take to pack everything or how much they were going to leave behind.

ChiHostMom July 24, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Having had an au pair who went on a travel month and then packed (we actually had to move her unpacked stuff during that month thanks to a remodel). Make her pack first. If you let her come back, that’s a different question. But she needs to pack and clean before that vacation.

Taking a Computer Lunch July 24, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Here’s my routine, followed by how I would nip this request in the bud –

My agency is APIA, and typically my APs work a final day on a Monday. I give them a half-day off on Monday to complete their packing, and do their cleaning (most do a rush job – some barely passable). On Tuesday morning, they must be out of their room, as I start stripping the bed down to the mattress to wash everything and start cleaning to the walls (we’re talking washing the bathroom so thoroughly that I do the piping behind the toilet clean – stuff I rarely do in my own house!) The AP is free to sleep in the basement playroom, but no overnight guests are permitted after that point. I do permit her to leave her packed suitcases behind – either in a corner of the playroom or in the storeroom if she’s heading out on a travel month. I’m gracious and offer to drive her to the airport if she’s heading out of town early on the Tuesday morning. I spend the next two days washing everything – regardless of it’s cleanliness – so that the next AP has a reasonable chance of making the room “hers.” I can never get the odor of the outgoing AP’s preferred perfume out of the air no matter what I do (I’m not a perfume wearer, so it really bothers me). I have from Tuesday morning to Thursday evening to clean to the walls, replace what’s needed, do the final edits and printing of the new handbook, and make the room inviting for the next AP (DH always joins me in taking vacation time during AP switch-out week unless the kids are in school.) By the way, I warn APs what is going to happen at least one month out.

The outgoing AP is always welcome to come back after her travel month – I encourage her to stay for more than 24 hours because every AP underestimates how much time it will take to reconfigure suitcases after a trip, say good-bye to friends, and purchase last-minute gifts and mementos for home. We try to make a special last-night dinner, which permits the incoming AP to see how her year may transform her relationship with our family – since she’s invariably still in the throes of homesickness and adjustment. When the AP chooses not to extend – or her extension year paperwork arrives – that is when I issue the invitation to return for at least two days after the end of the travel month.

Now, here’s what I would do:
Find a quiet time at the end of a shift, when you can sit down with the AP. Having already decided how you want to handle the end of her year with her, spell it out. Personally, I would say that she needs to be packed up and out of her room and have done her cleaning before she heads out on her trip – unless you still have several days before the next AP arrives (or if there won’t be a next AP). You are not a hotel, you are a human being with a family and a job. Be gracious, invite her to come back and stay for a day or two, but put her in public area – like a futon or air mattress in the playroom (or if you have a guest room and are willing to have her use it). Be polite and firm, and say that she cannot have overnight guests.

Here are things you need to decide before you have the chat (I’m sure others will add to the list)
– whether or not you want to give her use of the car
– whether or not she will surrender her cell phone before her trip or afterwards
– where she will sleep
– where she will put her packed suitcases and boxes while she travels
– whether or not you will impose a curfew

I had an AP like this – the one who needed constant job coaching and had a couch-surfing boyfriend. She announced one week out that she would not be traveling and wanted to stay in the house. I told her she could sleep on the basement futon but that she couldn’t have overnight guests. She decided to be out of our house the minute her last shift ended.

Be polite, be generous (up to a point), and be firm!

SeattleHD July 25, 2015 at 10:33 am

I don’t get this – if you have a new au pair arriving within days of the old one leaving,
Why would you NOT take the “au pair” cell phone to give to the new au pair?
Why would the old au pair be allowed to NOT pack her room up if you need it for the new au pair? If she comes back, she’s not sleeping in the au pair room because that’s already taken.

None of this has been an issue with our au pairs so far.

Lígia July 27, 2015 at 11:40 am

I agree!

My host parents were very generous and let me stay for as long as I wanted during my grace period, but we didn’t even have to talk about it: I was out of my old room a few days before the new au pair arrived, and made sure it was as clean and empty as possible. There was a cleaning lady who cleaned the house on a specific day of the week, so I vacated the room before that day, even if it meant the room was empty for a week or so, because I really think the new au pair has the right to arrive to a nice, clean room.

Of course, I also surrendered my cell phone at the minute the new girl arrived. I only kept my host parents’ and other important numbers, and deleted all the rest.

I think this is just common sense, and I agree with you that it could be a issue.

Seattle Mom July 27, 2015 at 12:56 pm

I can’t agree with this more:

Now, here’s what I would do:
Find a quiet time at the end of a shift, when you can sit down with the AP. Having already decided how you want to handle the end of her year with her, spell it out. Personally, I would say that she needs to be packed up and out of her room and have done her cleaning before she heads out on her trip – unless you still have several days before the next AP arrives (or if there won’t be a next AP). You are not a hotel, you are a human being with a family and a job. Be gracious, invite her to come back and stay for a day or two, but put her in public area – like a futon or air mattress in the playroom (or if you have a guest room and are willing to have her use it). Be polite and firm, and say that she cannot have overnight guests.

Here are things you need to decide before you have the chat (I’m sure others will add to the list)
– whether or not you want to give her use of the car
– whether or not she will surrender her cell phone before her trip or afterwards
– where she will sleep
– where she will put her packed suitcases and boxes while she travels
– whether or not you will impose a curfew

I’ve never had this issue because my APs have either not taken a travel month or they didn’t come back after traveling. One of my APs went straight to her boyfriend’s house and only came back to hug and kiss the girls goodbye, and bring back some of our stuff she had accidentally taken to her boyfriend’s place (stuff we had lent her, it wasn’t a big deal). But I always tell them ahead of time whether they are welcome to stay past their last work day and where they will sleep and what rights they will have WRT the car etc.

It’s up to you to tell your AP what is allowed, after her year is up.. and if it’s going to seriously put you out and you don’t feel it’s worth the imposition then just state what you will and will not allow.

CA mom of 2 July 24, 2015 at 5:38 pm

I don’t think she’s trying to pull a fast one on you. I think she’s just now realizing that she only has this weekend (tomorrow and Sunday) and (assuming she works for you M-F) she will be working all week and then leaving the very next day. I give her a little praise for at least being aware that she is running out of time, but it is definitely bad form to “tell” you that she’s leaving on the 11th. It’s amazing how much it helps if the au pair is mature enough to let you know that a problem is coming up and then actually discusses the possible solutions with you.

I agree with NoVa Twin mom– if she hasn’t already started packing, she’s going to be amazed at how much stuff she has and how long it is going to take to pack up. We’ve hosted 5 au pairs, and they all needed at least two or three days to pack, clean, dispose of the stuff that can’t go home, and so on.

She’s going to have a lot of stuff to take care of, so what I would weigh is whether I want her to be taking care of those items every weeknight after work (do you want her vaccuming and doing loads and loads of laundry every evening? Our AP’s room and the laundry are under the kids rooms, so that would not work for me) or if you’d rather have her take care of it when she returns from her travels.

It’s up to you to decide what will or won’t work for your family, but if she does stay for the extra Sunday night & Monday night I wouldn’t worry about the curfew or boundaries.

Mimi July 24, 2015 at 11:25 pm

We only had this issue with a rematch AP, but my response here would be that she needs to be packed and out of her room by her travel departure date so that you have time to clean /regroup/exorcise the room/ w/e but that she can stay until the 11 if none of her friends can host her but no overnight guests and you will not be providing transportation and her comings and goings should not disrupt the household.

WestMom July 25, 2015 at 6:50 am

I don’t know what your availability is, but as a working mom, there is not way I can give my Wednesday and Thursday to clean up her room before the arrival of our new AP.

I think this is an easy conversation. AP needs to be packed and have ‘cleaned’ her room by the time she goes on vacation. During that time, HD and I will be fully cleaning the room, doing minor repairs, and prepping for the new AP’s arrival.

When AP comes back, she is welcome to sleep on the couch (or with one of the kids) until Tuesday– ask to be considerate of her comings and goings so it’s not disruptive to the rest of the family. I would be ok leaving her the cell phone, with the assumption that she will give it back fully charged, w/ clean mailbox, and with all non-emergency numbers removed. If she asks for the car, I would consider asking that she takes it to the car wash. In a nutshell, her special requests should not cause more work for you.

Will you be driving her to the airport?

SeattleHD July 25, 2015 at 10:41 am

Why would you not take the cell phone if you need it for the new au pair? I take ours and do a hard reset for the new ap.

So this ap thinks she can tale off for a month leaving her crap strewn around “her” room and leave the HF to clean and prep it in two midweek days? Ain’t happening here. I’d make it clear that she vacate the room, pre-arrange whatever she wants prior to travel and repack when she gets back. Anything left in the room prior to vacation gets packed in boxes.

And again, for an ap who was considerate and I really liked this would never even come up. For anything less than that, they get the cold hard pragmatic facts.

WestMom July 25, 2015 at 11:41 am

From what I read, there are still two days between her departure and the new AP arrival. Taking the phone away seems a bit petty to me…

SeattleHD July 25, 2015 at 5:19 pm

This au pair appears to be leaving a month before the new one comes in. Fine, let her keep it, but our new au pair comes in the week after, so we need it right back. YMMV, but in general, once the au pair is off my clock, she’s off my phone bill, especially if she hasn’t done anything to merit other consideration.

NewAPMom July 28, 2015 at 9:36 am

I had my AP hand over the cell phone once she left for her travel month (she is staying with us 2 days before she leaves for good). I agree, she’s not working for me, I’m not paying for her phone. It costs me an extra $40/month. What if it broke during the travel month or she lost it? My AP was able to find a month of service through another carrier for her personal phone and got that. They don’t need your phone. They all come with their own phones and there are ways to get 30 day plans.

Peachtree Mom July 25, 2015 at 11:11 am

I agree with most of the posters. Our outgoing aupair has her suitcases packed and ready to go. She can store them in the guest room and that is where she can stay for a night or two before she departs for home. The cell phone is returned before she travels b/c I need it for the incoming aupair and she is off the car insurance policy….no way I am having two young drivers on the policy. Like the others I need a few days at least to get the room and bathroom ready. For our last aupair I ended up mailing 3 huge boxes back to Germany for her. She was so funny….and that was after she made two trips to Goodwill.

Washingtomom July 25, 2015 at 11:12 am

Thanks everyone for the input. This is our first time as HP and these ideas of pre departure planning are really helpful for the time we have left and future APs.
Anyway, I guess she was not able to convince the new family to travel the day after her start date, they booked her flight to their city for Monday Aug. 10th.
She has had the past 2 weekends off starting on Friday afternoon, so had plenty of time to think about her packing, farewell, etc, she used the time to go to the pool, beach, bbq parties, etc, this weekend she is away again. All fine with me, can’t blame her because I did not think of asking her to prepare either.
Having said that, my DH just had a thought. She knew these dates before she planned her vacation week. Why did she choose to book her return flight from vacation on a Sunday instead of Saturday? Can’t help to think that she was trying to maximize her time at our expense. We are both working parents so having as much time to prepare is golden for us.
For her last week with us, being summer and all, she is done with her shift by 7 pm and the laundry is downstairs so she can do all the cleaning, washing during that time. She is also getting the day off on Friday, we were very clear that this time off is to focus on her packing, cleaning, getting rid of what she doesn’t need and leave the room as clear as possible, not a day to hang out with friends. We told her that we will do a run thru Friday night..
She will come back Sunday to spend the night and leave at noon on Monday. She will keep the phone during her travel and return it on Monday. I will be home to do a final glance over with her, collect phone, and take her to the airport.

BearCo Momma July 27, 2015 at 9:01 am

We had a sort of similar situation with our first AP. Her new HF didn’t want her to start until 3 weeks AFTER her year ended with us – because their old AP would still be there – and told her that they didn’t have room for both of them so she asked if she could stay with us (at their suggestion!) for the 3 weeks since we have a spare bedroom.

This put us in a pretty uncomfortable position where I really didn’t want to do it (we also had a new AP arriving and I didn’t want any overlap), but also felt really bad because what was she supposed to do then? I felt this was really bad of the new family and advised my AP to tell the new LCC about this, but she wouldn’t since she had ‘agreed’ to it basically on the side.

In the end , I spoke to my LCC about it, and was informed that I wouldn’t even be allowed for me to say Yes if I wanted to, the agency would be booking her flight to the new city on the day she was contracted to start with the new family and they were officially responsible for her as of that day. She ended up travelling for those 3 weeks – without pay – until the new family was ‘ready’ for her – pretty sure without the agency’s knowledge. (This to me was a huge red flag for the family in general, which is what I told her, but she disagreed and fast forward 6 weeks into year year and I was unfortunately right)

Taking a Computer Lunch July 27, 2015 at 9:45 am

We had a similar situation with AP #5, with whom we had chose not to extend. She interviewed one family, who were traveling back to their country for a month and didn’t need her to start until a month after her year with us ended. They asked if we could continue to host her. It turns out we could – in the open basement playroom – but that the poor woman had to use her vacation time (they had to pay her salary), because an extending AP must be in pay status all the time or she violates her visa. The AP ended up matching with another family for a variety of reasons.

In my opinion – the incoming AP always, always, always gets the private bedroom. My outgoing APs are welcome to stay, but they have to make do in the basement playroom because I don’t have a “guest room” and only one child can be kicked out of a twin bed.

hOstCDmom July 25, 2015 at 11:56 am

I give a departure/check out list of tasks 2 weeks prior to APs last date. It is an actual checklist, noting everything I want them to do, and everything I want back, and done, by 2 days BEFORE they depart — then if not done they have time to do it! :) (grocery store card, library card, gym card, cell phone (they can use until last minute, but not during travel month), charger, handbook) car keys, AAA card); wipe out drawers, vacuum under mattress, vacuum blinds, clean furniture with X cleaner, vacuum and wipe out closet, clean out desk drawers etc; strip bed to mattress final morning, leave sheets in basket in laundry room, I will, of course, clean again myself, but I expect them to leave the room in completely clean, sanitized, empty condition. They must also arrange to forward their mail (at post office or online now), leave me a contact address. I also highlight that they need to consider what to do with their bank account (close after travel month? close from home country etc.)

WestMom July 25, 2015 at 12:15 pm

I tried to get our last AP (rematch, she went home after 8 weeks) to fill out a forward address card. You can’t forward outside the country right? After 7 years, I get so much junk mail addressed to my previous APs…

hOstCDmom July 25, 2015 at 12:33 pm

You can have first-class mail forwarded outside the country. I did this even 17 years ago when I moved overseas. Second and third class, unfortunately not. So you will still get catalogs and junk mail. Although you can suggest that the Au Pair forward her mail to say, the Secretary of State, of your state! :-)

Taking a Computer Lunch July 25, 2015 at 1:17 pm

I had one AP who seemed to put her name down for every bargain she could – just today – and I’m not kidding – 8 years after she departed, I received something else addressed to her. The others, not so much after a year or so. I usually send mail “return to sender addressee no longer resides in U.S.” once and that takes care of it.

WarmStateMomma July 27, 2015 at 11:03 am

You should have a stamp made by now after hosting so many APs! :)

Host Mom in Paradise July 28, 2015 at 2:03 am

So I have this problem too… I still get mail addressed to my suddenly-omg-rematch AP, who left 2 days after announcing she’s leaving. I can tell that it’s mostly bills. My LCC asked me to forward all this mail to her, which I’ve done, but I’ve since collected a new stack which includes a letter from my state’s DMV. Eeep! I sure hope LCC is taking care of this.

exaupair July 25, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Dear OP, I think I wouldn’t accommodate APs plans if she was ‘just’ so-so, but it’s just me…
But if you actually want to end the year on a high note, be nice to her ect. maybe you could have her stay on the sofa (I understand you don’t have that extra spare bedroom) and in return have her help you prepare for her successor arrival? I’m not talking about having her work few additional days, but having her collect clean bedding from dry cleaners, buy minis for the welcome basket ect., while you tidy the AP bedroom up? I’m talking giving you a hand really, in return for letting her stay, if that makes sense.

German Au-Pair July 25, 2015 at 4:08 pm

I don’t see how this is fair or how this going to work out really. “You can stay here but only if you run some errands to make your successor feel welcome?
Even if she has been a so-so AP, she likely has a relationship with the kids and family and someone is going to take over her life. While I understand that’s how the AP system works, I do think it’s a bit harsh.
Also, while the way she has presented the issue is not okay -and I would absolutely tell her that you need to ask instead of just assume- I personally think that it’s too much to expect to have a home there until you actually leave.
I was in the lucky situation of not having to clean out my room until after my travelmonth but in this situation, maybe it would be good compromise to ask her to be packed and ready before her travel but let her stay in the room afterwards. HM can have the room (except bed an bathroom) ready for the next Ap while she’s gone and frankly talk to the AP about her being expected to be mindful about the bedroom and only use the bed and nightsand or whatever. She then has two days to get the bed ready. If this seems doable for the HM, I believe it would be a good compromise but expectations would need to be clear.

exaupair July 25, 2015 at 6:24 pm

My understanding is that the APs time is up on a certain day, but she wants to stay 2 extra days, therefor it is actually fair to ask her to do little things for a place to stay. That’s by no means unfair.

German Au-Pair July 25, 2015 at 8:29 pm

I don’t know…It depends on the kind of relationship you have I guess. But if you ask her to do little things, I still feel like it’s unfair to make her do anything regarding her successor. I know some HMs actually overlap (and I would have been miserable with that, too) but this is different. Make her drive the kids somewhere or something like that.
Plus -totally different angle- I also think it’s weird to have the Ap do the nice little things you do for incoming AP. The bathroom stuff for example is a nice, considerate gesture that I really appreciated. Would have been weird if former AP had picked that out.

Anonymous in CA July 26, 2015 at 12:00 am

For what it’s worth, our summer babysitter (recent college grad starting graduate school in August) has on her own initiative started making little things for incoming au pair who arrives in a few weeks. That is, when she and my son do craft projects, they are often doing them for the new AP…they’ve made her a little book of pictures of places my son likes to visit, things he likes, etc. She’s been printing pictures at her house in the evening. Completely on her own initiative. I realize it’s different with a babysitter (summer nanny) versus outgoing and incoming APs, but it’s not totally different. I think it’s actually a really kind gesture…and shows that she really cares about my son…enough to swallow how much she will miss him to work toward a goal of making for a smooth transition. And if I needed her to help put together the welcome basket, she would in a heart beat and would make it a fun adventure to do with my son. So, I do understand that it might feel weird to do stuff for a successor AP, but then, it serves everyone (the child / children most of all) to spread some goodwill out there and create some positive energy for the incoming AP.

And to the OP..well, take TACL’s advice. :-)

exaupair July 26, 2015 at 3:29 am

I still disagree I’m afraid. There’s a huge difference between slaving a departing AP around for the additional two days, and asking her to just give you a hand. Especially if you’re letting her stay in your house instead of booking her into a hotel. Please note that I never said that OP should have her perform any childcare duties for a free place on her sofa.
Picking up toiletries and other small things for a welcome basket was just an example. Could potentially take up to 1 hr. Given the OP has only few days to prepare the bedroom (occupied for the last year!) for the new AP, but also clean the whole house, replace items, buy new ones and so on that 1 hour ca be crucial.
Maybe you’d feel strange if your HM asked you to help out a bit, I wouldn’t.

German Au-Pair July 26, 2015 at 9:32 am

I do think the situation is different with a summer babysitter. For me the transition was fine because my kids were older and I could keep in touch and my successor was someone I knew and liked. I too would do some nice things for her if it came up in a natural way (like the kids wanting to pre something and me spending time with them and helping them.) I also love to give advice to other APs and stayed in touch with her and helped her whenever she needed advice and would have happily gotten stuff my successor needed -if it came up in a natural way. There’s a HUGE difference between “Hey, would you help me pick something you think a new AP might be happy about?” and “You can stay here if you help me prep everything for your successor.” It’s just a different situation. One makes you feel like your advice and opinion and help is appreciated. The other makes you feel like you are a bit of a burden but at least should be useful to prep for the one who’s replacing you.
The difference between a summer babysitter and an AP is that a summer babysitter may absolute develop a good relationship with the child but A. it’s obviously not the same as it is after 1 or 2 years in which -especially with younger kids. the AP may have witnesses huge developmental milestones- and B. for the babysitter it’s a summer job -not a life.
Even though I actually was fine with my successor, I had the chance to stay in touch with my children, I was ready and happy to go back and I stayed in touch with my friends there, the biggest issue for me (and I assume I’m not the exception here) was that someone was essentially taking over the life I had built for myself. Someone was going to sleep in your bed, drice you car, spend time with your kids, take over much of your daily routine and simply be in what has been your home. So when doing something nice for your successor naturally comes up, I would be all on board. I liked hearing how she was doing.
But somehow the whole “she has to do this so she can stay” thing doesn’t fly well with me. I would do it, for sure, but it would definitely make me feel super weird.

Host Mom in Paradise July 28, 2015 at 2:09 am

You know, I don’t think that what Anonymous in CA’s summer babysitter is doing, making a little book of things the kid likes, is much different than what I did to prepare for AP1. It was pretty heartbreaking for me as a mom to be making a “get to know my son” book for a first incoming AP. I mean, I’d love to hang out with my son in all these amazing places and do all these fun things that he loves, and make him his favorite meals every day. I’d love to be able to watch him grow and learn 8-9 hours a day. But instead I give that job to someone else, and it’s bittersweet to be creating the artifact that will give away all the secrets I’ve come to know.

So maybe it’s not too much to ask for an outgoing AP to help an incoming AP understand the neighborhood and the kids.

WI-AP-Mom July 25, 2015 at 6:40 pm

I would have her pack first, no questions. We have had 5 au pairs in the last 6 years and they all have underestimated how much stuff they have. Lots of sorting, keep – not keep, etc. For our family we are flexible with who stays, goes. Honestly 6 people living in our house isn’t much different than 7. We’ve had au pair family and friends come and go some with a lot of notice and others not so much. The only thing we nit-pick about is the vacation time. That we need to know in advance so that we make sure we have a back up plan or take off from work as needed.

Anna July 26, 2015 at 8:15 am

Her year ends on the 7Th, so originally op was letting her stay 2 extra days, and now it is 5. Also it seems that the au pair told her that, not asked. Op should point out to the au pair when her actual year ends, and insist that she pack before the trip. By the way i understand how those requests feel – my last au pair not only told mr her mom is coming to stay with us a week in advance, three days before she announced that her aunt is coming too, and they bought tickets so too late for me to say no…. i hate being manipulated like that.

WestMom July 26, 2015 at 8:58 am

I totally get the unexpected guests problem… We have had to deal with this in the past. It makes me terribly annoyed that extended family wouldn’t confirm dates with us before deciding to come over. I find that terribly rude.

I always wonder how much of the situation is because of AP’s poor planning/communication, as opposed to the visiting relatives planning on their own without much consideration for our family. I find that sometimes, the relatives put the AP in a difficult situation of having to ask us if they can come, and negotiate dates for them. I really wished relatives would actually call or email us directly to discuss their plans with us. Personally, I would NEVER just make plans to go stay with strangers in another country. Actually, I would probably never consider staying in their home. It must be a cultural difference I guess, but nevertheless the inconsideration we experienced on a few occasions really irked me.

BearCo Momma July 27, 2015 at 8:47 am

I also think this might be a cultural thing. I have to deal with this a lot with DH’s family (foreign). “Allegedly” they confirm the dates with him first, but that tends to mean nothing in practice :-) as I still never know about the dates till after everything is booked and I can’t do anything about it. Very frustrating!

And I agree I also would never consider staying in the home of strangers I hadn’t met before. Even when I first went to visit my DH’s family – who he of course knew – but I didn’t yet, I felt pretty uncomfortable and preferred a nearby hotel.

On the other hand, as a child I always preferred to host sleepovers as opposed to going to them, and even now don’t like staying in people’s homes unless it’s my own parents or close family. I always feel in the way and out of place and like I’m putting people out – so maybe it’s a personality thing too!

Host Mom in Paradise July 28, 2015 at 2:12 am

Ha ha, it’s totally a cultural thing. My family? We will “discuss dates” about a dozen separate times, reach different conclusions each time, and finally argue and stop talking. Being kept in the loop when that’s going on frustrates even the most patient partner.

German Au-Pair July 26, 2015 at 9:34 am

Whoa, this is terrible! My HF had told me before I even got on a plane that my family and friends were welcome but I would have NEVER even thought about inviting them before asking them first. I asked them IF they could come and the again if those dates would be fine before I booked anything. So weird what people think they can do.

NewAPMom July 28, 2015 at 8:08 am

I didn’t read through all the posts yet but I would tell her that she can’t stay the extra 2 days and see if she can stay with friends. Make up something, tell her someone else is coming to visit, you’re going out of town, whatever. Or just tell her that you need the time to get the house together. My so-so AP is returning for 2 days before her final flight home and now I wish that we had never agreed to that because I want to be done with her. The kids don’t ask for her and now I think it will be weird. But for me it’s too late to make her stay elsewhere!
If you do agree to her staying, she needs to be aware that she can’t drive your car, you’re not feeding her anything special (or at all if you feel that way, etc). It’s a lot to expect the family to suddenly host you for an extra 2 days and pay for your food, etc.

so new at this July 28, 2015 at 6:59 pm

Very timely post as I’m going thru a similar situation, only difference is that the LLC made AP’s last day the day she goes to her new family which is a day after she comes back from vacation. This after having had a discussion making the last day the Friday before she goes on vacation. Not a problem there since I had already agreed with everyone to let her stay until her departure day, which at the time of discussion was still up on the air.

In any case, just got an email from LLC telling me that I’m responsible to host her until the day she leaves…. ( I had reached out to her for something different).

They all know I have a new AP arriving 3 days after AP 1 departs, so for the LLC to come so strong was a bit offputting, especially because this was already discussed.

Now about AP, she seems not to have any urgency in leaving the room packed and clean before she goes on her vacation. I mentioned it to her yesterday and she looked at me as if I had 3 heads. We will be away the same week she is away, and DH and I plan to do minor repairs the Saturday and Sunday after she goes on vacation. We will leave on our vacation Monday and come back home the same day as the AP, so don’t have the luxury of time.

Not sure if at this point I should be nervous. Any thoughts would be appreciated

NewbieHM July 30, 2015 at 2:20 pm

According to the contract when is her last day?

Washingtomom July 30, 2015 at 4:19 pm

We are ending a few weeks earlier than the contract date.

Washingtomom July 30, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Ooops. Sorry I gues this was directed to SNsT mom??

WarmStateMomma July 30, 2015 at 2:58 pm

The LCC does not decide the last day. Ever. That’s set forth in the contract from the agency. The LCC does not make legal decisions for the AP or HF.

Dorsi July 30, 2015 at 3:44 pm

Also, I think it is fully reasonable to let the AP know that you will be in her room while she is on vacation doing cleaning and minimal repairs. You could even request that she move out to the couch for her final night, as you will have (paint, cleaners, toxins, whatever) in there that wouldn’t be good for her.

so new at this July 30, 2015 at 6:13 pm

I guess my handle name says it all. New at this so not sure what LLC can or can’t do. AP is departing a few days early from contract date. But according to the agency records last day with us is Sunday. A day before her departure date.
I did tell AP our plans to do repairs while she is gone, I honestly don’t think she feels she has to leave her suite and bathroom clean or change address with bank or mail, etc

NJmama July 30, 2015 at 6:50 pm

It sounds like you need to talk to your AP about what she needs to do BEFORE she goes on vacation … Which is to have her room packed up before she goes. Ive never had an AP properly clean the room before departure and frankly I just don’t expect it. But they are supposed to do it. So maybe you can say “I know you may not have time to clean your room before vacation but I do expect you to have everything packed up before you go.”

Sounds like the LC was a bit flaky about the end date. But she should reinforce the message as well.

Host Mom X August 4, 2015 at 10:38 pm

We haven’t hosted nearly as many APs as some of the posters on this site, and we’ve had our fair share of rematches, but I suppose we must have been VERY lucky as we’ve never had any of these departure issues. All of our APs – even the first most awful rematch – have left their rooms spotless without us even having discussed it, there haven’t been any issues regarding, e.g. when the cell phone is returned (they know the new AP is coming and will need it, and they just get a burner or a plan on their phone from home for any additional time in the country), and departure dates and coming back for a bit after the travel month and storing their stuff with us has never been an issue (and we have lived in tiny homes with no guest rooms; they either stay on the guest pull-out couch or in with the kids, and we shove their luggage and boxes in wherever we have space. We’ve done TACL’s box for some APs, and others have come back for visits and gotten the rest of their luggage then). We had one potentially awkward rematch overlap issue, but as our LCC said when we were trying to figure it out ahead of time, “these things always tend to work themselves out,” and in fact it did. Hearing some of the issues that folks have had here – apparently our LCC has good luck!

Having recently switched to APIA, their harsh-sounding “if you have an AP in your home you must pay them” policy helps to work things out, because we offered to host an outgoing rematch AP if she needed another week or two longer to find a new family (as long as she didn’t mind staying on the guest couch – and no, we didn’t really want this, but we didn’t want to kick her out and not let her have a chance to find a new family), but then APIA said if we did that we’d have to pay both the outgoing AP (who wouldn’t be working) AND the new AP simultaneously. It is a lot easier to say “we’re not going to do that,” if you make it a money/weird AP agency policy issue rather than personal.

With the OP’s AP: even though I get the frustration especially if you feel this AP has been less than courteous with these kinds of scheduling issues in the past, this behavior on its own actually doesn’t seem that bad. Most of our APs have had difficulty arranging travel and friend/relative scheduling with us ahead of time – mostly because I think they find it a really hard/awkward topic to raise. They know/feel it’s an imposition, so their way of dealing with it is just to put off talking about it, which in the end of course causes more of an imposition because they leave us less time to plan and often don’t give us a choice. I think we just see this as something you encounter with most young adults, and part of the “cost of doing business” of having APs. It has sometimes made us hustle here and there when, e.g., mom and three aunties and a sister are suddenly arriving three days earlier than we expected, or AP is coming back to visit three weeks into new AP’s year – surprise! – or travel month arrangements didn’t QUITE work out the way AP had hoped and she’s going to stay with us during that time a bit more on each end, but I suppose that hasn’t seemed like such a terribly big deal to us. So – maybe I should revise! Maybe we HAVE experienced some of the issues being discussed here, but just haven’t viewed them as the stickier issues in our AP relationships.

TexasHM August 4, 2015 at 11:49 pm

Is that a new APIA policy? We were with APIA and the policy was if the AP was working you were required to pay them during the two week rematch period but if they were not (say you had safety issues and had to step in so AP is done but you agree to still house her for two weeks) then no pay. It was the same at Interexchange (we had exactly this happen there) and I believe is the same at CCAP as well. Now overlapping is different. Because you have a contract you are required to pay them through term (and the new one if she comes early). We had a scenario where an extension AP wanted to come earlier and APIA would have billed us for a couple of weeks on the extension even though her previous HF had paid the whole year and wasn’t asking for a refund. That didn’t make sense to us because we were covered from a childcare perspective and it was the previous HM that was looking to get her out early so we weren’t about to pay double dipping agency fees for that.

Host Mom X August 5, 2015 at 9:39 am

We’ve only been with APIA a couple of years, and this was pretty recent. We didn’t have a safety issue, and this “extra” period of volunteering to house the outgoing AP I believe would have been beyond the required two weeks. The LCC said that even though we would be paying a new AP, the outgoing AP needed to be paid by SOMEONE if she was to still be considered “in program,” and if she was in our home, even though not working and beyond her two weeks, we had to be that someone. Now – I imagine if she found a rematch within the two weeks but the new family wasn’t quite ready for her and we ended up housing her for a few extra days beyond the two weeks, I would think the agency would require the new family to pay rather than us – who were just looking to do a favor! But I’m not sure; turned out our outgoing AP found a new family just in time.

And I suppose if the AP goes to stay with a friend beyond the two weeks but they are allowing her additional time to find a family, they look the other way on the “she has to be paid by SOMEONE” deal. (We got an AP in rematch when we were still with APC and she had been permitted to stay an additional 2-3 weeks while looking for a new family, but she was staying with a friend.)

Taking a Computer Lunch August 5, 2015 at 11:29 am

I think the actual requirement comes from the State Department, which is cracking down on enforcing the need to be in-pay status not to violate the terms of the visa. While my bet is that APIA is erring on the side of caution, the new policy will surely leave APs with less wiggle room to rematch than before (in my experience, two weeks has been longer when the LCC sides with the AP).

hOstCDmom August 5, 2015 at 12:13 pm

So how does that work with agencies that have the policy that if you are in rematch and the Au Pair is NOT working or providing childcare, but you are still housing the Au Pair for the required two weeks, you don’t have to pay them? I know that was cultural care’s policy in recent years. Is that no longer permitted?

Mimi August 5, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Our recent experience with this (CCAP in March) was that a non-working AP did not get paid.

TexasHM August 5, 2015 at 12:02 pm

That’s interesting because what about when the AP stays with the LC? Does the LC pay her? :) Our rockstar rematch AP had been with the LC for 4 weeks – all unpaid (Interexchange). We have housed two transition APs that were removed from their homes (one for APIA and one for IE) and we didn’t pay either of them (and wouldn’t have we were just helping they weren’t working in any way). I agree with TACL this will definitely put the squeeze on rematch APs. We had a rematch due to safety issues and I had already paid departing AP and her for week one, then holiday week so we covered, then week 3 she didn’t make a day herself so I had already in my mind paid her for 3 weeks of no work. If IE had come back and said I needed to pay her for 2 more weeks of non work we would have lost it.

Boy Au Pair Europe August 25, 2015 at 12:18 pm

“but at this point I feel like she is trying to pull the “last” one on us.”

I think when someone request something that seems unfair to you it is all to easy to see it as a personal attack. I wouldn’t expect there to be animosity behind her request.

“I would be fine with this if she had at least asked if she could do this. She is aware that our new AP will be arriving that Thu ( Aug 13th) leaving me only two days to regroup.

My feeling is if you would be fine with it if she had asked, then you should just let her stay the two days. She was rude in not asking you, and I can understand that she is not the right person for your family, but I don’t think that punishment for not asking you is the way to go.

Comments on this entry are closed.