cultural differences

Support Gun Safety Legislation

by cv harquail October 4, 2017

Dear Readers — A girlfriend reminded me this morning that, as a person who runs a website that reaches 16,000 people a month, I have a responsibility to use this platform wisely.  To promote community, to promote growth, to promote learning, to promote cross cultural understanding, and to promote safety. One of the most horrifying […]

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Au Pair Drinking Wine While On Duty: Okay or Ixnay? (Poll)

by cv harquail August 9, 2016

Dear Au Pair Mom — I have been an avid reader of your blog for awhile now and absolutely love the invaluable information and tips I have learned from it. I’m not entirely sure this is an issue but I think it has the potential to become one so I guess I’m just putting some […]

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Au Pairs and Modesty: A Challenge of Cultural Fit

by cv harquail September 29, 2015

I had just come back from dropping my kid off at school. As I climbed out of my car, my neighbor walked by on the way to the park with my favorite golden retriever. I was compelled to run down the driveway and get a cuddle from that darn dog. It was only when I […]

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Labor Day: An American Celebration of Workers

by cv harquail August 29, 2014
labor day

American Culture is on my mind today.   Of the three big distinctions between Au Pair childcare and other childcare, the idea of cultural exchange often takes a back seat.  One reason for ‘culture’ receding in to the background is that we regularly experience cultural differences and cultural exchange at the interpersonal level. Cultural exchange […]

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Choosing An Au Pair: Reading between the lines of an email reply

by cv harquail April 28, 2014

People tease me about the number of emoticons, doge gifs, and exclamation points I use in my email, but I refuse to give up on anything that might help me convey the feelings behind my words — and to avoid being misinterpreted. It’s happened to all of us, when we’ve rushed to reply, or we […]

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Does your Au Pair call you Mom or Dad, Ms. or Mr.?

by cv harquail July 9, 2013

Just when I was thinking there were no more new questions about being an au pair, this one comes across the digital transom: I’m a soon to be first time au pair and I have a quick question for you. What’s the best way to address my host parents? My instinct is to call them […]

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What To Do When Your Au Pair Doesn’t Bathe

by cv harquail January 20, 2013

Some issues are just too awkward to talk about. But we have to talk about them anyway, because these are the very issues that keep host parents and au pairs from really connecting. We’ve hit some of these issues already– contraceptives, personal safety, swimming when she has her period (I told you they were awkward!), […]

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Who counts as an “American” family?

by cv harquail September 19, 2011

I imagine that every au pair has an idea of what her or his “ideal” host family should be like. The assortment of children, the family’s location, their personality, their basic household rules… all of this factors in. But how much do you think it matters that the family be “American”-American, rather than German-American or […]

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My Au Pair has Awful Table Manners

by cv harquail December 2, 2010

Dear AuPairMom Readers — What do you do when your (otherwise great, fabulous) AP has ATROCIOUS table manners – think smacking and chewing sounds not even heard at a trucker convention! Chews with mouth open, talks with mouth full of food, slurps drinks, smacks lips when chewing….it is REALLY LOUD. It is also setting a […]

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What to Wear? asks the Au Pair

by cv harquail November 2, 2010

I know we had a conversation a while back when a host mom’s au pair was dressing link a tramp a little “inappropriately”, but I thought we could revisit that conversion from a more positive direction, thinking about what we’d recommend. We received this email from a soon-to-be au pair: I am a 20 year […]

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