Part of the Family

Different Defaults for Deciding When an Au Pair is “Part of the Family”

by cv harquail July 27, 2017
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Who decides, and how do you decide, when an Au Pair should be included in (off duty) family events? Nearly all of the time, my default has been to invite the au pair, unless its a private event (e.g., friend’s kid’s birthday) or a boring-to-an-au pair event (e.g., company picnic where family is invited). As […]

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Au Pair Handbook: Describing “Give and Take” Philosophy

by cv harquail May 23, 2015
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One in an ongoing series of posts on very specific information to include in your AuPair Handbook… HostMom MeanwhileInCanada writes: I am currently in the process of revising the section of my handbook on give-and-take & related attitude (it’s in the section on “being part of the family”). I know there have been multiple discussions on […]

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Share The Fun and the Not-So-Fun with Your Au Pair

by cv harquail November 11, 2014
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Prompted by our conversation over the weekend about the au pair who was unhappy with the ratio of chores-to-child interaction in his work week, I’m reposting something from 2009: One super-helpful piece of advice my friend Adelaide gave me when we got our first au pair was “Be Sure to Share the Cream.” Share both […]

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3 Features of Au Pairing: Which One Challenges You?

by cv harquail September 1, 2014
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What are the real, important differences between Au Pairs and other kinds of childcare providers, like nannies, babysitters, or childcare centers? What really influences the challenges that host parents and au pairs face when it comes to making this ‘the best year ever’? It used to be that when people asked me how having an […]

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Creepy, Crawly, Contagious Things- What if your Au Pair catches them too?

by cv harquail July 27, 2014
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(Reposted from our archives, since an Au Pair Asked…) When I became a mom I knew that that I would need to become accustomed to dealing with things that, pre-motherhood, had completely grossed me out. I’m talking about poopy diapers, vomit, bloody noses, fart jokes, and public belching. These were things that I would have […]

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What Kind of Parent Are You — To Your Au Pair?

by cv harquail January 8, 2014
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No Host Parent wants to feel responsible for an au pair who’s unable to take care of him/herself. We complain to each other bitterly “If I’d wanted another ‘dependent’, I’d have had another kid!” And, we resent the idea that there is another anything (much less an actual person whom we care about) that we […]

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Personal Time: Do Host Parents take it personally when Au Pairs retreat to their rooms?

by cv harquail September 16, 2013
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It can be so easy to misinterpret behaviors — and to take offense where none is intended. Tone of voice, awkward choice of words, different cultural norms, and even the specifics of the ‘moment’ influence the meaning we extract from someone’s behavior. Wait, make that “the meaning we think we extract from someone’s behavior”. Even […]

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Sustaining Your Au Pair’s Privacy When You Enter Her Room Without Notice

by cv harquail July 15, 2012

Au Pairs (and Host Parents) need their privacy — that’s why there are rules about the au pair’s room having an actual door (not a curtain or a screen). Pretty much the only time it’s okay to go into an au pair’s room without permission is when there is an “emergency”. Emergencies include: A/C left […]

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Holiday Cards: Do you include your Au Pair in the family photo? (Poll)

by cv harquail November 14, 2011
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Don’t you love getting holiday cards from friends, especially when the cards have a photo of their whole family? We have so many friends who live so far away that the only chance I get to see how their kids are growing is from the holiday card photos.  Plus, I love to put them on […]

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Family Invitations: Should your Au Pair be included?

by cv harquail July 27, 2011
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How do other people see your au pair? When you tell them that she or he should be treated as “part of the family”, what do your think that means to them? Grandparents, next door neighbors, teachers, and mail carriers all have their own ideas about whether, when, and how an au pair is or […]

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