One of the crazy benefits of being an au pair mom or dad is that host parenting gives us many chances to practice skills that make us better everywhere in our lives.
Chief among the skills we get to practice is how to negotiate. By using conflicts with our au pairs (or even simple disagreements and misunderstandings) as chances for trying different advice to improve our negotiating, we can learn how to get what we need so that we and our families and our au pairs thrive.
When it comes to offering real tips on negotiation, though, I like to defer to experts.
My favorite three experts are Lisa, Vicky and Chrysula, who also happen to be friends of mine. They are life coaches, mediators, and small business owners who run workshops for women on how to negotiate effectively. After a few years of coasting on whatever wisdom of theirs I could glean as a friend, or by reading their blogs on negotiation and work-life balance, I finally decided to sign up for one of their courses myself.
(Just as an aside, it’s kindof weird to take a “class” from a friend, but at some point you just have to give in and treat your pals like the experts they are.)
However, when I went to their SheNegotiates website to sign up for a negotiation class (aka “fulfill a New Year’s resolution”), it turned out they had something new to offer– a chance to join an ongoing learning community designed to help women learn how to negotiate not just conflicts or better deals or higher salaries, but also how to negotiate some of the deeper issues in life.
Because I believe in these women and what they do, and because I have signed up myself, I’m doing something on AuPairMom for the First. Time. Ever. I am recommending that you think about spending some money and time on yourself and your personal learning. Go to www.thedailythrive.org and consider signing up yourselves.
I’m not suggesting this because The Daily Thrive is paying me an affiliate fee, giving me free membership in their community, or even taking me out to lunch. They aren’t. I’m recommending that you check them out because I hear from you, over and over, how life as an au pair parent is challenging. For most of us this challenge centers on balancing getting what we need while giving au pairs what they need. Too often, we err on the side of being overly-generous, or denying how much we’re giving up, or wondering why we aren’t appreciated. Learning how to negotiate more effective should help with this.
YOU ARE NEGOTIATING YOUR LIFE: THE NINE RULES OF NEGOTIATING WITH A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY
Negotiation. What do you see? An image of smoky back rooms and boys in suits?
We have lots of baggage around the “negotiation” word. However, when we realize that we are actually negotiating every element of our life every day, a huge light bulb goes on. Uh-huh. We are negotiating everything. Relationships with our spouse, our children, our boss, our au pair, our neighbors, our friends, our extended family, anyone we buy something from, anyone we deliver a product or service to, everything and everyone. Every day. Isn’t it time you got really good at it?
Pretty much all of the conversations we have here at Au Pair Mom get to the negotiation word pretty quickly. Whether it’s car access, boyfriend visitation rights, extra days off or borrowing clothes, the entire relationship of your au pair with your family is a negotiation. So where to begin?
Here are those nine rules we promised. They are the same nine rules as for any negotiation. But with your au pair, who in many ways has become part of your family and even your friend, it can feel much trickier.
Most Negotiation 101 instructions tell you not to negotiate with your friends. If we women didn’t negotiate with those close to us, we would have very few people with whom to negotiate! This might very well account for a portion of the wage and income gap – the reluctance to benefit ourselves in any transaction is particularly acute with those in our immediate circle.
So what are we to do? Should we just give up and learn to live within our diminished means? Or should we add the power of interest-based negotiation to our other assets to play a larger role in the world? At home, with your au pair, who is part of the system that makes your life possible, is a great place to start practicing.
1. Establish connection and set the tone.
2. Raise the subject of negotiation.
3. Put all items to be discussed on the table.
4. Make sure all stakeholders are present.
5. Make an opening offer that provides a benefit to your partner.
6. Tell your partner what you will do and how it will benefit them.
7. Meet flat refusal with brainstorming and problem solving (more diagnostic questions).
8. Log Roll: exchange things of value. (Something of low value/cost to you may be of high value to your partner.)
9. Close the conversation (take a break or seal the deal).
Negotiating the details of your life is the real key to work life balance, greater productivity, handling your money, making technology work for you and caring for your body and mind.
All of us at The Daily Thrive, a new online learning community for women launching January 30th from the folks who brought you She Negotiates, are a bit obsessed with holistic living. Finding a fit for your life that is not only doable, but sustainable is their mission. It’s a community of learners focused on all of who you are. Six experts, six life-changing topics. One year. One life. Yours. Go and have a look here: www.thedailythrive.org.
I hope to see some of you over at The Daily Thrive, and back here at AuPairMom putting your new skills into action.- cvh
See also:Craving Balance by Chrysula Winegar