There are many topics that I have dreaded bringing up here, but I’m going to bring them up anyway with a little bit of warning… I’ll announce in the headline that it’s a “Tough Topic” and everyone will know to treat it gently.
One of the painful tough topics is when you discover your au pair has been stealing from you.
I don’t want our conversation to scare away any potential host parents or au pairs. I also don’t want to bring down the wrath of whoever, who will assume that because we’re talking about a few au pairs who have stolen things, we’ve forgotten all about the au pairs how have been trustworthy and more. And, let’s face it, this is just hard to talk about.
For example, consider this story from years before I even had kids.
My college friend SA was telling me about problems with her au pair… SA told me that she’d discovered that her au pair had stowed several small, valuable items from around the house (a silver picture frame, a few pairs of my friend’s earrings, and a vase, among other items) in her suitcase as she was packing to leave. My friend found them as she was looking through her au pair’s luggage, and quietly just took them back out.
What was my friend doing looking through her departing au pair’s luggage? I never asked her; it was all too weird and very unlike SA. I imagined that SA had some kind of hunch that the au pair was stealing, and her search merely confirmed it, but still…it was weird because SA only found out about the theft by doing something (that seemed) wrong herself. It was complicated, and unpleasant.
Anyway, a few of you readers have mentioned stories about au pairs who have stolen items from you. I’m imagining that these stories are also complicated, and unpleasant. And, you may have some wisdom to share:
- For those of you who discovered a theft while the au pair was still with you, what did you do?
- For those of you who discovered a theft after the au pair left, how did you make sense of it?
- Thinking back, were there any warning signs or things you’d have done differently in hindsight?
Please keep in mind, dear readers:
Remember, I am asking for the very worst sort of stories– and we all know that we need sometimes to talk about bad situations and offer advice on problems. Here’s the chance to talk about a problem you may not want to share with people who don’t already appreciate the good things about having an au pair.
Remember, there are many, many more good stories about au pairs that we each have but only occasionally share.
We’re talking about maybe one-half of one percent of au pairs— Although we may hear several different stories because this post will draw them out, we all know that this is an uncommon situation.
With those caveats in mind, please share ….