We Discovered Our Au Pair Doesn’t Share Our Family Values

by cv harquail on August 20, 2015

For Bothered Host Mom, things started out fine.
Then, oops, turns out her au pair wasn’t who she thought she’d be. Now what?


Our Au Pair was great — in the beginning.

We treated her like a friend and family member, gave her lots of gifts, took her to Vegas for her birthday.

She does a great job with the kids. There’s nothing abut her care of the children that concerns me.

However, as I’ve gotten to know our Au Pair, the more I started seeing that her values are very different from our family’s values.

She was on tinder and got a boyfriend. That’s when everything went south.

She does her job but she goes out every night. She doesn’t always respect the curfew of being home by 11:30.

She is not allowed to use our car anymore because at one point she drove the car at 94mph.

I found out that she can’t be trusted, she has lied to us about reasons she needs to borrow the car.

Now the boyfriend comes and picks her up every might. We’ve refused to meet the boyfriend or to introduce him to the kids. He’s not the kind of guy we want around our house.

We had 2 conversations about the car, how we wanted her to respect the curfew, how we enjoyed when she was a part of our family.

We saw her going from being a responsible adult who had lots of flexibility,privileges and freedom to acting like a bratty teenager and doing stupid stuff after she met this guy.

I feel like she doesn’t care about our family anymore. We are just being taken advantage of. She has no problem or shame in asking for anything that she needs.

Her presence in the house bothers me.   

She went and got tattoos, ear expanders, and now it’s clear she has a very different and alternative life style. She’s just not the person I thought she would be.

Other things she does bother me:

  • She takes advantage of people including her boyfriend.
  • Sometimes before going to his house she packs our food to take.
  • I’m like : why are u taking our food to your bf’s house?
  • She practically lives there with him if she’s not working.

Truth is: I can’t stand her anymore. I want to go into rematch.

My husband thinks it’s not a good idea to start rematch with 9 months left.
He says we should just treat her like an employee and all he cares about is that she takes good care of the kids.

I’m just really bothered by everything.  Help! I just want to fire her!!!!

Image: Words to Live By, by Javcon117* on FLickr


Should be working August 20, 2015 at 2:37 pm

This seems complicated. It sounds to me like “values” for this HM is partly or largely a matter of “aesthetics”–the tattoos and ear things–plus withdrawing from the family situation to a boyfriend situation in her off time. I suppose if the HF had in their profile, “We are religious and want our AP to share our values,” and discussed during matching what that means for dating and countercultural appearances, that would make a better argument for rematch.

Sounds like the AP developed a new persona, which is not uncommon in young people traveling and starting a “new life”. If the AP respected the rules and boundaries (curfew, eat food with us but don’t take our food elsewhere, et al.–BTW I have in my handbook that the AP should not acquire tattoos or piercings during her year with us), would you then feel like you could live with her, even if things don’t go back to the rosy early days? If you start rematch, you will anyway likely be required to meet with LCC to discuss what would have to improve for things to work out. I was told, for instance, that HPs can require the AP to eat dinner x number of times per week (like 2-3) with the family–and it doesn’t count as work.

If she is spending her free time with a boyfriend, even an unsavory one, I don’t see that on its own as reason for rematch. Acting bratty is another story, as is lying about reasons for needing car. Asking for anything she needs should be easily dealt with–by saying no and indicating that future similar requests will be rejected.

All that said, I know the feeling of “I’m done with this!” That inner boiled-frog tension; it is really hard to imagine that an HM could be free of that just by adopting the husband’s attitude. If the OP is able to somehow figure out a way to adopt the husband’s attitude, or something closer to it, I would go with that solution. If not, then try talking to the AP with the LCC present and laying all this out. If it’s the persona and fact of the boyfriend that are the main problem, I imagine rematch is coming. If it’s about the rule-breaking and asking for things, I could imagine this match being saved.

NewAPMom August 20, 2015 at 3:58 pm

With 9 months left I would definitely consider going into rematch. Discuss with the LCC first maybe how to approach this with the AP? You certainly have enough reason to rematch with the lying to you, speeding, not following the house rules, and you can say you just don’t think she’s the best fit for the family. Funny you mention how she takes food to the BF’s house. My old AP would do this too, take our food to her friends’ houses mostly because she didn’t want to be eating their food (and upset their HPs). I couldn’t understand why she had to be so cheap and couldn’t just go out for food the way other APs do? I totally felt taken advantage of!

NoVA Twin Mom August 20, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Are you outside of the US or did she extend? You say your husband doesn’t want to rematch because you have nine months to go – in a normal US contract that means that all of what you’re describing would have happened in the first THREE months of her contract.

If all of that happened in three months, rematch. This year – or at least your impression of the year – is not going to improve.

Some of what you describe wouldn’t bother another host family. The 94 mph driving, lying, and picking up a boyfriend based on proximity (Tinder’s the app that tells you who’s physically close to you and *ahem* “interested in a physical relationship,” right? Or am I too old for all of this again?) AND telling me that’s how they met wouldn’t fly at my house. The physical appearance changes might not bother me as much – some of my cousins that looked the weirdest (to ME) during their teen years were excellent babysitters then and great moms now.

Call the LCC, start mediation, and realize this might be headed to rematch. If the numbers I’m seeing are right, you’re too early in your year to settle.

Should be working August 20, 2015 at 5:03 pm

Reading this and other comments has led me to change my view on this. If those rosy “early days” were just a couple of weeks, then yes go right to mediation and likely rematch. But if she truly did become less bratty, more responsible, and more rule-abiding, maybe the resentments could dissolve somewhat. Still, as the other posters say, 9 months is a long time to be simmering, much less boiling.

AuPair Paris August 21, 2015 at 5:12 am

Re Tinder – technically yes, but in practice it’s often used as no more than a dating site. I have a few friends who went on dates with guys they met on tinder and it was no more torrid than any other dating situation. :P

NoVA Twin Mom August 21, 2015 at 5:57 am

Thanks AuPair Paris :) I think this is still one of those key pieces of information that I as a HM would prefer not to know. Tell me you met wherever your first date was. Like people who met through dating websites used to do. The fact that the au pair advertised to a HM that she used Tinder to meet a guy makes me question her maturity/judgment.

Host Mom X August 24, 2015 at 3:33 pm

She probably didn’t realize that it didn’t sound good to say you met someone on Tinder!

Eva September 12, 2015 at 11:52 am

NoVA Twin Mom: So you’d rather have her lie to you / not tell the full, ‘real’ truth? Sorry, doesn’t seem better to me. Personally, I think it’s just a change of society and it’s totally acceptable to meet people online – definitely nothing that would make me question anyone’s judgement.

Mimi August 20, 2015 at 4:13 pm

In your place, I would rematch. If you’re not happy now, I can’t imagine you going through 9 more months of this match. Even if (for argument’s sake) you’re being unreasonable about any of the issues, you’re not happy with the situation and it’s unlikely to change. She has lied, been unsafe with your car, violated your house rules (curfew), met up with strangers she met online (Tinder), and has altered her physical appearance beyond what you interviewed and accepted. You haven’t mentioned how she is performing her childcare duties, but the tension in the house and the fallout from that is going to affect your children. (Not to mention how this is going to be between you and HD.)

You could try a reset conversation, but if she’s already demonstrating ‘bratty’ behavior, I don’t expect that will have much positive effect. If she’s motivated to stay by the BF, she might shape up, but decide before you have the conversation what acceptable improvement is and stick to it. You can discuss with your LCC the fact that there is a trust issue and that she doesn’t seem to be the same AP that you matched with. To her, I would say, “We wanted an AP who would spend more time with us and who has priorities other than a boyfriend.”

Mimi August 20, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Not sure how I missed the bolded statement about her childcare being ok (I’ll chalk it up to being the day before TGIF…) but still…

NJHostDad August 20, 2015 at 4:13 pm

“Her presence in the house bothers me.” — i think this says it all. You want 9 more months of that?

On a side note, what did you use to see that she drove 94 mph in the car? As the father of 3 boys within 5-6 years of driving, i’m starting to look at tracking / alerting devices.

Should be working August 20, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Hey, good question!

Also, if she were actually ticketed for 94mph that might affect her eligibility to remain in the program. Our LCC says the agency wants notification of any moving violations. Aren’t BIG speeding tickets not just misdemeanors?

Mimi August 20, 2015 at 5:32 pm

It depends on the state and sometimes even the court location. Usually when there are other factors (accident, DUI, reckless driving, failing to stop, etc.) it can be. Here anything over 60 mph on a road other than an LAH is a misdemeanor. In my area, they are very tough on speeding and rarely are you able to negotiate a plea to a lesser speed, regardless of your location.

anonymous August 20, 2015 at 10:24 pm

“Here anything over 60 mph on a road other than an LAH is a misdemeanor. ”

LAH =?
And over 60mph = IS a misdemeanor, or IS NOT a misdemeanor?

Just curious/confused :)

Mimi August 20, 2015 at 11:22 pm

Sorry…LAH is limited access highway–any secondary road that isn’t an interstate/freeway (usually one that had the federally mandated 55mph during Nixon’s tenure). Over 60mph on those roads is a misdemeanor because none of them have speed limits of more than 45mph which means you’d be going at least 15mph over the speed limit (considered reckless).

There’s a 15mph zone on a main road by us (retirement community area) and people have been arrested for doing 40 (which is a reasonable speed IMO given the road setting). It transitions from a 35mph zone with no warning and is a favorite speed trap spot.

AlwaysHopeful HM August 20, 2015 at 6:21 pm

NJ HostDad: I have a mastrack gps device on my car that alerts me for any number of scenarios, including exceeding a certain speed threshold, leaving or entering a designated area, car being towed, etc. I have alerts programmed to signal my au pair and me simultaneously, so that he knows what I know. I got it in response to one au pair’s misuse of the car, but now I love having it. It just gives some peace of mind. I can’t compare one brand to another. There may be some that are much better, cheaper etc. This is just the one I have.

OP, in your shoes, I would initiate mediating and likely rematch now. You can’t stand her. It bothers you to have her in your home, and it sounds like she doesn’t really want to be there, either. That’s got to be miserable for her, you and eventually, the whole family. 9 months is way too long to sweat it out.

EastcoastHD August 25, 2015 at 4:35 pm

I use spytecinc. google it, You just plug the device in the board computer plug.
I’ m very happy with it and you can even set it up so that you receive a text when the car goes to fast, leaves a certain area…
check it out

Vanilla ex au pair August 20, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Another case of ‘entitled au pair’. Rematch now. Don’t even try to mediate or to trick yourself. She’s not there for the au pair experience, she’s not there for you, your family or your kiddos: she’s there using you (your house, your car, your food) as she gets what she’s looking for (a year of fun life in the US? an american husband?).

This is not gonna improve. Rematch.
Good luck!

German Au-Pair August 20, 2015 at 8:24 pm

Probably rematch would be the sanest option given that the OP can already not stand the AP. It’s a personality missmatch and some rules have been broken.
However, I would strongly advice the OP to use this example and talk about it with potential candidates. If there was a line about tattoos etc then that’s fine. If the subject never came up, it’s simply not fair to complain about it now.
I never felt like I could not take any food out of the house. Now the statement is not clear about how much food is regularly taken but when I went hiking (also with friends) i definitely took granola bars and apples and sandwiches and my HP probably would have thought I’m insane had I asked for their permission first. Also, the HF technically does provide for her dinner and while yes, I understand that it’s annoying to feel taken advantage of, taking your dinner to go is not actually against the guidelines or the spirit of the program in my book.
The fact that the OP is not happy with her choice of company shouldn’t be the AP’s problem and I sense that the fact they met on Tinder is bothering her as well and that also is none of her concern. (Don’t get me wrong! *I* understand where she’s coming from. I would judge the same way and I might be annoyed the same way! That’s why I wouldn’t want a stranger living with me…)
So I gues what I’m saying is: yes, rematch. No sense and ruining your next 9 months over this, but try to be more explicit about what you expect with new candidates. Talk about this AP and what bothered you and what you would like to avoid. But maybe also try to teach yourself to relax about smaller issues like the food a bit so you both can have a more pleasant experience.

On a side note: it seems to me like the saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” can also be applied to “the US”. Every single AP I know (and I’m not exaggerating! Cannot think of one exception, including myself!) started wearing dresses in the US even though many -including me- had never done so at home. Many did things they usually wouldn’t do at home and just went a little crazy. It’s like this knowledge that you will go back eventually leave that entire life behind lets you let lose a bit.
However, getting a weird boyfriend also tends to do crazy things to young women, which is something I will never understand.

Seattle Mom August 21, 2015 at 3:10 pm

As someone who has been in the Peace Corps, I completely understand that “What happens in the US stays in the US” mentality.

In fact when my APs do things that seem a bit out of character I chuckle.

I wouldn’t have a problem with anything concrete the OP mentions, except for the driving 94 mph. And the lying, but it’s not clear to me what AP lied about.

But in the end, if you can’t stand someone and want them out of your house, you should go into rematch. And I agree with you that the OP needs to take this as a lesson and be clear with future APs during matching about what OP needs/wants in an AP. It’s really helpful to have a rematch behind you, in a way, because it makes it easy to have a conversation with potential APs about what you want and what is rematch worthy. I have found that to be true, anyway.

Au Pair In Australia August 20, 2015 at 8:35 pm

Hmm, this is a tough one. I’m surprised that you took her to Vegas for her birthday, do you think that you were possibly too nice to her in the beginning and now she is taking advantage?

Honestly, she should be allowed to change her appearance if she wants because she is an adult. Meeting boys on Tinder is her own business but otherwise I agree, she shouldn’t be taking your food and speeding in your car. My HF invited my boyfriend over because they were genuinely interested and wanted to meet him and absolutely adored him. And they are fine with me spending my time off with him. Maybe she feels that you are judging their relationship and mistrusting her.

Taking a Computer Lunch August 20, 2015 at 10:59 pm

As someone who strongly believes in second changes (but…) I believe the OP should have a “rematch” conversation with her AP before initiating rematch. (Do I think they are ‘meant for each other’? No.)

First of all, the OP needs to decide what is important to her. As someone who has hosted 11 APs in the past 14 1/2 years (most of the beautiful, thoughtful and dedicated women – a couple not) – she has to decide what is most important to her – an AP who shares her values or or an AP who does her job well (both is an option, but not guaranteed).

DH’s and my favorite AP did things I despised, but her off-duty behavior did not get in the way of doing her job well. She was promiscuous and a risk-taker, but did not endanger us or our family. When your life-style and that of your AP clash – my recommendation (if she does a great job with your kids) is to take a deep breath and let by-gones be by-gones.

However, in this case, the AP does not seem to have her priorities straight. It seems like now is the perfect time for the OP to have a “reset your attitude” conversation – not because of lifestyle clashes, but because the AP is not on time for her shift, because she is pushing back on the work at the 3-month-mark, etc. Now is the perfect time to call the LCC and ask her to reinforce, for the AP, that expectations are not unreasonable.

Once you have the “reset your attitude” conversation, you can establish benchmarks for improvement or document the AP’s inability to perform her job.

Bottom line – I personally prefer to give people warnings – whether their colleagues or APs – that their performance is not up to snuff!

VAMom August 21, 2015 at 8:00 am

I could practically tell the same story minus the body art and the timing because for us it seems to be at the 6 month mark that “tinder” becomes a part of the picture and our aupairs change almost overnight.

We already had limitations on the car from past experiences so the car isn’t typically part of the scenario when it comes to these late night romps. But we do see personality changes and we can watch the aupairs slowly or sometimes quickly ‘disconnect’ from the family.

I have searched this site several times over the last 2.5 years regarding any opinions or thoughts about Tinder and other ‘matching’ websites. It does bother us that the apps projects a location radius (often from our home I suppose) and the caliber of individuals that results from these sites seems suspect but aside from that I haven’t seen a reason why they can’t use the sites based on any ‘aupair rules.’

We make it clear that we don’t want a smoker, or a partier (there are families who are a better match for those people) but until recently it hadn’t occurred to us to add serial ‘hook ups’ to the list of what we are not looking for in our Aupair. Many would say if it doesn’t change your Aupairs childcare habits then you shouldn’t care but like the original poster it is not in line with our value system and in our case it does change the dynamic (namely aupair personality) even if only subtle changes, which they are not typically subtle.

It is also amazing to me that a young woman would go to any city in the US, project their location and then get in the car with a stranger. We have watched it happen even when we are on vacation with our aupair. In our last matching round we specifically mentioned during interviews that we did not want to match with someone who was interested in using ‘dating websites’ (although there are some websites that we would probably not take issue with) but for simplicity sake we basically said if this is your focus then you should find another family.

It is so prevalent among the Aupairs in our area that I feel almost certain that the ‘prematch’ conversation is not going to matter because of
1. desire to hook up or meet someone,
2. peer pressure / trendiness or
3. generational culture switch in dating/hooking up.

The bottom line is that in every instance there has been a personality change and a change in pattern with regard to ‘connecting with our family’ and in retrospect it has correlated to use of one of the many hookup/meet up apps. I understand the original posters position and I would be in rematch. 9 months is a long way to go . . . .and you are already annoyed and your aupair has already disengaged from the family. The bigger question is what happens when the next aupair does the same thing?

DCBurbTwinMomma August 21, 2015 at 8:01 am

I think that it’s a rematch only because you both will be miserable for the next 9 months. Have a honest discussion that she just doesn’t fit into your family’s lifestyle. Absent the speeding incident, she sounds like a good and focused au pair that will fit in well with another family. (My hubby laughed and said we’d make sure she was safe and on birth control while sharing tattoo stories.) It sounds like you wouldn’t mind her eating if it were with you. Set boundaries while you both look for a better match. I don’t condone this for the record, because it sounds that you don’t care about the food as much as you care who she’s eating with and where. She’s an adult. Nevertheless, maybe mediation with the LCC is best. Setting her free to be a young person doing young things you don’t approve of will open the door for her to be with a different family and for you to have someone more in line with your family philosophy.

Overall, you’ve learned the lesson that you need to advertise for a like-minded au pair who explicitly will either share your values or be better at hiding her private adult life from you. We advertise that we are a culturally liberal family with homosexual friends and who socialize with alcohol. We host fund raisers for many progressive causes in our home and serve liquor. A social conservative would not do well in our natural atmosphere and I don’t leave that up to chance. I’ve had great success with au pairs because they know upfront how many hours they will work, what our house is like and a good idea of who we are. You will have great success if you start with transparency and not assume that a foreign young women won’t do what a large portion of their American peers are doing.

TexasHM August 21, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Ok I have to chime in here – DCBurbTwinMomma I appreciate your perspective and that the lifestyle/choices raised here wouldn’t bother you but I can’t disagree more with this statement: You will have great success if you start with transparency and not assume that a foreign young women won’t do what a large portion of their American peers are doing.

The transparency I agree with. But setting a comparison between an AP living in an HF’s home and an American peer I think is not only a stretch, but different planets. When I was an American AP aged peer I had two jobs, went to school full time, had a car (I bought), an apartment (I paid for) and bills (I paid for). I had a roommate the same age that I had known already a year from the dorms and if I wanted to make poor life choices I was only hurting myself (unless I brought a crazy person home in which case maybe my roommate but we also both had locks on our doors and used them).

If our AP wants to date – fine. Just be smart about it. One broke up with an American boyfriend suddenly (ESL misunderstanding) and he showed up on my doorstep heartbroken and asking where she was when I was home alone with kids. I had met this guy once before for a few minutes and he was nice enough, but the minute a distraught guy shows up at my house (impacting me and kids) its another story. That AP got a phone call to deal with it immediately and a sit down conversation after she did.

As others have said, APs will likely be interested in going out and dating and whatnot – fine – but if you want no rules and no impact then don’t come over as an AP.

I did not get the impression that the OP was judging the AP for the lifestyle and altered appearance, I think her issue is that the AP has changed so dramatically (and that appears to be correlated with bf the OP has issue with).

If my AP drove my car 94mph anywhere for any reason other than my kid was dying and she had 60 seconds to get to a hospital then she would be in rematch. Driving 94mph tells me she has bad judgment, is willing to risk your asset (car) and your relationship for a cheap thrill. No thanks, pack your stuff.

She has repeatedly broke curfew – again, coming home late showing blatant disregard for your feelings, preferences, not being rested to care for your children, etc.

She has lied repeatedly. This by itself would be grounds for rematch in our household as well. Trust is everything when I am trusting you to care for my children. We discuss this in interviewing and its in the handbook.

Sorry. The AP program is expensive for us and there are hundreds if not thousands of AP candidates that never even get their dream of coming here. I have zero patience for APs like this and I don’t care who her boyfriend is or what kind of tattoos/earrings she has. We are actually pretty strict/no frills early in the relationship and then once I know we have an AP that isn’t a princess and that really cares about the kids/us we become a lot more lenient and generous (they have earned the right as my first boss used to say). There are also amazing APs in rematch that get sent home every week because they can’t find a family that will follow even the baseline Dept of State rules let alone take them to Vegas for their birthday! I had a HM friend recently tell me that she had to tell her princess AP early on “you see those two girls? They are the only reason you are here right now and you better start acting like you know that”. That APs attitude changed overnight so I guess drastic changes can happen but you listed multiple offenses on our family’s grounds for rematch list and there aren’t that many things on our list!

DCBurbTwinMomma August 21, 2015 at 3:45 pm

I respect that you were on the ball. We’ll just agree to disagree here. I was no where near as reasonable at that age and was only serious about the next party or what my sorority was up to that week. I guess I just hear about tinder, snap chat, what’s up etc from my under 25 year old newbie lawyer colleagues who use these programs all the time. I have been known to give them safety advice about people they meet at a concert or on the street more than on social media. I am not as shocked by Tinder or the Tinder crowd. Not all are using it as a backpage Craigs-list type of deal. But I stick with the idea that there are many (a large group) of 18-24 year olds that aren’t as focused (is that the right word)? She’ll run into these folks just as much as she’ll one into the super on the ball ones. There is that pressure/allure to be young and free.

I’m also still on the side of re-match. No one, neither the au pair or host parents, should be miserable for 9-months. That’s a looooooong time.

SKNY August 24, 2015 at 5:01 pm

That’s an argument we had here. My husband at 21 was working full time as a teacher, driving a car he paid for, paying college loans, rent, bills, etc. So when our former aps screwed up and I said… well they are doing what others are doing, he reminded me that they were 23, 24 and not teenagers. ADULT women

NNTexasHM August 28, 2015 at 10:28 am

Amen to that. When I was 17 years old I went to London alone for 2 months to stay with a second cousin. While an independent person (hence my parents trusting me to go to London on my own – I had spent time in Spain with another family) I would never have dreamed of imposing my desires on my host. Period. I remember at one point my cousin made a sarcastic comment about making the bed being optional in the US and from then on it was made. Did I go out and hit some bars? Did I take a train all around London finding my way around but staying away from areas that were questionable? Yes. Did I get wasted an break curfew? No. It’s okay to have fun but you have to be smart and respectful. I find the whole “treat Au Pairs like family” comment confusing – be careful what you wish for! Any family I’ve ever stayed with has set strict expectations and I’ve been raised to live by their rules. You can still have fun but honestly, would any parent allow that of their daughter or son on this blog when they are 18-25? I mean think about it – 23, 24, 25 why are we setting the bar so low for Au Pairs? Personally had I demonstrated any of these tendencies in this situation (driving the car 94 miles per hour, lying, breaking curfew) even without the dating stuff – which by the grace of god I haven’t dealt with – my family would have immediately packed my bags and sent me home. I would expect an Au Pair to be at least the equivalent of 17 year old me.

FirstTimeHM August 28, 2015 at 11:53 am

When I was 17 I went to another country to work there for 3 months and I lived at my employer’s place (a really nice couple with a small hotel).
Of course I was respectful, of course I followed their rules, of course I never broke curfew, of course I let them know where I went and of course I worked hard.
I had a great time there and travelled on my day off. It’s really not that hard to go to another country, different language, different culture, work and have fun.

German Au-Pair August 23, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Just to chime in here on the 94mph…I know American rules are rules and you can be in really bad trouble for breaking the speed limit that much. That’s stupid. It’s bad judgement when you risk a ticket and fine for this. It CAN be dangerous depending on the situation and your general driving abilities. But I would definitely see if this was a one time occurance for a short period of time or if speeding is a general issue.
I would not automatically assume that the AP has bad judgement but rather inquire about the situation, tell her to never ever do it again, have a serious conversation(maybe also tell her the penalty) and be done with it.
The act of driving 94 mph alone is not in of it self dangerous or bad judgement. In fact, if traffic allows for it it’s pretty normal here. Normal travel speed here is between 75 and 85 with regular traffic. 94 on an empty interstate is no big deal (where it’s allowed).
It may have been only a very short strech where she could see where no police and no one to be bothered and she just wanted to see what the car can do. Not okay, but also not the end of the world.

TexasHM August 23, 2015 at 10:35 pm

There are no speed limits anywhere near that here. I don’t recall where OP is from but if it’s the northeast the max speed limit anywhere is 65 making her almost 30 mph over the limit. If you google speed limits in the U.S. you will see just how crazy driving 94mph is here. We are in Texas where the highest speed limits in the U.S. are and those by the way are hours outside major cities in the middle of nowhere, metro areas are much lower.

Dctwinmomma I misunderstood you. I thought you meant having a boyfriend you don’t approve of, being gone every night, changing drastically and not wanting to be a part of the family were all things Americans would do or even extrapolating other behaviors, I didn’t realize you were referencing Tinder specifically. I actually don’t think Tinder is worth getting worked up for as long as it doesn’t impact the family. As others have said, meeting a stranger at the bar, grocery store etc is not any safer than using Tinder or anything else.

German Au-Pair August 24, 2015 at 8:15 am

I know about the speed limits and as I said, breaking them is wrong and a threat of rematch would be appropriate in my opinion. I’m just saying that the act of driving this fast is not in of it self bad judgement or dangerous and I could see a situation in which she did this without risking a ticket because it was clear there was no police car anywhere to be seen. There’s a difference to me between trying this out for a second on an empty strech of interstate or speeding on a regular basis.

Mimi August 24, 2015 at 10:03 am

I don’t think we know how the OP knew about the AP driving 94. It might have been from a ticket.

TexasHM August 24, 2015 at 10:34 am

We will agree to disagree on this one. It is absolutely bad judgment for several reasons:
1. Breaking the law in a foreign country
2. Being reckless with the host family’s property/insurance – if it was her own car on her own insurance different story
3. Exceeding the speed limit significantly depending on the state could be far more than a speeding ticket, she very well could have been arrested and gone to jail (I am praying it was on an empty highway but even then this would be excessive)

I find it almost impossible to believe she accidentally went 94mph which means she would have knowingly done all this which tells me she has bad judgment. And this is the occurance they know about!

Taking a Computer Lunch August 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Depending on where she was driving, speeding at 94 MPH could have meant a felony charge – which is not to be taken lightly. Driving speeds and norms very so much from state to state that APs should tread lightly on gas pedals, especially when they’re not sure whether the result will lead to “telling it to the judge.” There are some speeding tickets that require a court appearance (perhaps not in this case).

It seems to be, however, that it’s not lifestyle that’s getting to the craw of the OP, but flaunting the rules. Nevertheless, a lot of her complaint seems to hinge on the boyfriend, and I’ll just say from experience that the AP year frees a lot of women/men to experiment just like freshman year does for a lot of Americans. As a HP, you just have to roll your eyes and hope your AP does not get hurt (as long as the first time their experiments enter your house is by invitation to the dinner table!). I know I’m on the loosey-goosey end of HP restrictions – I’ve had bi, lesbian and straight APs and the only restriction I placed on any of their dalliances was the one with a couch-surfing boyfriend because I was afraid he would bring bedbugs into the house (his stuff had to stay on our back porch). None of their dalliances would be what I would want for my child, but none of them were criminals either. In the end, most returned home and found partners that I consider extended family members!

WarmStateMomma August 24, 2015 at 12:55 pm

A major problem with driving 94 MPH is that it opens the HF up to all kinds of liability for the AP’s criminal behavior. The HF could have been faced with staggering legal bills, a life interrupted by lawsuits, liability for allowing someone to drive their car recklessly, medical bills, wrongful death claims, etc. It may be hard for those outside the US to understand the legal and financial liability involved in letting an AP drive, but the risks are not fully addressed by car insurance. I would rematch with an AP who risked that kind of damage to my family’s finances.

As a lawyer, I know that pretty much all lawsuits cost way too much time and money regardless of who wins. I try to explain this to our APs (who usually have heard at training that car insurance “covers” any accident) but I’m not sure how much they really get it, so I focus on the criminal side of reckless/intoxicated driving.

AlwaysHopeful HM August 24, 2015 at 1:12 pm

I completely agree with Texas HM. Also, telling me she thought it was okay because there was little chance of getting a ticket would be the absolute wrong thing for my au pair to do. In that case, I would question not just her judgment, but her integrity as well (it’s okay as long as you’re not going to get caught). I admit that I am more of a stickler on rules than some folks are, but to me, if the rule is there, you are bound by it, even if no one is watching, and even if you don’t think it is sensible. That doesn’t mean that you never take reasonable, accepted liberties (e.g., going 5 or so mIles over), but I can’t see a circumstance, at least in my part of the US, where it would be reasonable or acceptable to go 94 “just because.” With that said, I probably would not rematch over it, but my trust in the AP would be diminished and would have to be rebuilt.

Host Mom in the City August 24, 2015 at 1:28 pm

I can see your point, GermanAP, particularly having German au pairs myself who have all commented that there are a lot more driving restrictions here. But driving 94 mph is just totally unheard of in my area and would be 30 miles per hour above the highest speed limit in the state, which all of my au pairs know because they’ve had to pass the state driving test.

I also have the liability conversation with all my au pairs because it scares me to death how much risk I am putting out there in having a young adult drive my car. We’re insured up to our eyeballs because of it, which is very expensive to maintain, but that insurance doesn’t cover all the gigantic pain in the butt experiences I would have to go through if my au pair hit someone driving my car at 94 mph.

So for me personally, being caught driving 94 mph would at the very least be a complete discontinuation of ever driving my car (and I mean literally ever), and depending on the reaction to that, would be a rematch.

hOstCDmom August 24, 2015 at 2:31 pm

The person I bought my current home from 7 years ago had an au pair several years before they sold the house. This AP (European) was in a car accident in the HF’s car where there were some injuries to the occupants of the other car (not “just” bumps and bruises; but no deaths, no paralysis, no lost limbs). Both cars’ drivers were insured; no substances involved; and no “crazy reckless” type actions by either driver. AP was determined at fault. Other driver and occupants– in separate suits — sued the AP *AND THE HOST FAMILY* . How do I know all this? Not because the previous owner of the house told me, but because when I was buying the house I googled the owners to flesh out my picture of them before negotiations. And I found all the case filings, judgments, appeals etc. online. Messy case that had already been dragging on for several years when I first came upon it 7 years ago. There is STILL a legal case pending about this! I just googled this again while typing this comment to this thread, and there is still an appeal pending. However, the AP was long ago dropped as a defendant for lack of jurisdiction. But who is still caught up in a tangled legal mess?….THE HOST PARENTS.

hOstCDmom August 24, 2015 at 2:37 pm

A previous AP we had was ticketed going 40 mph over the speed limit. It was a reckless endangerment charge, AP was arrested, had to post bail. It was a mandatory court appearance. The charge carried a penalty up to and including 1 year jail time, with massive fines, as well as loss of license.

The AP lost her licence for a year; was fined $600; and had an annual surcharge appended to her license (after the year) of $350/year to maintain driving privileges.

We rematched for this. My view that driving 40mph over the speed limit in a 35pmh zone, on a two lane (i.e. one lane each way, no shoulder), windy road, was SUICIDAL, and I in fact asked my AP if she was trying to kill herself. We fortunately took the AP off our insurance before this was reported to our insurance.

German Au-Pair August 24, 2015 at 3:02 pm

I agree 94 pmh is A LOT. What did happen to me by accident once (and I am known amongst my friends to drive like grandma and always stick to the speed limit) was 19mph over the limit. I just didn’t notice until I saw the police car and instinctively hit the brakes. 19mph is a lot, too and I was horrified. It happened because it was late enough that the street was completely empty and the two lanes in one direction on a street that is as wide as our autobahn, straight for miles and completely empty. In an automatic car it’s also harder to notice the speed than in a stick shift and when you are used to be able to drive fast and have done it so many times, the speed eventually just isn’t something you notice right away. Luckily I had a very understanding officer who noticed that I truly was mortified when he told me just how much I had been over and he let it go.
I understand the HP’s POV (especially the thing with the legal issues dragging on an on) but things happen to the best of us.

TexasHM August 24, 2015 at 4:19 pm

GermanAP were you going 19 over in Germany? Isn’t it kilometers per hour there? I’m just wondering if perhaps the conversion is misleading in this conversation. Meaning this AP was driving 151 kilometers per hour and there are zero autobahns here!

On the flipside your story about going 19 over if that was kilometers per hour that would have only been 11.8 mph over here which will likely get you a speeding ticket but nowhere near a court appearance! Taking an educated guess that this AP was on a highway with a 65 speed limit that means she was almost 30 mph over the speed limit which is 48 kph which as you can see is more than 2.5 times your worst story. :). Does that additional context help?

German Au-Pair August 24, 2015 at 4:46 pm

No no, I was going 19mph over in the States, which is a A LOT especially when converted to metric system. I was told as a rule of thumb in the state I lived in 10mph over was okay/the norm/no big deal. On the interstate I was told (by my HD…with him in the car) to go with the flow as you only get pulled over when you stand out. If everyone is driving 75, no need to be driving 65. I guess that depends on your philosphy on speed limits.
That 19mph incident was something that happened to me without being aware of it. I know a friend had to pay a huge fine when she went 15mph over the limit in the same county so I was mortified when I got pulled over. Luckily that officer had a good day or just felt sorry for me but it ended up being fine. After that I started using cruise control whenever I could. Those streets in the States are so huge compared to our tiny, narrow German streets, sometimes you sort of lose track. I actually chuckle in retrospective when I remember how my HM wrote one had to be comfortable driving on windy, narrow roads…I not once saw a narrow road in the States :D

As for the 94 being 151 km/h, I did look this up before I gave an estimate on what we regularly drive over here. So in normal traffic you’d be going 110-130 km/h but on a relatively empty autobahn 150km/h is not at all a big deal. So while yes, there is a general problem with someone willingly breaking the speed limit but in most Germans’ minds 150 is not a situation in which you are driving recklessly in any way.

DC Metro Mom August 24, 2015 at 7:02 pm

I would rematch immediately for speeding this much. It shows a huge lapse in judgment. I specifically put in my handbook that unsafe judgment in the car can result in loss of automobile privileges.

It may depend upon location, but…

1. In Virginia, ANY speed of over 80 miles per hour, or 20 mph over in any speed less than that, is reckless driving by Virginia statute. So, 20 mph over yes, but also, if you are going 81 mph in a 70 mph zone, that is still reckless driving. That is a class 1 misdemeanor, and can result in a substantial fine (up to $2,500) and not more than 12 months in jail. There are some places lax, some not.

2. Even if by some miracle, I didn’t want to rematch (unlikely, I will totally own that I am a conservative prude), the car privileges would be taken away. Not only because someone that does that concerns me with their judgment when driving my kids, but there are legal reasons as well. Again, depending upon the state, if the HF knew that this AP had driven that fast on the road (which they do) and then trusted her with the car again, they could be held liable for any accident due to negligent entrustment. HP knew she had a history of reckless speed limits. If they allow her in the car again, they are assuming legal responsibility for her conduct in that car. Therefore, if she goes that quickly and injures someone or kills someone, the possessions of the HP are fair game for lawsuit. Which is likely, because AP is probably not going to have the assets to satisfy a judgment.

So, big deal or not in another country, most states view (and HF) view it as a very big deal.

I also cover personal appearance and who is/is not allowed in my home in my interview and HFHB. This is, IMHO, an issue with room for lots of variety and there is a lid for every pot. Again, I am a conservative prude, I know it, I am accepting of this. This may be why I have not had great success with European candidates (I call it mutual deselection).

German Au-Pair August 24, 2015 at 8:16 pm

@DC Mom
No, I actually agree. I didn’t pay attention and it was a mistake. It was simply not looking at the speed while driving when you should look and I’m glad my HP were more relaxed about it and I still got to drive the car and befriend the cruise control from that point on. And maybe 94 is an even bigger deal and a different situation because that is a speed that you really do notice.
My point was just that while it is a big deal form a legal point (even though I also didn’t realize HOW big of a deal…), it’s not necessarily one from a driving safety POV. That was not meant to belittle the issue itself.

DCBurbTwinMomma August 24, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Wait–you think 94mph is only a legal issue and not a safety one? That’s wildly incorrect. The likelihood of an accident and/or losing control of the vehicle is exponentially more probably at a speed above the speed limit. In America, the posted speeds are not arbitrary but a calculation of save passing speed for the road conditions that include other drivers and the road itself (eg curves = less speed). I think you’re missing the point to say it’s not a safety issue. When I interview for future au pairs (which it is just about that time again because my current au pairs school only gave her a one year suspension of study) I ask them if they understand not only the rules but WHY the rules are important. There are so many times when an au pair must exhibit sound judgment and analytical thinking. Like knowing why I don’t allow the twins to swim at another’s au pair’s house is applicable to why I don’t allow them at a certain local community pool. Knowing why a rule applies and being able to apply that reasoning is what we all as host parents hope/pray to achieve as we must trust an au pair’s judgment. So saying the posted speed is a legal issue and not a safety one (as if it were as arbitrary as “you must wear purple on the 3rd Tuesday) is just false logic and one that made me pause.

I don’t want to start believing that this is a gamble in which I’ve just been lucky not to have drawn the short end of the mental reasoning stick.

Mimi August 24, 2015 at 9:45 pm

I’m sorry, German Au-Pair, but I have to completely disagree that speeding isn’t a safety issue.

Speed is a huge safety factor and was ranked as the second most common cause of traffic accidents by the National Transportation Safety Board. (Inattentiveness is number 1.) It’s ranked third as the cause of most fatalities. A vehicle going 45 mph will take 200 feet to stop; at 95mph it’s 600 feet. Watch a crash test vehicle at 90mph vs 60pmh. There’s a huge difference. I was a certified commercials driver license trainer and we used to tell our driver trainees, it’s the difference between a permanent disability and a pine box.

At best, the AP here was inattentive to her speed (passive safety violation); at worst, she was intentionally speeding (active safety violation). She was not being safe either way.

Mimi August 25, 2015 at 8:11 pm

It certainly wasn’t my intention. I usually agree with German AuPair, but I don’t in this case. I absolutely understand her POV and why she feels that way, but respectfully disagree. I’m sure culture, geography, and my old age play a factor in that. :)

German Au-Pair August 25, 2015 at 3:53 pm

I agree with the statement that (most) speed limits are not arbitrary. For example there is a reason and logic behind the limit in school zones. Here in Germany we have 30 km/h zones in areas that have a lot of children and/or narrow (and I mean German narrow) roads.
In areas with high likelihood of traffic jams there are speeding limits that are severely enforced on the Autobahn. Here you get ticketed when you exceed the limit as liottle as 5km/h as opposed to the relatively lenient way it’s handled in the US.
I’m not saying ALL speed limits are just about the rule. BUT, the general speed limit of 65 mph on American interstates is pretty much a joke to a German. It translates to 104 km/h. In Germany, 100 km/h is what is allowed on regular out-of-town-streets. On the Autobahn there are also regulations and sometimes the speed limit will be 65 and sometimes even 50 mph. But as I’ve said before, the regular travel speed on German autobahns (which tend to me much narrower than American interstates) is 62-80 mph. That’s the case in regulated areas. We also have parts of the autobahn which are not regulated and then 90 mph is a normal speed to drive.
I personally haven’t done so (because my car can’t and I personally don’t feel comfortable) but it’s not an especially out of the ordinary occurance if someone drives 120 mph (for me, this where I personally feel uncomfortable).
What you apparently fail to understand here -when you choose insulting phrases like “short end of the mental reasoning stick”- is that OUR law also isn’t abitrary. It is also based on statistics and safety reasons. When I drive on a strech of autobahn without a speed limit, I actually DO base my decision of speed on the circumstances. If there’s traffic, I won’t drive 90 mph. If there’s a three-laned-road, dry streets and hardly any traffic I might. That does NOT mean I’m not capable of logical thinking or a reckless driver. It’s just what’s normal here.
I’m really not trying to say that one system is better than the other. I love the US. But when you make it seem as if everyone who thinks driving 90 mph can be okay in certain circumstances is mentally challenged, you need to understand the culture differences. We pay around 1000 € for our license and there’s a mandatory number of practial lessons that have to be taken with a trained instructor. We actually also have to learn the formula to estimate the distance it takes to get a car to stop when you hit the brakes and all that stuff. Schools offer discounts on driving safety days where you learn how to manage difficult situations like braking on wet foil and all that. We also get our license at 18 (now 17 but only if you sign up an adult to drive with you during that year).
And yet it’s normal for you to be able to drive 80 mph on a regular basis but also 90 mph occasionally and you come to the US where the roads are about twice as wide, straight for miles and miles and -if not in Rush Hour and especially on the loooong stretches between cities- then yes, 65 does NOT seem like just a rule about safety. It is absolutely reasonable in some situations but maybe not necessarily on others.
I understand that you have a different view on this that is also based on your cultural upbringing but I would like you not to make general statements about my (or any other German’s) judgement based on the fact that you personally think driving at a certain speed is unsafe.
I personally feel (and so does *my* culture) that letting a 16 y/o hormonal teenager, who, based on science, tends to lack certain reasoning skills, drive is much more of a safety issue than occasionally being allowed to drive 90 pmh. Still, I don’t question your general reasoning and judgement or tell you that your view is false.
Sorry, this statement just shows a huge lack of respect to me. I can be expected to stick to the rules of the culture I enter but if my cultural upbringing tells me that certain speed limits (and I would like to emphasize again that I am not saying “speeding is great and no safety issue ever”) are not reasonable to me, I would ask that not my and every German’s general judgement is called into question.

AlwaysHopeful HM August 25, 2015 at 7:11 pm

Oh, German AuPair, I was afraid that the tone of the discussion might leave you feeling insulted. I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but I don’t think that anyone intended to insult you, personally, or the German culture, generally.

For me at least, the judgment point doesn’t mean that anyone who drives fast anywhere– even where the law allows it– lacks good judgment. Rather, it means that, in a country where lawmakers have determined a safe top speed, a person who chooses to significantly exceed it would not be using proper judgment in the circumstance. There is a cost benefit analysis that goes into setting the speed limits (essentially, how many fatalities are acceptable, etc.), and each jurisdiction makes its own determination about what it will tolerate. I’m sure that the extensive drivers training is taken into consideration in deciding what is tolerable on German roads, where here, as you mentioned, kids are barely trained before they are let loose. In addition to driver skill, there are road conditions, weather concerns, constant threat of litigation, and a huge insurance lobby pushing speed limits down. In my area, even sunshine causes accidents!

I don’t attempt to know all of the reasons why the speed limit here is what it is, I just stay close to it because it is the law and there is a reason for it (I don’t have to agree with the reason). I would not be happy if my au pair decided to substitute her own judgment for that of my state’s lawmakers, but I wouldn’t bat an eye at her driving at a high speed at home, assuming the law so permitted. In fact, if an American chose to slow poke around at 65 on an autobahn where everyone is driving 94, I’d say the American is exercising poor judgment and acting in an unsafe manner.

As i said earlier, I’m a rule follower, so I would have a hard tIme trusting an au pair with my car if I thought she was not going to take the rules governing its use as seriously as I do (even if she thought the rules were silly and she wouldn’t get caught). That is why for me, the scenario you described would not reflect good judgment because the AP would be making assumptions that the rule was based only on whether the road was curvy or straight, whether other cars were around, and whether a police officer was there to write a ticket.

German Au-Pair August 25, 2015 at 8:53 pm

My reaction was actually to DCBTM’s post as I quoted her above. I respect that different cultures will have different view points, I just don’t think it’s right to call general judgement into question because of it. I actually advocate for the US POV when it comes to fellow Germans making rude comments about such controversial things as gun laws etc. There’s always a cultural history to be taken into consideration.

As you said, the lawmakers (in both countries) hopefully put some consideration in their decison. And I agree that it’s not an AP’s job to use her judgement against that and break a law. I agree with that.
But the issue here is that to me this is an issue of breaking the law. It MAY also be an issue of judgement when it comes to seeing reason behind certain rules (as in a speed limit to protect children during school times or a speed limit on a congested interstate) but it doesn’t NECESSARILY have to be (eg. On an empty interstate)

Mini, we can absolutely agree to disagree and even though I do think saying that my statement is false is also false because my statement about it not necessarily being a safety issue is correct from my cultural background, I mostly refere to DCBTM’S post which clearly was calling my judgement into question over this.
I can take a jab in my direction -It’s quite hard to offend a German actually :D – I just wanted to set the record straight as I do when it comes to every different viewpoint based on cultural differences. There’s no right and wrong. It’s different.I

German Au-Pair August 25, 2015 at 8:58 pm

Sorry Mini, the “that’s false” statement wasn’t yours either. You said you disagree and that’s absolutely fine. Saying one disagrees is a world away from claiming something is false.

TexasHM August 25, 2015 at 9:00 pm

GermanAP, hopefully you could see that I was seeking first to understand (thus all the mph to kph conversions!) :) and not to make a cultural judgment. I think the challenge here is that (me assuming based on the feedback here) the overwhelming majority of HMs responding here find the idea of an AP driving 94mph completely insane. As in, as several of us have mentioned, so crazy that it could be a rematch worthy offense.

To compare it to the autobahn in any way honestly isn’t relevant here (and I mean that with love!). In fact that is one thing Germany is famous for here – as in it is so different to be able to drive that fast that you are known for it here. To compare the fastest roadways in the world to a suburban au pair joyride is night and day. In fact, let’s take it by likely percentage of overage. So assuming it was a highway (God help this AP if it wasn’t on a highway) then she was likely going 145% of the speed limit which on the autobahn as you mentioned would be almost 190kph! As you yourself said – going over 120kph would make you uncomfortable and this AP was going 151kph. Just madness! (in my opinion) It is less about going over the speed limit (that is bad too but as you noted there are times that speed traps sneak up on everyone) and more about driving an insane speed regardless of the circumstance. Even on THE fastest highway in the US she would have gotten a speeding ticket so this wasn’t a mistake or momentary lapse. So when you talk about there being circumstances where it could be ok – it really doesn’t apply to the US because there is no circumstance here where that would be ok. Ever. Just as someone noted it would be really risky and poor judgment to drive on the autobahn like a granny! Plus we don’t even know if this AP is German so really we are going down a very unlikely path (AP was German, driving on fastest highway in the US and didn’t realize over the screaming engine and hard to control car that she was going way over the speed limit). I would wager a huge bet against that being the case!

We can totally agree to disagree on this. A big part of this blog is being able to share and learn and we appreciate your feedback even when we don’t necessarily agree. :) And as AlwaysHopeful and myself pointed out – part of the bad judgment call was based on WAY breaking the law in a foreign country. I think that is bad judgment regardless of the offense. Hasn’t anyone seen Brokedown Palace? Sorry couldn’t help myself – loved that movie! ;) I DIDN’T DO IT!!!!!

German Au-Pair August 26, 2015 at 9:42 am

We keep getting mph and km/h confused :D 120 MPH makes me uncomfortable (around 200km/h) but 120 km/h is avarage travelling speed.

I think the the thing DCBTM said about knowing the point of a rule is definitely important. The question about this should be: what would you do if the rule wasn’t there. I would still drive slowly in inner cities areas and I would still wear my seat belt. I would still drive moderately on the interstae (or autobahn..) when traffic called for it. But I was allowed to take the car on road trips and on those long straight stretches of interstate between the big cities there was almost no traffic, the road was straight and wide and and one could see so very far ahead. I definitely would have felt comfortable with 90 mph there.
We shouldn’t confuse two different issues here: breaking a rule (and then to that extent) in any country is bad judgement -especially in a foreign country with a car that isn’t yours. That’s what I meant when I said “it’s about the rule”.
Driving at a speed like that does not necissarily HAVE to be bad judgement based on the circumstances and this is where our cultures differ so much. For you it is -for me it’s not. (You speak about losing control of the car. If it was that easy to lose control of a car driving 90mph our streets here would be one big giant ball of accidents.)

That said, as I explained above, the way the autobahn is famous is not accurate. As i said, we DO have speed limits and we actually sometimes have speed limits for certain weather conditions. Even on parts where you can drive as fast as you like, there might be a speed limit if the street is wet. In dense traffic areas there is definitely going to be a speed limit. There are electronic speed signs that will adjust to the conditions (much traffic = speed limit, no traffic = no speed limit) in some areas.
And the reason I compare is if you’ve ever driven on German streets, you’ll find the US version to be almost twice as wide (at least that’s what it feels) and have much fewer curves. So from POV *I* see a street, the speed limit on the kind of between-cities-interstate I described above, the speed limit in the US could actually be higher.
Something that actually occured to me just now: I lived in a relatively unpopulated area in the States. “Big” cities the miles and miles of nothing in between. Maybe that’s also a factor? I have been in the DC area and agree that I wouldn’t be driving that fast THERE because traffic never allows for it.

Anyway, I’m fine disagreeing on this. a belief with which you grow up, something that you’re so used to that it’s the norm for you, is likely not going to change on either side. I would just like to point out that the fact that I (and we) am driving 90mph on a pretty regular basis does not mean Germany is populated by maniacs who lack basic judgement about safety -on the streets and overall.

WarmStateMomma August 26, 2015 at 11:35 am


The little time I’ve spent in Germany left me with the impression that Germans are generally more interested in safety, order, etc. than Americans. So while driving 90+ MPH generally sounds reckless to me, I can appreciate that Germans see it differently. I can’t help but think that there are probably a lot of factors at play that make these speeds safer in Germany, though.

TexasHM August 28, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Totally understood GermanAP and agreed! Wasn’t saying driving 90mph anywhere in the world was bad judgment, was just saying an AP driving anywhere in the US in someone else’s car on someone else’s insurance is! :)

dcmomof3 August 28, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Agree with first time host mom – sometimes there is more drama around the whole au pair experience than there really needs to be. My 80 year old dad came to America on a boat in the 1960s, spoke no English, had an elementary school education only, lived on a relative’s couch in their one bedroom apartment, fixed cars, built a business, built a life in the US. He always looks at my au pairs living in pretty luxe digs, working a set number of hours each week and never more, driving my fancy cars whenever they want, going out every weekend, traveling all over the place and just shakes his head. After 8 years of me hosting, he is finally used to it, but he never, ever feels sorry for the girls! In his perspective, they have it made!

PhillyMom August 21, 2015 at 9:03 am

It is not an easy situation in regards to tattoos and piercing, unless you specified it in your handbook/contract.

She is an adult and has a right to alter her appearance. Young people may change pretty fast under their peers influence. It is normal:))

When I interview potential Au Pairs I make sure to tell them right at the beginning, that a girl who goes clubbing every weekend and gets drunk, will not fit in our family. The same with tattoos and extra body piercing. I am not against it, but this is not for us. I make sure there is no misunderstanding in this area and put it in writing.

Taking food to boyfriends house: it is all depends on the amount. Is she feeding him at your expense? Unacceptable! Boyfriend today – gone tomorrow. You did not subscribe to feeding strangers. If she taking sandwich, soda, fruits, candy for herself – may not be a big deal, if guy does not have a lot of money.

In a long run – if she exhibits dishonest behavior, you may have to re-match or torture yourself with regrets while living with her.

Host Mom in the City August 21, 2015 at 9:36 am

It’s hard to determine from this whether it’s a case of “au pair taking advantage” or just mismatched values where both parties would be better suited to someone else. Either way, I think rematch is the best option, unfortunately.

For me personally, tattoos or piercings and other radical physical appearance changes come with young adult territory. So that wouldn’t bother me. Using Tinder comes with young adult territory too, so that’s another one that wouldn’t bother me. So does getting boyfriends in general. We had an au pair that met an American boyfriend and spent most of her time at his house for a long stretch of time – never bothered me either and I was happy she had met someone and seemed really to be enjoying her year. Most young people aren’t going to want to spend a ton of time with older parents and their kids anyway, so I wouldn’t be hurt by that – be glad that she’s fully enjoying her year.

But you might feel differently, and of course, you have every right to only invite people into your home that share your values, particularly when you’re talking about someone who spends so much time with your kids. So if it’s more the boyfriend and Tinder and tattoos that’s bothering you, then let her go to a family that doesn’t mind all that stuff. And be clear on your application that you want someone that shares your values and that really and truly wants to spend a lot of time with the family.

On the other hand, lying, driving the car at 94 mph, and breaking house rules willfully would not be ok with me, great childcare aside. So if those are the main issues, then rematch based on those. She should most certainly literally never be driving a car if she was caught driving that fast. And that should probably be on the rematch application if that’s your main concern.

So which is it? Either way, I think a rematch discussion is in order. Sorry, OP!

Mimi August 21, 2015 at 10:07 am

I personally don’t have a problem with the appearance issues raised here, but the Tinder issue gives me pause regarding safety. Obviously we meet and bring into our home APs (relative strangers) we meet online to care for our children, but there’s vetting. I know there was a post about this a few years ago about AP safety and online dating/meeting people, but the social media world has exploded since then and IMO there are more less reputable apps out there. Am I being an old fuddy-duddy about it?

Host Mom in the City August 21, 2015 at 10:23 am

Kind of ;)

Anywhere we meet people, offline or line, there isn’t any “vetting.” If you had an au pair that met her boyfriend in a bar or at the gym or something, there wouldn’t be any vetting of him either. I personally don’t think it’s any different. But then I just turned 30 and the vast majority of my married friends met through online dating, so it’s 100% normal to me, and just an extension of the way we meet people.

That said, like with anyone you meet, you have to be safe. You have to use your judgment and not let your guard down too quickly. If you don’t trust that your au pair is being safe (I’d be just as concerned if she were repeatedly going home with random guys she met in a bar!), then that’s a concern, online or not.

Mimi August 21, 2015 at 10:52 am

I can appreciate that! We live in a college town of a major University so in my experience, people that age don’t usually meet online because they have more opportunities for face to face encounters.

Mimi August 21, 2015 at 11:56 am

…and I’ve got ~15 years on you HMitC, so yup…I’m old! ;)

momo4 August 23, 2015 at 9:34 pm

Agreed, HMitC.
We had one AP who went a bit crazy with the online dating when she first arrived, and boy did she meet some losers! But although we privately rolled our eyes, we didn’t really mind. Youngsters and all that.
Then she met this guy, the old-fashioned way I think, through an acquaintance, and he seemed really nice. An artist, a bit quiet, really into her. We met him, he came over for dinner a few times. They dated for a few months. We let them hang out in her room (3rd floor of our house so relative private). And then the she found out that he he had problems with alcohol. And other drugs. And he was on parole. Unemployed. Psychiatric issues. Anger management issues which were part of why he was on parole. 10 years her senior. Borrowed money from her that he didn’t pay back. She told me all this, and confessed that she wanted to break up with him. (I think she may have been seeing someone else as well.) I encouraged her to do so, and told her that these were serious issues, and he was really not good long term relationship material. She broke up with him. There were rivers of tears. Drama. 100+ texts a day from him. Then she got back together with him again, and lied about it. Then they broke up again… He threatened to come over while she was working…I cant remember how many on and off agains there were. What a nightmare!!!
So yeah. Your AP’s judgement and taste in men is infinitely more important than the platform by which she meets the men she dates.

German Au-Pair August 21, 2015 at 10:57 am

Depends. My HF had a rule that I couldn’t bring a guy a met at a bar home (and I’m sure tinder is the same) but I’m sure had I had a long trm boyfriend whom I knew a bit he would have been welcomed.
I personally would tell my AP I don’t want a guy she just met (bar or tinder doesn’t matter) to know my home address for safety reasons. I would tell them to meet at a public place but never to disclose where I live until they know each other for quite some time. Even though there still can be issues after some time, the chances are lower I think.

NoVA Twin Mom August 21, 2015 at 11:29 am

I think you just identified my problem with the Tinder issue for me, thank you. As I said, the appearance thing doesn’t bother me as much. But – although AuPair Paris says it can be used for other things – the stated purpose of Tinder is to meet people interested in an immediate physical relationship that are in close proximity to you.

Ugh. Please, as you said, get to know them a little before bringing them into my house or letting them know where you (and I!) live. Absolutely, if my au pair had a long(er) term friend that they met (even online or through an app) they’re welcome to bring them by. They live here too! But you don’t just bring complete strangers into your house because they “seem nice.”

Maybe this is still a reaction from a long ago roommate who met a guy online, told me he was a friend of a cousin, let him stay with us for a weekend, and it came out later that that was all a lie and that she didn’t actually know anything about him. I had to explain to her – in front of him – that you don’t just bring complete strangers into your apartment because they MIGHT NOT BE NICE PEOPLE. And they might not be telling the truth. It turned out that he was a nice guy, who completely understood why I was shocked to find out she knew nothing about him, and he agreed with me that she should know more about people she brought home with her.

Yes, au pairs should be allowed to be young people here on an adventure, and that sometimes means doing adventurous things. But there’s a limit to what the au pair’s “roommates” – as in the hostfamily – should have to put up with. If you want to meet someone through Tinder, go to their house or a hotel, not mine.

It looks like the OP has refused to meet the boyfriend and that the au pair may have offered to introduce them but hasn’t necessarily tried to bring him home. So she’s actually trying to do what I’m advising. Good for her! :)

I’d still advise mediation for this OP, because she’s not going to stop feeling this way about her au pair. But I maintain that this au pair may still work out for another family if she can get her driving under control. The eating elsewhere and lying about why she needs the car may stop if the host family is more accepting about her other choices.

Host Mom in the City August 21, 2015 at 12:31 pm

And I should be clear – I would never ever be ok with an au pair bringing a guy she just met to our house, whether she met him through Tinder or eHarmony, a bar, or her church. In fact, we have a rule that anyone who isn’t an au pair needs to come over while we’re home so we can meet them and get to know them before they’re invited over without us there. Fortunately, this has never been a problem – all of our au pairs have understood this is totally reasonable.

Just wanted to say that I don’t feel like meeting someone online makes it any more seedy than meeting someone in person. That’s what my point was.

Mimi August 21, 2015 at 12:44 pm

We’ve never had an issue with our APs dating. We actually (inadvertantly) introduced two of them to their spouses. What is hard for me is the risk involved with online encounters because our APs are typically younger and this is a different country and culture. When you layer in the excitement of exploring freedom at that age, the risks might not be understood or caution thrown to the wind. I dread the idea of an AP having a traumatic experience on my watch which is why I’m ok with a cautious approach to these issues. I know that I can only offer advice, but even that may make a difference.

HRHM August 21, 2015 at 4:04 pm

We have the same rule as HMiTC.

No one new in our house until they’ve come by and spent some time with us first. Male, female, AP or not.

American Host Mom in Europe August 21, 2015 at 8:35 pm

I think HRHM’s point is the important one — this isn’t about what KIND of relationship an AP has with someone, it is about a stranger coming to your home — friend, classmate, boyfriend, whatever. I’ve asked my (female) APs not to bring new (female) friends to our house until they are sure they know them well also.

The changing appearance is an interesting one… I use Great Au Pair to find my APs, and there are Qs about piercings and tattoos, and I always look at pictures, and ask if there is anything I should know. I’ve asked AP candidates if they’d be willing to remove nose rings while they are working (for safety, at the time, as I had three babies)…but I wouldn’t hire someone with ear expanders, lots of piercings, etc., because to me it is yucky to look at. So if someone altered their appearance like that while here, I’m not sure what I’d do… don’t want to feel yucky with my AP all the time. But I’ve not got it in my profile, as I screen for it during interviews. Interesting dilemma…

AuPair Paris August 21, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Rematch if you’re not happy. You sound miserable and your au pair will be miserable too if you stick with such a brutal mismatch of personalities. Personally, I have no problem with the idea of meeting someone on tinder. I have tattoos, which I got while an au pair and it never occurred to me to mention it to my HPs because… What on earth has it, or my love/sex life to do with them? As for the food – I guess American APs have a much higher stipend, which might be a part of it. I often buy my own food here (and I buy stuff to cook for the kids too, which is worse), but I do resent it a little, and am angry with myself for not being more assertive about what I need. (It is, of course, my own fault for not bringing it up – it comes from insecurity about other people judging my food choices and eating habits. I’m working on that.) So generally, I think with food… I understand the impulse.

Lying, speeding, etc, breaking clearly stated rules – I’m not ok with any of that. But I feel like a lot of the problem is the former list – the list of things that I don’t see a problem with. So rematch. Because the AP is not going to change now, and if she doesn’t share your values, or think those things are immoral (as I don’t) it would be really flipping cruel to shame her over them. Framed as a no-fault values clash – which is what I think it is – it is much more comprehensible. So certainly rematch rather than being miserable in your own home! But in the next search, if you haven’t already, you’ll know to make these feelings clear before matching. If you did do that, then of course that changes things – but assuming those values are simply universal and common sense is bound to cause problems!

AlwaysHopeful HM August 21, 2015 at 7:01 pm

I think what may have happened here was AP interviewed with her best-foot-forward-interview face, and HM, seeing a person who appeared to match her values, didn’t clarify just what the AP’s values were. It could easily happen– why ask questions about what seems obvious? Unfortunately, it’s a tough lesson for AP and HM about really opening up during the interview process and sharing who you are and what you expect.

I also think it’s reasonable to expect a certain amount of risk taking in this group. This adventure is all a big risk, and I have to think that many of the people it attracts are open to trying things out and stretching boundaries. Tie that together with young (and some lecherous not-so-young) Americans for whom the excitement is kicked up in the face of this “foreign hottie,” and the exasperating eagerness of these newly minted adults to cut the apron strings and answer to no one, and…well…it’s a recipe for plenty of worried HMs.

All of that having been said, the talk about Tinder is bringing back nightmares for me. The thing about Tinder is that, while some folks may go on it for regular dating, it’s reputation is that of a hookup site. In my view, that makes it riskier than eharmony or match because there may be a greater chance of a dangerous mismatch of expectations (but perhaps not riskier than meeting in a bar). Im an old lady and don’t know many Tinder-aged people . However, during my recent rematch, i learned that AP was meeting girl after girl on Tinder and inviting them to our home for sex while my son was at school. Giving out our address like candy to Internet strangers looking for a hookup. So, I have a hard time viewing Tinder as just a dating site like any other when the only person I’ve known to use it clearly had a singular focus. Still. If my AP found a mate there, it wouldn’t bother me, or if AP wanted to take hookups elsewhere…okay.

Host Mom in the City August 21, 2015 at 8:01 pm

What!???!? That is terrible!!!

AlwaysHopeful HM August 23, 2015 at 8:44 am

Yes. I can’t begin to tell you how horrified and outraged I was!

German Au-Pair August 21, 2015 at 8:33 pm

This is scary and terrible and I will never stop being amazed by the nerves some people have. I don’t judge people who want to sleep around, especially during their year abroad because the freedom and knowledge you’ll be gone eventually does make you more open about a lot of things. But I just don’t get how one can be incosiderate regarding other people’s home. As I said my HF had this rule and since I didn’t date anyone during my time it didn’t matter. APs were always fine and my two non-AP friends were teachers at the local schools (even so I asked for permission to ask them over). So the issue was never discussed after matching ever again.
When I had a friend stay with me during her rematch period, she wanted to say goodbye to a fellow AP. This AP had a boyfriend whom I hadn’t met and even though I trusted her judgement (they’re happily married now BTW), I told them that I couldn’t let him in the house because my HP weren’t there and I couldn’t ask them and had never personally met this guy. Everyone understood and we went to get lunch. I’m almost sure my HP wouldn’t have minded but I know *I* would have minded if it as my place. I honestly think that every single decent guy will understand why a HF (who also sometimes are pretty wealthy and therefore can be even more of a target) would not want a random stranger in their house.
I just don’t get it. That would be grounds for me rematch for me actually. If I cannot trust what’s going on while I’m gone, how would I trust the person with my kids?

AuPair Paris August 23, 2015 at 3:27 pm

Oh sure. Well I’m not allowed to bring the opposite sex back to the house. Which I am interpreting as anyone at all with whom I might have a sexual relationship. I don’t see that as a rule against my love or sex life, because I can still do whatever I want – just not in the HP’s house. Fine! But a blanket rule against all dating, or specific kinds of dating, I certainly would have a problem with – that’s what I don’t think the HP’s have any say in.

AuPair Paris August 23, 2015 at 3:29 pm

(Although again, there is trust and compromise. I did text my host parents once while they were away to ask if they minded me having a dinner party (food paid for by me) with my AP friends, including the one guy in the group – and they had no problem with that because – logic! It was a fun group activity and we hung out all together – nothing illicit. :) )

German Au-Pair August 23, 2015 at 6:20 pm

This is something I would not be okay with because I get the “strangers”-issue due to safety issues but this would bother me. I actually have less of a problem with the premise of “we don’t want you to have sex in this house” but more with the “he’s a guy so you cannot have him in the house because you MIGHT have sex with him”. So “no boyfriend/girlfriend” is a different story for me than “no person of the other gender”. If I was told I should not bring my boyfriend because they wouldn’t want to be in an uncomfortable situation with the kids (or themselves) I would expect them to trust that I’ll stick to this rule but can bring of a male just-friend. What would they do if you were bisexual? No friends at home ever?

Mimi August 23, 2015 at 6:35 pm

We actually use the language ‘romantic partners’ and ‘potential romantic partners’ because of this.

AuPair Paris August 23, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Well – I *am* bisexual. But I didn’t express myself clearly – the rule is just about overnights – though I have to ask before inviting any friends at all. The dinner party was one, because my friends were spread about, so there were four on the floor of my room. Which I asked about and the HPs were totally fine with. Re: the sex issue – I think that the kids are of an age where a boy in the AP’s room will provoke questions, that a girl in the AP’s room won’t – ie they know about sex sort of, (and what being gay/bi is), but don’t think about it much, and their parents would like to keep it that way. But like I said, I apply the rule to anyone with whom I might have a sexual relationship. I’ve had friends stay over, but I wouldn’t have a girl over to have sex with her any more than I’d break the rule and invite a boy – because it goes against the spirit of the law. Given that I don’t disclose my sexuality to HPs, I certainly wouldn’t want to trick them like that… Similarly, although I’d be fine with a platonic male friend staying the night, I know the older kids would be curious about boyfriends and would ask questions that their parents wouldn’t want to deal with. But I reckon my HPs would make an exception if, say, my brother visited me, or something!

Mimi August 23, 2015 at 7:12 pm

That’s what I understood you to mean–overnights. We like our APs to have company whenever possible. The overnight issue is one for us for the exact reason you indicated. We allowed them when the children were younger.

I don’t delve into our APs personal or sexual lives unless they bring it up. We trust them to respect our rules and that means discretion with respect to sexual activity and the children.

German Au-Pair August 23, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Ah okay. That makes sense. And I get that one would want to keep that away from the children a bit even though that’s not my philosophy. So do I get that right that no guys over at all -platonic or not- but you expended the rule to potential romantic female partners yourself?

Just out of curiosity, Mimi: Does that mean a non-potential partner of either sex would be fine to come to the house/sleep over? Would the assurance of a trusted AP be enough not to make it an issue?

I actually just have a problem with this because I had a close male friend and I was annoyed to no end that everyone would just assume I was madly in love with him. If a man and a woman can not be platonic friends that would mean a bisexual can not be friends with ANYONE because they would always want more. Such nonesense. So while I get having rules in general to keep your AP’s personal life personal and make sure it’s not our business, I would assume that once you know and trust an AP, one would be able to trust her/him enough to stick to the spirit of a rule like APParis said and only invite non-potential romantic interests over.
I’m actually quite happy now that A my HP were really open about this and B I never met anyone I would have wanted to bring home.

AuPair Paris August 23, 2015 at 7:22 pm

Yeah – I think my HPs would expand the rule to cover all potential sexual partners if it had occurred to them… And given that I don’t want to say “oh, I’m bisexual – you had better change that rule!” it seems simpler to just apply it to myself! :P

AuPair Paris August 23, 2015 at 7:25 pm

But yes – I have plenty of platonic friends! Male and female! It’s rare that anyone stays overnight who isn’t a friend from home in any case, and all my male friends from home know the rules – so it hasn’t been that inconvenient. And again, with platonic male friends – the “he was a boy, she was a girl” sexual assumption thing *is* annoying, but I can nonetheless understand the desire to avoid questions from the kids, so I get it – even if I wouldn’t necessarily do the same thing.

Mimi August 23, 2015 at 7:27 pm

All our APs have had overnight guests, but it’s usually of the ‘crash on the couch’ variety after a long night.

German Au-Pair August 23, 2015 at 9:09 pm

Mimi I love that rule and that is something I can absolutely understand. It would just irk me if a HF didn’t trust me enough to understand I will respect their rules.
The whole cultural difference regarding this issue is super interesting to me, especially when the kids also reach that age when they’re interested in that kind of stuff and ask questions. It can be hard when you’re supposed to enforce an open door policy when the teenager has a boy/girl over and your only argument is “because that’s what your parents want” and the kid gives you good, reasonable arguments that you actually agree with…it’s hard -but definitely an interesting part of the cultural exchange.

AuPair Paris August 24, 2015 at 4:51 am

Yeah, German AP, I am generally all about the “if you’re old enough to ask, you’re old enough for an answer” thing – and I wouldn’t want to do anything that would encourage shame or the whole sex taboo with the kids. But my HPs and I aren’t really on the same page, so we’ve talked about it, and I follow their rules.

The kids *are* more likely to ask me than the parents about this stuff, because I’m younger and not a parent. And having spoken to the parents, they loosened up about it massively when I made them aware how much the eldest *was* asking at one point – i.e. how much she was picking up on the playground as it was. Before, I was saying “ask your parents” and she went away reluctant to do so, and none the wiser. So now I’m allowed to honestly answer questions about contraception, sexual partners, consent, “ready-ness”, one’s right to say no, or yes (age of consent, etc, etc), and LGBT issues. But it took a long conversation exactly *about* our values and where they matched up, and what I could share before we got there.

I am a sex-positive atheist feminist, and my HPs are fairly liberal, but not to my extent – so I know there are things I believe that I mustn’t say to the kids, and I do avoid them. In any case, after I started answering eldest HK’s questions honestly, she lost interest and stopped asking and thinking about it all again, as far as I can tell. (Seriously, like, two questions answered and I got no more questions – before that, it’d been like 5 questions a day!) I think it’s much less interesting when it loses its taboo and becomes just another weird grown up thing – and was seen as so icky, that I don’t think she wanted to know!

Which is all a very long-winded way of saying that my HPs were really flexible when they became aware that the kids were thinking about this stuff, and asking me about it – and although it wouldn’t be my method, I understand their reluctance to move the questioning from the general to the personal. And that, as usual, proper conversations about beliefs, values, and what is and isn’t acceptable were totally necessary or we’d all have been lost. (I’m envisaging a horrifying Turn of the Screw “you’ve *corrupted* our innocent *children*” style conversation that I was absolutely not willing to get myself into!)

NJmama August 21, 2015 at 7:34 pm

The boyfriend/hookup/Tinder question is tricky for me. If you had asked me before my Bridezilla experience, I would have said that an AP’s sex life is her business, that as long as she doesn’t bring strange men in the house I’m ok. In fact my house rule says no one at my house unless I’ve met them first.

In many ways that hasn’t changed. But here’s where it got weird for me. When my Bridezilla first came to us, she was engaged to a guy back in her home country. She has been engaged for some time. And she was social and went out a lot, but was not a big partier. Then she broke it off the engagement and started dating. She met a guy in his 50s who dumped her off a few mins past curfew one night. She was completely drunk and needed help walking to the door. The loud music from the car and all the commotion woke the kids up. That made her a little embarrassed, and I asked her to please not make any noise next time. The next time she stayed out the entire night (blowing curfew completely). I had a talk w her and she said that she was going to cut off the relationship anyway bc the guy was moving. so it ended.

A few weeks later she met a young guy her age who came from a family with lots of money. They dated. After some time we met him. We extended. We invited the couple to dinner. They got engaged… Then as many of you know things fell apart and she moved out more than three months before her end date while my family was at my uncle’s funeral in another state.

So clearly I had a very bad experience with an au pair who changed when she started dating. My next au pair was very religious and did not date while here. I wonder if subconsciously that was why we matched with her :).

The funny thing about all of this is we just switched to CC and just got our new au pair. And when the LC has our first meeting together, one of the questions she had was, what were my feelings about having an au pair who used an online dating service? Wow did that catch me by surprise! I said my feelings were complicated and colored by my Bridezilla experience. I don’t think she did online dating but she was the first to blow curfew for a guy, wake everyone up after being out with a guy, and ditch the family for a guy. I said I obvs couldn’t stop an au pair from using an online dating service, but I repeated the house rule about no men in the house. The LC told me there was no right or wrong answer – just she wanted us to talk about it. So I’m thinking this must be a very hot topic now. And kudos to the LC for bringing it up.

Quite honestly if an AP tried to sneak a guy into my very small and creaky house, my kids would almost definitely find out. And they would probably ask the kinds of questions 9 and 11 year olds ask, in a 9 and 11 year old way. They can be brutal. So it would be worse for the au pair than anyone.

But it’s a good topic for people to think about.

In the case of the OP, it really sounds like the boyfriend isn’t the big problem. It’s the AP breaking the rules, driving way too fast, and probably her attitude about and with the boyfriend. And I also agree if things don’t change nine months is too long to remain in this situation.

Laura August 22, 2015 at 8:07 am

I think you really need to separate out the bigger issues from the trivial ones, and address the bigger issues. To me (ex AP, now an HM), I don’t care about the appearance of my AP, and what she does on her time off. As an adult, she has no curfew (although I wouldn’t hesitate to impose one if she was so tired she couldn’t look after my daughter). Your AP is entitled to choose how to express herself through her appearance, is of course going to want to date (we all did at that age!), and, if there are no problems with the childcare, then does it matter what time she comes home?

However, there are also some big issues here. Driving a car that doesn’t belong to her far in excess of the speedlimit is a huge safety issue, and it also impacts on your belongings. Bringing strangers home is a no-no, as it is your home and that of your kids. Having said that, if they have been dating for a while, I would also feel that it was unreasonable if you were to continue to refuse to meet him. Maybe go out for lunch one day to meet him, and then if you feel comfortable with him, he can round to your home? I can’t abide lying – but would she need to lie if you were more tolerant of her dating life?

Not wanting to spend time with your family is a shame, especially since you took her to vegas. However, I think that is par for the course with young adults – when I was a teenager and in my early 20’s, I didn’t really relish my parents company in the way I do now in my 30’s. However, maybe if you met her boyfriend and invited him round, you could do more things as a family? When I was that age, my parents invited my (steady) boyfriends round for things like dinners etc. I would summarise my approach to this as:

Her appearance = drop it as an issue
Her social life (as long as childcare isn’t affected) = drop it as an issue
Her social life (if childcare is affected) = final warning, leading to rematch if she doesn’t improve
Driving = immediate final warning, threat of rematch

exaupair August 22, 2015 at 2:19 pm

Dear OP, as much as I think most of your issues with the AP are really minor things, I agree this is an rematch situation. You are annoyed by just her presence in your home at the moment, and from experience (not a host parent experience!) I know that it is going to remain that way, even if she alters her behavior and attitude at this point.
If someone bothers you a little, all the small things suddenly become huge issues.

momo4 August 22, 2015 at 8:42 pm

9 months left is exactly when you should rematch if you cannot stand having your AP in your house, regardless of the specific reasons. And I cannot imagine that any “remediation” is going to help the situation when there is already so much negativity. At the end of the day, if the OP feels the way she does about the AP, I’m surprised the AP herself is not looking to rematch, although the boyfriend may be reason enough for her to want to stay in the area. But seriously, who would want to live with a HM who apparently has nothing but horrible things to say about you, refuses to meet your boyfriend, demands to know why you take food with you, disapproves of essentially everything about how you live your life and thinks your character is of the worst sort, that you take advantage of everyone any lie??
The OP is judging her AP extremely harshly, and while speeding and lying are serious offenses, many of her other complaints are about things that are obviously specific to her “values” and are things that many HFs would have no problem with. But what is clear, is that this AP and this HM are not a good match, and should part ways as amicably as possible.

Host Mom in the City August 24, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Just wanted to announce that we are officially 30 days from the departure of what will most likely be our last au pair, so I will most likely be winding down my comments at some point in the future. Both my kids will be at the same school this year (younger child did kindergarten at a private school before switching), and I just don’t need anywhere close to 45 hours. But if I’m honest, I’m just really really burned out, and having au pairs has proven for me to be more stressful and expensive than using other forms of child care. A lot of the comments on this thread are why, which is why I’m posting here – there just seems to be so much risk involved in inviting a young adult to live in your home, and I’m not willing to take it on any more.

We’ve had five au pairs – two great, two terrible, and one pretty good. Not bad odds I guess, but I am so looking forward to not having to live on the edge of my seat for a year worrying about these kinds of young adult issues being brought into my home. At least for another few years until my girls are the ones bringing home sketchy guys, driving too fast, lying, and being addicted to texting! haha

I’m also worried about the changes that might be upcoming to the program. Anyone else concerned? I personally find the accusations really unfair – I know I shouldn’t let it bother me because I know first-hand how happy with their years my au pairs have been. The main reason I’m bowing out myself is that I think it’s too expensive (risk, time, and money) already given what I’ve received back. I’m sure many host parents would agree if the costs go up anymore. And there goes the program. Or maybe they’ll come up with something even better. I’d be definitely amenable to better enforcement of the rules already in place and better checking out and preparing of both host parents and au pairs. Who knows? But the accusations and the entitlement it seems to be brewing within the au pair community bug me nonetheless.

Anyway, mixed feelings about the program overall aside, I have no mixed feelings about this board. And most certainly would never have gotten through the last handful of years without CV and the gang here. Thank you all so much! I’ll be around for a bit, but slowing down I’m sure. Keep up the good work!

Should be working August 24, 2015 at 4:51 pm

HMitC! Sad that you won’t be around as much, but glad you are pretty certain about what you want to do.

CV used to have a post on “Good luck from ex-au pair mom” where people who were giving up AP care could say their “last words” and store the insights about leaving the program. I am always SO curious about HPs who leave and how that feels, good and bad. I think JJ HM has left and returned. Others have faded out (Calif Mom??).

Please post once the dust settles about how your family and your kids adjust to non-AP childcare!

DowntownMom August 24, 2015 at 10:14 pm

I would love a post on HPs with ambivalent feelings about staying in the program as well as the post-AP life you suggested, SBW! And good luck, HMiTC! I am going to miss your insights!

IntellectualMom August 24, 2015 at 11:30 pm

I second this – I would love to hear from other HPs who are ambivalent or have chosen to leave the program.

That was me a few months ago. However, we just welcomed our 3rd au pair this past week, and I am so happy to have her. She brings such a breath of fresh air into the household, giggles, and has everyone smiling. In between AP2 and this new one, I had a week where my kids were without camp or daycare so I hired a local university student to help me through the week, as DH was (and is) away. At first I found it wonderful: our local babysitter was a biology major in college, rowed crew, and was so articulate, scientifically informed, laid back and a native English speaker…AND to top it off, she left for her own home after each morning (of course, after hosting for 2 years, this part felt so delightfully non-intrusive). And yet, I realized that as someone who didn’t live with us, her commitment to the kids and to our rules was totally different. She wasn’t going to pick battles with them over unhealthy snack (yeah, she let my 8 year-old prepare himself a mid-morning snack of toasted English muffin with nutella and tons of whipped cream, smothered in frozen raspberries, while the 3 year old got himself a whole bag of pirate’s booty and popsicles.) On the other hand, the fact that she left our home after each time let me have unmediated time with the kids and I really treasured that. Dinners were also easier with one person less to cook for. I also found I could really focus and engage on the kids; previously, AP and I often would get caught up in our own conversation over dinner, instead of letting me really relate to them.

By contrast, our new aupair (AP3) is so much more invested in bonding with the kids and our family. In addition, I finally sense value in the cultural exchange component now that I have someone with Czech culture after a couple of years of German APs. Granted this is only a few days into her year, but the insights I’ve gathered here from all of you – from posts about what parts of being a HP give you a spark of joy, or the one about how to improve your relationship with your aupair instantly by giving them positive and/or constructive feedback and gratitude – have made a huge difference. I also see that personality is HUGEly important. I was looking for someone very responsible last year and landed an AP who was solid but perhaps overly serious – very loving, but a bit dour; my eldest never hit it off with her. Current AP loves to laugh and that makes it all work. I also have learned to focus my energy on the kids directly, rather than on the other adult. Basically, I am so happy to still be in the program and have learned a lot.

Best wishes HMiTC for your next step! And CV, how about running a post on families that leave the program?

JJ Host Mom August 25, 2015 at 12:30 am

I’m still around. I read here. I guess I formed a bond with you guys, nice to know what you’re up to. We are still not hosting though and I have no plans to go back to work anytime soon, if at all. But recognize that’s not a decision that everyone can or wants to make. If there were a post on HFs that leave the program I’d contribute, as long as we could find a way to make it productive and not just a gripe about the au pair program. I’m about 6 months out of our last au pair leaving and still feeling pretty down on the program overall. I know that plenty of people love it and wouldn’t want my bad experiences to color that.

dcmomof3 August 25, 2015 at 1:00 am

IntellecutalMom – Could you expand upon this point – ” I finally sense value in the cultural exchange component now that I have someone with Czech culture after a couple of years of German APs.”

I’m interested in exploring this a bit more since I went from having girls from Latin America when my kids were little to having Germans now that they are older. There is not much cultural exchange to be had with the Germans and I feel like they are just being APs to check a box – to get their gap year done and to gain a better position in the German university admission system. They have their own huge social network of German APs, seem to have their travel plans set before they even arrive, etc. It makes things easier on us as a host family since there is not much interaction outside of work hours. However, I was recently watching a series of home videos made by one of our Latina au pairs years ago and realized that I missed the joy, laughter and FUN that they brought to our household! I miss the cultural exchange, the sharing, the unbridled love for the kids and the wonder of watching them experience new things. The German au pairs have been easy to have in our home since they just follow the rules, follow the checklist and get things done. Maybe this is just my limited experience? What has been different with your latest au pair?

Host Mom in the City August 25, 2015 at 9:56 am

That’s fascinating, IntellectualMom, and I’d too love to hear more about your cultural exchange comment. We’ve mostly had Germans, but feel like we have had the opportunity to share culture. They’ve all had friends and family visit to stay with us, taught us some language, talked about things in their countries, and cooked us meals and celebrated their holidays with us. But I do see Germans as relatively “easy” au pairs because their culture is very much like our family’s, so it’s a simple fit.

And thanks for the well-wishes, all! I would love to hear from former host families myself. I’ve “quit” the program before after our bad year and came back to it not because I missed it so much as that there just wasn’t anything else that worked for our family. But this time I feel like we have a clear solution. I’ll eat my words if I’m back on here in January asking for matching tips! haha

Host Mom in the City August 25, 2015 at 10:09 am

And I always feel like I have to defend the Germans, but we’ve had three lovely, warm, funny, and curious Germans. Rule-followers, yes (which I love). Organized and schedule-oriented, yes. But dour, strict, or unbending? Not a bit.

NJ Mama August 25, 2015 at 10:45 am

HMITC – I would also love to hear how things go for you post AP life. Our latest AP just arrived and we – meaning the kids and HPs – really hope she is our last. We are looking at this year as a transition year for our kids, who are now 9 and 11. Our problem is we need early morning care, so it will depend on my kids’ ability to largely get themselves out of bed and off to school in the morning with minimal oversight. The interesting thing I’ve found is that while I really try very much to encourage independence, it will depend on whether my eldest – who has anxiety although she is very much a take-charge kid – is ready for the responsibility. I wonder how others knew when it was time to leave?

Like you I have had some wonderful experiences (especially with German girls) and some not-so-great and even terrible experiences. Lately I’ve found the mix – the starting off strong and ending on a low note – to be in some ways worse than the mediocre au pair. Our last one started out so so so strong, but then the sense of entitlement was so big in the end I honestly couldn’t wait for her to leave. Terrible to feel that way.

Our new one just arrived and she is very sweet and trying so hard. But her driving skills are weak. We’re doing a lot of practicing. We got her the online defensive driving course. And we’ve scheduled supplemental driving instruction. It’s a lot of time and energy. Our weekends, crazy as always, are now all about — when can we squeeze in more practice time? And after reading what HostDCmom wrote above about the AP accident and lawsuit – jeez it’s hard to know at what point is all the extra work pointless? She’s improved, but I still don’t feel like she’s a safe driver. That’s an awful feeling to have. As long as she keeps trying … and we keep practicing and giving her the tools she needs … what can we do?

At the same time, the flexibility that the program provides cannot be beat for our a family like ours. It’s the reason we have continued with it for the last five years. But like you said, if the program changes and becomes any more expensive, then it may not be worth it for the flexibility either.

Taking a Computer Lunch August 25, 2015 at 12:19 pm

On safer driving – if you have school-aged children and don’t schedule your AP for the full 45-hours per week, then I would make driving practice part of her work-week. Give her specific places to go (follow the guidelines that a 16-year-old in your state would to earn the right to take the test – so many hours on the highway, three-point turns, parallel parking). Driving is a skill that must be practiced. If you don’t feel that she is safe without a more skilled driver in the car, then negotiate with your agency for the AP and the agency to split the costs of driving instruction (it doesn’t have to be you!). Frankly, most of my APs really improved once they developed a life outside our home – and discovered getting their by car was much quicker than using public transportation. (Although with most of my European APs, it was more a matter of learning to drive in a new country than learning to drive at all!)

NJ Mama August 25, 2015 at 1:21 pm

TACL – thank you as always for your sage advice. and as always you hit the nail on the head. I feel the same way – the AP will develop better skills once she has developed a life outside the home. But right now I don’t feel comfortable with her driving much without a skilled driver in the car. So we have limited her daily driving to very local areas, like the supermarket and gym, and then we have been trying to practice as much as we can when we are home, going back and forth to all the usual places. But we work long hours during the week, so it’s difficult. And by the time I called a driving school they were booked solid – because of new au pairs and kids going to college. So I couldn’t get her in til the end of this week (and I called at the beginning of last week). I will foot the bill for a two-hour session but after this I think you’re right – time to split the costs.

The kids have been in camp and there hasn’t been much driving involved in the job right now. But when school starts in two weeks, all that will change. I need a driver – a safe driver. This year the kids’ activities require more driving than ever, so this is a big deal to us.

I am encouraged in that I have seen improvement since she started with us. But it’s still very uneven. She is older (mid 20s) and European (German), so I was surprised that her driving wasn’t better. I am hoping she shows more improvement at the end of this week, after the online course and supplemental instruction. And if that happens I will do as you suggest and schedule practice driving sessions into her schedule, with specific places to go.

The thing that concerns me is that some of the driving is just unsafe. She was rolling through stop signs quite a bit. She drives too far to the side of the road – even when kids are biking along the side. And she doesn’t slow down when driving through curves. I am pretty strict about making the APs learn routes to all the places they need to go. But when you’re driving a particular route for the 12th time, and the AP rolls through a stop sign that she’s stopped at 10 of the last 12 times, will driving that same route 5 more times help? This is new for me b/c in years past it really was more a matter of the AP becoming comfortable driving in the new area. This .. I’m not sure!

Multitasking Host Mom August 25, 2015 at 10:30 pm

Once again we are in a similar situation NJ Mama, we are about to start our search for our next AP and I would like that to be our last one. I love the AP program. The flexibility in child care hours has been a big help to me and we do enjoy the little bit of cultural exchange (although I do have to actively encourage the APs sometimes to share). But my kids are getting older and we now rarely use the full 45 hours of care…some weeks it can be less so I am not really seeing it being as cost effective now. But the big reason we are sticking to it right now is the mornings. I leave for work at 6:00am. I am just not sure if my kids would get up, dressed, and out of the house in time to meet the bus without someone hovering over them. And finding someone of any quality who will work at that hour is very difficult. They will both be in middle school by the time this next AP leaves, so we will see then.

IntellectualMom August 25, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Hello! I am following up on requests for more about the cultural exchange part and why I like our new AP who is Czech after two German APs. Just by the way, no need to defend Germany and German APs here – I spent a good amount of time in Germany as a young adult and have friends in Berlin and other places. I love Germany, and value the openness and organization the German girls have brought – not to mention the excellent driving skills. In fact, I spent a fair amount of time in France for work and studies and always found myself gravitating to Germans :) We’re also a family with some connection to Israel, so it’s nice in that sense too to share Jewish culture with Germans and bridge some of that traumatic and difficult history on the intimate scale of our home. However, I think it can be really advantageous and fun for everyone to try aupairs of different national backgrounds rather than always playing it safe and going with the same. After 2 years of 18 year old German APs, German lullabies, and learning all about the German school system and universities and attitudes, it’s just nice to have a girl who brings something different – a new vocabulary, a new intonation, a different cuisine, a different energy and warmth. She’s also 21, so she herself brings a new maturity -hooray! To be totally honest, our Czech au pair actually grew up in Bavaria in a Czech family so I feel I have the best of both worlds – some of the same, and something new :) Maybe an aupair with more than one culture works best for us, as we are a multicultural family too and that brings a bit of additional breadth and flexibility.

At this stage, we still need an infant qualified aupair which considerably narrows the pool from which we can choose. The Germans seemed to have the most experience in that pool – next year, if we’re still in the program, we’ll have such a wider selection group. It’s kind of terrifying, as I interviewed some 40 candidates this time… I’m not willing to go to hire an AP from Latin America because of driving concerns and what I’ve heard about the ease or variability in getting a license. But joyful and super experienced in childcare will be on the top of my list based on what AP3 brings to our home! (and yes, this is only day 5 so I am very much in the honeymoon period of this match :)

LuckyHM#3 August 25, 2015 at 6:31 pm

I’ve been reading this blog for about a year now and never commented. We have 5.5 year old twins (just starting kinder) and a 4 year – (Preschool 5 days a week 5 hours a day).

We’ve just completed our 1st month with AP3 and OMG, I am beyond happy. We had a great AP1 – 25 years, great driver (South America) but i have to admit that it was just pure luck. She was a rematch from a pretty shitty situation and came to us in Month 6 and extended for 6 months after her 1st year. We lucked out. There was so much cultural exchange and I was sold on the program because she really made my life easier. The original HM was really horrible and after talking to her, I felt horrible. She really did expect a maid till the AP asked for a rematch.

For AP2, decided 24/25 was ideal age and didnt care about nationality and also went to the reamtch pool and matched with a German. The HM really gave a bad feedback but i said it was sour grapes since AP2 had asked for the rematch from the HF given how well AP1 turned out. It was horrible, AP1 and AP2 spent a week together and 2 days in, AP1 told me that she didnt seem to really like kids but i decided to give her a chance. She was horrible and was really only there for what she could get. She didnt like my kids hugging her, she was overly serious and put my 3 year old in timeouts up to 6 times a day Worked 35 hours a week, had a car but she wouldnt even say help to the kids if she wasnt on the schedule. She would go out to dinner with us and only talk to DH and I because she wasnt on duty. She didnt like to eat anything we ate and when i bought whatever she ate – vegeterian but only white food, she would pretend she didnt see the items and use my credit card that she had and went to whole foods and bought everything organic. She would take my kids to starbucks, froyo etc and just buy 1 item for herself and the kids would watch her eat.

We had a reset conversation 4 weeks in and she promised to change but nothing and 2 months, we went into rematch. and I have to say I dont think I would ever match with a AP with food issues or with a German. I think culturally may just not be our speed.

AP3 is South American from a different country than AP1. I essentially copied TXHM method and used it for matching and interviewed for attitude. She is so much younger than the others @ 20 years old and an awesome driver (drivers everyday at home) In 1 month, she has shared so much of her culture with us, including food, language and the kids love her. I find myself being a lot more accommodating

FirstTimeHM August 26, 2015 at 4:27 am

I’m sorry you had such a bad experience with your German AP, there are plenty of nice girls who would have loved the kids and don’t come only to travel. Growing up near the border with Germany I know a bit about the culture, most girls there are nice, decent, respectful girls. The German culture is quite strict on rules, kids simply have to follow them, and compared to American culture (as I’ve experienced it with a few exchange students and my former princess AP) a lot more down to earth. A German girl will (on average!!!) be less outgoing. North-western European girls are (on average!!!) brought up with a lot of ‘don’t make such a fuss out of it, it’s not that bad’ or ‘yes, we all know that it’s really wonderful, we’re glad for you, but telling it once or twice is enough’.
In Germany it’s really common to do a gap year and do something for the community. There are social and environmental gap years for which they have to apply and interview. The ones who really would like to see more of the world tend to go for AP-ing. Some of them are only in it for the travel, most really like kids. Please screen if they have any idea what it is to be with kids for so many hours a day for entire weeks. Babysitting in Germany is only afternoons (school ends at 12 or 1) and supervising homework (big thing in Germany) and moms tend to be home at 5. None of the girls I knew in Germany went to be an au pair, but all of them did a gap year and really wondered why practically no one in our country did that.
Food, that’s something that’s really the au pair herself. In Germany organic food is much more common, but white food only is frowned upon. German mothers also want their kids to have a balanced diet. The American AP we had was someone who really went to so much candy every day, but that’s also something that’s common for her, not for American girls in general.
I can relate to you, because though I know our princess AP is not the typical American girl, for us it’s no Americans ever again. No more ‘I have never … in my entire life’. No more ‘but it’s done this way’ (well, not in our country).
If you have left behind your awfull second AP, please don’t rule out all the German girls, you’ve simply had a bad apple. But if you want someone who’s really outgoing, you’ll have a tough job because a German extravert is probably not what you would consider extravert at all.

LuckyHM#3 August 26, 2015 at 10:12 am

Thanks for the response. Starting off the AP program, we didnt want to limit ourselves to any particular country. We were open and just wanted a GREAT driver, a good room mate and an AP that would love to be part of our family and spend time with us and keep to the few rules that we have. AP2 wasnt a bad person, she just wasnt a good fit for us. I honestly dont think its a German thing but its still so recent at this point. With all the insights that I’ve gotten from this great group of HFs, i do believe that we have a better approach to matching given how well (touch wood) that it worked for AP3.. Thanks to TACL and her sont settle paradigm :-) which was what we did for AP2

FirstTimeHM August 27, 2015 at 10:15 am

We didn’t want to limit ourselves either, but we wanted to have someone who knew the basics of our language so the kids could communicate with her.
We found out that we as a family are much more active than the average family and we need a really energetic person as well, someone who can keep up with the kids and with us. And we really want someone who’s a good room mate and wants to be part of our family instead of being here only to party and travel.

American Host Mom in Europe September 2, 2015 at 4:44 am

FirstTimeHM, in the same way you just suggested not to rule out all German AP candidates based on one bad experience, I have to suggest you not rule out all American AP candidates based on one bad experience. I’ve had 5 American APs, and while one we had some issues with (mostly because she was a young 19 and was too immature), the rest were great, adapted to how we do things here, were very active, ate healthy, etc. There are great ones in the candidate pool! Not sure where you live or where you look, I use Great Au Pair and find many good US candidates!

FirstTimeHM September 15, 2015 at 3:49 am

You’re right. I shouldn’t rule out all American APs, but we will take a break now anyway, both from having an AP and from having an American AP.
We’ve got a really lovely South American ex-AP now who found her boyfriend here, got married and was looking for a job and a place to practice the language this year. Next year she will enroll in college here to get a degree in child psychology.
We can’t afford a new AP because all the fees are payable up front, but we’ve got a really nice sitter who loves our family and wants to be a part of it.

AP NYC August 25, 2015 at 9:06 pm

I think everyone pretty much agree that “Bothered Host Mom” should rematch.You shouldn’t have to work with someone you do not trust or appreciate. The overspeeding, the lies and the food are legitimate reasons to ask for a rematch.

However I am a little bit annoyed about the tinder and tattoo story. As an au pair, I strongly believe that I am entitled to have a private life as long as I respect the rules of the program and the house where I live. A few of my au pair friends have met their boyfriends on tinder and they all turned out to be great guys ( one of them is now enegaged). The “plan” is never to “find a husband” or satisfy our “sexual needs”. Host families often forget that we come here alone and eventhough we have our HF to support us, sometimes it is not enough. We need to have a social life outside of work and feel close to seomeone. Sometimes we get this closeness through friends, sometimes it’s a boyfriend. We don’t put our lives on hold when we become Au pairs and we don’t belong to the family. I totally understand that it can be uncomfortable for some families to know their au pair is dating , I personally am pretty open about it with my host mum, without giving her any details, she knows when I am seeing someone or not, she trusts me and knows that I wouldnt date a “bad” person. However having a boyfriend shouldn’t push the au pair to neglect her family life. If she starts missing family events and lie about where she is going, then yes it is a problem.

Then about the tattoo/piercings, the quality of work someone provides has nothing to do with his looks and it is not because someone is changing his physical appearance that his personality changes. :)

HRHM August 26, 2015 at 10:36 pm

As an interesting addition to this conversation, my AP recently relayed to me that her cluster recently “lost” an AP due to the fact that HPs saw her smoking pot on Instagram. In our current state, recreational MJ in one’s private abode is totally legal. I’m uncertain if the HF had addressed it in advance but my AP thinks the AP in question was underage. Apparently it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, since they had already taken away the car for an Instagram shot of a beer bottle between her knees against the steering wheel!

My AP is from the same country of origin and has been reading her blog, which of course mentions how she was screwed out of her time in the US because her HF was “stalking” her on social media. And of course doesn’t mention that she was sent packing for underage drinking, in the car, and underage pot smoking.

Does anyone know if the agencies explicitly forbid MJ use in the states where it’s legal? My Ap thought they might…

TexasHM September 2, 2015 at 9:14 am

I asked my AP about this and she said that cultural care not only disallows any form of drug use but they also are not allowed to smoke a cigarette! She said they are told before they come that if they are a smoker they will not be put into the candidate pool and if they go out they are not to wear smoky clothes around the kids and host family. She also said there were a couple of au pairs at orientation that were smoking but they snuck out and hid behind a building so the agency staff wouldn’t see them and when my AP asked them about it they said it was their last cigarette and they were going to quit cold turkey before going to the host family’s house!

AlwaysHopeful HM September 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Actually, TexasHM, I think your AP is mistaken. CC does disallow smoking, but an AP can be put into rematch for it (not automatically sent home). As my LCC noted, however, that AP’s chance of finding another family will be pretty slim. That was one difference i noticed when I switched from APC to CC– APC will not allow an AP who is in rematch for smoking to go to another home. When I looked through the rematch candidates for CC, there were several that were there because of smoking, and I didn’t see any for APC.

Exam pair, the AP contract is just that– a contract. The agency can set whatever restrictions it believes are appropriate. The AP is not forced to accept them by entering the program, but if she does enter the program, she is obliged to follow them as long as they have been agreed to in advance. I, for one, have little sympathy for the “you can’t tell a grown up what to do with her personal life” view (which I understand is the prevailing view) when that grown up has freely entered into an agreement to be told what to do. To me, it’s like a ball player losing endorsements for taking some unpopular or controversial stance. Yes, he has free speech rights that the government cannot restrict, but he agreed to limit that speech under penalty of losing the contract. And the company is not the government. :)

AlwaysHopeful HM September 2, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Oop- I meant ExAupair, not “exam”!

AlwaysHopeful HM September 2, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Aargh! I misread TexasHM’s post. Yes, I agree that known smokers cannot join CCAP, but if they are caught smoking here and put into rematch, they can try for another family, whereas with APC they cannot.

Dorsi September 2, 2015 at 2:05 pm

You certainly can send an AP home for smoking cigarettes, which is perfectly legal. Also, Marijuana use is still illegal at a federal level so I suspect that an AP would have no leg to stand on if s/he pushed back against the prohibition.

exaupair September 2, 2015 at 3:42 pm

I always wondered what is the logic behind it. I know Americans in general are ‘against’ smoking, and it’s considered antisocial etc. but as long as it doesn’t happen in front of children, and no one in the household has asthma why would that be a reason to rematch? Does the agency have the right to prohibit something that isn’t illegal?

AlwaysHopeful HM September 2, 2015 at 4:13 pm

I personally detest smoking and would prohibit it even if my son did not have asthma. I have a stronger reaction than most people, but I just find it truly abhorrent and don’t want someone who smokes to live in my home, even if they do it away from the house. I make it very clear during matching.

LuckyHM#3 September 2, 2015 at 4:35 pm

I personally detest smoking and while I have never been diagnosed as asthmatic, I have been known to start wheezing when in contact with heavy smoke smell. Also my son, has asthma and I clearly state during interviews, Skype, handbook that we will not match with a smoker and if you match with us, you cannot smoke even socially. If that doesnt work, then dont match with us because for me, that is an automatic reason for rematch.

I dont buy this “you cant tell an adult, what to do” That is the contract that you agreed to. I have worked in organizations that had a dress code and everyone dressed in formal attires, if you dont like it then dont work there. I also went to a private school with school uniforms, that was the rule, you either complied or you attend another school. This is pretty simple for me

TexasHM September 2, 2015 at 5:29 pm

So I have asthma and my husband cant stand the smell so its a no go zero tolerance in our household which we state upfront in interviewing. To answer exaupair’s question I actually read information when I was pregnant with my son that noted that cigarettes/cigarette smoke leaves a residue on skin/clothing/hair etc that is harmful to infants. It is similar to tar and actually sticks to their lungs (still developing) and can cause health issues even if the person isn’t a smoker! My parents smoked at the time and I showed them the article and it said to hold an infant they would have to shower after smoking and then change clothes before entering our house to hold the baby and those two smokers of 30+ years quit cold turkey that day! No joke! I was floored having watched them quit and start again for decades. Apparently the article was concerning enough to them and their grandson was important enough for them that the motivation outweighed the desire to smoke. Second hand smoke is very real and dangerous (thus the reason smoking is being banned all over the place) and having grown up in a house that was basically a cloud of smoke and seeing the discoloration and residue on everything all the time and the improvement in my health after going away to college its a no brainer for us and we tend to look for like minded APs.

Angie Host Mom September 2, 2015 at 12:38 am

Lying and speeding and breaking curfew are enough to justify the rematch without going into the au pair’s personal life – tattoos and boyfriend.

We’ve had an au pair who was gone almost every night and all weekend with the bf, after their relationship was developed while here. She was responsible, in general, enough to be on time to work and she was good with the kids. It was fine but we did feel like the bf became her priority over the family during that time. We knew we were second place and when things came up (committed to go to a family event on the weekend, but bf made other plans) we had to deal with it and decide if it was enough to cut the relationship. It wasn’t, for us, but we didn’t have dishonesty and speeding and rule-breaking!

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