What Happens After The Words “Dear AuPairMom”?

by cv harquail on August 30, 2012

Mom@AuPairMom.com gets lots of interesting emails.

Some are from crazy people who can’t spell. Some are from crazy people who don’t speak English. Some are from crazy people who want me to hook them up with an au pair, especially a tall, pretty one.

And some are from you — host moms, host dads, au pairs, and future au pairs — each with a different take on the same fundamental question:

How can I make my au pair – host family relationship stronger, better, smoother, happier, and warmer than it is right now?

I wish I could respond to every single person who emails AuPairMom asking for advice.  I’ve tried to do this via return email, at the very least to acknowledge that I’ve seen your message. But even though I’ve spent a lot of time answering these emails, worrying over these problems, and wondering what might help you, most of the time I answer your questions in my thoughts & prayers and hope that they prompt some useful advice when I eventually sit down to post.

When I can, I’ve posted your questions right here on the blog, and the generous and wise members of the community have offered you their help.  Sometimes (especially in the earlier years) I have been able to find time to generate “original content”– advice that comes out from my heart and my experience, gets filtered through a few management theories and reflections, and ends up here as pretty direct “How To” advice.

Sometimes I don’t respond because I suspect–either erroneously or not–that a particular email might be a fake. And, sometimes I don’t respond because an email is rude, or mean, or asking a question that was just addressed three posts ago. Most of the time when I don’t respond or get your post up on the blog it’s for one pretty simple reason– I just don’t have enough time.

And so your email falls through the cracks, and nestles down for a nap in the deep, deep file drawer of my inbox.

Please understand that I do not earn money from AuPairMom. I probably should try to monetize the blog — my husband keeps begging me to — since the 25,000+ visitors a month could generate enough ad views to keep me in double soy lattes for a long long time.  And, I probably should try to sell the blog. After all, there are thousands of pages of really great advice in here! That should be worth something, right?

But AuPairMom is, for now, a labor of love (no matter how neglected at times). I probably should love it more, but as you know my efforts are erratic. I fit the writing and the basic maintenance of the blog into those little slivers of time that appear, unscheduled, in between working, being a parent, being a friend, being a wife, and doing my best to become a better person. (Which, of course, are the same slivers of time in your lives when you all are reading and commenting!)

I wish I could do more. Like catch the nasty or clueless commenters, update the theme, fix the categories, make searches easier, write an ebook, create new posts from insights shared in the comments, start a side page for au pairs, and on and on with the great ideas…

So why don’t I just let the blog go, you ask? There are millions of dormant blogs out here, silenced repositories of wisdom, and they are still useful to people who are searching for help.

But I don’t let the blog go, I can’t let the blog go, for one reason.

Because of you.

You mostly women and a few men who contribute 95 comments in 24 hours to help out some parent or au pair in need of advice.  Because of TACL and The Camel, ShouldBeWorking, CalifMom, Dorsi, DarthaStewart, and the many others I know by name or ip address. Because of the 19,917 comments to date.

I hope you understand.

What happens after the words “Dear AuPairMom”?  

All of you chime in with your wisdom, and help each other make this world a better place, one host family at a time.

Thank you for that.

Sincerely, AuPairMom



Anonamomma August 30, 2012 at 8:23 am

Hey CV

Although I don’t comment often I always read the blog and either nod, nod, nod or shake, shake, shake my head at the various opinions that are offered (finger wagging has also been known to happen on occasion).

I personally don’t think I can thank you enough – not just for the advice that you have offered yourself – but for the avenue/pathway to gain the thoughts, opinions, perspectives, etc of not only other hostmoms or au pairs but the blog also covers the culteral divide.

So for me I say “Dear AuPairMom”

Anonamomma August 30, 2012 at 8:26 am

I am also one of the posters who needs to slow down and spell!

#4 and loving it August 31, 2012 at 7:48 am


Penn AP Mom August 31, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I agree 100%! I truly appreciate that you have done this for all of us and find it to be my lifeline at times.

Minnemom September 12, 2012 at 11:51 am

100% what she said. I come back and read, read, read and don’t always comment. I see so many other comments that seem to resonate with what I am thinking and leave well enough alone.

Sooooo… Dear Au Pair Mom:
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND EFFORT in this blog. Many many thanks to you!

newhostmom August 30, 2012 at 9:14 am

Thank you for all that you do and thank you for this post. I have used this website a million times and absolutely credit it directly with having a great first au pair year. Thank you.

Mom Of 2 Cool Kids August 30, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Keep up the good work!

Thanks aupairmom and all the other regular contributors for making the time to keep this discussion going.

Theresa August 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are amazing!

JJ Host Mom August 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Thank you for this blog! It’s just fine in its current state – most problems have already been answered and all I need to do is search to find archives.

Pokermom August 30, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Thank you for your blog! It has been a wealth of information for me, and a main reason that I am having a great first year with our au pair. Thank you so much for all the time you spend on it, and to all the posters and comments for their wisdom and insights.

HMLisa August 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Thank you SO VERY MUCH for the guidance, wisdom and just down right entertaining forum. Couldn’t be a good HM without it and without all you wonderful posters new and regular.

Newaupairmom August 31, 2012 at 7:15 am

I’m glad you keep the blog going! I am a new Au Pair Mom and have valued the advice on this page so much. I come on immediately to see your new posts and wouldn’t have survived the first two months without you!

TexasFourTimeHostMom August 31, 2012 at 11:41 am

Thanks for keeping this going!
As far as I can tell, this is one of the very few sites that addresses best practices for sucessful Au Pair/Host Family relationships and experiences!

Should be working August 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Three cheers for aupairmom.com. It’s one of my favorite internet moments of my whole day. And it makes the au pair hosting world possible for me–how would anyone do this without aupairmom.com?

NonCoast Host Mom August 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I would have been a complete wreck without this blog. We just began the extension year (Yes, I know; I read here about all of the potential pitfalls ;)) of our first hosting experience. I have found this blog to be the single most valuable resource out there. I used it to help me decide whether to host an au pair, to help me write our application, through the interview and selection process, writing a handbook … I would have been completely lost and may not have taken the leap at all. i cannot tha you and your loyal contributors enough.

momto2 August 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Dear AuPairMom,
Just came across your site yesterday, and will admit I was up till past 3am reading posts/comments and information.
What an amazing blog this is!
I came to the USA when I was 19 to be an au pair for 4 kids, after that I was a live in nanny for the same family for 12 years, I then became an LCC, loved the program so much I became a host mom and experienced an amazing year with a lovely au pair form Sweden.
I will for sure be spreading the word to my host families about your fantastic blog, please keep up the great advice for all host families and au pairs. The year that an au pair spends with a family can change their life, and a host family that has the chance to experience an au pair in their home will hold those memories for ever. So it is important for both parties to make sure that they have a great year.
Your blog covers so much that can help with this amazing experience. Thank you!

midatlanticmamma August 31, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I appreciate every post and every comment. I am so impressed by the frequent contributors insights and have trawled thru the archives many many times. I know keeping up a blog like this must take a tremendous amount of energy. If it means keeping it running, then Please by all means accept advertising. The next posted question could well be my own.

Posie August 31, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Love the blOg! Thanks for your work on it!

I’m dying to read some of the fake emails! Come on…give us a taste ;-)

SylAP September 2, 2012 at 9:51 am

What happens after the words “Dear AuPairMom”..?
In my case, a huge, sincere, heart-felt T H A N K Y O U.
I’ve been reading this blog for almost 2 years now, I asked for advice once for a delicate issue, and received some good advice and above all some very understanding and caring words from you.
If I’ll have an amazing au pair Year, it’s going to be partly because of you.
Yes, you should probably monetize it, but one thing is for sure… What you have been doing -and still do- is PRICELESS for us.
So, DEAR AuPairMom, thank you.

Floris September 3, 2012 at 8:19 am

It is THE blog on this subject. It is very nice to exchange views on Au Pair matters. Thank you!

CA Host Mom September 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Recently stumbled upon this site and just wanted to say (as many others have) how incredibly awesome it is!! I don’t know any other host parents that I can share ideas with, or seek advice from. So this is such a valuable resource! Thank you!!

We are on our second Au Pair. The first was in re-match when we decided to go with the au pair option for childare (we were in a hurry) and she turned out to be wonderful! She extended with us and stayed an additional 9 months. We love her and she will always be a special part of our family. We are a month into our second au pair’s stay and we think it is working out OK.

I am so grateful to have found this blog site and will be a very frequent visitor and contributor when I can. I’m also so impressed by the thoughtful feedback and comments that other followers post. Thank you all!

BoysMama September 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Two comments:

First, I was just telling my husband how much I have learned from this blog and how it has helped us weather the storms of the early years of hosting. Because of all the insight offered here, I have truly learned to appreciate the Au Pair program not only as a potentially outstanding form of childcare but as a phenomenal life experience for the Au Pairs. Many times we came close to bailing out but thanks to you I came to understand that great Au Pairs and great AP/Host relationships are possible. Not many people can say they are frequently able to keep me level-headed ;) so kudos to you.

Second comment: Make some money here. Really, it won’t affect the positive impact you are having on our community, we won’t be offended, and it could be great for you. I have a friend who started out just casually writing a blog and within a couple years she’s making more than she did as a pharmaceutical rep. Do what you love.


KM September 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Aupairmom is a success because issues and opinions are neutrally presented allowing readers to respond based on their personal experiences. Aupairmom responses demonstrate a vast range of opinions and offers insight as well as many practical solutions. I personally like the tone and your ability to keep it heartfelt, informative and professional. You’ve gained a lot of trust. The blog is fine as it is, easy to read and follow. You’ve done a terrific job!

Gianna September 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I , too, am very grateful for this blog – so many intellegent, well meaning women who generoulsy share their wisdom and experience.
CV , it is no small achievement that you made this happen ( and keep it going ) Thank you so much

Rivertownsmum September 10, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Many thanks for the amazing resource!

JBLV September 12, 2012 at 4:08 am

Thank you for all you do! I’ve recommended your site to Community Counselors, Area Directors, au pairs and every new host mom I meet. I call you “mandatory reading.” If you want help implementing Google Ads, let me know. No harm in it.

Taking a Computer Lunch September 14, 2012 at 7:01 am

CV, there is advertising on this blog all the time, and perhaps you should capitalize on it. Instead of letting agencies and individuals post their advertisements for free, charge them a few bucks and let them take out an “ad.” I think most people are used to advertising on blogs at this point. You may not want to turn this blog into a full-time job, but there’s not reason not to get paid for your work in organizing and maintaining this site.

NoVA Twin Mom September 14, 2012 at 8:54 am

And/or – look into the “shop Amazon through this link” feature – while I have no idea what that’s called, someone here probably does. I know I’d be happy to shop Amazon through the link on AuPairMom to support the blog, and I bet some of the other readers/writers would too :)

ColoradoMom September 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I found the blog a few days into my research into hosting an AP during the upcoming year while my husband is deployed. Wow, what a wealth of information, opinions, and situations I hadn’t even thought of yet!

Most helpful have been the scenarios presented about APs and families, as well as the sample handbooks provided. I anticipate our selected AP will arrive in January, and because of this blog, I am sure I will be far more prepared than I would be without it — And I’m OCD about preparedness!

Thank you, thank you! Oh, and I wouldn’t be bothered by ads if you monetized.

jessieaupair September 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm


i was here hours and hours to improve my experience like aupair to conect with my future host family


DCAuPair September 23, 2012 at 10:27 am

I’ve been reading this blog since I first decided to become an AP around February or so. I am leaving for the U.S in November! As someone who likes to be over-prepared for everything I do, this site has been extremely helpful. I feel like I know what to expect, I know what behavior (from my side and my HF) is acceptable and what is not, and I have some great ideas to make the most of my year abroad. I think it especially helped me to choose the right host family, because I knew which questions were important to ask to determine that. Thank you CV and all the contributing host parents and APs for that!

Busy Mom September 25, 2012 at 12:09 am

I found this post mid-way through our year with AP#1 in early 2009. Your posts and the wise comments of others helped me become a better HM. After the hiccups with #1 (not rematch, but not perfect), we’ve had 3 terrific APs and are off to a good start with #5.

Thanks for keeping the blog alive!

Alia October 28, 2012 at 7:40 am

Thank you for this blog,

sincerely. I am a new au-=pair trying to make a better relashionship with my host family and it is hard at times. I find advice here and i think it is useful! so odnt even think of closing down!! thank yoU!

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