Personality matters, but we struggle to figure out how much we should let it matter.
Au Pairs are caregivers, roommates, family members, and in the best of situation, they become our friends. But for some reason, many of us feel awkward making decisions about au pairs based on whether we actually like their personalities.
It can seem unfair to judge an au pair based on whether s/he’s talkative or quiet, passive or assertive, clever or boh.ring. — but we do judge them. And I’m sure they judge us, too.
Should we let our assessments of ’personality fit’ lead us straight to rematch?
Dear AuPairMom –
Our new au pair just arrived last week. We already think she is not a good fit for our family.
She is not warm and loving, and she doesn’t exactly lie but she leaves out key bits of information all the time. She gets really dodgy whenever we are trying to correct her or ask her to do something differently. (For example when we asked her to change the time of her shower since we all share 1 bathroom, she started to argue with us.)
She’s not at all flexible or compromising in nature- she wants to always be right. And she’s really stiff with us and even with the kids, though she is fine getting all of their physical needs met (so far).
I’m concerned that even after she is adjusted there is always going to be something “off” about her. She seems like she’ll be “fine” with the kids, but she is so difficult to deal with that my husband and I dread dealing with her. We never felt this way about our previous au pairs.
I feel like I could probably put up with this for a year, but my husband is more particular about people and he’s around more than I am, and I don’t think it’s going to work for him. We are fine with waiting a month to initiate rematch (if that’s what we decide to do), because that’s what our agency now requires.
Am I crazy to care this much, and this early?
Have you ever had an AP where you just knew as soon as you met them that it wasn’t going to work? It’s based mainly on personality… she’s just too stiff and squirrely, it’s hard to explain… she doesn’t seem capable of discussing anything the slightest bit uncomfortable out in the open, and I think communication is so important.
She talks too much, and she’s really boring. As an example, I asked her how many children her mother has in her daycare. She went on to give me the ages of each child who comes on each day of the week, and told me which ones stay only half the day and which ones stay late. Meanwhile the kids are there demanding attention and she’s just blathering on… she seems oblivious to social cues and other people.
It’s not just with us that there are some social signals that are “off”. She was invited by other au pairs to join them in an activity her very first weekend– and she didn’t seem able to tell that they were inviting her as a courtesy, not because she’d fit into their group’s plan. (I know for sure that this was how they felt.) She accepted this lukewarm invitation– even though it meant being gone the first weekend she was here, and the weekend before her first week in charge of the kids.
What it really comes down to is that I’m not comfortable with this person, and I think I just don’t like her.
Have you ever had that experience with a new AP, and has it ever gotten much better?
Should I just be thankful that she doesn’t appear to be a complete flake?
Image: Franklin the Rainy Day Owl, by TheSugaredPair and for sale on Etsy