What keeps you hanging on to a disappointing Au Pair?

by cv harquail on April 19, 2009

Let’s look at the other side of the situation of the half-empty/half-full relationship … We’ve shared and commented on stories from host parents who are having bad experiences but can’t seem to let go , even though to us — as outsiders looking in — the decision to rematch (or not to extend) seems both obvious and rational.

the sky is always blue.jpeg

People resist change for reasons that are valid to them.

We can’t really know all that’s going on in a host family-au pair relationships, and we can’t really know how ‘valid’ any of these reasons are.
Sometimes, though, when we see these reasons in the light of day,
— we find ways to get a round them OR
— we find ways to accept them (and our decision) so that it doesn’t bother us as much.

Here are some reasons we’ve heard for hanging on to a disappointing Au Pair:

  1. Her time with us is pretty short… by the time we got a rematch, she’d be gone. I’d rather wait until we get someone fresh.
  2. I can’t take the time now to deal with a rematch…I am too busy, can’t teach someone new.
  3. She’s ‘good enough’ with the kids. It’s just that I don’t really like her /she annoys me/ she doesn’t do the other jobs well.
  4. My kids love her and it would be mean to them to have her leave early.
  5. I don’t believe that girls in rematch are any better than the one I have. I’d rather choose a new candidate, and I may as well wait till it’s time for a new one.
  6. Finding an extension au pair is so competitive, I can’t bear to have to sell myself to a girl who knows enough about being an au pair to be really picky.
  7. I keep thinking that, if I manage her better /give her more stuff/schedule her for fewer hours, she’ll improve.
  8. I’ve accepted that au pairs will only be ‘so good’ and so I’ll lower my expectations.
  9. I think that the Agency won’t refund my money.
  10. I’m afraid of being seen as a really bad host parent, since rematch is a sign that you’ve failed.
  11. I don’t think that my LCC/Agency will support a rematch for me.
  12. It’s not fair to her to send her home early… she has friends here, etc.

What other reasons have you heard, or even had yourself, for keeping on with an au pair that just wasn’t being part of things the way you’d hoped? Share some more reasons, and then we can talk about when or whether these reasons make sense.

(If you refer to one of the reasons above, use the # so we can keep track! )


Host Mommy Dearest April 26, 2010 at 11:18 pm

13. Going into transition entails housing the disgruntled AP for up to 2 weeks after you tell her she is not cutting it. Those 2 weeks can range from uncomfortable to a living hell.
14. If HM & HD work full time, besides not having a lot of time to search for a rematch, there is the possibility of having a considerable gap in childcare coverage. This one is pretty scary when you want to keep your job but can’t have the dog watch the kids.

West Coast Mom April 26, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Hi there … I 404’d it (again!) when trying to access the “finding an extension au pair is so competitive” link. And I’d really like to read that one!


Katie PAP April 27, 2010 at 9:55 am

well from my experience with my previous host family where it didnt work out… you just have to tell your au pair. Think about it. Whats the difference to 2 weeks of discomfort to you having to ‘cope’ with your au pair to not being able to stand her for the next months it would be bad for you and the au pair. You shouldnt just have to cope with an au pair.. it doesnt make you a bad host family if it didnt work out and you get a rematch it just meant that it didnt go well with the particular au pair. If you are uncomfortable with someone living in your home and looking after your kids its better to let it out then dwell on the subject in your head for months. Sure there might be awkwardness and hostility for 2 weeks but really if its not working then its not working..

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