When Au Pairs or Host Families have unique situations, it’s smart to negotiate ahead of time to be very, very, clear about what you need.
Being specific about scheduled hours, transportation, unique food/nutrition needs, kid care tasks, and so on helps both parties make sure that they are finding the right match.
This MastersStudentAuPair (whose email follows below) seems to have done all the right things. She was clear, specific, concrete about what she was looking for and what her constraints were. Supposedly, her host family accepted all of these concerns. But you can already tell that her Host Family isn’t going to keep their word. Not on the schedule, not on the food, nothing.
Of course, this Au Pair will be leaving the family. In the meantime, though, what should she do?
And, are there any ways to tell in advance that the host family (or the au pair) just isn’t going to come through with what was promised?
I just started au pairing with my second family (I was wish another family in another country for one year) and am already seeing some issues with this family and would love some advice on how to address them. My situation is a bit unique as I am actually studying for my master’s degree while au pairing.
I did not go through an agency to find this family, but rather through a website. When in discussions with the family, I told them many times that I am very serious about my studies and though I am committed to being a good and engaged au pair, I am not willing to miss any class time. I had written specifically in my profile that I am in the unique situation of being a student and know that finding a host family with which this works would be difficult.
I have now been with the family for 3 days and they are already asking me to miss class time (more than one class as well). When we were in our initial discussions they sent me many emails saying I was their “first choice au pair” and that they were really willing to make concessions to make it work with me. I sent them my class schedule and told them to look at it to see if there were any conflicts, and they said everything looked fine. I am also feeling rather stressed and uncomfortable about the fact that they have made absolutely zero concessions to help me settle in. Granted, I am an adult, but I have already had to go out to buy my own groceries (I told them I have a milk allergy and they said that it’s no issue to buy soy milk etc) and have basically shown myself around the house and the chores.
I plan on bringing all of this up with them in discussion as there is no way I can miss class in my program and the year won’t work if they ask this of me. However, I’m wondering if there’s any sensitive way I can bring this up? I don’t want to leave the family in a lurch by leaving after only a few days as they seem incredibly nice and the children are quite sweet, but I feel that as I made things so clear about my expectations in our discussions before arrival and they are already demanding what I explicitly said no to, I almost have no choice but to leave.
Thank you so much in advance! ~ MastersStudentAuPair