Not every Au Pair hits it off with every family member.
Sometimes there’s a kid or a parent for whom the Au Pair’s personality is a perfect fit.
Sometimes the Au Pair’s home cultural norms can influence the strength of different relationships, such as when s/he takes directions only from the male or female parent because that’s what happens back at home.
And especially when Host Parents split the Good Cop/Bad Cop roles, or when one parent is the Default Parent and the other more detached, these patterns will influence the Au Pair to connect with each parent differently.
It doesn’t matter how normal it is…
When you’re the parent who’s NOT the one in close contact with the Au Pair, it can feel awkward.
Who wants to be the less-liked person in her/his own home?
What can you do, if the less-liked parent is you?
What can your spouse do to help you?
Hello CV, I have been following your blog for a few months. I wish I had found it before we looked for an au pair! There is so much great information here.
I currently have my first au pair and I need some advice. I am having trouble connecting with her. She has been with us for 3 months now and has avoided talking with me. Instead, she seems to feel more comfortable interacting with my spouse, who works at home.
At first I thought the issue was with her English: It’s worse than I thought in the pre-match interviews. She has said I speak fast and so I have tried to speak more slowly but it doesn’t make a difference.
She has connected quite well with my husband. She speaks with him about everything and not me. She comes out when she knows my husband is the one she might run into and not me.
I feel like she has been colder to me than to my spouse. She doesn’t make any effort to speak to me when I am home and the kids are asleep. I work very long hours including early mornings and late evenings.
When I come home at the end of the day, I like and need to to spend time with my children alone.
I have a 3 and 4 year old and they tend to talk through dinner so it is hard to carry on a conversation with anyone else and I don’t want to cut them off when I haven’t seen them all day. Our Au Pair stays for dinner and generally doesn’t speak.
I don’t feel like I can/should mandate that she come out of her room in the evenings to speak to me when I am home, but I am not sure what else to do. I am beginning to be jealous of the relationship she has with the rest of the family.
At the root of it, I am having trouble balancing the guilt of being away with trying to feel comfortable with this person in my home.
Any thoughts/advice you can give to help make this go smoother? HostMomInRichland
See Also: Struggling to Communicate With Host Dad
Photo by Jessica Wilson on Flickr