When your departing au pair sours your new au pair

by cv harquail on January 5, 2010

For many of us, a new au pair’s arrival is a chance to start fresh, with revised guidelines, new resolutions, and a new attitude.

The easiest way to have a fresh start is to have a clean break between outgoing and incoming au pairs. So, even though there are many positive reasons for having your outgoing and incoming au pairs overlap, many of us prefer to have a complete separation between the old and the new au pair. Probably the biggest concern we have about overlap is keeping the old au pair from sharing biased, incorrect, or soon-to-be-outdated information with the new au pair.


Well, here’s a situation about the ‘disappointing’ departing au pair contacting the incoming au pair, against the family’s wishes — and why? Maybe innocently, maybe with the intent to spoil the situation for the host family. There are lots of  pieces to this story– Facebook, not extending, already bad situation, and more:

You all may remember me from a while back. I needed advice about feeling our Au Pair treated us like a doormat. Many of you (maybe all) said I should rematch. I decided to stick it out and not much changed. She is leaving soon and we can start fresh.

I recently discovered that our departing Au Pair has made contact with the Au Pair scheduled to arrive next month. I was furious. I learned this from our current Au Pair’s facebook account. Even though we had told her months ago, that we was not going to extend her and I spoke to her about what her plans were, she must have believed we would change our minds and extend her. She somehow discovered Sunday that we had already selected another girl. On her Facebook account she asked her other Au Pair friends did they know of a family in our area that needed an Au Pair, because she found out we have another girl coming and she wants to stay in this area. The responses were in her native language, but with the help of free translation available over the internet, one of her responses was that she hated us.

That was when I noticed that she was facebook friends with our arriving Au Pair. She found her name from our Au Pair’s company website and contacted her. I confronted her and asked her what reason she had to do that. She really had no response. I admit I was very upset and yelled at her. I told her she is lucky if I do not throw her out of the house for doing that.

For various reasons, we don’t want them to be in contact. They speak different languages, but it is possible for the new au pair to understand the departing Au Pair’s language and read the negative things she says about our family. For instance the I hate them comment. She also said we treat her as if she is invisible, but she doesn’t care she prefers to stay in her room and talk to her bf over the internet. Those are the few comments we have read and took the time out to translate. Who knows what else she has said. We also had decided to start fresh with the new Au Pair and initially she will not be given the same privileges the departing Au Pair always had. We do not want her sharing what we allowed her to do, because we have decided to be more strict with the new Au Pair than we had been with her.

For the sake of her finding a rematch, I decided not to write a letter of recommendation and not to speak with the departing Au Pair’s potential host families. I cannot in good faith give her a recommendation, because I find her to be deceitful.  I do believe she has the potential of being a better Au Pair. She just needs more structure and someone to stay on her case 24/7. Luckily, the Au Pair coordinator did not return my call yesterday when I first discovered she contacted the new Au Pair, or I would have said she had to go. I have a cooler head now. I asked both of them to “unfriend” the other and am trying not to let this get me and the arriving Au Pair off to a bad start. Has this ever happened to any other Au Pair Mom’s? Am I wrong to feel this was an invasion of our privacy and maybe perhaps the departing Au Pair’s attempt to dissuade the Arriving Au Pair from coming, so that she can stay.

My husband took away all her internet/txt privileges due to the ‘I hate them comment’. I just don’t know — if we’ve made her mad, can we trust her to treat our children right???

What would you do now?

Note, Jan 10th: Folks, I have closed the comments on this particular post. While I was distracted by work (!!) the comments went crazy here! I am going to look closely at what you all have been sharing these last 3 days or so, and report back. In the meantime, we’ll address some simpler challenges, like visas & extending…  Thanks to all of you who have been commenting and also doing your best to nurture and direct the conversation in productive ways.  cv

Photo: wells 3 from tim caynes


Sara Duke January 5, 2010 at 8:10 am

Did your au pair write that she hates you because she is angry that she did not get an opportunity to extend? If so, it’s an immature, childish response in the heat of the moment, but unlikely to lead to bigger issues unless you let it.

Our first au pair lived with us for 3 1/2 years (we attempted to sponsor her as an employer). Before the Dept. of Labor reviewed her application she was ready to move on and we took on a second au pair. Even though she was the one who initiated the break, I do think that she was angry that she could be replaced (rather than succeeded, as we saw it). In the end, our relationship disintegrated to the point that I have not spoken to her since.

I did not attempt to keep her from speaking to my second au pair (who did not speak the same language), nor did I speak ill of her in front of my second au pair. My third au pair was from the same country, and they became friends. I let her draw her own conclusions, but made it clear that her role was not to repair my relationship with the first au pair.

At no time did my first au pair ever harm my children. She adored them and treated them like a second mother. Even as our relationship crumbled, she continued to care for them well.

My son was very angry with my second au pair, because he saw her as the reason for the departure of the first and nothing I said dissuaded him. Fortunately, my second au pair bore the brunt of his anger well and in time they developed their own good relationship. The lesson I took away from my son’s reaction was to prepare him for the switch, to talk about why the current au pair is leaving (to get on with the rest of her life) and to involve him in the selection of the successor (which he has done since he was 5).

The second lesson I learned from the difficult first break is that au pairs need to acknowledge their own conflicting feelings about departing and being succeeded (because it often feels to them like being replaced). Having an end-of-year chat about one month before departure (not in the presence of the children) has been useful to me to clear the air and keep the au pair on target for that good-bye month. It’s an emotional time for everyone.

Anonymous January 5, 2010 at 10:09 am

Each of my (not so great) APs has been in contact with the next one. It’s a mixed bag even in the best of circumstances! But, unless they are talking constantly, there is little that your current AP can do to (permanently) harm the relationship with the new AP. I would be upfront with the new AP and let her know that your rules change with each AP because of the experiences you’ve had and because your kids are changing, so your needs are too. You also can be free to let her know that things with outgoing AP are a little rough right now, but whatever you do, don’t bad-mouth her…make it clear that you are respectful of your relationships with your APs. Jeep it positive as much as possible.

As far as a “reccommendation” for your old AP, you SHOULD absolutely write one, in VERY lukewarm terms, so that the new potential families will know that she is a problem. You don’t want to screw the next family by passing on your old problems to them (says the recipient of such a “gift”) I recently saw a recc that stated “she did what we asked and didn’t argue with us” which was a total red flag to me, but didn’t seem to disturb the AP at all – she thought that was a ringing endorsement!

Also, with regard to taking away her internet, that’s a pretty extreme stance. It is probably her main (sole?) lifeline to her family/friends back home. And lets face it, this is America, where we’re allowed to say what we think. Take a deep breath, be the bigger person (grown-up) and rethink that decision. As long as she appears to still be loving and kind to your kids, just swallow hard and move on. Only a little time left. :) If not, give her the boot NOW.

LM January 5, 2010 at 10:23 am

You make very good points. The “I hate them” comment was in response to the other poster asking why we would not extend her. Actually, this site is where I read advice to say we have decided never to extend an au pair so as to subject our children to various cultures. We told her that months ago and as time drew nearer, I questioned her on her future plans, especially since she never updated her Au Pair profile. If the Au Pair stays in this area it is possible, she will get to know our current Au Pair at the Au Pair coordinator’s events, but it is the intentional going into the Au Pair account to see who we selected and initiating contact which annoys me and makes me question her motivation. We had our ups and downs, but the relationship was cordial. I never raised my voice to her before even when she neglected some of her duties or I discovered some untruth she had told. Now…I doubt I will want to have contact with her in the future.

au pair January 5, 2010 at 10:28 am

I agree with what Anonymous said. I’d also like to point out that however mad you were, removing her internet privileges was not the right way to deal with it and probably made the situation worse. To be honest, if my family took away my internet I’d probably leave immediately.

NoVA Host Mom January 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Wow, a drastic reaction for loss of a privilege. If I can ground my kids from the internet, you’re darn tootin’ I can do it for a childish AP. Internet, just like use of a car, is not a Right. It is an Earned Privilege (just like a cable TV box in a bedroom, cell phone for use other than family-AP specific needs, extension of curfew for a special occasion, etc). Show you are not mature enough to have such a privilege, then you lose it. If you feel that strongly about it, than save up, buy your own computer and pay for your own internet connection. That’s my take on it.

My 2 cents January 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm

ITA. Using my Internet access to tell people how much you hate me and to stir up trouble is not something I should feel obligated to support. Go ahead and leave (and don’t let the door hit you on the way out).

au pair January 5, 2010 at 2:14 pm

The way I see it: I’m an adult. Not a child to be grounded. I have my own laptop. I live in the middle of nowhere. I wouldn’t have accepted this particular family if I didn’t have internet access. I’m not condoning what the AP did, but I really disagree with removing her internet access. It’s just going to make her more resentful.

E2 January 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Oh, yes…we also took away internet priveledges for an AP who was saying rude, immature things about our kids and family and FB. And our LCC said she’d have done the same thing. We gave her 15 minutes each morning and evening to use the computer under supervision during the two weeks of rematch and she was welcome to go to the library or a friends and use the computer there. And if she had her own computer, I would have changed our wireless code. No way was someone going to use my resources in that way.
I was upfront with our next au pair about what happened with the previous au pair. I don’t think they were in contact, but if they were I did want our new au pair to know what had happened (and the internet thing wasn’t the whole of it). And I also wanted to make sure that the new au pair did not behave the same way, so felt it was important to talk about.

E2 January 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm

PS, When this happened we blocked FB and other sites using our anti-virus software. We have also used the anti-virus software to set the times that she & the kids can access the internet…it gives a “you are not allowed to use the internet now” message when she tries to access it during work hours. Did this after I popped by home for something and found her online while “watching” the kids.

Should be working January 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Off topic: Can I get my computer to prevent my own internet access, as in when I’m futzing around on the internet when in fact I SHOULD BE WORKING??

aussie mum January 6, 2010 at 8:16 am

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Novahost mom!!

New AuPair January 6, 2010 at 10:26 am

I have been an AP for just about 4 months now. We were told through our agency, that we are not allowed to post anything about host family’s on facebook! Simple as that! A rule I respect and follow! I do see how you would want to take away the use of internet, but I know but being away from home, maybe sad about leaving, etc..internet, especially facebook is an aupairs connection to the world she left behind. Her friends and family! I know I would be really upset if I lost internet use. What that aupair did was wrong, she shouldn’t have said anything about her family, whether good or bad!! It should just be left off the world of facebook!!

Southern Host Mom January 5, 2010 at 10:41 am

Trying to look on the bright side here, perhaps you can emphasize with the new Au Pair how excited you are about her arrival and the opportunity of a fresh start! We have always discouraged communication between past and future Au Pairs, insisting that the new Au Pair “should find her own way/what works best for her” and we don’t want her to feel any pressure to be/or do things the same as the previous Au Pair. This has worked for us. I also explain that the exiting and new Au Pairs are at very different “places” emotionally. We want to focus on reminiscing with the Au Pair who is leaving; and we want to focus on the excitement and enthusiasm of a newly-arrived Au Pair! (But not both simultaneously . . . )

Perhaps you could further explain to the new Au Pair that you had hoped to discourage communication between her and the previous Au Pair for the reasons above; and now you are so very “disappointed” (not “angry”) that she did not respect your wishes (with a little maturity, she might understand that the previous Au Pair is the real source of strife here . . .)

When we went into rematch a while back, our former Au Pair stayed with another local host family until she found a new family. When our new Au Pair began to hear the horrible things she had said about us, we were up front about it. The comments were so outrageous as to be comical, and it became a running joke! This is a good life lesson about not believing everything you hear . . . Good luck!

My 2 cents January 5, 2010 at 11:06 am

Oh what a mess. I’m so sorry for you, although that won’t do anything to help. I haven’t been in this situation myself, but here’s my 2 cents.

It’s impossible to know what your old AP was thinking, and it doesn’t matter. That relationship is over and you are working on moving on. Unless she’s a risk to you or the kids, keep her so you have the childcare unless your new AP can get a flight over earlier (is that a possibility you’ve explored?) or you want and can get another AP to cover in the meantime.

Since you’ve already asked new AP to defriend the current one, I don’t think there’s much more to be said to the new AP, and you may risk making a it a bigger deal than you want it to be if you raise the issue again. Did you explain the reason for your request? Of course, if you sense that your new AP needs reassurance that she’s not headed for the family from hell, or are afraid she will pull out on you at the last minute over this, then do communicate more with her about old AP, perhaps approaching the topic by asking if she has any questions. You could even get your LCC to respond to questions too.

I wouldn’t write a recommendation for her. It’s not fair to the potential host families, and after all you wouldn’t want to get an application from someone like your current AP with a recommendation no matter how lame the recommendation. Don’t waste their time or yours. There are much more deserving young ladies out there who deserve the shot. Also, to do otherwise relies on the new family reading signals which may get misinterpreted, especially if they are a first time host family — and many first time host families think an extension au pair is a great choice given they have lived on their own and have experience in the program. This woman lies and says horrible things about your family, no amount of childcare experience can erase that, and no family wants that in their home. Why hide the fact that you don’t find her acceptable? She know this, you know this.

On a separate note, I would definitely find out for sure whether she got your new AP’s name from the agency. That would frost me to no end. Our agency had led me to believe our AP’s account is separate from ours and she can only see certain information about us — like the application we completed — and not the whole file including financial information for example. It is totally unacceptable if that’s not the case or the agency somehow leaked the information. Beyond poor taste, that would violate the new au pair’s privacy and yours in a major way.

PA aupair mom January 5, 2010 at 11:15 am

Our previous au pair told our entire cluster that we were abusing her. She said we didn’t let her leave the house, except for au pair meetings, wouldn’t buy her any food, and never let her use the phone or computer.

We had bought her a laptop for xmas, gave her a car of her own and only planned on 35 hours per week of work time. She had to work 3 weekends the ENTIRE year that she was here. She was mad because we wouldn’t let her fly across the country to meet a man she had met on the internet.

Our current au pair almost backed out after our prior AP facebook friended our now au pair.

After we found out, i contacted our LCC and her boss and told them what had happened. She ended up having to issue a WRITTEN apology to our family and send a note to our current AP saying she had made up the allegations.

We didn’t take away her internet, but after that we couldn’t trust her anymore, so we put significant limitations on her phone use and free time.

PA aupair mom January 5, 2010 at 11:19 am

Oh, and then she asked for a recommendation to become an AP in France. She requested that it be completed in pencil….haha. I guess she wanted to make sure our responses were favorable.

I completed an HONEST evaluation in pen and mailed it directly to the agency. Nonetheless, they saw fit to make her an AP in France.

My 2 cents January 5, 2010 at 12:46 pm

PA aupair mom: Doesn’t this belong in the craziest, true stories posting from a few months back? Or did you somehow have a crazier one?? Wait — was this the same AP who wrecked your car 3 times?? Or maybe I’m confusing stories.

I cannot believe the gall. Blows my mind.

Calif Mom January 5, 2010 at 12:54 pm

in pencil? Incroyable!

I can never decide if the source of behavior like this is incredible arrogance or incredible stupidity. And what must her parents be like?! {{{shudder}}}

PA au pair mom January 5, 2010 at 9:31 pm

It is in fact the same au pair that wrecked our car three times. Funny how she had three accidents but claimed we never let her use the car.

I didn’t know the extent of her accusations until more recently or I would have posted it before.

NoVA Host Mom January 5, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I agree with Anonymous about being up front with the new AP. It is a matter of changing rules annually. It happens all the time (laws are updated, deemed outdated, or just plain newly created) and since with each passing year your family needs change, so should the house rules for everyone — children and APs alike. This is a great reasoning for starting the “what she told you was permitted is not” discussion.

Explaining why you discourage contact between the outgoing and incoming APs (each gets to make their own opinion and have a fresh start; each is in a different place in their lives and their emotional level; etc) is a very good way to start the ball rolling. Talk to new AP and let her know that while current AP was a good person (I’m sure she is, just a crappy AP to you), your family is looking forward to a change and learning about new AP’s culture, etc. Be frank, but don’t trash talk. And remember that even if the old AP does not stay in the area, there are enough APs in the cluster leaving at different times during the year that the new AP will still hear of the old one.

It was not even 1 month before our AP came to me to ask about the previous AP and why she left (it was a rematch situation). She had been hearing stories about us and the previous AP from other APs in the cluster (so much for “don’t discuss your family’s business with others”). I was honest and up front about everything, and not only did it not sour the relationship with new AP, but she asked to extend with us (and we said yes). Guess old AP’s bad juju was not enough to mess things up with the new/current.

Calif Mom January 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Yes, you need to continue communicating to your new AP– a lot. Your goal is to reassure new AP that you are not abusive, and that she made a good decision to match with you (unless you are not 150% sure about this match, in which case you might think about finding someone else).

Any new AP will hear stories from your former APs, or their friends. You have to assume this. (Facebook even keeps suggesting I “friend” an AP I kicked out!)

If a new AP is that easily influenced by outgoing AP, is so immature that she does not realize that there are always at least two sides to a story, then she isn’t mature enough to handle APing. I’m also assuming that your new AP choice is a very different type of person from the current one, so that should help you tell your side of the story and present your narrative.

I’m a big fan of the “someone has to be a grown up here” tenet. Take 3 deep breaths before speaking or hitting the send button.

I understand why you did it, but I do think that cutting off internet access seems punitive rather than solution-oriented, and undoubtedly exacerbated the problems you’re dealing with. How many more weeks do you have her? You have to follow your gut about whether you can trust her with the kids, but the tension in your house is not good for anyone, so I’d work on reducing that. You will feel such relief when she’s gone. You might need to seek a short term solution and have her departure come a little early. Talk to your counselor, because you know your AP has!

Anonymous January 5, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Cutting off internet access? Demanding that the au pairs “defriend” each other? Both are knee jerk and immature reactions to the circumstances…these ladies are adult – not your children. You can’t impose the same “punishment” on both. You have vented on this site about your frustrations with her – she is doing the same on a different website about you. Why are you allowed to do so and she is not? That’s a double standard!

Anon January 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm

There’s a big distinction you are ignoring Anonymous. The au pair wasn’t anonymously venting on a forum. She was making hateful statements to other au pairs in her community and saying who knows what to the incoming au pair who she tracked down.

Momofboys January 5, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I am concerned about how she figured out who your new ap is? I would want to close the loop on that immediately.

Hill Mom January 8, 2010 at 11:16 am

Yes – I was wondering the same exact thing. How was she able to find out the name of the incoming au pair from the agency? Is it posted publicly? I thought is was just on the host family’s account….

Mom23 January 5, 2010 at 2:51 pm

I once had an au pair quit to return home after three months because she missed her boyfriend. She also was just not cut out to be an au pair. She thought her 30 hour work week was too much work. She contacted the au pair who was coming and told her how much work it was. The au pair decided not to come.

In the end, I probably did not want an au pair who listened only to the old au pair and didn’t come to us with her concerns. We also did end up matching with a wonderful woman who we are still in contact with. But what a stressful time.

I would stay in contact with the new au pair and be upfront with your issues with the previous au pair.

JJ January 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Sounds to me like this is just the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. I remember when I was in a bad match for a really long time, trying to make it work. My nerves were shot at the end, and it didn’t take much to really put me over the top. So given that, I can certainly understand why you reacted the way you did.

I think that her tracking down the new au pair and making contact is nothing short of creepy. Her posting that she hates you in a place where you can read it is inexcusably rude and uncalled for.

How much longer is she with your family? If you’re unsure whether you can trust her with your children, you can’t, and you should rematch immediately and find an interim childcare solution. Regardless of whether something bad ultimately happens, you will not be able to concentrate on anything else if you’re worried about the safety of your children.

What’s done is done with the old au pair. Spend your energy on cultivating a relationship with the new au pair. If the old au pair stays in the same community they would have ultimately made contact anyway. As long as you are open and honest with the new au pair, and willing to answer any questions or concerns she might have, things should be okay.

I really hope your new au pair is great. You’ve been through the wringer with the old one.

TX Mom January 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm

I agree. If you are uncertain you can trust the AP with your kids, move on now! We had an AP lose her mind after she told me she hated me (to my face, to her credit) but loved the kids. She brought them to the outdoor swimming pool in 105F with DIET COKE in their waterbottles – including a toddler – after buying them chocolate euclairs at the bakery for breakfast: just to spite me. After she moved on to a new family she (sort of) apologized. Hatred is an ugly and poweful emotion she may be too immature to manage.

franzi January 5, 2010 at 3:27 pm

here’s my 2ct.

i feel that you are angry/disappointed for sticking it out with this AP even though you once were at a point where you could have ended it and sent her into rematch.

you cannot (before this incident) see your AP in a neutral let alone positive light. whatever she does, there’s always a negative feeling flying with it.

these two feelings combined just call for trouble and your reaction is proof of that. while i understand that you are upset to read what she wrote about you (and for all her friends to see), i think the act of revoking her internet access and asking both APs to defriend each other was overhasty.

with a cool head, reread what you wrote to the future AP and put yourself in her shoes. if a future host mom had sent that mail to you, what would your reaction be? if you even remotely feel like “there’s something wrong with this woman” then contact her and explain the situation further like so many suggested above.
i’m pretty sure that your emotions overshadowed the message to the future AP.

also, talk calmly to your current AP and ask her how she found out about the new AP and why she felt the need to contact her. i think this will help you to understand mistakes made and how to avoid them in the future.

regarding revoking the internet access. this will not stop her to talk trash about you. library=free internet, and the emotions set off in her for not being able to contact her family and friends probably just made matters worse.
i agree though that internet at home is a privilege that needs to be earned.

i’m glad you did not write a recommendation because i believe that this says it all. a family who has been having her as an AP not willing to write a recc? red flag for me!

regarding trash talking about host families, do not think that this does not happen. no matter if your AP is rematching/extending in the area or on the other side of the continent. gossip sticks in a cluster like superglue. your family is part of it, so are all other families in the cluster. that’s a fact you just have to live with.

Janet January 6, 2010 at 8:59 am

So true about the gossip. My AP’s have told me some crazy things about other families. I can’t imagine what my AP’s have told others!

I also think you’ve made some really good points here. When you are already unhappy w/ an AP, you are much more sensitive to anything that happens with the AP.

OB Mom January 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Sounds like everyone is in need of a break and fresh view. Clearly the relationship is emotionally charged from both sides and it is good that a new AP will be arriving soon.

Presumably the new AP will see the truth here. The old AP WANTED to extend with you, so her comment must be a reactionary statement rather than truth. If she really hated you then she would not have wanted to stay. Perhaps your translator mis-read the context … perhaps it said more like she hates what you did.

I would not have revoked her internet or text privileges. She can just go to any Starbucks and use a laptop. If she does not havher own, she can go to the library or a friends house and use one there. Isolating her from family and friends may make her even more angry. I do think it was fair for you to ask them to unfriend each other, but that may require some explanation to the new AP.

If you are really worried about it, sit down with the new AP once she arrives and explain that every AP/HF relationship is different. The family dynamic is always changing and each new person in the family changes it more. Explain that you really want to have a open and solid relationship with her and that requires communication and trust. You can explain (briefly) that certain aspects of your relationship with the former AP were not optimal and that while she was a good person, she needed to grow and mature more. Since it is possible that she may have seen the comments on Facebook, you can comment that the AP did not address problems directly which added tension. Comment that you hope she will come to you with any concerns and that you are here to support her growth and independence.

I would not worry about your current AP causing problems with the kids. Of all the soured relationships I’ve seen between AP and HF’s, the kids are always the common love. Most AP’s really do love the kids (I don’t know of any that don’t) so I can’t see her taking it out on them.

Good Luck!

Anonymous January 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm

I think you may have set off a red flag for your new au pair by asking her to “unfriend” your old ap. I would wonder about the family if I got this request. You may want to consider starting over with someone completely new.

Anonymous January 5, 2010 at 4:43 pm

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but the minute your new aupair shows up in town, all of your old aupair’s friends ( and some of their host parents ) are going to tell her how horrible you are.
Also, she can email all of her cluster and new friends outside her cluster from wherever she is in the world. This is not a situation limited to aupairs and host families. I once was told to be very, very gentle when firing someone from a business position because all of his/her friends are still going to be working for you. Your old employee will still be part of their lives . This was the best advise I ever got in business.
Having said that, you send a very effective message by not extending with the former aupair. You do not have to do or so one more thing to make your point. It speaks volumes. Most people I know really enjoy the convenience of extending so the fact that you chose not to means she must have fallen down on the job somehow and everyone knows that.
You can make a liar out of the departing aupair by ingratiating yourselves to the new arrival.

New AuPair January 6, 2010 at 10:33 am

yeah! that is true! Other AP’s in the area will know of your old AP and things will surface! I have never had this happen to me, but friends of mine..YES!!

NC AP January 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Concerning the question how the au pair might have found out about the new au pair:
I don’t know what agency you are with, but with my agency every au pair had access to an online account (her own, not the family’s!) where you can find information about the region, the host family they are matched with etc. There is also a list of other au pairs in the same region, not only the ones who are currently there, but also all the future au pairs that have already matched with a family in the region (including their date of arrival and the city they will live in). Maybe the current au pair simply looked on this list and contacted all the au pairs that are going to arrive around the time when she has to leave/when her year is over? Of course this wouldn’t answer the question why she felt she had to contact the future au pair, but at least I think you don’t need to worry too much if your agency “leaked” information!

Anonymous January 5, 2010 at 5:55 pm

I don’t think that agencies leak information either – they are very competitive with each other. I think it is pretty easy to track down new aupairs through Facebook connections and all of the aupair forums. I would LOVE to know the addresses of some of those forums. After all, aupairs can read this forum. Fair is fair.

LM January 6, 2010 at 12:42 am

First Au Pair: If you are an adult then pay for your own internet access. We gave and gave to this girl (our current au pair) and we received substandard au pair care in return. Yes, she wanted to extend. She had it made. Free internet (used to have her own computer until she purchased her own), free cell phone, free txt messaging, FIOS in her room (yes, we have to pay extra for the box), her own room, her own bathroom. The only household duty was emptying the dishwasher and helping to clean (the pretty much cleaned kitchen since I cook as I go along) kitchen. My husband and I generally cleaned up after her. (She grew up with a house servant). To the point, I felt after she watched the kids, we were there to serve her. She never once vacuumed their room, would wash so infrequently mold would grow on their clothes, left dirty, used pampers on the crib (sometimes 10 or more). She constantly talked back, telling us what and what not to give our children to eat. Stayed up so late, she would try to make the kids sleep four hours a day. After giving her a specific time to put them down for a nap, I would come home early just to see they were already sleep. We continuously asked her to allow them to feed themselves (they are now two), but she didn’t want to, because they made too much mess. After a few months of this is the first time my husband took away her internet access. She was intentionally defying us. She never passed her driver’s license, so we shuttled her to the metro, to friend’s homes, to parties 45 miles away, to drug stores, to the airport, to bus stations. Anyone get hit by the blizzard in the NE the week of Dec 19/20? Well in the midst of the blizzard, she was so comfortable about asking my husband to shuttle her around, she asked to a ride to the metro which is about 15/20 miles away, so that she could go see her boyfriend. His father would not let him drive in the snow. We said no this time. She never once offered gas money and we never asked her for it. Then last Wednesday, my husband had his one personal day when he did not have anything to do and could sleep in. My sister was watching the kids Tuesday to Wednesday night, so the Au Pair was off. She asks my husband to wake up and take her to class, so that she can take her final early (instead of waiting till Saturday). He did not want to, but agreed. I had planned breakfast in bed for that day off, it was so special. I asked her to ask her boyfriend to take her. We took her out for meals and the shopping bill was astronomical as she stated she had to eat every two hours or she would get sick. She gained over 20 pounds since being here. Her boyfriend visited a lot, even though she said she would not have him in her room, he was in there the first day he visited. Most of the times they closed the door. If my children were old enough to understand that, I would not have allowed it. My husband and I were in fact door mats, so now we are getting up some gumption and taking away some of the privileges that she really enjoys? What should I take away? Washing the kids laundry? She barely does that anyway. I should pay for her internet while she posts she hates me? No, even we are not that stupid. Let her go to the library, go to Starbucks, pay for her own internet but that is a privilege I will no longer pay for. She lied on her application saying she spoke Spanish (she doesn’t) and then under health when they asked if she suffered from certain things one of the things being cold sores, she wrote “no.” I get cold sores myself, so it would not have been a big deal, but she has an outbreak of two or three every six weeks or so. She said she got them ever since being a child. I told her she needed to go to her dr. and ask for valtrex. To be honest, she has so many so often, I am concerned about my children catching them. I could go on and yes, we should have rematched. There are so many girls deserving, but she is one of the ones that became an au pair just to come to America. She is from a privileged background and is not cut out for this.

As to me asking them to unfriend each other, the au pair coordinator and the main au pair’s office are the ones that told me to do that. Luckily, this has not harmed my relationship with the new au pair. I explained she did not want to leave, but we wanted to rematch with someone who spoke Spanish and was more mature. We then went on to discuss each culture’s cuisine and what she would like to do and see when she comes here. So, that seems to be working out ok.

Again, I recognize the au pair may associate with the current au pair and speak with others and learn what the au pair felt about our family. That is understandable. Actually seeking out the incoming au pair to “befriend” her when she it taking a job that the departing au pair wants is suspect.

Janet January 6, 2010 at 9:13 am

Oh my!

NoVA Host Mom January 6, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Speechless. How you stayed with it I have no idea (frankly, I would have had her bags sitting on the stoop with the diapers in the crib and the moldy clothes).

Just keep speaking to the new AP (by phone from time to time, as we all know written words don’t always translate quite as we intend).

Anonymous who's been there January 6, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Get her out now. You don’t deserve this–it is too much stress for your family.

maleaupairmommy January 6, 2010 at 2:40 am

I was in that same situation. We both agreed that we were done so done. After she pulled my son across the room by his arm for the hundreth time I might add. We picked someone and she friended him. I noticed that they were friends on facebook and told him I would prefer you not talk to her. This is why and why giving specific situations. That I feel like we are a great family. That we have learned from this experience and you will not have the same things as she had but hopefully have a great experience that is unique and how I was so happy that I chose him and ready to start frest. To this day almost two years later he understands and is amazed how hurt and anxious we felt. Got anxious and still him as we are switching au pairs soon very soon and brought up old stuff. Good luck I’m sure you are so done!!! I know I was but the one that replaced the bad one made up for it tenfold.

anon January 6, 2010 at 10:48 am

In my book, the AP going to the company website to try and find out who the new AP will be and contacting her…..that is intent…….intent to ruin your relationship with the new au pair. It shows lack of respect to the host family and the new AP since she puts both in a difficult situation…by design.
Sticking it out with an au pair that does not fit….I did that once and swore I’d never do it again because it makes everyone miserable, especially the HM.
If it would be me I’d let the existing AP go immediately if you can…I’d be too concerned about what else she has on her mind to upset you. Sounds like there’s only a month left anyway, more downside than upside risk I’d say. Also, I ‘d be very open with the new AP about the relationship and the difficulties with the current AP, she already knows that it wasn’t the greatest relationship anyway. Just asking to defriend without any additional info probably makes her feel a bit uneasy about living with your family. Ask her, via Skype if you can, if she has any reservations about living with your family because of this and address those concerns. If you have not already done so, also talk about the priviliges she will or will not have. That way she knows what to expect. Good luck and listen to yourself if you think an AP is not the right fit for your family.

New AuPair January 6, 2010 at 1:20 pm

For those host parents, wondering how your current AP finds your new aupair it’s pretty simple! Facebook for one! There are a lot of AuPair in (Your City) Groups, or specific agency groups where girls start topic’s like “When are you coming to the US” “Where are you going” Its really easy to find new au pairs that way..Also..& this may be different with each LCC, but mine, send’s an email with name, email, locations, etc to all the AP in there cluster so that when the new girls arrives she has already made some connection with friends in your town/city. Just a bit of info. from an AP point of view!! I know I can find people on facebook with only a couple clicks!!!

Anonymous January 6, 2010 at 3:56 pm

I am in total sympathy with the host parents in this situation ; I mentioned earlier that it is a waste of time to try to block the contact for purely practical reasons. We cannot do it. I think the LCC and the agency were just trying to give you something to do to make you feel a little more in control in a sad situation. But it is very hard to do. If the agency and LCC really want to help you out, ask them if they can send this aupair home early at no cost to you. That leaves the issue of childcare but you might be better off without this young woman. My aupair & her friends constantly talk about other bad families. I’ve reminded them that there are two sides to a story but honestly, I hear some of the same stories about the same families over and over again. With good families, gossip just dies a natural death when the new aupair gets to know you.
Another thing your LCC and your agency can do to help you is for the LCC to write to the new aupair and tell her that she personally thinks you are a great family. My LCC contacts all the aupairs in our group before arrival. Sometimes she puts people in touch with like minded people and sometimes she just leaves well enough alone.
See if you can get rid of this girl asap. I once heard of an aupair who sent a flier to all of her host families neighbors asking if she could come live with and work for them because her family was so horrid. You know what ? None of the neighbors took her in. How about that ? And then there was the aupair who wrote to the Governor complaining. This is aggravating but it isn’t the worst thing in the world. The girl sounds foolish.

soon to be AP January 6, 2010 at 6:19 pm

This sounds like a hard situtation. Glad you were able to explain some of it to new AP. Old AP will be gone soon :)

My host mum encouraged contact between me and their departing au pair, as we both spoke the same language. She had extended with them and it’s been great to be in contact with her.

US Au Pair January 6, 2010 at 9:21 pm


My hostmum told me on the phone why they asked the previous Au Pair to leave after a few months.
When I arrived here, I heard a lot of other things from the Au Pairs in town. I talked about that with my hostmum and she could explain mostly everything.

Thats the whole secret: TALKING!!! :-)

I would not have gone to this family if the hostparents would have asked me to NOT contact there previous Au Pairs.

LM January 7, 2010 at 2:47 am

Why do you feel the need to speak to the previous Au Pair? Anything you need to know should be told to you by your HF and/or your AP coordinator. If your HF wants you to learn from the previous AP than that is different, but if they don’t then perhaps it is because she was not doing things they way they liked them. You want to take the prior AU Pair’s possibly not good advice or the advice of the HF who is paying you? In the real world there are many jobs that you will get and you will not get to speak with the person who previously held the position. First, I would not want to host an au pair who felt she had a need to contact previous au pairs and could not form her own opinion. Second, this was not the incoming au pair contacting the departing au pair, it was the other way around.

NatAuPair January 7, 2010 at 4:48 am

My first HF, as I said, didn’t want me to talk to their old au pair, saying that whatever I had to know they would tell me, and turned out they were trying to hide the problems they had.
For me, good families don’t see a problem on the fact that their au pairs want to be friends.

Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 8:31 pm

NatAuPair – unfortunately this happens a lot :-(

Anonymous January 8, 2010 at 12:14 pm

one of the host families that contacted me said they didn’t want me to talk to their current au pair, for me that sounded they were trying to hide something from me, so I didn’t even want talk to them. If we have to give references to a family I’m not asking to much to get some reference from the family.

If the family think they are so great I don’t see the point of not letting the current au pair talk to new one.

when I choose my family I talked to 3 of their previous au pair they all said really nice things about them and some bad things too. I did the match we spent 11 peaceful months together and when they asked me if I wanted to leave 1 month early and I said no they talked to the agency so I could stay 1 month + grace period somewhere else not being an au pair!

From what I realized most host families are actually REALLY bad, but I can’t say good things about most au pairs either, most of them are childish and don’t expect to work, so I guess the au pair program is actually a good fit for these people.

I do know some wonderful families and au pair as well but they are definitely the exception not the rule

Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 9:25 am

I am a HM, and I agree. If you’re current AP and you are not in good standing, that needs to be explained. But there should not be a prohibition to contact.

Think about it from a different perspective. If you were interviewing for a job, one where you couldn’t visit the workplace and assess the conditions and work climate before accepting, wouldn’t you want to talk to the person who you were replacing. And if you knew that the person was disgruntled, you would take what they say with a grain of salt (hence the need for the employer to be somewhat open about the circumstances).

NoVA Host Mom January 7, 2010 at 9:32 am

Becoming friends is one thing, but an outgoing AP trash-talking (and outright lying) about the HF to the new AP is not a friendship. It is poor judgement, bad manners, and really tasteless behavior. On both APs parts.

Sometimes, there are reasons for not wanting old APs to talk to new APs. I had the outgoing AP leave the house overnight when the new AP-applicant came to visit for that very reason. Old AP could not be trusted to be honest or mature in her interactions with others.

US Au Pair January 7, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Many Au Pairs lost there trust in agencys after the agency sent them into a family with four kids and never told them that two of these kids are special needs children.

That happens so often. As an Au Pair I want to make sure that I know as much as possible about my soon-to-be hostfamily, about the area they are living in…

The hostfamilies can call all our employees were we have worked as babysitter, au pairs, caretaker, teacher…, but we should not be allowed to talk to the previous Au Pairs?

I am not going to a different continet without checking out the family. Thats just a way to keep myself safe.

NatAuPair January 7, 2010 at 5:58 pm

But then is the New Au Pair that needs to be mature enough to not believe in whatever the other girl says an to come talk to you so that you can explain what really happened. Is a way for her to learn with the other’s mistakes.

franzi January 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm

having contact with the previous AP (whoever initiated it in the first place) does not mean that the new AP is unable to form her own opinion!
yes, you should not host an AP who immediately takes on the arguments of the old AP or takes everything she says at face value. but how about the fact that the new AP could use this as a starting point of conversation with you? not to blame, but to understand the situation, and to understand what underlying values you as host family apply to your life and expect of those around you.

NatAuPair January 7, 2010 at 5:59 pm


Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 8:30 pm

LM and All – as a host family, you have the opportunity to check an au pair’s references and speak to previous host families (if the au pair is in-country)…why shouldn’t an au pair have the same opportunity? What’s fair for one is fair for all. Host families are NOT employers but participants in an exchange program. Agencies are happy to explain the distinction for all that have questions regarding this.

NatAuPair January 7, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Thank you. That’s what I also think.

LM January 8, 2010 at 2:16 pm

I never had a chance to speak with my previous AP selection’s employer’s. All of them marked they were uncomfortable with speaking in English. If I were to hire an in country AP, I would speak with her employer.

Also, all AP’s that feel they would not match without speaking with the departing AP; in real life how often does this happen on jobs? Every job I have had, I never spoke with the employee whose place I took. I remember once when a woman was pregnant, she trained her replacement, but talking with the departing employee is not common. I don’t know any company where that is offered. Most companies I know of you are interviewed by the supervisor or other hiring authority and they make their selection. If you don’t personally know anyone in the company, they certainly don’t put you in contact with other employers to find out how they treat their employees. And with the economy the way it is now, you don’t find many potential employees making any kind of demands let alone to speak with whoever is currently in the job.

Anonymous January 8, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Being an au pair is different than a 9 to 5 job. You live with your employer, but the idea of being an au pair is to look to their employer as a family. Once the family aspect is gone, they are miserable. Which sounds like your situation. Just imagine if you had to live with your boss 24/7. You should consider getting a nanny, if you see the relationship as a employer-employee.

NatAuPair January 9, 2010 at 3:23 am

I agree with “Anonymous”. Au Pairs are like family (or should be). You shouldn’t treat them as an employee. Maybe a Nanny would work better for you.

Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 12:41 am

I am extending with my family for another year, but if I have the opportunity to speak with the new AP I will tell her the good, greats and bad things about my family, I am a very independent person so I can handle my HP sometimes without a good morning or good night and just ignoring me, or never asking me how was “my” day not the kids one. I will tell her that “I” have access to the computer, car and no time to comeback home but that might change with her because I just find out they don’t know how to tell me “no” maybe because of my age (25), I will tell her that the kids are often good but they don’t listen and you need to repeat the same thing 100’s of times, and here is a lot of job with 2 boys (5&7) and twins. She’ll need to make laundry at least 2 times at day. She’ll need to handle the super protection of the GParents and sometimes is just to much. I will ask her how she espect her Christmas here, because my family are not going to do anything, and that is kind of depressing, (also I would tell my family to get a Muslim AP, is just to sad be here in Christmas)

I would tell her my point of view, not because I want to start a bad relationship between them, just because specially if is from Latin America, I don’t want her to come here and find out something completely different from what she was told on her country as happened to me. And find my family rematching because the things didn’t work out with the AP.

My 2 cents January 7, 2010 at 9:49 am

Kind of off topic, but this is exactly what I want and ask from our current au pairs when we are interviewing a potential new au pair. That they be brutally honest with the new au pair about what living with our family is like and what being away from your home is like and, most importantly, how hard taking care of kids all day long is. I want to give them the flavor as much as possible of what we personally are like — the good and bad.

Of course, if I had an awful au pair like the one in this post, I wouldn’t be open to this communicaton. I’d probably call in another ex-au pair to do the interviewing and sharing, or have a friend’s do it, and explain why the current au pair won’t be made available. I’d also bring in the LCC if the applicant wanted more reassurance about our reliability as a host family.

Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 1:57 am

Anonymous Au Pair: Sharing your point of view is up to you, but you should equally be able to understand if your Host Family shares with your new host family (if you are rematching) the things they had issues with you about. Not, because they want to start a bad relationship, but let the Host Family know what kind of things to expect from you.

People celebrate Christmas’ very differently here. Some believe it is about Christ and the commercialism and gift giving is not important. Some believe the gift giving is all that is about. Then many are in the middle. So, because your HF did not celebrate Christmas the way you feel it should be celebrated they should have a Muslim Au Pair. You seem very childish.

NatAuPair January 7, 2010 at 4:55 am

I had my last HF saying not good things about me (even thou I never said anything about them), and I managed to explain with the truth. It seems to be working with the new family, so there you see that the problem wasn’t me.
Same goes to the family. If the former au pair says something bad the family should be able to prove her wrong, if in fact, she is wrong.

an au pair January 7, 2010 at 3:57 pm


I think Anonymous Au Pair was saying that her host family was Muslim, and therefore doesn’t celebrate Christmas. It was sad for her as someone who usually does celebrate Christmas, to not celebrate at all while living in the US. So she thought it would be nice if the family had a Muslim au pair, so the au pair wouldn’t be sad about not celebrating Christmas.

I don’t totally agree with how the au pair said this, but I don’t think she was saying it with bad intentions. You kind of attacked her for no reason.

LM January 7, 2010 at 2:04 am

Well even though I used fake initials and never once mentioned the countries or personal data, one of my au pair’s freinds read my post and just knew it was about her. So, she has read it. We had a family meeting and I did not back down on anything that I said. I expressed my desire to end things, but she and my husband want to let things go on until February. I cannot say how much I hate that things ended like this. I will allow internet access, but I think Facebook should be off limits. There is a funny video on how it ruins relationships. It doesn’t speak about au pair relationships, but it should. I am not friends with employer’s or supervisors, but it is in my name and I would not be foolish enough to post anything derogatory about them. Here I thought I was anonymous, but I was not nasty and was just seeking advice. Word to the wise. Your au pair may not be reading this, but others may be!

NoVA Host Mom January 7, 2010 at 9:38 am

I would still have put my foot down and had her go now, but it is up to you. Glad you did not back down, but given the maturity level you presented, I am guessing she still does not “get it” as far as her inappropriate behavior and comments. Hang in there and know we are here.

NatAuPair January 7, 2010 at 4:00 am

Ok, without thinking about all the comments and talking just with the mom that wrote the testimonial:
My first quetion when I started to read was: what the heck were you doing on her facebook account? If you are friedns with her in there, ok, but if not (and I kinad have the feeling that you aren’t) what you did was just look for a reason to get upset.
Sure, the girl shouldn’t have said that she hate you an everything, but it was a kind of “putting her thoughts out”. I do it about my family sometimes, and is not because I don’t like them (‘cuz I love them like my own family) but it’s just my way to express my feelings and have my friends’ opinions about whatever.

You said that you au pair “was lucky if I do not throw her out of the house for doing that”. You have all the right to be upset, but one thing that the families NEED to understand is that their au pairs are not a bag of trash, or a little old toy that once stoping working or being fun is useless and they can get rid of it.
You would not be the first family I see that did that. I’m an au pair for over a year now and I had friends being throwed out of their “homes” because they scratched the car or forgot an old salda in the refrigerator, so the families thought they were not careful enought tho take care of their kids. One of the girls that came with me, was sent back home a month later her arrive because the family thought she was too young, too naive.
It pisses me off to hear things like that. The girls count on the families to come her and be safe, if, for some reason, it doesn’t work out and the families put us out of the house, we don’t have a place to go and all our dreams can end even before it can realy begin. So before you (and I say it to families that think that it’s ok to go on rematch after a week) think on doing that, try to see your kids in a foreigneer country in that situation and have a little bit more patience with the situation. Unless, off course, the au pair is bad to the kids, do drugs or something serious like that.

On other point you said that she thinks you treat her as if she was indisible, and YOU think she doesn’t care about it because she stays locked in her room. Just two words for that: SHE CARES.
Try to go back to the beggining of the year, did she stay on the room all the time or it was something that started to happen as the months passed?
With my first family (I had one family on the first year and changed for the second), I used to love being with them on the beggining. After a little time I started to feel that I wasn’t that welcome. Mostly because of the grandmother, who used to supervise whatever I was eating, but I started to not want to be around on my off time anymore, so I also started to stay in my room frequently and my host mom also though I didn’t care, when all I wanted was to be with them.
Towards the end, I made my peace with whatever I was feeling before and started to invite myself for barbecues and family dinners. I kind of “sucked up”.
So, don’t think that your au pair doesn’t want to be around, maybe she just doesn’t know how to interact anymore, now that the excitment from the beggining is gone.

About the contact between the two girls, is your right not to want that, but I really don’t get why. My first family also didn’t want me to talk to their first au pair and it just gave me the feeling that they were hidding something. Later on the year I found out that they had fights with the girl and that their relationship was horrible. I heard that from the girl’s best friend, who knew my host kid and came to talk to me on the park (I did not facebooked the girl).
Unless you have a pretty bad history, I don’t see why the girls can not talk. They can learn from each other about the family and specially the kids. I’ll be trainning the new girl when my time to go home comes and my host mom loves the idea.

And just a little advice about the whole “the new Au Pair and initially she will not be given the same privileges the departing Au Pair always had”. I’ve been on both situations: a family that didn’t give me much and a family that make everything they can to make me confortable, and the second one is totaly the one I like more. I’m not saying that you should treat the girl like a princess, but if she sees that she’s important to you she’ll do her job happier and will try a million times hader (I even do my host parents laundry, and I do it with the biggest smile).

“She just needs more structure and someone to stay on her case 24/7”. Please tell me you are joking. A good au pair knows what shes doing and the last thing she needs is someone suppervising her and telling her what to do. Understand something: We are not kids, nor teenagers. We are young adults, that might do things different from you guys, but that’s just because we are from others countries, other cultures and, most important, other GENERATION. Believe in us. If you trust your kids to be left with us while you work, why wouldn’t we be responsable enough to drive the car to the downtown or more than “15 miles away from the house” like my friend’s family wanted her to do?
It’s just nonsense.

You asked the girls not to be friends anymore, which might happen for now, but don’t forget that your current au pair is leaving and that she already has your new au pair’s name. She can easilly contact the new au pair once she’s out of there and then tell whatever you don’t want her to tell.
If there’s nothing wrong with the family, let the girls talk and laught at whatever they have to talk about, you know that this will happen one way or another. And if your current au pair leave your house under a good vibe, she won’t have a reason to trash you out to the new girl.

And to end the issue, the departing au pair doesn’t want to stay with you guys. If she stays on her room most of the time and tells her facebook friends she hates you, she can not wait for the year to end, so this was not the reason why she tried to be friends with the new girl, who, by the way, would never give up on coming to your house (for some reason, we are so excited to come, that we don’t hear and believe anything someone might say about the wonderful family that chose us, so don’t worry).

Oh and the internet: I don’t think that taking all her access to the world is a good way to punish her. Leaving her without any kind of contact with her family back home and whomever, is not even fair. She has a family and a life besides being “your au pair” and she needs to live that life (even if is through the internet, phone or driving anywhere). These things are not “rights” but there’s a limit about where the families can go when it comes to punishment. If she doesn’t have internet in the house, she needs to be able to use something somewhere. If she has a car good, but if not you guys need to make that happen. You can’t leave her stuck in the house with no contact at all.


Hope some families read this and I hope I helped host families to understand a little bit about their au pairs.

Anna January 7, 2010 at 8:39 am

Dear NatAuPair,

we host families understand enough about au pairs, especially those of us who had bad au pairs.

Your diatribe is written assuming the au pair is always good.
You say “she cares”. Well, hate to disappoint you, there are plenty of girls who don’t. There are girls who come here with a “goal”, and surprise surprise – their goal is not to take good care of their host kids and have a normal relationship with their family – their goal is to stay in America at all costs, and all costs I mean lying – on their application and afterwards, taking sexual risks with the people they meet the first time, using their host family etc., and they show no love or no skills whatsoever with the kids. Is this the kind of person I am supposed to let endanger my kids for the whole year, let her wreck my car numerous times (because she lied on her application about her driving skills), and supply grooms to or sponsor her for a student visa?

There are two sides to every story. The au pair who was “thrown out of her home” – and that’s not possible because the LCC has to give her housing if the family cannot have her for some reason – because she was too young and naive… Guess what, maybe she was, would you want a child to take care of your child? An au pair has to have a certain ability to make good judgement when alone with the kids, and if it doesn’t happen, it is not safe to leave the kids with her, as sweet a person she may be

You took issue with “she needs more structure” comment. Again, you are assuming the au pair is a responsible young adult. Not the case all the time, some are selfish, childish, and not fit for the job. I personally think if somebody has to be “on her case 24/7” she should go home and realize her “dream” of america some other way.

Your story about your first family when you started staying in your room when you wanted to be with them and it created a misunderstaning with the host mum shows me that you are lacking in communication department. If you want to have a good relationship both parties have to work on it.

From your post it seems how all au pairs are so great and caring, and the host parents role is to “make it happen” for them – the car, the time off, phone, internet, all of it. Whew. Both parties need “to make it happen”.

LM January 7, 2010 at 11:30 am

NatAuPair: I don’t have to say much, because other posters have said it all. Perhaps you are the type that someone does not need to stay on 24/7, but there are many au pairs (as there are in all works of life) where that constant thing is needed. Again, as to my not wanting them to talk it was the current au pair looking through our au pair companies site, finding the name of the new au pair and contacting her. I object to that.

As to being treated as she is invisible, she chooses to go upstairs and get on her computer after her shift ends. She actually told my husband she said that she felt invisible, because she said Happy New Year to him and he did not respond. She knows he has hearing problems. It is something we have discussed all year.

We turned her internet back on last night, but then again she is back on Facebook making comments having one such friend comment that we are evil. No, we are not friends. We used to be friends on FB until I kept seeing her taking tests and making posts while she was supposed to be working. I told her we specifically said no computer use during working hours. After that she deleted my husband and I as friends. I looked on her page, because she was friends with several of my family members and they told me about a video of one of my children on her page and I went to see it. You know you young people act as if the internet is your only means of communication. Au Pairs could communicate with family and friends before the internet and they can so now through the telephone (she can get international calling cards) and she still has her cell phone to call friends. By the way, we have an extra car for her to drive, but she was not able to get her license.

Let me ask you something since you seem to think we don’t want her to correspond with the new au pair, because she will learn bad things about our family. If we are so evil and bad, why does she want to stay?

JJ January 7, 2010 at 2:41 pm

NatAuPair, thank you for demonstrating exactly why LM didn’t want her new au pair and old au pair to talk. Sometimes if you only hear one side of the story, you tend to view the other side as the entire problem.

NatAuPair January 7, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Just to explain everything I said before, yes, I was talking about a good au pair that didn’t work. I’m not even thinking about those girls who come here as au pairs just because is the easiest way. They shouldn’t have host families and I blame the agencies for letting these girls apply for the program.
I personally wanted to come to US since I was 12, but I prepare myself to be a good au pair. If I was putting myself to do something, it was my OBLIGATION to be able to do it right. And different from what some of you said, it’s not my goal to stay in US and I’m not doing everything to get a green card, get married and never leave. I love my country and all I wanted was the experience to be here for a while. I believe a good au pair thinks the same way.

Anna I said that I hear from girls that where “thrown out of the houses” not in the sense that they where homeless. I know the LCC’s are supposed to take the girl and that she’s not left alone, but what I meant was: we come to the country to be with the family we chose oer the application and the talks, we believe that will be our permanent address for the next year, and for some families, if the girl makes the littlest mistake she’s not capable of doing the job and it’s over.
I think that when that happen it’s more of the HF’s fault than anybody else. Choose the girl the way you want someone, realize that she’ll be living with your family, think of everything you don’t want to happen and try to pic someone that doesn’t seem to do any of that.
For my “friend” for example, the family asked her to leave ’cause they realized, after one month she was with them, that they wanted someone older, with more experience and maturity. Why didn’t they choose a 25 year old au pair instead of going with a 21yo? If they knew they wanted experience why did they decided to give her a shot? I mean, don’t take the girl from her country just for a try out. Because of that, she had to go back home (because she couldn’t find another family in two weeks) and all the effort she spent getting ready to come was useless. do you get what I mean? I know is not all the HF fault, but I think some of them don’t realize how big it is for the girl, while for them she’s just gonna be someone they hired to do a simple job.
“I personally think if somebody has to be “on her case 24/7? she should go home and realize her “dream” of America some other way.” – and I totally agree with you on that one. Again, it’s a dream becoming true to be in US, but there’s a price to pay (or else you might as well come for a 3 month vocation with you daddy’s money and please don’t bother any American family), be prepare.

“Your story about your first family when you started staying in your room when you wanted….” – It does show a lack of communication. The reason why I said that “SHE CARES” and told my experience is because most of the time the au pair don’t know how to deal with some new situation and the HF could help on that. If my host mom had tried to be closer to me on that beginning I would not have passed months feeling that I wasn’t welcome. I am only 21yo and it was difficult on the beginning to adapt to everything, it’s not anyone’s problem but mine, but I believe that if the HF cares about their au pair they will try to make her feel better right? I mean, I’ve heard a million times, from everybody’s mouth that “au pairs are like part of the family” but still some families treat them differently from what they would if their niece our cousin was feeling bad. For me, if the family is not willing to show this kind of appreciation for an au pair, they should hire a nanny, who works 9 hours a day and go to her own house at the end, not someone who leaves their life to be part of whatever you introduce to her.

NatAuPair January 7, 2010 at 5:30 pm

LM: I think your au pair shouldn’t have talked to the new one behind your back. Period. But I still can’t seem to find a problem on them being facebook friends. What would happen probably is the current au pair would say things she doesn’t like on the family, the new au pair would talk to you about it (if she’s a good au pair), you would explain whatever, and that would be over. On my first family I had long conversations with my host mom about what their “bad au pair’s” friend was telling me on the park. She would tell me her side of the story, we would laugh and I would take the experience from both stories and prepare myself to not be in a situation like that. This is what normal people do. Like an au pair said here before, TALK.
If your current au pair leave with a good relationship (which I don’t think will happen since you said you don’t want to keep in touch with her) she would call, talk to you, or talk to the new girl asking about the kids that she misses and that’s all. If she leaves in a bad vibe, she will want to forget she spent a year with you guys and even the new girl would be delete by her eventually.
I really don’t see what’s the big deal about it, and that’s me, my opinion. I’m talking for myself and not bad girls who wants to screw their families after they leave or any of that.

About the “invisible” thing… Is not because your husband didn’t answer her “Happy New Year”, believe you in me, there is a bunch of other things that made her think like that. My current Host father doesn’t talk to me every day and I just assume he’s tired or not on the mood, I don’t make a big deal about it, I don’t think she would.

“Let me ask you something since you seem to think we don’t want her to correspond with the new au pair, because she will learn bad things about our family. If we are so evil and bad, why does she want to stay?” – did she say she wants to stay with your family? For what I know about au pairs, this girl can’t stand staying there more than what she’s supposed to. I really don’t think she wants to stay with your family. Maybe she wants to stay in the area because of friends she made, boyfriend, and so on, but not with you guys. I’m sorry to say.
And I’m not saying that you guys are evil, I do believe in all the bad things you said she did, but I also think that if she’s that bad, why have you allowed her to leave with you for a year? What I’m saying is, I don’t think you guys are bad, but I also don’t think you are the greatest family there is, and I don’t think the girl is nice, but I also don’t believe she’s a horrible person. I think everything is pretty much in the middle, and is easy for you to put all the blame on her and vice-versa.

LM January 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm

NatAuPair: Yes, she did ask to stay. I’ve stated that here many times and you can choose to believe it or not. We told her we felt it better to have someone from a diffrenct culture each year. When she saw from our AP agency that we had someone knew coming, she went on her FB very upset. That is what started all of this. Even after all of this broke out, she said she wants to stay. I noticed yesterday, she straightened up the kids toys in the family room and their room was neat. As I stated we all got along until my discovery of her contacting the new AP. We were all friendly. We let her stay, because my husband and I are non-confrontational. We often avoided mentioning things that we did not like. We kept her because of not wanting to go through the pressure of rematch. You know she would come back and tell us about the rules of other HF’s. She did not have many rules.

I definitely know my family is a good family and went out of our way to make her feel wanted. Unfortunately, we did so at a price and that was allowing her to be lax in her duties. I also an not saying she is evil or bad. She is not cut out to be an AP. Where she lived, her family had money, a pool, a woman that was a servans. Her family obviously had money. Her mother and stepfather came to the U.S. for a holiday. They visited Florida, New York and where we live. How many AP families can afford that? I asked her why leave a home like that that to basically come to work in someone else’s home and she acknowledged that coming to the U.S. was part of it.
There you have it. Personality wise this was a good fit, but being an AP is really not something she is cut out for. She is good, friendly, keeps the kids safe, but when it comes to cleaning after them, she falls far short. You seem to want to judge my family and put us as the bad the ones in this situation. You should look up my first post. My then one year olds would be up at 2 and 3 a.m. ready to play. We didn’t know why, then my mother said she came over at 10:30 and they were all taking nap together. They just wake up at 9 am! So, I watched it. She would lay down with them in the basement at 1o:30 saying its nap time and making them go to sleep. Then stay like that till 2 or 2:30. It’s because she used to stay up on the computer late at night. I know that, because I would sometimes be up. We told her no more of that nap between 1 and 3. I came home intentionally after that at noon. They are napping. I remind her 1 and 3. Then she started lunch around 12 and put them to be before 12:30. I finally said, look we think they should nap between 1 and 3. She answers back, but they eat lunch at 12, might as well sleep at 12:30. I responded, but they eat breakfast a little after nine and 12:30 is fine for lunch. Of course, we are evil for saying what time our children should nap and asking her not to give four hour naps. Now, I’ll discuss them feeding themselves. For breakfast they have oatmeal. They feed themselves their own dinner. The were around 17 months and she is spoon feeding them breakfast. I ask her to let them feed themselves. She said, they make a mess. Weeks later, she is still doing it. I ask my husband to say something, she goes into the make a mess thing, he said well kids have to learn. Weeks later, I see she is still doing it. My husband says we have asked you to let them feed themselves for over two months. You will let them feed themselves or we will (he threatened something internet, cell phone, I don’t really recall). She then started feeding them. She will tell us what or when we can give our kids something saying if they eat sweets, they won’t take their nap. My mother came over once when she was here alone with the kids and gave them donuts. The next time my mother came with the donuts, she told my mother, no we decided no donuts, no sweets. They get to hyperactive and dont sleep. My mother left upset. She is their grandmother and to have the AP tell her what she could not do with her grandkids was upsetting. My mother asked me about this and I said, I have not said you could not give them sweets. I asked my husband and he said he didn’t say it either. So, AP lied. I told my mother she could give them anything she wanted, but she stopped coming over when AP was there alone and she could not drive at night, so unless we visited, she did not get to see the kids much. My mother died five months later.

Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 8:38 pm


NatAuPair January 7, 2010 at 4:06 am

BTW, it’s funny to see how some of the moms in here still see us as workers not young human beings that have feelings. Some people are just not ready to be a host family at all.

NoVA Host Mom January 7, 2010 at 9:36 am

Young people with feelings still have jobs to do, and anything posted on the internet is fair game for anyone to read, including HFs. If you are not mature enough to recognize that, maybe the fault is not with HFs, but with the APs who are not mature enough to take a job outside of their country. Hmm?

Darthastewart January 7, 2010 at 10:07 am

I see au-pairs as both. I understand very well that I am dealing with an individual- who has feelings, desires, wants, and needs.

However, I am hiring that individual to do a job. If that individual is unable to perform the job, it really doesn’t matter how much I care about them- I NEED them to do the job. In that case, I would have to let them go.

I also think that the au-pair needs to understand exactly what rights and privileges are granted by the contract that she signed with the agency and host family. Please realize that anything more than that is a privilege, and being given to you out of the goodness of the family’s heart. Anything less is a violation of the au-pair agreement, and can get the family booted from the program. You need to understand what these conditions are exactly.

LM January 7, 2010 at 11:43 am

You are young and I am taking that into consideration. There are host families that are not good just as their are au pairs that are not good. Unfortunately, there are WAY too many au pairs who come into the ap program as a way to get into America, to party and to figure out a way to stay. I hope the overseas coordinators are stressing to them that this is also work. We all have jobs to do. Do a good job and I am not the type to be on anyone’s back.
BTW, if you were my AP and you did my laundry, I would have asked you to stop as it was not what you were there for.

NatAuPair January 7, 2010 at 5:40 pm

That’s the difference. Is not about doing laundry because is my job or not, is doing laundry because I feel that they do so much for me, why can’t I help them one time or another? I would do my mom’s laundry and she would do mine if I was busy on that week, that’s how it is with me and my HF. We feel comfortable to just live together not work together, and I guess that’s what makes it work.
I feel like part of their family even thou they are so different from me *they are Indians, I’m Brazilian*
There’s nothing on our cultures that are alike except that we care about each other.

I guess that the key to a good au pair/host family relationship is to forget that is an au pair/host family relationship and focus more on the “family relationship” part.

LM January 8, 2010 at 2:39 pm

NatAuPair: I do understand that and that is what I would have wished for. We gave our AP a lot. We were very lenient, instead of appreciating it and just doing what she was supposed to do, clean up after herself and the kids would have been good. Helping to cook dinner once in a while, also would have been nice. I come home from work, take over the kids and have to begin cooking and usually cleaning up her lunch mess. I know its not her job, but she is an adult living in the house. Helping to clean up common areas that she used would have been nice. You are so defending her simply because she is an AP. I dont hate her and she is not evil. She is simply not cut out for this.

Anonymous January 8, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Not ever au pair is cut out to be an au pair – and just as many host families are not cut out to be host families. It goes both ways.

Mom23 January 8, 2010 at 4:52 pm


One thing you might want to consider with your next au pair is to include starting dinner in her duties (maybe do some prep during the time your children are napping). One of the reasons my husband and I decided to have an au pair was that it allows us to spend more time with our children. I consider my having to make dinner for everyone (inc. the au pair) time I spend away from the kids. So, in our house we ask the au pair to prep. dinner 4 nights a week (simple things) so that when we get home we can immediately focus on the kids.

JJ January 8, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Our au pair cooks dinner entirely two nights a week, as do my husband and I. That splits up the cooking fairly.

NatAuPair January 9, 2010 at 3:30 am

JFR: I’m not defending her, I’m just trying to use your situation to explain some things that maybe some families don’t understand. As I said before, I believe she was wrong in some parts, or else you would be here saying how happy you are instead of looking for help for problems right?
The blame is on everybody and even as an au pair I’m not here to attack or defend any side.

Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 11:45 am

Unfortunately this is where the view of the program by au pairs and host families differ – and I blame this on the agencies’ marketing. The majority of au pairs are not coming here to do a “job.” The majority of host families think they are “hiring someone” to do a “job.” Au pairs are not employees and as designated by the U.S. State Department as exchange students, which is why you do not pay them a salary and instead give them a stipend.

The information below should help clarify.

From the State Department website:

“Through the Au Pair program foreign nationals between 18 and 26 years of age participate directly in the home life of a host family by providing limited childcare services for up to 12 months. Childcare is limited to no more than 10 hours per day, and to a maximum of 45 hours per week.”


LM January 7, 2010 at 1:00 pm

You are incorrect. Au pairs do not come to the this country as exchange students they come under the J1 Visa which is exchange VISITORS. Student VISA’s are generally F1 or M1. The stipend they are given is considered pay as per the very website you posted. “Au pairs are compensated for their work according to the Fair Labor Standards Act as interpreted and implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor.”

PA aupair mom January 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Being a “student” is a required component of the AP program. HF must pay towards your educational component, so yes you are a student. call it whatever you want. And you don’t pay taxes on your stipend, in most cases.

Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 1:40 pm

The agency marketing has nothing to do with this problem of “users “. People want to come to this country and live. If this is the only way they can afford to do it, or the only way they can get a visa, that is what they do. No matter how many issues
we have with national security. the economy, or the administration , people are chomping at the bit to get here and stay. I do not have issues with this but I think it is appalling to use individual people and their children to advance your own goals. If she comes from such a privileged background, why is she so determined to stay here ?

Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I think you are wrong. Not everybody wants to come here an stay. I would never leave my country to lie here, but I i want to see some things so that’s why I chose this country to become an au pair.
The world doesn’t turn around US an people don’t ream about coming here an becoming millionaires.
It’s a bit of hypocrisy to say that.

Anonymous January 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Most agencies market the au pair program quite differently to prospective au pairs than they do to host families. If you’re not sure about this – ask your au pairs and their au pair friends what they were told about responsibilities/travel/time off/school when they signed up.

This is why many host families and au pairs have very different expectations as to what the au pair program is all about and ultimately what causes so many problems among host families and au pairs.

Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 1:50 pm

LM – in your post above – are you inferring that your au pair is your employee and you are paying her for her work? Please clarify…

LM January 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm

This from the website that another poster sent a link too:

“Through the Au Pair program foreign nationals between 18 and 26 years of age participate directly in the home life of a host family by providing limited childcare services for up to 12 months. Childcare is limited to no more than 10 hours per day, and to a maximum of 45 hours per week.

Au pairs are compensated for their work according to the Fair Labor Standards Act as interpreted and implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor.”

J1 VISA is a cultural exchange VISA. People who come here on a J1 VISA (it could even be a doctor) work are compensated for it and share cultures. She is only a student when she attends school, but the J1 VISA program is not a student visa program. She watches my children and gets compensated for it, thus she is an employee. Do not get it wrong. I in know what treat her as non-family members. We all got along before this. We went out shopping together, to the movies, family gatherings, on vactions, we watched television shows, had dinner almost every night together and watched movies together. On the outside we looked like an example of the perfect AP/HF. My husband and I would speak of things, but other than rematching, I chose to stick it out until February and start new.

Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 8:45 pm

LM – Hate to break it to you – your au pair is not your employee – ask your agency. They’ll be happy to explain this to you. I can guarantee what their answer will be :-)

Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 8:54 pm

I agree with the above poster. This is from Great Au Pair which most host families are familiar with. Often host families get nannies and au pairs confused. There are huge differences.


An aupair is usually between the ages of 18 and 26 years old, yet some countries allow younger and older aupairs. Be sure to see all of the country-dependent program requirements in the AuPair Visa section.

Aupairs are typically in search of a new cultural experience while also desiring to serve as an integral part of a parenting team. This experience usually draws aupairs to a new country and often times involves improving on their foreign language skills.

An aupair is not considered a domestic employee and therefore taxes need not be paid as such.

JJ January 7, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Regardless of the semantics you want to use, an au pair has a job to do (childcare) and receives compensation for doing that job, in the form of a weekly stipend and also room, board, and other amenities. The DOS website that’s quoted above makes that pretty clear. I think agencies doing a great disservice to au pairs and host families by saying that it’s a cultural exchange program. Sure, it is that too, but let’s not forget that this is a JOB. Being an au pair is hard work.

LM January 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm

The AP is here for cultural exchange, but she is also here to do a job. As someone that pays her, she is my employee. You can be both employee and family.

Anonymous January 8, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Like I said – ask your agency…if you want an employee – my suggestion is to hire a nanny.

Anonymous January 8, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Great Au Pair is wrong – APs do need to file and pay income tax on the money they earn (at least in the US). Look in the papers you got from your agency or search “income tax” on the agency website.
From CC for example – Au pairs are required to pay income tax with the exception of Social Security. However, depending on the time of year that the au pair arrives or departs, they may not make the minimum level of income required for taxation in that calendar year.”
It’s income from their employment, paid based on US minimum wage.

PA au pair mom January 8, 2010 at 10:00 pm

The agency can call the AP whatever they like. I am responsible for making the rules at her “place of work” and that makes me the boss. Same as for my own children. I love our AP and treat her with the same love, respect and concern that I do my own children, but I am her boss. She works for me. It’s that simple.

Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 1:35 pm

This entire conversation is painful to ( but important to read ) because it shows how someone ( I believe in this case it is the aupair) can present herself as a victim when in fact every kindness has been shown to her. I really dislike my boss but in this economy I do not feel I can change jobs so easily and my first obligation is to support my family. This man is a public figure and I would love to tell people what he is like behind closed doors. But I know perfectly well that many people would not believe me and if word got back to him ( he is not on Facebook ) that I was talking negatively about him, then I would have to leave my job.
This is what I suggest. Write to the new aupair or Skype or whatever and tell her that the present aupair wanted to extend and you just weren’t happy with her. That has the ring of truth. The new aupair will understand. Ask your LC to help you figure out who is going to be around for a while and who is going home soon. This gossip will die out pretty soon, especially if the new aupair is happy.
Change the cell phone you give your aupair if you give her one.
The longer this aupair is gone ” out of town ” , out of the country, the fainter all the gossip will become. I said earlier that I thought you should ask your LCC or agency to write to the new aupair and tell her that you are a very nice family and that this aupair is angry because she wanted to extend and you were not interested. Finally, I would explore this idea: is there another LCC within reasonable distance who would be willing to work with your family ? That would take this new aupair out of the immediate cluster. If this aupair has it in for you and your LCC is supporting you, the aupair is likely to tell the new aupair not to trust the LCC either. Are you really invested in this particular new aupair ? Why don’t you tell the agency that this relationship is soured and that you would like to cancel and start over ? You might not be able to get someone in February but you might be able to get someone who is already in the country and looking to rematch. Maybe she would even extend down the road ! I don’t know how much money you stand to lose by doing this but it could be worth it. Since most agencies are waiving their application fees, you could apply to another agency, too, and get a rematch girl to cover a gap. It will be a little harder to
trash mouth you outside her own agency.
It seems to me that this aupair just wants to stay in the country and once she finds a sponsor ( or an illegal job ) she will forget all about you and start taking advantage of someone else. I have a question ? If you wouldn’t extend with her, why wasn’t she able to find another family ?

TX Mom January 7, 2010 at 6:56 pm

I like the idea of changing the AP mobile phone number between AP’s. Even under the best of situations our new AP’s have been perplexed with some of the calls they get for the old AP.

Sara Duke January 7, 2010 at 11:11 pm

I switch out the cell phone between au pairs. I’m not a heavy phone user – for me it’s really just for emergencies. I ask au pairs to clean out their contacts (usually they leave in family contacts – mainly for me), their messages, and to reset the phone back to a neutral message.

That way, I bear the brunt of numerous friends and acquaintainces and the new au pair gets a “fresh” phone. That way we don’t have to pay a fee to keep changing the phone number attached the phone (and the outgoing au pair usually gets to use “her” phone in her extension month while the new au pair has “my” phone to use from the start). My husband, the person who is most likely to use his cell, has kept his number year after year (although he constantly loses his phones :-)

We have texting on “my” phone and the “au pair phone” since those are the two most likely to be used to text (and I’ve gotten fairly good at it, given that I spend a lot of time when the outgoing au pair departs).

We watch the bill if we think the au pair is abusing her privileges or is on the cell so much that she’s managed to use everyone’s minutes and then some.

My 2 cents January 7, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Since haven’t beat this horse enough I’ll suggest the following:

Let’s take this fact pattern and put it into a different context. The young lady is living with a friend, or her brother, or even her parents. It can be in country or out. Doesn’t matter. She gets online using their wireless service and says she hates them, other nasty things, whatever. They don’t get along.

To all the au pairs out there saying it’s too harsh to turn off internet access or it wouldn’t be right to ask her to leave the home, still feel that way?? Why should it be different for a host family? And don’t say because we have a contract or the program rules. Please. Contracts and rules are null and void when there is established non performance under the contract, libel, slander, and, in the corporate construct, intentional interference with a business contract/relationship.

PacificNW_mom January 7, 2010 at 3:52 pm

It is interesting to see all the emotions this brings up. Here’s one thing we did, that I don’t think has been suggested yet? When we had a bad experience au pair leaving, we had the new au pair that was coming talk with our LCC to “find out” what kind of host family were are. The LCC was able to tell her that there are two sides of every story, that she would probably hear stories from other girls that will be one-sided, that there were problems BUT..that we are a great family and she will have a great year with us. Also, most other APs, when they hear complaints or gossip from fellow APs, will form their own opinion about the situation and will not necessarily take the departing au pair’s side (they may even be thinking, how could she have yelled at the kids, posted that on facebook, had that big party at the house, etc, etc). I think the hardest thing for me as a host mom to do was to shake off the bad experience, put a smile on my face and start thinking positively about the next great experience that would be coming (in a cautious way, of course…we certainly learned about some conversations & limits that we needed to put in place up front).

OB Mom January 7, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Quick question/comment: so far none of my AP’s have befriended friends of the previous AP … has anyone’s new APs developed friendships with your last AP’s friends?

Midwest Mom January 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Yes, our new AP became friends with the old AP’s (rematched after a few months) friends in the area. At first, this bothered me as I have no idea what types of things old AP was telling them. But, there was no way to prevent it, so I was upfront with new AP about the circumstances leading to the rematch. I heard quite a few things that she told them at first, but that died down very fast and now new AP realizes that our old AP was just a bad apple!

LM January 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm

You all are talking about my departing Au Pair telling my incoming au pair derogatory things about my family. That is not my concern. We are not perfect, but we are fair and I know living here was not a hardship on the departing au pair (or she would not want to stay). My concern is her telling about how lenient we were. I don’t want the departing AP to tell the incoming AP that she never once touched a vacuum the entire year she was here, she didnt have to clean the kids bathroom regularly, she didn’t have to clean or put up their toys at the end of her working day, she didnt have to change their sheets, she could keep her room and her bathroom untidy. She can skip the functions she dislike when cleaning up after dinner and let the host dad do it. We drove her around to meet up with friends and to parties. We both have problems saying no. We are pushovers. We plan to break that cycle with the AP. I am also considering turning off unlimited txt messaging (old AP txt over 1000 times in a month now tell me she was not doing that while she was supposed to be watching my children) and if new AP wants it, she will have to pay for it herself. If new AP cannot drive a car that just sits at our home for AP’s use and she her asking for rides becomes excessive, we will ask for gas money. I don’t want old AP to say to new AP, oh I got that free. I don’t the new AP to think we are treating her harsher than the previous AP. We want things to go smoother. I don’t want to feel that I have three children, including the AP. This is how I feel now.

NoVA Host Mom January 7, 2010 at 5:31 pm

I understand it is about the rules and such. I still stand by my explanation of things to the new AP. When you interviewed her, you told her what duties would be required of her. Presumably those duties included all that you outlined here. So stand by that. Ok, fine, old AP did not do X, Y, or Z. Does not mean that new AP should not expect the same.

And frankly I am stunned about the unlimited texting. I pay the bills and I don’t have that (can I work for you instead??). I set the parental controls on our AP cell to allow texts only to my husband or myself. Any other texts are pay per text and the responsibility of the AP. If new AP questions why she does not have the same sweet deals as the old AP, tell her honestly: old AP abused the privilege and therefore it is no longer an option. It’s a fact of life.

Employers add new rules all the time, and whenever we see a new directive come down the pike at work, we know it was because someone else mucked things up somehow.

And I am totally with you on the extra kid thing. No reason you should. The job is hard enough with the kids you had to start with, right? Hang in there!

NoVA Host Mom January 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Ooops! “Does not mean that new AP should not expect the same. ” I meant it does not mean that the new AP should expect the same pass. No reason she should not think it is her responsibility and part of her duties, especially if you let her know it would be expected of her in the application/interview process.

AnotherCAMom January 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm

You can do it, LM! The key is for you to truly believe that you are being very fair & reasonable with your updated guidelines/rules for your new AP. What you don’t want to do is come off as defensive, apologetic, etc. about them. It is what it is – you have learned in your first AP experience what worked & what didn’t – and you have updated your house rules, etc. accordingly.

Even if you are questioned, you can stand firm and confident in saying that. There is no need to apologize or feel defensive about that. Keep that solid confidence, and you will be fine, I truly believe this (I have had some success doing this after a wonderful 1st AP who nevertheless nickel-and-dimed us a bit — this time, I hold firm and have been amazed how our current AP is perfectly agreeable!).

franzi January 7, 2010 at 5:43 pm

you don’t want the new AP to think she will have the same life the old AP had. got it. but isn’t this what you covered in your matching conversations with her? that you realize that rules change and that you will implement some changes with her?

when i started in my first family, everyone in the cluster told me “you have a curfew? wow. XY never had one.” well, that’s life. rules change.

maleaupairmommy January 8, 2010 at 4:54 am

I just telling my new au pair not in rematch situation but changing of the guards so to speak that I learn with each au pair what I need and as the kids grow so do my needs grow and change so the rules will be different. My old au pair did great things but also did not so great things and I learned from him the rules. I’m going to be up front and try not to lie or hid the truth. Than if he is trustworthy and proves he is reliabe, etc than I will relax some of the rules as we go. Great news not doing so good I can go right back to being hard nose because I set some boundaries. Finally!!!

Anonymous January 8, 2010 at 9:00 am

I am in the same spot as you are. We are just about ready for #3 to come, and she and #2 are friends on facebook. They have communicated several times. #2 is great with the kids but has a plethora of issues with being a self-starter and completing assigned tasks. I love her to death, but can barely take another minute of having a 3rd kid! I have made it very clear to #3 that the rules may not be the same for her as they were for #2. If she still doesn’t get that once she gets here, too bad. But she seems fine with it in the abstract, so far.

#1 stole from us and never put gas in the car. You can bet when #2 arrived, the gas rules and receipt rules were a lot tighter…and she was told why the rules were different. She is friends on facebool with #1 (doesn’t like her, but it lets me snoop to see what she’s up to and to make sure she’s not in the US LOL)

So, you have nothing to hide. The rules are the rules. As long as they don’t violate regulations, you have the right. Now’s the time to stiffen your backbone, so you don’t have the same issues with the next girl.

E2 January 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Ah, I think that is easily done. We set some new rules and that was just the way it was. And it includes no text on the phone. You know you can implement these now with the current au pair before she leaves – get some practice in so you are not a ‘pushover’ for the next one.

franzi January 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm

regarding internet and communication:
yes, there is telephone, snail mail and the like. but these young people grew up with internet and social networking sites. this is infact a lifeline to the world out there, just like chat programs and text messaging is.
when i studied in the US, my flatmates rather sent me a message through facebook than step out in the living room and walk over to my bedroom door to tell me face to face. communication among young people is like that now and to cut off access to these media will be very difficult for the AP to handle.

regarding host families thinking the old AP will dish out to the new one:
when i was matching, i did not get to talk to the current AP. the host parents always told me she was not in. and when we had set up a time to talk she was still not available. that should have been a red flag for me but it wasn’t. two weeks into my stay in that family she called me and told me the parents did not want her to talk to me. she also asked me about how i was dealing with specific difficulties in the families (special needs child) that she also was not told before matching with them.

how did i feel? i felt betrayed by the host parents for not being able to just say “we rather not want you to talk to her” and i felt betrayed by the old AP for not being upfront about the special needs kid (i can’t even tell you how i still feel about this issue and the host parents!).
in the cluster i heard many stories about the family, but also about the AP. and i was mature enough to form my own opinion.
what i am trying to get to is that it is much easier in communicating that you rather not have the old and new AP be in touch than to try to just block the contact – because with communicating you get the chance to share your point of view.
i know that in this particular case it was rather about the old AP contacting the new AP behind the back of the family. but i needed to get out this story to show that whatever you are afraid of being told will always come out eventually.

franzi January 7, 2010 at 5:57 pm

oh, and HOT TOPIC, CV!!!

OB Mom January 7, 2010 at 6:34 pm

I agree with NoVA host mom … just be honest to the new AP. Tell her that you need to establish different rules this time because you felt taken advantage of before. And that created an uncomfortable situation between you and the old AP. I changed the rules b/t AP#1 and 2 and there were no problems (increased record keeping for driving and grocery shopping). It is much easier to relax the rules than heighten them. Every 18-26 year old should understand that!

On a happier tone, my kids are planning a big party some year when ALL of their old AP’s can come back for a big party. Even the one who only lasted 6 weeks before a rematch!

MTR January 7, 2010 at 6:44 pm

When we got out new AP, we told her that our old au pair got homesick and left the program early and went home.

What happened in reality was that old au pair told me that she wanted to go home, but went into rematch and found a new family. When she left our house, she went to live with LCC. Then moved to a new family, and then after 1.5 months and with 2.5 months left in her au pair year she left to go home. I found all of that out later.

My new au pair never got to talk to the old au pair, but I did tell her later that I found out that old au pair did not leave right away, but rematched and left about 1.5 months later. My kids however, told her that old au pair was not good and described some of the problems.

In addition, I also changed an agency between an old and a new au pair, so she did not get the info on our family from other au pairs from the old cluster.

Au PAir help January 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Well, I think the bad behavior comes both ways here. At the same time you think she is a bad au pair when it comes to socializing with the family she thinks all those things about you guys. Most families dont realize they treat the au pair bad. If she feels invisible, I am sorry but You probably diod something to make her feel that way. I think both of you are wrong but it’s always easy for families to blame it all on the au pair as it’s easy for the au pairs to blame it all on the Families. Think it all over and try to figure out if you also have your mistakes about this situation, just as much she has her mistakes as well. I have heard stories like these from lot’s of au pairs, LOTS. This isnt the first or the last. I believe you are noth wrong and no on complains about things they dont feel it’s true. I domnt beleive at all she will be mean to the kids. Au PAirs LOVE their kids. Doesnt matter how mean some host families can be. She is about to be gone. But you cant blame her for feeling Hate or Anger. everybody is allowed to feel that. Throwing her out of your house just because you found out how she feels is a disgusting idea and against the rules. She will be gone so just wait and start over again with your new au pair. also its not ahgainst the rules to be in contact with the new au pair.

PA au pair mom January 7, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Just to clarify…NOT all au pairs love their kids.

Our previous AP told me as we dropped her off at the airport that I shouldn’t bother to send her any pictures or letters from the kids because “she didn’t like them that much” while she was here and she “hoped her real kids turned out nothing” like mine (her host kids).

'sota gal January 8, 2010 at 12:21 am

We also had an au pair that didn’t love our kids….or at least one of them. We had been having some problems adjusting to our new au pair, specifically her ignoring our oldest. She told us that she was fine with the little ones but didn’t want to take care of our oldest because she didn’t really like him. SHe would have been happy to stay if she could have just cared for the little ones and not the 7 yo. As a parent, I don’t know how you could live with that for any length of time – we went into rematch as soon as she made her proposal to us to only care for the littles. We just couldn’t wrap our heads around it – how would we even get through dinner f she wasn’t willing to be involved with one of three kids in any way? We housed her for a while, until our new au pair arrived, but we told her that we would no longer be needing her to provide childcare.

soon to be AP January 9, 2010 at 7:03 pm

I hope your oldest didn’t know about that? Poor thing. Was the new au pair better?

'sota gal January 10, 2010 at 1:11 am

No he never knew. We told him that she said mean things to mom and dad and left it at that. And our next au pair was much better – the two of them were great buddies. She would play Wii with him and did great at all of his make believe games he comes up with.

LC January 7, 2010 at 10:30 pm

If you dont offer internet, cellphone, car, texts, and you live far, Im so sorry, but you never will find an aupair unless she is just want to come do US. I wonder if this girl do something good. The way you talk about her sounds like she is a monster and dont treat yout kids very well. I think that above everything you should consider if that AP is good for your children or not.

PA au pair mom January 7, 2010 at 10:53 pm

I tell our AP all the time how great she is, how much I appreciate and value her, etc. She is WONDERFUL!!!! She wants to be a member of our family and we WANT her to be as well. We were so happy that she wanted to be in our family xmas photo for our xmas card. I cried because the gift she gave HD and I was so heart-felt and touching.

I brag to everyone who will listen about how great she is and tell them how they should all get au pairs…haha.

Our last AP left a lot to be desired, but the majority of time she was great with the kids and kept them safe, and mostly happy. I also told her when she was doing a great job.

I don’t think the original poster meant to infer that her AP is a “monster” either.

StephinBoston January 8, 2010 at 11:51 am

I don’t know about this comment, “internet, cellphone, car, texts, and you live far”. Those are nice things to offer, but they are not a given. My au pair doesn’t get text, and I’m glad she doesn’t since she had it on her own cell and texted while driving my kids.. You don’t need text to be happy and to connect with friends. Let’s be real here.

Au PAir help January 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm

It~s wierd to read that from an american Host Mom. Considering americans just dont use their cell phones to text because it~s impossible to do it when you~re sleeping. Let~s be real hereÇ you sound totally hipocrite. I want to see you alone in another country away from your family without being able to text and socialize with the people you have in USA. Come On….

StephinBoston January 9, 2010 at 11:13 am

I didn’t say she had no mode of communication, I said no text. Let’s see she has unlimited internet access, unlimited phone calls anywhere around the world FOR FREE and a cell phone to use. I think she’s doing just fine. And by the way, I did the same thing, left my home when I was 23 to move to the USA BY MYSELF not staying with a family who pays for my living expenses. I know how hard it is. And I do a ton for my au pair, I just don’t think paying for her to text is necessary. Just wanted to make that clear.

Anonymous January 8, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Princess, you are welcome to stay away! I know lots of APs who have all that and more and are still miserable. I also know APs who have to go to the library to use the net, walk or take public transportation and have work-only shared cell phone, but love their awesome families and have a great year or two. I want the AP who is interested to find out about my kids and me, not about my cars and toys and vacations. Once that happens, the good ones get it – it’s not about the amenities, it’s about enjoying each other and the work involved.

Anonymous January 9, 2010 at 12:15 am

Calling names is not acceptable or welcome in this forum. LC the au pair is allowed to speak her mind and in my experience – her opinion is in line with the majority of au pairs regarding internet, cell phone, cars, and texts. If you’re the parent of a teenager – you would see that this is not specific to au pairs but is quite normal in teens and young adults today. Au Pair Help is also right on target in that more host families need to put themselves in the shoes of the au pairs who are a long way from home and a long way from their support system. They have taken a huge leap of faith leaving behind everything they know to live with a family they hardly know.

Instead of highlighting all your differences and fretting over the small stuff, focus on finding a common ground. This is not just about your needs as a host family but about your au pair’s needs as well. Just as we have to constantly put effort towards making our marriages/partnerships work…we also have to constantly put effort into making sure the relationships with our au pairs work as well. Work towards making your relationship one that you are all happy – when only one side is happy – you all lose.

Darthastewart January 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I think if you consider things like having a car, internet, cell phone, texting, etc to be a “need”, then you may be very unhappy as an au-pair. Many host families simply cannot afford to pay for them. That doesn’t make them bad host families.

To be honest, au-pairs are sold to the families as a cost effective form of childcare. Many of the host families that sign up for au-pairs are solidly middle class-upper middle class. It is fairly rare for an AP to have all of the amenities in reality. (Car insurance for the AP is more than the rest of the cars COMBINED)

Most of the “Wealthy” are probably going to choose a different form of childcare, because an au-pair probably isn’t going to meet your needs. (although there may be a few here and there in the family pool)

I think you need to really be aware of your expectations to start with, and maybe not expect too much.

Anonymous January 9, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I think we all need to consider how it would feel if someone took away our car, internet, texting, cell phone? Very few host parents would be willing to give these things up as they are a part of your everyday routine/means of communication and access to the world around us. Put yourself in your au pair’s shoes. She is going to have a life outside her host family’s home. She did before she arrived at her host family’s home and will continue to do so.

You brought up the point that au pairs are “sold” as a cost-effective form of childcare…and I’m sure you mean the au pair program is “sold” as such. This is where the problem lies and where they problems start. We’re being “sold” on one thing and the au pairs are often being “sold”on something else.
Recruitment videos for au pairs can be viewed on YouTube (search the various agencies). You might be surprised at what you see!

dear hostmom January 7, 2010 at 11:40 pm

I`d like to say that you should def. change AP asap
It`s interesting that you`ve tried for so long to work things out with the currently au pair
I think you should write a respectful references about her, about her lifestyle bout with the good things she`s been doing for you kids.
Here in my house I clean my kids room and I do their laundry. I think that the AP salary is a shame and I can force the girls to treat my kids the way I want if they`re busy with house duties.
But that`s my house. Maybe it`s time for you to find a nanny, after all, it seems that is a nanny that you are looking for.
Best wishes!
Hope you can find a solution soon.

Sara Duke January 8, 2010 at 12:00 am

This thread seems to have digressed into a tit-for-tat conversation. No one is perfect – neither HPs nor APs. Having an AP is having another adult in your house, and that is a relationship that takes work, and that work takes compromise and communication on both the HF and the AP.

We always tell our APs that they are part of the partnership in raising our kids to be the best people they can be (and that’s not just an intellectual thing – it’s also a social thing). We want them to be firm in maintaining the ground rules, yet affectionate enough that our children feel loved. So far we have had 5 women who did their jobs extremely well (and after the disintegration of the first AP relationship, I have worked very hard to communicate with subsequent APs as they get ready to say farewell).

We have always wanted potential candidates to communicate with our current AP – warts and all. Why? Because we want candidates to understand that the job isn’t just about cuddling and playing, that there is real work to be done. However, there is also time to be a young adult in another country and to enjoy that freedom (both my husband and I were once young adults in another country).

One thing has been clear to me. Each new AP is a fresh start. If you treat her as an extension of the previous AP you’ll both be disappointed. If you are still angry at the outgoing AP when she arrives, she’ll be hurt and confused, wondering what she did wrong. Don’t worry what everyone else is saying to her, concentrate on your relationship with her. Make a good first impression (because if you’ve never been a young adult alone in another country, it’s quite a shock).

Gabi January 8, 2010 at 7:05 am

I always try to read all your issues. I really like to read them, because I’m pretending to be an au pair as soon as possible, and your website helps me to know stuff about haing a good relationship with host families.

Well, my English isn’t very good (yet) and this website is helping me to study the language, but I hope you’ll can understand me.

It’s a good Job you’re doing here.

Clarisa January 8, 2010 at 11:08 am

Well, unless you are hiding something from your up-coming au pair, there’s no reason to tell her to stop talking to your old au pair. If your new au pair is not mature enough to draw her own conclusions about you and your family, maybe she’s not worth hiring. No one can hear something someone is saying and fully believe on it. Of course you should email your new au pair and tell her about the whole situation and explain your point of the story, I’m sure she will understand and will be able to see BOTH sides of the story, not only yours. I do feel old au pairs should contact new au pairs, as I’ve always done, so that they can have an idea of what it will be like, and you have absolutely NO RIGHT to stop communication between them.
Plus, this whole situation can be a lesson for your new au pair. As soon as she arrives, or even now, you should tell the new au pair that you won’t allow she to write any kind of information about you and your family on her Facebook, MySpace or any other means of communication.
You should write a recommendation, was she a bad au pair to your children? Did she treat them bad? Did she hurt them? Did she stop feeding them or stop caring for them when you were out? If the answer is no, I’m sure she did her job and this is what you should write on the recommendation letter.

NatAuPair January 9, 2010 at 3:36 am

Well said.

Anon January 8, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Hey CV, are you on vacation? :-) Think it is time to go to a new topic!

CV January 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Yowzah! Yes, I have been trying to meet a work deadline and haven’s checked in closely. Geeze you all what is going on? I’m going to close the comments, print out the whole 153 of them, see what’s been happening, and then report back. Wow. Sorry. cv

Anonymous January 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm

The anger that is on this thread is something we should all think about. This touches something very deep. Celebrity nanny agencies make their employees sign a contract stating that they will not discuss their host familes or write books about them. These agencies also cost a fortune.
Make no mistake. Nannies talk about us too. So do the cleaning ladies. We just don’t know about it because the social relationship is different. Those women know their livlihoods depend upon not gossipping.
The world has completely changed with Facebook , My Space, etc.
Many of us did not grow up with live in help. We have no frame of reference to draw upon.
I read that when the Kennedy’s nanny, Maud Shaw , wrote a book about her life with the Kennedys, Mrs. Kennedy cut off all contact
between the nanny and the children. Was that nice ? No. Was it fair ? Sure. Crying and whining to your LCC is perfectly fine in my book. Going on Facebook is not ok.
This thread has the ring of class warfare. No, families are not always nice or not what you fantasized about. That is part of the experience.
Some aupairs have a great attitude of entitlement. Most of us worked very hard for what we have and have made some very hard choices. If a friend talks in a mean way about you, what would you do?

Au Pair January 8, 2010 at 6:14 pm

It`s really hard to find a family-AP match that is flowers all the time…In family relationships there is alwyas arguments and some not talking to….
Before I came I had contact with old Au Pairs, one because I was interested in to know more about the family and I was to shy to ask, and actually my future-to-be host family gave me her number since she was from the same country, the communication would be better… and she told me everything.. the good things and not so good things… I`ve always had my point of view about things and I always try to give people a chance to prove different and not act with prejudice.. so I came… I met friends of old APs and I met one that told me terrible things about my host family and i had just gotten here. I listened everything she said and I didn`t change with my host family.
I believe you “make place” pleasant or as a business. I really like my family, but I had some moments I wished to be gone, but what people usually forget and don`t value is what you`ve done until now doesn`t count you did something wrong and you are going to “pay” for it.
I know that everybody has different a personality and react in different ways, but we should have an openned mind and vision to deal with things with a commom sense.
There is no perfect AP and there is no perfect Host family. We are both different individual coming from different cultures living in the same house trying to get along with.
As an AP I`d really be disappointed and sad about cutting the internet privileges, I`d rather talk about it. but if this is the way you chose to deal with you will harvest the seed you plant, but I do not believe your kids will be harm, well I`m speaking for myself…
Good luck with the new AP, and please to not make her pay for what the other AP did.

Anonymous January 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm

The biggest issue here is that the first aupair is using her host family’s
property, services and resources to hurt them. No employer would ever permit that. The other problem is that the host parents –
or any of us just do not have any control over what other people say about us. That is why gossip and slander are forbidden in most religions and in many states and countries. It is often most effective to ignore vivious gossip than to try to fight it.
What I don’t quite understand is why , if the old aupair is so angry at the family , why she would tell the new aupair about all the nice things they did for her. This doesn’t make sense. ( I hate them because I never had a curfrew, I hate them because they always drove me places etc ?)
Yes, she can go to the library or a cafe to use Facebook. Let her do that. Why should anyone allow someone to sit in their living room writing mean things about them at their expense .

Rafaela(au pair) January 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm

I´m sure when she sad “i hate them” this for you host mom and host dad nothing about the kids.
Took away all her internet/txt privileges will not work!!

Anonymous January 9, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Ssure it will work or so many people would not think it was unfair.

Rafaela(au pair) January 10, 2010 at 8:58 am

What the HF have to understant is that internet/txt privileges IT IS NOT A PRIVILEGE.!!!!
iF you dont offer internet, cellphone, car(IF YOU LIVE FAR), texts, you never will find an aupair !!! or you find an au pair that just want to come do US and leave you!

Anna January 10, 2010 at 9:25 am

Does every au pair have all this at her own home (internet, cell phone, text, car that is all her own)?
What you have to understand that it is a privilege. At home, I bet the majority of au pairs don’t have unfettered access to a car, if they live with their parents they have to tell them where they are going and be back at a reasonable hour, and have to help out with housework unless they have a servant. Families who hire aupairs in US don’t have servants; they are their own servant and you have to pitch in as another adult in the household. Didn’t your parents bring you up this way?
You speak like a person who doesn’t know how much things cost and who was provided for by mommy and daddy all her life. What we are required to offer according to the agency, is a room, food, and transportation to and from cluster meetings and classes.
I offer all that you think is a right for the au pair by the way, but for a text plan she pays herself. It is extra on my bill, and I don’t text – I provide a cell phone not for her personal enjoyment, but for job purposes, for her safety and my peace of mind, so I can know she is safe and my kids are safe. And personal use of a cell phone is a perk. All texting she does is personal, so she pays for it, just as she pays for her phone calls home (not applicable this year because she uses skype for that, but in principle). These are variable expenses and depending on the use, can cost me a lot every month.
If she wants her own phone, it will cost her $50 month, not $10 that she currently pays for texting and I pay the rest. I think she got a pretty good deal.
About the car – I know of clusters in Long Island, where you NEED a car to get around, where almost none of the families offer a car. My friend is a hostparent there and her au pair is the only one who has a car. Guess what, they all find au pairs every year… Maybe not the girls who are used to being waited on and every whim of theirs filfilled immediately, but I am sure they are pretty happy with that.

franzi January 10, 2010 at 12:26 pm

@rafaela i absolutely do not agree with you! there are many great families out there who do not offer what you listed.

and i believe that flashing amenities will draw in the wrong APs, those who take everything for granted, those who have no concept about money and how to spend it wisely.

noone who enters the AP program subsequently gains the right to drive a car, to have a cell phone, or to have an internet access. your rights are stated in the AP contract. they did not say anything about texting, last time i checked.

maleaupairmommy January 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Totally agree with franzi there. I don’t want an au pair who expected the world especially right off the bat when they haven’t proven how reliable, trustworthy, etc. they are. I had basic cell phone not texts, had to share car, etc. with first au pair. he was great, worked hard, and understood this is what we could afford at the time and worked around things. To me that is a selfish au pair who wants the world for nothing. no thanks go home gladly or find a rich family who can give you everything. I may not be rich but I treat my au pairs in small and big ways and they become part of the family

Aupair January 10, 2010 at 11:18 am

I pay for my own transport and phone and use the internet when I want, but sometimes have use of the car when I am not picking up the children, my family are very generous. If you provide the means of communication then that is a basic as is food, however, you can deduct it from her pay. This must all be agreed before and stuck to. I don’t understand families that expect au pairs to pay the phone bill unless used excessively why can’t they make a call for free once a week?

Anna January 10, 2010 at 12:39 pm

because the phone call is not free. Without the international plan (extra), it can be $.25/minute international rate or even more. One hour phone call once a week – $15. If it is “free” for aupair, I doubt she will keep it down to one hour. Per month, extra $60. Not pennies for me, sorry. If au pair is responsible for her own phone calls, she will buy an international calling card which can have rates as cheap as 3 to 5 cents a minute.
If you mean cell phone, I pay for her line and basic minutes. I don’t pay for exceeding them (never happened yet, the allowance is generous) and for texting. She also uses the house phone free for domestic calls (all over US).

Anonymous January 10, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I think many young people have the idea that we , the host parents should just hand over the phone, a car, access to our house for guests, visitors and parties and keep the work to an absolute minimum The truth is that we all work very hard for what we have earned.
Internet access is indeed an extra ; a cell phone for your personal use is extra.
recreational use of the car is an extra ;special treats are extra ; Anna is right : food and a room to live. Certainly you can make a calls now and then but for God’s sake. How many employers pay for a free cell phone, a free car, extra days off and freedom to run the shop exactly as you please. That is absurd. I have heard plenty of stories about terrible host parents but some of these demands from the aupairs show that there are aupairs who are totally off the board , too, in terms of exspectations.

Anonymous January 10, 2010 at 3:07 pm

There is such a large gap here between expectations held by host families and expectations held by au pairs. Most of the host families in this forum continuously refer to au pairs as “employees” or compare them to employees in numerous ways, which set up certain expectations for how they au pair should act/function/need. Au pairs state that they are not employees – since they are living in your home (and most people don’t live with their employer) and want to be treated equally as any member of the family and have access to things like the rest of the family (internet/car/phone).

What are some solutions for bridging this gap which is obviously creating a huge amount of problems?

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