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the biggest concern we have about overlap is keeping the old au pair from sharing biased, incorrect, or soon-to-be-outdated information with the new au pair.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