Who’s Hoo? List of Contributors

by cv harquail on June 25, 2010

Add your screen name and a brief description to our new List of Contributors!

After a few instances where really clever screen names (aka Nom de Mom) have been repeated by new commenters to the site, it’s time to create a list of Who’s Hoo here.

(Yes, the HOO is in honor of the Owl).

If you’d like to ‘claim’, log, or note your screen name, you can do this by adding a comment, below. You can also add a few details about who you are. Please enter your email address when you comment, if you’d like me to be able to follow up with you ‘backstage’ at any point. (I’d  like to be able to do this, if needed).

New readers and commenters can skim the list and see if the clever name they would like to use is available (or not).

If there are situations where two people are using the same screen name, the person who used it first should keep it, while the new(er) person comes up with another clever name.

If you saw a clever screen name on another site or forum that has not been used already here on AuPairMom, I’d recommend that you *not* use it. The Host Parent community is small enough that “Evil Host Mom” over on “HostParentSanity.com” may well be a reader here. You want to keep your identity ‘unique’ so that folks don’t think that every comment from “Evil Host Mom” is from you….

Let’s see Who’s Hoo!

[ Note: this post has only been up for a few hours, and already it’s making me really happy to see names linked with details… and to think about how terrific all of you are as participants in this blog. Feeling kinda lucky. ]

{ 109 comments }

EireAuPair June 25, 2010 at 10:46 am

Okay so I’m gonna do the first entry.

Screenname: EireAuPair
Information: My real name is Isy and I am 20 years. I am an Au Pair in Ireland, thats where my screenname comes from :)

Calif Mom June 25, 2010 at 12:00 pm

While in transition, I decided to start blogging for career reasons. I thought, “Hey, I know! I’ll start a blog about being an au pair host mom, that’s something I know about and would suit the blog format perfectly”. But I quickly discovered that Dr. CV was waaaaay ahead of me. She offers such a useful management theory perspective to these conversations that I’m eternally grateful she got here first.

We live in a stereotypical suburb with an insanely achievement-oriented drive–even the other au pairs are “all above average”. Working parents, morning rushes to get Kid the Elder on the school bus, and a big dog.

If you count every last one of them–including the one who lasted less than 2 weeks–we’ve had 5 au pairs and will welcome our 6th this summer. We’ve had 2 au pairs spend almost 2 years with us. We started au pairing when our youngest child was 2.

I’m a selective control freak–I care a lot about high fructose corn syrup, fiber, and how the silverware is loaded in the dishwasher, but not how the laundry is folded. I never post on other au pair blogs.

PA AP mom June 25, 2010 at 12:04 pm

My name comes from the fact that I live in Pennsylvania and I am the “mom” to an au pair. Wow. very original and creative, huh?

We are on our second, and final (for now), AP. We have had a German princess and a wonderful AP from Sweden who is leaving on August 5th.

Taking a Computer Lunch June 25, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I work with caricature, cartoon, illustration, and popular prints (think Currier & Ives and Thomas Kinkade) at a major US institution, where I’ve worked since 1991. “The Camel” was born in 1999 and has 2 life-threatening medical conditions that keep HD and I on our toes. She has severe mental retardation as well. She’s hysterically funny and knows it. Don’t feel sorry for me – I don’t live a bad life with her. She’s brought lots of wonderful people into my life, including the wonderful women who have been my APs. My son was born in 2000 and The Camel’s opposite – he’s exceptionally bright, loves sports, and talks from dawn to night. He’s also a comedian.

I’ve hosted APs since 2001, including the first, who lived with us for 3 1/2 years, while we tried to sponsor her as an employer. I am a left liberal who strongly believes in treating people fairly, but am no pushover.

NVMom June 25, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Ok I have to ask as I have wondered every time I read your posts, why do you call her “the camel”? Really hope that isn’t offensive but every time I read it I wonder so I thought I would just ask :)

Taking a Computer Lunch June 25, 2010 at 8:01 pm

We used to call her Queen of the Geckos when she just stuck out her tongue, but then when she started launching her dinner, we started calling her The Camel. It’s an affectionate term – but one I hope becomes immediately obvious to people that we’re talking about a special child rather than a typical 11-year-old. She is very good at protecting her airway, so when she feels that she might choke (too much food in her mouth, liquid at all), she spits. It means I get down on my hands and knees and wash my hardwood floors a lot. Even so, she’s the best girl ever. And I’ll never have to put up with her emulating Hannah Montana!

JBLV June 25, 2010 at 1:32 pm

1. Live in the land of “what happens here stays here,” but couldn’t be further from that scene. Would like to move, actually.
2. HD and I work at a major university. I’m in I.T. (webby stuff), he’s an academic.
3. Have a son who is under two. Am expecting a girl in Nov.
4. Have had three AP’s in under a year. First one was sent home because she was a pack-a-day smoker (not disclosed on application). Interim AP (three months), was wonderful (she was finishing her second year). Now on third AP.
5. Could not stomach putting infant in daycare, and AP’s have worked out well in that regard.
6. Lefty liberal. Somewhat conflict averse away from the computer. Somewhat a pushover.

I’ve learned *a lot* from AuPairMom. We literally had no LCC for the first 7 months we were with our current agency (brand new LCC quit just before first AP arrived). We were given no tips or instruction, and had no idea about the pitfalls and weaknesses of the AP program. We believed the marketing. Needless to say, we will be switching to a different agency.

DarthaStewart June 25, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Live in NC. Have hosted a “Brazilion” au-pairs over almost exactly 12 years now. (Since 1998) Most of them have been German, in part because of the driving.

Have four children. – Two Girls and Two Boys.

I work full time outside the home as a geek at a large computer corporation. I like to refer to it as the largest computer company you’ve never heard of. And… As you can see below.. I post a _lot_

Dorsi June 25, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Hmmm….I want to tell you all about myself, but I know my AP reads this blog and I like to maintain my anonymity. I sometimes change inconsequential details in my post (I think I have referred to my child as both a little boy and a little girl at times) to throw her off track. I have no idea if that is working.

I started with APs when my babe was 2 months old. We had a good year 1, and we are have a good year with AP2.

I work outside the home, but not a full 40 hr/week. Our AP is not a necessity, but a luxury (we could make daycare work for us at a lower cost, but AP works so much better).

JBLV June 25, 2010 at 2:40 pm

With you on the necessity vs. luxury point. Daycare would be a lot less expensive for us as well.

2boys2girls June 25, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Host mom in California with (no surprise given screen name) two boys and two girls under the age of eight. Read this site faithfully but have only posted once before…I tend to get on here late in the evening and by then the advice is always so thorough and helpful I feel I have little to add (or the stories/experiences so outrageous that mine seem tame in comparison!) Have hosted 5 au pairs, all from Germany, with only one disaster. Now on our first extension with an incredible au pair.

Host Mommy Dearest June 25, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I also want to remain anonymous so I will leave my agency, where I live, and the nationality of my au pairs as a mystery. I have had a bunch of au pairs (more than 5, but less than DarthaStewart). I consider myself a seasoned HM who still has lots to learn about hosting an AP, and I love this blog. Overall, I have had really good experiences hosting APs, but I think some of the points of pain and agony I have felt over the years could have been avoided or at least lessened if I had the benefit back then of reading all the great advice of cv and all you awesome HMs out there!

MommyMia June 25, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I’m with Dorsi and Host Mommy Dearest on the anonymity. (I thought I was the only person who changed the facts sometimes, because I love a good mystery!)

We started with APs when our youngest was a baby, and may continue for a couple more years, although the thought of ending on a positive note (we have our best-ever, most fantastic AP right now!) does hold some sway. Ours, too, is a bit of a luxury, as I don’t work fulltime outside the home, although I plan to go back at some point, if I can find a job in my profession. Even though we live in a huge right-wing political area (thank goodness it’s not Arizona!) I’m a liberal, which I think is one of the reasons I’m open to learning about other cultures and languages.

I tried to be clever in choosing my name, which obviously was done at about the time of Meryl Streep’s great performance in that movie with the ABBA songs!

AnnaAuPair June 25, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I was an AuPair summer ’08 – summer ’09. First in the NYC area (first AuPair – din’t really work out that well) and later in the Seattle area (wonderful HF w/ 2 adorable kids).
Started reading this blog about half way into my year and totally love it!!

aria June 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Hiya hiya! My name is, as my clever moniker disguises, Aria, and I’m an 18 year old American au pair living in Paris, France. I graduated high school when I was 16, did a study abroad program, lived with a host family for a year (not as an AP) and then decided I wanted to stay in Paris, so I decided to try the AP program. I’ve been with 2 families; one was a disaster, and my current one is good, as much as I complain sometimes. I found this blog before matching with my 1st HF, but I didn’t really get into until I started with my 2nd, and I’m now *addicted.* My daily computer check is this- email, facebook, and AuPairMom!! :D

franzi June 25, 2010 at 3:09 pm

i was an au pair back when emails were a new thing and transatlantic phone calls still cost a little fortune. i switched families once and still am in very good touch with that second host family.

my AP year was a wonderful opportunity and life lesson for me and i hope that some of my advice on here helps others.

Amelie ex-aupair June 25, 2010 at 3:35 pm

I’m an ex au pair from Brazil. I lived in Washington DC during my AP year.
I love AP Mom, it was very useful when I was an au pair, and I kept on reading it becauce I really like AP Mom and the other contributors!

NewAPMama June 25, 2010 at 4:07 pm

I am a high school teacher, and I have two little girls, 3 and 2. We are on our first aupair, hence my moniker. We belong to a very strict and conservative Christian sect, and therefore our lives are a bit different than most. Our aupair is lovely girl from Europe, and has been with us six months. I enjoy reading all the different posts, and have learned quite a bit! Thanks!

NY Host Mom June 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm

I am a host mom in NY (also a clever disguise). However it is central New York State- NOT NYC. I spend a lot of time in matching explaining our small city and lack of proximity to NYC. I am a physician and my husband is an executive. We have three children (all in elementary school) and have been a host family since 2008. We like having an aupair for many reasons and will be welcoming our fourth aupair in July. We host German aupairs because we want the kids to learn some German and because they seem to drive really well. Germans tend to be sticklers when it comes to details, which is a nice addition to our chaotic home! Aupairmom.com has been helpful to me on many issues. It’s helpful to know that we are not navigating this sea alone!

NVMom June 25, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I am a work from home mom with 2 boys and one girl living in “sin city”. Have had 2 au pairs, one a “princess” from Colombia and the other a wonderful au pair from Sweden. Would adopt her if I could. Currently have a nanny through a wonderful service here in town. Really love the convenience of having the “live in” but love the privacy of having a “non live in” as the LCC’s in this area aren’t worth a damn and got tired of the run around with the various agencies. May still consider another au pair at some point in time but really love the nanny we found. LOVE this site as it really does pertain to both nannies and au pairs.

JBLV June 25, 2010 at 4:44 pm

yay! another person from NV.

Az. June 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Az is an old nickname, not my real name, and I’m a soon-to-be university student (studying languages.) I’m 18 and from the UK, and was an au pair in Germany in late 2009/early 2010 while on my gap year. It didn’t work out, for various reasons, but I would consider trying again in a different country during my university summer vacations. I would also consider hosting au pairs in the future, if I ever have children — if being an au pair taught me anything, it’s that I could never be a SAHM! (Is that a terrible thing? :D)

I’ve been reading this site since last September, when I first started thinking about au pairing, and it’s been useful in many ways… teaching me what to expect before I started, giving me new things to think about if I match with another family in the future (I now have a totally different idea on what I want in a family!) and most importantly giving me the host family’s perspective on situations. Even though I don’t always comment, it’s one of my most-visited sites!

franzi June 26, 2010 at 2:51 am

oh no, it’s not a bad thing! i feel the same way! i guess we learned a valuable lesson as APs :-)

ExAP June 27, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Something I really learned from my AP year was that I don’t want any children the next 9-11 years… (I’m 21)
I don’t think it’s a bad thing- it’s better than becoming a parent without having a clue about children and all.

Momabear June 25, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Hey, Momabear here, I have two bear cubs, Baby Bear and Babycakes. I work full time outside of the home and I’ve had 2 AP’s so far. I hope to be hosting for many years to come but am not too sure if I would be saying this if I had not found this site.

Love the humour, candour and honesty that’s present mixed with sound support. Sometimes you need to hear from another who is sharing similar experiences as you (AP’s & HF’s alike) even if they don’t agree with your viewpoint.

BLJ Host Mom June 25, 2010 at 5:37 pm

At the beginning I used my first name, because I was all sunshine and roses and had nothing to hide. Then when I decided on this moniker as a disguise the first time I had to write about something anonymously. Perhaps now would be the time to change it to something creative, uh, but that would take some energy I don’t have.

Anyway, I live in the Pacific Northwest, have my first Au Pair, who leaves shortly. I have 3 kids ranging in age from 6months to 6 years. I’m still breastfeeding and pumping and a really involved mom who also works a million hours a week. We’ve tried every form of childcare, and since this year has gone so great, we are welcoming a new AP in a few months. So far, both from Germany.

This site has been so valuable to me and my sanity. Even when the situations or problems are ones that I can’t personally relate to (yet), it is a reminder of how much tougher it could be and it encourages me to be grateful for the problems I do not have, rather than those that I do. I know NO real life people who have or have had an AP. My friends act like it’s some form of hoitey-toitey childcare, (i.e. “oooooo, a live in European Nanny, must be nice”, it is nice, very nice, an emotional investment that also a lot of work and energy and the least expensive form of childcare for 3 little ones, it’s nice in ways they aren’t imagining). So here everyone knows what’s nice about it and whats hard about it. From the first question I asked, I got so much advice from caring, educated, and articulate women. I love the responsiveness and support here.

Thanks ladies, thanks CV!

anonmom June 29, 2010 at 10:29 am

I can appreciate the lack of understanding of other ‘friends’ who think we are uppity with an au pair!!! if only they knew the amount of energy expended!! That is why I think I am done after this AP, I feel like I don’t have the energy left to initiate a new AP and worry about her social life, our car, etc!!! Although I have to say we have been very fortunate with some amazing young women- now extended family!

CO Host Mom June 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm

I’m both a host mom and also the LCC for my area of Colorado. Currently in Year 2 with an incredible AP, getting ready to welcome our next one from France in August. Three kids – ages 11, 10 and 3.

West Coast Mom June 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Hello everyone,

I’m a California host mom of two boys. HD and I both work in technology, in demanding full time jobs.

We sent our first (disaster) AP home early, but – hope springs eternal – will welcome our second in a few short weeks. I’ve been reading this blog for more than a year, but didn’t become an active participant until the last few months, when things started to go south with our first AP. Then, and now, the support and advice here has been invaluable.

I am now addicted to this blog, and the wise and witty women who participate here. I check it more times each day than is healthy.

theGermanGirl-FutureAP June 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm

I am theGermanGirl – if I ever get a match the “Future AP” will be replaced with the city I’ll be based in, e.g. “theGermanGirl-XY-AP”

I am quirky, funny, outgoing and I’m really exited to be an au pair in America, I always strive to be the best person I can be and I love learning new things every day.

I love this blog because it helps me to be just that; to get an insight of what host-parents expect and to see what exactly makes a good au-pair and how I can improve personally. :)

Chev June 25, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Hey,
I use the same name on all the posting boards i post on, which lately is just here and my company community board.
I’m an au pair and i’m a repeater. I came over the first time as a shy unassertive 18 year old and had 2 families, one really awesome one that i still keep in contact with, and one not so great one that taught me a lot in a not so great way :)
Right now i’m with a wonderful family near Seattle looking after 2 gorgeous toddlers and an extremely lovable canine 3rd child :D

Sota Gal June 25, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Hey! Though my screen name is Sota Gal, I no longer live in any of the ‘Sotas….not Sarasota, Minnesota nor am I a member of SOTA. I grew up in Minnesota, moved to the east coast in 99 and settled in Austin in 04. I have fully lost my Fargo-esqe accent, except for when I say Minnesota (say it like they do in the movie Fargo – c’mon I know you are saying it in your head now!) so Sota Gal I will forever be.

I have 3 kids, an 8 year old, 3 1/2 year old twins and a dog. Don’t have a real job aside from being a mom but I still manage to keep busy. Help DH with his business, volunteer a ton at our elementary school and for a local dog rescue organization, shuttle kids to various activities, etc. Having an AP has been a luxury for us to a certain degree though its been a lifesaver when DH travels and when our twins were younger. We usually divide and conquer with the kids so that one has the twins and the other has the oldest and our AP’s usually don’t end up working more than 35 hours in any given week.

We have hosted 5 AP’s since we started in December of 2007 and we are taking a little break for now. Once we get through summer I’m sure we’ll be hosting another AP. Our first was wonderful and we’ve had a series of fiascos since then with flashes of greatness.

I have learned so much from this site and I really do feel that it’s helped me become a better host mom and I love to contribute when I can.

NoVA Host Mom June 25, 2010 at 11:34 pm

I’m a HM in the DC Metro area, on our 2nd AP. Unfortunately, the first one provided us with more than a little “life experience” in being HPs. Luckily, we were blessed in the rematch and that AP is currently extending with us. I just had our 2nd child, which is why I was away from the board for a few months (she was not a happy baby, but we may have now figured it out: milk protein allergy!). More than happy to be back (and happy to get more than 2 hours of sleep at a time, usually), as I missed you all and the great chatter and information. Been following the board for about a year (or has it been longer?), and really love the great tips I have gleened from other HPs. I have also found the AP point of view rather interesting sometimes. Oh, and DH and I have jobs with funky schedules, so I might be AWOL for a day or two, but I always come back and catch up!

maleaupairmommy June 25, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I am a mom of male au pairs. I had one female au pair and that was a totally diaster so no more for me. I am a mom of three: a 6 year old boy, 5 year old boy, and 4 year old girl. Yeah I know oldest is adopted and yeah I’m one of those stories once you adopt you are finally able to have your own. All my au pairs even the not so good one keep in contact with us our last one lives nearby and is now Uncle. Our current one is the best so far. and Our 5th and 4th male au pair arrives in Janurary. I know a lot about male au pairs so just ask if you have questions plus I am a big advocate for the ones I found on the boards and give them hope that yes they will get picked and cheer with them when they finally get match. I know so great male au pairs looking for families sadly many of been waiting months to find a match.

maleaupairmommy June 25, 2010 at 11:40 pm

I live in WA state

maleaupairmommy June 25, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Wow! That is cool. I think you will love it. Please keep us updated on how it goes. Of course there is always personality mix but I have a feeling a little/lot less drama!!!! I’m prejudice about it all. They will bring different talents and fill out your needs. Male au pairs are different to host in some many ways bad and good. I’m excited for you. You are brave in so many levels. Wish I could meet you in real life.

NC AP June 26, 2010 at 5:43 am

I do not contribute a lot (mainly because I usually feel like everything I would like to say has been said in a previous comment), but I am a daily reader and LOVE this website!

I don’t want to give too much detail because I’d like to maintain my anonymity (who knows if my former host families are on this site, too), just this much: I am a former au pair from Europe and lived in three different families during my year in the States. Most of the year I spent in NC, that’s where my screen name comes from. Due to the rematches, my year wasn’t easy, but the hard times taught me a lot and I enjoyed the good times with my third family. In my third family I took care of three kids (a toddler, a first grader and a preteen).

StephinBoston June 26, 2010 at 7:59 am

I live in the Boston suburbs, 4th au pair joining us in September. DH and I both work demanding jobs, I work more standard hours but make up for it after the kids go to bed. I have the luxury of working from home, so in home childcare has been so great. I get to see my kids a lot. We’ve had nannies, I much prefer the au pair experience even with the good,the bad and the ugly.
We have 2 boys with (5,3) as well #3 on the way(Feb 2011), which gave me a huge scare that I’d have to break the match with incoming AP due to the lack of infant qualification. Turns out she had tons of experience, so we are all set now, what a relief!

Jan June 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

I live in Pennsylvania on a farm but about 1 mile from the border with Suburban America and 10 minutes away from more shopping malls than I can count. I have 2 young boys and 3 step-children who are college-age and beyond which makes our house full to overflowing during the holidays. I have hosted 6 au pair’s over 6 years. DH and I both work for our family business.

I really enjoy this blog because CV does a good job posting thoughtful issues and the responses are always so great.

Karin Six June 26, 2010 at 11:46 am

Hi everyone! I am an LCC in San Diego and love reading au pair mom! It has really helped me gain further insight into my job as an LCC. I also run a website for aupairs who are in transition named http://www.incountryaupair.com. The main reason for this site is to keep the good au pairs here.

Ext. AP June 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Hi! I think this website is great! is it only for cultural care APs?…I just signed in, but I’m not sure what I need to do next…THANKS! :D

cv harquail June 27, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Hi Ext. AP-
This blog is mostly for host parents but also APs participate. It’s for host families and APs in the USA, from any agency. We also have folks from outside the US contribute ideas and topics too. Cultural Care has a nice online site for its own community, so if you are with Cultural Care you should check it out. Keep participating here too! cv

NC AP June 27, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I think Ext. AP’s question was about the site Karin Six mentioned ;)

Former Aupair June 26, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Hello,

I’m a former aupair from Brasil, with a wonderful story. I came to US in 2006 to be an aupair for an Army Colonel while his wife, was deployed in Iraq for 15 months. It was the most amazing experience I had in my whole entire life. I learned how to love two amazing girls, be a mom for 15 months, being awake when they had a fervor, give them love when their missed the real mom, cry on the phone when the mom called me just to check out her kids, and have the little ones refusing to talk to her because they didn’t remember her.
Anyways, mom came back safe and sound, I had to say good bye to the little ones. Oh.. Did I mentioned that they become my extensive family??? Well, I guess kids now have 2 moms, and we are all happy. I decided to stay, just finished my Masters Degree in Business, got married, and now I’m the one looking forward to have an aupair :)

Deb Schwarz June 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm

CV – great idea! I post here regularly and have enjoyed meeting everyone. I have hosted 16 au pairs (does that make me the “grandma”?) and without sounding too schmaltzy, I really do believe that our lives would not have been the same without the influence of these wonderful girls (….still working on my husband on getting a male au pair….). I promise I will write a guest post on how we got to 16 au pairs, but suffice it to say that we overshot the mark on kid #2 and got #2,#3 and #4 all at once (yup, I had a litter) – so with four babes under the age of 2, we hired two au pairs at the same time until they all went to school. We have traveled the world with our many au pairs, and hope to go to many weddings. I’m also an LCC for Cultural Care (I’ve been a host mom with several difference agencies), and particularly enjoy the matching process – “finding the right fit for families” as I think that’s the most important part in the whole process. My website is: http://www.dschwarz.aupairnews.com, but I’m “ruminating” on a blog which I promise myself that I’ll get up and running this summer.

Deb Schwarz June 26, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Forgot to mention – I live in Marin County, CA (across the bridge from the Golden Gate Bridge) – but yearn to move to the Southeast where life is a bit slower paced and less expensive (and you can actually swim in the ocean!). I grew up in rural Eastern PA, went to college in NC (go Demon Deacons!) grad school in Georgia – and have lived in Minneapolis, San Francisco, Australia, Scotland (hubby is from there), England, Boston – but keep coming back to Mill Valley, CA. Our kids are 11 (girl who looks and acts more like a teenager), and the triplets (b,g,g) are 9. I’ve worked in market research, advertising, branding, real estate – and now thinking about going back to market research.

Talliecat June 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Hi everyone- I live in Midcoast Maine with my husband, 2 children ( 3 and 6), dog, 2 cats and our au pair from Germany. I stumbled upon this blog last summer in the midst of our 1st au pair from Finland who was escorted home because she had a nervous breakdown. We have our 2nd au pair with us now from Germany who will be leaving us in a month and then we will get a new German au pair. I travel for work ( I work for a publisher and sell textbooks to college professors) and my husband has his own business and the flexibility of having an au pair has really worked for us. Thanks for this blog as it keeps me sane.

aria June 26, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Now THAT sounds like an interesting story!! Nervous breakdown??

OnceAnAuPair June 26, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Hi everyone,
I was an au pair in 2009/2010 in Switzerland. I married my boyfriend that I met while in Switzerland and now live with him in Switzerland. I’ve been a full time nanny for the past year but will have my last day as a nanny in 2 months. My husband and I are moving and we’ve decided my main priority needs to be intensive French lessons so that I can finally use my degree :).
The family I was an au pair wasn’t the greatest, they had some positives though. I used to nanny a toddler that I was very attached to, but had to quit to circumstances beyond my control. I still miss the baby a lot and think about him. The family I work for now is 2 young girls.They’re very good girls and a lot of fun. I’m sad to be leaving their family, as they’re great but that’s life.

Anyway, I love hearing all the stories of the parents here. Especially the stories that come from moms that seem like they treat their au pairs great! I wish I would have had an better experience as an au pair from a family that cared.

Natt June 26, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Hi!
I’m Natt, and live in Australia with 2 gorgeous daughters (nearly 5 & 2), a husband, and an aupair (currently one from Sweden). We’re about to embark on aupair #6 next month! I work as a nurse, and my husband runs his own business. We’ve had some ‘interesting’ experiences as a host family :D

Amelie ex au pair June 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Wow, Australia! Never heard of anyone being an au pair there.

Is there an official au pair program in Australia?

Chev June 27, 2010 at 9:07 pm

I got an email from the home office in Sydney saying that CC were going to have an Australia inbound program with German and Swedish au pairs. Sounds like they’re still in the planning phase though so not sure how long it’ll be until that happens.

AP-CA June 28, 2010 at 12:40 am

Aupaircare has a programm in australia I think. – At least you can apply for that programm with the German Organization Ayusa

Natt June 27, 2010 at 7:24 am

Hi Amelie
Having an aupair isn’t that common in Australia but they do exist! There is no set government program for aupairs, but there are some agencies which charge a fortune to help families find an aupair! I chose to not use an agency because there is nothing they can do for me that I couldn’t do myself (eg: criminal record checks, reference checks). We use aupairworld.net to find our aupairs, and the one absolute disaster aupair we had was found elsewhere :D

DarthaStewart June 27, 2010 at 9:10 am

THat is the kind of situation I had when I had two au-pairs for a while. I swear… I didn’t get 2X the coverage/help. More like 1.2X.. They even would say how well they got along, yet they’d eat two different lunches during the day. OMG. And, honestly with 4 kids, and activities in 4 different directions some days, we could use the help, but nope.

I hope that you get your AP situation settled. I know it’s been my year for craziness. I’m ready to get into a rut again.

NewAPMama June 28, 2010 at 4:09 pm

What’s wrong with eating two different lunches? Just because they work together, they have to eat the same thing?

DarthaStewart June 28, 2010 at 6:07 pm

The point is that there was absolutely no cooperation between them. None.

NewAPMama June 29, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Oh, well, another illustration would have been more beneficial. LOL. My husband and I don’t even eat the same things usually.

DarthaStewart June 30, 2010 at 11:07 am

It was double the pots and pans, and each one usually made a huge elaborate lunch. And then neither one was really keen on super cleaning the kitchen, so it was only ever “kinda sorta” clean. – splatters behind the stove never got cleaned up, grease left under burners, etc.

I found that I was still having to remind them to take out the diapers, etc. The kids rooms upstairs were completely ignored unless I reminded them to do them, etc.- and even then, it was only half done.

Anna June 27, 2010 at 11:50 am

I don’t use this name on other boards I post on, but I post here pretty often. So, I want to lay claim to this name, even though it is very common one (there was an Anna au pair posting here too)
I am overdue with my third child right now (and miserable). I am a working mom to two kids – a 6 year old girl and a 4 year old boy. I work full time and I am a scientist/engineer. We’ve hosted au pairs since my son was 10 months old (after trying everything, from daycares – institutional and home-based, and a string of mostly disaster nannies), so we just started our 4th year in May. The second year of hosting was a disaster, with two rematches. But I feel I have learned a lot and mainly, learned to pick a winner every time. Last year we had a great au pair and this year’s au pair is looking even better.
I have tried two agencies, two years with the first one, one year with the second, now back to the first one. I feel like I learned a lot about the agencies and different matching processes too…
Most of our au pairs have been Brazilian. Four Brazilians (three stellar women, one good girl but who couldn’t do the job properly and ended up in a rematch), and one Russian who has been a true disaster all 8 months she has been with us…
Both me and my husband grew up in different countries (different from US and different from each other), so I feel like I really know what these girls go through when they come here and I feel very proud being able to become a part of their life-changing year here.
We are also orthodox Jewish and our household has some specific rules that an au pair has to be able to live with (mostly regarding the diet and the kitchen). We don’t specifically look for Jewish au pairs – we look for tolerant girls who are not antisemitic and do believe in G-d, so that they can respect our beliefs. I find that Brazilians usually fit that mold.
Ok, now I’ve given myself completely away, I am sure anyone who knows me will recognize me reading this.
I also am a prolific referrer to the au pair program. Last year (with the second agency) I earned a good chunk of money in successful referral fees. After my first year with the program, which was great, both my sister and best friend switched to au pair childcare for their kids. Now – as a bonus – I feel guilty every time something goes wrong with their au pair experience, LOL

ExAP June 27, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I’ve been an au pair in the US for one year. Now I’m back home and studying.
My au pair experience was interesting and it really influenced my life, more than any other of the 21 years I’m alive.
So I once saw the link to this blog and thought why not looking at the Host Parent view for a change?!
It’s always interesting what you guys comment here- even though I sometimes have the complete opposite view.
I hope you like some comments from another angle :)

Jeana June 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm

I like this site so much that I’m still visiting, even though we don’t have an aupair at this time! I am a single, adoptive mom. I chose to host our first aupair when my oldest daughter was going to attend K and would only be at school for part of the day. She was still going for occupational therapy and speech therapy, at that time. We were blessed with an incredible aupair who quickly became part of our family. She returned to her home country at the end of her year with us, applied for a visa to be a student in the US., and lived with us for two more years. My daughter was in school full-time, and I didn’t need an aupair at that time. I adopted my younger daughter several months before our previous aupair returned to her country to complete her education. When I returned after my second adoption, my younger daughter went into a small home daycare situation. I was glad that my younger daughter had a little time to get to know Ms. Johanna, as she is important to us. We’ll travel to Germany in the future to visit her. My younger daughter was almost three when she came to the US and had a very tough time adjusting. I quickly knew she couldn’t be in a traditional daycare setting, and made plans for bringing another aupair to our family. My daughter has had seven surgeries in the past four years. We’ve also had a speech therapist come to our home weekly, and an attachment therapist, too. After our dream situation, I had two aupairs that were removed from the program and told to return to their home countries. I feel that I would have dealt with those situations much faster, if I’d had the support of this group. I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve learned from those mistakes, and been determined to learn from those who have experience and wisdom to share. After our two tough situations, we had two wonderful aupairs, both from China. My daughters were born in China, and I’m so happy that we’ve developed friendships with young women from their birth countries.

I am an ESL teacher, and I think that this has helped me to deal with some of the cultural issues, and to be an advocate for our aupairs as they’ve pursued their education. I’ve also had fun helping our aupairs and their friends with English!

I think that the international travel that I’ve done has also helped me understand the absolute shock people can experience in a new land…I spent three summers in Russia, without speaking the language…oh, my! I’ve traveled in Europe, and Asia, to adopt my daughters. I spent time in Israel and Egypt. These experiences have led me to the belief that I need to help our new aupairs get settled before I can hope that they can focus on my children. I give priority to getting them state IDs, bank accounts, library cards, etc., college enrollment, etc. I try to drive consistent routes in the early weeks with our aupairs, so that they get some understanding of where they are located and are not feeling that they’re in a constant state of confusion.

I send very detailed letters of introduction. I read samples people wrote that were half a page long and thought, “Is that all????” My letters of intro were between 14 and 17 pages long. You think you might want to come live with MY family? Let me tell you ALL about us, the good and the not so hot. I also send a copy of our family book, via e-mail, so that our aupairs have every opportunity to know how we live together. Yes, those darned family books take a long time to put together, but I thought if I ever got run over by a semi, my sister could walk in and know everything she needed to know about our routines!!! Also, I got the flu the morning after picking up our fourth aupair, and that family book helped a whole lot during the two days I was hiding from my family. I knew we had a keeper when our aupair just took over, day #1, and kept my kids away from me until I was better.

I have always loved the opportunities to learn from people from different parts of the world. My philosophy has been that we don’t begin to examine our own culture until we’re rubbing bellies with another culture. Hosting aupairs has been an experience of rubbing bellies with another culture. I’ve been fortunate that our aupairs have been willing to have great conversations where we can learn ways that our countries are similar and different. I had the most fascinating conversation with our aupair, Dikun, about crime and punishment. I also learned from her that seeing cemetery’s so close to residential areas in the US is very different than what would happen in China. Dikun told me that people would be too afraid of the ghosts to live close to a cemetery. April, our most recent aupair, has the most wonderful laugh, and we had so many happy times together. She also taught us how to make Chinese dumplings. My younger daughter calls them “dump-a-lings”. I haven’t been brave enough to make them since she left, though!!!

For families that truly want to give their time to a young woman, support her dreams, and be there to guide her when her parents are not nearby, I can’t imagine a more wonderful opportunity for everyone: families that need childcare, children who can make friends with people from different parts of the world, and young women who are pursuing one of their dreams. I guess that is the reason that I still show up here, even though we are not hosting an aupair at this time. When I was starting our experience, I didn’t have this site to connect with others. I didn’t have friends that had hosted aupairs. I was learning, but on my own. I know the value of the information that is shared here. So, I’ll stop by now and again.

Calif Mom June 28, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Hi Jeana!

Nice to hear from you again, Jeana. I really appreciate your sharing this important reminder, as I get ready to welcome our next au pair:

“These experiences have led me to the belief that I need to help our new aupairs get settled before I can hope that they can focus on my children. I give priority to getting them state IDs, bank accounts, library cards, etc., college enrollment, etc. I try to drive consistent routes in the early weeks with our aupairs, so that they get some understanding of where they are located and are not feeling that they’re in a constant state of confusion.

Euromom June 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Euromom here, and as the name suggests, I’m in Europe so some of the rules I follow are different to those follwed in the US.

I have two children, one teenager and a toddler. I work work full time (outside of the home) and my hours are long, long, long! (HD’s hours are much better so AP’s hours are not too bad!) but I really need the flexibilty an AP offers.

We’re quite a young family so I relate quite easily to mosts APs and in general when it comes to posting I like to play devils advocate just to try to see things from the other side of the fence.

I recently did a guest post “Read My Diary” which will give you a glimpse of who I am as a person and if there were three words I would use to describe myself they would be: fiery, fun & fair.

Should be working June 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I’ll keep the details to myself, for the purposes of anonymity as well, but I’ve got 2 school-aged kids and am on my second au pair after a rematch earlier this year. I have learned SO MUCH about hosting au pairs from this site and my own experience, and I really appreciate some of the comments and advice.

I feel like we have had more than our share of drama in less-than-one-year of hosting, having been through issues (not necessarily in this order) of au pair depression, pregnancy scare, sleazy dressing, driving rules being broken, a smoker passing herself off as a non-smoker, rematch, au pair favoring one child over another, and–everyone’s favorite–our au pair coming home at 6:55am in club clothes and smeared makeup, and from there going directly to making breakfasts and lunches for kids.

On the other hand, it’s been fun and the kids like the au pairs, and it is a great and flexible form of childcare. HD and I are not sure we’ll host again, but I LOVE the blog and check it way too often, especially when I SHOULD BE WORKING.

Aupairgal June 27, 2010 at 5:03 pm

I’m an Texan working as an aupair in Germany currently. You could probably already call me an expatriate, as I never plan to leave. I have a bachelors in Material Engineering and will start my Masters soon here in Germany. I honestly became an aupair to better my German(otherwise I couldn’t start studying here) but have gotten a lot out of my experience, mostly in regards to child raising knowledge. Unfortunately in hindsight though(I’m almost done with my year), if I had to do it again, I am not sure I would want to do it again. I very much enjoy my family, but it has been very stressful at times. Mostly because you live where you work but still don’t get much of a say in how the living situation is run. I have a lot of work experience and have lived on my own for quite a while and maybe because of that I very much miss the division of work and private life.
Anyway, I really like this site and contribute when I can but next year will probably be too busy for me to take part. I wish everyone the best of luck in their aupair endeavors.

Anonmom June 27, 2010 at 8:08 pm

I am a crazy host mom of 6 au pairs. On 7th year (or something like that- had old au pair return for a bit). Both my husband and I work outside the home full time, but he has a lengthy commute. I work as an attorney somewhere on Long Island- (about 60 miles or so off New York City). But since I work for the government, you’re all on a need to know basis. :)

Anyway, we have 3 children and I truly have enjoyed the au pair program. I have referred many people to it, and have assisted numerous au pairs with sticky situations. Our home is always a welcoming one, and other au pairs have confided in me and sought help- now whether they followed that advice, that’s another story entirely! When we first went the au pair route, it was after having 2 in daycare and paying the equivalent of a mortgage for daycare- wish I knew more about the au pair program sooner than I did.
All of our prior au pairs except for one, have returned numerous times to visit. I tell them our door is always open, as they are part of our extended family now. We have hosted some of their family members, as well, and that has also been enjoyable.

Now, for the scary times ahead, we are considering moving onward away from the au pair program since our children are all school age. We will see if we have any luck this september in finding a suitable afterschool babysitter/taxi driver replacement. (OK- we did try that last, year, too- but ended up with another au pair! this time I’m really going to try and look!)

Love this site. I miss the old au pairs/nannies board that ivillage used to host, as I was an active participant there. So, I am very happy to be here for the candid advice, and opinions! ONly those in the au pair program can truly inderstand all the nuances invloved!

NJMom June 28, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Oooh, same boat here. Both children finally in fullday school and I can’t justify the expense anymore. I’m a bit nervous about it as it really has been a godsend.

PA AP mom June 28, 2010 at 3:05 pm

We are also moving on from the AP program when our year ends in August. I am sad about leaving, but that’s the way it is. Both our boys are in school full-time and I can’t justify the expense for 25 hours/week.

Should be working June 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm

My kids are school-age, but I figured that AP care is not as much of a sheer luxury as it looks when I consider that afterschool care would be $18/hr (multiplied by 10 hrs/wk), plus weekend/evening babysitting ($20 x 5 hrs/wk). And then for the cost of the AP I also get the bit of household help (not as much as I’d hope), plus sick-child care, and flexibility.

OB Mom June 28, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Agree with Should be working … we started the AP program when both kids became school age(d)! Our schools start so late (9:05) that we’d either have to have them in both pre and after school care and when would their activities get done (e.g. piano, sports, allergy shots). I trust that now that they are older that they can communicate better with the younger/inexperienced girls. I do wonder what to do once they get to that early-teen age though …

PA AP mom June 28, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Our after school care will be $240/week for both. Much less than what we pay for AP, room and board, car and car insurance. Add tuition and gas and it’s not even close.

I keep trying to find ways to justify it, but I just can’t.

anonmom June 29, 2010 at 10:41 am

Yup- there is the expense of aftercare- that is proibitive for three kids, but we need someone to taxi them to their activities. Perhaps we need a new topic for a board— pros and cons of moving on without an AP!!!
It is a scary thought, as my job is quite demanding, I have told my husband that he has to step up to the plate if the kids are sick- he will have to be the one to call in sick! The summer is another issue- but I can always have an old au pair come back for the summer without the expense of agency fees.
And, just when I thought we would not have expense of 3rd car, it cost us $1200 this month to fix- need it to last the summer, so now after paying to fix it we will have that expense anyway!

NewAPMama June 29, 2010 at 10:54 am

I take that since you won’t be using an agency that your aupair would be coming here on a tourist visa and working, illegally? And not paying taxes, either? Awesome.

anonymous June 29, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Perhaps her previous AP will be coming back LEGALLY to be a guest in her home for 10 weeks and to help her out in exchange for a plane ticket, the opportunity to have a place to stay for free (board included) in the US, a car to drive, some independece from living with her parents back home, a chance to practice her English, and a chance to visit friends. Sometimes there is a quid-pro-quo which is legal and mutually beneficial.

BlstMum June 27, 2010 at 8:41 pm

I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of five. I am looking forward to hosting our first Au Pair from eastern Europe in August. Kiddos are 11, 11, 8, 4 and 8 months. We pre-matched with the sister of an acquaintance whom I met briefly several years ago.

I really enjoy reading about everyone’s experiences, especially as I prepare my home, my family and myself (!) for a new addition to the household. I’m particularly interested in reading about the experiences of other SAHMoms and how they manage their time and their au pair’s responsibilities.

This is a great resource–nice to “meet” you all!

SotaGal June 27, 2010 at 11:51 pm

I too am a SAHM for the most part. I help my husband with his business from time to time and I volunteer at our elementary and a local animal rescue. I don’t homeschool but have had 2 1/2 years with au pairs while I work minimally. When all 3 kids are home we will often divide up the kids – 3 1/2 year old twins and an 8 year old. One will take the oldest while the other takes the twins but when I am busy our AP will care for all three. I use google calendar to manage our schedules, school, activities, appointments and special dates. After I have made the weekly schedule we will sit down together and look at the calendar and choose who does what when we can. For example, I love to watch our sons activities so I’ll usually take him to train while our AP enjoys picking up our girls from preschool and going to the bus stop on school days. She’ll make trips to pick up groceries to get us through the week (which I despise) and I’ll happily do laundry.

When our AP is working, she knows that she is fully in charge of the kids and is expected to care for them and control them. I won’t pop in to help, say hello or provide any redirection or discipline. However, I can hear whats going on and it allows me to provide feedback to our new AP’s as it seems like discipline can be a challenge for some.

BBBG June 28, 2010 at 12:39 am

I’m a mom of 4 young children, and hosted an au pair this past year. This was following a great 4-year run with an American sitter (preceded and proceded by a couple of disasters). I’ve enjoyed the great advice posted here (such as ideas for our Au Pair Handbook tome, and ideas for dealing with a horrendous au pair driver who came advertising driving skills, among other things). I’ve worked part-time in the years since our first child’s birth, and have a hubby who travels a bit. We don’t know many other families who have au pairs, and our families are out of town, so I appreciate this blog – – such a great resource! I’ve posted under various “noms de plume” but think I’ll stick with this one from here on out.

HRHM June 28, 2010 at 2:05 am

I am a 4th time HM (if you count the one that lasted 24hrs) in the Hampton Roads area. DH and I are both military (as is everyone in HR LOL) and have 2 little girls. We started with APs when we were geographically separated and have continued, mainly for the convenience of not having to get them up at the crack of dawn (we both have to be at work before 7) I am about to deploy so now she will be a true necessity again. We have had a rough road with our APs and I’m still not sure if we are going to stick with this form of childcare for much longer (one kiddo is in preschool and the other in school).

Aria June 28, 2010 at 4:06 am

I’m from Hampton Roads!!!!!! :) I won’t ask where you are for privacy’s sake but nice to meet you!

Aupairgal June 28, 2010 at 5:12 am

Haha, I always thought your screen name stood for Her Royal Host Mom.

MommyMia June 28, 2010 at 4:43 pm

As did I! BTW, Aria & HRHM, I read a candidate’s app. who preferred to be in Hampton Roads if anyone there is looking right now. She had previously been nearby you in VA in 2007, I believe. (Hope it wasn’t one of your previous ones, but it sounds like she’s got a good recommendation from her previous host family!)

AZ HM June 28, 2010 at 3:36 am

Unoriginal screen name – I’m a HM from AZ :-). We are getting ready to extend with our second AP. Considered hosting an AP after our first child was born 6 years ago, but got hooked into a good situation with a nanny…the good situation went bad after a few years and at the same time we learned we would be having surprise #3. So, instead of having a grand 40th bday celebration, our family planned for our 3rd baby by getting a minivan (that could accommodate 3 car seats) and getting rid of my home office (to accommodate an aupair). My husband and I both studied abroad in our youth and were very interested in the cultural learning that would take place when we hosted an AP…not to mention having dependable childcare. We didn’t get the kind of cultural exchange we hoped for with our first AP (though she was a good AP)…we are thrilled with our second. Our little ones are 6g, 4b, and 1g. HD and I both work at a local university and have very flexible schedules, but put in a ton of work hours. An AP has been a perfect childcare solution for us. I really appreciate this blog and love the virtual community, even though I don’t post really often…I read regularly! Thanks to you all for all you share.

clairetheaupair June 28, 2010 at 4:20 am

I think the name gives it away pretty easily but my names Claire and I’m an au pair from an english speaking country, working in an english speaking country (not US – so no hours, no clusters, no handbook, no ‘rules’ really). And no matter what they say, a cultural difference does exist. I’m about halfway through my year away.

I have a pretty unique situation in that, its a single parent household – just the Dad, whose wife passed away fairly recently and the kids; 13g, 11b, 7b. This has its ups and downs. I have to act a lot of the time as both an friend, sister and mother to thekids (sometimes I feel like I never get time out unless I physically leave the house, but I knew that getting into the situation and I think it works well for my personality type (I think I would struggle with a working from home mum situation). The perks though are huge, I get taken on every holiday, every outing – anywhere where an extra set of hands or just a girly friend for the only girl in the family.

I don’t post that often, cos I don’t feel like I have anything to add, especially as I feel my situation doesn’t lend itself to some of the discussions taking place. However, when I have, you’ve all been so nice :)

I read often, sometimes learning that the situation I’m in is fantastic, and other times finding myself agreeing with the ‘moanings’ of other au pairs (your au pair is not a house keeper, for example) Mostly though, reading just makes me want to continue the experience, perhaps in another country; do need to get back to the ‘real world’ eventually.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to write so much!

BusyMom June 28, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I’ve been reading Aupairmom for a year and a half now and am thrilled to see how the community has grown. I’ve learned a lot and, consequently, am a better host mom. I read every post, and it’s great to have so many sources & opinions for tips and advice.

I have three school-aged kids, who are each involved in multiple activities, and I am self-employed with a part-time schedule. Add to that my volunteer activities (“overcommitted” is my middle name!), DH’s full-time work schedule and his volunteer activities, and you see why my blogname is BusyMom. Our childcare needs have evolved over the years and we currently need a combination of driver, meal preparer and reminder (i.e., remember to bring XYZ with you to school) with a bit of referee thrown in. Plus, we need a split schedule.

After 10 years of live-in nannies, we transitioned to an au pair primarily because of increased flexibility and reduced cost. I’ve toyed with the idea of using college students or a live-in housekeeper, but have dismissed these as being too flaky and too expensive/hard to find respectively. Aftercare at the schools is impractical for us because of extracurricular activities. Plus, it phases out in middle school. Leaving the kids alone is not an option both because of their ages and the driving aspect.

I would love to hear more from families with older kids so see when they have phased out of the au pair program and what they’ve converted to. After 12 years of sharing our home, I would love to have it back to ourselves, but anticipate the continued need for a driver, cook, and reminder for 8 more years until the oldest two are in college and the youngest is driving!

Anonmom June 29, 2010 at 9:54 am

Hi Busymom!

I too am beyond busy! I have 3 children all school aged now, the eldest is 10, youngets 6. So, we are toying with finding someone aside from au pair this upcoming year. trying to look at pros and cons, and I will let you know how search goes! Current au pair leaves mid Sept, so we figure worst case scenario, if we don’t find anyone right away, will use after care and go from there! We, too, need tutor/taxi driver/ referee/ short order cook!

Busy Mom June 29, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Anonmom,

Do come back a let us know how it goes! I would love to transition to something different, but have difficulty figuring out what could meet our needs.

My 2 cents June 28, 2010 at 3:34 pm

I post often but I’m not posting much here because, well, I prize my anonymity and I feel much safer if I don’t share any details.

We have younger children and have had several au pairs. Overall, our experience has been very positive. My children were in full-time daycare and I have to say that wasn’t any better or worse than what we have now, just different. We do the au pair program because it offers us the flexibility that daycare does not. It’s also super expensive where we are to have either a live-out nanny or fulltime daycare.

I love this site for all the reasons those above me mentioned. I wish I had known about it with our first au pair because I really could have used the advice! I adore the other posters and CV because of the experiences and knowledge that is openly shared.

OB Mom June 28, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I read often but only post occasionally. Love the content and am glad that we get to hear from “both sides” from both AP’s and host families.

I have 2 beautiful boys (ages 6 and 9) and we live in a coastal town in the San Diego area. Both my husband and I work full time outside the home as scientists (one in academia and one in industry). DH travels 1-2x per month while my job is more anchored and organized. Our lives are busy (who’s aren’t!), but I think not too crazy for the AP’s, us or the kids.

We’re hosting our 3rd successful AP but did have one mis-match earlier this year (that was when I *found* AuPairMom website and got hooked — I really appreciated the support at that time). We don’t have any friends with AP’s so am glad for a forum to get a “reality check” for expectations and a place to share experiences. I’m not worried if my AP reads this as our current situation is very healthy … however, if our next AP has issues, I may change my moniker at that time. ;-)

Thanks CV and all the great host parents (where are the host-Dad’s???) that contribute!

Dorsi June 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Huh. I always assumed you were an OB/Gyn!

OB Mom June 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm

LOL … I never thought of that, but given that it is a mom-oriented website, I guess I should have. No, my neighborhood goes by those initials … Ocean Beach = OB. Guess this is why cv had us give our background. Thank goodness you never asked for family planning advice!

Hula Gal June 29, 2010 at 10:59 am

I have a husband and a 21 month old daughter. I have been reading this blog for about 2 years now (about 4 or 5 months before my daughter was born). We got our first au pair February of 2009 and since then have had three au pairs. We got off to a rocky start with the au pair program mostly due to ignorance and inexperience as parents. But now we are much more savvy thanks to this blog! We are expecting our new au pair in August and we are very happy with our selection. Our current au pair has been wonderful.

My husband works out of the house and I work in a very family friendly office environment that is 8-5 Monday through Friday. We have a very relaxed and non-rushed lifestyle and think that the best thing about having an au pair is not having to shuttle our daughter to and from daycare. It makes for a very relaxed morning and evening.

My screen name is a play on my maiden name which is Irish.

NC AP June 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I always thought your screen name had to do with the Hawaiian dance ;)

Hula Dad July 4, 2010 at 10:56 am

Yes, she’s not telling you the whole story ;-)

Euromom July 4, 2010 at 11:18 am

Sharing is Caring – as we like to say on the Emerald Isle.

Mumsy June 29, 2010 at 11:52 am

Although I have been reading this blog for months now, I am a fairly new contributor. We live in the Chicago area and are about to welcome our 5th au pair (in as many years). I find the discussions here extremely interesting and helpful. I chose the name “Mumsy” as it is the affectionate nickname my sister and I gave to our mom about 20 years ago. I am not pretending to me my mom but using her nickname makes me think of her and that makes me smile. :)

Hula Gal June 30, 2010 at 9:32 am

My husband, who is from Northern Ireland, calls his mother “mumsie.” The Irish like their diminutives.

CS Nanny June 29, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Hello everyone. I was an aupair in Switzerland for three years, and moved back to the US a couple of months ago. I currently live in Colorado, and work as a very full time nanny to two adorable toddler twins. While I am not their mother, I am the one that they spend their waking time with, and so I feel like I am a “surrogate” mother. My experience as an aupair was bitter sweet, but I learned a lot. When I have children, I will be using an aupair as a form of childcare. I think my experiences being an aupair, and also being responsible for running a household (as I am now) and raising kids, I will be a decent HM. I really enjoy this site, and spend way too much time on here! Thanks, CV!

iMom June 30, 2010 at 3:56 pm

I don’t post often but am a daily reader. We got our first au pair shortly before my second child arrived and we consider it the best decision we have ever made as parents. I had severe post-partum depression after my first child and feared the worst for round two. Luckily I didn’t have any PPD symptoms after my second, and having an au pair made having a second child a breeze. I fell in love with the flexibility and convenience, not to mention how economical it is compared to other childcare in our area. But most of all, I love that our girls (APs) have become part of our family and they have each grown to love our children almost as much as we do. It gives us so much peace of mind to know they are cared for by someone so devoted to their safety, health, development and happiness!

Even with our glowing recommendations I have been unable to convince any of my friends out here on the east coast to start using au pairs for childcare. Additionally, I come from a place out west where having an au pair is seen as an extravagance akin to having a butler, so I am happy to have a place to come to where I am not such an oddity, where I can talk about my experience and learn from people walking a similar path!!

NorCalMom July 1, 2010 at 2:58 am

Frequent reader, 1st time HM. Through trial and error, just finished a year with 1st AP. Decided not to renew – probably should have rematched early on but you know… (see other post about that). Now just in-between and looking. Always hopeful though and this site definitely has been a great resource. Thanks!

Amelie ex au pair July 1, 2010 at 7:02 am

reading one of the latest post about rematch I kinda figured out something…

One of the reasons why I like reading this blog is that I can get to know HF perspective on things. In two years that I’m this AP world (as I intern at CC, future au pair, au pair and ex au pair – and who knows, maybe one day as a HM), I had never heard of any rematch which was “the au pair’ fault”, before I started reading this blog. All I’d heard is that HF were horrible, treated AP bad, kids were little deamons… But I always suspected there were another side of each story…

I always tell every AP I know to read this blog… I know it is intended to help host parents, but, in my opinion, it is great to help APs to do undestand their host families better and, in consequence, to be better au pairs.

We au pairs are going thru so much during our ap year, that we tend to forget that parents have their own expectations, fears, etc. Sorry about that and thanks for reminding us!

JJ host mom July 1, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Hi,

I’m mom to 2-year old twin boys. We’re on our second au pair. Our first one was a disaster that dragged on for 8 months before I finally pulled the plug, much thanks to this site for helping me come to that decision and saving my sanity. Our second au pair has been wonderful. Unfortunately her year is starting to come to a close and we’re starting to look for our next au pair. Wish us luck!

3gr8kids July 1, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Hello from a shy one. I’ve been lurking for about six months and this is my first post. We have three great preschool aged children. We are having a wonderful year with our first au pair (a private match) and nervously awaiting our second one arriving in a couple months. Despite all the advice posted here we selected the first and only candidate we interviewed. Our new au pair exchanged a lot of messages with our current au pair so I am hopeful it will be a good fit. As a stay at home mom, with a husband that works long hours and travels, having an au pair enriches our family life. My husband is the one that likes the program best because he comes home to a happier home, that while still messy, isn’t as bad as it used to be. Working for a stay a home mom must be a hard job. My au pair sees me at my best and worst. Still haven’t wrote a family handbook despite promising the local agency coordinator that I would.

courtj July 2, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I have commented a few times. We are in our first year with an au pair and I believe this blog was written just for me, this year – tattoos, wanting to rematch with little time to go, handbooks, interviews, etc. Thank you to all of you I have learned tons and am hoping our next au pair is much better from all your inputs.

As for me, I have three kids school and preschool age, live in the suburbs of DC where hubby and I work in technology. We switched last summer from daycare centers to an au pair and it has been well worth the increased flexibility that it has provided us.

SuesSisterMN July 3, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Hello, we are just (eagerly!) waiting on the arrival of our first au pair. We have 20 month old twins and a 3 month old. I just stumbled upon this site and it looks SO helpful! :)

Susann July 18, 2010 at 5:52 am

I used to be an au pair in 3 different countries, 4 different families over a time period of 2,5 years (first two years consecutively, then a year of university, then au pair again). My first year was spent in California and it was brilliant. I’m not saying it was always easy and always fun (I cared for 4 children aged between 18mths and 10 years) but I enjoyed the year a lot and it made me so much more independent and confident in myself. My second year was in a European country, because I needed to learn that language (yes, I went there with absolutely zero skills of that language and I went into a family where this was the only spoken language). It took me about 2 weeks to start understanding, then 4 months to become pretty much fluent. Just to say, this can work if both sides know about this before and are happy to work hard on the language barrier. Unfortunately I went into rematch, but found another family in the same country (I went without an agency, you don’t need one in Europe if you are European).
My last au pair experience was the best and I cannot believe how lucky I was to have found them. I had the oldest one of that family staying with me in my home for a week twice and it’s great. My HM was meant to be my wedding witness for my civil wedding (unfortunately didn’t work out) and the youngest one will be my flower girl for the church wedding :) I absolutely love them and go back to see them as often as possible. My name is still on the door in wooden letters and even friends of the family refer to that room as my room :)

I am now married myself (with church still ahead), living with my husband in yet another European country (I am German myself, but I do not wish to live there again), we are in our first house and are actively thinking about having an au pair later, too. Currently we’ve only got two cats though, one of which is driving me over the edge and will hopefully move on to another home soon because she’s a brand new kitten and does not get on with our older cat :(

I read a lot, contribute little, because I work too much ;-)

aupair21 July 20, 2010 at 3:06 am

I came to the US in 2007 and still live with my hostfamily (i went back to my country and got a student visa).. im north-european, but thats about what i want to share, just INCASE my hostmom ever stumbles across this blog hehe..

what is interesting about my experience, is that my first year was PERFECT, second year pretty darn perfect, but it is NOW the problems are starting to become more frequent.. which is why i read this blog more often! to get tips and to see things from hostparents’ point of view..

Jess August 30, 2010 at 11:41 am

Rather than scrolling back through 109 comments, and without ever seeing another ‘Jess’ posting here, I feel pretty safe in claiming this nickname. Correct me if I’m wrong! :-)

I’m a 19 year old Australian girl, who aupaired in the UK earlier this year. I have been reading this blog since November, and I love it. It helped me prepare for my aupair experience, and although my experience wasn’t good, I feel confident that it was a one off situation due to all the lovely host mum’s that are on this blog! :-)

Calif Mom June 30, 2010 at 8:58 pm

(aside: sounds kind of like having two husbands!) (Oh! I didn’t say that!)

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