Some readers have wondered why a family might put a curfew on the au pair car, but not have a curfew on the au pair him/herself.
They point out that if au pairs are dependent on the au pair car for transportation during their time off, then having a curfew on the car is effectively the same as having a curfew on the au pairs themselves.
This merge of the car curfew into the Au Pair curfew is more true when the au pair has no other transportation options, no train, no Uber, no taxi, to help him or her continue socializing even after the car has turned into a pumpkin.
The distinction between a curfew on the car and a curfew on the Au Pair is a slim one, but it’s very important.
We host parents see the car as an object, a piece of property. As owners of the car, we are financially responsible for them and our insurance holds us responsible for what happens with the car.
In contrast, au pairs are young adults who are responsible and who need some independence to enjoy their social lives. Obviously, we don’t “own” our au pairs, and we want to be less rather than more responsible for them – so that they can be responsible for themselves.
We host parents want to make room for our au pairs to make their own decisions about sleep, social life, and safety. Having the chance to make these decisions is part of what helps au pairs (and anyone) grow up. Putting a curfew on an au pair herself or himself would be to treat the au pair more like a child/dependent then like an independent adult.
(We have a post coming up about au pair curfews… So stay tuned.)
Putting a curfew on the car is not a way of saying that the safety and maintenance of the car is more important to us than the safety of the au pair.
It’s not as though we want to protect the car, and we don’t care about protecting the car au pair. In fact, often having a curfew on the car is a way to protect the au pair.
Host parents put curfews on the car because:
- We don’t want the car being driven in the middle of the night, when other drivers are less likely to be sober and safe.
- We don’t want the car being driven at night, by an au pair who may have had more to drink than she or he realizes.
- We don’t want the car to be away overnight because host families often need to use the car themselves the very next morning.
- We want to keep this expensive item out of situations where it might be damaged, ( such as neighborhoods with lots of nightlife, unsafe neighborhoods, relatively empty parking lots.
Limiting the use of the car by having a curfew is one way to keep a lid on the wear and tear of the car itself. And, having a curfew on the car is one way to reduce the likelihood that the host family would ever have to replace the car (or even rent a temporary replacement while the actual car was being repaired).
Are there any other distinctions we should make about putting a curfew on the car versus a curfew on the au pair?
Share these in the comments, below.