Do you think it’s appropriate to ask an au pair to got to your kids’ school and help out at a birthday event there, for someone else’s kids?
Here’s the email that prompts the question:
Dear AuPairMom –
I am mostly satisfied with the family I am working for. We’ve had a few problems but nothing that you don’t expect with living in a new house with new people.
Usually I go along with what is asked of me, but today I agreed to do something that I don’t feel sure about. Agreeing to do it has bugged me ever since, but I am not sure whether it is right of me to question it. Here is the situation:
My normal routine on a Friday is to pick the younger girl up from school at Midday and the older child at 2.45pm. Today, the whole class of the younger child has been invited to a birthday party arranged by the parents of 2 boys who are also in the class. The birthday kids’ parents have arranged a nice lunch at school (usually the kids eat at home on Friday afternoons). After lunch, the birthday kids’ parents will put all the kids on a bus to take them to the party destination.
My HM told me this morning that I should go into the school at 12 and ‘help the kids eat their lunch because there will be lots of children’.
Since both sets of birthday kids’ parents will be there, I’m not sure why they want me to do. The kids eat lunch at school Mon-Thurs it’s not like they are uncomfortable with eating at school. I don’t exactly see what I would be needed to do, short of lifting sandwiches to the children’s mouths!
I always help out at birthday parties of my own host kids, but I distinctly do not recall any other parents sending over their Au Pairs to lend a hand. (We’re in an affluent area with a lot of au pairs.)
I feel a bit frustrated with the situation. Partly, I’m not sure whether I am just frustrated at having to break up my day (which could have been used for something useful). But also, I’m wondering if doing this kind of task is outside of what’s normal to ask of an au pair duties. There have been a few similar situations before, where I’ve ended up standing around awkwardly because there is nothing to do. Still, I’ve been expected to be there.
How can I express this to my HM without sounding rude? I’m not unwilling to do this, but it doesn’t seem completely right. Since the party is today, I’m going to go even though I’d prefer not to. But, I hope to discuss the issue with my host parents later.
I’d appreciate any advice the AuPairMom readers might give. Thanks — ZD
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