or: Just Give Up Already: Au Pair’s Version
Somedays, the inbox is pretty heavy.
I struggle to understand just what it takes for an Au Pair to realize that — yes, her situation really IS awful — and that — yes, she really SHOULD give notice and leave as politely as possible.
All you need to do, FrustratedAuPair, is make sure your pay is up to date, give 2 weeks notice, make plans to leave, be nice for 12 days (especially to the kids) and then leave.
I think it’s weird, the number of au pair emails we get where au pairs are really struggling with awful situations and seem to be asking for permission to leave, even though they already know they are being advantage of.
And, I think it’s odd that as host parents (at least those of us in this community) we have more experience with au pairs who throw in the towel without even an effort.
I know that it often takes a dramatic situation for someone to be moved to ask for advice, but it’s weird that parents always need advice about abrupt departures, and au pairs need advice about just leaving.
My $.02. What’s yours?
Details of the drama, below:
Dear Au Pair Mom,
I am writing you because I need some advice. I am an Au Pair currently living in Australia with a family. I have told them I would be leaving early because I am just not happy here. We both went through an Agency, a horrid one at that, that has been anything but helpful. Anyways, we have followed the Agencies guidelines for when an Au Pair decides to leave.
However, the Agency will not honor the families guarantee of a replacement Au Pair as the agency has formulated a reason that basically says the family is not an adequate family for an Au Pair. Basically claiming the family is “abusing” the Au Pair and it would be a liability to the Agency to pair them with a new one. This is absolutely frustrating as my words were completely taken out of context when I stated my reason for leaving.
Secondly, I talked to the parents and told them i wanted to leave because I was just not happy and am not able to travel and explore . The behavior of the children is also a big reason as well. Anyways, they questioned everything and are making me feel awful for wanting to leave and strongly suggest I stay as they cannot afford to find another person. Whats frustrating is the questioning part, they have gone to great lengths to round up the neighbors to support them in these tactics and question every single reason I give them. They have even researched deeply into how to navigate and probe every statement or reason i give and back it up with facts, thinking it will deter me from leaving, but let me tell ya, its doign the exact opposite its makign me want to run for the hills right now. I feel like im in an episode of Law and Order being questioned.
Anyways, I stated I was very homesick and they threw that in my face with “well i thought you said you wanted to live here”, or “We would hate to see you miss out on exploring this wonderful country, stay with us and you can explore”- I haven’t been allowed out of the house to travel since being here, so when will I see this “beautiful Country?” Or when I said Im not comfortable with the children farting on me, spitting on me, blowing snot bubbles on me, they claimed that it was pure affection and that I have been the rude one because im pushing them away when they behave like this. May I remind you that no discipline was ever implemented until I told them that it bothered me, and by dscipline i mean very very lenient discipline in my book . Further, they have even told me that according to the teachers and child psychologists it is actually quite normal behavior for them to be doing that stuff and that its encouraged behavior. May I remind you also that the kids are 5 years old and 6 years old and are in grade 1. I have never been so appalled by something in my entire life.
Maybe its me and i grew up in a strict house but I would think manners would be an encouraged behavior not the opposite. Anyways, they just cant seem to accept my answer or decision and continuley question why im not happy. I shouldn’t have to justify myself to them for anything. It feels as though they put themselves in my shoes but see it totally different than I do. I also feel that no matter what answer i give them, nothing is good enough.
Thirdly, the guilt trip.
Yes I know the economy is bad and childcare is very expensive. but I also don’t think its fair when im getting paid less than average and am expected to do more than originally was agreed upon. I agree being part of the family is the goal but I work more than 35 hrs a week as I am constantly entertaining the children during my off time. the mom had the nerve to tell me that when she gets home its like she starts her second job all over again. UM yeah, thats what being a mom is like, besides you shouldnt see your children as a seond job an be negative about it. I try to be as helpful whenever possible but I need time for myself too, which seems to alway be a pain for her as i love to swim and would love to go swimming, but its seems as though If i leave, the 2 kids alone are too much for her to handle. Further,upon notifying them of my departure they throw in the fact that its unfair to them and that they haven’t got enough money on a nurses salary to pay for someone else to come in and watch the children and are blaming me for leaving them in this position and saying im being the selfish one.
I do admit its a bit of an inconvenience but my goodness, i want to be happy too.
Further, ever since telling them i want to leave, none of my duties have changed but the moms seems to think im not doing a very good job. I vaccum the house everyday like she asks but it seems like since telling her I want to leave that im just not doing a good enough job and not doing anything right and she is questioning my ability to care for her children. Shes being overly ciritcal especially since the house is always a disaster when they leave for work and its always clean and organized more than when they do it themselves. I just feel yet again like nothing is good enough. Further, I had a friend drop by for a minute to give me back my transit card as she was headed to the beach on probably the nicest day ever, but the mom made a snide remark when I got back because the neighbor had told her I had a friend over today. It was a bit misconstrued as she just dropped it off like the mail man drops of the mail. Sometimes I wonder if I will get in trouble for signing a parcel because Im takign my time away from a sleeping child. I am also not allowed to be out past 11pm because that is the curfew. I am 22 years old and have been living on my own since I was 17, I am by no means a partier and don’t go out much anyways but I just feel so constricted and isolated and under a microscope that I am just not happy.
I guess what Im saying is what do you suggest i do about this situation. I have already committed to another family but dont want to tell them about it as it is none of their business. I just want them to accpet my decision of wanting to leave and will help them as much as possible to find a replacement.
FRUSTRATED AU PAIR