Your House is Not a Youth Hostel

by cv harquail on April 3, 2009

Let me repeat that: Your house is not a youth hostel.

It’s not a hotel. It’s not a pied a terre. Your house is your home, and if you choose to have friends of your au pair as overnight guests, there is a lot to think about.

One blatant sign that a host mom and host family is being taken advantage of is when your au pair has a lot of guests, and your house starts to feel like a youth hostel. That’s because this issue sits itself right down on top of the balance between having an au pair as part of the family and having the au pair as someone you pay to care for your kids.

It’s easy to be taken advantage of, even by a well-meaning au pair, because they often don’t know what it takes to host guests.

One of my neighbors had three girls from Germany visitingwelcome yellow door bedroom.jpg for 10 days in the second month of her au pair’s arrival (experienced host moms, you know where this story is going…). After housing and feeding these girls, paying for the additional groceries, loaning the au pair the bigger family car so they could all go sightseeing, giving her au pair some extra time off duty so she could enjoy her friends, putting up with the noise of radios and wild conversation — in a language the host family doesn’t speak — and generally not having her au pair’s attention, my au pair host mom neighbor was struck by the final blow.

Her au pair announced in her third month that she had had enough of New Jersey. She was going back to Germany.

Unfortunately, this sort of story happens more than you would think. My own dear sister who lives in Manhattan had the misfortune of hosting a European au pair who had three different friends visit in her first three months, and then in month four simply disappeared. [[The rest of the story I’ll save for another day… but you get the idea.]

I can already hear the host mom’s with great au pair relationships saying:

"Yes but she’s part of our family."
"We want her to feel like this is her home."
"It’s a great cultural exchange to have guests from overseas."

Sure, that’s true. But if you don’t have a really great au pair relationship, or if you don’t know what your au pair relationship is  going to be like, the whole question of international overnight guests becomes a big issue.

Problems when there are guestswelcome not.jpg

  • Having international guests can be very disruptive.
  • The fun/responsibility of guests can compete for your au pair’s attention. She can get distracted from her regular duties. For example, she may start talking in her home language to the guest while the guest is a passenger in your car while your au pair is driving your kids to soccer. Imagine how that feels to the kids in the carseats.
  • Worse, "having to be on duty" when she has guests may lead your au pair to be resentful of her duties or even of your kids.
  • Visitors from home can encourage your au pair to feel homesick.

You wanted to be a host mom– you didn’t sign up to play hostess. You don’t want to be in a situation where you now have the job of entertaining these guests and also making them comfortable throughout their stay.

Situations where I think it’s perfectly okay to have an overnight guest:

  • Your au pair has an au pair friend visiting from another region, so that the two can sightsee together. Often there is an explicit quid pro quo, where you host another au pair and they your au pair goes to visit her… and they are taking turns so that they can see more of the US.
  • Your au pair’s mother/sister/best friend/cousin comes to visit.
  • The visit occurs when your au pair is starting or ending her vacation, and the guest is joining or leaving.
  • The visit occurs when you don’t need your own pair to be on duty.

The occasional overnight guests, especially au pair girlfriends who stay over after a party when it may be too late or inadvisable for them to drive home, is perfectly fine in my book. It’s nice to be able to open in your home to someone in need, such as an au pair in transition or just one who’s been having a bad week and needs to escape.

Situations where I think you should exercise caution in approving overnight guests:

  • Within the first three months . You don’t want to set up a situation where she and/or her friends can use your home as a base for their American vacation, only to have your au pair announce she’s going into rematch or just dumping you.
  • At the end of your au pair’s year, if she is going to overlap with your new au pair past one week.
  • When the ratio between your au pair’s time with you vs. the length of the expected visits is less than 25:1.
  • When your au pair has already had a guest.

In our family we have some hard and fast rules about who may not be an overnight guest:

  • No more than two (au pairs) visiting at a time (there simply isn’t enough bathroom space in our house).
  • No random men we don’t know.
  • Pretty much anyone we don’t know.
  • And, in some families, no boyfriend or "person with whom your au pair has an ‘active’ romantic relationship"

CHARM GREEN KISSING BIRDS.JPG (JPEG Image, 1772x1380 pixels)_1235680544466.jpeg Discuss as much as you can BEFORE guests are invited

Talk about what you expect her to be responsible for when she has overnight guests. Cover some of these basic topics:

  1. The length of stay. Please, please, please do not allow an open-ended stay. It’s not your job to provide room and board for her friend who is looking for an off the books American job.
  2. Food . Who will pay for the additional food? Who will cook the additional food? Who will clean up after the additional eaters?
  3. Where exactly the people and their stuff will be . Guests need not only a place to sleep but also a place to store their luggage, to put their toothbrushes, curling irons and makeup.
  4. Laundry. Will they do their own, or do they expect your cleaning lady to do it, in the 4 hours you can afford her?
  5. The liquor cabinet. Oh yes. Can you afford the wine, and Scotch, and Malibu that her guests may want to drink? Can you deal with 4 young adults drinking red wine in your living room? I forgot to mention that my host mom friend’s au pair’s guests spilled red wine on her couch.
  6. Use of the Car. For most of us our insurance prohibits us from leading an international visitor drive our car.
  7. Smoking. Your au pair may have agreed not to smoke in your house, but what about her guests? Are you really going to tell her mom she can’t smoke in your kitchen?
  8. Where they will hang out. Can you manage having additional young adults in your han ging out in your kitchen, or family room? Coming in late, staying up to watch movies in the family room?

Also, be ready to discuss these issues:

Be clear that you need your au pair to be fully on duty when she’s on duty, especially if her visitors are in your home during her regular on duty hours.

Be warned that your au pair may be tired from hosting her guests, and ask her to make sure she is rested for her on duty time.

Consider that your au pair may not appreciate what it takes of your and your family when there are visitors. She may not fully appreciate the privilege of having guests and may take advantage of you.

Ask your au pair and her friends to speak English when they are in the family common rooms, around your children and/or you and your partner. It can feel extremely alienating to be cooking in your own kitchen, and to be surrounded by three or four girls who are not speaking English.    Of course, if your au pair’s friends don’t speak English that’s a different story. In that case, you might want your au pair to do some time translating between you and the guests so that there can be the feeling of openness and welcome.

Remember that you may have a new au pair every year. If so, you need to get clear just how many times in your life you can handle a week’s worth of extra Brazilians in your house. While it may be just the second set of guests for your au pair, it could be your fifth time showing people Monticello and explaining why Americans are so fat.

    lv gnome.jpeg Look also for implicit contradictions in your signals and expectations…

    You may be inclined to treat these guests as your own, and if you are comfortable with that responsibility, fine. But what if you have your au pair’s mom saying your guest room rather than in her daughter’s room? If someone is using your guest room, are they now your guests? And, how will you manage having her parent in the house? Or a guest that is your age?

    Be especially cautious with requests for more than one extended (i.e., longer than two nights) visit. A REALLY bad sign is when she has more than two different visits from overseas guests, within the first 4-5 months. It is sad but not uncommon for a girl to sign up to be an au pair with a hidden agenda: She’s gonna "work" for you in your nice LA/Florida/DC/NYC/Las Vegas home until she and her friends get their US vacations, and then she’s gonna split. And leave empty wine bottles in the au pair room closet.

    Get your kids involved with the guests. Perhaps have them make a welcome sign or bake some American cookies.

    Ask your (and her guest) to cook a traditional meal from their country. One of our most favorite memories is when our au pair CN had her cousin visit for a few days. Not only was he a terrific guest in many other ways, but also he made us a traditional "Swedish bachelor meal" . The meal emphasized sausage. And butter. To this day, my girls will often ask if we can have "the Swedish bachelor’s meal".

    We have had visits from family members, cousins, sisters, au pairs in distress (that one for 10 days!), au pairs who want to see NYC, and au pairs who just need a break from their regular schedule. When expectations have been clear, and especially when these guests have been delightful people themselves, it’s been great.

    { 25 comments }

    Dawn April 3, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Great advice, cvh! We haven’t ever run into the “youth hostel” problem, but I can see how it could happen! You’ve given us a lot of great tips and things to think about to avoid these kinds of issues. It’s so interesting to see that one of the most common themes running through so much of your great advice is the importance of managing expectations. That really is important in all aspects of the AP/HF relationship, so it’s a good reminder for all of us! (And I think that will start to be my #1 piece of advice for people who ask me about thoughts/advice about hosting an AP.)

    BTW, I’m not sure if it’s a function of spellcheck gone awry, or maybe you’re “writing” your blog posts via some kind of voice recognition software, but there are some funny typos in the post! (i.e. “opener” for au pair, “gas” for guest). Just thought I’d mention it! ;)

    cvh April 3, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Dawn- I actually do use VR software b/c of my disability… and you actually caught the post itn the TWO MINUTES that I was proofreading it. What are you doing online? Don’t you have lunches to make, a report to prepare, a science project to fit into the back seat? Or are you taking just a few morning minutes to surf the web for some fun? I cannot sneak a darn thing by you all.

    Anna April 3, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Great advice. We haven’t had a guest problem, we simply don’t have the room to encourage extended stays. No guestroom, and the au pair’s room is really small. There is a sleeper sofa in the room adjoining the au pair’s room, but after our current au pair had a late-sleeping guest (who also wore a mini barely covering her underwear and took bad advantage of my new set of cuisinart pans) and my husband needs to use that room as an office, he changed the rules to guests only in her room. Now unless she wants to share her twin bed with a guest, the guest is willing to sleep on the floor, or we lend her our inflatable mattress, this is not really practical.
    Our first au pair was a mensch. When her mom came to visit in her 13th month, they BOTH went to stay in a nearby cheap motel. But again, we simply didn’t have room (or should I say, comfortable room. She could share the room with our new au pair and have her mom sleep on the living room couch, but not really practical).

    Dawn April 3, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    ROFL, cvh! I was actually (shh, don’t tell anyone!) popping in to check the blog from work! I find that I have much more computer time at work than I do at home, LOL!

    cvh April 3, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Dawn, just so you know, research shows that people who use facebook, twitter, etc. while at work are actually MORE PRODUCTIVE than those who don’t. Really. There is even an official term for it!

    ” Study author Brent Coker, from the department of management and marketing, said “workplace Internet leisure browsing,” or WILB, helped to sharpened workers’ concentration.

    “People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration,” Coker said on the university’s website (www.unimelb.edu.au/).
    If I ever do research on this myself, I’ll invite you to be in the study….!

    Calif Mom April 3, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    CVH — You are my new hero! I’m bookmarking that citation! My problem is that I don’t my AP to see me posting about APs, and I’m terrible about clearing histories and closing windows on my computer at home (frequent interruptions, duh) so work is a much safer place to check for your brilliant new posts.

    Seriously, this is another great topic, and sage advice.

    Calif Mom April 3, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    And furthermore, keeping our childcare situations feeling stable by spending a few minutes focusing on our host/AP relationships by reading your blog is an investment that any employer should support — increased productivity, reduced lost work hours, and refining our management skills.

    Franzi April 4, 2009 at 1:36 am

    this is a very important topic but i also think that some cultures are “more difficult guests” than others, eg 4 scandinavians who are shy among people they don’t know are less hassle than 4 brazilians who are bubbly by nature.

    but yes, this topic needs to be discussed and can actually be a nice topic to talk about during the matching process as it gives you some idea of how much the AP already planned her year. some girls only want to stay in california for some reason and family and kids are not the priority…this can be detected by asking questions on visitors as you will notice if you are going to be used as a base for extended visitations by friends and family.

    but having other cultures as guests can be a lot of fun as well! when we talked german in the car we included the kids – they had to guess words, or asked us the translation of things. this was quite educational because they were able to see the similarities between languages. granted, it takes an effort from the guests and if they don’t speak english it’s even harder for the AP because she needs to translate all the time thus leading to frustration and less concentration on the job.

    Chris April 4, 2009 at 3:13 am

    Excellent advice. We let the second of our au pairs host a friend from Germany for two weeks at the 3-month mark. We gave her extra time off, the car whenever she wanted, etc. and never received a thank you. At the 5-month mark, we had to fire this au pair, as she was a pathalogical liar (claimed to be a non-smoker, but was a smoker, slept on the job, put kids in front of TV all day, lied about where she took them, got caught shoplifting etc., etc.).

    We were pretty clear on the guidelines for the visit — curfew still holds, clean up the kitchen, bathrooms, etc. But I think you’re right about waiting longer to have your au pair host a friend from far away. Your au pair might well bolt, etc. In fact, we found out ours was already advertising herself on greataupair.com at the time when we went out of our way to host her friend. Of course, no one picked up our au pair — who wants a smoking au pair (which is why she lied about that in the first place).

    Unfortunately, (as you know, as you’ve been to our web page reflecting on our experiences) we had bad experiences with our very first two au pairs, both of whom lasted about 6 months. Because our first 2 au pair experiences were bad, we recently bailed on using au pairs for our child care.

    This might be an interesting topic for you to pursue in the future. What do you do if your bad au pair experiences happen first, not after you’ve had a good au pair that shows you that such au pairs actually exist?

    Seems like a lot of host families are luckier than us. They had a good au pair, then a bad one, then a good one, etc.

    But when it starts bad with your very first au pair, and goes to worse with No. 2, look out…

    Has anyone out there actually stuck it out and gone through 2 or even 3 bad au pairs at the very beginning of their au pair experience, then stuck it out and gotten a good one for No. 3 or No. 4?

    How many times do you try before giving up

    Marguerite April 4, 2009 at 4:13 am

    Aren’t the aupairs told when they come to their various training sessions that they may not have guests ? And, at their orientations are they told
    not to ask to have guests come and stay ? Don’t aupair agencies discourage this sort of thing ?Or maybe some agencies have no postion on guests and friends ?
    Maybe this issue should be be put in everyone’s handbooks
    ” Please do not ask us to put up your friends and relatives. We don’t want to hurt your feelings and we are sure your friends are nice but we are very busy with work and just want to relax and not have to worry about guests “

    _ August 2, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    regarding this comment (that even though it’s old…) I still wanted to say how this depends on the family too. Some families are indeed open to let the au pair have guests (not entertain them precisely) but yes letting them stay at their home for a few days. Of course I can also understand the position of this host mom, but I guess this issue couldn’t be talk in orientation because each family is different, and while this is a problem to some, it isn’t to others.

    Taking a Computer Lunch August 2, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    We have openly welcomed guests into our home (hey, I crashed on a cot in the London kitchen of friends for a week while I was doing dissertation research – I’ll never forget the hospitality they showed me in their 2-room flat and hope to pass that along). We hosted the friend of an AP who won a flight to the US because of her high A-levels in English. We’ve hosted the parents of several APs – and would never consider taking a penny (all we ask is that they prepare a dinner that is typical of their country).

    That being said, once a year our LCC sends out a message to the cluster reminding APs to:
    1) ask permission to have guests (unless explicitly told otherwise by the HF
    2) that the number of HF that willingly host long-term guests is in the minority (and she coaches APs to be properly thankful when HF do host guests)
    3) not to pout or be disagreeable when HF say no

    If your host family doesn’t want to put up with additional and unexpected people in their household, so be it. If you have guests constantly, consider a gift of flowers or a favorite food to your HP as a thank you. If you, as an AP, host your friends for lunch or dinner, ask your HF if they would like your help in replacing food your friends eat (and if your HF shops on Saturday or Sunday – don’t make particular foods disappear by Tuesday unless they were purchased explicitly for you — leaving one of something doesn’t count!). If your HF says no, then they probably mean it, but if you want it again before they shop, go buy it and share with them.

    My handbook states that friends and family are welcome to visit. I was surprised to learn that I’m in the minority, because I actually find it a useful tool to get to know APs better (mainly because their parents are usually my age – DH and I have been together long enough to be the parents of many of our APs). I enjoy having their AP friends in the house. And my handbook also states “Food is meant to be eaten.” (And actually, I can never tell who has had more of something – DH or the AP. I suspect it’s my DH.)

    LuvCheetos August 3, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I agree. It does vary by family and even by situation within the family. I’m fine with AP friends coming and staying a few days (in fact, I encourage it and will make special arrangements to make sure AP is off and has access to the car). I’m not fine with friend from Europe expecting to stay in the house for 2 weeks or boyfriends thinking they will be allowed to stay over. I think those are things you discuss in advance and again when specific situations arise.

    Abby April 4, 2009 at 6:05 am

    To Chris – our 1st au pair was pretty bad -and we didn’t realize how bad, until our current amazing lovely au pair showed up. Every day with our new AP (it’s been 6 weeks) makes us realize how lazy, disrespectful, surly, unappreciative, sneaky and kid-unfriendly our first one was.
    Admittedly, if the current au pair had been anything like the last one, we wouldn’t have ever considered hosting an au pair again. But now our eyes are open to how wonderful it can be.
    If only we could clone this one :-)

    On another similar note: how do families handle when the AP’s family visits?

    Jeana April 4, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Our first aupair’s family visited for two weeks about 9 months into her stay. It was a wonderful experience. Johanna was a total blessing for our family, and I knew that it would be a positive experience for her parents and brother to visit. My daughter had more positive and loving attention than she’d ever had in her life, and she continues to delight in talking with Johanna and her family, five years later. If I could arrange a marriage for my daughter, it would be to Johanna’s brother. He was delightful, and so loving with my daughter, who was 5, at the time. I was disappointed the family of our 4th aupair wasn’t able to visit, and would have loved to have had them spend time with us. I can also say that I’ve had aupairs that I would not have allowed a family visit. Prior to Johanna’s family visiting, I did make sure that she understood that I needed her to continue to care for my daughter, and wasn’t able to give her vacation time. I also explained that she would need to be responsible for entertaining her parents, as they were coming at the end of my school year, and it is a very demanding time of the year for me, as a teacher. I spent as much time with all of them as I could, but because I wanted to. I think that the concept of guests is different, depending on the culture. I had one aupair who asked if it would be okay for her to take off on a weekend we would be flying to Florida to visit my 85 year old cousin. I told her it would be fine. The next sentence was, “You don’t mind if my (male) friend stays at your cousin’s house do you?” This was a guy that I’d never met, never heard of, etc. Of course I told her that he would not be moving into my cousin’s home for our visit. The combination of different cultural experiences and youth can be a tough combination for us as host parents, but I’ve never regretted my decision to be a host parent. The good has outweighed any challenge many times over.

    Calif Mom April 4, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    RE: How many bads before great?

    I can tell you unequivocally that if I had access to the insights and advice from this blog before I started AP’ing, I would not have chosen to match with two of the APs we had the biggest problems with. I would have taken much longer to match with candidates, and would not have thought to myself “oh, it will be fine” and just picked someone who seemed nice and said the right things just to get the process over with. I am more convinced than ever that you really can prevent some of these problems through wise selection.

    cvh April 5, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Poppin up a little in the comments to reply to Chris–
    Hey Chris, thanks for coming back to APM after seeing my grumpy comment on that other blog. Remind us every now and then that sometimes Chris, (and Pat and Devon and Koren and ….) might be host DADS and not host MOMS. Similarly, I’ll try to highlight mom/dad differences so that you don’t feel Dads are ignored. On to your other point though–

    We have a skewed sample here— most everyone is a host parent who is still trying to get better (even if it’s already good). Ans so many of us will tell you it’s worth it, and that you’re family may just have been unlucky. I’ll queue this question up for a post… thanks for sharing.

    cvh April 5, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Jeana,
    Thanks for adding your positive experience– I remember reading about this on your blog and thinking “how different from what most host families say”… maybe you are just more culturally open than your average bear. And you also feel comfortable saying now when/if your boundaries are overstepped… a great combo for a host parent, I think.

    Fanny April 6, 2009 at 6:48 am

    Hi!
    I am an au pair. I have been reading your blog for a long time now. And the thing that bugs me is that you make us sound so stupid. We only come here to take advantage of you and your family. We never take responsibility, we brake stuff, we are being rude and are just like a bunch of hungry bloodthirsty wolfes. Do you never think of us as humans. We have feelings. This is the first time we are away from our family. We live in a country with a different culture and a language we don´t speak. Sometimes you should stop and think from our point of view.

    cvh April 6, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Hi Franny
    Glad that you are reading the blog….and I think that you need to recognize that there is much more on this blog than complaints about au pairs.

    If you are looking for complaints about au pairs, you’ll find a lot of these here — this is because (1)this is a site where host parents share advice, (2) this is a site where host parents talk about problems with au pairs, (3) having an au pair can be challenging even when you have a great au pair and a good working relationship, and (4) there are, in fact, a bunch of young women who become au pairs and probably shouldn’t.

    My guess is that about 15% of the young women who are au pairs probably shouldn’t be au pairs— they lack the maturity, the sense of responsibility, the accurate picture of what it takes to blend with a family. Another 20-25% of au pairs struggle with some of the basics: language, driving, homesickness, a full time job and the desire to make good friendships. The other 60% of au pairs — and their host families– start off with and stay working on good relationships, and for these families, the readers of AuPairMom have a lot of good advice to share.

    If you look more closely, you will find these host parents on this blog … talking about what they love about having an au pair, what they appreciate, what they try to do for their au pairs, and sharing insights about how to make things positive for everyone involved.

    Busy Mom April 10, 2009 at 7:35 am

    We set up some very generous policies in our manual about guests. We’re lucky to have a very respectful au pair. Everything in the household & with the kids ran smoothly as usual when guest #1 (not a family member) stayed with us for more than a week. However, I can clearly see now that we need to lay out clearer guidelines next time. We did set a limit of 1 guest at a time which is relatively manageable. I think the idea of specifying no guests in the first 3 months is an excellent one, no male (non family) guests & emphasizing that house rules apply to guests are good ideas, though neither was an issue with our au pair.

    I would really like to hear what other hostmoms and au pairs have to say on the following issues:

    Who pays for food? We provided the first guest pretty much 3 meals/day for the duration of her stay. Is that expected or is it fair to ask for a small amount per day ($10?) to cover the extra costs of food, utilities, etc.

    Do you invite the au pair plus guest expect to eat with the family? If it’s a night when our au pair and the kids are eating alone, I would expect her to include her friend. But, I don’t really want to cook for / eat dinner with our au pair’s guest. If it were a family member, I’d feel differently, but still wouldn’t want to share every meal.

    Do you set a limit on visit duration given the fact that it’s not practical to come from abroad for a weekend?

    Is the au pair responsible for paying if the guest damages something? Do you establish this in the guest rules up front? I mean, I would pay if I broke something at a friend’s house.

    Do you limit extended guests to immediate family members only?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts & ideas.

    Former Aupair April 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Busy Mom,

    I had a friend from my country who came to visit me for 2 weeks. The first thing I explained to my friend was that my host family were been very nice to us letting her stay at their house, so we should definitely fallow their rules and don’t feel like we were in a hotel. Once my friend arrived, I toke her at home to take a shower and later on, we went to do groceries. Even after my family told us not to do, we went to the grocery shopping and we together bought bread, cheese, ham, fruit, yogurt, milk and some of the $1 microwave meals. So, during the week we pretty much fixed our food based on what we got to avoid being unfair with my host family.

    About dinner: At my house, everyone pretty much fixed their own meal in different time, so we didn’t get to sit together with the host family, but what we did one night (and my host family loved), were a special dinner for the family with food from our country! We had a wonderful night all together.

    Another important point is to make sure that the AP respect the week routine of the family and don’t go out until late during the week or do things that change the family bed time, specially because kids get very excited when there is a guest on the house.

    Lurker April 26, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    I had my sister staying over for 2 weeks (actually 1 week cause the second I was on vacation so we went oln a roadtrip)

    The week ran pretty smoothly, I bought some food just cause I thought my host family was doing enough letting her stay here. She would go with me take the kids to schoo and would actually help me out with the kids, they loved her, when I was off duty we tried to go out or just stay in my bedroom watching movies and catching up so we would not change the family routine in any way.

    I was incredibly homesick before she came for the visit. After the 2 weeks I was great again.

    TMK April 26, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    I let my AP have another AP whom was from her country and which she had met at orientation stay in our home for one week. Actually the visiting AP was fine, a lovely respectful girl who tried to fit in but not overstep. the disappointment came because of our own AP’s behavior. She became very divided in what she perceived her role in the family was and switched almost exclusively back to using her native language and would stand in the kitchen speaking loudly in Portuguese dominating the entire space and excluding everyone else. Even her friend became uncomfortable with our AP’s exclusionary behavior and started avoiding the family areas. In the future I will cover this type of behavior with any AP who wants someone to visit. If she is uncomfortable with her friends becoming too friendly with us then she will need to have them stay in a hotel. In hindsight I think it was partially because she was so young (19) and still in that “need to prove I am a woman and can take care of myself” phase. Instead of being comfortable with who she is, still it was hurtful to our family.

    au pair X August 2, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I dont have any kind of problems with guests. My HF let me have guests, sleeps over, and flexible off time. I am really lucky however, i can see some friends that are not treated like au pairs but like maids. The have little time off (less than required) and work more than expected. Sometimes host parents are at home not working anymore and the au pair is still working…or some of them are not allowed to go out in week days even if the are off!! having guests from here or from our countries is simply something that we need, to feel the family, the language to talk about things that we dont talk to adults …etc we are your au pairs..the ones who some times know your children more than you do.. the ones who clean what you ignore…. etc etc it is fair to have visitors!

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