You’re right, he’s wrong. This is a problem.

by cv harquail on February 8, 2010

Most of the time when I get an email for us at AuPairMom, I do my best to hold back. I usually want to let you all take charge of an issue, so I restrain myself from sharing my opinion first.

But in this case …. well, you can tell from the post title, can’t you?

Here’s the email:

201002081514.jpgOur au pair moved in with us on Friday. Saturday night my husband invited her to a movie and left me and our child at home.

I told him that it upset me and I thought it was inappropriate for him to take her out and leave me at home. His response was that we are supposed to make her feel like part of the family.

She doesn’t have a license and can’t get around on her own.

I told him that it was unfair for him to expect me to let him take her out and leave me at home and that I was not okay with it.

He thinks I am being ridiculous and feels I shouldn’t have a problem with it and he plans to continue to do it.

If I was the au pair I would know that it is inappropriate but she seemed willing to go along with him with no problems.

I am 7 months pregnant and just want to make sure I am not overreacting and wanted someone else’s opinion on the issue. Thanks!

Mom, you’re right, he’s wrong, and this is a problem.

Let me first mention that probably the only place I disagree with you is in your expectations of your new au pair– if I were her, whether I thought it appropriate or not, I might feel unable to bring it up as an issue. She’s been with you for such a short time, she probably is still trying to figure things out for herself. Who knows, maybe she’s concerned about it or felt awkward too?

You and your spouse need to have a heart-to-heart now –

about how having an au pair (or any other adult participating in your family) should influence the relationship between the two of you, or for that matter between your and your child(ren).

Here are some “absolutes”:

  • One host parent’s relationship with an au pair should *never* take precedence over the host parents relationship with each other.
  • No au pair should be used as an adult confidant- or friend-substitute in place of the other host parent.
  • No host parent should prioritize the au pair (or any other adult) over the other host parent.
  • No host parent’s issues with the other host parent should be shared with the au pair.

These are all corollaries of one standard principle of a good marriage:

No one should come between you and your partner.

Your spouse should not take the au pair out without you, especially not to an activity or an event that is remotely like a date. Not even remotely. This decision was clueless at best. And that’s a generous interpretation.

He is insensitive, if not cruel to you, to assume that he can do this in spite of it upsetting you. Who cares whether or not it seems ‘ridiculous’ to him’? No respectful husband or partner would do something that upsets his/her spouse in spite of her explicit request that this not be done.

In the future, your spouse should not invite the au pair to do something even remotely date-like, ever, without your explicit agreement (and the au pair’s agreement). Even taking her to church without you might be inappropriate. It’s not the place, it’s doing it in spite of your objections and discomfort.

[Just to be clear: the issue is not whether or not the HD and AP should do things together, but whether they should do things together if the HM explicitly says she objects. In this case, the HM has clearly expressed her feelings and her concerns, and these are being ignored by the HD.]

Whether your emotions are running high due to pregnancy, or to general concern over having an au pair, or welcoming a second child, is immaterial here.

If this is a small thing, and it turns out you were ‘overreacting’, treat this as an invitation for you and your spouse to have a quiet conversation, outside of the house and away from child and au pair, to talk about how your relationship should be treated and valued.

If this is a symptom of a larger issue, get good counsel now.

Whether it turns out that this is a big thing or a little thing, it is not about having an au pair.

It is about having a strong marriage.

Everything you do now to strengthen your marriage will make any of these other challenges easier to manage.

Other host parents? Forgive me for taking the lead, and chime in, please!

LA: Buds and Blooms Stand Down from cobalt123 on Flickr

{ 72 comments }

Anonymous February 8, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Do not, under any circumstances let anyone, ever, tell you that this is ok. It is not ok, never was and never will be. Ever.
I would not say one word about this to the aupair ; if she is cooperating in this, it will give her enormous power. If she is a nice girl, it will frighten her unfairly. Most likely both you and your husband signed the contract with your agency. Tell your husband that you are going to quit your job and stay home with the kids. Tell him that you are going to write to the agency and tell them that you want to remove your name from the contract.
Then, tell your husband that you are going to relieve the aupair of all responsibility and that you are going to tell the agency to find her another family since you don’t need her anymore.
I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT YOU DO ANY OF THIS. I AM JUST SUGGESTING THAT YOU PUT THE FEAR OF GOD IN YOUR HUSBAND by telling him that you are going to do this.
Then, let’s just see how he reacts to having an aupair who isn’t doing anything to earn her keep and a wife who is providing excellent childcare but no income.
If you are not employed outside the home, just relieve the aupair of all of her responsibilites and provide childcare yourself. Will he want an aupair then ? Will he really want her to sit around all day just waiting for him to come home and take her to the movies ?
This is a very bad guy. He cannot have his cake and eat it , too.
Say to yourself ” What would Jackie do ? “

Melissa February 8, 2010 at 5:44 pm

I agree with CV that this appears to be very inappropriate. If he was trying to make her feel part of the family and get to know her, HM should suggest that they accomplish that by all going out as a family. I realize this may be difficult with a young child and being pregnant, but maybe something more family-friendly, like all going to a park and then HM and HD take turns playing with the child with the other host parent has a few minutes to chat and get to know the AP. There have been occasions where I have taken our AP out, just the two of us, for coffee or a drink, and even though this is gender-biased, I do think there is a clear difference between Host MOMS taking the AP out, and Host DADS (unless your AP is male). To CV’s point, anything that can be remotely construed, regardless of intention, as “date-like” is completely inappropriate. My husband took our AP to dinner once, WITH our two young kids, and I even felt a little funny about that (just based on how it might ‘look’ to others).

And since this instance was the very next day after she arrived, it does make it seem all the more odd. The first few days are ones that are typically spent getting to know the whole family, especially the kids.

If this is their first AP experience, it sounds like both parents definitely need to sit down and discuss what their expectations are in regards to having a young woman living in their household and what type of interactions and relationship they forsee with her. Otherwise, it sounds like this may only lead to further frustration and possible damage to the host parent relationship.

My 2 cents February 8, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Was this more of a situation where you and he had generally discussed showing her around her first few days, and doing things to make her comfortable with you all, and he just went ahead and assumed in that mind set that taking her to a movie was a good idea, but then got offended when you told him that was selfish of him . . . and then he acts like a child and says he sees zero wrong with anything and will continue on as he pleases? Or was this more a situation where there was no discussion and he just came up with the idea and pretty much walked out on you on Saturday to go on a date with the au pair?

The former doesn’t overly concern me. Yeah, you need to have a discussion, and yeah, it’s usually the host mom (or at least both parents) that would go to the movie, but my dh has taken our new au pairs out alone their first few days for things like driving lessons, library, etc., and sometimes that will include a meal out. In fact, come to think of it, hours-wise he probably does spend an equal amount of time alone with them at first because I expect him to help get her acclimated and ready for the job and not leave it to me. Granted, a movie is a bit different, but I don’t know that I’d conclude he’s being outrageously inappropriate if it seems there may have been a miscommunication as to who was doing what and when, and he reacted poorly to your criticism.

Ronnie February 9, 2010 at 10:33 am

In this situation there was no discussion at all about him taking our au pair to the movies without me. If he would have talked to me about it first and asked how I would feel about it then I wouldnt have been quite so hurt by it. I may have said no, but I wouldn’t have been crying all night about his lack of respect for my feelings. I must add that I do not blame the au pair in any way and get along with her just fine.

Anonymous February 8, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I think this man is pushing the limits. Most host fathers are terrified of appearing to be inappropriate. I would not discuss this
with my husband. I think it is so obvious that the entire family should have gone out for pizza or a movie.
I am inclined to feel very sorry for this poor aupair. Very few aupairs want to get caught between the host parents. They just want to do their jobs, form nice, wholesome friendships and have their own social life.

Calif Mom February 9, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Totally agree! Most spouses aren’t this “active” with the AP, especially not when they’re just learning their job.

Sara Duke February 9, 2010 at 10:58 pm

While that might not be typical, it’s not true in my case. For APIA, new au pairs arrive Thursday night and start their 3-day training on Friday (okay, we already all know that it’s the first 3-days of a month of training). Anyway, our APs know nothing of my daughter’s morning routine because we don’t require that they get up at the crack of dawn until Monday. However, that first morning, DH trains them on her care and routine. I work from 6:30-3:00 and he from 8:30-5:00. He gets the AM shift and I get the PM shift. (For the record, DH is more likely than I to change my 11-year-old’s diaper when she has a BM outside the home than I — part of it has to do with lifting a 54-pound-child and part of it has to do with the fact that he quit his job and stayed home with her for 21 months. (When he’s home she falls asleep in our bed, when I’m alone, she falls asleep in her own bed – I’m not carrying her down the stairs.)

But whether the husband is alone with the au pair seems off point here. The wife objected to something that was done anyway, and the poor AP was caught in the middle. A bad start all around.

Calif Mom February 9, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Sorry, Sara, no offense intended. I was trying to be brief (who, me?!) Better when I’m discursive, I guess…

My point is that this wasn’t “training time”, this was “out on the town” time, and of all the AP host dads I know, I would be v surprised if any came up with this as a Day One activity. The first day is “get to know our family” time, not “let’s go see Avatar” time. And if a dad is doing training, that’s one thing. This is totally different.

Anonymous February 9, 2010 at 11:03 pm

He hadn’t had much time to get to know the aupair and discover
common interests so his interest in must have been based on
something else like how sweet and pretty she seems. He cannot be thinking of the aupair much either. Why would he want to set her up so that his wife might be upset with her ( although this host mother seems very nice)

Anonymous February 8, 2010 at 6:24 pm

It’s one thing if he says “I want to go see XYZ Movie” and you say “YUCK!” and he says “I think I’ll take AP if she wants to go, she’s not working that night” and you say “great idea, I think I heard her say she was a fan of Jean-Claude VanDam”. That may look a little wierd to outsiders, but in reality is no differrent than me taking AP for mani/pedi in her free time (HD may not be interested and doesn’t mind us going)

But, if HD just ups and says “Hey me and AP are going to the movies tonight, you have the con.” NO WAY. It’s at best insensitive and clueless, at worst, suspect and oily.

Anonymous February 8, 2010 at 6:38 pm

I am sure there is a reason you liked this man originally but frankly, I think he is a creep. Sorry to be so frank but I think most men with an IQ above 100 should know better.

Anonymous February 8, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I am not clear as to why mom and child had to stay home.
No babysitter ? That seems a little off. Why couldn’t dad stay home while mom and babysitter ( aka aupair ) went to the movies ? Why go to the movies at all the first night the aupair was with you ?
Why not send out for Chinese food and play Monopoly ?

Should be working February 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm

It seems to me, too, that the first few nights might be better spent at home together, and a family video rather than a movie out with just HD would seem appropriate. But the part of your post that strikes me as most worrisome is that he “plans to continue” doing it, despite your objections. Whatever such an ‘it’ might be, au-pair-related or not, this kind of conflict could be a bellwether of larger issues around compromise and respecting each other’s feelings.

PA au pair mom February 8, 2010 at 9:19 pm

I have to agree that a “family night” including all members of the family would definitely have been more appropriate for the first weekend together.

Ronnie February 9, 2010 at 10:38 am

Your opinions have helped alot and I think the best course of action is to of course keep the issues between myself and my husband and not let the nanny realize how I feel, but to definitely do things together as a family always-no more late night movies with just the au pair. It just hurts me too much and I am 7 months pregnant and had toxemia issues with my last baby -dont need to go down that road again. Everyone has been very helpful and I appreciate all of your opinions.

franzi February 9, 2010 at 4:16 pm

yes, this is something between your husband and you. the AP may have given the reason but being with your family for one day she is not the root of the problem.
i hope you can resolve this with your husband, and i hope he understands how you feel about this.
going to the movies is not a good way to get to know someone who is new to the country and who (potentially) does not speak english well enough to even understand the movie.

Anonymous February 8, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I would warn him of the appearance of this and that he should protect himself in case she would say he “did something.” I don’t think this is true but it shoud be a RED flag warning and he should know this.

PA au pair mom February 8, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Depending on the age of HD and the age of the AP, people probably think it is a dad and his daughter at the movies. I don’t see why people would think anyone else. I guess if you live in a small town, like I do, people talk and for some people that would be a big deal.

maleaupairmommy February 9, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Well for me it is the opposite problem. I have a male au pair but we take turns taking him to different places depending what we like to do. I go to the movies with him, my husband takes him hiking and to basketball games and of course we do stuff all together as a family. I have had all male au pairs and done this with all of them. I make sure though people know that I don’t think of him as any way as maybe a son and nip those people even in a joking matter to try to make it more. Sorry but men are morons and have no emotional IQ and don’t get what other will say or think. Good luck it’s bad enough being prego, getting a new au pair and now this. Keep us updated

aria February 18, 2010 at 5:27 am

No way, let’s be real. My first thought? It’s Jude Law again.

Au Pair in CO February 8, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I don’t think it’s easy for any au pair, and especially not one who just arrived, to speak up to the host parents. Even minor things like “where do I find fresh towels?” can seem scary, so telling your host mom “going out with host dad kinda creeped me out”, or telling your host dad “I don’t feel comfortable going to the movies with you” must be very difficult.

Amelie ex au pair February 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm

I Agree. Seems very unlikely to me that the au pair feels confortable going out with the HD to the movies the first night she’s in the house. But, in the beginning, it’s really hard to speak up!

Besides, since everything is so new to her, she might think that, even this feels ackward for her, it might be common for american people.

Very clueless host dad, to say the least!

au pair in MD February 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm

I agree too! It is very difficult!

Certainly the au pair should not be comfortable with this situation. And if your husband wants her to feel part of the family he should consider a program with the whole family or leave the kids with a babysitter and leave the three of them (host parents and au pair). Never the au pair herself with the HD! And go to the cinema… Its is a date… awkward!

PA au pair mom February 8, 2010 at 9:17 pm

I think a movie on the first weekend is a little much but my husband and our au pair do a lot of things together, as do the au pair and I. We treat her like one of our kids. I do things with them alone and so does HD.

I stay home and watch the kids while AP and HD play golf sometimes. Most times AP watches the kids while HD and I play golf. Sometimes they even have lunch together at the club after their round.

Neighbors have commented to me that they saw my husband with the AP at the club together. I say, “so what?”. I know they are there together.

To me, it’s not that big of a deal. Guess it depends on the host parents’ relationship and what their family dynamics are.

Sara Duke February 8, 2010 at 11:06 pm

While I do think the situation sounds creepy, I also want to add that my husband and I do separate activities with incoming au pairs.

My husband pays for the groceries and does the grocery shopping, so it is he that takes the au pair to the grocery store when she first arrives (so she can see food she likes and doesn’t have to master the English vocabulary instantly).

My husband and my son take the incoming au pair on a tour of our local city, while I stay at home with our daughter.

DH, because he’s much less likely to freak out at au pair driving than I, does the driving assessment with AP. We’ve been host parents for nearly 9 years, and this is our standard introduction.

I trust my husband implicitly, and wouldn’t never question his motives, but if he said he was going to take the AP to the movies, and I said, “No,” then he wouldn’t.

If you think your husband’s behavior is off, and you suspect that he has been untoward with previous APs, then ask the ones away from your house, where he has no power. Men take advantage of their relationship with weaker women because of power (and certainly nothing your AP did). You can try asking this AP if he attempted to take advantage of her, but my guess is that she’ll say nothing because she’s scared.

Ronnie February 9, 2010 at 10:43 am

Well that is just the thing, he knows it hurts me and that i am uncomfortable with it and he still wants to continue, this is where the real issue lies. We have talked though and hopefully we have come to an understanding. I really want this to work out and it is very important to me that everyone is happy.

Anonymous February 9, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Ronnie- first, good luck wwith the pregnancy. What concerns me is the fact that he stated he will continue to do that. You both need to talk, and without sounding accusatory or like a hormonal woman (as you know men will claim you are hormonal), perhaps you can suggest that it has the appearance of impropriety. And, you can also suggest that if things go badly with the match, the au pair can falsely accuse him of something. This has happened with a nanny and the father in the next town. It was really bad, and ended up in court- the nanny’s charges were dismissed, then the father sued the nanny for defamation of character. I know that this is not the norm, but he needs to protect HIS family. Perhaps he should suggest that YOU go out with the new au pair. Yes, do host dad’s go places with the au pair during the year, of course. But it is how he handled and his statement after the fact. I had one au pair whose connection to my husband was a bit of concern, til I realized that she lived mostly with her father growing up, so she was better communicating with my husband than she was with me. I wish you the best, it is certainly very hurtful and upsetting behavior.

Calif Mom February 9, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Again, those are training types of activities, so I think it’s different than this situation.

Anonymous February 10, 2010 at 9:33 am

and Saturday night is ” date night “. At least, in this part of the country it is.

PA au pair mom February 8, 2010 at 9:23 pm

I didn’t see that HM TOLD HD that she was upset with them going to the movie before hand and he went anyway. That’s inconsiderate at the very least.

Aupair February 9, 2010 at 3:11 am

This sounds very uncomfortable for all parties involved. You definitely need to have a calm discussion with you husband and tell him that his behaviour is disrespectful. This is something that needs to be resolved between you and your husband and now. It’s not acceptable behaviour.

He may (in some absent-minded way) not have initially got the idea that it seems like he is taking her on a ‘date’ but a sharp poke may send him in the right direction.

I hope that it all works out ok.

Susann February 9, 2010 at 6:43 am

I think the important issue here is trust. I have au paired in 4 families in three different countries.On my second day in my last au pair family, the dad treated me to an open air theatre production, Mum stayed home with the children. Yes, I was a bit uncomfortable at first, but then I had no other intentions then to see the play and get to know the family better. It wasn’t originally planned like that, instead all three of us were meant to go but the play was on a hill and the Mum had unfortunately broken her ankle and couldn’t come.
Later in the summer HD and I wanted to go and play squash as we both adore the sport but it turned out the place where we went to didn’t have a squash court anymore and was completely a spa. We knew beforehand that there was a spa part and HM suggested we would go there after the squash. We went to the spa and gym in the end and had a good time.
I don’t think this was ever a problem for HM (I believe she would have told me otherwise) because she trusts me and she trusts HD. Admittedly I was 23 at this point, had been an au pair for 2 years before and had a boyfriend.
I am now about to get married myself and we have also spoken about the possibility of having an au pair later as I think it is a great experience for the children and the family. I know I would let my husband take the au pair out, because I trust him explicitly and know he would not take advantage of the situation.
Yes, if the HM in the original post would and could have come along, it is maybe odd that only HD and the au pair went. But a talk between HM and HD should clarify the issue. Only because he has taken her out to a movie does not make him creepy or bad, he might have had completely innocent and well meant intentions. Trust is already the most important in any relationship, but it becomes ever so much more important where another person is introduced to the household.

VA Au Pair February 9, 2010 at 7:22 am

My host dad & I used to always go to the movies together!
My host mom was fine with it.

If the host mom has a problem with it then express how she is feeling!

[VA AP– HM *did* express how she was feeling…. and this was ignored. That’s the issue here cvh]

anon February 9, 2010 at 9:53 am

Are you kidding me?….this is not ok. I am sorry, but to leave your pregnant wife home alone with the kids….is not only selfish, it also sounds to me there is more going on. Have you looked at your marriage lately….any concerns, red flags?? If so, you might not want to have an aupair at this time and work on your relationship first. No need to have any “unwanted” issues coming up. Unfortunately, there have been cases where the husband started a relationship with the AuPair, not saying your husband would and the AuPair would be open to it…but you never know. I would be very careful and personally, opt for not having an AP at this time. Oh, and you really need to kick his %^$.

Anonymous February 9, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Again, not to stir the pot, but we had an au pair in my county who ended up pregnant with the host dad’s child. Not saying that it is wrong for the host dad and au pair to go places together, but it is how it is accomplished.

Anonymous February 9, 2010 at 10:09 am

I think part of it may be complete ignorance on the part of the HD. In the first week our AP was with us, I had to have a BIG TALK with HD about boundaries. I came home one late afternoon from work, and the two of them were sitting in the living room having a glass of wine and watching a movie together while the kids were downstairs in the playroom watching a movie (older kids, so not a lack of supervising the kids issue). It made me really uncomfortable to see that – and I had to make it clear to HD that wasn’t okay with me. He is a great guy, and had no intentions of doing anything hurtful to me, he just didn’t think about it the way I did.

That AP has now been with us almost two years, and is a treasured member of our family. She and HD occasionally go out, AP and I go out regularly, and sometimes we hire a babysitter and all go out together.

I think the key here is to talk to HD, make it clear that this makes you uncomfortable. If he continues to insist he is going to do this, then there is a bigger problem that has nothing to do with having an AP.

Jill February 9, 2010 at 1:24 pm

In my opinion, if it was the other way around and the HM and AP went to the movies it would be ok. Why the double standard? And why insinuate the worst in the HD? I think the real issue is the relationship and trust between the HM & HD. If you think he is asking her to the movies with some alterior motives then you have a problem. And if there is no alterior motive and you, the HM feel jealous, then you need to deal with that too. Don’t put the AP in the middle. She is new and may not even realize that something is amiss. She might’ve just thought that your husband was being nice and giving her an opportunity to go out.

Anonymous February 9, 2010 at 6:03 pm

God bless all of the host moms who are so cool that they would not have an issue with this. I would. And my heart breaks for this host mother. You cannot work on a relationship with someone who doesn’t care what you think.

Anonymous February 9, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I don’t think there’s a “right” or “wrong” answer to this considering all factors that can make the situation different. However, the question to ask is, if you had a MALE au pair, would your husband be comfortable with YOU taking him alone to the movies?

Ronnie February 9, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Absolutely not. He is very selfish he wouldnt ever be willing to watch the kids while I go out especially with a male. He wont even let me go to a movie with my brother and stay home with our daughter-not once in 3 years.

Anonymous February 9, 2010 at 7:31 pm

well, that speaks volumes about him. Ronnie, please consider therapy- if not for the two of you to learn how to better communicate, than just for you. These are not good signs. Please consider this for the sake of your family.

AnotherCAMom February 10, 2010 at 1:42 am

And Ronnie – you may be able to bring the kids to a therapy session when you go. Just ask beforehand – it wouldn’t be the first time many therapists have dealt with someone not being able to take time along to take care of herself!

NoVA Host Mom February 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm

This is not an AP issue. This is a “HD is an insensitive jerk” issue. Really. HM specifically told her husband, the man she married and who is supposed to be committed to her, that she was uncomfortable with this activity. His reaction was one of control and arrogance. In reality, this couple needs serious work on their relationship. If it goes south, it will not be the AP’s fault or really have anything to do with the AP. It has to do with the lack of respect between a husband and a wife.

I am also pregnant and have a toddler at home. And I can promise that my husband would never intentionally disrespect me in that way, with the AP or in any other way. In this case, the HD is using the AP as an excuse. Time to be strong, take charge of your own future, and remember to NEVER make threats you are not 100% committed to fulfill.

Anonymous February 9, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Read the original post: host mom told her husband this made her unhappy. End of discussion. He should not have done it.
Very likely the host dad just wanted to give the appearance that he was on a date with a young, attractive woman. If host mom is pregnant and has a toddler , then these host parents are fairly young ( 30-40 ) range. Aupair is in the 18-26 year range.
Let’s stop trying to justify this in any way. Of course there is a double standard. That is life. We would not allow our children to tease each other to the point of tears. Why should this man be justified in ” teasing his wife “.
So what if she is jealous ? That makes her human, not cruel.He is cruel.
I would call the LCC , honestly. The agency won’t any scandal and the LCC will most likely say that it is a very poor idea. If the aupair feels uncomfortable, she call her LCC , too. Everybody knows ” how it looks “. It looks like he is on a date . It is a very shabby thing for a man to take advantage of the aupair , the nanny or the help and it is sleazy to use the excuse that she is to be treated like part of the family. What bull !

Anonymous February 9, 2010 at 4:34 pm

How would your husband feel if you had a male aupair ( hopefully, a gorgeous 25 year old Brazilian soccer play ) and you and he went to the movies ( or to play golf, or go grocery shopping , or for a drive around town ) the first Saturday night he was with you ?

Ronnie February 9, 2010 at 5:05 pm

He would flip out. He is so controlling that he gets mad if I go to brunch with girlfriends and dont invite him along.

Melissa February 9, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Judging from Ronnie’s replies, I think it is becoming clear that this seems to be more of a relationship issue than purely an au pair situation. I don’t know all of the details and certainly don’t know anything about the host parents’ relationship, so I am not in a position to offer relationship or marriage advice. However, regarding the au pair, I do think having an au pair, particularly a new AP or being a new host family, can definitely increase any stress that a family may already have. Host parents need to be really careful not to involve the AP in any way in the host parents’ personal issues, or it can sour the relationship quickly and potentially have negative impacts on the kids as well.
Ronnie, I’m sorry you’re going through this and hope you can work things out with husband and get to a place where you can both agree. Good luck!

PA au pair mom February 9, 2010 at 9:11 pm

I have to agree with Melissa that there seem to be MUCH bigger issues than HD going to the movies with the AP.

Good luck Ronnie.

AnotherCAMom February 9, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Ronnie, my heart goes out to you. This is definitely way bigger than an AP, but it appears the AP’s arrival, and the impending arrival of kiddo #2, are bringing issues to a forefront. If you can’t get hubby to therapy with you – please go yourself. Your children need you to be as healthy as you can be and as supported as you can be. And you deserve it!

Anonymous February 9, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Ronnie,
I agree with the above post that you should talk to your LCC on
this. Very few women are so cold hearted that they will not realize
that you are in a lot of pain. Just be honest with the LC. If it was your husband’s idea to get an aupair , tell her so. If it was your idea, tell her that , too. I think the worst thing about this situation is that sooner or later the aupair is going to realize that your husband has no respect for your feelings. Most women, including young women , will sympathesize with this. The other concern is that he is taking advantage of her , too. You have a very altruistic attitude right now but it is going to get harder when you have an infant as well as a toddler and an aupair who may come to the conclusion that you really have very little authority in your own home. Very few men would be so unkind or so clueless as to do this . What is going to happen when she wants to go out and meet boys ( and most young women do – they are not interested in host fathers in a romantic way ) and he wants her to do what he wants to do ? I know that many ladies on this website have had disappointing experiences with their LCCs but some of us have excellent experiences. The LCC can come over and pay a ” how are things going visit ” . She can scope out the situation and most importantly, she can tip off the agency to the fact that something not so nice may be going on. She can also talk to the aupair and get a sense ( without ever suggesting anything fishy ) of the aupair’s feelings. Really, I think the LCC will back you up. I think it is very important to get her in your court before anything else happens. If you do come to the conclusion that this program is not right for you at this time of your life, she can advocate on your behalf with the agency. This will strengthen your position if you want to get a refund at some point. Again. it has been my experience that most aupairs have no serious interest in host fathers.
But, when typical problems arise ( she wants the night off to go out and you haven’t slept all week ) how much support are you going to get from your husband ?
Are you a stay at home mom or a working mom ? I am not sure which is harder but you are going to need a lot of support .

Sara Duke February 9, 2010 at 10:50 pm

The LCC is required by the State Department to have an in-home visit within two weeks of an au pair’s arrival. If you have concerns, this is the perfect time for the LCC to ask the au pair, in private, if sh e has had bad experiences.

Even in typical au pair relationships, I often have questions I want my LCC to ask, or issues I want to her to raise with my new au pair. (My most recent au pair had such severe culture shock that she was unwilling to eat. I had asked my LCC to raise the issue of trying new things with her. But to also to ask her what she wanted to say to us, but was unable. The end result was that the new AP made more of an effort to try new foods, and we went out of our way to find markets that offered foods with which she was familiar).

Without falsely accusing your husband, you could ask your LCC to discuss potential situations that might make her uncomfortable. It could turn out, for example, that your hubby was just being friendly and your reaction made her feel uncomfortable. The best way to find out, is for that LCC to have her required private conversation.

former au pair-now Mother February 9, 2010 at 8:34 pm

That’s wrong, super wrong!! let her go and work on your marriage for the sake of all involved.

I am just curious- is the au pair hot? Do you think he would do the same with a overweight , not that pretty au pair?

Ronnie February 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm

She is very pretty and no if we had an unattractive au pair I dont think he would have invited her to the movies. thank you for your opinion :)

Calif Mom February 9, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Amen, CV. Only thing I would add is that “good counsel” can mean legal as well as emotional advice and support–and perhaps both.

Long Island HM February 10, 2010 at 1:16 am

One thing that came to mind for me…is whether this HD had been in contact with the AP while they were awaiting her arrival. I find it rather odd that the HD was so ready to spend alone time with this AP from the beginning without knowing her. Its almost as if they new each other already from previous contact…or am I just being suspicious. My husband is a real flirt – which doesnt bother me as I am secure he doesnt act on it … and he would never even think to spend alone time with the AP whether or not it was ok with me and certainly if it wasnt ok with me her would never do it ! This HD is just being completely innapropriate and this is about the relationship between the host parents and respect for each other…

Anonymous February 10, 2010 at 9:29 am

Another thought … what was the movie they saw ? Are we talking about something intense and romantic or something light and fun
( Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck … romantic and fun and very intense ) or are we talking about something scary like No Country For Old Men ? Or are we talking about James Bond or Disney ? How did Dad and aupair act when they returned ? Joking and laughing about what a good time they had ? Talking about the movie ? Was Mom included in these discussions or was she still treated as odd man out ?

former au pair February 10, 2010 at 2:18 am

Ronnie, your husband sounds horrible. I would not be able to deal with a man like this for more than a day, tops. I agree with Calif mom about possibly needing to seek legal counsel on top of family or couples counseling. I have a feeling it will be hard (if not impossible) to get your husband to agree to go to any sort of marriage therapy in the first place! As daunting as being a single mom sounds, it has to be better than being with a man so controlling and selfish.

Anonymous February 10, 2010 at 2:30 am

Although this situation certainly sounds inappropriate at best, and may raise some eyebrows at the HD’s intentions, I think, in an effort to be helpful and supportive to the host mom, we should avoid sweeping (and potentially life-changing) statements about whether she should put up with his behavior or whether to seek legal advice and become a single mom. This is a marriage we’re talking about and deserves more than a quick-fix answer.

Anonymous February 10, 2010 at 9:23 am

I don’t recall any comment or response along those lines. A number of people have suggested therapy. I think most therapists would agree with you ; they would not suggest hasty action without looking at the whole environment. Maybe I missed something but I did not see any suggestions that she leave her marriage.

Anonymous (a different one) February 10, 2010 at 11:21 am

Two comments above does, for one (“As daunting as being a single mom sounds, it has to be better than being with a man so controlling and selfish.”)

Anonymous February 10, 2010 at 9:05 am

This is another reason why I think that the agency via their LCC should be advised of this situation. These situations are not frequent but surely they are not unprecedented. The LCC can come to your house and she can also invite the aupair to meet her somewhere where she can meet other aupairs as well. The original post said that the aupair doesn’t drive. For that reason, it might be best if the LCC comes to you.
I would try to arrange a time when your husband is not available to monitot the visit and I would give the LCC plenty of privacy with the aupair.
I have another question: if the aupair cannot drive ( maybe this is a temporary situation ) how is she going to get to her regular meetings?
Is your husband going to drive her to those meetings ? If he won’t let you go to brunch with your girlfriends, is he going to hang around the aupair meetings trying to hear everything that is said ? Any sharp LCC is going to find this odd. The other aupairs will find it odd that he is hanging around and they, too , will feel uncomfortable.
What about school ? Is he going to drive her to and from school ?
How is he going to manage that ? School and regular meetings with the LCC are ways of getting her out of the house to form a support system and ask for help if she needs it. If the aupair doesn’t attend these functions or go to school, the LCC should be letting your agency know that she is not doing so.

Nancy February 10, 2010 at 11:20 am

I think it all depends whether HM and HD spoke about it at first. I would personally send my HD with the AP to the movies, but wouldn’t like if he just told me without a plan: hey, I’m going to the movies with AP. Also if I am planning on going somewhere with the AP we discuss it at first.

Anonymous February 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Not only did the host mother discuss it with her husband, she specifically told him that it made her uncomfortable. Not only did he say that he was going to do it this time, he said he was going to continue to do it. That is the issue

former au pair February 10, 2010 at 11:47 am

To Anonymous who thinks my statement shouldn’t have been said-
You’re right. I probably shouldn’t have said that, and it was a sweeping statement. However, I had just finished reading ALL of OP’s comments throughout the entire post, and the way Ronnie was describing her husband/marriage sounded worse and worse as I went down the page. So yeah, my comment was probably out of line for this particular blog, but I do stand by my opinion. I would hope that Ronnie would not leave her marriage solely on what what 23-year-old on a message board said. Either way, this isn’t really an au pair issue at this point.

Southern Host Mom February 10, 2010 at 12:51 pm

My heart goes out to you! I tell folks all the time that “having an Au Pair is not for everyone.” There is no perfect way to balance childcare and work responsibilities. Adding an Au Pair to anyone’s family situation is a challenge, especially the first Au Pair. (That’s why we all love and frequent this website!) I wish you luck with your family situation, but it sounds like adding any Au Pair to your unique family drama is going to make the situation worse, not better. I understand and feel your desire “for this to work out and everyone to be happy”, but I’m afraid just wishing it can’t make it come true. Be strong and make the best decision for you and your family! Good luck.

Anonymous HM February 10, 2010 at 5:29 pm

This does sound like a marital issue first and foremost. Trying to manage a new relationship with a young AP and set appropriate boundaries and expectations in the midst of these marital stressors, your pregnancy, etc., sounds perilous. I would seek counseling–both individual and couple’s– a trained professional will help you prioritize and problem solve. I believe the suggestions regarding speaking candidly with your LCC AND warning your husband that his behavior (even if well intentioned, which unfortunately I doubt as he is openly disrespecting your feelings) would likely appear inappropriate to most, are important steps on your part… But this is still a marital problem, and it does not matter how attractive, young, or otherwise appealing your AP is–it is a symptom of a much larger problem. I truly feel for you as you are in a position where you need to protect yourself, your children, and now your AP, while trying to work on your marriage all at the same time… Make sure you enlist as much support as you possibly can–therapist, church, friends, etc…

Anon February 10, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Hey Ronnie, do me a favor and delete all of the aupairmom.com cookies from your computer at the end of the day, ok? The ‘leave a comment’ section automatically prepopulates with the name you used so anyone that uses your computer will know what you posted if they look in your history and visit this site. The controlling comments concern me. I’m just assuming DH uses the same computer and takes a look at where you go. Unless you are at the library or a safer computer. I hope the ladies on this blog provided some support, but CV, it would be great if you can take down this post for Ronnie’s safety.
National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1?800?799?SAFE(7233)

Anonymous February 10, 2010 at 7:04 pm

That is an excellent suggestion. I have experience in this field and certainly hope she sees that and follows it.

Ronnie February 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm

thanks for your concern. I am at work so he has no access to this computer but I will make sure I remove the link from my personal email to be safe.

former au pair-now Mother February 12, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Good luck Ronnie. I hope it all works out for you and let us know!

anon February 16, 2010 at 4:46 pm

(I haven’t read everything).

This is my opinion– if it makes you feel bad, it’s not okay. It’s not okay for him to decide if it’s appropriate for you to feel something.

beth May 23, 2010 at 11:32 am

we as aupair some times we stay like small kinds in that we can do some things not to hurt the others ,for example most of the mothers says they dont have time ,no mood and no

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