“A wet blanket” “Debbie Downer” “Sad Sack” “Uninspiring” What a drag to imagine these words characterizing your Au Pair. When an Au Pair has a “not optimistic” attitude towards the every day, it's hard to imagine them adding to the ...

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"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles

  1. Au Pair’s Attitude is a Downer: Can we get her to change?
  2. Inexpensive Ways for Au Pairs to Ship Boxes Back Home
  3. Support Gun Safety Legislation
  4. My Au Pair Is Selling Products on Facebook: Should I care?
  5. Do you know what your Au Pair *needs* from you?
  6. More Recent Articles

Au Pair’s Attitude is a Downer: Can we get her to change?

“A wet blanket” “Debbie Downer” “Sad Sack” “Uninspiring”

2429390000_5b4e0e2d3e_mWhat a drag to imagine these words characterizing your Au Pair.

When an Au Pair has a “not optimistic” attitude towards the every day, it’s hard to imagine them adding to the family spirit rather than subtracting from it.

Is it possible to get an Au Pair to change their behavior?  Can we ask them to automatically add “thank you”s and “sure thing”s to their interaction with us?

HostMomMarie wants to know:

I am a mom of two young girls in the Northeast, with our second AP (from Northern Europe) who’s been with us for two months.

Our first AP was a super rock star – just in every.single.way. a rock star and a great “fit” for us – we knew we were being spoiled and hope we are not expecting too much of our 2d AP.

Our second Au Pair is totally FINE. She is highly responsible, patient, and the girls seem to enjoy her for the most part. However ~~

It bugs the heck out of me is that she never says “thank you” for things big or small. I want the girls to learn that “thank you” and “please” are the proper terms to REGULARLY use. And, I’m just not used to giving someone something – as small as bringing her a glass of water to an expensive take out meal from date night – and not getting any response.

I’ve tried talking to her and there was some small improvement but not...

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Inexpensive Ways for Au Pairs to Ship Boxes Back Home

I knew we’d had a few posts about sending Au Pairs’ stuff back home when they leave — but I didn’t realize it had been seven years ago!
Let’s update our info on best rates and options:  What does your family do?
Our au pair is leaving in April after spending two years with our family.
Since her last summer is ending, she wants to ship back her summer items and get a jump on moving. Plus, we have plenty of time and aren’t in a rush to get things there right away.
Does anyone have recommendations for a good, cheap shipping option? FedEx, DHL and UPS are all cost-prohibitive.


Support Gun Safety Legislation

Dear Readers —

A girlfriend reminded me this morning that, as a person who runs a website that reaches 16,000 people a month, I have a responsibility to use this platform wisely.  To promote community, to promote growth, to promote learning, to promote cross cultural understanding, and to promote safety.


One of the most horrifying things about American culture, to me, is that as a culture we do not promote safe regulation of weapons of mass destruction, such as the rifles used to commit mass murder.  Why a country that supposedly priorities “life” as well as “liberty” and the “pursuit of happiness” does not prioritize human life over gun ownership is beyond me.

Without getting into arguments over the actual intent of the 2nd amendment, I’d like to invite you to

Talk with your Au Pair about gun safety.  Make sure your Au Pair knows to ask whether there are unsecured guns in the homes of families where s/he takes your kid to play.

Consider donating money and time to Everytown for Gun Safety, an alliance of groups working to regulate gun ownership the same way we regulate driving, alcohol purchases, and Advil.

Check out Everytown for Gun Safety.


See also:

Au Pairs and Guns in Your House: Rules, Principles, and Having the Conversation

Au Pair Asks: How Do I Ask Prospective Host Families About Guns in Their Home?


My Au Pair Is Selling Products on Facebook: Should I care?

Au Pairs who want to make extra money, beyond their stipend and in violation of the State Department rules, usually stick to a few basic strategies — working a few extra hours for their family, walking a dog or two, or taking the rare emergency babysitting job down the street.

None of these jobs are legal for au Au Pair to hold, but when done a handful of times over the course of the year, they don’t seem to cause problems.

4132611614_e25b454c4f_mThen, of course, there are the enterprising Au Pairs — the ones who offer to mow the lawn of a neighbor every Saturday, who take a second job, who sell baked goods at the farmer’s market using the Host Family’s pantry as a supply cabinet, and then the recent case of the Au Pair who signed herself up to be an Uber driver, using her Host Parent’s car.

These sorts of extra money-earning opportunities not only violate the State Department rules, they also get in the way of the Au Pair’s childcare work and his or her relationship with the Host Family.

But Multi-Level Marketing on Facebook is a new one for us.

A host mom writes:

I’ve discovered that our current au pair has started a home-based business, selling weight-loss products for a multilevel marketing company. She’s advertising this publicly on Facebook, which is how I learned of it.

I don’t think she realizes that this is a violation of her visa. I am concerned for two reasons — first, she could be found out by her Agency or Local...

Read the whole entry »


Do you know what your Au Pair *needs* from you?

e76008ff943c141a0539dbc33d121bd3A former babysitter and family friend got engaged last week, and to help her celebrate I bought her a few books on how to have a great marriage.

(I know, kindof weird, but I am a BIG BELIEVER in trying to learn intentionally, especially when you can anticipate how your life will be changing.)

Flipping through one of the books as I prepared to wrap them, I noted this concept of:

The Positive Need

You’re supposed to ask your partner —

“What do you need to feel loved?”

It’s important to say / ask for what you DO need, not what you don’t need.

For example, “I need you to support me” instead of, “I don’t need you to question me.”

This question “takes (some of) the guesswork out of marriage”.

It made me wonder —

do we know what our Au Pairs need from us, so that they feel appreciated? Or seen? Or understood?

What would it be like to ask your Au Pair —

What do you need from me, as a Host Parent, to help you feel appreciated? 

I wonder if we’d be surprised …..


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