Generosity in a host parent – au pair relationship is critical. Our inclination to give, to forgive, to cut someone else a break, is what creates important flexibility in a relationship.  That's why we say strong relationships always have a little ...

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"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles

  1. Our Au Pair Generously Let Her Boyfriend Drive Our Car — Now what?
  2. How Should an Au Pair Explain Visible Scars to Host Kids?
  3. Finding an Infant Qualified Au Pair Who Can Manage Twins
  4. Explaining “America” to Your Au Pair
  5. Mom of Au Pair Asks: How Can I Offer Support from Afar?
  6. More Recent Articles

Our Au Pair Generously Let Her Boyfriend Drive Our Car — Now what?

Generosity in a host parent – au pair relationship is critical.

Our inclination to give, to forgive, to cut someone else a break, is what creates important flexibility in a relationship.  That’s why we say strong relationships always have a little ‘give’.

One of the biggest questions for Host Parents and Au Pairs alike is how to manage our expectations around giving and receiving.

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Whether we are the Au Pair or the Host Parent, we want to be generous and also not be taken advantage of. We want our generosity to be appreciated but not assumed. We want our generosity to be noticed but not to make a big deal about it. We want our generosity to be reciprocal.

Simultaneously, we also want what we give to be respected. Just because we give it to you, doesn’t mean you can give it to someone else. This applies to just about every material thing except sunscreen. You should share sunscreen with anyone who needs it. (Here, you can even use my favorite fancy lavender sunscreen.)

Woe to the Host Parent (or Au Pair) who discovers that their generosity is abused.

I am a first time au pair mom. Our Thai au pair has been with us for 8 months and we are planning on extending her.  My son is 11 months old.

Our au pair is totally boy crazy.  We have had some issues with our au pair related to driving and boys.  She has taken my car overnight (we only have two vehicles), sometimes all weekend, and often without asking permission or even giving me a heads...

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How Should an Au Pair Explain Visible Scars to Host Kids?

Each of us bears scars from life events that have challenged us.

1796910818_5010a4d289_mSome of these scars are hidden, and allow us to keep their origins private.  Other scars are in plain sight, and their visibility raises the possibility that at some point, we won’t be able to keep their origins to ourselves.

I have a 7-inch scar curving down the left side of my neck that (before my wrinkles began to cover it) kindof looked Frankensteinian. It’s from surgery to remove a tumor.

When the scar was new, one of my daughter’s friends was fascinated by it, and asked me to tell her about it.  Not like I wanted to explain having a tumor removed or anything…but since I couldn’t think of a funny way to brush off her question, I told her I’d had an operation to remove a lump in my neck. A few months later when I was sick with a sore throat and this child came over for a play date, she got worried that I might die from neck sickness.

In spite of how I’d explained my scar, this maybe-8-year-old was still worried for me. Sweet of her, of course, but I was sad to have induced that concern into her world.

I’ve been thinking about this situation since I got the email, below, from an Au Pair with some visible scars.

The Au Pair’s scars are from an old illness, one from which she’s fully recovered, but also from an illness that’s hard to explain to kids.  She’s been wearing long sleeves to hide the scars, but now that the weather’s...

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Finding an Infant Qualified Au Pair Who Can Manage Twins

NowWeAreThree HostMom thought she had the whole family ready for twins, with her mom coming to stay for an entire year to help with childcare (what a mom!).  Sadly, her father got unexpectedly sick, so her mom can no longer come.

This mom’s got to find a new childcare plan.

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What questions would you ask, and what features would you look for, to find an Au Pair who could handle five-month old twins?

Many au pairs can handle twins, and be adept at balancing the needs of two kids of the same age.  Many au pairs are also ready to care for infants — some even prefer these wee ones to older host kids like toddlers or tweens.

How can you find an Au Pair who is both of these?

Who can keep their cool when two diapers need changing, two babies need bottles, and one baby is crying while the other is asleep for only a few more seconds?

What qualities would you look for?

What questions would you add to your interview?

Dear AuPairMom–  I’ve been obsessively reading your blog and I’m hoping that the community can help me.

We have brand new twins.  My mother was supposed to stay with us for a year to help us with our twins but my father got unexpectedly sick (cancer) so she obviously cannot longer come. We also have a four-year-old who is currently in full-time daycare. But, we cannot afford day care for all three children. Also, the twins were preemies and I’m a little hesitant about putting them in daycare and exposing them to all those germs....

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Explaining “America” to Your Au Pair

4th of July is one of my favorite holidays… all about family, community and abstract patriotic notions.

4th of July is also the holiday when I am most likely to embarrass my children– apparently, as they get older, it is no longer cool to have a mom who dresses up in red, white & blue and cheers wildly as the Big Apple LGBTQ Drum Corps marches down Valley Road.

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4th of July is also one of my 2 favorite holidays to share with Au Pairs.

Although many of our au pairs have preferred to high-tail it into the nearest city for more grown-up partying and fancier fireworks, often they’ve spent the earlier part of the day with us — usually catching the ‘exciting to me, kinda boring to them’ town parade.

On the 4th, even more than during other times of the year, I find myself fielding random questions about the USA. I also find myself offering up what seem to me to be wise insights about the ways that our country works.

(Some recent winners have included trying to explain how the electoral college works, why NASCAR exists, and why professional  soccer just hasn’t caught on in the US.)

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For us Host Parents, 4th of July creates an obvious opportunity for questions and conversations about being “American”. It’s a chance to catch up on  some of the “cultural exchange” part of the au pairing experience.

So, over this holiday weekend, as you sneak inside the house for some quiet time at the computer and maybe a cold...

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Mom of Au Pair Asks: How Can I Offer Support from Afar?

For the first time ever, we’ve heard from the mom of a brand new Au Pair.   Her daughter is running into problems with her Host Family, and the au pair’s Mom wants to know– how can she help?

12808611393_059d7ec1b9_mI’ve wanted to ignore the possibility that an pair’s parents would be offering her real-time advice on how to manage kids, how to interact with host parents, and the like. I’ve always focused just on the au pair him/herself, not thinking about a larger circle of influence.  But since it’s so easy to WhatsApp and Skype internationally, it makes sense that au pair parents would feel closer to the action AND want to help.

Assuming that some long-distance parental advice is unavoidable, how might we coach an au pair’s mom to support her daughter or son?

As AuPair’sRealMom writes —

My daughter was so excited to leave for America to start her year as an Au Pair!  But within the first month of being with her host family, she’s hit some obstacles.    I don’t want to get too involved in giving my daughter advice, since she needs to learn how to stand up for herself. Sorting out her concerns on her own is part of the learning process, I believe.

However, at the moment my daughter is not being paid as agreed. For example, she is not getting paid on time each Friday. She does not know how to ask her Host Mother for her pay, without upsetting the Host Mother.   She is also working 10 hours each day and isn’t...

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