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Should we get an au pair ?

(19 Posts)
ChicMama25 Tue 13-Nov-12 09:01:31

Thinking of getting an au pair if DP gets this more demanding job he is going for (he does school run in am and sometimes in pm if I have something come up, school closes at 6.30pm, but I work 55+ hrs per week as an investment banker). Now money is tight still and DP will likely not get paid any more in this new job to start off with. We have a large garden flat with a kitchen diner that could ostensibly double up as a living room if we made the living room a bedroom.

My questions are
1- if you have an au pair how do you cope with reduced privacy in your home?
2- how much is reasonable to pay and would it be ok to ask them to do light housework and the school run (perhaps not every day) and
prepare an evening meal?
3- what's the best way to find one? Which website or should I go through an agency?

Thanks in advance

SoldeInvierno Tue 13-Nov-12 09:53:04

1. I always coped badly, and that's the reason why I stopped having aupairs. We live outside London so the house is quite big. She had her own bathroom, and it still ended up bothering me having someone in the house. So, I know I am not reasonable, but I really didn't like it.
2. I think they get about £80 for 25 hours of work. Would that be enough hours for you?
3. I have always used the web sites Greataupair or Aupair World.

my best experience was with German aupairs, as I found them very independent and capable, plus providing I gave them a bicycle, they were happy to cycle for quite a distance to get to the station. Of course, it depends on the person and you have to interview them over Skype, get a feeling for them and then maybe get them to fly over (at your expense) for a trial weekend

SoldeInvierno Tue 13-Nov-12 09:56:23

About evening meal, you would have to make it very clear that they are expected to cook. None of mine could cook, except for extremely simple things. Reheating food, or boiling spaghetti and adding a prepared sauce was ok, but asking them to chop an onion and fry it to make the sauce was not ok.

ChicMama25 Tue 13-Nov-12 10:06:10

Thank you for your advice. I am worried I will not like having someone in the house as DP and I hardly get time together as it is... However it may be necessary. Of course it's really important to get on with the person...

25 hours would def be enough. They would do 1 hr 8am to 9am with dd, then school run and cooking in eve is perhaps 2-3 hours including DD's homework etc. I feel like she would benefit from going to school a bit later and being picked up a bit earlier so she can get to bed on time. That leaves 1-2 hours in the day for housework which is more than enough and they would get all weekends off. Occasional evening babysitting but no more than once every 2 months probably. At 80 per week that is still £320 per month though. Might have to see if DP can get more £ with this new job

ChicMama25 Tue 13-Nov-12 10:07:08

Re: evening meal, this is v important as we do not have time at all, also I would prefer someone in their 20s hopefully that will help?!

SoldeInvierno Tue 13-Nov-12 10:15:28

Also, don't forget that having someone else in the house involves some costs: extra heating, food, ect. For example, one of my Spanish aupairs found this climate extremely cold and needed the heating on all the time. Thankfully she didn't stay long as she got homesick after 3 weeks, but she would have ruined me otherwise.

Also, many families in London offer extras: gym, Oyster card

If you want help with homework, you need to make sure the girl/boy speaks good English. One of mine hardly spoke 2 words of English. Fortunately both my husband and I spoke her language, so we could communicate.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 13-Nov-12 10:21:40

I am really sorry to say this but listening to your set up and concerns about privacy, I really don't think the set up is for you. We've only ever had German au pairs, for what it's worth, and have always struggled with the time to ourselves thing. And our au pairs have a large loft room, with tv sofa en suite, to themselves. It doesn't mean they use it though! THey may still prefer to be with you, which is understandable but can be hard for the 'host parents.' YOu have a demanding job and need time to yourselves in the evenings. They have no adult company and need time with you just when you want down time. It's possible I deal with this all less well than others, but listening to you and your set up I think it's something to be alert to.

I explore all the possibilities you can think of for after school only arrangements in the first instance.

ChicMama25 Tue 13-Nov-12 10:30:22

I'm concerned that a nanny/housekeeper for after school only will be super expensive... Will look into it as well though, I fear you may be right about the privacy thing

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 13-Nov-12 10:33:02

It is pricey you're right. We've gone down that route too. How old are your children?

There is a 'cost' involved in au pairs in terms of loss of privacy, the ad ons that solde mentioned and also the fact that they need much more handholding.

apotomak Tue 13-Nov-12 10:34:40

I know from experience that having an adult in my house for longer than a week is more trouble than it's worth. You also have to consider the au pair may get homesick or has other issues she didn't tell you about. For what's it worth I would in your case get a professional nanny. It will cost you more but I find you just cannot put a price on privacy. If you consider nanny who brings her own child you may be able to negotiate a lower wage. Also you may be able to test nanny's cooking abilities at interview.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 13-Nov-12 10:36:35

Plus, if you live in an expensive area they may not be able to afford to go out much for meals etc on the standard 'ap pocket money.' What will you do about friends visiting in the evening too, which is another way they socialise which is cheap?

Can you put a TV in your bedroom?

ChicMama25 Tue 13-Nov-12 10:46:18

Ahh you are right - do not want friends visiting, especially in the week evenings are a mad rush to get to bed as I am often up at 4.50am for work and if not that early then it is 5.50.

We do not have a tv at all and don't use the living room in the week so it wouldn't be an issue from that perspective. I am going to look at live-out nanny-housekeepers.

ChicMama25 Tue 13-Nov-12 11:32:04

Oh and I have only 1 child, DD is 7.7 and very easy, well behaved etc

legalalien Tue 13-Nov-12 11:37:59

Are you in central london? One option might be to get a post grad student - advantage being that they would have their own stuff to be getting on with during the day / would be a bit more independent. I've just finished a masters degree and several of my classmates indicated they'd be interested in a set up like that, as accommodation in London is so expensive. You'd need to throw in Internet and printer access...

fraktion Tue 13-Nov-12 11:43:50

I would second the student option. If you've got the leeway until 6.30 at school plus an option of a breakfast club that should accommodate any occasional early/late lectures.

They're likely to be much less intrusive than an au pair who will want to practice their English and have their friends over.

ChicMama25 Tue 13-Nov-12 11:46:19

Well I live in zone 3. The student thing could work perhaps till we can afford nanny-housekeeper.. How to go about advertising for such a person?

legalalien Tue 13-Nov-12 12:17:11

According to the LSE careers site (LSE has lots of postgrads/ students from overseas) the best places to look are www.gumtree.com and www.monster.co.uk, so presumably students look there. Or maybe call student services at whatever uni is closest to you?

Newtothisstuff Tue 13-Nov-12 12:43:09

Our very first aupair arrives next week from Spain. I'm really nervous about the whole lack of privacy thing. It's going to be something that takes some getting used to. We've put tv, sky and a laptop in her room so hopefully she will want her privacy as much as we want ours.. She's 25 too so not a kid so hopefully that's a good thing too grin good luck op

ChicMama25 Tue 13-Nov-12 12:45:18

Good luck to you too! Let me know how it goes!

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