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Male Au Pair

(27 Posts)
MrsJones100 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:08:44

I have a DD 12 and DS 10. Would really like to hear your thoughts of the subject of a Male Au Pair, anyone who has had experience, pros and cons, the fact I have a DD, she said she would be fine with that and DS would like it.
Big question is it any less safe.

Mendi Mon 18-Feb-13 21:12:57

No advice but marking my place as am also interested in the answers to your question.

FlorenceMattell Mon 18-Feb-13 21:46:03

Mrs Jones
I had a female au pair who left two children home alone, when she went to the station to meet her friend. She asked them if they wanted to go with her, they didn't! That wasn't very safe!
Most males are not child abusers as most female are not.
You need a conversation with Dd about appropriate behaviour and make sure can speak to you. Maybe a neighbour she can trust.

MrsJones100 Mon 18-Feb-13 23:31:47

So true what you say, but they sure don't get as many families responding to them. However so far it seems families that have gone for a male have been very pleased.

Metrobaby Tue 19-Feb-13 10:10:16

We've had 5 female APs and 1 male AP. The male AP only lasted a month but this was due to the fact he didn't get on or bond with my dc rather than the because he was male. Surprisingly, he was very good at the household chores and was very tidy, but this was not my priority.

The main change we had to make when we had him was to be quite strict with DD (also 12) not to leave her underwear lying around, getting dressed with the door closed etc etc. My DH however, was never very comfortable with having another male in the house and believes that a male is probably less likely to go out than a girl.

I did find when I was interviewing male APs, that they tended to put a lot more effort in the interviewing process. You tend to get more quality applicants with male APs. Do be careful of their reasons for wanting to be an AP. Personally, I tended to view male APs who were simply coming over to be with their AP girlfriend with more caution.

12ylnon Tue 19-Feb-13 10:18:22

No experience myself, but a friend from my postnatal group had a male Au Pair who was absolutely wonderful.
She had no concerns about him being male. He was wonderful with her children- as well as all the other kids when we all met up. He was polite, tidy, lots of fun and the children adored him. I think he was the older sibling of about 6 so had plenty of experience.
I know they were devastated when he left to go back to Portugal and had trouble with a subsequent female Au Pair (she was a bit icy and dismissive of the children's needs).

12ylnon Tue 19-Feb-13 10:18:59

Her children were newborn, 4 and 6

elastamum Tue 19-Feb-13 10:23:53

I had a male au pair and whilst he was very efficient he wasnt great with my children (teenagers) as he had absolutley no interest in them. He used to pick them up from school, give them tea, but hardly ever spoke to them or had any interest in doing anything at all with them. When I was working they were very much left to their own devices in the house. He left when I wouldnt let him move his girlfriend in with us!

I think you need to make sure they actually LIKE children and want to be an au pair. Unfortunately, because of the unemployment situation in europe there are a lot of potential au pairs who just see the job as a way out of their country that gives them board and pocket money

GooseyLoosey Tue 19-Feb-13 10:26:57

Would agree that you have to make sure they like children, but same is trus of any other au-pair. Have a friend who has had several male au pairs and seems very happy with them. The children seem happy too. Don't see why it should be less safe per se, you just need to make sure you pick the right one.

MrsJones100 Tue 19-Feb-13 11:56:52

Again not wanting to generalise but probably am, I am imagining a male may be less prone to mood swings and be more confident to be independant going out and about exploring when they arrive. On a more trivial note the young males I know are tidier than the young females. DH seemed fine with the idea. It must be very tricky to really know how much they like children, anything can be said in an interview, although the ones I have had my eye on have done a lot of work with children.

singlevillagemum Tue 19-Feb-13 12:15:24

Have had 3 Aps now, and just recruiting the 4th.

AP1 female - suited me, but DS wanted a male, very good with DS and kept house reasonably well.
AP2 male - initially interviewed very well and bonded well with DS on trial visit but turned out to be quite juvenile and demanding of my attention. Only lasted 6 weeks. On the plus was an amazing cleaner and even volunteered to mow lawn and pressure wash the patio.
AP3 male - interviewed well and we skipped the trial visit. I focussed much more on independance in the recruitment and this has worked out well. Just coming to the end of 6 months, we had originally planned for 9 but his girlfriend who was au pairing nearby has decided to quit early and gave him an ultimatum.

Pluses - much less complaining about weather [AP1 got annoyed when her hair got messed up whilst cycling on the school run], less likely to call you in the middle of the night because they didn't want to pay for a cab from the station and now someone is scaring them while they walk home, more sport.
Minus - wasn't bothered about hanging up my bras to dry in front of AP1, in fact she often volunteered to help me out with laundry if I was getting behind, with 2 & 3 I have felt much more self-conscious and now tend to do most of my laundry on the weekends whilst they are out; have had to go for much older AP males to get the same level of responsibility towards DS as with a much younger AP1; am also very conscious now of not nipping about the house in a towel in the morning and have invested in a lovely full length dressing gown curtesy of M&S.

dikkertjedap Tue 19-Feb-13 12:21:19

Should be fine, but obviously make sure all the vetting is done and you actually see the vetting papers.

bran Tue 19-Feb-13 12:43:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsJones100 Tue 19-Feb-13 14:19:05

Ooooh I am feeling really excited about a male ap. Love to hear any more experiences. I feel like I am becoming well armed.

Callthemidlife Wed 20-Feb-13 08:55:43

I prefer outgoing and independent and confident au pairs, and that tends to mean males IMHO

Very important to know without a shadow of a doubt that they love kids. Usually they can demonstrate through running summer camps, teaching degree etc. never ever be fobbed off with the 'babysitting my nephew' bollocks (from either gender). Ask them what it is about kids that they love, and what makes them itch with frustration. If they're genuine they'll open up to that type of question and if not they'll stall.

I always insist on graduate, age 22 at least, with experience of living away form home and experience of dual income households. Currently i understand that Spanish teachers are having to develop better English language skills because of some central initiative, and you will find au pair sites flooded with good people available because of this.

My male APs have been Swedish, Spanish (x2) and Greek. They were all great. Also had a South African one but fired him for continually picking his nose whilst making kids' dinner (boak). The 2 females were mixed bag - one truly lovely but used to cry on my shoulder when I got in from work over boyfriend trouble, the other was nicknamed the domestic dementer for sucking the life out of every room she entered, and got sent home after 6 weeks.

Housework/ chores/ cooking to be honest has been hit and miss with the guys. And I have had to separate out my knickers from the family wash...

MrsJones100 Wed 20-Feb-13 09:12:02

I will be happy with any small amount of housework done, we also have a cleaner once a week. Cooking a little more concerning but would want at least a nice pasta, jacket pots and salads achieved. Callthemidlife, have the male AP's you have experienced been organised with all things regarding school. Books, homework, uniform, getting there on time.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Wed 20-Feb-13 13:38:35

A dear friend of mine had a male au pair for her DS. He was brilliant with the child but had a dreadful case of BO!!! That is not peculiar to males, though. As far as the child goes, he was much better with the DS than the other 3 female au pairs were - but of course my friend was able to breathe better around the females!

MrsJones100 Wed 20-Feb-13 15:43:17

BO thats a tricky one, we couldn't live with that.

We have a male AP at the moment (after 7 female APs). He is great and fits in well. I have 2 boys (6 and 8) and he gets on well with them. On Monday (first day of half term) we came home to 2 very happy boys who had been around the park, cycling, playing football, in the playground, and then in the garden playing other outdoors games. He also plays music and is teaching DS1 the guitar.

We have had mixed APs, but on balance, I would say that current male one is in the top 2. He doesn't get in the way, is interesting to talk to (bit of a lefty - would fit in well here!!!), his Dad and girlfriend have been to stay, and I have no concerns.

No BO. Downsides? Well, he eats quite a lot, but mainly bread, nutella and bananas. We can cope with that! Oh - he also likes football, so my DH and him sometimes watch footie when I am less keen.

MrsJones100 Thu 21-Feb-13 16:47:19

fedupwithdeployment - he sounds really good, how is he on the cooking, cleaning front? I could definitely cope with his downsides. Is it always the done thing to have AP's friends and family to stay?

viktoria Thu 21-Feb-13 21:05:35

Have had 5 female and 3 male au pairs; Had to let one female au pair go after 2 weeks and one of the male au pairs wasn't great (but didn't let him go, as we only ever needed him for 3 months);
To generalise (based on our experience) - female au pairs only go out when they have friends, male au pairs are happy to explore the city by themselves; I felt far less worried about male au pairs, they seem to take things in their stride.
Most of our female au pairs seemed to have a complicated relationship with food - male au pairs just seem to eat a lot.
We have had mostly brilliant au pairs, but I found male au pairs much easier to deal with.
We found that male au pairs do not have as much experience in household duties - cooking, laundry etc.
We didn't find any difference in interest in children - in fact, the one female au pair who we let go, was the only one with no interest in children.
If possible, I would always tend to go for an au pair who has younger siblings.
We are planning to look for another male au pair soon.

MrsJones - in terms of having friends/family to stay - we always initially say that we do not want them to have anybody staying over (even if it's just a local friend, for one night). We tend to then relax the rule once the au pair is actually with us - providing we feel happy with it of course.
It's always better to start "strict" and then relax rules, rather than the other way round.

We've had 5 female au pairs and 1 male au pair. We are currently recruiting our 7th au pair because our current female au pair is dreadful, doesn't want to look after DS etc. cant be bothered with him.
Our male au pair was very good once he had got into the stride of things (and other people accepting him - school was very wary of him at first). He was very good at the household chores, helped out in the garden which we did not ask him to do and was generally very responsive. The only problem we had and this is only something I have found with a male au pair was a bit of day time drinking so I don't know if that was cultural (italian) or not?
But I loved having him around the house as my husband works away a lot- so he fixed things, changed lightbulbs and generally was there - even though I can cope on my own!
We have just interviewed a really really good male au pair who was pipped at the post by another girl - we would have taken him on had this other girl not been just a bit more suitable for our son.
Male or female au pairs are good if you can get them to suit your needs and family

Hi Mrs Jones. He is pretty domesticated - no issues with food, although I only ask him to cook for children, not us. He will happily cook crepes (from scratch) and omlettes / pasta whatever. Cleaning-wise, he is good on dieshwasher, tidying kitchen, but doesn't do that much else (but we haven't asked him to). He does a bit of ironing (kids clothes) and has run the hoover round on request.

The previous girl irritated me so much (several posts on here about her) that he is a complete relief - uncomplicated and doesn't always insist he's right. Only disagreements are about whether M Hollande is a good President, and of course he's entitled to disagree with me about that.

By the way, his parents are divorced and his elder sister has MH problems - I think he is very independent / domesticated as a result.

We don't usually have people to stay - I have offered before, and only once has it happened. With this chap, his father came over for 2 days, and asked about B&Bs (not many good cheap ones round here), and I said we had space and he could stay. Worked out well - AP was ill one day, so his Dad did the school run! And re the gf, AP is 24 and they have been together 4 years....so I think that is ok.

Everyone is different though - don't feel obliged to host.

thecatsmothercompany Fri 22-Feb-13 16:28:12

A close friend has had two male au pairs in a row, and had a great experience. By contrast, we've had female au pairs who have been extremely high maintenance by comparison - constantly on strange diets, refusing to take DS to the pool to avoid damaging their hair colour, you name it...

That said, the whole au pair thing has worked very well for us, and our son has loved them all in spite of their strange habits!

But next year I've won the battle with DH and we are looking for a bloke. :-)

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