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Au pairs, gossip and ... blummin nightmares!

(35 Posts)
Mummyoftheyear Sat 21-Sep-13 08:51:24

Have had a really difficult week. Last Sunday, my au pair who I
A) treated beautifully
B) depend on for my job
"Happened to meet another family in the park who told her about another family in our small village who needed an au pair to start the next day."

Still in shock, I was told that the mother of the 'new family' had informed her that if she didn't accept the job immediately, she'd not find another family as nobody needs au pairs after September.

I was also told all number of lies - some too horrible about my own child reminding her of a man who she'd been in a violent relationship with. Debts in her own country, etc.

I'd believed the money worries story and offered to buy her a weekly train ticket, in addition to her wages, to London so that she didn't make her new au pair friends feel bad when they went on a weekly trip into London.

She'd politely declined, which I found slightly odd, and said she was meeting a friend's au pair to stay in shenley that day.

That was last Sunday. It now transpires that my friend's au pair had been trying to find her another position on Facebook.

I telephoned the 'new family' and the number came up as recognised! I explained to the mother that, despite the lies she may have told, (for why else would anyone take someone else's aupair), we had been nice to our au pair and that I depended upon her for my livelihood!
"That's not my problem. Thing is, I need an au pair; she came for the interview; I offered her the job and she accepted."
Asking whether she could've found her own au pair or whether she felt bad - she just repeated her statement about needing an au pair and mine accepting.
Are people really this selfish, callous and lacking in morals? Am I naive?

I've now been hearing the lies that she has been telling - along with the lies that other mothers have been spreading, thinking that they know me and my children well enough to pass such comments around. The mothers I'm talking about are actually those who, despite my attempts to smile and say hello for an entire year of my son being at the religious school, snubbed me and turned their backs - only conversing to ask questions about who was invited to so and so's party and passing comments about the size of others' houses (having google mapped their postcodes)!
It's disgusting behaviour.
I am very disappointed to be living in a community where such slanderous gossip exists and is spread by people with, clearly, too much time on their hands - and too little going on in their lives and heads!
I also would live my au pair to have friends (and I HAVE introduced her to two lovely girls her age already which is great) but I'm so afraid that she'll come into contact with these liars and start to believe some if the rubbish they spout. A long time ago I had an au pair who wanted a job in the centre of London and who left us but alleviated her guilt by slagging us off to her friends as she wanted me to let her go immediately and I said that if she didn't give a week's notice (nothing really and not nearly enough to find someone to cover for my job) is not be able to give a reference. Fair enough.
Feel so helpless to be in such a shitty place.
My son is both charming and a right pain in the arse at times - it's like pushing a lead ball up hill to get him to do what I say (ESP at bath time when I'm teaching - but I run up to help if I Hear him not doing what he's asked) repeating a thousand times. But the job itself is not at all hard. My daughter us easy peasy. I'm in verge of giving up a job I love because of the uncertainty and deceit going on.

Mummyoftheyear Tue 24-Sep-13 22:38:45

Thank you, ladies! I think I was taking it all a bit personally and scrutinising my son's behaviour rather than the irresponsible and dishonest ap's. Ev a temporary solution and have found two responsible teaching assistants who, together, can cover the days (evenings) I work.
I'll see whether the temp. cover lasts and then change tactic ;)

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 24-Sep-13 18:21:01

aps/nannies etc rarely move from a job/or look unless they are unhappy

other family quite within their rights to hire ap

ap quite within her rights to leave you

but she should have given you notice

with your next childcarer, though you mean well by My son is both charming and a right pain in the arse at times - it's like pushing a lead ball up hill to get him to do what I say (ESP at bath time when I'm teaching - but I run up to help if I Hear him not doing what he's asked) repeating a thousand times

but just makes the ap look as if she cant cope and children esp boys pick up on this quickly and she wont have any control or respect

i would leave them alone

flatmum Tue 24-Sep-13 10:27:35

I think it quite normal, though shitty, for au pairs to start off in a nice family in a rural area (easier to get the position) and then "upgrade" once they're in. I knew someone who's aupair defected to another family because her room at the new place had an en suite and at the old one she had to share with the kids! I think you are maybe being a bit over emotional about all the other stuff or merging te issues. I think I'd concentrate on the childcare side of things and ignore all the gossip school mum stuff - if you are going off to work who cares? you've got a life, they quite possibly have not.

fwiw I have always used nurseries for this reason - they are professionals run by a management structure, not impressionable young girls that haven't yet learnt a sense of responsibility. Theyvlive locally and have their own lives amd arent in a foreign country, possibly homesick or lonely. you can still get issues of course but any bad apples are diluted by other staff an eventually sacked. I have found a very good childminder too for the same reason - they tend to be older, more experienced, have of time had their own children so are more understanding of normal child "bad" behaviour.

I have always though you get what you pay for with au pairs. for reliable childcare, which you need when you work, you need to fork out go a nursery or childminder I think - as you are now doing. they have chosen childcare as a profession and are qualified. I think that increases the chance of it all working out. I am a responsible person that could look after children well and understand their bahaviour through having my own. I understand about contracts and notice periods and the need to not let people down. when I look back to when I was 19/20 thought, pre children, pre responsibilities, travelling the world, I don't think I could say the same things.

Levantine Tue 24-Sep-13 09:56:04

mummy. I would be extremely upset by this too. It is shitty. Onwards and upwards, I hope you have some luck with other childcare options.

HomerPigeon Tue 24-Sep-13 09:48:11

I think you probably have to expect that an AP leaving you will justify their position with lies. I met a woman this weekend who has had several APs, she told me that one of them (male) just didn't work out and when they gave him notice, he packed his things and went and knocked on the neighbours' door and told them he'd been chucked out (not true)!

She was sanguine about it, said you just have to let this stuff wash over you.

Mummyoftheyear Tue 24-Sep-13 06:05:00

Thx Viv & Power. Will do ;)

PowerPants Mon 23-Sep-13 21:50:23

mummy - yup, it's down to jealousy. Keep smiling and they will find someone else to bitch about soon due to their low self esteem.

Viviennemary Mon 23-Sep-13 16:33:20

Au pairs are quite notoriously troublesome. You might be lucky and find a good one. It sounds as if you are well rid of this selfish person if you have treated her well. Just concentrate on finding somebody else.

Mummyoftheyear Mon 23-Sep-13 16:28:15

MDMidget, do you have a contact with a minimum period of notice for your aps?
Was it YOUR new ap who told the others at her welcome party about her recent 'move'? Nothing surprises me any more.

Mummyoftheyear Mon 23-Sep-13 16:24:42

Thanks, ladies. Nice to know I'm not alone at having experienced this sort of disloyalty and gossipy rubbish. Am focussing my efforts on finding someone else and considering alternative options should things but work out (trained teachers/ classroom assistants who need after school jobs).
Having now some distance from the whole episode, although the au pair's behaviour was shockingly abominable, I accept that it happens. Some people are 'unbalanced' and need to lie to justify their actions.
However, I'm still smarting by the deliberate poaching and unrepentant behaviour of the mother (who I spoke to to explain that we'd been nice to our au pair and that I depended on her for my own job).
Anyhow, Yourebekngadick, I'm a professional, I work, I make an effort with my appearance and I am busy with work. This goes down quite badly with some of the mums at my son's old school. Jealousy is a dangerous thing. I have always, and will always, be someone who says hello with a smile to anyone who I am stood next to in the school line. Being friendly and appearing to have it all together (and believe me, we aaaaaaall have our problems) can rub people up the wrong way. Just my hunch - as I've never been horrible to anyone. This is the explanation given to me by friends and acquaintances.

Metrobaby Mon 23-Sep-13 13:29:49

Although it does not seem like it now - I do think you have had a lucky escape. Your AP clearly does not care about you, your dc and also spreads lies. She was unhappy enough to take another job and leave you in the lurch. When you find a great AP (and they do exist), you will be glad she left.

It would be far better to focus your efforts now on finding someone more suitable and better values.

Novstar Mon 23-Sep-13 12:21:09

No constructive suggestions I can make but I do truly feel sorry for you. Whatever the circumstances, nothing justifies telling anything to anyone about a 5 YO who was in your care, let alone lies about them. Sorry but there really are crazy people out there and you were unlucky to meet one. Perhaps consider yourself lucky to have got rid of them before they did any further harm to you. I hope you can move forwards again soon.

MGMidget Sun 22-Sep-13 23:29:51

I saw recently how flippant some APs can be about changing jobs. A former AP of ours was at a social event at our house which I set up to welcome our new AP with some AP contacts. She shocked the other APs and me by talking about a new job she had started the week before which she was unsure she could continue with owing to the location. A week later she had left it, presumably without giving the minimum notice. Not everyone is so casual about changing jobs but some APs are, and think nothing of letting other people down. Your ex AP probably would have done this to you sooner or later though.. If it wasn't this job it would have been another.

It's a shame that people in your locality appear to have believed the AP's claims. Have they not known you longer than they knew the AP? I would just carry on being your nice self and smiling. You may find that whatever the AP said is soon forgotten.

The other mum may have made a mistake in hiring an AP who leaves another job without notice. She may find things come full circle in the future and she is eventually let down in the same way.

Good luck in finding a more reliable AP next time.

PowerPants Sun 22-Sep-13 22:14:52

OK, I thought you were implying she was making it up!

Anyhow, I disagree - it has happened to me and I think the key is, gossip and rumours spiral. Take for example the au pair's new boss. She believes the new au pair, starts to gossip and the old Chinese whispers start. Then people start thinking 'no smoke without fire' yada yada yada.

To me the OP sounds NICE - and that alone can set off the bitching.

YoureBeingADick Sun 22-Sep-13 22:11:42

Its odd that so many people in op's life and area want to tell lies about her. Dont you think?

PowerPants Sun 22-Sep-13 22:10:26

Why is it odd?

YoureBeingADick Sun 22-Sep-13 22:09:01

I said what i thought. Its odd.

PowerPants Sun 22-Sep-13 22:07:24

youreBeingADick - what a passive aggressive statement. Why don't you come out and say what you think instead?

For what it is worth, OP, I believe you and have had similar happen to me - people may be jealous of you and start rumours and it snowballs, just horrible.

YoureBeingADick Sun 22-Sep-13 21:55:21

Umm you seem to have a lot of people telling lots of lies about and to you. Lots of people 'slagging' you off and au pairs suddenly needing to be away from you. Odd.

Mummyoftheyear Sun 22-Sep-13 21:49:22

Headofthehousehold, you're exactly right. We live in a rural area, so I make sure that I pay to compensate. I pay above the average for this area and I have just found out (her careless facebook message on a local au pair sight) that she was setting herself up to go to an interview. I offered her an extra £15 per week so that she could go to London, not because she was paid less than other au pairs here, but because she had told me tall tales about owing money - which meant that she cold t afford to giro linda at weekends. I felt sorry for her a d think that being an aupair is all about experiencing London and going out with her au pair friends. My own friend has an au pair and I'd introduced them. She'd td me that she owed 300 euros a month extra on a car loan but told my friend's au pair that she owed money as she was still paying towards a flat/ house.
She did lie to the other family about us. Worst lie was that my son is like a violent man she'd had a relationship with. He's five and a pain in the what's it a lot of the time but not violent!!!!

Headofthehousehold Sun 22-Sep-13 08:20:59

I don't believe she happened to bump into a family in the park, I think she was already looking for a new role, interviewed, was offered and because they had an immediate start date dumped you in it to accept the role. I suspect she told unpleasant tales re your family and children to justify to new family why she was not providing you with adequate notice. I have taken 2 AP's from oher families and how much notice they are providing family is one of the questions I ask, if an AP said none I would not offer the role. So actually you may be well rid.

From your post I suspect you have an underlying problem. You mentioned agreeing to pay train fare at weekends so she could go to London with other AP's. If you live somewhere rural you have to pay well to ensure you attract a young girl prepared to live in the country and if other AP's have that in their package already you are underpaying compared to your competition ( other families).

PowerPants Sat 21-Sep-13 23:00:32

I agree with you, OP. You have been treated really badly. I have had a similar thing happen to me a year ago and I still get upset by it.

jnl0612 Sat 21-Sep-13 21:52:51

My last aupair gave me 20 minutes notice to get home from work before she left, I've had to reduce my hours at work and put dd2 in a nursery , I can't even nearly afford either option but Its a relief to not have to rely on aupairs anymore, I've had 5 and that's enough, every single one has been a nightmare

blueshoes Sat 21-Sep-13 21:35:50

I don't really understand the OP.

Who is deceitful - the aupair, new employer, community?

LUKYMUM Sat 21-Sep-13 20:35:08

I agree with the OP. It is sad that this other mother didn't care about how you would be left in the lurch. Even though it is becoming the norm, it stings. So sorry to hear your story.
Its ironic, because I was just thinking about the possibility of my au pair upping and leaving earlier (just because I am some one who fears the worst). Mine is 5 and tonight has totally totally embarrassed me in front of au pair, but now in hindsight I need to remind myself he's 5, he's a boy and is going through a phase of not being very likeable. Especially because he's not happy mummy isn't around.
Sory I'm waffling, what I mean is I relate to what you're saying OP on more than one level. The village doesn't sound like a nice place to be.

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