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Is my aupair lazy or is it me !!

(57 Posts)
Newtothisstuff Sun 09-Dec-12 19:29:54

I'm currently on week 3 of a trial before our aupair starts properly in January (when I go back to work)
She is turning into the complete opposite of what she assured us she was.
She said she was a confident driver (the main part of her job is to do the school run) she has only driven once and that was around the housing area we live an refused to go on the main road, even with my husband instructing.
She hasn't got out of bed until 8.30 every morning and doesn't get dressed until 11.00 I've tried dropping hints that I have to leave at 7.30am when I'm back at work and that she should come on the school run but she says its too cold.
She's also so untidy. She doesn't do the tiny bit of cleaning that was expected (emptying dishwasher, loading washer/dryer), that's not too much of a big deal tbh but I don't want to have to clean up after her constantly like I am doing. I have 2 kids and have enough cleaning up after them !!
She also keeps disappearing out with her friends, during the day, she will have some time off during the week as my DH works shifts but maybe only 1-2 days plus evenings and weekends, so far out of the 2 weeks she's been here, she's probably disappeared 10 of the 14 days.
Am I being totally out of order expecting her to at least follow the schedule a little bit even tho I'm not back at work yet ??

Newtothisstuff Sun 09-Dec-12 19:30:34

What I didn't mention is she offered to come for the 3 weeks to get used to the kids routine and she's being paid £80 a week whilst she's here !!

Spero Sun 09-Dec-12 19:35:34

Stop 'dropping hints' and tell her clearly what you expect from her. You can't expect hinting/mind reading to work.

You are unreasonable expecting her to follow a schedule if you haven't discussed it with her.

The driving is a worry however. again, don't tip toe round it, say explicitly that you are worried she is not up to the driving and suggest some ways to change that.

If someone won't do what you have very clearly asked them to do then at least you know they are taking the piss and you deal accordingly. But if someone doesn't do what you are 'hoping' they will do, that way madness lies - in any type of relationship.

ContinentalKat Sun 09-Dec-12 19:40:02

Having been an au pair myself a century ago I would sit her down ASAP and tell her what your expectations are. You will trust this girl with your children's lives, and if she is not up for it you will have to look for a replacement quickly!

fraktion Sun 09-Dec-12 19:42:11

You have to learn to manage her.

Tell her that you want get to come on the school run. Tell her that there will be a couple of trial days this week where she does it and you tag along. Create a list and ask her to make sure she completes them.

Popping out with her friends is fine but start holding her to the hours. She's had a bit of time to settle, which is all well and good, but at the moment it's a bit of a holiday and she risks an almighty shock when it starts for real.

fraktion Sun 09-Dec-12 19:45:01

Also I'm a bit confused about the hours. £80 is standard for about 5 hours/day so that's 7.30 til 9.30ish and 3.30 til 6.30ish. The rest of the day should be free unless you guarantee a 4 day week and add 5 hours cleaning. She shouldn't be working all day for that wage.

MousyMouse Sun 09-Dec-12 19:45:11

is she from another country?
ime other languages are much directer than polite english.

you need to tell her directly in clear language what you expect. hold off and should/would/could = too indirect and confusing.

it is much easier to say 'no' if asked 'could you unload the dishwasher please?'
'please unload the dishwasher (now)' is much better phrased.

MousyMouse Sun 09-Dec-12 19:46:27

* hold off any...

IslaValargeone Sun 09-Dec-12 19:48:03

Honestly? I don't see how she'd manage to change from the person you have described, to the person you need.
I can understand that people are saying you have to work out a schedule and tell her, but I would be expecting a bit more of an effort seeing as she's on trial.
I think I'd be looking for a replacement so that you are not left in the merde in January.

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 09-Dec-12 19:48:14

You need to tell her specifically what she needs to do. Do you have a contract that lists what she is expected to do and when, how much she will be paid, holidays etc. You need to have that. It would also be a good idea to make a handbook for her with details of what she needs to do, where things are, directions for the local area, maybe recipes for kids favourite things if she needs to cook.

The getting up in the morning this is fine, unless you've told her she needs to get up. I start work at 8am, but I don't get up at the same time if I'm not working.

Au pairs should only work 25 hours a week and do normally have their days free for language classes or similar. What hours are you expecting her to work? Why doesn't she have her days free?

JustFabulous Sun 09-Dec-12 19:48:25

Where you are going wrong is letting her think she has a choice in which bits of the job she has to do.

Sit down and tell her.

She has to be ready to work at x o'clock and that means dressed and has eaten.

If she is not a confident driver, even though she said she was, maybe pay halves for lessons. I certainly wouldn't be letting her drive my children if she can't hold it together in the car.

Nordicmom Sun 09-Dec-12 20:06:02

I was an aupair too and to be honest I worked my ass off. Actually much longer hours than you were meant to specially in the summer. I did the school run in the morning, pickup then after school activities, dinner, bath, vacuumed the whole flat everyday ,cleaned the whole flat from top to bottom once a week and washed and ironed all the kids clothes. In the summer I had to look after the two kids for the whole day 12h and do all these chores. I was taken advantage off and clearly doing far too much but yours is not doing anything !!! Of course you should not hire her unless she starts actually doing the expected work!

Newtothisstuff Sun 09-Dec-12 20:20:30

I think ill do the whole schedule thing again. She asked for a breakdown of her day before she came.
She will only be working 3/4 days a week, some days only a few hours after the morning school run, so I think £80 a week plus use of the car, mobile and other bits is more than enough for her, she has lessons at a reduced rate because someone's doing us a favour.
We are definitely doing a trial few days, my DH is a qualified instructor so is more than capable of instructing her. As someone else said I don't want it to come January and her get the shock of her life and then decide to not stay..hmm

fraktion Sun 09-Dec-12 20:48:41

If she's on shifting hours it'll be hard to pin her down over the trial. Will she know her hours in advance? If so can you give her a schedule this week and say that's a 'typical' week so you expect her to work it?

Newtothisstuff Sun 09-Dec-12 21:14:27

It's kind of shift hours I suppose.
I think we are gonna have a couple of trial days this week, I'm going into work a couple of afternoons this week so I'm hoping she will start to get into the swing of things a bit.
I'm a bit nervous about trying to get my point across without sounding rude tho. Her English isn't great so it might be difficult grin

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Sun 09-Dec-12 21:18:08

If she is on a trial should she not follow the schedule she will work come January? How else can you and her see if she is a good fit?

SavoyCabbage Sun 09-Dec-12 21:24:31

I think you might have caused confusion with the trial as she thinks she hasn't started work and you think she has.

Newtothisstuff Sun 09-Dec-12 21:37:42

She suggested the trial. But I think your right, I think she's mostly seeing it as a bit of a holiday tbh. But it's my fault. I suppose I should have laid down the ground rules from day 1 !!
Will see what this week brings !!

BabyGiraffes Sun 09-Dec-12 21:57:24

You have to be much more direct with her - and this is a forriner speaking grin. If her English isn't great she may genuinely not have understood what you are asking of her, and you do sound quite polite in your posts. Sit her down, give her a spreadsheet and tell her exactly what you expect of her NOW: One, get up at x hour etc. And if she is unwilling to comply then tell her to get lost because she is taking the piss.
To be honest, from your description I feel it's the latter. I would expect an au pair on a trial to make an impression on me -positively!
I hope you have a childcare plan B for January...

Newtothisstuff Sun 09-Dec-12 22:03:14

I didn't want to offend her by giving her a spreadsheet as such but I'm thinking its the way forward.
I want her to be happy here but I don't want her to take the piss. We have been more than accommodating with her

Karoleann Sun 09-Dec-12 22:06:06

Okay.....the main issue is she's not confident driving the kids - I wouldn't be happy about this at all, car accidents and injuires are very common with inexperienced drivers, your children and very precious.
£80 + benefits is for 25 hours a week. If you need/want more than this you need a nanny or a cleaner or both, or you need to pay much more.
Even with experienced nannies you have to expect to manage them, you can't expect anyone to know what you need without this. So write it all down.
Monday: 7:00 come down and get kids up, get them dressed, give them xxx for breakfast (DD likes toast and cheerios) be really specific.
Its maybe worth a try as she's here already, but you need to make sure her driving is okay,.

BabyGiraffes Sun 09-Dec-12 22:10:51

Agree, forgot about the driving bit. That would really worry me!

Spero Sun 09-Dec-12 22:28:50

I think you both need to be very clear in your expectations of one another. I can't see how giving her a spreadsheet could be offensive?? It's making things clear for both of you.

But I do get uneasy when I see au pairs described as 'lazy'. She is not a nanny or a cleaner, you get away paying peanuts because they are not supposed to be doing that much.

A surprising number of my friends have treated their au pairs quite badly in terms of overloading them with work, then being surprised when they up and leave.

MousyMouse Sun 09-Dec-12 22:38:40

stop thinking of being rude to her.
english is a terribly confusing language, the basics are very easy but the fine tuning is incredibly hard.
wrt to the driving I would gently force her to drive with you or dh in the passenger seat, don't forget that (probably) for her you are driving on the [gasp] wrong side of the road. that takes some adjustment.

I would sit down with her tomorrow, explaining exactly in clear language what you need/expect from her. make it very clear that if it doesn't work (for all parties) that she will need to leave.

Newtothisstuff Sun 09-Dec-12 22:53:39

Would running the Hoover around, emptying the dishwasher and putting on some washing be classed as overloading someone ?? Even if she just cleaned up after herself that would suffice tbh. She tends to make her breakfast and dinner (we eat too early for her apparently so she's asked if she can eat later I.e 10pm) and explode over the kitchen and leave it for me to clean up !!

I'd say forget the hoovering but be very very clear that she must tidy up after herself and when watching the kids she must tidy up after them!

Spero Sun 09-Dec-12 23:03:52

No, that sounds ok but for me 'running the hoover' is a major military operation as I have to clear the floor first!

Just write down what you want her to do, when you want it done and how you want it done. So if she doesn't do it, you know you have a problem.

But at the moment it could be that she just doesn't understand what you want.

MousyMouse Sun 09-Dec-12 23:05:44

no, I don't think it would be overload.
tbh when I was an au pair (some 15 years ago in the us) I did 45 hours per week and all childcare related housework (cooking, cleaning the kitchen after cooking, tidying the play room, laundry, school run, homework, playdates, dr apps). so your request sounds reasonable to me.

I was terrified at the beginning, the car was so much bigget than anything I had driven before, my english was rubbish (school english just doesn't prepare you for the real world). took my a couple of weeks to adjust and then I was on my own. all day long.

LittleFrieda Sun 09-Dec-12 23:08:57

What are you feeding her? Is she crated at night?

Newtothisstuff Sun 09-Dec-12 23:10:09

Wow Mousy that sounds a lot.. She's met some aupairs here and I think by the sound of things she does have it easyish with us... Wish me luck for this week. She's a lovely girl wouldn't want her to leave

MousyMouse Sun 09-Dec-12 23:11:10

lol frida. should that be in the doghouse?

Viviennemary Sun 09-Dec-12 23:17:51

I don't think this is going to work out somehow but that's only my opinion. Most people would at least try and give a good impression to start off with and that doesn't mean not gettng dressed till 11.00 am. It's a bit hopeless if she's already showing to be untidy.

I think you should have given her a schedule of what she is expected to do. Eating after 10 pm. No. She fits in with your times. I thought the whole point of an au pair was to make things easier and less stressful. She seems to be making things worse. Call it a day would be my advice. Or give her one more chance with a printed list of duties.

LittleFrieda Sun 09-Dec-12 23:21:43

Mousy grin The au pair sounds as though she's treating this as a long free holiday.

TheNameisNOTZiggy Sun 09-Dec-12 23:27:46

Sounds like a holiday to me, rather than a trial. Or is it the family on trial?
I would sack her and find another aupair that really wants the job.

BRANdishingMistletoe Sun 09-Dec-12 23:33:35

I really think you should reconsider having her back in January. The driving thing would worry me, if she's very nervous then her instincts might take over and, if they drive on the other side in her country, then she might automatically pull onto the wrong side of the road and cause an accident.

Not tidying up after herself will NOT magically get better, neither will not adapting to your family's routine if she's not even trying. My au pair was not used to eating so early in the evening, but he did his best to eat with us and had a sandwich later if he was hungry and after a week or so he had adjusted.

BabyGiraffes Sun 09-Dec-12 23:36:38

Ok, so without scrolling back here's what I remember about your au pair

She lied about being a confident driver
She refused to practise driving to get confident
She's gone off doing whatever on 10 out of 14 days
She refuses to get up in he morning
She refused to come along on the school run because it's too cold
She doesn't get dressed until 11ish
She is untidy
She does no housework even minor such as loading dishwasher
She refuses to stick to mealtimes
She eats by herself at 10pm and does not clear up after herself
She makes no effort to integrate into the family at all

This is not going to end well. She's enjoying a paid for holiday at your expense. Is she going home for Christmas? I don't think you'll see her again, she's had her nice time.

Newtothisstuff Mon 10-Dec-12 02:43:29

That thought had crossed my mind Baby hmm

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 10-Dec-12 02:58:49

Here's what I remember, the OP has been 'dropping hints' that she should get up earlier/get dressed earlier/come on the school run and the au pair doesn't speak English very well.

OP are you 'dropping hints' in her native language?

Are we sure she actually knows what she is supposed to be doing?

Newtothisstuff Mon 10-Dec-12 07:35:48

A few days before she came she asked me to schedule her day and email it to her which i did, I did explain that it would be different because I'm not actually back at work yet.. I'm going to sit down tonight and go through it again

Rugbycomet Mon 10-Dec-12 07:49:55

newtothis. I think you are flogging a dead horse!!

JustFabulous Mon 10-Dec-12 09:55:21

Get yourself some balls and tell her exactly what is expected of her. Then ask her if she thinks she can do it because if not she can say so now and she is welcome to return home. Then proceed as necessary.

Firefox Mon 10-Dec-12 20:16:05

A trial for 3 weeks is quite long. Usually you can tell if an AP will fit in within the first week! I'm not sure why she/you would need a 3 week trial to learn the ropes. It sounds as if she has rail-roaded you into what suits her!

Have you had your chat with her yet NewToThis? Your pay, duties and hours sound reasonable to me and fairly standard. I would give her a specific deadline in which to improve - preferably by Friday. As others suggested, give her a specific list of tasks and a timetable. It sounds as if she may have got confused over what was expected to her during this trial period, and together with your shift patterns this has made it more difficult for her.

That said, it really doesn't sound very good. Babygirafffe's list is quite shocking. In my experience, any APs that need THE CHAT sadly don't really improve that much.

ASk yourself if you really need her to stay much longer and start looking now for another AP. There are some fantastic APs out there.

blueshoes Mon 10-Dec-12 21:08:05

Save yourself some trouble. Get.Rid.Now.

She cannot do the school run. Game over. That is not even going into the other issues which are also in themselves deal breakers.

I've had about 8 APs, and the first 5 were drivers. We drove with them until they were confident...and it wasn't optional!!! If she hasn't started over the past couple of weeks, what is the plan re school run?

We have a schedule - yes it is flexible, eg when I work from home on a Friday, but this girl isn't interested / isn't trying AT ALL!

Cut losses and get rid is my view.

Where did she come from by the way?

Newtothisstuff Wed 12-Dec-12 17:25:39

I think your all right.. Had "the chat" said that we would do a trial day (so like I'd be back at work) she got up half an hour after we had agreed, spent 25 minutes in the bathroom, did the school run with my husband but wouldn't get out of the car because it was too cold shock
I've got a feeling she's not interested in coming back in January because surely she would be making an effort ?
Personally I think she's got a pretty good deal with us. But hey
Now leaves me with finding a new one before I go back to work on the 14th Jan hmm

Newtothisstuff Wed 12-Dec-12 17:28:52

She's from Spain Fedup

BRANdishingMistletoe Wed 12-Dec-12 19:18:04

It is a bit tight to find someone between now and 14th January unfortunately. How did you recruit this au pair? If you found her through an agency will they help you find another one?

Newtothisstuff Wed 12-Dec-12 19:34:01

Au pair world !! 3 months of chatting to her discussing everything she would ever need to know! It's like she's a whole different person
I have no choice. Have to go back on the 14th.. This is no fun !

JustFabulous Wed 12-Dec-12 19:42:42

So when are you telling her to pack?

Newtothisstuff Wed 12-Dec-12 19:54:08

She goes home Sunday anyway. But she was supposed to come back in January

JustFabulous Wed 12-Dec-12 19:57:24

It is your decision whether she does..

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 12-Dec-12 20:14:01

Whereabouts are you OP? Could find an au pair through word of mouth? One that's already here.

BRANdishingMistletoe Wed 12-Dec-12 20:20:43

I've had a quick look at GreatAuPair, which is where I recruited my current au pair, and there are some likely people available from Jan. There are a few graduates on there who want to improve their English. I quite like graduates, they can get out of bed regularly enough to pass exams, plus they have a focus because they need to learn English to get a proper job, they're not just drifting along looking for free accomodation and an easy life.

Would you consider a male au pair?

If you shortlist now and fire off introductory emails and a job description straight-away you could be Skype interviewing by the end of next week.

Newtothisstuff Wed 12-Dec-12 21:41:35

I've never really thought about a Male ? Have you any experience ? Not sure about one with 2 girls.. I've just re opened my aupair world account !! How do I go about telling my current one the deal ? Or do I wait until she's gone and chicken out and email.. Unless she tells me first hmm

blueshoes Wed 12-Dec-12 21:59:16

I have had aupair emergencies before and am generally able to hire aupairs from aupairworld within 2-3 weeks from the start of looking to them arriving. 14 Jan is do-able. I would start now.

BRANdishingMistletoe Wed 12-Dec-12 23:30:52

My current au pair is male and he's great (although not a great cook). I liked my previous au pair better and she was female, but I'm not sure that was particularly gender related, more that she and I are both quite geeky and current au pair isn't. The DC (1 boy, 1 girl) don't seem to care which gender the au pair is, they love both the current and previous one, although I think DS does slightly prefer a male. Perhaps if you only have DD's they might prefer a woman. I was more focused focused on getting someone sporty and easy-going to suit the DC's personality than on gender.

I do think with men that because it's a bit harder for them to get a position as an au pair that it's more likely that they really want to do it and enjoy spending time with kids, rather than thinking of it as an easy option as some women might.

I always look for someone who has lived away from home and who has done something with kids other than babysitting for friends/relatives. My first au pair had worked as a swimming teacher and my current had worked in summer camps.

AlcoPop Wed 12-Dec-12 23:51:38

Sounds like you need a new AP and cut your losses with this one. sad
We got all but one of our eight APs through

As you've found it's all about laying out the expected routine in infinite detail from first or second contact.
Be bold. There are many candidates but the one you commit to will have to be right from the start.

Given the short notice you may have to concede on something like duration; the January girl may only be for a few months and so you'll be looking pretty much straight away.

We've done this when one girl was stopped from coming by her Mum at the airport sad

Best of luck.

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