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ISBU to send the au pair to our gang?

(122 Posts)
NutterButtSquash Wed 02-Sep-15 17:41:17

Namechanged as I think one of the girls is also a MNer.

I'm part of a group of girls who went to antenatal classes together and now we try to meet up every week or so for coffee, usually around someone's house. There are 10 of us and not everyone makes it every week, but in general a few of us at least meet up with the babies, who are now 7 and 8 months old approx.

One of the girls has gone back to work in the last month and has started sending her au pair with the baby on our meet-ups. The reason she gives is because she is wanting her little one to still see his little friends in the gang. Bearing in mind they are 7-8 months old. They barely register each other's existence really. The au pair girl seems nice, she is 19, eastern European and she is here to learn English as well as work so she is keen to chat etc, so I don't have a problem with her as a person, as such. She does seem a little out of place though as she is quite a lot younger than us (our average age is probably early 30s).

But it sort of changes our group dynamic a bit. She isn't a mum. We are all a gang because we went through late pregnancy, giving birth and early parenthood together. She didn't. The kids don't care if each other are there or not, and the au pair has already told us she has other au pair friends she can take the baby to hang out with. The mum has also added her to our round robin email group so she can keep track of where and when we are meeting up, and we often have a bit of banter over that email group. It has stopped now a bit as it feels a bit like there is an outsider watching it all (which there is, I suppose).

So, ISBU to send this random teenager (effectively) into our cosy group for the slightly flimsy reason of wanting her little boy to see our babies? Or am I being a curmudgeonly old cow unreasonable for not wanting the nice au pair there so Little Johnny can still see his tiny friends (who he doesn't know exist from one week to the next)...?

NutterButtSquash Wed 02-Sep-15 17:46:40

I should also add the other girls have made murmurings about it too, it isn't just me.

If SIBU, how do we tackle it? Argh.

mabythesea Wed 02-Sep-15 17:49:12

Yes, it's weird. You need to speak to the other mum about it.

Why is she leaving her 8 month old with a teenage babysitter all day anyway? Tell her she should be forking out for some proper childcare too.

vvviola Wed 02-Sep-15 17:50:33

SIBabitU - but perhaps she is afraid that without it she will lose touch with you all.

I was the first of my group of friends (met through ante-natal classes etc) to go back to work, and it was very hard seeing them all get together regularly while I was back at work. I felt a bit lost, as I felt I didn't have anyone to talk to anymore. And when I was free at weekends, they were spending time with DHs/DPs and didn't have time for baby-group meet ups.

I was lucky that we managed to arrange a few meet ups here and there and I stayed in touch with them all. We've now switched to boozy dinners every few months. But I can see how I might have felt the need to engineer the continued friendship.

Is there a way you can get together with her every now and then, so that she still has the connection to you all?

AuntyMag10 Wed 02-Sep-15 17:52:00

mabythesea where do you get babysitter from? Op said she is an au pair.

Yanbu, it's a weird arrangement however I'm not sure what you can possibly say to the mum.

mabythesea Wed 02-Sep-15 17:53:17

What do you think an au pair is Aunty confused

pinkyredrose Wed 02-Sep-15 17:53:33

Assuming you mean women not girls, SIBU.

RainbowFlutterby Wed 02-Sep-15 17:54:24

An au pair shouldn't have sole charge of a baby should they?

But no - yanbu. The friendship is the adults, not the children. Can you make arrangements by text?

GloopyGhoul Wed 02-Sep-15 17:54:38

"Girls"? <sits on hands>

Junosmum Wed 02-Sep-15 17:56:32

SIBU, that's weird. I don't send my husband if I can't meet my friends.

RainbowFlutterby Wed 02-Sep-15 17:56:49

OP - don't worry about using the term "girls". I still refer to myself as a girl and I'm in my forties grin

GloGirl Wed 02-Sep-15 17:57:11

How regularly do you meet up? How often does the au pair come?

pinkyredrose Wed 02-Sep-15 17:59:20

Btw, an au pair is not a nanny and should be doing light household duties and a few hours babysitting. That's babysitting not childcare.

ImperialBlether Wed 02-Sep-15 18:00:46

I think an au pair would expect to be on her own with the baby sometimes, Rainbow. What are they there for, otherwise?

RainbowFlutterby Wed 02-Sep-15 18:03:26

Au pairs are supposed to help with light household duties and some baby-sitting, but there are rules on just how much responsibility you can dump on a teenager from a foreign country whose main reason for being here is to learn the language and/or study.

ScarletRuby Wed 02-Sep-15 18:03:47

I'm sorry but I think YABU and rude. Just because she's not a mum doesn't mean she's not an interesting person!

mabythesea Wed 02-Sep-15 18:04:40

Usually you wouldn't get an au pair to look after a baby/toddler Imperial - unless you just using them as a cheap nanny. Au pairs are only supposed to be helping out with about 25 hours a week babysitting/chores so usually do wraparound for school age children.

m0therofdragons Wed 02-Sep-15 18:05:35

See we had a mum go back to work and she sent her dh to our meet ups. Another sent her nanny. None of us ever questioned it. Kids play and we support each other. I actually got on really well with the nanny. It meant the mum felt connected to the group so when parties came up the dc recognised each other etc. Is it really that big a deal? Friendships seem very complicated on mn. So glad my rl isn't anything like this.

hibbleddible Wed 02-Sep-15 18:05:46

imperial au pairs are generally for school age children.

Full time care of an 8 month old is not an au pair job, but we don't know if the au pair is just having the baby for the odd hour.

Otoh I think op sounds a bit uncharitable towards the au pair, who might enjoy the opportunity to practice her English.

Junosmum Wed 02-Sep-15 18:26:49

You can leave a baby in the sole care of anyone you deem to be responsible enough to handle it. Wouldn't be my choice but parents make their own choices. There is no law about it, unless she's being exploited, which would be unemployment law.

ImperialBlether Wed 02-Sep-15 18:42:42

I know that au pairs aren't nannies and I know they're not meant to look after a small baby full time, but we don't know how long this au pair works on her own with the child and it's actually nothing to do with the original post.

I think your friend is unreasonable, OP. She's expecting your group to accept the au pair in your place and it isn't suiting any of you. It's not down to her who you and your friends mix with.

NutterButtSquash Wed 02-Sep-15 20:23:57

Many thanks for your responses - I'll clarify a few bits where I can.

She is definitely an au pair and not a nanny. Mum works part time in the afternoons, so mum does childcare in the mornings and the au pair takes over from about 1pm until the mum's DH gets home at about 5pm. Mum has a day off per week and I think the au pair is left to her own devices on that day.

We always meet up on the same day of the week, which isn't the day the mum has off work. We have always met on this day, and others have made sure to arrange classes/other activities around this day to keep it free for our meet ups, so rearranging just to suit her isn't really possible.

She does see some of us outside of these meet ups. I had forgotten because I don't go, but about 5 of us (including the mum and the other two girls women she gets on best with) go to a class together one morning a week which she still goes to now she's back working.

I see the point about her wanting to stay in touch with us, but really, sending her kid to our meet ups isn't going to do it. We like her and will stay in touch with her regardless. With all due respect to our little ones, at this age they are more like accessories than interactive members of the group! It would be different if they were toddlers, but really the friendships are between us grown ups. In the next few months almost all of us are going back to work, so this group meet up won't be going on indefinitely without her and no doubt we will come up with a different way to socialise when that happens.

I realise I seem a bit childish saying it, but having the au pair sent to hang out with us reminds me so much of being a teenager and being forced by my mum to let my little sister hang out with me and my friends if they came round to visit. Totally uncool. The au pair has plenty of opportunity to practise her English, I think her agency send her to lessons and conversation groups.

I just don't know how to tackle this with her. We all obviously adore our little ones, and I don't know how to say "stop sending the au pair" without it being interpreted as "stop sending your kid, we are not interested in him" which isn't completely true.

hibbleddible Wed 02-Sep-15 20:29:14

Op you do come across as rather petty. Does it harm you in any way for the au pair to come along? If she doesn't want to come, it is up to her to decide that. Banning her because she is not worthy of spending time with you would be rather mean.

Runningupthathill82 Wed 02-Sep-15 20:32:46


I think you come across as a bit petty and unwelcoming. All this talk of "girls" and "gangs" is very schoolyard and cliquey - and exactly why I avoided baby groups like the plague.

SuburbanRhonda Wed 02-Sep-15 20:35:30

I'm surprised she wants to come actually. You sound very cliquey.

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