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to have a serious chat with our au pair about my expectations?

(107 Posts)
Honesttodog Sun 06-Dec-15 20:13:21

Feeling a bit stressed about this and would like some advice about how not to get a positive result.

Au pair has been slightly slack, her main job is getting kids up, tidying up after brekkie, picking up kids at various times, helping out at supper, doing bath and occasional bed but i mostly do bed.

However, we are a bit of an untidy family due to coming and going a lot, lots of toys and lots of rooms to spread crap around in.

I need the au pair to step up and be more tidy and be a good example to the kids with keeping tidy.

She regularly leaves the dinner table with food all over it, leave kitchen surfaces dirty, collections of mugs in her bedroom, doesn't think to pick up toys while kids are in bath... lots of small things which are all aggravating me because i know that if I don't sort out all these small messes, they will stay there till cleaner comes.

I want to have a chat with her about being more tidy, mindful of leaving a room tidy when she takes the kids upstairs - so toys back in boxes, blankets in tv room folded... but I am worried i am just going to sound like a whiny bitch if I itemize everything. However other advice i have read is just to specify everything you want done if you want it to get done. We have had her for 3 months and I admit, i have let things fester a bit which i know is a big no-no.

It feels tricky because she is not naturally tidy and every other person who has ever cared for our kids has been naturally tidy, wouldn't leave the kitchen in a mess if babysitting etc.

Part of me just wants to get a different au pair but I know she is really enjoying her time here and is still a bit immature, and part of being an au pair is gaining a bit of maturity!!!

Any advice on keeping things positive between us while having The Chat?

Nanny0gg Sun 06-Dec-15 20:15:37

Lead by example?

RoseWithoutAThorn Sun 06-Dec-15 20:16:27

However, we are a bit of an untidy family due to coming and going a lot, lots of toys and lots of rooms to spread crap around in.

According to this you're all untidy and not just the AP. It sounds as if none of you are naturally tidy.

AnyFucker Sun 06-Dec-15 20:17:05

Yep, pick up your own shit

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 06-Dec-15 20:17:26

It sounds a bit like you want her to tidy up after the whole family - do you? If you do, you need to make it clear that you expect that.

If she's actually adding to the mess herself , perhaps just a wee word asking her to leave things in the same state she finds them?

Playthebrassbandinstrument Sun 06-Dec-15 20:17:29

Why make a big song and dance about it? Just 'please could you make sure any toys are put away when you've finished with them'?

Penfold007 Sun 06-Dec-15 20:17:34

You and your family aren't tidy so why should she be? I'm a bit stunned that you want her to leave the children unsupervised in the bath whilst she cleans up behind your family.

Cardboxed Sun 06-Dec-15 20:19:02

<pulls out smallest violin in the world and plays a tune for OP>

You poor soul...

RoseWithoutAThorn Sun 06-Dec-15 20:19:25

I was very surprised about leaving children in the bath unsupervised as well.

MairzyDoats Sun 06-Dec-15 20:19:43

It might be better to start imposing a family - wide new set of rules about tidiness? If you sit everyone down and explain that you are ALL going to start tidying up ten minutes before bed, cleaning the kitchen after meals, etc etc, then she won't resent you for putting the burden on her. It's not fair if she has to tidy up after all of you.

PaulAnkaTheDog Sun 06-Dec-15 20:21:05

Sounds as though you expect a full time maid on an au pairs salary.

Just say to her to tidy up after herself and to put the children's stuff away with them when they've finished playing.

AnyFucker Sun 06-Dec-15 20:21:35

au pairs, by definition, live as part of the family

your family is untidy...why would you expect her to tidy up after all of you

I expect she is immature, isn't that the idea

you pay peanuts, you get someone who is going to follow your example and not use her own initiative

if you want initiative, you will have to pay more for it

villainousbroodmare Sun 06-Dec-15 20:21:37

Tell her what you want her to do or she will just continue as she is. Be nice, and smile. Don't be apologetic. Probably need to be a bit tidier too yourself.

Only1scoop Sun 06-Dec-15 20:21:44

Doesn't sound as if you are 'naturally tidy either'

Maybe employ a nanny and a cleaner instead?

Lelania Sun 06-Dec-15 20:22:31

Are you paying her to clean / tidy?

If your whole family is untidy then unless you are specifially paying her to clean up after them then it is unreasonable to expect her to.

Snossidge Sun 06-Dec-15 20:22:52

Yes, she should clear up after herself. Presumably kids are school age? So they should be tidying up their toys and helping to clear the table after dinner.

witsender Sun 06-Dec-15 20:23:40

If you just want her to tidy up after herself then just say "you've probably noticed that we have a lot of stuff around cause we're all so busy...we really try to keep on top of it so if you could tidy up after yourself and just put things away as you use them that'd be great. You know, clean the table when you finish eating, stack dishwasher as you prep, bring mugs down etc." Keep it light, but then lead by example in terms of treating your hoke and possessions the way that you want her to...put your stuff away etc.

If in fact you are wanting her to tidy up after all of you then I think you are being unreasonable in terms of your expectations of an au pair.

CreepingDogFart Sun 06-Dec-15 20:24:12

There's no way you can give her a talking to without being of the same standard yourself. And by your own admission you're not.

NapoleonsNose Sun 06-Dec-15 20:24:25

Pot and kettle spring to mind here. If she sees that you leave the house in an untidy state, maybe she thinks its OK for her to be a bit slack on the tidy front too. As a pp has said, lead by example might be a good start.

Honesttodog Sun 06-Dec-15 20:26:03

sons bedroom is next to bathroom so easy to go in, take clothes out for next day and pick up dirty clothes and any toys.

I explained at the beginning that she needed to help the kids by asking them to hang up own coats, put away gloves etc. but she is not asking them to tidy up very much and is not showing them ie come on guys let's put all the cars in the car box before supper.

I have an au pair so I can be out of the house, I cannot be there, tidying endlessly and getting the jobs done that i need to do. When I am not there i would like her to be mindful of trying to keep the house in a reasonable state. I do not expect her to do any cleaning.

hesterton Sun 06-Dec-15 20:27:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Honesttodog Sun 06-Dec-15 20:27:57

does anyone on this thread have an au pair? do they leave things tidy when you are out?

Honesttodog Sun 06-Dec-15 20:29:08

hesterton family meeting may not be a bad idea. first a chat with her then all of us. Will be sure to use the term untidy fuckers grin

Snossidge Sun 06-Dec-15 20:29:11

Not unreasonable to say to the kids that they have to hang their stuff up, tidy away their toys, clear the table.

Not unreasonable to remind the au pair that she needs to enforce that.

PaulAnkaTheDog Sun 06-Dec-15 20:29:22

Realistically though how much of the mess is created by her with the kids? You've said yourself you're a messy family.

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