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AIBU to want to go home?

(84 Posts)
aupair102 Mon 16-May-16 10:52:31

Hi! I know that this is a site for mums and I am an au pair, but i really need some advice. I think this is a good place to get it as you all will be understanding from the family's perspective rather than just my own.

I've been an au pair with this family for 3 weeks now, and I am desperately unhappy. I've lived away from home for 3 years now so its not just homesickness but I am finding it incredibly hard. I've got years of childcare experience - my brother and sisters are 4/6/9 plus other experience, but the behaviour of the little girl here I am finding hard to deal with.

Her parents work all day, the mum is around for breakfast (which makes things difficult) and then they aren't home until 8pm for dinner, then I take her for 2 hours whilst they spend time together and then I put her to bed at 10pm (which for me seems very late for a 4 year old!) She refuses to do anything I ask, and it is getting to the point where its putting her in danger. The other day I asked her to watch where she was walking and she refused, almost walking right into the path of a car. I am patient, I dont shout, and always speak with her on a level, but the second I ask something of her or tell her no to anything it is a meltdown - screaming/shouting/hitting. She then proceeds to tell her parents that she doesnt like me and she doesnt want to do anything with me anymore right in front of my face. Its really hurtful, I know its silly because she is only a child and i shouldnt let it get to me but after I have spent my day playing, baking, going to the park and days out for her to say these things just because I am the first person to ever say no to her is very difficult. I could probably handle it if it wasnt for the parents to then glare at me from across the table and not speak to me, refuse to let me take her to school in the mornings and cut across me whenever I try to help.

In the mornings, if she doesnt like what i say- for example - lets go to brush your teeth now or we will be late/you need to wear your uniform, not a dress - she runs to her mum who will usher me out the room and proceed to let her do as she likes and stop me from doing my job. I understand each parent has their own way of doing things but surely undermining what I am trying to say is not ok?

I have just finished my degree, and told the parents that if they wanted me here earlier (i.e now) then there would be a few weeks where i would need my days off to finish my dissertation. This weekend (I have sat afternoon and sunday off) they wanted to go to stay in their house by the seaside, and asked if i wanted to go. I declined, saying that I needed to study. Before they left, the mum came and told me that she was unhappy that I was staying as she was uncomfortable with me being in their house whilst they were gone for the day. This made me quite unhappy, i stay alone during the day anyway, and furthermore, how can you comfortably leave me with your child but not in your home? I feel like a member of their staff rather than the 'big sister' that they made me believe it would be.

I know it seems silly, but I dont know if i can carry on being pushed aside and stopped from doing my job any longer. I hope it gets better and I will leave it for a few more weeks to see if it improves. Do you have any parenting advice for a child who is used to getting their way in every situation? I dont want to come across as pampered and easy to complain because that is the opposite of my character! I love kids, it makes me happy to be around them but this is draining me. I cant even sleep anymore I am worrying so much. Any advice (even if it is just to suck it up!) is very appreciated.


WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant Mon 16-May-16 10:55:04

Advice would be to leave.
They don't seem like the right family for you.

AndTakeYourPenguinWithYou Mon 16-May-16 10:59:46

Do you have the child alone all day long, every day? Because that isn't what an au pair does, that is what a nanny does. And I bet they are paying you au pair money, not nanny money?
I'd leave. And report them to whatever agency recruited you, and to any other body that regulates these things.

Junosmum Mon 16-May-16 11:02:17

They sound as though they feel guilty for leaving their daughter for such long periods.

I agree that they should be supporting you to manage her behaviour, not undermining you.

I'd leave. They don't sound like the right fit for you. You will make someone a wonderful au pair.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Mon 16-May-16 11:05:45

Firstly, anyone is welcome here. Not just Mum's.
I agree with Whycant. The only thing you can do is leave. I'm not surprised the child is playing up, to be honest. She doesn't see her parents all day, then. When they get home, she gets shunned away (because that's how she must see it in her little mind)As they want to spend time together, but, When you make that choice to have a child. Your priority lies with them. I'm not saying. They're not allowed any time together of course they are.
. That's not taking anything away from you. By the way.

aupair102 Mon 16-May-16 11:06:00

She is in pre school a few hours per day 2 days a week, but that will end in a few weeks when her school breaks up. I'm paid 80 euro per week but I'm yet to get any of that money sad

I dont want to leave them in the lurch or seem like a quitter but I get the feeling its unsustainable.

AndTakeYourPenguinWithYou Mon 16-May-16 11:07:30

80 euro a week for how many hours sole care? A lot I'm guessing. Depends on what country you are in but that ranges from completely illegal to just plain wrong.

leelu66 Mon 16-May-16 11:08:24

I agree that you are not being treated like an au pair, but a nanny.

I don't know much about au pairing, but I would leave. If it's not that easy, I would call a meeting to discuss your concerns.

Tell them that you require some authority with their DD so that you can take care of her properly (i.e. keep her safe, ensure she is dressed for school). I would also insist on being given the free time you are entitled to. Shouldn't the parents look after their daughter once they're home from work? What does your contract say? Do you have weekends and evenings as free time?

Do you think they wanted you to come to the seaside home so you could take care of their DD there?

leelu66 Mon 16-May-16 11:09:35

80 euros a week? shock That's exploitation, even if it includes board.

ButtonsAndBows Mon 16-May-16 11:12:48

Is that all? Can you drive? I'm shocked tbh you do all that for so little . Leave. Damn even if pay you more and I'm poor !

BaronessBomburst Mon 16-May-16 11:14:32

Which country are you in?
I've seen some excellent advice from MNers who know the ins and outs of au pairing in different countries.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Mon 16-May-16 11:16:21

What £80 per week. When you're looking after from 8am-8pm. I know what country you're in, but here The wage per hour is £7+ but to make it easier. We'll just call it £7 so 12×7=84 so that would £84 per day. You're not even on that per week. I assume that private employers also have to legally psy the going rate
There's something not right that, and to add to it. You've not received any money to date. It sounds like exploitation to me.
Please get out of there. They have no respect for you. I'm talking about a 4 year old baby. I'm talking about her mother allowing her to undermine you.

icedcherrytea Mon 16-May-16 11:16:29

80 euros a week? confused

How did you get this job? Agency? Gumtree?

I'd be inclined to leave ASAP.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Mon 16-May-16 11:17:25

*I don't what country you're in

shovetheholly Mon 16-May-16 11:17:37

This sounds horrific, like the worst kind of exploitation combined with terrible behaviour on all sides. Their behaviour with their daughter is systematically undermining you, and making your position impossible, and they aren't paying you nearly enough for the hours you are putting in or giving you the space you need and deserve for your studies.

You need to focus on getting that degree so you can move onwards and upwards. I'm so sorry this has happened at such a critical time for you. I think if a job is making you this unhappy, it is best to leave and find new work.

aupair102 Mon 16-May-16 11:17:38

i do probably around 70+ hours per week, i never even thought about it not being legal :S

no i dont drive, which is an issue in itself, its a very small town in italy so Im kind of trapped with no way to an airport without having to ask them (I feel like their answer would be no!)

I found out a few days ago that their last au pair ran away after 1 week... doesnt bode well at all sad

I desperately wanted this to work. i am feeling very dissapointed..

Just5minswithDacre Mon 16-May-16 11:18:07

Before they left, the mum came and told me that she was unhappy that I was staying as she was uncomfortable with me being in their house whilst they were gone for the day.

So she trusts you with her child but not her house? confused

And you haven't been paid?!

I'd leave I think. Your dissertation is so important.

Blimmincheek Mon 16-May-16 11:18:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mummytime Mon 16-May-16 11:18:26

That sounds like you are doing a Nanny job on Au Pair pay.
They are exploiting you. You have sole charge of the child for far too many hours (I know plenty of Nannies who's charges go to pre-school for 15 hours a week). In fact no Nanny would take the job, as they wouldn't work that many hours each day - if you are putting the child to bed at 10pm.

I would report them to the agency, and if the agency doesn't take it seriously and support you then I would be very wary of using them again.

angielou123 Mon 16-May-16 11:18:42

You should leave. Give your notice, however long that has to be, and find another placement or go home to think. They clearly are not the right family for you. You can't stay and be unhappy as it will grind you down. Best of luck.xx

aupair102 Mon 16-May-16 11:20:17

i got the job on one of the au pair sites - findanaupair i think its called. so v unregulated and 0 protection for either party...

Just5minswithDacre Mon 16-May-16 11:20:44

no i dont drive, which is an issue in itself, its a very small town in italy so Im kind of trapped with no way to an airport without having to ask them (I feel like their answer would be no!)

Okay, so problem-solve that first, so you know what your exit option would be if you decided to go. Then you'll feel less trapped (hopefully) and be able to think more clearly.

What's the nearest town or city with decent transport links? How far away?

BibbtyBobbityFeckOff Mon 16-May-16 11:21:39

Leave. Now.

It will not change. It will not get better. It will get worse.

Just5minswithDacre Mon 16-May-16 11:22:22

i got the job on one of the au pair sites - findanaupair i think its called. so v unregulated and 0 protection for either party...

Threads like this happen surprisingly often. It's always unregulated sites.

hmcAsWas Mon 16-May-16 11:22:50

I'd leave.

The child has had zero discipline and boundaries from her parents and accordingly she misbehaves and does not respect any authority

They undermine you when you are trying to enforce some reasonable discipline and order

They were frankly insulting to you saying that they didn't like you staying alone in their house

You are being exploited with frankly ridiculously long hours

I don't see any point in discussing this with them and trying to resolve it - people this lacking in awareness and conscience are not capable of being reasonable. Leave, without serving notice if that suits you, and don't waste a second worrying about whether this causes them any difficulties

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