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To ask our Au Pair to cancel her night out to babysit?

(18 Posts)
Bettyboobird Sat 04-Oct-08 13:54:15

Ok, the issue is more complicated than the title suggests!

A fortnight ago I organised a weekend trip to London for AP and myself, staying at my friend's house. She was really excited as it would be her first time in London. On Wednesday, she told me she couldn't come because her Danish friend from a town nearby was having a leaving party. Fine, I didn't mind and cancelled seeing my friend in London. Dh and I decided a nice weekend home alone with the children would be good anyway.

Yesterday afternoon I asked AP what time was she leaving for the party, and she informed me that she wasn't going after all as it had been cancelled. Later, she informed us that actually, she would now be going out in our town with some other friends.

OK, we have a free house again. So, I decided to cook us a prawn curry as she has a fish allergy, so wouldn't be fair to make this for a family meal! I start cooking, and she informs me that now she isn't going out after all and would like a meal-so dh cooks her steak instead.

Over dinner she tells us that she is meeting a new friend in our town Saturday afternoon, and perhaps they will go out clubbing in another town afterwards. I told her this was of course fine, but warned her about the cost of a cab home (£30+)

Later when we were in bed, she knocked on our door and told us that some friends had asked to meet her on Sunday in London and could we sort out the route for her-I didn't mind and did it this morning for her. Problem is, she needs taking to and picking up from the train station as there are no buses on a Sunday-this is about a 50 mile round trip for dh or I.

So, after all her chopping and changing of plans this weekend, would it be fair to ask her, in return for the trips to the train station (at 7am and 9.30pm) to meet the girl in the pub, but not to go onto a club and come home to babysit so dh and I can go out for a meal?

In her AP agreement, she is requested to do 2 nights of babysiting per week, and we have only ever asked her once, so I think it's fair to ask, but maybe not fair to ask her to change her plans and at short notice? On the other hand, she only made plans to meet this girl yesterday evening, and she sort of 'expects' us to take her to the train station on Suday. After all, if we don't take her she can't go, and we wouldn't do that.

So, I've got my hard hat on...AIBU?

Spidermama Sat 04-Oct-08 13:58:27

shock I think she's having a larf!

There's no way I'd be that accomodating to a child of mine never mind an au pair. You're not a taxi service.

Fifty mile round trip? shock 7am? shock What?

alicet Sat 04-Oct-08 14:01:03

I think that you have actually been very understanding and acommodating to her and she is taking the piss.

You made an arrangement to go to London and SHE backed out at short notice. Now she is treating your house like a hotel (if she had said she couldn't need tea and then changed her mind and didn't want what you had made I would ahve told her to make her own) and expects you to provide a taxi service for her.

Am I being clueless and are au pairs meant to behave like this? If my 2 year old was this crap I thyink I ould be reigning him in and she is meant to be a bloddy adult

Not sure about asking her to cancel her plans as this probably makes you as bad as her but I would be holding her to the 2 nights of baby sitting each week and telling her that once she agrees to something (like the weekend you were planning) that she can't change her mind if something better comes along.

FeelingLucky Sat 04-Oct-08 14:02:15

YANBU
Wish I worked for you when I was an au pair!!!

tiredemma Sat 04-Oct-08 14:07:50

Can I come and work for you? You sound like the mother that I never had as a teenager!

Bettyboobird Sat 04-Oct-08 14:15:28

Ok, so general consensus is, she shouldn't be so flaky with her plans, expecting us to take her to the train station is a bit off and therefore it wouldn't BU to ask her to babysit??

I think I'll ask her and see what she says...

Spidermama you made me laugh-I read your post like Peter Kaye- cheese? shock cake? shock !!

FourArms Sat 04-Oct-08 14:20:57

When you say that it is a 50 mile round trip, is that a 25 mile round trip twice? Anyway, I wouldn't have done that at those times.

I don't think it's fair to ask her to cancel / change her plans for tonight. It's not her fault you've only ever asked her to babysit once. Can you not go out a different night?

However, if you want to ask her in return for the car journey, then I suppose it's fair enough.

alicet Sat 04-Oct-08 14:26:46

I think he needs to not be coming to your room to ask you stuff liike organising her route to London when you have gone to bed either. That is well out of order!

hecate Sat 04-Oct-08 15:38:39

Is she your AP or your child? I'm going out no I'm not yes I am not I'm not I'm huuuuuungry cook me something I'm going out no I'm not yes I am can you be my taxi....

And you pay her for this. <snigger>

sorry, but that's just daft! grin

Simply Sat 04-Oct-08 16:10:11

I totally sympathise with the OP. It is very hard when you have someone living with you to not bend over backwards when they ask for something even if it is inconvenient. It's a give and take thing and you hope that they'll really appreciate you accommodating their requests and will pay you back in some way (extra babysitting or an extra hour or something) but they don't always. I'm having to learn to say no when really my nature is to say yes and put myself out for someone. It's hard. I think aps have often had parents ferrying them around for 18 or so years and they don't seem to realise that they now have to make their own plans that they can carry out all by themselves. I hope it all works out for you Bettyboobird. smile

Weegle Sat 04-Oct-08 16:30:09

1. I would not be happy with being disturbed once I was in bed with my DH to sort out her social travel arrangements

2. I would not sort out her social travel arrangements: I would point her to relevant National Rail website etc but no more

3. I would not be offering a taxi service at all hours for such ridiculously long journies

4. If I had started cooking and she then said she now wanted to eat, I would point her to the fridge and tell her to sort herself

She's seriously taking the piss - and if you don't reset the ground rules pretty quickly you're going to feel very taken advantage of.

That said I don't think you can ask her to change her plans tonight (other than not picking her up from the train). However, you could ask her to do it another night.

blueshoes Sat 04-Oct-08 16:46:40

bettyboo, you are very kind. Generally, I don't ask for babysitting on a weekend (because that is her time off) unless I agree with her quite a few days in advance. But seeing your aupair seems to be taking you for granted, you may feel free to make a statement by making her change her plans at short notice Just So That if she baulks, you can remind her how much you had gone out of the way for her.

For the future, you need to equalise the relationship. Put in regular requests for babysitting well in advance and hold her to them. She needs to learn to be responsible.

Dandelioness Sat 04-Oct-08 16:49:31

You need to work out what boundaries you want in place then sit down with your AP and explain the new rules to her.

So if you don't mind cooking her a meal after she's said she's going out, then that's up to you. If you do mind, make it one of the rules. Likewise with giving her lifts. Be very specific. If you don't mind giving her lifts but only shortish ones at certain times of the day, then make this clear.

Also talk to her about how much notice you and her agree is reasonable for you to give her re babysitting. I don't think you should ask her to change her plans. It is too short notice, and as she sounds rather immature, she may not take too kindly to this and may play up.

Dandelioness Sat 04-Oct-08 16:52:53

Just adding -
As it's in her contract that she'll babysit two nights a week, maybe you could make it a regular agreement that from now on she'll babysit on a certain night each week. That way you both have a firm plan in place and you won't have to keep asking her if it's convenient.

mysonsmummy Sat 04-Oct-08 17:16:46

what did you do???

ImnotMamaGbutsheLovesMe Sat 04-Oct-08 17:54:02

I'm just wondering if you will really want to go out for dinner at 9.30pm.

Soapbox Sat 04-Oct-08 17:59:55

I think there are lots of different issues here, some of which need to be tackled BUT it would still be unfair of you to ask her to change her plans to accomodate you going out for the evening.

Her 2 nights babysitting per week should either be regular nights, so she can plan around them, or reasonable notice if by mutual consent.

I presume that the trips to the station were discussed when you recruited her - did you offer to drive her there as a sweetener for being miles from any where?

Bettyboobird Sat 04-Oct-08 18:47:45

Thanks for all your advice and opinions-all very helpful!
I decided to do the right thing and leave her to it tonight. It wouldn't have been fair to ask her to cancel her plans- but we WILL arrange some nights of babysitting soon.

ImnotMamaGbutsheLovesMe-9.30 is the time dh is picking her up from the station tomorrow night. We were planning on asking her to return this evening at 7.30 to babysit, but thought better of it anyway!

Soapbox- no, trips to the station were not discussed as part of her package as we do not really live in a remote area. Our house is in a small town with all the amenities-except a train station! There is a bus from the end of our cul-de-sac every half hour which takes you to the nearest city and the larger town-each are 13 miles away with their own station. However, we have only just realsied that there are NO buses on a Sunday! We did offer to insure her on our second car when she arrived, but she doesn't feel ready yet.

Thanks again everyone smile

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