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or is the au-pair a bit odd?

(40 Posts)
jackofall Mon 27-Oct-08 14:39:41

ok - first time on here but need to know if i am being unreaslistic with my expectations...
this is our second ap first one - great; really friendly and outgoing a few little niggles but really nothing - in fact 99.9% great and was with us for a year whilst she was taking a gap year..
the new one - dds seem to like her but dh and i are thinking she's odd.she makes NO effort to be part of the family - eats seperatly to us at her request, never wants to join us for days out at weekends or in what we are doing and is always either in her room or at church given any opportunity to escape.. i don't think it's us as the first one was the opposite and we have not changed?!
it's quite nice having the "space" but at the same time it's like having a stranger looking after the boys (7 &9) and living in our house.... so therefore very tricky to make a judgement call on if she is right for us. we have a few other issues including a total lack of initiative but we know that nothing is perfect....

georgiemum Mon 27-Oct-08 14:42:06

Is she homesick?

VinegArghhhWasStabbedInTheTits Mon 27-Oct-08 14:43:38

Well i have no experience of AP's but i dont see anything wrong wirh her wanting to lead her own life outside of the work she does for you, as long as she is doing her job well, i cant see your problem, you cant expect them all to have the same persionality

VinegArghhhWasStabbedInTheTits Mon 27-Oct-08 14:44:41

And maybe she just needs time to adjust and fit in with your family, maybe she is shy.

Mung Mon 27-Oct-08 14:45:08

Its really hard. I imagine that she feels that she can choose what to do with her time, and I suppose she is right. I suppose if she is doing a good job with regards to what you expect from her around the house and with your children, then you can't really question what she does with her personal time.

jackofall Mon 27-Oct-08 14:46:56

don't think so - and that might be part of the problem - she went home for a week a couple of weeks ago and didn't really enjoy it apparently - emailed me to tell me how much she was missing the UK!!
i'm just finding her really hard to gel with - she seems quite demanding - ie wants certain foods bought coz she isn't keen on what we have and wants everything done for her - eg she wants to go to london at the weekend and wanted me to look up train times/pries/tell her how to get there etc... and now in half term wants me to give her an itineray (is that how it's spelt?) for every blooming moment of the day....
can't decide as we don't really know her if it's worth putting up with her until next summer when she is due to go home or if she's just not right for us and then go through all the hassle of finding and settling in a new one....

Mij Mon 27-Oct-08 14:47:48

Has she been an AP before? Maybe she thinks that's what's expected?

All you can do is give her the space she asks for, be unfailing friendly and welcoming hmm and make sure she has opportunities to talk about any issues she might have. You haven't changed, but different people read behaviour in different ways - she might think you're odd!

And ss PP says she could be shy.

jackofall Mon 27-Oct-08 14:50:08

i think she is shy - but worryingly we are her second family as she didn't get on with the first ones...
we do keep trying to involve her and invite her to join us for meals, trips out etc but she always declines.
perhaps we are odd Mij

Mung Mon 27-Oct-08 14:50:49

I imagine that you really want her to be like the last AP you had and she is obviously very different. You need to feel happy in your own home, so it may be worth asking her if she is OK and why she feels that she needs to be so distant yet so dependent and demanding.

pingping Mon 27-Oct-08 14:51:02

If she has been an AP before maybe thats the way her previous employer expected her to be.

How long has she been with you?

VinegArghhhWasStabbedInTheTits Mon 27-Oct-08 14:52:04

Is she doing her job well? sounds like your expecting her to be too much like your old AP.

Mung Mon 27-Oct-08 14:52:18

Does she see it as a job, rather than an experience living with an English family? If I was invited to do extra work on my days off then I would decline...

jackofall Mon 27-Oct-08 14:53:18

mung - i think you are right - i have asked her before if she is distant because she feels she should be or because she wants to be - and apparently this is how things are for her at home...
problem is i'm getting to the stage now after nearly 3 months where i can't be bothered to make the effort to involve her any more as she doesn't seem to want it...

Mung Mon 27-Oct-08 14:55:27

If you change your view on it all then would it work out better? What I mean is that if you stop inviting her and just give her the space she is obviously used to then would you be able to put up with her better? If not, then it may not be worth keeping her on for the year.

jackofall Mon 27-Oct-08 14:55:48

i think mung's hit it on the head - it's a job not an experience - she isn't really interested in finding out about our culture and seems to want everything the same as it is at home - same food etc...
is that a bad thing - perhaps i should just accept that not all aps want to get the most out of it - her loss i suppose!

VinegArghhhWasStabbedInTheTits Mon 27-Oct-08 14:57:59

Maybe she doesnt see it as her loss, maybe she just wants to do her job and still lead her own life out of hours hmm

jackofall Mon 27-Oct-08 14:59:11

i know what you mean but it does feel a bit awkward - less like having an ap and more like a lodger!!

pingping Mon 27-Oct-08 15:02:22

Maybe as she is leaving next year she doesn't want to get to close to you all as its horrible to say goodbye.

I wouldn't stress yourself to much about it people are different and maybe spending the day with a family is not really her idea of learning the English culture. If she has friends in London then of course she will want to come down here. ;-D as for the food I go abroad and generally stick to things I know I like.

pingping Mon 27-Oct-08 15:03:43

As long as she gets on with the children surely thats all that matters. You should be glad that she wants ideas on things to do during half term as I know some AP that will leave the children in front the TV computer etc and not bother

Romy7 Mon 27-Oct-08 15:09:32

no, not less like having an au pair - just less like having your old au pair...

you still have an au pair, and i am sure that for the limited hours she is paid for she is doing an ok job?

re her concern over half term - it would be quite daunting to suddenly having kids all over the place and be expected to know how to occupy them all day... (apols - don't know how many etc but it would be a big change), and she might not have known how to find out train times or prices in this country?

i think you just have to accept that she is running by the rule book and sticking to the terms of her job, and whatever else she does is fine, but doesn't involve the family. as long as she knows the offer is always open, then i'd just get on with it...

a lodger that looks after your kids and does the ironing though... grin

mighoula Mon 27-Oct-08 15:12:36

jackofall I agree with a lot of stuff people have said on here.
I think that perhaps she is shy, maybe she feels that you want your space and is trying to make herself scarce when she's not working, maybe she needs her own space too, and perhaps she is not here to experience the culture but just to learn the language? How old is she? I was an au pair for a year when I was 18, and to be honest after being with the kids from 7am til 7pm I used to really enjoy having time to myself. However I do find the eating her meals by herself a bit strange..

WorzselMummage Mon 27-Oct-08 15:15:03

Who wants to eat their meals or socialise with their boss !?

CoffeeAndCarrotCake Mon 27-Oct-08 15:16:42

This really made me laugh! I posted yesterday about our lovely au pair, who is great, but never leaves me alone, and even got in the car to come to my DH and my wedding anniversary lunch (a romantic meal for 3 and 1/2!hmm) and stayed up till the wee hours with me while I caught up with old uni friends who were staying this weekend. I WISH she was a little more inclined to spend some time on her own!

I guess it shows that we're all human, and the chances of the au pair and the host family getting it absolutely right are minimal, so we should just be glad that they're great in other respects (or we could swap....wink)

Cheesesarnie Mon 27-Oct-08 15:17:18

i think if your uneasy its obvious your not right for each other.have you asked why she doesnt want to join in?does she feel welcome?

jackofall Mon 27-Oct-08 15:27:46

oh i love this site - it's great to have opinions from people who can just be honest... we really have tried to make her feel welcome but i think you are all right - she sees it as a way to learn english - we have just got a different view coz of the first one...
coffee and cake - if it's any comfort i had the same with the last one - whilst she was amazing sometimes it was great when she was out !;)

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