Is this housework OK?(26 Posts)
Two children in school and preschool.
Au pair does 20 hours childcare a week before and after school/preschool over 4 days.
I would also like her to:
Load and unload dishwasher daily
Wipe down kitchen surfaces after use
Put away any clothes in the children's clean laundry basket
Tidy and hoover children's bedroom including changing bedding once a week
Hoover the living room once a week
Sweep and mop the kitchen once a week
She also babysits 1-3 times a month.
Looks quite a lot to me. Other than cleaning up after herself and possibly unloading loading dishwasher you are being v cheeky in asking for all these cleaning and household work. Afaik an aupair is not a cleaner and nanny rolled into one.
I would take out the living room vacuuming and kitchen mopping because they're not directly/exclusively to do with the children. That said, I don't think they're unreasonable.
I haven't seen anything suggesting au pairs can only do jobs directly related to the children? Isn't that more for nannies?
Hoovering and sweeping is something all adults in a household have to do.
I'd probably not expect her to do the mopping or laundry. I'd ask her to encourage the children to keep their own bedrooms tidy.
I think it's fine - I was explicit that our au-pair was expected to do about 4 hours housework/week plus childcare stuff. Total hours was about 18 in term time and 30 in the holiday weeks they covered (about 4-6 weeks /year)
Just be clear that it's part of the role, right from advert stage.
I think it's too much, she might feel like a skivvy. Why not get a cleaner if you can't do these things?
It's all just stuff that's part of family life. I can't see what the problem would be?
Could those saying its too much expand on what hours their au pairs do, and what the housework/childcare split is?
I'm a bit surprised that hoovering/mopping is objected to - surely helping to keep communal areas clean is part of cleaning up after yourself and living as part of a family?
I also think it's ok. I expect our au pair to clean the kitchen after use which includes sweeping the floors - maybe not mopping. He also does the kids laundry. If she only does 20 hours of childcare a week she can fill an extra five with helping around the house, especially tidying up after the kids. Agree with previous poster that keeping communal areas clean is part of belonging to a household. As long as you have a cleaner who is doing the regular heavy cleaning I think it's ok.
I think whether or not a workload is reasonable depends on a number of variables. For example.
An inexperienced teenager might find your schedule of tasks too much but an older or more experienced au pair may not. How much are you prepared to pay?
Do you have a large house and can you afford a cleaner?
Are you expecting your au pair to attend a language course, undertake child care responsibilities and clean your house? If so it might be too much.
It's not definitely too much if 'wipe down kitchen after use' means wipe it down after she has used it, not wipe it down every time it is used. I also think loading and unloading the dishwasher daily sounds fine, except it actually requires her to be around after every meal and that is unreasonable. I would change that to doing this on the 4 days when she does childcare.
That's almost exactly what my au pair does house-work wise, although she also irons some of the children's clothes too.
All standard au pair stuff. I think some of the PP are getting confused with the nursery duties that a nanny would carry out.
I think if she can do them with in her allotted paid hours, and they are jobs you also do (i.e. assuming you're not getting her to do things you feel are beneath you), that's fine. Especially if you are visibly doing them too. As an adult living in your house, shared responsibility for tidying, dishwasher, laundry, dog walking, vacuuming is fine. In fact tidying up after meals she has participated in is really basic, and I would get the kids involved in that.
Seems very reasonable to me, as long as you set the salary at a suitable level to reflect time worked. I assume that the cleaning hours are on top of childcare hours?
I think it's probably okay as long as all the adults in the house help out equally. So the person who notices that the dishwasher needs emptying, empties it, rather than stacking their dirty dishes on top and leaving it for the au pair. Likewise the person who leaves a mess on the work top wipes up after themselves, rather than leaving it for the au pair to deal with.
The children can be encouraged to put away their own clothes, even young toddlers can put things in a drawer if shown how, likewise they can help keep their rooms tidy.
So that just leaves hoovering, sweeping and mopping once a week and changing the children's sheets, which sounds fine.
It doesn't seem too much; pay should reflect the work she puts in, too. Btw I didn't want my au-pair to do our laundry because she mixed whites and darks and if she ironed she would burn the ironing board padding so it was easier to tell her not to do those things.
I think that's totally fair especially as I suppose she is also using the living room and the kitchen...? To me those tasks are common sense and everyone in the household should contribute including children, same with taking the bins out etc This is nothing to do with heavy housework but just daily household routine. I'd be worried to hire an aupair who is reluctant to do those tasks if requested by the host family and part of working hours.
I don't ask my aupair to hoover, mop or help out with laundry by choice as I prefer her to concentrate on other things with the children and we have a great cleaner who does it very well but I know she will proactively hoover or sweep the kitchen floor if it is particularly messy after she uses it (with or without the children).
It's perfectly fine-our au pair hoovers and mops the kitchen floor once a week. And also does 40 min ironing when the children are not at home. It was agreed before she started. It's very important to discuss things before.
Is she doing 20 full on hours with the kids or is she contracted for that much time but they aren't always there?
Load and unload dishwasher daily totally normal
Wipe down kitchen surfaces after use definitely fine
Put away any clothes in the children's clean laundry basket also fine
Tidy and hoover children's bedroom including changing bedding once a week - this I feel is sort of borderline if her 20 hours are full on. The kids really should be helping with the tidying anyway.
The following are grey areas:
Hoover the living room once a week
Sweep and mop the kitchen once a week
If she is letting the children leave a complete tip in the house and then you come home to a mess to clean up, she should be doing something about this.
For example, if she is letting the children eat in the front room put a stop to that and remind her, hard, that any mess will need to be hoovered up. I don't think she should be doing general hoovering the way a cleaner would though. It's not abusive but I probably wouldn't ask (you'd have to nag anyway.)
Same with the kitchen floors - we come home to all sorts on the floor after the cooking has been done and it's totally ignored. We've implemented sweeping up mess and next year I may ask for a floor wash.
Ours will wash down the oven surfaces after she's cleaned. Our rule is basically - everyone who makes a mess (DEFINITELY including the children) helps to clean it up.
However, my children are only with the au pair some days for one or two hours and she is paid the same rate as if they were there all the time. If I had younger children or the time she was with them required much more focus/direct engagement I might rethink.
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