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Question about (Aussie) AP

(11 Posts)
ExpressoMartini Thu 25-May-17 22:48:56

Dear Mumsnetters

I need your view on a small issue I am having with my current aupair:
She does not say "Good Morning" or "Hello" in the morning. Similarly when she leaves at the end of the day she disappears from the room without saying "Good night" or "Goodby". We always have to greet her first with insistance to be greeted back... or not, which we find very awkward, not to say rude and a bad example for the children.

I have had looooaaads of aupairs and nannies over the past 15 years, from lots of different nationalities, and I have had this exact same issue twice, both times with Aussie AP.

My questions are the following:
- AIBU to expect a "Good morning" or even just "Hi" in the morning and "Goodby" or "Good night" in the evening?!? Or am I totally old fashioned? I want my children to be very polite and respectful, I actually told the au pair when she started that good manners were very important for us, children have to say good morning, please or sorry to her (which they do!) and of course she assured me that she shared the same values... I therefore expected her to behave in a similar way and show a good example!
- Is this a cultural difference with Aussie girls, in which case fair enough but I should explain her that the lack of good morning or goodby comes across as pretty rude for us?

I just want to add that she is very happy with the job, is very well paid for little work/hours and keeps telling me it's the "dream job" so she's got no reasons to be grumpy!

I don't like conflict and confrontation so I tend to avoid those discussions but at the same time we are a happy and cheerful (and polite!) household and it's hard to live with someone so different under the same roof!

HanarCantWearSweaters Thu 25-May-17 22:57:40

Good grief, someone "so different"? Because she doesn't say goodbye when she leaves a room? She's hardly the chalk to your cheese, how odd.

I don't say goodbye to my employers when I leave the room; it's my one too, I'm not 'clocking off' or departing from an entire area of the house for the evening. I would find it extremely odd if they raised this with me.

Is she competent as an au pair? You need to let minor things slide or they'll cause resentment in the relationship.

ExpressoMartini Thu 25-May-17 23:07:54

Thanks for sharing your view. Ok fair enough in the evening I can see your point (although most AP and nannies I've had in the past would always say goodby if they were not coming back downstairs) but what about the morning??
Overall she's OKish but there are other small issues such as being constantly on her phone (internet, social media) when working and with children under her care, instead of interacting with them.
Maybe I am too old fashioned!

ExpressoMartini Thu 25-May-17 23:18:55

Regarding not using the phone for social media and personal internet browsing when caring for the children, we talked about it before she accepted the role. It was in the contract and she totally agreed. But because I tend to be quite easy going in appearance, she's quickly forgotten the initial rules.
Again, the reason I care about this phone rule is that it is a bad example for the children, she prefers to play with her phone rather than interact with them. They are pretty easy and happy to play independantly so she might feel they don't need her but then what's the point of having an AP?

HanarCantWearSweaters Thu 25-May-17 23:28:14

I was the opposite really with the morning greetings in my current job, when I first started I found it unusual that I would enter the room in the morning and it would be 50/50 if they would look up and say good morning, I was much more of a 'enter and greet' type person. I have adjusted to their way of doing things now, but this is a long term position for me so it makes sense to settle in with how they do things; it could be that as au pairs are usually shorter term placements she may not see a need in changing how she acts to fit with you, which is essentially what you're asking. What's rude to you may be perfectly normal to her and what she is used to.

The phone thing is certainly an issue though and not really acceptable. It's not like she's doing a 12 hr day and therefore needs the downtime of catching up on MN like I do

How long has she been with you? Can you have a 3month/6 month etc check in, voiced as the two of you reviewing how things are going so far, ask her if she has anything she'd like to discuss and then go on to say you really need to stress minimum phone usage between x and y working hours, this is an issue for you and we really need to address it etc. It might be easier that way of you don't like confrontation, rather than a sit down and tell her off thing. But you're certainly not being unreasonable in wanting her to do what she's paid for.

ExpressoMartini Thu 25-May-17 23:40:15

Thanks again, I think you've helped me put things in perspective! The greeting issue sounds like it might be cultural or just the way she is and as you said, it is a relatively short term position so probably a battle not worth fighting.
With regards to the phone, I should really have a word with her as whilst she is on her phone because she thinks the children might not need her at this time, she also doesn't do half of the tasks she is supposed to do and these are very minor basic and common sense tasks such as filling up the water jug when empty, making sure the kids' coats and shoes are properly put away, the kids' dirty clothes put in the laundry basket, the kids' curtains open in the morning or shut at night etc
I will do as you suggest, ask her if she has any requests or issues, and remind her about the phone rule!
Thanks again

HookandSwan Fri 26-May-17 10:26:33

Basic manners in my opinion are to say hello/good morning and good bye or good evening.

I think my employers would be pretty insulted if when they encourage their 1 month old to wave bye bye and I just ignore her and shut the door and go. No I say good morning and goodbye

Sadly manners are something not everyone is brought up with.

KoalaDownUnder Fri 26-May-17 10:29:54

It's not 'an Aussie thing'. Must just be the two you've encountered.

I'm Australian, and greeting people / saying goodbye are perfectly normal.

ExpressoMartini Fri 26-May-17 13:32:14

Thanks, good to know that there is no cultural difference, the question came to my mind due to the coincidence but I would have found it very strange. It is probably more a sign of the times we live in, not everyone is brought up with good manners...
I also think those two AP are quite introvert and shy so that may also explain it.

underneaththeash Fri 26-May-17 14:26:29

I'm not sure the hello/goodbye thing would bother me. Being on the phone too much though definitely would....it just needs a quick "can I just remind you that you need to keep your phone use to an absolute minimum when you're looking after the children". As you've said she's not working all day and she has plenty of time to fiddle about with her phone.

BoraThirch Thu 01-Jun-17 18:45:36

Don't you say good morning to her?

I wouldn't expect someone who lives with you to say goodbye every time they leave the room. Its not like a nanny leaving to go home at the end of the day.

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