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Au pair issues - advice please!

(16 Posts)
londoncitymum Tue 20-Jun-17 14:07:12

I am having major issues with my au pair and am on the brink of letting her go but want some advice on whether I am being unreasonable or not - and also how best to let her go.

As background she came via a friend's au pair, not an agency, and had been let go from her previous job. Perhaps the warning signs were there but it could have been interpreted on over-sensitivity on the family's part the way she and her other au pair friend positioned it.

She started off ok - quiet but perfectly nice. Great at cleaning, stayed out of our way, while not that proactive with the kids they did/do like her. But lots of niggles - like staining carpet in her bedroom and not saying sorry/alerting us or trying to clean up, eating tons of food meant for us or the kids (this was arguably my fault for not communicating) being late to start the day. She also has a habit of not listening to simple instructions...and generally being away with the fairies.

In the last week though I feel she's crossed a line and not sure I can trust her - she almost flooded the house by not cleaning her shower out - she was showering with water up to her ankles without thinking it was a problem or alerting me and water started pouring through the ceiling. It was only as I was there that I realised and got her to stop the water. The ceiling would have probably fallen through if I hadn't been there. Again, no apologies, just a blank look.

Yesterday she dropped a bottle of wine on the floor and despite cleaning it up and my husband instructing her not to let the children walk barefoot she did, resulting in my daughter cutting her foot - not badly but that's not really the point.

Then school alerted me today the fact that she had been getting my DS to school late and picking him up regularly up to 20 mins late! My friend also said she had seen her engrossed in her phone while walking with the kids to school.

So...grounds to get rid of her? Or final warning? I just don't feel I can trust her now... Also if I do, how much notice to give? I won't feel that comfortable with her staying very long but also she has a boyfriend in the UK so awkward.

Thanks in advance

londoncitymum Tue 20-Jun-17 15:57:16

Bump

jenny5bellies Wed 21-Jun-17 00:20:55

The boyfriend in the uk is a red herring.

Phone on the way to school - not ok.
Late drop offs and pick ups definitely not ok!

Wine and shower incidents - careless/feckless.

I'd want some explanation for the problems. Clear instructions about timings and phone useage.

Time scale for improvement otherwise termination of employment

Has she apologised for any of it?

OVienna Wed 21-Jun-17 23:42:06

This is not normal AP behaviour. I don't think the problems you've described are ones that are very straightforward to 'performance manage'; they involve judgement, which she appears to lack.

The lateness you possibly could give a warning to as that is a specific thing that is easy to describe how she should do it differently ("be here at x time EVERY DAY." )BUT - I wouldn't bother, given the other elements.

She's only in the UK as an au pair so she can be near her BF - she doesn't sound at all interested in the role.

londoncitymum Sat 24-Jun-17 09:50:06

Thanks for your advice - I was going to fire her but instead sat her down rather formally with my husband and read her the riot act. Hopefully things will improve. She came here to be an au pair and met her boyfriend while she was in the UK if that helps!

OVienna Sat 24-Jun-17 14:35:31

I guess I also meant it was the main thing keeping her here.

I don't blame you. It's a pain to get rid and hire again.

londoncitymum Sun 25-Jun-17 09:15:56

Yeah, that and the fact three of her close uni friends au pair nearby so she hangs out with them all the time...she has picked up a bit and one more strike and she's out!

londoncitymum Wed 12-Jul-17 16:21:29

Soooo...we have finally decided to let the au pair go now...since a very firm chat she has:
- walked out of the house leaving the back door wide open (no one else at home)
- ruined the carpet in her room with multiple make-up stains
- been seen walking children back from school with her head in her phone and children a good few paces behind her
- oh and this isn't a deal breaker as such but she's been staying at her boyfriend's quite a bit during the week and then getting uber cabs back for 7am in the morning, coming in looking groggy

I just don't feel I can trust her with the house or the children but am dreading 'the chat' as I quite like her as a person...any advice on what to say much appreciated!

OVienna Wed 12-Jul-17 16:46:07

Whatever you do, don't let her talk you out of it. I had warning signs from my au pair this year that she wasn't settling/wasn't suited to the role but she insisted she was still keen. Slightly different situation but I should have trusted my instincts then and cut ties. She left us in the lurch at the beginning of June.

I don't think these girls have any interest in hearing the 'truth' which they could then use to improve. She's been let go before too. I wouldn't feel obliged to go into a huge amount of detail. It doesn't sound like she's been with you for long in any case.

So - just tell her you'd prefer to make alternative arrangements for your childcare. If she presses just say you need someone more experienced - maybe suggest you're going for someone with professional nanny qualifications or some such/OFSTED registered. Blind her with science.

blueshoes Wed 12-Jul-17 17:36:44

There are so many dealbreakers in your first post. The last one takes the cake. It is a no brainer - sack. I personally would not even performance manage. You have in any case already had the Big Talk and she does not seem to have registered any of it.

If I were you, I would want her out of the house asap if only before she ruins any more carpets and ceilings. She won't improve. She simply does not care what you think - I say this from years and years of aupair hiring experience.

Ask her how long she needs to find another family (don't give her any longer than 3 weeks). It is likely to be moot anyway because once you say this for her, be prepared for her to leave you in the lurch - she will probably move out immediately and stay with her boyfriend or aupair friends. Hence, you should put your plan B backup in place before you have that conversation with her.

You will be well rid of her. It is worth the disruption of finding a new one. Again, this is from experience. Once you got a new aupair, you will wonder why you ever stayed so long with her.

Good luck.

blueshoes Wed 12-Jul-17 17:39:25

OVienna is right. If she tries to talk you out of it, she is just trying to buy herself some time until she is ready to leave you in the lurch. It is a silly game for them.

TheDowagerCuntess Wed 12-Jul-17 18:12:12

It's not working out, you are well within your rights to ask her to leave. You obviously have obligations to a young person who may have nowhere else to go (I'm assuming she'll go straight to her boyfriend), but I'd be making alternative (if temporary) childcare arrangements immediately.

She no longer (well, never) has a vested interest in the welfare of your children, so it wouldn't be wise to leave them in her care.

We've had many au pairs, and without exception, they've been mature, aware and responsible. This girl is not up to the job.

londoncitymum Wed 12-Jul-17 19:09:10

Thanks for all the advice everyone - I just did the deed. She did try to protest but I stood my ground. I've relinquished her of all duties and have given her a week to find somewhere else...she goes on holiday after that. She was quite sweet about it really and offered to help out as much as possible...feel relieved but slightly awed at the prospect of finding a new one.

No luck via agency so far and find Au Pair world very overwhelming!

londoncitymum Wed 12-Jul-17 19:17:37

Oh and have arranged interim back up already so I have no reliance on her whatsoever...

blueshoes Wed 12-Jul-17 19:44:03

OP, good work and fingers crossed the next one is better.

Rose17 Mon 06-Nov-17 21:14:45

Hello there! I don't think you are unreasonable if the au pair lacks of common sense then do worry about everything. We had 2 au pairs the first one was lazy but good at looking after my son the second one was fine at the beginning she would help and look after my son but my husband started to work from home on the days she meant to look after my son and realised that the au pair was a slave of her phone and was little interaction with my boy and I went into her bedroom one day and found a big pack of cigarettes and she basically lie to us in n her application and said she was a non smoker and definitely ask her to leave. She knew my son is asthmatic and I do have the feeling that she smoked around him because he had a constant cough and he didn't have a cold or anything but still thought was weird that he was coughing. She went to Spain to visit her family and in that week I decided to ask around how she was with my son n playgroups and they told me that she didn't pay attention to him and would go to the playgroup and start reading a magazine. I sat with her and spoke about things that she needed to change like chat more and interact to my son first week was fine the second week was ok and again it went back to the same routine. I was more that helpful with that girl I help her getting her national insurance number, bank account, and a job and she spoke to me one day and said that she wanted to leave but only gave me 2 weeks notice which didn't give me enough time to find child care or anything. You do have to be straight forward from the beginning and if you don't see changes the get rid of that lazzy and careless au pair some just come here to see what there is about they don't even care about your child they use you as a stepping stone only so they can get a different and leave without thinking about the childcare arrangements you need to deal with. I am expecting my second baby I wasn't able to find childcare and the only solution I have is to take my maternity leave early than expected.

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