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Au pair doesn't go out

(16 Posts)
Wizotto Tue 19-Sep-17 13:20:54

We have a new au pair. He is very happy playing with the children and incredibly tidy and good at housework. However, he has been here for nearly a month and apart from going to the language school twice a week, he does not go out at all except for a quick walk/bike ride. There is another au pair in our village (also male from the same country) and they don’t meet up or anything. We are feeling very claustrophobic (he even made DHs and my bed when we were out one afternoon which made me very uncomfortable as it is our private space). He is not supposed to be a maid, but to look after the children before and after school as we both work full time. Every time our DS (6) asks him to do something he just does it. I am concerned that he is not maintaining appropriate boundaries with the children (we also have a DD (9)) and that he is allowing them to order him around, that he does not have his own life and will get depressed and that he is going to drive DH and me up the wall. DH also saw him folding laundry during his time off. We try very hard to make sure that our au pairs only work their agreed hours as I was exploited by my employer when I worked abroad and was too scared to do anything about it so am careful to make sure that we are fair etc. and that they have plenty of free time but also get to have fun with us (e.g. joining us on holidays, for celebrations etc., but have their own lives as well (same as would be the case for an adult child living at home)). Previously our au pairs have been very sociable and have met up with people in their language class, done other classes (salsa etc.) and gone on day trips and out for drinks in the evening, had friends over etc. They have also been great role models who have worked hard at learning English but also had great respect for themselves and expected good treatment from the children. We have given him loads of tips about things he can do, how he can meet other young people etc. but he has done absolutely nothing so far. Does anyone have any ideas as we would like to make it work if possible? He is obviously trying very hard and is a kind person who loves children but he needs to make a life for himself here.

SpareChangeDownTheSofa Tue 19-Sep-17 13:23:45

You need to put boundaries to your children explaining that he isn't their skiv. Maybe he's just introverted. I never go out unless 100% necessary because I prefer to stay in, some people are just that way.

coddiwomple Thu 21-Sep-17 12:27:28

your AP would be a dream for posters who complain that theirs go out too much!

What did he say he enjoys doing? Can he carry on whatever hobby he had locally?

Where did he live previously? Is he used to public transport?

What does he want to do with his life? Anywhere he could do voluntary work to boost his cv?

ClaudiaWankleman Thu 21-Sep-17 12:33:42

Consider paying for: gym, sports class/ team, travel ticket so he can get out and about? He sounds like a bit of a home bird. Sometimes it's hard to find out what is going on in the local area if you're not familiar with local websites/ paper etc. Give him some ideas?

You sound lovely - express your fears for him to him. He might appreciate being able to get some things off his chest. I was a bit depressed for the first couple of months the first time I moved abroad. It's the fear of everything being new and not being confident.

drspouse Thu 21-Sep-17 12:37:45

I was going to say offer to pay for a gym or similar. Or does he like singing/drama/cycling/running and would like to join a club?

Wheresmytaco Fri 22-Sep-17 16:42:07

How easy is it for him to get out of your village? Has he got money to do so?

Just because he and the other aupair are both male and from the same country doesn't mean they will necessarily want to be friends though

bevelino Sun 01-Oct-17 16:18:22

I would introduce him to the au pair from his home country in your area and also the au local au pair network. There are lots of Facebook groups for au pairs in every area.

He probably needs your help getting started with socialising and help him as much as you can. My dd is in constant contact with the new au pair who took over from her and has put him in touch with lots of people she knew etc. Maybe ask your previous au pair to talk to him.

Wizotto Sun 01-Oct-17 16:48:16

We have introduced him to the other au pair and they have been out once. I have sent him links to loads of things he can do, classes, talks, good value gym etc. Money is not an issue: he has enough for gym membership, going out etc. He can access the centre of town easily walking or on the bike and he can cycle so this is not an issue and we obviously pay for bike maintenance, lights etc. So it is free for him to get around and buses to other places are easily affordable. The language lessons are specifically for au pairs (during the day and cheaper than other classes) but he doesn't seem to be joining others after class. Says at home that he goes out with his friends but doesn't seem to have any specific interests or things he wants to do or see while he is here. Still works outside his hours, reorganising cushions on the sofa, refolding bathroom towels etc. Spends a lot of time tidying his room so think he must be quite bored. He is 27 though so while I am happy to give suggestions etc. I think he needs to take responsibility for his experience here.

Fanofpotato Mon 01-Jan-18 13:33:57

@Wizotto just wondering how you managed this? We have an introverted au pair, lovely girl and good with kids (xmas hols so difficult to see how relationship will pan out atm). She doesn't seem to want to go out (we live in London) and does a little bit more than she should around the house. I have told her her role (very minimum as she has studies too) but it seems she just wants to be around us and the family all the time. How did you cope?! She has been here a month and only been out once by herself. She has travelled extensively so is used to the "world " if you know what i mean!

Wizotto Mon 01-Jan-18 16:45:18

@Fanofpotato Well, we tried for four months. He liked playing with the children but had no authority so DS's behaviour deteriorated a lot. I told him that he needed to go out and do things in order to learn English. He did start a weekly sports class but then stopped going. Although he seemed to like being around us, he never talked or showed any interest in anything and clearly wasn't that interested in the UK either. We asked him to leave before Christmas and he went to London for the first time the weekend before he left. We have had some great au pairs and know how easy it can be when it works so we decided that it wouldn't work for a whole year and have someone new joining us soon. The children were away for half term with extended family and instead of going travelling or home or having a friend over he was basically in all week with us (we said he could invite his girlfriend/sister/friend etc. for the week as he didn't need to help out but he didn't want to). perhaps something had gone wrong at home but as he didn't talk to us it wasn't anything that we could help with. However, ultimately an au pair is supposed to make your life easier and if they don't then there's not much point... Good luck.

roses2 Mon 01-Jan-18 20:41:15

My au pair is qiete however she joined WhatsApp groups and found local au pairs in NW London. Every week end she hangs out with them.

Could you encourage her to try WhatsApp and Facebook groups so she can find friends to go sightseeing with?

Fanofpotato Tue 02-Jan-18 09:10:27

Yes she is on a Whatsapp group and i have found various numbers for her from friends with au pairs. She doesn't seem to be proactive in making friends it seems hmm. I think she is getting fed up of me asking if she has got anywhere with other au pairs - her family is visiting in Feb so said she will explore London then. In the meantime she is happy to stay at home. We invited her to eat with us at a restaurant yesterday and if we invite her out with us she is always happy to oblige. It's just getting tiresome as we want family time too but the "mother guilt" of leaving her out is getting too much 😣

Fanofpotato Tue 02-Jan-18 09:15:13

I'm expecting a baby very soon so I'm hoping it will all work out - i won't be able to "mother" her as much and her responsibility with my older children will become more apparent. I just hoped she had settled in by the time the baby came

underneaththeash Thu 04-Jan-18 08:19:31

Of course you need a bit of family time, that's normal and I think most au pairs appreciate that. Unfortunately, you're just going to have to spell it out to her and say that (a) you think that she's missing out on one of the most important parts of being an au pair which is meeting people from different countries who she would never have the opportunity to meet otherwise. Our au pairs have met and stayed in contact with friends from all over the world.
and (b) that you enjoy her company, but, you need a bit of time just with your family, especially with a new baby coming.

We tend to invite our au pairs out if we are going for a family meal at the weekend, she would probably join us for a weekend activity every 3-4 weeks.

One of my friends had a particarly creative solution to their "always there au pair" and just switched off the Wifi during the day! It did actually make her go and out make some friends and everyone is happier for it.

Blessed81 Sun 14-Jan-18 02:27:56

How old are yo kids? My boyfriend has been trying to get an au pair but not going well. He has 12 year old twins.

Greensleeves Sun 14-Jan-18 02:34:15

He is lucky to have ended up with you, you clearly try very hard to be a considerate and ethical employer!

I would address it with him gently face to face, sit down with him and ask him what can be done to help him get out and about and make friends. Gym subscription is a good idea if he likes that sort of thing.

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