Delicate issue with fab au pair - any suggestions?(17 Posts)
Our au pair arrived at the start of September, it's the first time we've had an au pair and she is fantastic - great with the kids, shows initiative, and fits in well with the family.
However, there is an issue which I'd like to resolve, which is a bad BO problem.
Once we noticed it we encouraged her to wash her clothes more often, and we would add plenty of antibacterial wash, and repeat until clothes smelled clean. We hoped that we could resolve the problem that way, as it seemed to improve initially. However the issue is ongoing.
I'm not sure whether she has a BO problem, or if it's just a hygiene issue. It's hard to know how often she showers, as she'll often do some exercise when we're all out during the day, so I'm assuming that she showers then. She sleeps in synthetics (sweatshirt and leggings) that don't get washed very often, so I thought of buying some cotton pyjamas.
DH wants me to say nothing and just get a new au pair after Christmas, but as she is so brilliant in every other way I'd rather resolve this issue if at all possible. Does anyone have any suggestions of what I could say, and any tips for resolving the issue.
I think you’re going to have to bite the bullet and be direct. I heard some good advice on here which was to say, “I don’t think your deodorant is working very well as your odour is noticeable. I thought you’d like to know.” And then see what she says.
Re: washing clothes etc I would also say something - eg we wash sheets/pyjamas x times per week, why don’t you put yours in too?
If she’s good in other ways then I think you should try to resolve this.
PS There could also be a cultural aspect - I was on a short trip to a European city recently and was surprised how many people smelt really bad. What was also a shock was that they were often well-dressed, combed hair etc, so the issue must have been with showering.
A German student I know struggled because she didn’t know where to buy deodorant and then found they didn’t have the one she was used to. Could that be the case?
Thanks both. I'm just going to have to get it over and done with. It may well be a cultural thing, but I just don't understand how you wouldn't notice.
Am doing my washing now so that the machine is clear for her later today. Will try and say it gently.
WRT deodorant, surely you'd just take something rather than nothing? But will offer to get her some anyway.
if she is german or polish she probably won't mind you being direct.
I live in Germany and they are very blunt, they don't beat about the bush
Try telling her by giving a shit sandwich - so a bit of praise "you are amazing and were so happy to have you as an au pair," then the shit bit "however we've noticed that you have bo and it is making our house smell, would you be able to shower more/wear deodorant/wash clothes" and then another heap of praise " we're really keen to keep you on after Christmas as the kids adore you, you are a great person, etc so let me know if you want me to get you some deodorant, cotton clothes, whatever as we really love having you as part of our family"
Mrs - no she's not from either of those countries, but I am going to try and say it directly - short and sweet right!
I thought about the sandwich approach Tart, but I think I'd rather keep the issue separate, as I want her to retain the good stuff!
We had an au pair, also brilliant, also had a BO problem. I bought her a big basket of random products and sat her down alone and said that we thought she was amazing and we loved having her around but I needed her to work on her personal hygiene. I said I was happy to help with advice or products and here was a present to get her started. She was embarrassed by grateful I had told her.
I also had to do the same thing with her room about three months later because she never cleaned it or her bathroom. Big box of random cleaning products with a big bow on top.
She stayed with us for two years and is coming to visit for a holiday next year. I can't tell you how much I advise being upfront and as kind as possible.
Thanks Brie, relieved to know that I'm not the only one that's had this issue! Did your chat resolve the situation?
I will do it as sweetly as possible. She's so fab I just don't want to upset her
Not 100% all of the time but it did get much much better. Mostly fine with the odd bad day.
I am having exactly the same issue and just found your thread. So, I am dying to know. Did you manage to speak to her? What did you say and how did it go?
Like yours, our au pair is lovely in every way. It's just this one thing. I am in the main ignoring it; but I am really sensitive to smell and it's often noticeable.
We had the same isue once - I was worried about offending her, but one day my DD took my deodorant, held it in front of our AP and said “Please can you use this, like Mummy?”. I was so embarrassed but it worked!
If she does her own cooking (even if not always) it could also be that, I can def tell a difference in people who eat a non traditional diet. Tbh its something I'm now a bit paranoid about myself as I'm also now an immigrant.
Much harder to overcome though if that is the case.
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