This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
au pair in the living room every night(300 Posts)
I am an exhausted mum to 3 month old twins. Just after Christmas we brought our first ever au pair over. i have to say she is, in general hard working, sensible, great with dogs and children and lovely company. I also understand that a lockdown is difficult for everyone as normally she would make friends, explore the area etc.
The problem is - when you are a new mum it really tests your relationship! Intimacy is scarce and you and DH are often frustrated, mainly exacerbated by lack of sleep. My body is wracked and creaking from the squats, lunges and bicep curls of picking up and feeding two babies through the nights. I miss my husband and I spending time together and not being exhausted and bickering. I long ti stretch out my exhausted mum body and have a cuddle with my husband on the sofa when the children are sleeping in the evening.
Instead we are sat on the sofa every night like three little bears. Night after night after night.
I do know an au pair is meant to be a “member of the family”. Like a member of the family she has access to the same tv streaming in her room that we do. I feel that if it was my sister/sister in law they would make themselves scarce or just want a bit if space the odd evening.
To add to it DH seems completely happy with the arrangement and things she’s fantastic (she is, i just want a bit of space!)
AIBU? if not - how do i kindly break this to her? Am i just not suited to having an au pair?
Do you have a shed she could sit in?
Why don’t you and DH go to your bedroom if you want to have some private cuddle time?
She needs adult company too unfortunately.
We are in the middle of lockdown, and the middle of winter, so I'm not sure what you'd expect your au pair to do in the evenings, if not sit at home.
I would imagine once restrictions ease and nights get warmer and lighter, your au pair will want to be out and about more.
Ooh tricky! You don’t want to make her feel unwelcome, and she needs adult company too.
What about asking her to leave you to it in the sitting room one night a week as a sort of date night for you and DH? Present it not as you wanting to get rid of her, but instead as you and DH keeping the romance going, and as you can’t go out in the evenings at the moment, this would be the next best thing.
I don’t think you can ask her not to sit in the living room. That would be rude and unfair. Can’t you just watch a film in your room together or something?
Three little bears 😂 do you mean you're literally lined up on one sofa?! Please say you have at least an armchair as well?
I suspect that she needs company. If we were not in lockdown, she'd be out and about, no? If you're low on reception space then you can't really complain she won't stay in her room like a teenager or a prisoner.
I see no reason you can't cuddle your DH on the sofa, unless "cuddle" is an euphamism for something entirely different?
Also, where is she from? I find that non-Brits are a lot more straightforward and she might be absolutely fine with a request to bugger off for a couple of nights a week.
i don’t want to get rid of her at all just one night a week or so.... i lived with my in laws for 6 months ago a few years ago and i wanted some space too so i would sometimes just watch tv/read upstairs....
But where do you want her to go, OP?
Can you create a bed sitting room for her? With sofa etc.
Then you could ask for 1 date night per week as suggested upthread. She may find if her room is comfortable enough she may have other evenings there as well.
But I agree she probably needs adult company at least some of the time. Or perhaps she thinks it would be rude to sit in her bedroom all the time!
I would feel a bit uncomfortable about this, I don't sit in my own lounge downstairs all the time either, I tend to socialize a few evenings a week and the others I watch my own programmes and chill in my own bedroom (teens can come in but I need a break!)
I don't know what you can do except perhaps go to your own bedroom/watch TV there, and she might get the hint. Not every night, just one or two nights a week. Or say to her that she mustn't feel like she has to be with them every evening, and it's fine if she wants to spend some time alone, perhaps she feels a bit obliged to participate as well.
In short, mix it up yourself and hope she gets the hint. It's not about wanting her not to join in as some posters (who always exaggerate) are stating- it's about her constant presence which I would find too much from my own teens, let alone someone else.
I mean this kindly btw. But what exactly were you expecting?
Perhaps a nanny who’d have been happy to stay a couple of nights a week, might have been a better fit but it’s far more expensive I’m sure!
I think you'll risk souring the relationship you've built with her and create an awful atmosphere. She has little choice about where she can go at the moment, and banishing her to her room - where she'll sit on her own, which, although some people would love but clearly not her, seems mean. And as people say, she needs adult company too.
You've clearly got a good thing going with her in the main, and I would imagine a good au pair who copes well with twins are like gold dust (and god knows how easy it would to source another during Covid). So, If it is essential you have this alone time, I'd speak to your husband about going to bed early one evening a week and watching a movie from bed.
Tell her that although she believes she should be treated as part of the family, that's obviously not true and you want her to shut herself in her bedroom in the evenings.
If you want childcare rather than an au pair, get a nanny.
She also needs adult company, does she have her own livingroom or is she expected to sit on a bed which won’t be comfortable and isn’t good sleep hygiene.
TBF if she hasn't got her own living space other than a bedroom she's going to share yours. Could you convert another room into a second living space for her? But it's also that she's probably feeling quite lonely - it's hard for young people especially, I think.
Might be worth getting a day time live out nanny rather than an au pair?
I think compromising on a “date night” once a week would be fine.
You and DH can always have an early night sometimes and watch a film in bed.
I think this goes hand in hand with having an au pair. That is why I wouldn't want one even if they were lovely.
it's about her constant presence
But surely that’s exactly what you’re signing up for by getting an au pair. Although we considered it when mine we little, I couldn’t cope with sharing my space with a stranger. Sometimes you want to walk around the house in your underwear. Makes it a little awkward if you have company.
Why don’t you have an early night with your husband and watch movies in your bedroom sometimes you can’t exclude her from the living room.
Would you like her to work all day then go sit in her bedroom of an evening alone, so she doesn’t bother you?
As others said, if you and your husband want to go for some intimate time, then go to your room. Don’t send her to hers. It’s not ok behaviour.
As discussed she can't go anywhere.
She obviously doesn't seem to want to be in her own room. I have no idea why. But you can't change her behaviour without sounding unfriendly in a lockdown.
So you will have to change your own behaviour. Speak to your husband about the two of you having an early night a couple of times a week. Don't have to make a bit deal about it. Just do it.
Hopefully if you know you have these 2-3 nights a week alone, then you can enjoy her company the rest of the time.
I think it's fair enough to want some space once a week, I would find the current arrangement hard too OP.
Please login first.