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Should my au pair have her parents to stay?

(33 Posts)
Joybelles Thu 09-Jun-11 14:12:51

Hi! our au pair has had her best friend and brother to stay on two separate occasions, once when we've been away and once we've been home. She's objecting becuase I've said that I don't think it appropriate for her Mum and Dad to come for 4 days. Am I being mean? I just feel that while she's here, we're her host parents and having her parents to stay could open up a whole host of problems, if they don't like what she's being asked to do or something. She said a number of her au-pair friends have had their parents to stay. What is the norm please?! Huge thanks xxx smile

ChitChattingagain Thu 09-Jun-11 14:16:04

Well if you don't want to, you dont' have to! Why can't they find a local B&B to stay in???

Having young people in the home does seem very different to having older people in the home. It would almost feel like a teenage sleepover if it was the au pair and a friend. But her parents? completely different feel to it.

Can't help you with what is the norm. I guess it would depend on how long she is working for you.

fraktious Thu 09-Jun-11 14:29:59

Did best friend and brother come together? 2 people is entirely different to 1. Plus young people usually have leas disposable income. Presumably her parents can afford the B&B so they don't impose?

It would be different if you weren't there but it would probably be crowded with you around.

surfandturf Thu 09-Jun-11 14:59:02

Our Au Pair's parents came over at New Year and although they did stay at a hotel just down the road, they did spend a lot of time with us and ate most meals with us. It was really nice to meet them and they were looking forward to meeting us all. Our au pair has now left but we keep in touch with them all and they have invited us to go and stay with them next year.

It all depends what you feel comfortable with.

harrietthespook Thu 09-Jun-11 16:18:24

Why would they object to anything she was being asked to do? Would they really undermine you in front of her? I am interested in why you would think there would be a risk of this. Do they phone a lot/seem otherwise interfering? Even if they are staying in a hotel, they would get wind of what she's being asked to do so I don't think it makes sense to object to them coming on that basis.

A lot depends on the set up you have. Two young people IS different from her parents coming. From my point of view, as they are presumably closer in age to you there is also more of an expectation 'in the air' that you will be involved in entertaining them. If they're staying elsewhere you can have them round for a meal and do your bit to welcome them but then distance yourself a bit from feeling obliged to make sure they're occupied/having a good time etc for the entire period.

I wouldn't offer too much in the way of detailed explanations. I would just offer a list of B&Bs/hotels nearby and say it would be more convenient if they stayed there.

Is England much more expensive than your APs home country? Our APs have been from Germany where prices are pretty similar so it's never been an issue on that front. I have had my APs mum to stay but after we'd already met them once and they're lovely.

Lily311 Thu 09-Jun-11 16:51:43

When I was an aupair, I only had friends/family members over when the family went away. I didn't want to put them in an uncomfortable situation and appreciated that they could stay while the family was on holiday. I suggest a local hotel or B&Q with an invitation for dinner-you don't need to host them if you don't want to!

Julesnobrain Thu 09-Jun-11 23:13:27

I wouldn't have them to stay. My private home is not a hotel for an AP's friends and family. Although current AP had sister to stay for a week but she was younger, only 13 years old and we enjoyed having her. Adult parents / relatives should stay in a B&B or hotel although I would be happy to host a hello coffee or meal.

Lcy Thu 09-Jun-11 23:16:38

My parents came to stay in my host families home for a weeks holiday when I was an aupair. My host family were very sociable and enjoyed meeting them. My mum is still in contact with my host mum 15 years later. It was certainly common among my aupair friends then (along time a go!)

Treeesa Thu 09-Jun-11 23:43:21

We've had parents to stay with us before.. In each case they went out of their way to be the perfect guests and it was a pleasure to have them. If my daughter was off in another country then I would hope to be able to go and visit her at least once during her stay for a long weekend. I don't think it's that big a deal really.

nannyl Fri 10-Jun-11 09:10:56

If you have the space avaliable i think its a bit mean not to allow her parents to visit for a few days a year.

But it depends on lots of things... how long she has worked / is planning to work for you etc. If just a few months maybe not but if 1 year + then IMO its not an unreasonable request
Surely, unless you are asking your AP to do unreasonable things her parents shouldnt have a problem with what she does anyway?

If you dont have another spare double bedroom then no issues with suggesting they find a local B&B or something. You dont want 2 strangers sleeping on sofa bed in front room or something!
also if you do have a spare double room, id expect au pair to dust / hoover it and get it ready and wash the bed linen etc etc, and Id expect them to eat out for most (although not necessarily all) of their meals.

Perhaps you could jig her normal days off around a bit buy mutual agreement, if possible so she could go out (and eat out) with her parents for a few of the days.

NewTeacher Fri 10-Jun-11 09:35:24

Its your house, you have to do what is comfortable for you. Having a friend over is very different to having parents over.

Where are they likely to sleep?

My AP has had friends/cousins/brother over on a number of occasions and we havent minded.

Her parents and uncle and aunt came to the UK but stayed in a hotel they did come to us for dinner and we did go for a meal spent time with them which was very nice. But I think its nicer that they have a hotel to go back to. Our AP was sensible enough to know its not 'ok' to have her parents staying at ours.

If you are uncomfortable with them staying then say so, it will only cause resentment later.

They have disposable income and can afford a hotel whereas friend etc are usually students and have no money.

Joybelles Fri 10-Jun-11 13:57:37

THANKS SO MUCH EVERYONE! This has really put my mind at rest. I think it's just the thing that they're our own age, two guests at one time as opposed to one, and also as they're more our own age we'd feel obliged to entertain them, more than anything else. Thanks again everyone wink

cumbria81 Fri 10-Jun-11 15:13:06

Goodness, how mean! Why on earth wouldn't you let her parents stay? I genuinely don't see the difference.

harrietthespook Fri 10-Jun-11 17:54:49

cumbria, how do you handle these requests out of interest? Have a lot of your APs had family come to stay?

ConstantlyCooking Sat 11-Jun-11 10:08:59

Our APs have had friends to staywho could sleep in their room (so young enough for the floor). When parents have come over they have booked hotels and come over for a meal or two. We haven't got a spare room - well we did have but then we decided to use it for an au pair - so while we have an au pair even my parents can't come to stay.

Jude89 Sat 11-Jun-11 11:11:12

What are you doing that her parents might not like what she's being asked to do? Surely, unless you're being unreasonable with what you're asking her to do there shouldn't be a problem. I think if you have space it would be mean not to invite them to stay.

StillSquiffy Sat 11-Jun-11 18:27:52

Our APs have always been welcome to have friends/parents to stay and we have always made it very clear that the AP is responsible for fitting their needs around normal duties and AP is responsible for keeping them entertained. We wouldn't have dreamt of entertaining them. The AP's are also responsible for paying for food/drink for their own guests (although we'll maybe buy in an extra bit of milk/bread etc).

Where we do change things slightly is that we will probably not ask them to babysit when they have family visiting, and we are happy to let AP use car to collect them from airport. Usually the parents will on at least one day insist on cooking us a huge meal as a thank you (has happened with every single set of parents that have come to stay - all nationalities seem to do this).

Not sure why you think you need to entertain/accommodate them more than if it was just friends/siblings confused

Slambang Sat 11-Jun-11 18:36:06

Our friends had their APs parents to stay, we had our APs mum. In both cases it has resulted in warm hopefully lifelong friendships and return visits to their country. We have the offer of a holiday villa in a very nice place too. wink

Not saying you should do it for those reasons but basically you should do it because people are nice and its good to meet new ones. I think your attititude that you can have friends but not parents is frankly weird.

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 11-Jun-11 23:04:53

if you have the room then yes, or if they are happy to sleep on blow up bed etc

if not then to stay in a cheap B&B/travel lodge etc seems the easiest thing to do

its prob for a night or 2, though 4 days may be pushing it

harrietthespook Mon 13-Jun-11 10:46:28

I think it's weird for parents to want, let alone expect, to come and stay in a house where someone - either they or hosts they probably don't know - would be sleeping on the floor to accommodate them. I can't imagine making a similiar request. But as the OP never answered that part of the question, we don't really know what space is like at her place.

It is different with the APs friends for me anyway - they can be expected to look after themselves and probably just want to go out to the pub/clubbing or whatever and get on with having a good time. SOME parents expect more looking after and sussing you/getting to know you out MAY also be part of it. This hasn't been an issue for us so far because I'm totally comfortable with the APs set up and what we are asking her to do so come and scrutinise all you want - and the parents we have met have been lovely anyway. I feel obliged to do more when it's the AP parents in the area or sister then if they had a friend to stay but maybe that's just me.

talkingrabbit Mon 13-Jun-11 12:53:08

This is really interesting to me as we have had all sorts of our AP's family and boyfriend's family come to stay, basically every school holiday while we areall still at home, and it has just got too much. AP doesn't get it and has said that I'm cold and unfriendly (yes, really, she did say this) and doesn't understand why the atmosphere is tense in the house when her family come to stay. We started out really willing, and trying to be as flexible and hospitable as possible. But I found that an extra 5 people in our house (AP's boyfriend and twin brother, father and step-mum) for a week, all in one room, and including when we had a cousin of our own staying over, so that we had to sleep on a blow up mattress on the floor of our study for 2 nights, is just too much. For the record, we have 3 kids under 10, one bathroom and 2 toilets. And they came in after a night out and started cooking at 11 pm, loudly, and woke up my 9 year old daughter so that I had to get up and settle her down again. And though I left a note saying 'I can't afford to feed you all! But I have cleard a shelf in the fridge for you and if you have to use something because you've run out, just let me know', all sorts of things disappeared from our cupboards. When approached about this, AP said 'but that tuna/past/parmesan/soup had been sitting in the cupboard for ages and you hadn't used it, so why can't we'. And I had to make up the beds and wash and change them all afterwards because AP, despite several prompts, was 'too busy' to do this in a reasonable time frame hmm.
AP is just about to ask us whether her mum and little brother can come and stay for a week in her room. As we have only 5 weeks to go, I'll probably say yes with a heavy heart and grin and bear it while they're here. I have to say, if my daughter goes to be an au pair somewhere, I would really hope to meet the family and go for a meal or day out with them, but I would not expect the family to put me up for free in their house for a week.
But then, as I now know, I'm typically cold, unfriendly and British confused!

harrietthespook Mon 13-Jun-11 13:50:36

We say in our invitation letter one guest at a time only and during the school term either side of a weekend only.

that is a completely crazy arrangement. I would have said no and think you are very brave and kind to have been so hospitable! What a nightmare.

I think you've done enough already - just say no esp if she will be here for only five more wks.

Please promise you will put in rules about guests in your next contract!

fedupwithdeployment Mon 13-Jun-11 14:24:26

Talking - I think you are either mad or a saint!

i would just say no. Our au pairs have had friends / boyfriend / parents to stay, but in moderation and when we have been away. I just couldn't cope!!!

talkingrabbit Mon 13-Jun-11 15:24:47

Thanks Harriet and Spook, how nice of you, we've been feeling inadequate all these months for not being a better hosts. AP says she has been really disappointed in her experience with us. I have to say I think a lot of this is due to me having assumed that some things are just obvious - like you hoover the floor if it's dirty, you don't wait for specific floor cleaning instructions every single morning (apparently you do if you're our AP); and you don't wait for host mum to say 'you have to leave for school now with the kids, you're going to be late' at 8.30 every single morning before you get off the sofa (apparently you do, even after 7 months); and you'd don't use sarcasm as a form of child discipline if you wish to build relationships of trust and respect with children; equally, you don't invite your entire family to stay in one room of a house that belongs to someone else while they're trying to live there. My grasp on reality has been seriously warped these last months! Now I know to expect nothing from any incoming AP in terms of initiative (except where it comes to eating host family out of house and home and using host mum's toiletries, where much initiative has been shown wink) and to set the firmest of boundaries on all sorts of things you thought you'd never have to mention (like, who cleans the AP's s**t off the back of the toilet, given that I make sure she never ever has to deal with ours? I look forwards to writing that bit up in our 'welcome' booklet!!). We have a male au pair coming next year, and I hope we can avoid the passive aggressive b*llocks that we've had this year but being much more upfront in our expectations. And yes, now there is a whole set of clear rules relating to overnight guests and family coming to stay in our 'welcome to our family' pack grin.

Strix Mon 13-Jun-11 15:37:45

My au pair asked me this past weekend if her mum could come stay (her sister has already been). I said "sure, if she doesn't mind sleeping in your room." Gosh, I would never have said "no". And I certainly couldn't care less of she likes or dislikes what I ask her daughter to do. I do not consider myself her "host parent". I am her employer. I have a contrat between her and me. Her mum is nothing to do with it.

And, I agree with Squiffy, that I would never feel obligated to hang out entertain and feed them. If they want to cook the food I buy and eat it, fine. If they want to bring their own, that's fine too. And, who knows, I might get another bottle of czech wine out of the deal. grin

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