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Au Pair advice

(8 Posts)
LesleyM Sun 03-Jul-11 23:08:47

I recently went back to work, we decided to employ an au pair to help with some childcare and light housework. We found a 27 year old through a friend, Ishe emailed me letting me know she had wanted to be an au pair and wanted to come to England, she was about to register with an agency over in Czech Rep (I can verify this). After asking her lots and lots of questions Itook up references. She said she had looked after on a regular basis 2 children of 2 work colleagues, both girls aged between 19 months and 2. I have 2 boys aged 3 (4 in Sept) and 14, my younger son has started pre-school so I wanted someone to be there when I am not. My new job allows me to work from home, every 2 weeks though I go to Europe for 2 days. I said to her that initially i would want her to do a little more, new job etc. We put together a detailed contract, outlining what she can expect from us, what we will provide, pay etc and what we expect from her. Helping the younger one to get dressed, have his breakfast, take to school, make his lunch, pick him up and make both boys and herself their evening meal. She has chosen to eat with them. She also does light housework which is focussed on the children - their washing/ironing, cleaning their bathroom, sweping/mopping the kitchen. If we run out of bread or milk to get some. She has been with us now for 4 weeks, I have been to Europe twice and have found myself on Sunday morning making 3 days worth of meals. Her cooking skills are very poor, I tried to show her how to cook pasta and rice, she disappeared half way through to text someone. We spoke to her last week to ask if there were any problems, she doesn't speak to us, if i cook and we all eat together she won't talk. She finishes, leaves the table and goes upstairs - no thank you nothing. She seems very uncomfortable with the children, she struggles to relate to the younger one. She has left our house 4 times, we live next to the beach and the weather has been great recently. We have invited her to lots of things, she would rather sit chatting on MSN. Her lack of enthusiasm is reflected in the effort she has put in at our house. My husband was working from home a few days ago, the au pair had collected the younger child from school at 1.30. He was playing and she sat with her English homework at the table, she said that he didn't want to go out may she would take him out one day next week - my husband wasn't too pleased. The children come first, they don't seem that bothered about her, all the other things we wanted get done but it is minimum effort - just like my 14 year old! She has a lovely double room, TV, internet, private bathroom. I said in the contract that we would provide breakfast, lunch and dinner, she eats loads and loads of food. She has 4 or 5 meals a day and sneakily takes packets of biscuits to her room. She has just registered to do a part time english course, about time. we are due to go on holiday in 2 weeks, which she knew. We were talking about it the other day and she slipped saying a man, not her boyfriend (our friend, they parted shortly before she arrived), is coming over for a week and staying with her. I have read many messages about visitors and although I really don't mind allowing the au pair to have visitors. I am a bit concerned that we won't be there, and we don't know this person. Please give me your thoughts/ideas/opinions....bear in mind we have already spoken to her about what we expect - a face of thunder appeared at certain points (usually to do with housework). We really get the impression that it is beneath her.

catepilarr Sun 03-Jul-11 23:23:59

get rid. find someone else who will do what you expect them to do and be nice to be around.

scurryfunge Sun 03-Jul-11 23:35:13

Au pairs are only really suitable for school aged children so your youngest may be a little young for her. It sounds like you need a mother's help or a nanny. Au pairs are not usually qualified and are there to develop their language skills usually in return for a few hours baby sitting per day and not much else.

StillSquiffy Mon 04-Jul-11 00:24:22

scurryfunge sorry but I disagree. There is absolutely nothing in OPs post to suggest that the role is too much for a normal AP. Of course they do wrap around care before and after childcare - that's generally the whole point of them, and the youngest is 3 years, not 3 months.

That said, this one is a bum deal. Tel her it's not working and offer to let her stay for two weeks to look for another job or to fly home immediately (you have to pay for the flight). And move on. Some people only do these jobs to get away from home and never really think through whether they are suited to it.

fraktious Mon 04-Jul-11 11:37:34

The job sounds fine, the AP sounds like a moody nightmare. Get rid as per your contract (I'd pay in lieu of notice personally).

Better luck next time! The job itself doesn't sound too complicated so you may be better with someone perhaps less experienced but a better, sparkier personality.

ytseb Mon 04-Jul-11 13:49:01

I would part company with her, she's suppose to be caring for the children, if she's not interacting with them then that would be the first sign to find someone who will. A nanny would probably be more suited. As far as the boyfriend goes I would not let him in my house if I didn't know him or done any checks on him. I hope you find someone more suited very soon

Julesnobrain Mon 04-Jul-11 22:26:37

Poor u, she sounds awful. There are lots of nice girls who would genuinely enjoy the chance of being your AP. Your role sounds spot on and your child aged 3 is fine with a nice AP.

Personally I would book her a flight, tell her the night before sorry it's not working out please pack and then pay her lieu of notice. I would not let her hang around the house and your children and I certainly would not let her have an uninvited guest in your home when you go on holiday

Scarletlips Mon 04-Jul-11 22:59:31

I agree. I think the girl is not suitable as an au pair. I would change au pairs and I definitely wouldn't let her have someone to stay while you are away. You would probably spend all your time worrying about what's going on at home. We have had 4 au pairs. 3 have been great and 1 was terrible. It really can be the luck of the draw. The job sounds perfect for an au pair. If it's any help, I tend to go for girls in their early 20s. They're not too immature and yet they're still young enough that they have the energy and enthusiasm for children. Look for a girl who has either worked as an au pair previously or who has studied childcare or a field related to children e.g. teaching. Also introduce her to other au pairs or nannies in your area. She will probably be happier if she knows people and has a bit of a social outlet herself. Hope it all sorts itself out anyway.

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