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The role of au pair - finding it all quite difficult, would appreciate some advice!

(8 Posts)
docket Thu 13-Oct-11 17:10:48

We have a new au pair from Austria - she started about 10 days ago. In the intervening time, I have had an operation (this was all explained and is really the reason we got an au pair) on my knee. The kids like her and she's really good with them.

I am currently laid up for quite a bit of the time, although in the house obviously and have arranged other childcare for DS2, alongside help from my mum and days off from DH meaning that she is working a 35 hour week, as planned.

The other night when she was putting the DC to bed DD was having a massive tantrum and screaming for me so I endeavoured to hobble up the stairs. AP came out and quite <briskly> told me to not come up. I didn't as I understood that it was probably easier for her to handle the situation without me intervening and things did calm down.

Tbh I expected her to come and talk to me afterwards but she didn't and then the next day she was extremely off (sulky) so I went to talk to her and asked if she was alright and was it last night - from my POV it was my house and my kids and whilst I did understand that micro-managing isn't helpful that if DD is really screaming out for me I don't want to be told not to come upstairs in my own house. She thought me coming upstairs was a slight on her ability to cope and said that she didn't think it was going to be workable if I was going to keep interfering etc...

Anyway, sorry, I've ranted on. It's a difficult situation at the moment because I'm not physically able to do so much and I appreciate that she has been thrown in at the deep end somewhat. However, reflecting on it I'm not really happy with what was said. She's basically implied (I think) that when she is looking after the kids I shouldn't interfere at all. I feel that I can and should be overseeing her looking after them, accepting that she might have her own way of dealing with things. AIBU? Is she? I'm confused!

cansu Thu 13-Oct-11 17:44:41

I think she is being unreasonable. She is clearly new in your home and needs to learn about how things are done in your home. You have every right to intervene. I think you probably need to have a sit down again with her and explain how you want this to work.

fraktious Thu 13-Oct-11 18:16:14

I see both sides. She may have thought she was being helpful because you're poorly and also if you go up and give in to your DD (assuming it was just a tantrum - id she sort it btw?) then it sets a precedent.

But she definitely should have communicated after the event. Although if she didn't volunteer the info then you should gave insisted in it, which isn't micromanagement but talking things through to evaluate and find common strategies to address similar issues in future.

fraktious Thu 13-Oct-11 18:19:49

Oh and she's right, it won't be workable if you interfere because the DCs will be confused but there's supervising/overseeing, settling in and interfering. Asking her to feed back isn't interfering, breathing down her neck and jumping in is.

IMO a vital part of a successful working relationship with an au pair or any childcarer is accepting they need to find their own way of dealing with the DCs, which may be different to yours, and being supportive of that by guiding them in the right direction.

docket Thu 13-Oct-11 18:42:27

Thanks for your replies. I think I will talk to her again. I do want to give her the space to find her own way and she is good with the children so I have no issue with her handling of them. But my kids are my business and there was just something about the way she responded to that one event that has given me slightly bad vibes as that was the only time I had 'interfered'.

eurycantha Thu 13-Oct-11 21:35:22

I am a nanny,I wondered how old your DD is.Your Au pair has only been with you for 10 days and as you say you are her mum.the Au Pair had a bit of a nerve saying you were interfering. If my charges were screaming I would expect my boss to pop her head around the door and check all ok and hopefully tell the child to behave and do as she had been asked by Eurycantha ,I really do understand your au pair wanting to be left alone but I am fine about parents popping in when they hear children crying ,The worst time is mealtimes and most employers will disappear when you are trying to get the children to eat!!

fraktious Fri 14-Oct-11 05:03:30

I think you need to make that clear to her then. It's all about successful communication and finding a way to deal with this situation in the future so she doesn't feel undermined, the DCs don't see you challenging her and you feel in the loop.

Good luck smile the first days with a new childcarer are challenging enough without recovering from an op.

catepilarr Fri 14-Oct-11 21:06:25

i think the ap was cheaky. she isnt a proffesional nanny, she's only been thre a week and you are the boss and they are your children. i have worked as mothers help, ie shared care with mum at home, for a ferw families, and simply have to expect the parent behind my back and respect whatever they decide to do at any moment. it might not be to my liking all the time but would never dream of talking to my mumboss like that.

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