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AIBU - Au Pair

(108 Posts)
Ralphsmummy Fri 04-Oct-13 10:08:42

Am I being unreasonble?

We have an au pair. We have just had a bit of a calamity - husband in a serious bike crash last night - broken arm and ribs. Unusually, I have to go away for the weekend for a family wedding five hours away - I'm planning to take the two big kids with me, but leaving the 2.5 year old.

Au pair is basically refusing to help him out over the weekend. I appreciate its her days off, but to be honest its an emergency, and she stays in her room all day anyway (then goes out at night and gets back in at 6am, but thats another story). I'd be happy to pay more.

Is it me, or her?!

SPBisResisting Fri 04-Oct-13 10:10:01

Sorry fo hear about your dh

I think yabu sorry. She might have plans. Can you takr the younger one? Yes your plans might have to change but this is your family and your problem

grabaspoon Fri 04-Oct-13 10:13:28

1. No YANBU to ask but she is BU to say No - its her time off to do with it how she likes -I am a live in nanny while I am ok to help where needed I have on occasion said NO which leaves my employer in a sticky position but can't change plans etc

2 "and she stays in her room all day anyway (then goes out at night and gets back in at 6am, but thats another story)" Why is this relevant - many a weekend I have stayed in my room writing essays, slobbing out - remember our room is also our lounge space - so shes just hanging about in her lounge, watching tv, then going out for supper/drinks in the evening.

DSM Fri 04-Oct-13 10:15:13

Sorry - YABU. It's really unfortunate situation, and it would be lovely if she could help, but you can't expect her to. Much like my boss can't demand that I work on my day off because of something unexpected. He can ask, but he can't be annoyed if I say no.

JustBecauseICan Fri 04-Oct-13 10:16:52

YANBU to ask.
She is NBU to say no.

YA perhaps BU to still be going to the wedding if it's all so dramatic and calamitous.

Have you offered her a bonus for doing it?

Ralphsmummy Fri 04-Oct-13 10:18:18

Fair enough.

I can't take younger one (on train, too small a car at the other end, nowhere for him to sleep blah blah), it means us all missing the wedding. We shall have to not go, which is a shame for the family and also for the older children who have been looking forward to it for months. It would have been nice to have somebody who tried to make out lives easier and be more helpful tbh.

Ralphsmummy Fri 04-Oct-13 10:20:05

Yes, happy to pay her more, money isn't the issue. Am now looking into getting an emergency day nanny to come in for the two days instead.

thelittlemothersucker Fri 04-Oct-13 10:22:55

Karma is a wonderful thing. She's going to want days off in the future for a family wedding / festivals / whatever, and she's just shot herself in the foot.

DSM Fri 04-Oct-13 10:25:08

Goodness - I'm really shocked at your last comment!

It would have been nice to have somebody who tried to make out lives easier and be more helpful tbh.

I realise you are stressed but please try to get some perspective.

She is your au pair. Not your slave! She has her own life, which she is absolutely entitled to. Her life is not less important than yours.

If you need help in an emergency, ask a friend, ask a family member, change your travel plans, or don't go. But that statement is terribly self absorbed. Sorry.

JustBecauseICan Fri 04-Oct-13 10:29:16


JustBecauseICan Fri 04-Oct-13 10:31:21

Your excuses as to why you can't take the younger one are flimsy btw.


car too small.....get a cab.....

nowhere for him to sleep? how big is he that he wouldn't fit in a bed with you and/or older siblings for one night? He'd love it.

The emotional blackmail inferred in your last comment about her is a bit nasty tbh.

Ralphsmummy Fri 04-Oct-13 10:32:09

That came across badly, sorry. I am stressed, and also utterly exhausted having spent a full, and quite terrifying, night in hospital.

I think its because we all consider her to be part of the family. We have done everything to make her life nice, and as easy as possible, and include her in everything we do.

I was a bit shocked that a) she shrugged her shoulders about the accident and b) refused to help in an emergency. I was only asking if she could change nappies etc (DH can't lift), not do full childcare duties, or stay in in the evening.

Its probably my fault for feeling like we are all in it together, rather than keeping my emotional distance. You live and learn.

I am going to have a little cry now in the work toilets.

minderjinx Fri 04-Oct-13 10:33:15

Can't you get a taxi at the other end? Can't your little one share a bed with you or one of your other children? Could you not book another room? Or do you not have a local friend or relative who could help out your DH? ...or who could take the older children to the wedding? I would think your poor DH would be better without childcare responsibilities this weekend if he's still feeling poorly. I think you should concentrate on how you could make it work and forget about the au pair. You asked, she said no, so no point in dwelling on it.

TheProsAndConsOfHitchhiking Fri 04-Oct-13 10:33:58

You sound lovely op.

Everything you have said is me,me,me!

Like someone else said, she is not your slave.

Either cancel your plans and look after your dh and ds yourself or take your ds with you.

Whereabouts are you OP?

DSM Fri 04-Oct-13 10:36:19

Your husband was in a terrible accident, is in hospital, and has a broken arm and ribs, and she shrugged her shoulders at the news? Really? hmm

Also, you know full well that she will have to do a lot more than just pop in every few hours to change a nappy if your husband is in that state.

It can be hard to distance yourself - but she does have her own life and you must allow her to.

If your husband is capable of looking after the baby (other than nappy changing) then he can attend the wedding. If he is incapable, then maybe you shouldn't go.

TBH, I am a bit shocked that you are so upset at her refusing to help in an 'emergency', when you are not willing to miss the wedding! If it was that much of an emergency, you wouldn't think twice about staying at home.

YDdraigGoch Fri 04-Oct-13 10:37:35

Can your husband really not look after a 2.5 year old with a broken arm, just for a couple of days? It's not that difficult.
Or could friends have her/him for the weekend?
Or can you really not take her/him with you? You have two older DCs who can help you.
Or could you take one older DC, and leave the other behind to help DH?
It's not that big a deal - honnest. Think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill really.

grabaspoon Fri 04-Oct-13 10:40:18

"It would have been nice to have somebody who tried to make out lives easier and be more helpful tbh."

As a nanny I really hope my boss thinks this about me

I am an employee I am paid for my hour and work them - I am happy to do overtime if it suits me.

I do try and make my bosses lives easier - in all different ways but its not my job to manage her family.

So if she needs childcare on a weekend while I am happy to help where I can sometimes she actually has to take on the responsibility for her own household and ask friends - ask my nanny friends - ask neighbours or change her plans.

TBH this happened the other week I was due at a christening as god parent and my boss was asked to work a 36 hour shift - meaning 7.30am Sunday - 17.30 Monday. I was out of the county and if push came to shove would have taken DC but MB rang round her friends [as no local family] and found someone willing to have DC all day 7.30-7.30 with the option I could pick up, I couldn't so the friend kept him over night until I started work as usual on the Monday morning.

I run/manage my work house and all parts of it but MB understood that sometimes she has to sort out other arrangements and its not me being obtuse but me being an employee who is allowed days off and that if I'm happy and not over worked everything works so much better.

MrsOakenshield Fri 04-Oct-13 10:40:31

you say your youngest is 2.5 years - could you not get some pull ups that he can get on and off himself - I'm not sure what lifting is needed with changing a nappy at this age - child lies on floor, open nappy, wipe wipe wipe, put on clean nappy (child can raise own bottom), child gets themself up. But pull ups will def make that easier.

So sorry about you DH's accident, glad he wasn't more seiously hurt.

Leopoldina Fri 04-Oct-13 10:40:50

well here's the thing. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask and nor do I think she's particularly unreasonable in saying no but it's all in the delivery and the attempt to make some kind of help in a pickle - "Sorry, I have plans but how about I put her to bed for him" or something along those lines would generate a lot of goodwill. There is a lot of mutual backscratching in this kind of relationship with someone who lives in your house and is treated as family (as with nannies). it's much more personal than most other employment roles, and there is a lot of bending of the rules on both sides to accommodate everyone's plans.

If you want to throw cash at the problem, you could hire an agency nanny or pay a local babysitter for the day - your daughter won't feel abandoned because her father is still there, & let's face it he could probably use some help to get his own lunch.
Like someone said upthread, you've no need to bend overbackwards and reorganise your life to accommodate her last minute requests for a change in plan now.

NorahVanstone Fri 04-Oct-13 10:42:06

RalphsMummy, Sorry I no idea about Au Pairs (not sure how I ended up on this thread) but it sounds like you have had a real shock and a horrible night of no sleep and lots of stress. I would be a terrible state if it were my DH.

(I'd be tempted to veg out rather than go to a wedding, which are not the most relaxing of things anyhow, lets face it). Look after yourself, you might well still be in a bit of shock

WorkingItOutAsIGo Fri 04-Oct-13 10:42:48

Poor you, hope your DH is OK and not in too much pain.

Of course YANBU in asking her, nor in fact in hoping that someone you had been kind to would step up and help in an emergency. I've employed nannies and then au pairs for years and all have been lovely women who would absolutely have stepped up in this situation and helped. A friend would do it, let alone someone who lives in your house and is part of your family.

I would have been incredibly grateful to my nannies/au pairs and paid them lots and knowing them they would have refused the money. So you need to chalk it up to an insight that she's not as nice or kind or as flexible as you would like, but she is completely in her rights to decline.

Think you are getting the MN kicking often delivered to people who employ cleaners/au pairs etc, which you probably don't need after a night in hospital.

Good luck with the emergency nanny.

Charlottehere Fri 04-Oct-13 10:45:07

Yabu. Understandable, your probably exhausted, stessed and not thinking straight. It's a bit off to go to the wedding anyway, your husband needs you far more.

FunnyRunner Fri 04-Oct-13 10:46:36

I think some people are being really unfair on the OP. TBH, in that situation I would be really disappointed if an AP couldn't help out, unless she has major plans for the day (e.g. concert or something that can't be changed). If it's a slob around the house day I would give the Monday off or a long weekend off the following week, as well as bonus pay. APs are supposed to be part of the family to some degree. As a one off helping out is just decent and mature and I would be prepared to pay a fairly substantial bonus.

But as others have said she is within her rights to say no so you can't force the issue. It's a very unique set of circumstances. If it was me in your shoes I would bring the 2.5 year old with you to the wedding and give your husband a break.

SolomanDaisy Fri 04-Oct-13 10:46:45

I don't think you're being unreasonable. Asking her to help out for extra cash is entirely fair and in no way means you are treating her like a slave.

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