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Au pair problems - round 2

(32 Posts)
Boomboomboomboom Mon 10-Feb-14 20:45:37

Previous thread if you are interested:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/childminders_nannies_au_pairs_etc/1946096-Au-pair-problems-what-to-do

Please tell me what I need to hear.

So after my last post, things were going better, although she had been slacking on what she knows are her weekly jobs, if I forgot to write them on the diary sheet.

Food – well a bit better as her boyfriend was visiting so she started by trying to diet, lasted all of five minutes and she was back to eating chips for lunch as well as my hot dinners. Did some stuff voluntarily like washing up etc.

Boyfriend has been over for almost two weeks fuckingmugs, goes back tomorrow. We agreed he could visit as long as she provided all his meals – we explained he was her guest not ours and we couldn’t afford to feed him (actually they have had our potatoes, milk, butter, crème fraiche, onions, juice).

She tried to take our bath sheets for him. I said no way and offered some bath towels (not sheets).

He booked a stupid flight which meant he missed the last train to our local station and I had to drive and collect him near midnight, when I was working the next day.

He did not bring us or the children anything, has not said thank you for all the hot water, gas electric etc. He is going tomorrow and DH will leave before he gets up. Not said goodbye and they are now in her room for the evening.

Cooked them a big roast dinner yesterday after they returned from a weekend away, no thanks, didn’t bring pudding, no help with washing up although she did help set the table.

Arranged for them to spend the last weekend with a family member so they could have an evening and whole day in extremely lovely seaside town. They spent less than 4 hours there, didn’t see the sights, shopped, did not give my family member anything, let them pay for their dinners not offering once – Chinese, and their breakfast (ate 300g coco pops, 6 pain au choc and 2 pts of milk), pizzas. Didn’t contribute a single thing or offer petrol money for return. I am so fucking embarrassed.

She’s had lots of time off the last two weeks, has done bare minimum childcare (which is fine) and no extra jobs like quick clean of bathrooms (takes 10 mins tops) or changing kids beds. Has hovered and emptied dishwasher but I consider that everyone's job rather than her job.

Has used our washing machine to wash and tumble his clothes - just done another load today and he goes home TOMORROW

Still taking food without asking – today it was 2 mini-muffins I had bought in for visiting children. Last week a croissant I had left on the side to eat myself.

Shrunk my £160 jumper by washing it and tumble drying it – unasked trying to be helpful, TWO DAYS after I told her not everything can be washed and tumble dried (conversation arose because she had been hogging the washing machine she is always in the fucking way and I needed it and I offered to put her washing in the tumble drier asking first if there was anything that could not go in there. She didn’t understand so I explained that jumpers and silky things cannot be tumble dried). To be fair she was fairly mortified and offered to pay something towards it, but not until after her boyf had visited as she needed the money for him.

Took my bicycle without asking - it is a small bike she is too heavy for it but have not yet tested it to see if she has buckled it

Put simply we are completely done with her. Part of it is now me – you know when you get to the point that you cannot stand someone and you don’t give them an inch and cease to be reasonable hence the swearing above. I have been checking up on food consumption etc.

I am however always completely polite and nice. I could never be horrible but I am trying to be frank. I told her that she should have asked before taking the muffins because they were not for her. I told her I was really very cross about the jumper initially but accidents happen.

So I am going to tell her outright (but hopefully nicely) we want a different au pair for September so she must be gone mid August. I don’t want her making college plans beyond that. Then I am going to performance manager her tightly, make her work her 25 hrs a week so making up quiet child care weeks with cleaning (all on au pair contract) and if it doesn’t work getting rid sooner.

Does this sound fair?

I am sure some of you will tell me I should get rid now, but that seems mean. I want to give her a few weeks to improve and she has an exam before Easter. I think I can cope at least until then...

nannynicnic Mon 10-Feb-14 20:55:31

Sounds perfectly fair to me. She sounds very ungrateful, and rude!! I'd get rid sooner

breatheslowly Mon 10-Feb-14 20:55:33

Honestly I think you need to get rid of her as you really seem to hate her now. If it gets any worse, you sound like you might start getting upset about her oxygen consumption.

You then need to work out whether having au pairs is for you at all.

Incapinka Mon 10-Feb-14 20:59:28

Get rid now. You will kill her before August gets here!!

TheScience Mon 10-Feb-14 21:04:39

I wouldn't stick it out til September - Easter sounds more realistic.

I wouldn't be able to put up with all that stuff without saying anything - why agree to a guest for 2 WEEKS! Why pick him up at midnight (no taxis?), why not pull her up on the food, why not tell her how rude they've been, tell her to wash up?

Boomboomboomboom Mon 10-Feb-14 21:06:54

I hear what you are all saying. Clearly I am irked about EVERYTHING.

But is there anything I have mentioned which I am being unreasonable about?

As for whether au pairs are for us, I think they are, but in no more than 6 month stints, at least then there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and not have someone who has never had a job/uni/lived independently before!

NatashaBee Mon 10-Feb-14 21:08:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Boomboomboomboom Mon 10-Feb-14 21:09:19

I am a mug. She wanted him to stay longer than two weeks, I said no and she settled for 13 days because the flights were cheapest and they got two weekends together.

I am happy to be told I am a total twat, I have been much firmer but my sibling was down this weekend for Sunday dinner too, having driven them from their seaside jaunt, and I did not want to make a show in front of her.

Boomboomboomboom Mon 10-Feb-14 21:14:20

Do I actually tell her how embarrassed I feel?
Do I tell her that her boyf was very rude?

She is good with the kids and will be mortified, but as some of you said before Christmas she is lazy and entitled and I'm not her mum

FunkyBoldRibena Mon 10-Feb-14 21:16:51

Whatever her notice period is, give it to her tomorrow.

Squiffyagain Mon 10-Feb-14 21:34:31

Just let her go.

apotomak Tue 11-Feb-14 09:11:29

It's all very well to say 'I am however always completely polite and nice' and then complain you were used. I think you should have spelled everything out before the trip was arranged. That he is to provide his own food, bring towels, how many times they can use the washing machine etc. I would have asked for the milk or whatever it is he ate to be replaced. Not in a nasty way but if you had totally cleared it with them they would oblige. Tbh I wouldn't have arranged a stayover at relative's home but I would have pointed them to some B&Bs. 2 weeks is way too long for such visit.

Unexpected Tue 11-Feb-14 09:25:23

In the nicest possible way, you are a mug! Given all the problems with the au pair, why on earth did you agree to her boyfriend staying with you for TWO weeks?! And once he arrived and started abusing your hospitality (because that is what it was really) why did you then decide to inflict them on your relatives in another town? Why did you think things would miraculously improve if they were elsewhere?

Give her notice today and get her out of your life.

citytocountry Tue 11-Feb-14 11:11:34

I think you have two choices here:

1. Give her a massive talking to. Tell her what you told us above probably without the swearing, seek an apology and some indication of understanding and a desire to change. Be firm about the future, and move on (whilst closely monitoring and getting her told if she steps out of line giving feedback).

2. Get rid now/Easter. August is a long time away - you may die of anger if you don't do something about it and let her stay. Life's too short and there are plenty of good au pairs out there.

I don't think there is a "do nothing" option here.

Let us know what happens though - need an update!

Catzenobia Tue 11-Feb-14 13:07:58

We gave an AP 2 weeks' notice the other week for being lazy, not working her hours, not bonding with the children etc. She was also fairly gobsmacked as I was also polite and helpful but I am not a mug. We now have someone who makes an effort with everything. With so many issues, I don't think this is something you can 'performance manage' so I would give her notice and get someone else.

NatashaBee Tue 11-Feb-14 14:44:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Johnogroats Tue 11-Feb-14 14:59:53

Definitely get rid now. We limped on with a difficult AP and how I wish I'd fired her (well, given 2 weeks notice). Things do not improve and your stress levels and resentment will increase.

You are a total mug if you stick her until August.

Boomboomboomboom Tue 11-Feb-14 19:49:26

Thanks everyone.

I don't mind being called a mug - I am, but she slightly railroaded us with the request for him to stay before Christmas - flights booked for a long time. We liked her and the anger hadn't set in. I didn't think to set out milk, butter, juice etc was off limits as we had agreed she'd buy his food. The visit with my relatives had also been sorted out at Christmas before the worst of my irkiness.

She behaves like she is my teenage daughter, very entitled, rather than my employee. I guess that is mostly her fault, but partly my fault for not being firm.

He's gone, he didn't say goodbye to my husband, did not thank me this morning, but she told me he was grateful. She has been happy today and has worked hard.

I will address all of the issues with her soon, once the dust of boyf leaving has settled. Possibly tomorrow, we'll see

I will update you - seriously this is the sort of thread I would read with disbelief that the stupid OP hadn't got rid sooner. Husband wants to get rid asap.

MrsPixieMoo Tue 11-Feb-14 20:00:44

Your DH is right.

splasheeny Tue 11-Feb-14 20:22:00

It sounds like your relationship has completely broken down.

I would never allow a boyfriend over to stay in any circumstances.

The food issue does seem a bit unfair.. part of the deal is that the au pair can eat whatever they like, but her boyfriend isn't part of that.

Giving her notice and setting clear ground rules early next time may be a good idea.

TwittyMcTwitterson Tue 11-Feb-14 21:16:10

If DH wants to get rid sooner, get him to do it.

It sounds unintentional but she is taking you for a ride. I'd give her notice to her ASAP. perhaps it'll sink in easier if you give her a chocolate bar at the same time

Her boyfriends behaviour isn't necessarily her fault but it sounds like she didn't see it as too bad as she'd be very apologetic.

Get rid

ContinentalKat Tue 11-Feb-14 21:34:22

I think you are expecting far too much from an au pair and should be looking for a live in nanny!

It's admittedly been a few years, but I was an au pair straight after school. The deal was that I get to live with a family who treat me like one of them, in exchange for pocket money, childcare and cleaning. I most certainly did no think of it as a job, more like a student exchange.

I would never have expected to buy my own food, and never having lived on my own or worked before, I needed people to tell me what to do.

I think your expectations are wildly mismatched. You want an employee, your au pair is probably not aware of this and is behaving like a daughter/sister.

Contrary to what people might think, some au pairs are not doing this for the money, but as a gap year in order to improve language skills.

TheScience Tue 11-Feb-14 21:54:05

Surely you wouldn't have expected food to be provided for a guest you had staying for free for 2 weeks?

ContinentalKat Tue 11-Feb-14 22:03:35

Like I said, wildly different expectations. Where I come from, you feed your guests.

TheScience Tue 11-Feb-14 22:08:08

Well of course - the au pair feeds her guest, her boyfriend isn't the OP's guest.

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