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Advice from other au pairs and host families?

(27 Posts)
Anon2309 Thu 18-Dec-14 11:02:00

I'm an au pair and I need to rant. I'm just getting tired of feeling used all the time.

1. Agreed on 25 hrs and two babysittings a week on set days. Every other day that I'm babysitting paid £25 extra. So far haven't had one weekend completely free, there's always a day when I need to babysit, or when I don't, but HM is accidentally late for 2 hours. Instead of 25, I get paid 20, which doesn't seem much off, but it comes up to £80 that I'm owed after a few months.

2. Tells me to buy stuff and that I will get my money back. I'm owed £60.

3. Expects me to stay at home during my free time with a puppy or to take the dog with me wherever I go - which is something I DON'T wanna do seeing as the reason I left the house to go get a coffee or some shopping in the first place is to get away from work and the dog. (Keep in mind the dog is 10 weeks old).

4. Weekends - I'm supposed to be free, but last weekend HM and HD got drunk and passed out in their room, I woke up around 11, HK sitting and watching TV, and then HM's friend came by and dropped her kids off and even though no one asked me if I was okay with it, I was forced to babysit. HPs woke up around 17.30, took the kids and left. Should I get paid for that? I mean I had to cancel a date that I was looking forward to for weeks because I couldn't leave the kids alone and starving!

5. Several babysitting dates that I wasn't paid for. 6 to be exact, which adds up to £150 and I don't know how to approach this.

6. The HK has mum's number and calls her for every 'no' I say. And of course she says yes. HK also caused drama and cried because I didn't want to spend MY OWN £40 to buy him a videogame.

7. The food HPs buy is literally enough for breakfast and dinner. If I wanna have lunch I have to buy something for myself, because otherwise the weekly shop goes out quick and I get told off for "eating too much" (a bowl of cereal, maybe some pasta, and dinner with the kids. Doesn't seem that much)

8.I bought them christmas presents but I didn't get anything in return. But the cleaner who comes in once a week for and hour did. And so did the neighbours that they never talk to.

9. The house is dead freezing during the day. It's 15 degrees in the house and I'm literally shivering and can't feel my toes. When I say I'm cold I get a response "put another jumper on". I'm not allowed to put the heating on.

10. HD is a super lazy man who leaves dirty underwear on the bathroom floor, I get told off for leaving a bowl in the sink, but he leaves the entire cutlery and all the plates and pans so dirty that 6838 gallons of fairy couldn't wash it, in the sink for a day and expects me to do his dishes. No thank you, I already do the dishes 4 times a day, your stinky mess is not in t job description.

11. Everytime I have a problem with something and try to discuss it with HM (about kids, amount of work), she blames me (eg HK pisses all over the toilet seat and never flushes, leaves his dirty underwear and socks on the floor in the corridor, never puts his own cups and plates in the sink, btw he is 9), and says it's my fault and that I'm just taking my frustration out on him because I'm lazy. That is not true, and I seriously think that if you have the addittude that the au pair is here to do everything for your child and that your child doesn't have to do anything on his own, your child will be raised into a lazy and bad person. Don't get me wrong here, I came frok my country to help you out, but expecting me to literally clean up everyones mess and blaming me for getting upset because your 9yo doesn't flush the toilet is seriously not what what I expected.

12. HM seems to think I should consider myself privileged to work for them, because she keeps repeating "I had hundreds of applications, everyone said this was a great position, you should be thankful we chose you to work here, this is your job and you need to take great pride into doing everything for my child" etc. this does not seem like normal behaviour to me.

13. When I cook dinner, they expect me to leave some food for them too. They have never ever made anything for me. Ever. As in if they're cooking Sunday lunch and I'm in the house they'll eat it by themselves and never offer me any. Which would be okay if I didn't get told off for not leaving some for them. (Doesn't matter that there was barely enough for us because the HPs don't buy enough food.

I don't even feel like talking to them would resolve anything seeing as I will get blamed for everything in the end. But still I feel like it's my fault and that I'm wrong and that I should just keep quiet and do what they tell me. I don't know. I love the host kids and we really get along, but I'm just very confused at the moment.

Sorry for the long post, but some advice would be useful

sometimesinthefall Thu 18-Dec-14 12:45:33

This sounds absolutely horrendous, and you seem very reasonable and patient. It is, of course, not your fault at all; holding such a job is not a privilege, quite the opposite. What are your options at this stage and what would your preference be?

lovelynannytobe Thu 18-Dec-14 12:57:53

I wouldnt bother talking to them if it is as you say. Look for another job.

JubJubBirds Thu 18-Dec-14 12:58:29

Being an AP is such hard work, but it does sound like this job in particular is harder than it needs to be. If it were me I'd tred very carefully though, you don't want to fall out with them as you need to get your money back. Can you meet with the HM and ask her to remind you what your duties are? Act like you need her to spell them out to you. That way when she says "babysitting" you can say "yes I'm happy to do that but I just need to get paid for x y z dates first."
After you've been paid then you can reconsider our options. It might be that a big chat sorts things out, or it might be that you'd want to find another position.

On the point of the Christmas presents: that must really sting! Could it be that they just haven't given you yours yet?

Quitelikely Thu 18-Dec-14 13:04:21

Look for another job ASAP or print this off and show it to your Bosses

wewishyou Thu 18-Dec-14 13:06:38

Well, she has a point, do you take enough pride in flushing their 9 years old's poo?

seriously, the sound horrible. Run away fast !!

EmmalinaC Thu 18-Dec-14 13:09:51

As a host mother I think you're being treated very, VERY unfairly - yours is NOT a good position. A good host family will treat you like one of the family, which means sharing mealtimes with the family etc.

At the very least you are entitled to full board and lodging - that means lunch too! Also, au pairs are not supposed to be cleaners (the guidelines say light housework - not picking up HD's pants!). You are supposed to have alternate weekends free. You should not be caring for/cleaning up after their dog.

They are properly taking the piss - I'm quite shocked.

I'd suggest you look for a new family - if your HM had that many applications she won't have any problems finding another au pair and you can move on to a family who appreciate you. Good au pairs can be quite hard to find too! smile

EmmalinaC Thu 18-Dec-14 13:12:42

PS. Good au pairs with English as good as yours are even harder to find (assuming you're in UK?). Seriously - leave. You'll be snapped up!

SillyPops Thu 18-Dec-14 13:16:41

Hand in your notice, tell them exactly why you're lesving and you're sure it will be fine because it's SUCH a great job they'll have hundreds of applicants.

You sound hard working, reasonable and intelligent. Screw them. And have you looked into being a live in nanny? You generally get a bit more respect than when an AP.

Anon2309 Thu 18-Dec-14 17:01:53

Thank you everyone for your response. Yes I speak fluent English and I also had several families wanting me to go work for them but you don't see me shoving that in their faces.

I'll probably get another job, but this is just so terrifying at the moment, I'm just very scared I'll get into another bad family.

yes, I'd love to be a live in nanny but I'm very young and even though I have a lot of experience , I have no official qualifications and I'm not ofsted registered.

dinkystinky Thu 18-Dec-14 17:05:10

Hand in your notice and tell them why you are leaving, put in writing all the money they owe you for babysitting/expenses etc, and look for another host family - there are far far nicer families out there!

SillyPops Thu 18-Dec-14 17:15:03

Still apply for nanny jobs if you think you can do it. You can be unqualified and be an amazing nanny. My friend started her nanny career at 18 with no qualifications and experience and she's now top of the game!

Corygal Thu 18-Dec-14 17:34:40

Get them to pay you what they owe you BEFORE you resign or you'll never see it.

They are dreadful.

Karoleann Thu 18-Dec-14 18:21:22

I would definetely apply for some mother help roles there are a few on nannyjob at the moment that don't require much experience or a driver.

I wouldn't even bother trying to work it out with your current family - they sound awful, there's too many issues to sort out. Find a new job, explain that you're moving on to a nanny role and you can get a nice reference from them.

Btw my 8 year old is awful at remembering to flush the loo, he's probably been reminded several times a day for the past 3 years, I think it's just a boy thing.

Purplepumpkins Thu 18-Dec-14 18:31:54

Hey, you dont need to be ofsted registered to be a nanny. And I know some amazing nanny with no qualifications.

You sound like a very respectful and hardworking au pair with brilliant English. My advice is leave these awful people and find a family who will treat you better.

Hhhhmhowtochoose Thu 18-Dec-14 23:58:46

They sound awful.
Good luck with finding a nice family. They are out there.
(The heating situation though you might find in other households. )

Anon2309 Fri 19-Dec-14 09:21:56

Thank you all!
Well if anyone needs a fluent English speaking au pair in London with cooking skills and childcare experience feel free to let me know as I am officially without a job since yesterday

Anon2309 Fri 19-Dec-14 13:55:06

Bumping the thread because I am a little desperate now and I need to find a new job urgently

Purplepumpkins Fri 19-Dec-14 14:09:42

Did you hand your notice in? I think you would have better luck on an au pair agency then here.

Anon2309 Fri 19-Dec-14 15:19:22

Yes and I got told I needed to leave the house by tonight.

RoseyHope Fri 19-Dec-14 18:34:17

Oh dear, that's shocking. Have a look on gumtree, there are loads and loads of ads tm looking for au pairs in London.

JubJubBirds Fri 19-Dec-14 19:09:10

Anon there is no way they should be making you leave when you have no where to go. One day to leave the house is not on. Do you have somewhere safe to go?

wewishyou Fri 19-Dec-14 19:37:58

Do you have a contract? Is there a notice period? If so, they have to ay it to you even if they don't want you to work it.

fluffymouse Fri 19-Dec-14 19:42:00

Do you have a friends to go to? Have they paid you the money owed for babysitting and notice?

This is a very exploitative family.

As a host mum I am nothing like this, there are good families out there.

AnonyMust Sat 20-Dec-14 04:54:37

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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