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Au Pair - Help & Advice

(21 Posts)
leylamedsxx Mon 23-Feb-15 10:48:40

Good morning everyone!

First I'd like to say that I am not a mum but an au pair, I really need help and advice and couldn't find a website or a Facebook group appropriate so I thought mumsnet would do.

Basically I have been working for the same family for over a year now, everything is going well with the kids, they see me as their big sister and I can say I am a member of the family. At first my duties were acceptable, all I was doing was related to the kids - wash and iron their clothes, give them breakfast, school run, pick the youngest from pre school at 12:00 give her lunch play until we pick up her brother, going to the park or library with both kids, make dinner, bath them every other day. Very simple

But since September last year, everything has changed, the youngest is now going to school which makes that i'm lone from 9:00 to 15:00, it is supposed to be my free time - i do not need to attend English classes. The mum thought It was ok to start giving me more things to do, who aren't in my contract. Such as heavy cleaning every Thursday for 4 hours - dusting, cleaning the kitchen (oven included) hoover the house (except her bedroom) mop the floor, and clean both bathrooms. The house is pretty big, with two living rooms, a big hallway, and the kitchen isn't easy to clean either, a lot of counters. We used to have a cleaner EVERY OTHER WEEK but somehow she decided to get rid of them (too expensive) I DON'T GET PAID TO DO IT, and its now every WEEK!!

Cats had fleas, two times over the 5 past months, I have HAD to treat them otherwise she would of get rid of the cats. Meaning : BUYING SPRAY (with my OWN money, she didn't pay me back) spray the cats, hoover the house and garden's cats house, + spray both houses. Wait 48 hours and hoover again + moping.

I am not someone who is lazy and complaining a lot, but i have been too nice and reliable, so every time she was asking me to do something i was doing it, for example clean the fridge, or do the lawnmower in the garden, get presents from the shop for a friends, but now it is getting out of control, she is asking me more and more and more and if i say no it turns onto a drama, and she will get upset for a few days!!!

Recently, I got very upset and i am still not over it, to be honest i'm fuming. I always go visit my family during the Easter holidays, for a week as she isn't working (single mum if i didn't mention?) and stay at home with the kids, but she decided to book herself a week away in Marrakech with a friend, leaving me ALONE with the kids, meaning also overnight! so i cannot go to France see my family, i am working, not going on holiday for her to go and relax! i'm furious about it, and haven't decided yet what to do, i need to have a good think! she left me already few times on my own with the kids always for a week when she was out of the country ( always holidays, nothing related to work whatsoever) it didn't bother, but i was expecting to get more money, i am paid £80 a week and i do not think it is enough for what i am required to do - even if for her i am very lazy, once i forgot to the shop to get bread, she came home and said '' oh you're doing nothing the all day, how could you forgot ? ''

Anyway i needed to explain all of this, to have a few opinions, see if i'm over reacting about the situation or if she really unreasonable and taking the piss!

Thank you for those who will reply to me, and for reading this very long message. Have a good day x

Karoleann Mon 23-Feb-15 13:21:19

I think its acceptable for you to be doing more cleaning now that the children are at school 9-3. My youngest goes to school in September and I've made it clear to our new au pair that the ratio of housework to childcare will go up when she starts school. Having said that, we still have a cleaner and it isn't usual to have your au pair doing all the cleaning by herself.

Nor is it usual for you to be looking after the children for a week by yourself.

Maybe its just time to move on to either another au pair position or something else? I year is a long time for an au pair anyway and if you give notice now, you'll be able to return home during Easter and then start something else after your holiday in France.
Now that you have au pair experience and good English, finding a better host family will not be hard at all.

AndWhenYouGetThere Mon 23-Feb-15 13:22:52

You're doing too much and she needs to get the cleaner back in.

MsMittens Mon 23-Feb-15 13:31:14

Hi there

First of all sorry to hear you are struggling a bit at the moment.

As a previous poster said, an increase in house work when the kids go to school is not unusual BUT it does sound like you are being asked to do too much. For example, I would certainly never ask our au pair to do lawn mowing or clean the oven. I would not expect them to do all of the house cleaning either.

As for leaving you alone with the children for a week -that is unacceptable unless it has been discussed and agreed with you before hand and you are comfortable and being paid more.

Sounds like you are being taken for granted BUT I am not sure that things will get much better if you speak to your boss. Perhaps raise it (if you feel comfortable) but if you don't feel comfortable it sounds like perhaps you should consider a new position. You sound lovely and I am sure you will find a new more suitable role if necessary.

stinkingbishop Mon 23-Feb-15 13:37:03

Ever fancied Chester OP?!

anotherbloodycyclist Mon 23-Feb-15 13:54:15

Agree with others, as the youngest is now at school it is fine that you do an increase in housework. You need to look at your overall hours (which, as I assume you are a standard au-pair on £80 a week) should be no more than 25 per week, with a night or two babysitting.

It isn't acceptable for the Mum to leave you alone with the children for a week. Nor should you be responsible for looking after the family pets! And if you are doing more than the standard contract hours she should be paying you more.

I think it may be time to look for a new position. In my opinion (as someone who has employed many au-pairs) if the relationship breaks down like this it may be better to walk away and find a new family, who I'm sure will appreciate you.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 23-Feb-15 14:03:55

You've been doing a nannys job without pay right from the beginning - your opening paragraph is describing sole charge? That's for a nanny paid a proper salary, not for someone picking up a toddler at lunchtime and keeping them all day.

And now you appear to be a housekeeper too.

You have been exploited from the beginning and I think it's time to move on. Immediately.

psyandsoc Mon 23-Feb-15 14:18:03

Sounds like it's time for you to move on. Some cleaning is fine but she's taking the pee. I think you sound frustrated and have outgrown the family. You have plenty of experience to offer a younger family why not give it a go.

melimelo18 Mon 23-Feb-15 21:08:52

I am currently an Au Pair and would tell you one thing CHANGE FAMILY !!!

The mother obviously takes you for granted and judging by what you said bringing it up won't change anything. At best it would make her upset at worst she probably would kick you out as she doesn't seem to value you much unfortunately.

The fact that she gets upset whenever you bring up an issue or doesn't agree with her speaks volume about her and to me she looks very close to a bully. If she is a stay at home mum why does she needs you ?

About revocking your holidays so SHE can go tan in Morroco is appalling (that would have been the last straw for me) ! Time to move on I am afraid...

madasacatter Mon 23-Feb-15 21:53:20

wow, I am stunned that a host mum would think it acceptable to leave the children with you for a week while she goes on holiday!

I'm sorry to hear that you are being treated this way op and if you fancy finding a family that will treat you right then please feel free to pm me as I am currently looking.

PeachyParisian Wed 04-Mar-15 14:44:08

Leave now, she is taking the absolute piss.

Oly4 Thu 05-Mar-15 12:19:36

I'm also looking OP, you sound like you're doing way too much! I would expect a cleaner to clean.. And an au pair to look after the children. That's it. I would also pay you more so feel free to PM me if interested

getawaynow Thu 05-Mar-15 19:08:07

It's definitely time to move on. I can't believe you're not getting your Easter holiday! You are also entitled to more pay if you are working more than your contracted hours. You are being treated so unfairly!

RattieofCatan Thu 05-Mar-15 19:46:39

Move on. Au pairs aren't supposed to do heavy cleaning, just around 25 hours of work a week related to the children usually, maybe a bit of light cleaning. I agree with Laurie it sounds like you've been doing a nannies job and more than the standard hours an AP does.

samcaporn Sun 08-Mar-15 09:59:51

I agree - you have been doing a Nanny's job

PrintScreen Sun 08-Mar-15 15:45:12

The holiday thing is outrageous. The rest could be ok if it's within your 25 hours and had been negotiated and mutually agreed.

With the experience you have You can easily get another post. Do it!

However I totally disagree with Laurie who says APs don't usually have sole charge. I've never known an AP not have sole charge.

RattieofCatan Sun 08-Mar-15 16:49:36

print I think it's more sole charge from midday, that's not normal. APs usually have sole charge after school for school-aged children, not after a morning nursery session for nursery aged children.
It also sounds like OP has been doing full days the entire time because, realistically, she's not going to have much time in the mornings between drop off and picking child up at lunch to have free time. That's not normal.

littie29 Wed 11-Mar-15 19:59:04

We are looking for an Au pair to join our family from the 14th of April 2015. We have a 6 year old boy and 7 year old girl. I am returning to work full time and need an au pair to collect them from school, cook them a dinner and maybe a little bit of light housework, such as dusting, hoovering and tidying the kids bedroom. We would never expect you to do all of the work that you are doing at the moment. You would have free week ends, except on the very rare occasion if we needed a babysitter, but that would be with plenty of notice. My shift pattern varies between 9am and 7.30pm, so if i am working from 9am I would be home by 6pm, so the evening would be your own. We also live in the south coast and 30 mins from the beach which is amazing in the summer. If you do fancy a change then we would love to hear from you. You sound fantastic

creativevoid Sat 14-Mar-15 15:42:00

If you fancy Edinburgh PM me. I have a housekeeper who is a treasure and genuinely am only looking for someone to do childcare. I have 2 boys aged 4.5 and 6.5.

The message from me and the other posters here is that you are being exploited. You should not accept it and do not need to. There are better families out there. Good luck.

leylamedsxx Mon 08-Jun-15 09:54:07

Thank you everyone, I have finally gave her my two weeks notice and I am leaving as soon as I found a new family.

I will do a new post

newmumma Tue 09-Jun-15 16:38:17

Hi Leyla, we are currently looking for an au pair plus to do around 30 hours a week plus up to 2 nights a week babysitting (very rare I'm out 2 nights a week - far too knackered!). We would pay far more than your previous role. Big house with your own studio room in Surrey Hills. It's rural but you would have your own car to get about. As others have said, your old position sounds dreadful and you have definitely been exploited.

Our role would be breakfast and drop off at school and nursery, light housework (mostly related to children but on the odd occasion a shirt or two to iron), then most of the day off to relax / explore, pick up at 3.30 and home / park / homework / supper etc. Kids are 3 (nearly 4) and 5.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss. Our au pair is leaving next week (eek) after deciding to go travelling instead of au pairing (after 3 weeks with us (!!))

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