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WWYD with so-so aupair?

(29 Posts)
meadowquark Mon 07-Sep-15 10:12:08

Hello, my aupair started last week so maybe it is too soon to judge. My previous aupair was outstanding and everything just clicked. The current one has not done anything wrong as such, but we do not click. He is not engaging with children and looks quite passive. He displayed a massive can-do attitude when hiring and I thought he will be committed. Well he is... only at a very basic level. Also he feels somehow too mature (he is 28) and not fun at all. My boys try to be nice but as he is not engaging, they then resort to ignore him and sort their own thing. He came to improve his English and his future goal is not children related, I wonder if this is my oversight.
He is just a basic babysitter so far. My previous aupair was a big brother.

One more thing. DH is a crap "mcdonald" father to our boys (divorce is in the sight), he does not engage with them at all and generally a lazy sod, and the current aupair seems so much in the same line that I am afraid I will start to resent them equally.

I wonder what to do. Should I keep him because he has not done anything wrong per se? Or would you give him a notice (for resembling my H to much?)? If notice, on what grounds? A week is certainly too early but I feel the things are not exactly right. WWYD?

Lightbulbon Mon 07-Sep-15 10:19:33

I wouldn't hire a 28 year old bloke with no interest in childcare as an au pair.

ImperialBlether Mon 07-Sep-15 10:21:19

A week is perfectly alright. He's shown his true colours immediately - why would you want to keep him on?

meadowquark Mon 07-Sep-15 10:24:26

He had 3 months internship in a school and said he was working in summer camps. He provided references but you never know if they are true.
But otherwise good point Lightbulbon It is just he was so keen and dilligent and other candidates were not suitable for one or another reason. It seemed like the best of the worst (or I was possible overwhelmed with the candidates and made a wrong choice)

meadowquark Mon 07-Sep-15 10:26:42

My obvious worry is to select someone wrong again sad

FattieDoc Mon 07-Sep-15 10:32:57

Hi. I am onto my third au pair over 3 years. Tbh- you need to trust your instincts- i did 2 years ago when I had a Spanish girl who was 25 yrs old we just did not 'click' and she was more interested in going out with her friends. ( which is ok with me but in her own time).i got rid of her after 3 weeks. The only problem would be if you paid agency fees? It is quite expensive but to be fair- children and your mental health come first. It's just not worth stressing all the time about a stranger in your home. I'm talking from experience ...

FattieDoc Mon 07-Sep-15 10:33:58

Also. Why are getting male au pairs? Females tend to be most common?

meadowquark Mon 07-Sep-15 11:12:15

Male because I have two boys and I don't ask for cleaning. Engaging with boys is the first and foremost task. No I did not pay agency fees, it was aupairworld website. So how should I give notice? Should I be honest or make up something? 2 weeks notice according our contract.

meadowquark Mon 07-Sep-15 11:13:10

Finance is the least of my concerns. Getting it right is...

LUKYMUM Mon 07-Sep-15 11:14:43

I would talk to him. It looks like his true colors may have shown but he might improve if you have a clear word with him.

maybebabybee Mon 07-Sep-15 11:21:55

Oh right, because men can't clean hmm

meadowquark Mon 07-Sep-15 11:26:29

I have not met a man who naturally cleans well hmm

maybebabybee Mon 07-Sep-15 11:30:03

My OH does. He's a brilliant cleaner. I'm a shit cleaner.

I know loads of men who clean well.

deepdarkwood Mon 07-Sep-15 11:36:25

Of course blokes can clean. What on earth about having a penis makes a Hoover hard to handle? Likewise, the right female au pair can of course engage with boys!
Do you not talk direct to references? Not sure I'd ever trust a written reference tbh.

Havel out talked to him about engaging with the boys more? If he isn't interested in childcare, he may genuinely not know what's expected...

PolyesterBride Mon 07-Sep-15 11:48:04

Do people naturally clean well? I thought it was learnt behaviour

maybebabybee Mon 07-Sep-15 11:50:38

oh no, polyester, clearly some people (women, according to the OP), emerge from the womb with hoover poised and duster in hand hmm.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 07-Sep-15 13:18:58

I would get rid and look again there are way more fab male au pairs out there than females. I am currently recruiting and as I have an 11 year old girl who really want a big sister who will paint her nails, do hair and go shopping I really need female, but this is the hardest recruit I have done in 9 years. If DD would be happy with a male I could have filled the position 10 times over.

youplusaupair Tue 08-Sep-15 09:34:30

Hi Meadowquark,

Please do talk to him first... The reason why I say 'please do' and feel strongly about it, is that I have an au pair agency and I have a number of au pairs saying that they are looking for another family because the one they found through au pair world has given them notice (or even kick them out to move out the next day). They cry because they don't know what they did wrong and suddenly, they are facing being on the street or returning home without having an idea what they did wrong, and feeling bitter about their dream country.

If you talk to him, you will give him a chance to improve and engage more with your boys.

Some years back I was an au pair myself and couldn't understand the language much, which made me nervous about how I should engage with the children. Coming here is a change for the au pair, different culture, different way of running the house, there is lots to observe and adjust. Plus the language. I can see that many au pairs feel very tired the first couple of weeks and so was I. Unless you experience being an au pair, it is hard to imagine the pressure. Even though that many au pairs try to smile and be fine, inside there is loads they have to deal with and adjust to. And this may/may not impact on their daily performance.

On the other hand, and to be objective, I think it is possible to observe (within the first week already) if he shows any sign of trying to connect with your boys. Does he smile at them, or is he generally shy (with you as well)? Encourage him to do activities with the boys, organise it for them and let them enjoy it. Help them connect.

I can understand if you see in him your husband's behavioural patterns, it is harder to give him a chance, because it would be easier for you just to let him go.

On a separate note... I have a friend working in HR and they apply long procedures of warnings, documented chats and more warnings, before they let someone go. In their case, they maybe take too long doing it by the book, but in general I do believe in talking to people first and giving them a chance.

I would suggest that you talk to him, give him one week to improve and if he doesn't, give him the agreed two week notice. That will give you a comfortable time to start looking for a replacement, should you need one.

I hope this helps. Sorry for the long message... If you wanted to read more tips about helping an au pair settle in, here is an article I wrote:!blogger-feed/c1x46/post/8452779528314570030

Good luck!

HaydeeofMonteCristo Fri 11-Sep-15 18:41:51

Hi. I'm feeling similarly myself about new au pair who is 26. She seemed so enthusiastic over the Skype interview and I saw this as really positive. Now she is here she seems to find integral parts of the job surprising, like having to start at 7 (when I often leave) or having to engage with both children rather than just the older one. Everything was really clear in our letter of invitation so I don't know why the surprise.

She is nice but doesn't really have a way with children iyswim. She had some experience but not lots. I chose her because she had a lot of interests in common with dd (the older one) who is school age, who she will spend much more time with, and at 26 I thought she would be capable with the toddler for short periods.

Not sure either whether to cut our losses or just have a chat. She is our fourth au pair - the last (third) one was so brilliant I'm not sure if it is just that no one can measure up, iyswim.

This happened with our second au pair at first too. She wasn't engaging at all with dd (then 4) at the time and I thought it would never work. She used to just sit there is silence. After speaking to agency we had a chat and after a while she became really great - kind, helpful, very close to dd etc.

meadowquark Fri 11-Sep-15 21:06:30

Sorry to hear Haydee, and thanks to all that replied (not about cleaning). I thought my aupair was getting better, but... an example. He brought some lentils from Spain. He cooked (lentils, water, cut tomatoes) - I thought it was hideous, but didn't show it. Then I cooked - fried onions, tinned tomatoes, chorizo, lentils - it was ok. We ate for dinner. But he said he will eat something else. Generally he likes eating later and you never know of he will eat what I cook. I cannot afford to cook for him and then waste the food. I told him to give pasta salad for DS for lunch, DS reported eating pasta with ketchup only. He eats bacon and eggs only, like proteins without carbohydrates. Frankly his eating habits and cooking skills are annoying. And also he is too 'private' to me - I got used the aupair eating together and I liked it that way. My H eats and cooks separately because he only eats ethnic food and he shows bad example to the kids already. As aupair joins with the same style how do I stand up to my teaching that we as family should eat together?? I am willing to talk t my aupair but not sure how to start this, it is very subjective.

LUKYMUM Fri 11-Sep-15 22:59:21

It sounds like it's really not going to work. What you look for in eating, someone who gels with you, who compromises is important. I would still talk to him and give him a chance but he seems too similar to your husband. It's horrible living with someone you resent. Good luck with finding someone else.

anothernumberone Fri 11-Sep-15 23:06:57

I was going to jump in with some tips I have learned along the way but tbh I don't think he is nearly a right fit for you and your family. The very first au pair we had many years ago was truely awful and we had to ask her to leave. Just give him a couple of weeks notice and tell him it is not working for you. I think perhaps his age might be part of the problem. He seems a bit stuck to his own routine rather than taking your lead.

meadowquark Sun 13-Sep-15 17:31:29

anothernumber you just summarized it so well. He is stuck to his own routine and not taking my lead. I do not resent him (yet) as I do realize he is not my husband, I am tempted to give him a talk and give a couple more weeks so see if he makes an effort.

HaydeeofMonteCristo Wed 16-Sep-15 10:35:37

Hi op. Thanks for your message. It sounds like your op is not a fit for you, as I don't think mine is for me.

I would find the rejecting food you have cooked for him very annoying. Plus as you say you can't afford it. My first au pair ate separately to us in the evening because she liked her main meal for lunch and only a small snack quite late in the evening. But this was OK as I knew she would be doing this. Also someone who only eats proteins (I.e. only the nicest bits!) will cost you a fortune.

Unfortunately it is not working out for us either. Ap is only supposed to look after toddler for very short periods before or after nursery if I have a long day (I'm self employed so it varies but I'm nearly always back by 6 and if not then by 6.30. I need her to pick him up by 5 to have dinner on time and to drop him off for 8 am because I often leave 7/7.30. But this is not every day - some days I work from home or have a short working day so I do the nursery runs and collect him at 2). Arranged through an agency so all above board and she had a very detailed contract.

Anyway, she can't look after him at all, and panics when he cries. Plus he has had a few falls because she somehow can't manage to watch him and he has tripped over a step outside and fallen off a chair. She also tends to just bark his name at him rather than engaging with him.

The fact she irritates me is neither here nor there compared to his safety ,obviously. She keeps telling me how she needs naps or how she fell asleep at 8pm (I should be so lucky), but she must see that I am working much harder than she is and never getting a lie in or any "catch up" sleep. She also seems to want me to arrange her social life/ leisure time for her (obviously have sorted English lessons) , and starts long conversation s with me when she can see i am doing something in a hurry. She has a very slow, languid way of doing things that just doesn't work around children.

Sorry, rant over!

HaydeeofMonteCristo Wed 16-Sep-15 10:39:02

Ps needless to say we have put a stop to all looking after the toddler for her while we decide what to do, but this is not sustainable long term.

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