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Lazy au pair - par for the course?(15 Posts)
Au pair arrived last year. She is nice company and is liked by my youngest child who is the one who needs her most. The older children are indifferent but that's largely to their lack of appreciation of the amount of stuff that needs doing including taxiing them to activities. However I am getting increasingly frustrated by her unawareness of stuff that needs to be done in the house (it's almost like she doesn't notice when there is washing to be emptied / kitchen items to be put away / kids art stuff to sort through / dirty clothes to be put away. We do make it clear that she can use the kids to help her - we don't expect her to be a servant! But her social life is getting in the way of the commitments she has - e.g. Not getting up in reasonable time to dog walk or being late for pick up. She only has to do childcare after school 3 days per week (albeit one of those is a long day), in theory an hour of helping and daily dog walking. Plus we agreed additional hours as required when our work commitments mean we're away (1/2 times max per month). We'd ageeed 25 hours but suspect she does less than 20 most weeks. Do I need to give her a list of all the things I see that need to be done or checked on a daily basis? Don't want to be too prescriptive but equally when we're working 45-55 hour weeks we do need her to pull her weight.
You need to sit with her and discuss this. Make sure if she does get defensive that it doesn't turn into a shouting match there's nothing worse and you don't get anywhere.
She knows the terms agreed and she's probably realised she can get away with doing less because she's not picked up on it.
I told her how it wasn't acceptable and she's done everything perfectly this afternoon. Maybe she just needed a firm word. We will see!
You just need to communicate clearly. It looks like she might be oblivious... do write a clear list and talk through it with her to ensure you're on the same page.
first au pair was like this - in restrospective, I think she was just totally unaware of stuff (she'd never left home, and never really questioned how her mum made food and everything else "happen")
We resorted to a daily tick list, with the different tasks to do daily (open dishwasher to check if needs emptying by 12 noon, pick DD from school by 3om), or weekly (hoover your room). This used to be pinned in the kitchen, above the table....
I've printed the list of time we expected her to be working - i.e. 1 hr per day of domestic help, 1 hr per day of dog walking and the child care slots. We've also created a list of the stuff that needs doing daily / weekly so she can use that as a 'have I done my hour - if not what can I do to help' crib sheet. Just need to figure out how to have the conversation in a constructive way.
Have you got an Au Pair because she's cheaper than a Nanny? You have to remember that they are children themselves and yes, they won't automatically see what needs doing.
A nanny would be expensive but then they wouldn't walk the dog or do housework for you.
Sounds like you want a slave on the cheap!
How am I wanting a slave on the cheap when we've agreed a small number of hours of child care per week for school aged children (10), an hour per day of dog walking (5), an hour a day of helping (5) plus extra hours up to 25 as required. This is exactly within the scope of au-pair hours. The issue is that shes not often using her initiative to see things that need doing and on the day I'd posted had made a social commitment which meant she couldn't do the dog walk.
Poisonous - maybe a bit of a leap, no?
OP - there is never too much coaching and providing very detailed instructions to AP - they are often oblivious of what needs done and what is just god damn annoying. Had to tell mine to stop jumping on me as soon as I crossed the thresholds - usually with her requests for various WE deals / extra days off / etc. She did not get that when one comes home from work, one is usually knackered, and in search of gin and kids cuddles. Poisonous is right on a point: they can be like an extra kid.
I think we have great au pairs, but even I'm suprised when a new one does something that I've not asked her to. They do generally get better though, but i still do a weekly schedule with EVERYTHING I expect done each day.
She probably wasn't aware what the effect on the dog would be not being walked and its maybe worth pointing that out again. You can explain that if she has a social commitment on one day she just needs to get up earlier to walk the dog then.
Poisonous - how on earth would the OP find an nanny who was happy to 10 hours of childcare over a week. Would you be happy working that number of hours? 25 hours a week is a standard , endorsed by the government, au pair role, I can't see any taking the piss in anything the OP has written so far.
Marasme and Underneath - super helpful thank you. I think that our expectations were raised by our first au pair who truly was a Mary Poppins character. We were bereft when she left and haven't employed another for years as a) circumstances had changed and b) we did think we might never find one who was as good again.
It is very clear that management of expectations is really important - I've felt I was nagging her to do stuff whereas I need to be more upfront. I do give her feedback when she does things well - and so yes it's just like having an older child to manage. And of course I expect her to help me manage my older children (i.e. I don't expect her to run around after the older kids but I do expect her to remind them to help).
Poisonous, that's a really daft comment. Op is being perfectly reasonable and the problem is an AP wrapped up in her own needs and being a bit lazy.
Just posting to say that thanks to your advice things have improved hugely. I spoke with her and she said she didn't always know what to to do. So she now has a list - with no expectation that she has to do all of it - and if she has some quiet time she can review the list to see if there's anything she can proactively do. Has made the world of a difference. Haven't been grumpy or resentful since. Now grateful and supported!
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