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Au pair problems.

(12 Posts)
paula70 Thu 30-Mar-17 09:25:11

We`ve had an au pair for about 3 months, previously had one for 8 months. Seriously thinking about cancelling the contract on this au pair but the thought of having to start again with a new au pair puts us off.
Reasons are she is out almost everynight until between midnight and 1am, often all night at weekends. She wakes and dresses the kids for school, often i have to check the uniforms because she dresses them in dirty trousers or with holes. Does the school journey and then comes back home and straight to bed. Then wakes up at midday tidys their bedroom, maybe do the washing up and thats it. Doesnt do anything around the house.
When she is with the kids shes usually attached to her phone or laptop. She plays in the garden occasionally but the rest of the time the kids are left to watch tv , she does help with some homework. But never invents any games or things to do with them. They have a ton of toys,lego,books,etc but never seen her touch them.
And lately our eldest as been dropping comments that he hates her.
We talk to her about things, and show her what needs doing but she does it once and then thats it. I`m not sure if she`s either a bit slow or lazy or just doesnt want to do the au pair job. She says she feels like this isnt a job as she enjoys it but she doesnt look like someone who is enjoying it.

So it leaves us in a predicament, do we end it and have all the fun of searching for a new au pair. We both work full time so its very awkward to be with out childcare and neither have family nearby to help, or do we sit her down and tell her whats wrong and risk her just walking out the door?
Any thoughts would be helpful.

cakesandphotos Thu 30-Mar-17 12:12:29

It sounds to me like she's viewing her job as a "get paid to do what I would do at home" kind of deal. I'm a nanny which I realise is a bit different but the basic care giving is the same. Sometimes the kids I look afte want me to play football in the garden after tea. Sometimes I would rather we all made Lego spaceships in the warm but I'm paid to do a job and if that involves playing football in the near dark then fine!

Regarding the going out late thing. Is it in her contract to provide overnight care or is she only contracted to work say 7am-8pm?
The going out itself isn't an issue but if it then means she is too tired/hungover to give proper care and attention to your children, that is an issue. A big issue.

I would be looking for a new au pair. It might be a pain but for the sake of your kids, it might be worth it. Alternatively, could you sit her down and address the issues and say she needs to buck her ideas up within a certain time frame or her contract will be cancelled?

thisgirlrides Thu 30-Mar-17 14:09:30

I'd be inclined to give her a last chance after a big kick up the backside & very clear instructions on what she should & should not be doing i.e. Uniform to be clean & tidy no dirty stains or holes, don't use phone or laptop use whilst working; kids screen time limited to x, etc

I would tell her you're concerned about the frequent late nights but only because you think it impacts her work - if she can do the job properly it's not an issue. Offer examples of games, get the kids on board then give it a few weeks and see how she goes. If it starts to slip again, straight out no question.

roses2 Thu 30-Mar-17 16:02:02

My au pair who is leaving next week was exactly like this other than the late nights.

In the end we stuck it out to the end of the contract although have sat down several times during the period to discuss responsibilities.

Lists didn't work nor did guidance of what to do. We accepted she was bone idle but didn't want to risk being without childcare so stuck it out.

We were clear about expectations, hours etc when we made the offer. The problem is unless you get someone who has au paired before and has references, you can't tell what they will be like.

The only other option that might work would be if you found a new au pair who was very flexible, make her an offer and if your existing one leaves early the new one can start asap?

Hissy Thu 30-Mar-17 16:20:44

Could you describe what you've asked her to do on a daily basis? I'm guessing you're not being unreasonable, but let's start there?

you and their dad work FT, are you not around to get the kids up and ready? How do you know she's back in bed until 12? Is she drunk when she comes in at 1am? Is she sober in the mornings or hung over?

Tbh, assuming you're asking what is only reasonable and expected Sit her down and say that she has 2 weeks to find somewhere else to go to unless she starts being more responsible.

If there is no dramatic change then she has to go.

Shezza71 Sat 01-Apr-17 22:03:21

If you and you dh both work full time is your au pair also working full time?
An au pair is supposed to work alongside a parent and would normally have limited sole charge care, help out with general household duties and work a maximum of 35 hours.
She does sound lazy though and your children unhappy. Maybe a final chat about what is expected on a daily basis and if she can't fulfill your expectations then you will have to end her contract.

frums Sat 01-Apr-17 22:07:56

Gosh, get rid of her, she is not doing her job. I could put up with partying if she was fun with the kids but she honestly sounds like she has nothing going for her at all. How can a few evenings on au pair world be more off putting that leaving your kids in the care of someone the profess to hate?

We are on our sixth year of au pairs. I've learnt you have to be very directive and clear for the first few weeks. At week four evaluate how things are going, if you have doubts at that stage then give up & start again.

A good au pair is a godsend and a happy addition to a family. A bad au pair is a stress and colours your whole experience of your home and family life. It's never worth it.

frums Sat 01-Apr-17 22:09:35

And with your next au pair have strict rules for the start: no phone while on duty etc. It's her job. I'd be fired if I was on FB through the working day. It's no different.

FataliePorkman Sat 01-Apr-17 22:11:47

How does she take the DC to school? My concern would be if she was out until all hours drinking then she's still over the limit to drive.

Get rid. Your not a babysitter yourself- she's supposed to be a help. Not a hindrance

DirtyDripSpout Sun 02-Apr-17 20:02:10

She sounds lazy and un-professional. I don't know anywhere which pays for a service that would allow their employees to text or surf for personal purposes for the majority of their working day!

Although you could say something, the difficulty is that she has been allowed to carry on like this for 3 months - so she probably doesn't think there is a problem.

Completely agree with Frum's posts above - it is much better to state your rules and expectations and be firm from the start and relax them (if need be), later on. If it doesn't work out, cut your losses as early as possible.

Your son says he hates her. This would worry me - and although I would be inclined to stick it out with her until the end of the summer term, I think the situation is unlikely to improve given your dc's feelings and your AP's attitude to working.

verap Tue 04-Apr-17 11:25:39

I have something similar at the moment... She started two weeks ago, partied all weekend and now feeling sick (sore throat and a slight temperature). It's school holiday so she's with my daughter all day, my daughter doesn't get up until around 8am, I leave the house at 7.40 am, I would expect her to at least show her head and say she's up and ready but she's in her room and doesn't get out, just shouts back when I call her. I will sit down with her tonight and explain that I need to give her some sort of handover every morning. I really hope she improves as my daughter seems to like her... She plays games/does arts, crafts, etc. Perhaps just not a morning person, she's 21.

Yerazig Tue 04-Apr-17 12:51:57

Verap** unless her start time is 7.40 when you leave and she's in her pjs not dressed/washed etc and has duties to do before your daughter wakes. What does it matter if she's in her room until 8 when your daughter is up.

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