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smoking au pair

(44 Posts)
starlady Mon 21-Jul-08 11:48:16

Au pair has just started with us from Poland yesterday aged 20. She's staying with my mum who lives close by at the moment. My current nanny who we've had for over 3 years (also Polish)but much older , experienced and is lookin after her.

She's young, a bit tearful. And taking regular fag breaks, although she stated she didn't smoke!

Also, she was clearly distressed she didn't have skype access all the time.

What do I do?? Any ideas?

HarrietTheSpy Mon 21-Jul-08 12:40:27

How old are your children? What do you need her to do? How much longer will your nanny be around to help her settle in?

starlady Mon 21-Jul-08 13:28:20

they're 5 and 7. In the hols look after them while I work from home, and in school time help me get them to two seperate schools and do a few chores.

Nanny will be here two days a week for the next few weeks. She also stays with my mum.

Thing is, I do like her. I've just taken her out for lunch, and told her I know (if you don't smoke, you can smell it!)

She's promised no smokingin front of kids.

My big worry is secret smoking and the house going up in flames!

AtheneNoctua Mon 21-Jul-08 13:51:31

I would say no smoking in my house, in my car, when kids are present, or anywhere/anytime she is on the clock -- full stop. This is an nstruction to which she will probably not adhere if she is a pack a day sort of smoker.

I would be very angry about her having lied during interview process. If I hired a nanny aho said she didn't smoke who I then realised smoked on Saturday night when she is out with her mates, then I wouldn't care. But, someone who smokes all day and lied about it is another matter.

imananny Mon 21-Jul-08 15:04:53

she lied about smoking - kinda makes you wonder what else she would lie about?

starlady Mon 21-Jul-08 15:21:39

Yeah I know Iamananny! I'm not an idiot, I know that nannys and au pairs are quite different, but things like this certainly makes you realise the advantages of dealing with a woman who has chosen to make nannying her career, and an au pair.

crokky Mon 21-Jul-08 15:27:06

I wouldn't let her look after my children.

SimpleAsABC Mon 21-Jul-08 16:21:16

Owing to the fact that you've probably had difficulty finding and then deciding on whether or not to have this or any au pair, I have to say I'd be very wary but probably willing to give her the benefit of the doubt atm.

As you're around you may be able to keep a closer eye on her and if you are really unhappy or have any concerns re the situation then you can voice them and see from there.

However, I do think because she lied you'd also be well within in reason to tell her you don't require her services.

Nighbynight Mon 21-Jul-08 17:29:40

I personally would get rid of an AP who had lied about smoking. It's one of my few house rules.

itati Mon 21-Jul-08 17:30:42

I would get rid too.

imananny Mon 21-Jul-08 17:39:35

never said you were an idiot

doesnt matter whether she is an au pair or a nanny - she lied

do you think she can she be trusted to not smoke during the day? If so, then give her a trial for a month and then review

starlady Mon 21-Jul-08 17:45:18

Thanks imananny! I know you didn't - but I do feel like one!!

I think I am going to review, may be after this week and next.

She's sweet with kids (this is first day).

What I want her to do is give up when she's in my home and with kids.

If she visits her relatives/friends and smokes, fine, but you know what? The smell makes me barf. I'd just rather she didn't do it.

I remember laughing on hearing about how one new mum made her smoking mother change her clothes bfore handling her baby, but now I get it!!

JenniPenni Mon 21-Jul-08 18:38:44

Even if they are not actually smoking whilst looking after them, it is in her hair, her breath, her clothes etc. (and her environs where she smokes). Plus there's the fire hazard etc. What does your household insurance say about a smoker in the house?

And why does she need skype access all the time? Isn't she supposed to be 'working' for you? Access should be in her own time I take it?

Plus she lied

itati Mon 21-Jul-08 19:02:59

I think she really does have to go.

If she isn't allowed a cigarette for several hours while looking after your chidren, how she will cope with the cravings without getting stressed?

Madlentileater Mon 21-Jul-08 19:17:29

She lied.
Can you trust her?
That said, i wonder if there's a cultural issue here?
I suspect we are far stricter and more serious about not smoking than in other European countries- maybe they really don't get that when someone tells you they don't smoke, you really don't expect them to smoke AT ALL, in which case the agency or whatever have some responsibility. So maybe you should give her the benefit of the doubt, on cultural grounds. If she was english, no quarter!

imananny Mon 21-Jul-08 19:41:14

cultral difference or not

she said she didnt smoke YET she does

so she lied

even if she doesnt smoke ALL day sure she will get cravings/be ratty for one, esp if she keeps having fag breaks,she must NEED the nictatine and possibly be short tempered with your children if couldnt smoke for 6hrs a day or even more

does your mum smoke - is she happy having a smoker in the house

Julesnobrain Mon 21-Jul-08 20:18:56

Hi as an ex smoker I don't believe a 20 packet a day girl can cut down. I would get rid of her immediately because she lied and I would be really cross that she wasted my time when I specified a no smoker angry

starlady Mon 21-Jul-08 21:28:40

Hi imananny - no my mum's in her late 60's, a non smoker, paranoid about fire hazards, and has athsma (as does my eldest ds).

I am cross about having specified too.

This evening I spoke to her, and was quite clear about it. i said if she wanted to keep the job she had to give up. I felt like Cruella, as she was so teary. I did tell her she was fantastic with the kids, and we would like to keep her if pos. Then I let her go on Skype for an hour to chat to her bf!

In a way I think it shows her complete youth and inexperience that she really thought she could get away with it, because the stink is so obvious.

I do take Julesnobrain's point about nocotine withdrawal. I shall have to monitor that. My kids are demanding at best of times!!

I will certainly keep you posted about hwether she stays or goes.

catepilarr Mon 21-Jul-08 22:55:33

i would personally mind the fact she smokes. that is a big no to me. i hate smoking, i hate how the smokers dont seem to consider others , when approached they dont believe you can smell it etc... why should you/your children/ your mother have to compromise your health for someone who lied ( and that is not a cultural difference!). and the skype thing would shock me (and i am an icq addict myself, but wouldnt dream of using the internet during work hours. i used to use my employers computer but i didnt expect it to be available to me whenever i wanted!)

starlady Mon 21-Jul-08 23:39:49

To be fair caterpilarr, she doesn't expect during working hours, but I think if she had chance, she'd be on it to the wee hours. Like me now! But unless he get her own pc, she can only play between 12 and 3 - fine as she has bf in asia, and this suits time difference, and from 6 to 7.30 in eve. Reasonable, I think.

imananny Tue 22-Jul-08 19:16:00

where did you get her from, ie if an agency, then you have a right to complain and get fee back, as the agency didnt do their job properly and sent you someone who smoked - unless au apir lied to them as well - but as you said, yoiu can smell it !!!

As both your mum and child suffer from asthma,i think you are quite in your rights to sack her and find a new one - cant see her quitting for good to be honest!!

LittleBella Tue 22-Jul-08 19:22:24

Sack her.

She will stink. It will irritate you, you don't need to put up with a stinky au-pair.

Madlentileater Tue 22-Jul-08 21:08:54

to clarify: I don't think lying/honesty is down to 'cultural differences' I think what counts as 'not smoking' may mean different things in different contexts. She may have thought that if she didn't smoke with the children, then as far as they/you were concerned, she didn't smoke. Just a possibility.

drowninginlaundry Tue 22-Jul-08 21:15:22

we've had eastern european au pairs - they all said they were non-smokers in the application & interview, and they all smoked. And they all sulked when I told them not to smoke. They sulked about other things too but the smoking was always an issue. I just told them not to smoke in the house, even in the garden or anywhere near, or anywhere near the children or when they were working - take it or leave it. They stayed and sulked.

AtheneNoctua Wed 23-Jul-08 12:55:19

In defence of Eastern Europeans, my current nanny is Polish, said she didn't smoke, in fact does not smoke, and is generally lovely and I am very said that she is leaving in September... sad

I had another polish nanny who was disgraceful (lying about smoking was the least oif her faults). Thank God I never have to see her again.

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