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ok, i'm thinking - just THINKING - about hiring an au pair. tell me: should i forget it - too likely to end in tears - or go for it?

(10 Posts)
Tutter Mon 25-Aug-08 20:26:12

tell me tell me do

and if it's the latter, what are your top tips

(i'm a sahm of 2 boys aged 3yo and 13mo, have separate accommodation perfect for an au pair and live an hour outside london)

Weegle Mon 25-Aug-08 20:29:10

What do you need help with? And how would you feel about having someone living in your home as a member of your family?

I have one toddler and have an AP. It is the ideal solution for me which is needing an extra pair of hands due to disability. So I'm there most of the time but AP is a great help with housework and small amount of childcare. We're easy-going about sharing our home and mostly think the AP system is successful for us.

Tutter Mon 25-Aug-08 20:33:40

a bit of everything really - cleaning in-between the main clean (iykwim), clearing up after the kids, shopping, occasional minding of one of the dsses (e.g. while i do the nursery run with ds1)

she wouldn't be in our home, as we have a separate building for her

nannynick Mon 25-Aug-08 20:51:50

Tutter I think your expectations of what your au-pair would do are reasonable. Not sure about the shopping... may be ok if they can read English.
Separate building sounds great for the au-pair. You may need to check what you need with regard to things like TV license (think you need that, as separate accommodation), council tax (not sure... may be that is on the property as a whole).
If you are near a train station, then even more ideal - as then au-pair can go to London if they want to.
Immigration rules are changing (November 2008 for Au-Pairs), so read about Tier5 Youth Mobility Scheme.

Weegle Mon 25-Aug-08 21:06:08

Agree with Nick - all sounds fine but shopping will depend on her English. A few times a week our AP will pop to the shop for very basic things and she still requires very detailed instructions on what to get.

The only problem that could be got round by being very upfront in the recruitment is that a lot of au pairs WANT to be part of a family, toshare in that cultural exchange etc, but if you forsee them being in the annexe in their own time etc not sure how that would work. What about meals etc? You would need to think about how they would make a social network so they are not lonely - it's in your interests that they are happy here.

Janni Mon 25-Aug-08 21:09:56

I think you should get a mother's help. A mature woman rather than a foreign teenager. You are a SAHM. You need a bit of support. You do NOT need to be mothering someone else's teenager!

Unless you can get an au pair who's in her twenties, maybe been to university..

I am TOTALLY biased, having been a rather emotionally messed up au pair myself. With the best will in the world, I think I was a problem rather than a help to the families for whom I worked.

I may, of course, be completely wrong about this grin

Tutter Mon 25-Aug-08 21:13:10

we had a mothers help for 6 months after ds2 was born. she was great but expensive

i'm thinking £70 pw, rather than £300!

agree about being careful not to abandon her by giving separate accommodation

shopping not a big deal, tbh - just bunged it on the list as a "thing she could possibly do to help out"

lindseyfox Mon 25-Aug-08 21:28:57

£300 a week is alot for a mothers help. for someone who is relatively new to childcare or wanting to get into nannying such as a nursery nurse a mothers help job live in for 6mth-yr is usually recommended and pays £150-£200 net for a 50hr week plus a nights babysitting even in london area!!

ollyop Mon 25-Aug-08 21:29:04

My top tips:

Choose someone who has good English.

Choose someone who has some experience of living away from their parents - preferably at least 20yrs old.

Choose someone who has got much younger siblings, as they will be most naturally at ease with children invading their personal space, they will understand the day to day reality of tantrums, incessant questions, and messy eating, and they will be mature enough not to take children's difficult behaviours personally.

Ask questions, encourage questions and get references - as many as possible.

Some au pairs would love their own separate living area, but some (like ours) would get very lonely very quickly if they were expected to disappear outside of their working hours. This is where good English helps, so that you can discuss things openly with a clear understanding on both sides.

Assume nothing, and write a daily list of what tasks you would like completed until you can be sure that your ap can operate confidently without a list.

Turniphead1 Mon 25-Aug-08 21:41:53

Tutter no advice. Never had one but wondered did you see the thread earlier on this Topic on someone's AP they are "giving away". It's entitled "roll up roll up..." If I had to get one, I'd prefer an MN tested one than the great unknown.

My secondhand experience from RL friends and MNers is - you can be really lucky or really unlucky. It's a lottery really. But if you are prepared to go through the hassle of getting one, then needing to get rid, I would go for it.

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