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antipodean au pairs

(29 Posts)
HarrietTheSpy Wed 03-Sep-08 17:39:45

Have had several responses from ozzies - range from 17-19 years old and just out of school.

I just need the au pair to look after DD (4 years old) for three and a half hours every day after school.

1) Too young?!
2) Do they pay for their flights from Oz? I'm not prepared to do this for someone I've never met who could bugger off as soon as she lands at Heathrow.
3) What does one do if after a week, space rocket style, you know it's not going to work if they've come this far?!

This is a major generalisation, but our DKiwiN was so fab (yes I know Oz is a different country), I keep coming back to these girls.

gooseegg Wed 03-Sep-08 19:37:21

We have just had a fab Aussie (18) who paid for her own flights, or rather her parents did. I wouldn't consider paying for flights myself either.

Ours would have been fine in sole charge of a 4yr old for the hours you mention.

You could check their maturity by speaking to their reference contacts by phone.

To enter this country they need to have quite a bit of money accessible to them. My au pair neeed to show she had two thousand dollars - enough to be able to support herself for 6mths.

If after a week it's a disaster then they always have the option of fnding another family in Europe or of bringing their return flight forward a bit!

Hopefully if you have done all the right checks and interviews they will be ok - just pretty jet lagged for the first week and also with bouts of homesickness.

HarrietTheSpy Wed 03-Sep-08 19:39:04

Tks.FOr kids that age, who were you actually speaking to for references? Had your 18 yr old done loads of babysitting?

HarrietTheSpy Wed 03-Sep-08 19:39:07

Tks.FOr kids that age, who were you actually speaking to for references? Had your 18 yr old done loads of babysitting?

gooseegg Wed 03-Sep-08 19:50:19

Yes ours had lots of cousins who she had cared for, and was also at boarding school which made me think she would be more independant and used to coping away from home.

From experience I would try to find someone with younger siblings if possible. They have the most natural skills with young children without realising it!

You could speak to parents or to school tutors. I know parents might not be the most impartial of referees, but they are generally very concerned about their daughter's welfare and need to be reassured as much as you do. You can guage a lot from phone calls.

HarrietTheSpy Wed 03-Sep-08 19:54:43

The front runner from this set is from the outback and has also been to boarding school.

gooseegg Wed 03-Sep-08 19:59:50

Aha ... I think I might know who you mean. I've had my eye on her too. I'm on apw looking as well atm but am currently courting a Fin.

squiffy Wed 03-Sep-08 22:30:51

I've just taken on a Fin, first time with one. Very very helpful but very shy. I thought she'd be like my Swedish AP, but totally different. Nice though.

HarrietTheSpy Thu 04-Sep-08 00:12:46

I was wondering that. Can I ask if you've had any dealings? Should we talk off line?

What is the deal with hats the Finns (and some other scandis but it is mostly the Finns) are wearing in their photos?! They're white. Do you know what I mean?

HarrietTheSpy Thu 04-Sep-08 09:15:08

on reflection, sorry that sounds really cheeky. odd request really.

good luck with your search!!!

Millarkie Thu 04-Sep-08 09:22:37

Your OZ AP doesn't have the initial RT does she? If so grr...I was after her! But with the same misgivings!

Libra Thu 04-Sep-08 09:24:27


I think that the hats are graduation from high school hats.

jura Thu 04-Sep-08 09:27:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HarrietTheSpy Thu 04-Sep-08 09:35:58

actually no, Millarkie

Any experience with Almondbury Au Pairs by the way? A friend swears by them. Options seem slightly thin in APW - but i'm recruiting for Jan Feb time.

mummypoppins Thu 04-Sep-08 09:48:53

Yes I had 2 girls through Almondbury Au pairs. One was a terrible driver but that wasnt the fault of the agency. I would def rec them and will use them again when I go back to Au Pairs in a year or so......Jury is out after Jura's recent experience !

HarrietTheSpy Thu 04-Sep-08 09:52:41

Why are they better do you think? Is there a real vetting process?

bossykate Thu 04-Sep-08 09:53:00

how is your nanny doing, mp?

Issy Thu 04-Sep-08 10:14:32

Just checking in on this thread as we're in our first week with new aupairs: a Hungarian couple. Four days in they seem charming, happy, responsive, sensible, hard-working, able to drive and great with the DDs. All this perfection is making me very nervous.......grin

Just as an aside, I think one of the things that has really helped us this time around is that DH is at home full time and has been able to focus his energies on making sure that they are well settled, sorting out doctors, mobile phones, language classes, the route to Sainsburys. Very different from when we were both working full time.

bossykate Thu 04-Sep-08 10:46:19

hi issy

i'm pleased it is working out smile

i note with interest your point re having the time to "train" and settle the au pairs in. it seems to me (from reading mumsnet, not my own experience) that au pairs would require quite a lot of hands-on management which many dual career families would be unable to provide.

i suppose it's lucky we don't have the space and i can forget about this option grin.

hope all continues well smile

Issy Thu 04-Sep-08 10:57:43

Hi BK: Yes, our error last year with our first au pairs was not to recognise this. East European au pairs are not like Antipodean nannies who can bounce in on day one, take charge and hand you your briefcase as you race out of the front-door. They need and their situation deserves a lot more care and involvement than that. Obvious really; I don't know how we missed it. This was exacerbated with our Romanian au pair by her extreme anxiety, although she and her partner did the job very, very creditably and we were sad to see them leave at the end of the year and very much hope they'll come back to visit. However, I don't think they were either settled or happy until DH was at home full-time and they could feel that they were part of our family rather than minding an empty house. Our fault. sad

Issy Thu 04-Sep-08 10:58:43

Of course, a dozen au pair employers will pile in telling me that they have all managed splendidly with both partners working full time. And I would believe them as every domestic set-up is unique.

HarrietTheSpy Thu 04-Sep-08 11:04:34

This is exactly why I'm trying to get an au pair who can come a month before I go back from maternity leave, the settling in. (Also, it has to be said, to have some options if it doesn't work out...!)

mummypoppins Thu 04-Sep-08 11:43:58

I had 2 german girls who were fine on there own pretty much from day 1. I had a hungarian girl who didnt cope at all. I think its partly a cultural thing and partly a personality issue.

Its true it is much easier if one of you is at home to start with definately.

Almondbury I dont think vet much at all but seem to have a good selection of girls form all over the world.

Bk...nanny actually pulled her socks up last few days of the holidays and did arty stuff with the children and a treaure hunt and didnt spend any of my money either which was a welcom change.

She seems happier in herself but then she wrote in the diary last night that she had enjoyed the children's first day back at school becaus she had hada load of peace and quite. Not what you need when I had a pig of a is tough at the moment because of the credit crunch and I did 15 hours in the office as well as taking the children to school ( which she normally does ) because it was the first day of term. So she lolled around drinking coffee and did about 2hrs of tasks and 3 hours of childcare.......I know I shouldnt see it that way but sometimes its hard.......!!! LOL

bossykate Fri 05-Sep-08 09:12:30

hi mp - glad to hear she stepped up a bit - at last! smile i think the school holidays are harder if you are used to the kids being at school (certainly they are for parents so why not for nannies?), however it is her job to be ready and to have planned out the holidays to avoid being stuck.

hi issy - "Of course, a dozen au pair employers will pile in telling me that they have all managed splendidly with both partners working full time. And I would believe them as every domestic set-up is unique."

yes, of course! but i think on the balance of probabilities it is far more likely that quite intensive hands-on input is required. like so many things, a question of hoping for the best and planning for the worst! wink

HarrietTheSpy Fri 05-Sep-08 22:49:07

It's been a busy night on the au pair front, I see. I just had to write in and say the Czech who inspired us to actually sign up for APW just rejected us sad. What did we do wrong?! No emails, just a 'No.' (Or, should I say, 'Ne.')

So, do we think that au pairs writing back when you contact them who kick off with a list of questions along the theme of 'what's in it for me?' are just a bit immature or frankly not very transparently wanting a free ride in London?

How scared should I be that the au pair will change her mind, if we agree a Jan or Feb start?????

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