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Is AP being disrespectful, or AIBU?

(40 Posts)
Bettyboobird Mon 22-Sep-08 21:29:56

Hi all, I posted the other day about AP that won't eat. That now seems to be the least of our worries.

I know Geisha has posted a similar thread, so I'm sorry if this is repetitive, but here goes.

AP only arrived a week ago, so I've been putting things down to settling in issues, but I feel really upset this evening.

Basically, she has sole care of the dc in the morning until they go to the childminder/nursery after lunch. As she is here predominantly for child care (which we agreed before she arrived), I haven't burdened her with chores, I've simply asked that she picks up after the children when she's on duty and on a Monday that she changes the girls' beds and does their (one load of) laundry. Now I think that is reasonable. Apparently not...

She complains constantly about the girls' behaviour, "dd1 was so annoying today", "I couldn't do anyhting right for dd2-she was never happy" But today she really upset me. It was dd1's first session at 'big girl's school' (the nursery attached to her primary school) so she wore her uniform for the first time etc. I was really disappointed because as I was at uni all day I couldn't be the one to take her. I thought about her all day and was so excited to come home and hear how she had got on (I knew she'd already be in bed). As soon as I walked through the door I was bombarded by the AP with what an awful day she had had because dd1 had cried and hadn't been helpful etc etc. When I asked about her going to school, she just moaned that she had cried (dh took her in the end). The childminder has also written in their daily diaries that the girls were both tired and upset today-which makes me feel like such a crap mum having to leave them with child carers.

dh later told me that when he got home from work AP hadn't done any of her jobs at all and the house was in a disgraceful state so he did the girls' laundery and changed their beds, before showing the AP again how to tidy the toys away, clear up after their lunch (the breakfast bowls from the girls' porridge were still in the sink too when he got back with the girls at 5pm) Apparently, she ran out of time, but still managed to wath 2 DVDs this afternoon hmm

We are trying to be nice to her, and I think she is being disrespectful of our children (who are usually well behaved) and our home (which used to be so clean and tidy, and now looks like a permanent nuclear fall out zone-sob!!)

She only works 25 hours per week, we buy her special food which she requests, we cook her an individual meal every night because she won't eat our meals, we've taken her out places, we pay her good money-and still she does BUGGER ALL round the house and seems to dislike the children-AIBU??

To top it off, she and dh are downstairs now laughing away together watching a DVD whilst I am upstairs worrying over this situation.

Please be gentle with me, I'm feeling pretty low right now

beeny Mon 22-Sep-08 21:33:55

Get rid of her.Why the hell is your dh laughing with her.

Twiglett Mon 22-Sep-08 21:34:22

if you are paying good money why don't you get a nanny instead?

I'd giver her a warning

ingles2 Mon 22-Sep-08 21:38:44

Oh BettyBoo,... Don't feel guilty love you are doing the best you can. I can totally understand you feeling upset about not benig there for dd's 1st day too.
Anyway onto the AP.
My last AP (German) dd exactly this in the beginning. She never had a good word to say about my ds's. An tbh it pissed me off no end because they are really well behaved.
Eventually I sat her down and said...
I have to talk to you about the dc's. You obviously don't like them, you never have anything nice to say, if you can't deal with one minor moan we have problems...
She turned round and said... Oh no, they're wonderful. just thought you'd want to hear the problems hmm
Er... No... I want to hear everything has gone swimmingly so I don't feel too guilty....
anyway, it stopped immediately... you are going to have to talk to her I'm afraid.
Also,...stop with the cooking individual meals,...if she wants something special, she can make it herself.

OneLieIn Mon 22-Sep-08 21:42:36

BettyBoo, you need to lay down the law a little bit for the AP. You need to tell her what is and isn't acceptable and that you need her to help. You need to tell her that you need her to do x, y and z and that she has to do these before anything else like watching a DVD.

Also, why on earth are you cooking her special meals? She is old enough to cook her own - either she eats what you eat or she cooks her own.

Make her help you!

ingles2 Mon 22-Sep-08 21:44:05

Try telling her she needs to clean up after the dc's and make the bedding however long it takes, as you know it takes no time at all
she'll soon fit it in to 25 hours grin

beeny Mon 22-Sep-08 21:47:19

I still think she sounds dodgy and if not a vast improvement quickly would get rid

Bettyboobird Mon 22-Sep-08 22:20:59

Thanks for your kind words.

We cook her a special meal because she won't eat what we cook and we are mindful of the fact that we have to provide her food.

Twiglet-we pay good money for an AP, but it isn't enough for a nanny (I know an AP isn't a nanny etc etc, but we agreed before she arrived that her main duty would be childcare, including light household duties relating to the children)

We really need to talk with her, but because I am not a great deal older than her (she is 19, I am 26), I don't think she really sees me as being important iyswim... sad

MNisstuck Mon 22-Sep-08 22:25:04


You need to tell her what has not been done and sort it out with her.

Tell her that tidiness is important to you and tell her that she must do the chores.

BTW did you know that 25 hours is the absolute maximum for an aupair?

Have you sorted out a language school for her?

And thinking rationally, you know APs are allowed to laugh ...

Don't let it get on top of you. I'm guessing this is your first AP and it's a major adaptation


Puddlet Mon 22-Sep-08 22:28:35

It really doesn't matter how old you are - the fact is that you are her boss and she isn't delivering on her side of the bargain. There were lots of good suggestions on Geisha's thread about timetables and structuring the AP's time - I think you need to be firm - see it as good people management experience that will help you get a good job when you graduate!

Bettyboobird Mon 22-Sep-08 22:32:24

Yes MNisstuck-we really did a lot of research on APs (she IS our first) so I know that 25 hours is the maximum she is expected to do-that is all we ask of her. On alternate weeks it is only 17.5 as dh starts work later.

I know APs are allowed to laugh-I'm glad she's comfortable here and is enjoying our home, really I am. I desperatley want this to work out-but I don't think her happiness should be completely at the loss of mine either!

Her English is completely fluent, so she doesn't want to go to language school. I am desperately seeking out 18 year olds around here for her to socialise with-I think she'll be happire then too and it will rub off on the dc! I have found various courses at the local college and suggested these to her (art, music, dance-she's really into art), but she doesn't fancy doing anything like that, 'yet'!

HarrietTheSpy Mon 22-Sep-08 22:34:35

AP plus's work 30-35 hours (for more pay though). Isn't 25 pretty standard?

Bettyboobird Mon 22-Sep-08 22:34:35

Puddlet-I will check Geisha's thread again. Luckily my uni cousrse in a post grad in Teaching-so my people management skills will be aimed mainly at children-and I can deal with them lol!!

Bettyboobird Mon 22-Sep-08 22:34:35

Puddlet-I will check Geisha's thread again. Luckily my uni cousrse in a post grad in Teaching-so my people management skills will be aimed mainly at children-and I can deal with them lol!!

ingles2 Mon 22-Sep-08 22:34:52

But if she is paying decent moeny MNisstuck then she should probably be classified as an AP+ who do 30-35 hours.

ingles2 Mon 22-Sep-08 22:36:51

I would imake her go to college bettyboo,... tell her that's the way to make friends and you insist.

Julesnobrain Mon 22-Sep-08 22:53:30

Take her to one side when the children are not around and tell her that you are finding her attitude difficult and that you think its probably a cultural difference but .. this is the way I want you to behave from now on... Then give her a detailed schedule which includes exactly what you want her to do. I think she should do more chores than you are asking. For instance I would say breakfast things to be washed up as soon as children are finished. Bed to be changed straight after nursery drop off. House to have 10 minute tidy before 2pm finish or whatever. In the 17.5 hours week you should be giving her additional chores to make up 25 hours. Eg hoover all downstairs, tidy toy cupboard, iron all clothes etc. Re food we make our AP special meals only because all she wants is chicken or fish . (although in vast quantities but that is another story....)I would cook a batch freeze them, get it out, put in fridge and let her microwave it herself at a time of her choosing.. or she can sit with you and eat what you are having.. would you let each of your children have a special menu?? probably not so why should she be different. Ultimately you pay for an AP to help you thats the sole reason you have her invading your home. If she can't fit in, or gives you any attitude, get rid of her and find a nice one. If you are a fair nice family you will find they do exist.

OneLieIn Mon 22-Sep-08 22:55:36

You said "We cook her a special meal because she won't eat what we cook and we are mindful of the fact that we have to provide her food."

You have to provide her food - ie in the fridge or cupboard, not cooked. Do not cook for her unless it is the same as you, you are acting like you work for her!!!

OneLieIn Mon 22-Sep-08 22:56:16

Where are you? Are there any other APs or young people locally?

googgly Tue 23-Sep-08 00:02:12

ap can do as many hours as you and he/she agree. There's no rule. You must keep telling her what she has to do, and keep insisting that she do more to develop a relationship with the kids. If there's no quick improvement then get rid.

Weegle Tue 23-Sep-08 07:11:36

How are things today?

Please don't feel guilty about your DC - they are unhappy because it is new to them, it's a change, they are adapting. Give them time. As for the AP she should be old enough to realise (or have it pointed out to her) that they are children, this is how children act when they are worried and upset and getting used to change. She needs to invest in the relationships with them to iron out the initial wariness that is normal. Our current AP has been with us 2 months, she's been fantastic at helping DS adjust to her, and still he cries for a few minutes when I leave him!

You definitely need to talk to her and nip this in the bud. With the last disaster of an AP (who we got rid of) we went at it from the angle that the children's happiness is our number one priority - you can't argue with that. Explain to her step by step, and with it written down, each day what you expect from her and that it fits within 25 hours. Explain to her how you expect her to handle an upset, tantrumming, whinging, naughty, whatever (!) child. Also I absolutely point blank would not be cooking her separate meals - she is there to help you! Provide ingredients but it's her responsibility to make them in to something she will eat if she's that fussy.

Really hope you see some improvement smile

SqueakyPop Tue 23-Sep-08 07:17:55

Ditch her. She's not cut out to be an aupair.

NewTeacher Tue 23-Sep-08 08:59:36

Its hard but persevere.Talk to her make a spreadsheet/rota and put it on the wall our AP asked us to do this in case she forgot to do something.

Its hard trying to 'talk' to them but once you have life is certainly much easier.... My DD was awful to AP but now after 2 weeks has adjusted. Even AP commented on how DD had given her a cuddle today!!

Dont be cooking separate meals if she doesnt like what you have made point to the fridge and tell her to help herself! She's here to make your life easier not add to it!!!

I dont cook for my AP at weekends as she's out and we dont know when she will be back and most of the time we are out too so she makes her own dinner.

Hope it gets sorted soon.

Bettyboobird Tue 23-Sep-08 09:08:33

Ok, today is a new day and all that...

I don't need to leave for uni until 9.45 today so I've been here to witness hear what's been going on.

I gather she has adopted a 'no-nonsense' approach to child care, but that is coming across as negative without giving any praise, so I can address that easily.

I could hear dd2 fussing and whingeing and AP saing "I can't keep picking you up" so I waited until they had had their breakfast then I called AP upstairs and asked her to lay dd2 back down for a nap as that is why she was grumpy. She seemed pleased to have a solution to the whingeing!

I then said, "see, that gives you time to tidy the bathroom after their bath" (as towels were all ove rthe floor, water still in bath-which is a drowning hazard at the very least shock)

She looked pleased with herself after doing that, so seeing I was onto a winner I said, "now I bet dd2 would LOVE to help you do the washing up, wouldn't you dd2" to which we were greeted with a very enthusiastic and helpful little girl and an AP that went and did the washing up-for the first time in a week!

I then asked dd1 to help tidy her bedroom, implying that myself and the AP would need to be in ther getting involved. Ta da-tidy bedroom.

So basically-she has no initiative, but she can do things when spoon fed instructions...if only I could be here all the time!

cupsoftea Tue 23-Sep-08 09:13:22

Would cancel her contract & look for another childcare solution - does the uni have a creche?

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