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Problems with au pairs?

(13 Posts)
BoffinMum Sun 12-Oct-08 21:43:14

I've had quite a few au pairs, and I expect to give them a bit of TLC and moral support, but I have to say I am finding this quite heavy going at the moment - I've just had one who gave up eating and needed a nap mid afternoon every day (leaving the kids unattended), one who sloped off and never did her full hours, and then laughed at me when I ended up ironing at 11pm some nights, and one who declared she hated one of my children after a month on the job. I'd be very interested in hearing about other people's experiences and how they coped with it all. How do you cope with teenage naivete and silliness without going bonkers?

NewTeacher Mon 13-Oct-08 15:34:15

with a massive glass of wine and being able to whinge about it to others who understand!!!!

Simply Mon 13-Oct-08 21:57:37

I second NT! MN (provided you don't get caught out by your ap - touch wood, I haven't yet) is great for airing problems and other posters are fab at coming up with useful suggestions.

Rienn Mon 13-Oct-08 22:12:28

I would just tell them to leave if they won't change or they are not mature enough for the job!
Try to hire an older au pair.Im sure there are a few out there.

good luck

BoffinMum Thu 16-Oct-08 20:53:34

Thanks ladies, I feel a bit better already! grin I think young people who are attracted to being au pairs in the first place probably aren't the most mature out of their peers anyway - the really go-getting ones are probably off doing 'proper' 9-5 jobs. That might be why the silliness is so prevalent. BTW my worst au pair was the Polish bloke of 24 who kept telling me I reminded of his mother, and who sat grinning between me and hubbie on the sofa in the evenings whilst we were watching TV, until we told him to watch his own upstairs! He also tried to cadge a lift off us so he could go sightseeing in London for the day - what's the problem with that, you think? Nothing, except we were on the way to my mother-in-law's funeral at the time ... ah, the self-centredness of youth! He lasted 3 weeks.

blueshoes Thu 16-Oct-08 21:16:01

Boffin, just think of it as training for when your own dcs are teenagers. At least you got rid of that polish bloke sharpish!

BoffinMum Thu 16-Oct-08 21:54:18

He was hilarious if bizarre. He did manly things like empty the bins and take the rubbish out without being asked, though, which was cool. Hey, wondering what everyone else's worst au pair experiences are ...? Can you make my hair curl?

gooseegg Thu 16-Oct-08 22:04:24

BoffinMum - I'd be laughing at myself if I was up at 11pm ironing.

If I didn't, I'd be crying.

Can't possibly agree about relative immaturity of young people who choose to au pair.

Can't you appreciate their desire to travel, and admire their wonderful, youthful sense of adventure.

They haven't yet learnt that the grind of family and working life will tie them down, knock away their naivete and stifle their silliness, no matter where in the world they are.

What's so proper about a 9-5 job anyway? I've never had one of those yet despite working for 24yrs.

sustainablysourcedwhitefish Sat 18-Oct-08 12:35:04

Boffinmum, I once had a mad itailian woman of 23ish, she lasted from monday 10pm until Sat 9am! She did many crazy things in the first few days to make it impossible to stay,.

We live in an old place and despite my pleas re the loo plumbing she shoved a whole wet loo roll down there each day she was here - couldn't get the hang of shutting the glass shower door (not rocket science, standard stuff) and mopped it up each day with a loo roll which she then put in one go into the pan and flushed it.

The day she left I said to DH, she got through 5 loo rolls whilst she was here. We are lucky not to have had a blockage...

Cue 4 days after her departure a soil pipe explosion (had been storing up the solids above the blockage) which then poured down through the family bathroom floor and took out the cielings of the utility room and cloakroom below.

Hair curling enough?

Or

When DD was just 5 and Ds was a babe my Mothers help took them up the road for a walk, pretty usual.

A few weeks later as DD and I were wandering along the lane, over the lvel (train) crossing DD piped up, "When X took us for a walk, when the train came she was one side and I was the other."

She had let DD lag so far behind on the walk (narrow country lane rat run no pavements) that when the single arm (waist high) barrier came down for the train DD was stuck. I thank my lucky stars everytime I cross there that DD didn't panic and run accross.

nbee84 Sat 18-Oct-08 17:00:02

OMG shock at the level crossing saga

Sooooo lucky!

BoffinMum Tue 21-Oct-08 22:52:14

Soil pipe explosion really quite impressive indeed. Dreadful about level crossing. Here's another one. When we lived in London and my eldest was 5, she jumped onto her usual train to school when it got to the station, and the au pair didn't, as she was fiddling with her coat and not paying attention. So offpsring travelled several stops into central London on her own, disembarked from train at the correct stop, asked a lady with a pushchair to help her across Battersea Park Road (very busy), crossed the school car park alone and trotted unperturbed into school to get on with her day. Offspring's teacher noticed absence of au pair and told me the next day - au pair had said absolutely nothing to me about losing my daughter on school run, and when called to account, blamed the five year old! Sacked au pair after that.

Simply Wed 22-Oct-08 19:33:07

Gee whizz that story made me shiver BoffinMum. I'm amazed that your ap didn't contact you immediately so that you could inform the school and start looking for your dd if she wasn't already there (and it's a lot to ask of a 5 year old to do the rest of the journey by herself.) I'm not surprised you sacked her after that. All trust being gone. Well done to your dd for keeping calm and getting herself to school. smile

stressed2007 Thu 23-Oct-08 13:55:30

These stories make me feel ill with concern and make me double think the whole idea of APs that we have

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