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Au pairs and smoking

(30 Posts)
Millarkie Sun 26-Oct-08 20:21:04

I'm searching for a new au pair for next Jan, when our current one (who is practically perfect in every way) has to leave
There seems to be a lot more competition on aupair-world for Jan au pairs (compared to the last time I was recruiting) and I am not having much luck so far.
The only real contender (who has stuck it out through a complex job description email, and answered my top 10 question email, very thoroughly) is a smoker....now, usually I would not even 'chat' to an au pair who smokes but I guess her profile (which she had only just created when I clicked on it) was updated a little later with the 'smoker' box ticked.
So, she says she doesn't smoke in the house, she doesn't smoke around the children, and 'most of the time' wouldn't smoke in the park with the children....but I don't know.....
She has a child-orientated degree, previous au pair experience, fantastic english, clean driving licence and everything else that I can think of ...but not sure whether to jump in and say 'yes' (after checking references) or whether to hold out and hope to find someone who does not smoke.

So, how big a deal would you find it?

MrsMattie Sun 26-Oct-08 20:22:02

Childcare and smoking don't mix, as far as I'm concerned. i would never hire an au pair that smoked.

QuintessentialShadows Sun 26-Oct-08 20:23:46

Dealbreaker.

LynetteScavo Sun 26-Oct-08 20:25:32

"most of the time" wouldn't smoke in the park with the children wouldn't be acceptable to me.

Not smoking in the house, and not smoking whilst with the children - but smoking on a night out would be acceptable to me.

Would your children tell her she was stinky? Mine would. blush

Flum Sun 26-Oct-08 20:27:56

I would not want them to smoke in the house but wouldn't mind out in park or garden with kids. Not in the car though.

I think smoking around kids is ok if it is outside.

Millarkie Sun 26-Oct-08 20:30:35

Thanks for your views - keep them coming!

I know that some of the best nursery nurses at the dc's former nursery were smokers - but only because I saw them on their fag breaks..well away from the sight of the children.

But on the other hand, I don't want them having smoking 'validated' as a good decision made by someone they like (hopefully they would bond with next AP in the way they have with current one).

LynetteScavo Sun 26-Oct-08 20:31:54

I odn't think someone you are hoping to be a role model for your children should smoke in front of them. I'm sure foreign au pairs could seem very glamerous to yound children.

Sazisi Sun 26-Oct-08 20:32:02

She does sound great in every other way, so I think I'd overlook the smoking, but perhaps try to negotiate with her and see if she'll agree to never smoke around the children, even at the park

Weegle Sun 26-Oct-08 20:38:20

Wouldn't consider an AP who was a smoker.

nannyL Sun 26-Oct-08 20:41:38

i dont think its acceptable for an au pair (or nanny) to smoke anywhere on the employers property (including garden), or anywhere with the children or where childen are present, or cars that children might travel in full stop.

there is no way i would want my children to be cared for by a peson who was or just had smoked

googgly Sun 26-Oct-08 20:43:46

My experience of aps is that they always say they don't smoke, but actually they often do. So I would be impressed by this admirable honesty, and ask her whether she would be able to refrain from smoking in your house or within eyeshot of your kids.

Sazisi Sun 26-Oct-08 20:54:05

That's an excellent point googgly

nannyL Sun 26-Oct-08 21:02:28

i think the smoking law means it wold illegal for her to smoke in your home (her workplace) anyway

Im pretty sure when the law came in i read or found out it would be illegal for me to smoke at work, which doesnt bother me in the slightest as i dont smoke smile

NannyNanny Sun 26-Oct-08 21:26:40

It depends on how you feel about smoking. I detest smokers, and it would be a dealbreaker for me.

elkiedee Sun 26-Oct-08 21:45:15

If you like her in every other way I'd talk to her more about the smoking - say smoking at the park or in the kids' sight even outside would be an ieeue - although the signs are routinely ignored by a lot of people (the rules signs are rather small and outside the playground gates at our local one), smoking isn't actually allowed in a lot of park playgrounds.

I think it's better that she says she does and is prepared to discuss it than that she lied and you find out later, it's a hopeful start.

Bubble99 Sun 26-Oct-08 21:53:50

Agree that it's good that she's been honest.

If you can agree to no smoking within sight of the children, I'd go for her. If she wants to smoke on her nights off, it wouldn't bother me.

Cupofteaplease Sun 26-Oct-08 22:05:34

Our AP smokes. She smokes in the garden of an evening or when she is off duty. We have a big terracotta pot filled with sand for the butts, so she doesn't litter the garden! It really doesn't bother me as she doesn't smoke when dealing with the children.

Plus, my dh smokes and I smoke when on a night out. Neither of us smoke in the house/car, nor in front of the children. I am very aware that after a cigarette you are still excreting nicotine from your skin for at least 20 mins (nurse told me this when I admitted to smoking!) so I ensure I will not have contact with the dc if I've had a cigarette and dh does his best to do the same- plus he washes his hands, chews gum etc.

You can be a smoker and a damn good carer for children- as long as you don't smoke with or around the children. I am a primary school teacher, so I certainly hope this to be the case!

If the AP has all the credentials you say she has, I would snap her up- no question about it!

Lucy87 Sun 26-Oct-08 23:09:29

Some one made an excellent point about honesty.

As a nanny, and I am aware this is a vast generalisation, BUT 3 out of 4 eastern european nannies / au pairs I came across smoked - I worked in central London.

Their bosses weren't aware. They would do it while pushing their sleeping charges in their push chairs.

Millarkie Mon 27-Oct-08 08:05:54

Thanks all, I am still mulling it over.
I was impressed by the honesty but I am sure that the 'smoking' box was not ticked when I first contacted her - it is now, and she has answered my questionaire honestly enough.
Think I might take up her references and go from there, but with a view to negotiating no smoking in front of the children....guess I will have to put up with the stale smoke smell from her room if I do take her on, but better than some of the smelly au pair smells I've heard about

minkybetty Tue 28-Oct-08 14:31:36

I wouldn't even consider a smoker - even if she doesn't smoke in the house, around the children and "most of the time" not in the park.. not only will she always smell of stale cigarettes but the "most of the time" will turn into "some of the time" and then you will never really know if she does or doesn't. How will you know that she doesn't have have a sneaky cigarette when you are out?
I might sound sceptical but I am an ex-smoker and so fully aware of the fact that people are often in denial about how much they smoke. If they smoke, they're a smoker and will smoke when they can.
Even if the above doesn't convince you, think of your children's health - think of the toxins that ooze out of a smoker's skin!!Be on the safe side go for non-smoker.

Kathyis6incheshigh Tue 28-Oct-08 17:57:43

If it was up to me I would allow a smoker as long as they didn't smoke in the house (not too fussed about them smoking in the presence of dcs in the open air tbh). However dh has issues around smoking due to his dad having died young of smoking-related causes so it would almost certainly be a no-no for our family.

jura Tue 28-Oct-08 18:23:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Quattrocento Tue 28-Oct-08 18:29:09

Mine ticked no-smoking

She actually smokes like a chimney and is semipermanently outside

So I think if they confess to a little bit of smoking, they are probably on around 60 a day.

Kathyis6incheshigh Tue 28-Oct-08 18:30:31

How is your getting on Quattro? Is she less ditzy yet?

Kathyis6incheshigh Tue 28-Oct-08 18:30:42

yours

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