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(44 Posts)
PDF Sat 31-Jan-09 15:39:53

Am I being over sensitive?

I asked my au pair if she would be able to babysit on valentines evening and she has said only if she can have her friend stay that weekend.

Is it me or it that a bit off?

Today when she came downstairs, I thought I was being polite and asked her what her plans were for the day. She replied "why?"

Was I being rude to ask what her plans were in her free time? I was taking an interest and replied that I was just being nosy. I feel a bit awkward now.

Incidently, her plans are to stay in her bedroom all day it seems!

lindseyfox Sat 31-Jan-09 16:25:50

I think that its a reasonable comprimise she babysits on valentines night but has a friend to stay as long as the friend is responsible and not going to cause harm to your children or home I dont see a problem.

Maybe shes just not in a great mood today and when you asked what she was doing maybe she thought she was going to be asked to do x,y or z so she said why just in case!!

MuffinToptheMule Sat 31-Jan-09 17:13:09

I actually think that's fine. Maybe she could have asked politely though.
Do you often ask her what her plans are and then if she says she doesn't have any, do you then ask her to work? My AP boss has gotten into the habit of doing this and it has ruined the relationship we had.

SammyK Sat 31-Jan-09 17:28:34

Did you ask if she had valentine's plans?

Sounds like she is resentful about something to me.

PDF Sat 31-Jan-09 17:38:30

our house rules say no overnight guests and when she asked if her brother could stay we said no.

So it is a little suprising that she has said this to us.

We have never asked her to work outside of her normal hours and would never ask her to give up her weekend for us. The only reason I have asked her to babysit on a saturday is because that's when valentines day falls this year.

I did post about the same au pair fairly recently.

last post

Perhaps I am just being over sensitive then

Thank you all for advice (again!!)

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 31-Jan-09 18:15:21

why the rule of no overnight guests?

esp friends or relatives - i understand you dont want any tom,dick or harry boyfriends there and shagging under your roof

maybe you AP had plans for vd?

tbh i dont think her request is too wrong, and maybe you can meet the friend first?

PDF Sat 31-Jan-09 18:41:31

BHMF - you tend to be a bit over protective of your children when you were abused as a child by someone you knew, hence the no overnight guests rule.

My au pair is having a week off to spend the week in london with her BF who is coming over from Germany the weekend after Valentines day, so her only plans that day are to see the friend that she wants to stay over.

tankie Sat 31-Jan-09 18:46:39

I think asking for a friend to stay over is perfectly reasonable - and she was probably just wary of telling you she had no plans for today in case you asked her to work!

tankie Sat 31-Jan-09 18:48:20

Also, I have been an au pair and a live-in nanny and was never banned from having overnight guests, I think I would have found that quite tough - especially if it was a sibling I wanted to visit me.

cheapskatemum Sat 31-Jan-09 19:07:01

Well, I disagree with BHMF & tankie. We too have a rule about no males overnight and no friends unless agreed with us beforehand. If she had been an absolutely superb au pair then you'd want to treat her and would probably relax the rules about friends staying overnight, but she hasn't. Presumably it's in your agreement/handbook that she might be asked to do the occasional weekend babysit.

We had a similar problem a couple of years back. DS1s parent Consultation Meeting was on a Saturday lunchtime. Could not take DSs 2, 3 & 4, therefore needed AP to babysit them. She got stroppy & said wasn't the W/E her time off. I pointed out that she'd had 9 weekends off and this was the only time I'd ever asked her to do anything at the weekend. We did compromise and say her BF could come to see her. In the end, he had to work!

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 31-Jan-09 19:07:58

pdf - fair enough - and it is your house and rules

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 31-Jan-09 19:09:16

bugger managed to post before i had finished hmm

meant to add-sorry to hear you were abused x

MuffinToptheMule Sat 31-Jan-09 19:57:23

I didn't know you had a no overnight rule. I have this same rule which is a bugger but rules are rules. I think if she is compromising by babysitting at the weekend then you can compromise something. However, it sounds like you are already compromising by letting her have a week off.

PDF Sun 01-Feb-09 20:07:48

well we have agreed that her friend can come and stay to try to ensure that our au pair stays happy. After all a happy au pair = happy children.

She spent most of yesterday in her room only come downstairs to eat and then went out at 8 pm with her friends.

She got home just before 7 this morning and told my DS1 off because his alarm went off at 7 and she had just got into bed!

He then came downstairs and chilled for a bit (very quietly).

I got the other two children up and took them out to the farm for the day so that the au pair could sleep.

We all got in about 3 to find the au pair still in her room with her door closed - so I assume she was still sleeping. Hubby and I took the 3 children out shopping and got some food whilst we were out so that when we got home all we would have to do is bath and stories.

We got in at about 6.30 and the youngest played for a little while with his new transformers. Au pair came down so we said hello. When she realised there was no food bought home, she went back to her room (without saying even a polite "hello" back) and I haven't seen her since!

We sat her down last weekend and had a long conversation about housework, washing, children's homework etc and her being a part of the family and she cried and said that she really wants to be a part of the family but I am yet to see any evidence.

Does it sound to you like she is making an effort to fit into the family? Would you be happy with this situation?

rookiemater Sun 01-Feb-09 20:29:31

I don't have an au pair so feel free to ignore my advice, many do grin

It sounds to me like you are walking on egg shells in your own house. Why on earth should your DS1 have to be quiet when he is at home ? Surely the weekend is an opportunity to children to relax and let off steam a little. Why do you feel that you have to take everyone out of their own home so that someone who has chosen to stay out all night can sleep ?

Maybe I am missing the point here but I thought the main reason of having an au pair was to make life easier for yourselves. Is that happening for you with this girl ?

schprooz Sun 01-Feb-09 20:52:44

Sounds like a total nightmare to me. You've got an annoying grouchy teenager to deal with who's not even yours! Did you find out from the other family why they didn't get on?

I agree completely with rookiemater, and my experience as a rule is that aps don't have the concept that they are supposed to be improving your life, rather than allowing you the happy privilege of having the delight of their presence in your house. Tbh i'd get rid. Or rather I would go through all the ways she's being generally annoying and not doing what she's agreed to do and tell her that she has to demonstrate over the next month that she will do those things and can behave like a polite adult. Otherwise she'll have to leave.

In the meantime start looking for another!

Tiramissu Sun 01-Feb-09 20:56:39

Was your agreement that the au-pair has to work on weekends? Or to 'help out'? Or free to do whatever she likes? What is your agreement and your expectasions?

PDF Sun 01-Feb-09 21:02:34

schpooz.... the au pair left them as she wasn't happy with how the family were with their son, wasn't happy with their house rules and found the contrast of living in an asian family too much to deal with. She also didn't like the father very much - she said he was too lazy.

Hmm - maybe I should start lookimg as she doesn't seem that happy with our house rules and she keeps telling me that my hubby is lazy too!

She was only with the other family for 6 weeks but they seemed happy enough with her.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 01-Feb-09 21:33:03

if your ap doesnt work weekends/today then if she wants to be in her room sleeping all day up to her, maybe she doesnt want to spend time with you and kids on her day off

i know i dont with mine wink

PDF Sun 01-Feb-09 21:50:03

we told her that weekends (and all of her free time) are hers to spend as she wishes.

This means that unless she is working or eating, we never see her. She sits in her room on her laptop. We have asked her several times if she wants to come and watch a movie with us (when the children are in bed) but she always says no.

We said that we were looking for someone who wants to be a part of the family. Her spin on this is: We sometimes go to my inlaws for tea on a sunday night and pick up a take away for everyone and eat there. She started going out on a saturday telling us to call her on her german mobile so that she could come back for the take away. She doesn't talk to any of my in laws really while we are there (or anyone else for that matter) and as soon as we get home she is back in her room without as much as a thank you.

Maybe I have just been very lucky as we have had some lovely au pairs who have been happy to be around us even if it is just sitting on the sofa reading a book. Our last au pair used to have her friends over for a girls night in but the current one has never invited her friends over (the same girls that my last au pair was friendly with) which is a bit odd as the girls were always very happy to come here (we have a warm house apparently!)and my children liked meeting them.

My other au pairs used to just come in and chat over a coffee too which again is something I miss. It was nice to hear what they had been up to during their time off.

Tiramissu Sun 01-Feb-09 22:06:26

I dont understand tbh.

You told her that weekends she is free. Then you are complaining that she spend it in her room. What is wrong with this? Or going out with her friends?

There have been so many threads where OP complains that the au-pair is always there when they watch tv on wends and they dont have privacy etc.

It seems like whatever these poor girls do, they cannot win.

Her weekends are for her. She is a free person. She ll not be around on sunday tidying up behind you. For the money you pay you have good deal. Stop moaning.

If is not good deal then get a nanny/CM and a seperate cleaner and pay full wages wink

PDF Sun 01-Feb-09 22:20:14


There is nothing wrong with her spending time in her room or out with friends but this isn't a hotel. I wanted someone who would be happy to be a part of the family.

I don't expect her to be tidying up after me either - this evening (as i do every Sunday evening), I have made sure that the children's (and au pairs) bathroom is clean, tidied the children's bedrooms, made sure that I have emptied the children's laundry basket and put their clean washing in their cupboards, I have hoovered the whole house (except au pairs bedroom, made sure that all of the kitchen surfaces have been cleaned and washed the tiled floors. I want her to start the week in a nice, clean tidy house.

I don't need a nanny or a childminder thank you - I need an extra pair of hands so that I can do homework with one whilst she has the others or so that I can spend a bit of one to one time with each of my children after school finding out how there day has been. Yes it is nice to have an au pair but only when they are playing a role as part of the family.

The local cleaners here are charging £8 per hour. My au pair does about 4 hours worth of cleaning a week so I would be much better off getting a cleaner and paying the girl across the road £20 to babysit once in a while. However, it is nice to learn different cultures and languages and this is also partly why we have an au pair.

blueshoes Sun 01-Feb-09 22:30:44

Rookie has a good point about why are you having to walk on eggshells in your own house. I am a bit shocked she actually told your ds off for his alarm going off. It says a lot about her attitude to living under your roof.

Basically, an aupair who is live-in has to respect that this is your house, these are your rules. The family makes her welcome but she also has to fit in. If she does not like the rules, lack of privacy whatever, then for heavens sake look for a bedsit and go down that route. Living with a family is an easy springboard to explore a country but it does come with the restrictions of living with a family.

I don't think your aupair has quite got that concept.

If I were you, I would not tiptoe around her. Just carry on as usual. If that means your dcs being dcs at 7 am in the morning on a weekend, hey, that is family life. She might leave - I would not try to make her stay.

I don't think she sounds like she is that keen on being part of your family. I could probably handle that in itself. Not the stroppiness though. If an aupair makes me uncomfortable in my own home ie there is a 'cloud' or 'vibe' when she is around, or grudging attitude, I would be looking for a replacement ...

I want my aupair to be happy in the house and with the family. The wrong fit is bad for everyone.

Your aupair does not sound like a terribly sociable person, which is nothing wrong in itself.

Tiramissu Sun 01-Feb-09 22:34:01

lol at 'i would be better off if paid a cleaner for £8ph.

And at being martyr

blueshoes Sun 01-Feb-09 22:42:53

Tiramissu, is the subtext underlying your posts that PDF is exploiting her aupair by not paying 'full wages'. I think PDF has explained that one away. I hope you will also bear in mind that aupairs get a room, full meals and board which a nanny/cm/cleaner does not - which adds up to quite a tidy sum - so don't forget to factor that in your calculations.

PDF is right about aupairs being part of the family. It does not make sense from the point of view of the family or the aupair for her not to integrate into the family. Without mutual regard and give-and-take (and PDF has shown she is considerate), it really does feel like exploitation - both the family and aupair will feel used and uncomfortable living under the same roof. Disaster.

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