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Am beginning to hate my Au-pair

(146 Posts)
dizzydo Sun 10-Apr-05 02:19:37

Just typed this in once but cant find it anywhere so am doing it again. Apologies if it's on twice.

Wide awake at 2pm. Anyone else out there??

Our AP has been with us for 13 months and has another three months to go. She is beginning to drive me and DH nuts. She is terribly opinionated - every conversation (even if she is not included in it initially ) ends up with "in my country.."

Anyway, have noticed over last week or so she has become more and more sulky and so finally confronted her to find out what was wrong.

The bottom line was that she reckons we dont include her as part of the family at the weekends. She says that at the weekend we never invite her to eat with us. I was totally gobsmacked at this as we do always include her if we know she is in. I told her that I would never knowingly do that and she basically said she didnt believe me. I asked her why she didn't come down and let us know she was there if we were cooking and had not called her/invited her down. She is not usually so bothered about making her presence felt (didn't say that bit!). Afterwards I realised when it had sunk in that what she was talking about was lunchtimes. We hardly ever eat lunch at the weekends (particularly Saturdays) because we prefer to have a late breakfast go out and then have an early tea quite often out somewhere. I found myself cooking lunch today purely for her benefit and then REALLY resenting it. It also made it very late for us to go out.

She also said that she should only have to do the childrens ironing and not ours. I reminded her that she is not a nanny she is an aupair and as such an extra pair of hands to muck in with whatever is required. Before she joined us we gave her a schedule of what we expected (ironing WAS on it) all of which she agreed to. She does do a good job with the children but is not good at tiyding up generally NEVER picks things up that I leave at the bottom of the stairs to go up or tidies the childrens bedroom.

We pay her £65pw plus £5 per hour for any extra hours on top. In school holidays we pay an extra £15 per day for 9-5 (£140 a week which I think is a lot). We also pay her an extra £15 every other week for 2 hours cleaning of our room which she said was not enough time. That is ridiculous as it is a loft room and bathroom!

Am I being totally unreasonable or is she? BTW she is 27 and possibly just too old for this type of role.

What does Mumsnet think?

bobbybob Sun 10-Apr-05 02:34:22

It's probably not relevant but which country is she from?

dizzydo Sun 10-Apr-05 02:51:34

Hi there Bobby. You cant sleep either.

She is from Poland

bobbybob Sun 10-Apr-05 02:54:42

No, I live in NZ so it's okay to be up at this time.

I know nothing about au pairs, except that I would find it really hard to share my house with someone else. Do the kids like her?

dizzydo Sun 10-Apr-05 03:00:22

They are OK about her but also find her very bossy and opinionated (8 and 11 so old enough to know). We have had others they have liked better.

Ameriscot2005 Sun 10-Apr-05 06:48:27

TBH, I would just get rid of her. There's plenty more where they came from. I would tell her that she's obviously not happy and give her 2 weeks to leave.

Has she met someone in the last couple of weeks to explain the sudden change in her attitude?

bobbybob Sun 10-Apr-05 07:11:22

Yes, life is too short to live with people you don't like. Being bossy and an au pair is not a good combination.

MrsWood Sun 10-Apr-05 08:34:16

I'd say she's just missing home now, hence the "In my country..." sentences. If she's been with you for 13 months and you were previously happy, I'd say stick with it till the end. She knows the "end is near" and is therefore quite rebelious and probably wants to come out with everything she, so far, kept inside. You know that feeling of when you're at work, and you work hard Mon-Thu, but Friday comes and everyone starts relaxing more as the weekend's almost there - I know first hand as we own the company and the attitute of staff dramatically changes on Fridays!

glitterfairy Sun 10-Apr-05 08:44:25

Have to say you sound pretty reasonable but my worst times have been with polish au pairs. I may be wrong about this but have had two and both were difficult and always talked about in my country.

I also work with polish people and whilst they are lovely they can be opinionated and do really believe poland is the best. Criticism goes down very badly. However I know that if that was me and I was out of my own country I would probably go on about England!

Ameriscot2005 Sun 10-Apr-05 09:32:17

Yep, that's my experience of a Polish au pair.

Apparently, Polish children are not noisy or messy.

dizzydo Sun 10-Apr-05 09:41:36

Critisim!! You are so right Ameriscot & Glitterfairy. Quite early on into her stay we gave up asking her not to do the petty things that irritated us(like never putting anything away in the same cupboard twice) which could easily have just been mentioned and forgotten - because it was just not worth the two/three day sulking was just not worth the bother.

bellababe Sun 10-Apr-05 09:50:55

I would give her the option - say "It seems to me that you are no longer happy with us. If you would like to go home now then please do, but if you decide to stay, then you need to at least pretend to be happy".
I completely sympathise wtih you. I had a very sulky and spoilt swede a few years back and would never have an au pair again. I think you are paying her HEAPS and are very fair on her, but I think sometimes they just get above themsleves and want more and more. I told my girl that if she wasn't happy she should leave, and she stayed about a week more then made up some excuse and went. I was so relieved!!!

Ameriscot2005 Sun 10-Apr-05 10:17:06

I think each au pair placement has a natural lifespan, and after 13 months (which seems like an age to me), this once has probably passed in this case.

glitterfairy Sun 10-Apr-05 10:32:39

I totally agree and the same is true even with nannys. My current one has said she is giong in the summer and even though we have got on well, she brings her four year old who is a complete nightmare and I was about to ban her but hurrah she is going anyway. I must say having four au pairs I prefer a qualified English speaking nanny if I can afford it and get a part time one.

celtic66 Sun 10-Apr-05 10:59:17

I agree there is a life span. Au pair is due to leave soon and on the whole is a lovely girl ( and Polish) but suddenly on day she said after 6 months it was not her duty to do all the family ironing i was paying her £60 basic £10 x 2 days for loking after two children form 1- 5 and extra £15 for doing some cleaning.

She told me it was all too much for her, so I arranged for a childminder and managed the cleaning myself and paid her £60 for 25 hours. She was gobsmacked, at the time she loved the extra money but then I realized she wanted to keep the money but reduce some for cleaning jobs around the house, and do only the childrens ironing.

We did have a long chat about things she relalized that her AP friends she often refered to didn't get paid as much as her, and some were very unhappy. she apologised and said she was very happy with us but got carried away thinking about what her friends do and earn.

I agree, she most likely homesick and bottled up some issues. I would have a chat with her, and give her a boost and tell her all the things shes good at, But I wouldn't cook lunch just for her benefit, I be she's wouln't get up at weekends to join you for breakfast!!

celtic66 Sun 10-Apr-05 11:04:29

sorry for all the mistakes it sounds like my 6 year old wrote it!!!

dizzydo Sun 10-Apr-05 11:05:24

Thanks Celtic

Am a bit confused about what your AP does do for her 25 hours if she doesnt do the cleaning and you have employed a childminder as well??

dizzydo Sun 10-Apr-05 11:08:14

Not sure about the nanny route, I hear lots of complaints on Mumsnet about that as well. Also not sure financially I could manage the extra esp as would mean also employing a cleaner. Thought of not having to have someone live-in for a while quite attractive tho

Ameriscot2005 Sun 10-Apr-05 12:42:04

I won't make special food for APs now. I bent over backwards with my Polish au pair, making separate meat-free meals for her on Fridays. She really didn't appreciate the efforts as she felt that it was her right to have that food and that the rest of us were heathens for having meat (tell that to my American, ie carnivore, husband...).

Ameriscot2005 Sun 10-Apr-05 12:43:56

All other au pairs have a better deal than your own au pair...

Just like when we were teenagers - our friends' mums were miles cooler than our mums, eh?

omega2 Sun 10-Apr-05 16:00:28

Just wondering, assuming I have read this right, that your children are aged 11 and 8 so why does the au pair need to tidy their bedrooms? Surely they should be able to do their own rooms or atleast help.

Ameriscot2005 Sun 10-Apr-05 16:03:13

One of my au pair's tasks is to supervise the children while they tidy their own rooms. I, hopefully, have instilled in the children that the au pair is not their slave.

omega2 Sun 10-Apr-05 16:10:25

I'm a nanny and expect my eldest charges aged 9 and 11 to tidy their own rooms as I am not their slave, I also expect them to put some of their washing away. I also encourage the 4 year old to tidy up as well

Beetroot Sun 10-Apr-05 16:18:44

Message withdrawn

celtic66 Sun 10-Apr-05 17:22:29

dizzydo - AP Does do some cleaning and i do the rest, she does do the family Ironing between 9-10 twice a week after the school run, cleans the bathroom she uses, hoovers around the house one day. Tidy and dust kids rooms.

But I do have 4 small children 2 at school and two at home, she looks after the eldest two twice a week ( on the days i work ) between 3.30 and 5.30 and feeds them. The other two are with childminder and i pick them up on my way home form work.

I think our family seems less appealing to potential AP because we have 4 children. i have over heard her danish friend asking her'how do you she cope with 4 kids' I go out of my way to be more than fair with her, she could never say she has a hard time or is exploited. But i think she is brilliant with the children,

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