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Decided to get an au pair - advice please!

(24 Posts)
hettyhoop Mon 18-May-09 13:42:17

After lots of thinking, we've decided to go for it and find our first au pair. I've spent many an evening trawling through the mumsnet posts doing some research and see that a lot of people use some sort of chores list / routine.
I wonder if anyone would mind posting a suggested list as I can't find one posted?

Also any advice to help make this work for both us and the au pair would be much apprecaited. FYI I'm a SAHM in Gloucestershire with a dh who travels alot and works long hours with 3 dd (ages 10, 9 and 10 months).

Thanks!

BofftheToff Mon 18-May-09 14:38:37

Email me at BoffinMum at hotmail dot co dot uk and I will send you a copy of our manual, if you like.

However manuals probably aren't enough. You will need to explain each item in minute detail once a week for the first 26 weeks IME. After that it's plain sailing (do I sound cynical???) wink

hettyhoop Mon 18-May-09 14:46:23

Thanks BofftheToff - shall email you now. :0

Hmm, I did wonder what I was letting myself in for after reading lots of horror stories on MN but decided that it can't be that bad, else no one would do it...am I being niave?!

emskaboo Mon 18-May-09 20:10:42

Boffin Mum (love the name) would it be possible for me to email you too?

Thanks

MagNacarta Mon 18-May-09 20:18:19

I found that for the first few weeks you wonder why you bothered because it's harder work having to explain everything. Then after a while it's fab, I used to love the help she gave during bath/bedtime - so I'd have a spare pair of hands when bathing 3 slippery babies/toddlers and then when I'd finished the bedtime stores I'd come downstairs to a tidy house - biss.

hettyhoop Mon 18-May-09 21:30:39

Boffin Mum - No worries, but just wondered if you'd had a chance to email as I haven't received anything yet. Maybe I'm just too eager, or maybe I wandered into your spam folder? wink
Just incase I did, here's my email:
dellow44 at bt internet dot com

How do all you au pair hosties do your recruiting? I think I'll use Aupair world - or should I fork out for an agency?

hettyhoop Mon 18-May-09 21:33:16

MagNacarta - that's exactly what I'm after - a tidy house when I've finished the bedtime routine! Although I suppose if I got off my backside instead of surfing on mumsnet it might be tidy by now Hmmm...just one more minute........

Agusta Mon 18-May-09 21:44:43

Message withdrawn

hettyhoop Mon 18-May-09 21:52:50

Hi Agusta,
I've done your survey. Do I get a free au pair now! wink

Agusta Mon 18-May-09 22:01:08

Message deleted

tommypickles Tue 19-May-09 08:19:47

just chuckling to myself.......I have 3 children myself and I also childmind others everyday too, after I have put my children to bed I come down to a tidy house........because I did it!! Come on girls you don't have to live with a total stranger (au pair)to have a tidy home. We just all seem to want everything nowadays, to be a SAHM, to have lots of money, not to have to work and I clean house without having to do it ourselves!

hettyhoop Tue 19-May-09 08:54:26

Ooooo Tommypickles I was only after some advice, not criticism about the way I live my life. shock
Surely it's not too greedy and decadant that when dh finishes a long day working instead of both of us carrying on with the chores which I'm still plodding on with, he actually gets to spend some fun time with his dds and then relax with me?

tommypickles Tue 19-May-09 09:55:42

sorry I didn't mean it as criticism, just meant to try to spure you girls on, that you can do it yourselves. Me and my dh spend the evenings together cos I do the chores as an ongoing thing through the day, i don't leave it all till last minute when kids are in bed.

DadInsteadofMum Tue 19-May-09 10:41:24

Hetty beware being putting off by the horror stories, people mainly post about their APs when there is a problem, a lot of us have wonderful APs who we couldn't do without (whatever tommypickles says).

MagNacarta has it right - its hard work for the first few weeks and then it clicks and you understand why you got an AP.

If you have been reading the horror stories you will also have seen the importance of having a contract.

Good luck with the recruitment.

hettyhoop Tue 19-May-09 11:01:36

I don't mean to leave it until the last minute...please tell me how you do it tommypickles!!! I'm my own worst enemy at spurring myself on and probably expect too much from myself.

With the best will in the world I try and keep on top of stuff in the day while doing the toddler group bits and bobs - I even try and get the veggies done for tea in the day (which I thought that was excessive and was a sign that I needed help (practically not emotionally grin )

Everything's calm and under control until 3.15pm when I pick up the older 2dd and the day seems to end re. getting stuff done when really it's just begun. smile

Tea time for dd3 begins at 4.30pm whilst I'm also trying to cook up something healthy for the rest of us (pots and pans are flying), then we eat at 5.30 ish - I eat with dd1&2 cos if I waited for dh I'd have eaten the contents of the fridge.

Up to bath dd3 at 6pm, feed then bed, whilst dd1&2 are meant to be doing homework, piano etc. WW3 tends to erupt downstairs while I'm upstairs doing dd3 and then I come down about 6.30 and it looks as if my kitchen's been burgled (I'm not the tidiest of cooks)grin
So although I want to then collapse on the sofa and cry I muster up the energy and clean and tidy up the kithen whilst negociating a truce between dd1&2. When they've finished they'll give me a hand as I try to get the sarnies made for the next day.

By now I've been eyeing up the wine sitting on the shelf - but have a quick cuppa before getting dd1&2 upstairs. Come down about 8ish grabbing the wine on the way to the lounge - to see that I'd completely forgotten the mess dd3 had left (only 10 months old so can't expect her to help)

To be fair that doesn't take long to put away but I then have a load of ironing / paperwork to get on with (but normally can't be bothered).

I assumed this life was normal for a mum of 3 - where am I going wrong grin

Sorry Tommypickles I'm on a bit of a flow here!!! Seeing as we can afford some help I thought it might be a good plan, although maybe what I need to a mothers help.

In my pre-children life I used to work as a musician and quite fancy starting to do a bit more work in this area. This is always evening work and the babysitting offered by aupairs seemed like it could work quite well. (My dh works with the US alot and so conf. calls with them always start in the early evening due to the time difference with no pre warning so I'm a bit stranded at home. So although he's at home, he has to work so if dd3 woke he couldn't do much to help - and of course that's if he's in the country ).

I'm not saying all of this for any one to feel sorry for me - I know my situation is a hell of alot easier than a lot of peoples and it's all part of the territory of being a mum of 3 which I love.

But I can't see how I can try and be more organised - I'm doing my best!!!!

hettyhoop Tue 19-May-09 11:25:31

I don't mean to leave it until the last minute...please tell me how you do it tommypickles!!! I'm my own worst enemy at spurring myself on and probably expect too much from myself.

With the best will in the world I try and keep on top of stuff in the day while doing the toddler group bits and bobs - I even try and get the veggies done for tea in the day (which I thought that was excessive and was a sign that I needed help (practically not emotionally grin )

Everything's calm and under control until 3.15pm when I pick up the older 2dd and the day seems to end re. getting stuff done when really it's just begun. smile

Tea time for dd3 begins at 4.30pm whilst I'm also trying to cook up something healthy for the rest of us (pots and pans are flying), then we eat at 5.30 ish - I eat with dd1&2 cos if I waited for dh I'd have eaten the contents of the fridge.

Up to bath dd3 at 6pm, feed then bed, whilst dd1&2 are meant to be doing homework, piano etc. WW3 tends to erupt downstairs while I'm upstairs doing dd3 and then I come down about 6.30 and it looks as if my kitchen's been burgled (I'm not the tidiest of cooks)grin
So although I want to then collapse on the sofa and cry I muster up the energy and clean and tidy up the kithen whilst negociating a truce between dd1&2. When they've finished they'll give me a hand as I try to get the sarnies made for the next day.

By now I've been eyeing up the wine sitting on the shelf - but have a quick cuppa before getting dd1&2 upstairs. Come down about 8ish grabbing the wine on the way to the lounge - to see that I'd completely forgotten the mess dd3 had left (only 10 months old so can't expect her to help)

To be fair that doesn't take long to put away but I then have a load of ironing / paperwork to get on with (but normally can't be bothered).

I assumed this life was normal for a mum of 3 - where am I going wrong grin

Sorry Tommypickles I'm on a bit of a flow here!!! Seeing as we can afford some help I thought it might be a good plan, although maybe what I need to a mothers help.

In my pre-children life I used to work as a musician and quite fancy starting to do a bit more work in this area. This is always evening work and the babysitting offered by aupairs seemed like it could work quite well. (My dh works with the US alot and so conf. calls with them always start in the early evening due to the time difference with no pre warning so I'm a bit stranded at home. So although he's at home, he has to work so if dd3 woke he couldn't do much to help - and of course that's if he's in the country ).

I'm not saying all of this for any one to feel sorry for me - I know my situation is a hell of alot easier than a lot of peoples and it's all part of the territory of being a mum of 3 which I love.

But I can't see how I can try and be more organised - I'm doing my best!!!!

hettyhoop Tue 19-May-09 11:31:21

oops lost my connection and sent my babble instead of reply to DIOM blush don't know how to delete....

Was trying to say thanks DIOM - have found contract on Aupair world which althuogh not legally binding will give us both an idea of what to expect from each other.

As for a manual - I think I'm lost in Boffin Mum's spam folder, or she's very busy - do you use one? If so, could I have a little look for some inspiration?

Many thanks DIOM - also for all your really useful post on previous threads re recruiting.

mrsjammi Tue 19-May-09 11:35:28

Message withdrawn

DadInsteadofMum Tue 19-May-09 11:41:44

I don't use a manual for two reasons
(i) I am not that organised (see you are not alone
(ii) I like to have a degree of flexibility

So I have one page on each of the kids, daily routine, likes dislikes and then sit down and chat them through expectations and house rules, with the understanding that if a particular rule is not working for one side or the other we sit down and chat about it and find a work around.

For example calls home, the original rule was very loosely worded as a call home a week, then I found she was using the mobile so it became one call a week from the house phone, this has been relxed to several short calls (<5 mins) and one long call (up to 20 mins) from the house phone. These things evolve as you get to know each other.

DadInsteadofMum Tue 19-May-09 11:43:32

MrsJammi try here

mrsjammi Tue 19-May-09 13:16:31

Message withdrawn

cheapskatemum Tue 19-May-09 21:59:44

My DH also works abroad and I find APs good company. Might be different for OP as she has DDs (4 DSs here), but it's nice to have impromptu female chats - probably why I also go on MN!

BofftheToff Wed 20-May-09 14:38:41

hettyhoop, have not been online much but will try to email back later. I developed the manual because the APs asked for it, as they can take it away and look up words and phrases they don't know, etc. In fact, they wrote a good chunk of it in the end.

In our experience ...

20% of APs are fabulous
60% of APs are more or less OK
20% are total rubbish and not at all helpful

It's total pot luck what you get. It's not related to age or experience at all. It's to do with intelligence and a genuine desire to be helpful.

ConstantlyCooking Thu 20-Aug-09 08:51:32

Hi
Boffinmum - i saw that you offered to email acopy of your manual/house rules to someone to use as inspiration. I have emialed you at your boffinmum hotmail address to ask if you still have a suitable copy and if so whether I could have a copy please.
Many thanks

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