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Au Pair starts in 3 weeks and starting to get cold feet!!!!

(15 Posts)
dal21 Wed 09-Sep-09 18:14:19

Not sure why - have gone through a good local agency - she has been vetted, is french and 25 years old.

I clearly outlined job role/ hours and house rules before she accepted the job so that she was as best prepared as possible (and also so she had the chance to turn the position down if she didnt like what was outlined).

But I am suddenly totally freaked out about

a) having a total stranger living in our house
b) leaving DS with her (DS is 2 and she will only have sole charge 3 mornings a week for an hour), the rest of the time, I will be home.
c) the prospect that this will not work out well.

We decided to go the au pair route as second DC is due Jan 2010, DH works long hours so an extra pair of hands will be needed.

So I guess what I am looking for is advice/ reassurance. What helps the period of settling for both sides? Is there any advice on how to make it work.

I really want this to work for her and for us and want to look forward to her arrival with positivity. All advice welcome!

Millarkie Wed 09-Sep-09 18:44:49

I know how you feel I was very nervous before our first au pair came both before she arrived and for the first few weeks. You have done all the preparation that I can think of. Will it help if you think of the worst that can happen and if you have a back-up plan (e.g. if we had a bad au pair I would put the children into afterschool club and go back to having a cleaner and dogwalker...knowing that I'm not dependent on the au pair being a good one helps
Having said that I have had 2 fantastic au pairs who have been a real help to have and one competent but annoying au pair.
For settling - I try to make au pair's room as comfy as possible with own tv/broadband pc so they are more likely to curl up in there in the evenings. I ask around to find other local au pairs and put them in touch so they have friends to go out and show them the places which may be interesting to young people. I take them round the area and show them the shops, library, gym/pool (we pay for their gym membership). Basically I try to make them happy and reasonably self-sufficient and I try to keep our routines as normal as possible. Try to talk about any irritations as soon as they happen so they don't mount up to a seething resentment but be very quick to praise any good efforts.
Do you need to leave ds with her from the first week or can you leave it a while and see how competent she is with him (my children are a lot older and I'm used to leaving them with nannys etc)?
We give our au pairs a sheet with emergency numbers on - NHS direct, 999 (that one is in BOLD ), name of friendly neighbours, phone numbers of relatives..and instructions to ring us if there are ANY problems (and provide a UK mobile phone with credit so there are even less excuses).
Wishing you lots of luck but hopefully you won't need it

madcows Wed 09-Sep-09 18:56:42

Well, we're on Day 4 of our new au pair... and last night I suddenly thought, yes, this could work - and might be great. We came home from work with a v tired and hungry 2yo, to find supper on the table. Ds1 (6yo) had been to the playground on teh way home from school and then made cup cakes with her - so he was v cheerful. I went to the supermarket and she helped me unpack when I got home. And finally, dh and I went out for a drink!

But yes, there are adjustments to be made, esp with having someone else in the house. But you have to remind yourself of the advantages. Agree that you might want to try to find a away of not leaving her alone with DS until you feel ready. (Might be easier said than done!)

Goodluck!

twopeople Wed 09-Sep-09 19:01:57

Message withdrawn

Julesnobrain Wed 09-Sep-09 20:28:25

Mad cows I've had 5 Ap's she definately sounds great.. hang onto her..... My current AP nice but forgetful and we have to go through the next days schedule every night.. 3 months on its becoming a bit boring I would have thought she'd have got it by now

dal21 Thu 10-Sep-09 08:12:37

Hi - thanks for all the replies!

Her rooms are uber lush. We have given her two rooms at the top of the house with tv/ dvd player/ freeview box / stereo and pc with internet access. They are really nice rooms. One is set up as a bedroom, the other as a sitting room/ snug. So she totally has her own space to escape to.

Millarkie - thanks for all the useful advice. Emergency contact numbers are already on the fridge for the current nanny who comes in 3 mornings a week and takes DS to nursery.

Re. leaving DS alone with her. We have 7 days where she won't be left alone. I have taken a day off work and DH will stay at home the other two mornings a week (I only work three days a week) and help with the breakfast/ nursery drop off. I am always home in time for nursery collection so that is not a problem. I guess that if things are not working out in the first 7 days, I would be in a difficult situation - but we would cope.

I guess I read about such extreme examples of good/ bad au pairs. I simply won't know how things will be until she gets here. Hopefully I will be posting a similar post to madcows in a few weeks! Will have to wait and see!

Re. the phone, had already thought about this - it is worth it for being able to contact her. The gym membership is tougher - we are members at David Lloyd and shelling out another £70 a month for her membership is not a goer for us tbh.

eeyore12 Thu 10-Sep-09 09:51:09

Hi, I am sure it will all work out great, as you say you have been honest from the start about what you need and expect from her, and you have the added back up of the agency which I know a lot of people don't have.

Re the phone I would get the cheapest pay as you go one you can and put £10 a month on it for her to call/text you, if she needs more credit to call text friends she puts it on herself, or maybe you put £20 so she has some to call friends on but anymore needed she pays for.

I know David Lloyd do a nanny membership rate but not sure how much that is.

As I say I am sure it will all work out great, the rooms sound great (and look it too! much more than I would expect as a live in nanny)

A x

TwoCupcakes Thu 10-Sep-09 10:09:33

ooh, your accomodation for your au pair sounds bliss. lucky girl! do you know what her interests are? because my friend's au pair is really into musicals so she throws in tickets for a london musical a few weeks into the stay with the promise of another one at the end of the stay. the general idea is to give adhoc little treats instead of throwing in gym which you say is £70 per month.

my friend's au pair also said that when she first saw her bedroom, the one thing that really touched her was a hot water bottle in the shape of a cuddly animal grinning up at her! small touch but apparently made a real difference. then again, she was australian, arriving in the dead of our brit winter!

dal21 Thu 10-Sep-09 17:06:55

Thanks Eeyore and twocupcakes. I have severe room envy too. DH and I would love to be able to escape up there minus DS grin

Cupcakes - no dont know what her interests are. Will definitely find out once she is here - but like the ideas you have give.

Re. a welcome pack - I was thinking about giving some her some nice toiletries as a welcome. But will think about the hot water bottle - although being at the top of the house where all the heat goes to, she may not need it!

Appreciate the replies, have definitely settled me a little. Thank you!

nannyL Thu 10-Sep-09 22:17:36

sorry to but in but if you are members of David Lloyd you can add the nanny on for £10 a month, so i assume you could add the aupair too.

it means you have to go before 7pm though

nbee84 Thu 10-Sep-09 22:31:59

Also, with the nanny membership to DL I think the nanny can only go in with the children she looks after and not just by herself to use the facilities - that is why it is so much cheaper.

dal21 Fri 11-Sep-09 12:18:44

Thanks for that guys, will definitely check in with DL, it would make sense that for only £10 a month, she doesnt get to use the facilities unless DC's are with her.

It is an option I will think about once baby is born in Jan. If she would like to, then she can come to the gym and help in the pool with both DC's although am inclined to think that is work for her as opposed to leisure time and am more likely to need her help at home!grin

you have all made me feel heaps better, thank you!

DrEvil Sat 12-Sep-09 08:04:49

Sorry OP, a quick hijack; Twocupcakes, you said your friends AP is Australian? Is there any chance she is in the South somewhere and would like to meet another friendly Aussie? My AP would love to travel and meet up with others.

Sorry, thanks!

TwoCupcakes Tue 15-Sep-09 09:24:42

hi ya, dr evil, replying to your hijack! Darn, no, my friend lives in Liverpool! I had a good old natter with her last month when we caught up at a wedding and she was trading au pair stories with another friend who is about to take on her first au pair and that's when she was sharing her tips. i think her au pair is about to move on as well though since she's been here nearly a year and if i recall correctly, had dropped her studies halfway to travel and is planning to return soon to Oz to resume her studies. sorry, not much help i know!

why not get your au pair to try FB? i think there's a couple of Aussies in the UK groups which seems quite active. Also, have you tried putting up notice in your post office? i saw one recently along the lines of "hi, our new au pair from Poland is arriving soon and would love to meet other au pairs in the area. please contact xxx". you won't necessarily get fellow country folks but might be worth a shot

DrEvil Tue 15-Sep-09 22:23:41

Thanks for getting back to me TwoCupcakes, we are in a university town so I think we'll stick a note up in the union/internationals bit but I fear I might have to take her to the local Walkabout bar and skulk whilst she chats!

She does love FB but lots of the meet ups are in London and we are right down near Portsmouth so its a bit far for a night out really.

I'm hoping the sports clubs work out...

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