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Au pair woes

(23 Posts)
SweetBleedinNiblets Sun 01-Nov-09 23:23:13

Not sure if I should be posting this here or AIBU, but here goes

AP has been with me since September, and is not doing terribly well. Essentialy she is very lazy and does only what she absolutely has to. After 3 weeks I gave her notice, but she then bucked her ideas up and worked well, and asked to stay which I agreed to.

Then last week her boyfriend came to England and they had a few days up in London. They came home on Monday so he could see where she lived and had a meal and a couple of beers each from fridge before I got home, then I drove them back to the station. Then Wednesday morning I start getting texts syaing BF has missed flight and can he stay with us. I of course agreed- I hope that in 16 years time when MY DS is stupid enough to find himself stranded in a foreign country someone will give him a bed for a night or two- and so they came home. I wasnt crazy about having some strange man in my house, who I know very little about, and who was SMOKING in my garden, but as I say, what can you do?

She was due to be back on duty Wednesday tea time, but of course with BF there and them trying to arrange flights it didnt happen. Ok, let that go.

Thursday morning they didnt surface till about 10.30 am, again ok, will let it go, I was home with DS (5 years old) so hadnt needed her before then, but her surfacing left me a chance to get a shower in peace which was handy. I was then palnning to go to do some shopping etc, without DS so it was quicker but after 15 mins she was saying 'I go to my room now' So ok, I go along with it, and my mum comes over and we all go out for lunch.(family not AP and BF who are back in her room with door closed)
When we get back my mum drives BF and AP to a station about 25 mins away so he can make his flight and they can say goodbye and then brings her home. At which point I would have EXPECTED her to be extremely grateful and do some flippin work. But no, she disapears to her room again only to resurface to demand I reconnect her (german and therefor IN German) laptop to my network [grr] whilst I am trying to cook pumpkin soup and look after DS.

I decided to just let it all be fine and mark the day down as another days holiday, but then Friday morning she again doesnt get up!! Again I am on leave but thats not the point- she seems to have decided that if I am in the house she doesnt work

Whilst out I get a text from my cleaner complaining that she has had to do the washing up- all I left AP to do was empty and reload dishwasher and sort DS' room- not much for 5 hours work!! So when I got home on Friday I was ready to flip. Of course I didnt and was merely furious ... She gave DS a hug- thats a first, and TBH felt to me like a pre-emptive strike- and then told me she had started to sweep the kitchen floor but then remembered it was Friday (day cleaner comes) so hadnt bothered shock Oh and DS' bed wasnt made, whcih just irritated me as it only takes 2 or 3 minutes (I know I could do it, but I am paying someone else to so why should I?!)

I think I need to grow a pair dont I? I dont expect a great deal of her. This week of a potential scheduled 13 hours she has worked about 2 maybe 3?

Her daily schedule is to be up and eat breakfast with us then walk DS to school- about 1 hour, although that includes eating her own breakfast. Then she has maybe 30 minutes of cleaning/ laundry and then her day is hers until she picks DS at 3.15, gives him tea and finishes at 5.30ish. So about 3hrs 45 mins per day although she is 'paid for 5. And yet she STILL manages to NEVER wash up any bits left, and has twice left DS without clean uniform

Am I expecting to much of a 20 year old? And I am expecting too much that someone would be bloody grateful for taking their partner in off the street and actually do not only what they are paid to, but maybe go the extra mile as I would??

The last bit tho, was she knew DS was having a Halloween party and had voluntarily said she would be here for it- another reason I had let some of the slipped hours go assuming she would make them up by being around for his party- it was only 2 hours, but she then suddenly decided she was going to London and tried to borrow moeny from me (I had paid her two weeks before she went to London) and disappeared before his party, leaving him upset that she wasnt there, and me short a pair of promised hands angry And yes I know I know Saturday isnt a working day, but she offered to be there, plus she hadnt worked on her working days, so I figured it was swings and roundabouts.

She then started texting me from 7am this morning (I didnt hear it phone was downstairs and DS and I were having a very rare lie in) to pick her up from station, and when I didnt reply, she got taxi and came in and went tomy emergency fund to pay for it- as it happens there was no money in there, as I had taken it out the night before to change the £20 from 2 x £10 to a £20 for a neighbour and not put it back, so she had to come up and scrounge money from me- she asked for £7 and I only had £6 by clearing every penny I had then she said 'oh I have £1'

Then she went to bed, got up to eat and hasnt done anything since apart form eat and leave dishes around

Seriously am I expecting too much or is this normal for 20 year olds? I hoenstly dont know- I was running a household by the time I was 20!
Honest answers welcome!

booboo78 Mon 02-Nov-09 00:25:38

I'm speechless!

I have a new ap arriving on Thursday after being left somewhat in the lurch by our previous ap leaving on short notice, she told me Friday night she told me on Sunday and left on Monday at 7am!

This is the first time I've been let down though and never experienced any attitude or behaviour even close to what you are describing.

I don't think it's purely an age thing, some 20 year olds are very mature.

You haven't said in your post that you have spoken to her directly about this so she probably thinks this behavieour is okay when obviously for you it is not.

I have also found myself skirting around issues in the past rather than bring them up directly with the ap but have found this just results in me getting angry and resentful so have taken my dh lead and use a direct approach now.

I think you need to sit her down, discuss the events of the past few days and tell her it's not acceptable and why.

Also another thing you seem to do thats similar to me, is that you expect people to behave like you would. ie you expected ap to be at the party because she said she would and you expected her to keep her word because its what YOU would do, you expected her to be grateful for you helping her bf and she patently wasn't.

I don't think it's her age that's the issue here, just bad manners and a huge lack of respect for your home and family. I'd be having words with her asap.

Northernlurker Mon 02-Nov-09 00:29:51

Your au pair is behaving like you are her mother and she a particularly rude and obnoxious child. This is not on - you need to be firm about what you expect and if and when it's not done you should give notice and stick to it this time. Essentially you are paying her to be a burden for you and that's just daft. Good luck!

Summersoon Mon 02-Nov-09 08:55:56

shock shock


I think that you need to read the riot act - immediately. Tell her that she is on probation as of now for the next four weeks and that if she doesn't pull her finger out she will be fired.

The German word for this (her behaviour) is "unerhört" - it means absolutely unacceptable. smile

Metrobaby Mon 02-Nov-09 09:56:19

I too am shocked.

Your AP is taking advantage of your good nature.

You definately need to sit down with her and tell her that her behaviour is unacceptable as soon as you can. This can be very hard to do, and something I agonise over personally - but I have found that once out in the open you feel much better about it and also your AP will know her boundaries. If you don't say anything - she will continue as before thinking it is OK as booboo has said in her post.

Personally I would be inclined to either pay her holiday for the days she hasn't done her duties or not pay her pocket money for those days - or threaten to do so if it happens next time.

As for her asking for her taxi you don't state why she was at the station at 7am. If it was because she was out for her own personal reasons, I certaintly would not be paying for her taxi fares. Surely picking her up from the station is a gesture of goodwill rather than obligation if she is out for her own reasons?

SWN - there are a lot of very good APs who are hard working and are very well mannered. If your AP is not performing well - especially once you have warned her - don't be relcutant to get someone else. This is something you should also state to your AP, that you are not afraid to replace her if she does not come up to the mark.

Good luck

DadInsteadofMum Mon 02-Nov-09 10:05:09

It is not an age thing, out 19 yo German au pair does not behave in such an immature fashion.

I would not pay for the taxi and days she chose not to work I would count as holidays and would come out of her 28 days.

And as the others have said you need to sit her down in a calm manner and go down each event and clearly explain why this was unacceptable (I was thinking of some other German words Summer but probably best not to use them).

HarrietTheSpook Mon 02-Nov-09 10:36:04

The word for this sort of behaviour in English is: "Parasitic." Not on, not sure it's recoverable. I would probably move her on.

frakkinaround Mon 02-Nov-09 11:05:36

No you are not expecting too much, you are entirely reasonable. I know au pairs who do far more than that and would never be allowed to raid the emergency fund to pay for a taxi back from a station at 7am, especially if they're supposed to be at work doing breakfast.

She sounds like she has a total lack of respect for you, your home and your needs - and no clue why she's there.

Move her on and up the work schedule for the next one a little (and pull up any minor slides early on) because IMO underworked APs seem to think they can get lazy and no-one will notice because 'I don't do that much anyway'.

Deduct whatever she's borrowed from her pocket money - she's had it as an advance - and either take these days she hasn't worked out of her holiday as DIOM says, or, if you're kicking her out, don't pay her for them because she wasn't working.

I am livid on your behalf cos this girl is giving all APs a bad name and there are good ones out there - I hope you find one next time!

argento Mon 02-Nov-09 13:20:16

It sounds like you haven't been pulling her up on these things as they happen, just letting it go then seething silently? I would have been knocking on her door when she wasn't up, sending her back to make the bed, insisting she stay for the party etc.

mumof2222222222222222boys Mon 02-Nov-09 13:38:45

She sounds appalling. However, OP's post contains a lot of "I assumed" and "I figured" etc. AP needs to be told in words of one syllable that she is way out of line.

Tbh I would sack her and deduct the holiday from her pay.

SweetBleedinNiblets Mon 02-Nov-09 16:06:33

Thank you all
mumof2 you are right, absolutely spot on. I do and have 'figured' and 'assumed', and in many ways it makes it as much my fault. A good lesson learned there thank you smile (that sounds sarky- it isnt meant to, I am genuine)

The station was her coming back from her Halloween night out, so totally her choice and not work related at all.

I, probably foolishly, paid her £100 the Friday she went to London, so she had extra money for her trip away, then booked for her and her BF to go to London Dungeons so I dont owe her anything, although she know owes me £6 for taxi which I will take out of NEXT weeks money

But over all, you are all right. She has no respect for me or my home

Can anyone calculate for me if she is with me from September 6th - December 19th if I will owe her any more holiday pay over and above the 6 days I am going to assume her to have taken the last week or so? She has a flight home booked that day, so it may make sense to let her use that and finish then.

I am thinking I will give her notice some time this week when I have the energy- Times liek this I miss having a partner in the house sad

mamandomi Mon 02-Nov-09 16:34:57

I was really interested in reading your story, I have had some au pair the 3 first years after Flo was born and the first one was exactly like yours..... She had no respect for me and my children and she used me completly. At the time I was ompletly unable to fight back because I was dealing with a new baby and the breakup of my marriage and I am not very good with confrontations anyway. the thing is that thatgirl took advantage of me for 9 months so I can symathise with you. You definitely have to give her her notice.
good luck

DadInsteadofMum Mon 02-Nov-09 18:26:53

SBN - Those dates would be 104 days 104/365 *28 days would give you 8 days of holiday. So sorry but you would owe her 2 days of holiday pay.

You are keeping her for another 7 weeks?

Julesnobrain Mon 02-Nov-09 19:06:51

I would get rid of her and start afresh with a new one unless you are prepared for a confrontation and she may be confused as you have 'assumed' she will do ABC and that could be the complete opposite of what she was expecting. I think the role of an AP is actually difficult for young girls often who have little real work experience. I have found a tight schedule with clear start and stop times, duties and a tick list if needed makes her job and my life easier and avoids confrontation as it sets expectations and its then easy to pick up if little things aren't done right.

Millarkie Mon 02-Nov-09 19:49:00

You aren't expecting too much, my good au pairs have all been 20/21 years old and have been useful members of the household. (I've also had a not so good au pair who was also 20 yrs old and had a number of habits which made her hard to live with but she did carry out her jobs in the main).
If you are intent on keeping your au pair until December try to make it very clear what her role is - that she is to keep to her hours even when you are at home and that her jobs need to be done, otherwise she will drive you crazy (if she hasn't already).
Personally, I would give her notice and look for someone else.

mumof2222222222222222boys Mon 02-Nov-09 19:54:16

All mine have also been 20 - 2 good, one outstanding, 1 adequate...from what you say I would advertise asap and get a new one as soon as you can.

I know it won't be easy...our (good) AP will be leaving in March while DH is away on a 6 month trip. Am dreading teh changeover already.

By the way, no offence taken re the above...I make a lot of assumptions, but try not to where APs are concerned!

KittyFisher1 Mon 02-Nov-09 22:10:43

You must get rid of her. She sounds like a horrid, spoilt child. Please stand up to her and don't take any more. There are lots of other really good au pairs. Lots of luck!

luckyblackcat Tue 03-Nov-09 00:13:12

I'm with Jules, a serious timetable of what to do, when and how long each job should take (how long it takes me plus quite a bit as I'm actually quite soft!) plus check/tick list (laminated for longevity) absolutely essential.

Also we have a weekly meet, when there are no DC around to discuss how things are/sort out niggles/misunderstandings - saves festering and resentment.

I've had APs as young as 17, it is not an age thing at all.

evuscha Tue 03-Nov-09 09:30:11

I am an ex AP (22 now, but first time au-pairing I was 17) and never ever would I behave in such a way. Tbh I wouldn´t keep her until December just because she has her ticket sorted - she doesn´t care about your needs either so why should you put her first? Especially since you have given her notice before (I suppose for the same problem) so I think giving her her 2 weeks notice is perfectly reasonable.
Funny enough, I often lurk at au-pair forums as well and read stories of many nice hard-working girls who are unhappy in their host families who make them work 12 hours a day, treat them like servants etc.etc. I wonder why good host families can´t be just matched with good au-pairs (and likewise with the bad ones )
Good luck with your search for a new au-pair, I´m sure you deserve a nice one!

oldpills Tue 03-Nov-09 13:48:41

I had an AP like this some years ago. I would give her notice asap, you are not expecting too much of her.

Wendy82 Tue 03-Nov-09 15:46:38

I really can't understand why the great families have so bad au-pairs???I am looking the right hostfamily,if you are interested, please let me know in my e-mail.

I am good au-pair as I was in the UK as an au-pair already so understand children's needs!!

Am really interested to be in nice family but I know how it is difficult to find some really nice and easy-going.

StillSquiffy Tue 03-Nov-09 15:48:03

Personally I would rather cough up the cost of a new flight home than put up with even one more day of such behaviour.

There are loads of APs looking for work with an immediate start at the moment - you need to put it down to experience and get a new one.

nvj Tue 03-Nov-09 16:01:41

totally agree with what the others have said, i would give her notice. you've already given her another chance!
My au pair was 19/20 when she was with us and would never have dreamed of this behaviour so I don't think it is the age, think it is the girl!
there are loads of good au pairs out there, i'm sure you won't have a problem finding a decent one!

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