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Thread: So Upset ... Our au pair doesn't like us!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default So Upset ... Our au pair doesn't like us!

    Long time Inciid'er, not such a recent poster, but I know how supportive you guys can be.

    We had an au pair from Germany when our twins were born. She liked us so much she extended for another 6 months. She was here a year and a half. She was through a LOT with us. We were sad to see her go, but got another one who arrived last Friday.

    She has already made up her mind that she's unhappy and wants a change. We've done everything possible to go out of our way to make her comfortable. We're a REALLY nice, young, hip, friendly family. And she would have the opportunity to travel a lot with us. There are three long days a week at 10 hours a day (the federal max). The other two days are 6 hours each, but I'm home with her for 4 of them. Also, those days start at 2PM. Weekends mostly off. We hardly ever ask for weekends. All in all, a lot better than what most au pairs get.

    She hasn't told us she's unhappy. She's bonded with the kids. Yet, I just heard today that in this one short week her parents, sisters and she have been emailing the au pair agency constantly about how unhappy she is! She does have a cold, but I make her tea, tell her to rest, talk with her, etc. She's only worked 3 days so far with the kids! She says it's not the kids. I don't get it.

    My dh and I are beyond upset. One of our twins was already going through separation anxiety because the first au pair left. My kids will be devastated. I feel betrayed. I guess I should try to get her to talk about it, but it seems a lost cause. The policy of the agency is to give it 14 days and then hopefully there is another au pair ready to be placed. I'm wondering that if I can't trust how she expresses her feelings (she seems totally fine otherwise), that maybe she shouldn't be with the kids. Yet, I think I still have to pay her stipend. WWYD?

    Susan

  2. #2
    trek is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    No advice as I have not had an au pair. Just sending hugs, and hope things work out for the best.

  3. #3
    jknyc is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    We had an au pair who arrived and wanted to go home the next day. But she was not honest about it. I'd send her on her merry way asap and know that she will likely be home within 2 weeks after trying one more family,

    Good luck with your next match!

  4. #4
    pepperlc is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    I had a similar problem with a live-in nanny. We found a post she put on the internet that said she hated the mom and was going to "snap" find herself a new job. We fired her that day.

    sounds like it isn't a good match for either of you and both will be happier with other people. Good luck finding someone new

    karen

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Default sometimes it just isn't a good fit

    we've been through a lot of years with au pairs. Only in the second year of the first au pair do I feel like things got dicey and wished we hadn't extended. But there were also issues she was having socially with a boy at the time.

    However, because we have had so much experience with the system, we hear what other girls are saying about their families. And we hear when they are not happy. I know of girls who have loved the kids - but did not connect with the parents. And the reverse - thought kids were too much too handle in a particular family. I also know many who came and weren't too thrilled about the local area and longed for something else (grass is always greener).

    If your girl has decided as quickly as you state, then likely it isn't really you. She hasn't even had a chance to get to know you. Maybe she is really homesick and questioning even being here in the first place. Or, she is regretting not taking a different offer or being closer to friends or in a different geographic location - who knows?

    I think you need to sit and talk with her. Let her know that you have concerns and ask her directly about what she is feeling.

    Theoretically, she has made a commitment to you and the family, but the last thing you want is for her to stay there unhappy. (I always put myself in the place of the au pair's parents and think how I would want my DD to react if she were the au pair and how I would want the family to react to her.)

    Based on that discussion, I think you would have an idea how much might be homesick with chance to work out versus her just not happy with the situation (or even being an au pair). If it is more the latter, I would not try to "make her like you more". The whole family - including kids - will be better with a change.

    Now is the time to enlist your community counselor and request that she perhaps join the two of you in this discussion.

    FWIW - we are in the last few months of our final au pair. By the end we will have had au pairs for 7.5 years (total of 5 girls). It has been a wonderful experience for us and for the kids.

    And also FWIW - the kids have always had tears at leaving - but have rebounded quickly with new girls and maintained contact with them. We just got an invitation to a wedding in Mexico for one of our girls!!

  6. #6
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    I agree with di-bo....move on and don't take it personally.

    We've had au pairs for almost 3 years. Our first was a nightmare, but we learned our lesson. Our second we LOVED.....we got her when our first went into transition and she was transitioning out of a family that wasn't happy with her. Which just goes to prove that every family is different and what doesn't work for some will work wonderfully for others.

    I have to think if she's only been here one week and she's unhappy, it can't be personal. Either she's not making friends (very important for au pairs to be happy),she doesn't like the area, she's homesick, or she didn't realize she would really have to work! I've heard of a few girls that get here and really just think of it as a year long vacation.

    In any case...it's not you...it's not your kids! It's her problem. Obviously your not so terrible if you last au pair was happy! ;-)

    But I would request a 3 way meeting with both of you and your local coordinator to get everything on the table. And I would suggest that you ask the agency (I don't know who you're using) to start sending you applications of girls that are in transition as well. That 14 day wait is standard, but you should be proactive in finding a replacement.

    I can't blame you for feeling weird about letting her stay with the kids alone....but that's not something I can really speak to. It has to be your gut call.

    It's stressful for all, I'm sure, but if this doesn't work out with your kids, at least it will be before they get seriously attached.

    Wish I could offer you more advice.....child care is difficult at best! I feel for you!


    Lisa

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