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Has anyone ever had an au pair? The exchange student thread got me thinking about this again.

 

I just think it might be fun and a rich experience. I don't need it so much for the childcare.... Hmmmm... DH thinks it might be expensive though; I've only skimmed the surface.

 

Pros?

Cons?

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Worst experience of my life. Seriously.

 

I had two. The first one thought she was the mother and would blatantly disregard anything I said. When she wasn't with the kids she would stay locked up in her room.

 

The second one came to party and see the US. Childcare was the last thing on her mind. She lasted a month.

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Worst experience of my life. Seriously.

 

I had two. The first one thought she was the mother and would blatantly disregard anything I said. When she wasn't with the kids she would stay locked up in her room.

 

The second one came to party and see the US. Childcare was the last thing on her mind. She lasted a month.

 

Same here.

 

We had an au pair after DS11 was born, it was a disaster; she was a hormonal, rebellious teenager who made my life a nightmare at a time when I most needed support.

 

The second au pair was a girl who had previously been an au pair for another family in our village and had cleaned and babysat for us in her spare time. When we took her on as a full-time au pair, however, she suddenly became very moody and super-sensitive about everything, and would only communicate with my DH.

 

I've never been brave enough to try again, although a friend of mine who lives in London has had dozens; she quite ruthlessly gets rid of any who give her any trouble without a second's thought. Her mother also had au pairs when she was a child; apparently her mother's main problem at that time, in the late 70s/early 80s was having to escort a number of them to the abortion clinic :001_huh:.

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My sister has had quite a few. Most have been just fine; some have been wonderful and have become lifelong friends of the family, and some were just ok. I don't think she ever had a really bad experience with one, though.

 

A few years ago, I spent a couple of weeks staying with my niece and nephew and their au pair while my sister was on a business trip, as the au pair cannot stay with the children overnight without another adult present. I thought this one did as good a job as any nanny or paid caregiver. She was very responsible and involved with the kids.

 

I think a lot of it depends on the au pair agency and their policies and screening. The agency has requirements of the au pair and family, and follows up with both weekly. My sister used Cultural Care Au Pair and was happy with them for many years. It is pretty expensive, though--I think an au pair through Cultural Care costs nearly $18,000 a year. But for multiple children needing childcare, that is a pretty good deal.

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