I am a working dad and physician, and father of three lovely kids. We tried to host an Au Pair for the first time, through CULTURAL CARE AU PAIR (one of the bigger agencies). Wow, what a DREADFUL experience! They proved themselves soulless, clearly more interested in being inflexible about rules than supportive of complex situations (our au pair, who was lovely, had some issues w a prior family that made them turn on her like nothing I've ever seen!).
Help! Any advice for an exhausted dad and mom, who have been scarred by their first attempt at being good au pair parents? Are the other agencies any more caring or considerate?
father of Lillie, Sam and Asher
Hi Ben, There are a LOT of us who have had great experiences with au pairs and who would be happy to share general tips and very specific advice with you. Come over to our blog www.AuPairMom.com, post a general question or a specific one, and we'll do our best to help. AuPairMom is written by moms for host parents of all types. We are not selling anything and we are not affiliated with any agencies, so we are free to talk candidly about experiences. Come to the blog, use the search box, check out the list of previous posts (over 125 of them on a range of topics), check out the sample guidelines and family handbooks -- there should be a lot that will help.
Don't give up on au pairs as an option--- they can add a LOT to your family. And, there are several different agencies (which vary in their emphasis and support). In addition, the local counselors matter a great deal... a good counselor can make up for a less responsive agency, and even a great agency will have a crappy counselor here or there. Come over to AuPairMom.com, check out the resources, and join the conversation. see you there? Moms@AuPairMom
The local counselor is very important in a situation like yours. She is the direct link between you, your aupair and the agency and usually has a lot of influence. A skilled counselor can be invaluable to any match. She can help getting well prepared for the "aupair experience". She can help you with pre-screening, set up expectations, provide advice for effective communication. At www.aupairselectionadvice.net we even go a step further. We provide phone interview questions, which are hard to come by, because of concerns regarding liability. www.aupairselectionadvice.net was started by a counselor with over 14 years of experience. Experience with hundred's of matches.
Not many counselors go above and beyond. This one does. Out of pure idealism. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't get discouraged. There are many, many great aupairs out there. It is just a matter of putting in some time to find the right match for you.
We also have a Forum for Host Parents where you can share experiences, get advice and support from other host families.
I am sure that www.aupairselectionadvice.net will be a great resource for you.