Au Pair, Nanny and Host-Family Complaints

Complaint Against Emily, American Au Pair

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Complaint   >> Posted: May 25 '16 by Tiffany in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Emily committed to our family 6-8 months prior to arrival after several talks w/ her and her parents for a 3-month commitment, March 12-June 9, 2016. Our Job Description was specific, was discussed and agreed upon prior to arrival, as well as interactions amenable the initial 4 weeks of having her join our family. One who boasted that communication was key, we only learned of some issues--which could have been fixed if brought up--from a letter she left on our counter after she inexcusably walked out on us without notice as we returned from an overseas vacation/work trip. We left for wks 5-6, thereby giving her 2 wks off to travel Europe until our return 25 April 2016. The day prior to our flights back, I received a voicemail that she decided to leave. She bailed without 2 wks’ notice as per the contract. From her location details, she did not 'just' leave; in fact, she had been back in the US for a few days already and did not tell me until the latest possible moment prior to our return travel. Since we were arriving back in country on a Sunday afternoon and the "Monday routine" of school, work, and after-school activities were beginning the next day, I had minimal time to react. The 24 hours prior to my international flight, I had to re-build our life at least for the upcoming week for after-school care, instead of focusing on family visitation. Now being 21 May, this abruptness of leaving forced us to go in hyper-drive week by week for the past 5 wks to re-build, re-schedule and plan, forcing us to take off several more hours from work unexpectedly just to make everything work.We as host families must rely on a potential au pair’s profile to be true. If one has an issue, you discuss it to resolve the conflict. Although she claimed to believe all matters could be solved through communicating one's feelings, she never discussed anything that bothered her. We were completely blind to anything being wrong. Instead of facing us upon our return, she took the easy way out and left us high and dry. The 4-page letter she left on our counter to find upon our return contained 1 page of "Suggestions" which I found interesting since she had never been an au pair, she is an only child, and she contradicted most of what was in her profile. E.g. she said she was willing to help with any need, outgoing and high energy. These were far from the truth as she inconsistently picked up toys, never tidied the girls’ room, and sporadically completed the nightly routine of cleaning up the kitchen after dinner always leaving dishes in the sink and the dish drainer, not consistently unload the dishwasher, and not finish laundry every night with dry things left all over the racks, not folded, and kids’ clothes not put away correctly. She complained of her bed being uncomfortable, that we were picky, and that she thought the duties we had her do were not normal au pair duties. However, my job duties are in alignment with what a normal au pair job is as per several au pair websites; not to mention all other 13 au pairs prior to her never complained of any of these things. She was incessantly on her cell phone—even while having one-on-one time with my girls. Her phone was glued to her hand 24/7 for the 1st 3 wks. At the end of the 1st wk, we had a “team meeting” to discuss feelings, tasks (+/-‘s), and we asked her to curb her phone use while in front of the girls. The restraint lasted 2 days and culminated and the end of the 2 wks with her bringing her phone to the dinner table during breakfast lunch and dinner constantly during Easter weekend—after we had said 1 wk prior “no phone at the dinner table”—she began placing it under her placemat and it pinged all during meals. At the end of week 3, we had another team meeting. We directed her that during the time the girls would be present (4-5 hrs), her phone needed to be placed in the next room and that she could obviously check it often. She could not handle this. I took the time to calculate the hours per day she potentially could be on her phone. How is 9 hours/day of cell phone usage not enough? (If you’re going to play dolls, texting should not be in the picture.) Upon going to her Instagram account, I found that she took my car without my authorization joy-riding as the car was only to be used for work. She boasted driving almost 100mph on the Autobahn--and took a picture of the tachometer while driving—of which she knew phone operation of any kind is prohibited by Germany law.In an effort to educate her, explain some things, and answer her letter since she did not talk to us, I responded with a letter that I do not mind sharing as it would not upload to this system. If all you need is someone to play with your kids, not pick up that often, not do much housework of any kind, only clean her dishes that she dirties and the kids', and only focus otherwise on cooking and eating, then this is the au pair for you.