Thursday, September 9, 2010

Au Pair Catch-22

Today is a big rush of a teaching day for me.  Then I run home to pick up my daughter at 2:30. I pick her up Thursdays, partner does it Tuesdays, and we have our babysitter do it MWF. 

My daughter loves to play with her neighbor friend.  They play at our house, and they play so nicely and quietly up in her room that I am able to get at least another hour's worth of work done in the afternoon. 

But that might come to an end because the friend's mom--my neighbor--has an au pair for her two girls.  And the au pair's contract states that she cannot watch anyone else's child--so my daughter can never ever go over to her friend's house to play before 5:30pm (and after 5:30pm their family eats and goes to bed).  The girls can only play over here.  That is an odd imbalance, but I'm OK with it because that stipulation is meant to protect the au pair from being overworked and otherwise taken advantage of.

But now, the mom is concerned that her daughter is at our house too much (1 hr, 3-4times/wk).  Her younger daughter doesn't get as much play time with her sister.  But it also seems that the au pair is sometimes sitting at home with no kids when the parents get home, as both kids are at their friends' houses.  And that seems to be a problem.  Basically, they don't want to overwork her (as many families with au paires seem to), but I think they want her to be actively caring for the girls all of her 45-hr week and thus getting their money's worth. 

Something of a Catch-22. She's still figuring out what she wants (the mom, that is).  But she mentioned limiting her daughter to one trip to our house a week.  That option sucks--for me and the girls, anyway.

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