27 September, 2007

Stingy Host Family Attempts to Starve Au Pair

Received Thursday, September 27, 2007 - RantWhat would you think about an au pair, who lives in and makes scrap money and is supposed to be getting room and board is living with a wealthy family on the Upper East Side that is impossibly greedy with their food? They refuse to buy food for the au pair. They buy food for themselves and the children and they put notes on all of it telling the au pair not to eat it. And they live on Park and Lexington and money is not an issue, just greed and being stingy! Notice the tags on the apples.
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66 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you with an agency? Ask for rematch. NOW.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute. Maybe they have good reason. Perhaps they employ the beefy Brit or one of the other ginormous nannies mentioned on this blog and she has wolfed down all their food and now, they try to at least preserve and protect a few pieces of fruit for the children.

Anonymous said...

Ohmygoodness. Yes, if the deal is room and board, absolute standard for au pair, they are in violation of the agreement. Please rematch ASAP.

Anonymous said...

thats horrible! where do they expect the au pair to keep their food? If it is room and board then food should be included because that is how you are paid less. Are they saving them to make something with or are they just being stingy? I know friends who write on food for their husbands or kids not to eat because they are planning on making something with it. Did they specifically tell you not to eat it and the kids can?

Kelly said...

The average Au Pair arrangement states that the Au Pair be treated as a member of the family.

If this family is denying the Au Pair the food just because they are greedy, the Au Pair should look for another host family ASAP. This family has no business pretending to afford an Au Pair. If they are denying her the food because she is raiding the fridge, the Au Pair needs to evaluate her relationship with food.

Anonymous said...

Well, if her employers see this site, she wont have to worry about it anymore will she?

Anonymous said...

The note says please do not eat ANY apples. That doesn't sound like the problem is the au pair eating too much.
This looks like yet another family not understanding the concept of the au pair as a family member. They are exploiting her as cheap labor.
Contact your agency asap and get out of there.

Yaya said...

OMG, I'm so sorry! If they are buying these ingredients for a recipe then they should label it as that, or buy extra to compensate for some being eaten. How rude!!!

Anonymous said...

leave they dirty food for them

Anonymous said...

What is in the second package? Dates? Do you think your boss is going to be pissed if she sees photos of her apples on the internet?

Anonymous said...

Thats terrible. What an awful family! If they don't want their stuff touched, they should get her own minifridge in her room. Then give her money every week to get what she wants. It doesn't sound like they value her at all. Shes not treated like a family member at all. She needs to get out of their.

em said...

Who cares if the employers are ticked off- this isnt about them- it's about the aupair- try to focus!
Are we supposed to be afraid of the employers?
Anyone who labels their food deserves to have it emblazoned not only on the net but on TV

Anonymous said...

11:26: the family should get their own mini fridge in their room? WTH? I think they are being terrible to their nanny, but this is THEIR house! Why should they keep their food in their room. Myabe they need to get the nanny a mini-fridge.

Anonymous said...

11:19....I think it says figs. Either way, yuck!

Anonymous said...

11:26 meant get a mini fridge in the au pair's room, not the family.

When a family decides to get an au pair, they are responsible for all board and lodging.

I would think the person who posted this came via an agency (the us only gives au pair visas via agencies) . Get a rematch asap. It's not worth it. There are so many great families out there: why miss out on your year abroad with a horrid, stingy (you can bet they're stingy in a lot of other ways too. Probably don't take you on holiday much, give you much time off, time, gifts etc) family?

Anonymous said...

At least they said "please"...Lol! j/k!

Anonymous said...

We really don't know the meaning behind the pictures. For all we know, those notes were put on there because the fruit was going to be used for something special (ie-a pie). Unless there is a note on every single thing in the fridge, this is BS.

Anonymous said...

1:05 This is for you stupid. I said they should get her (the nanny) her own minifridge.

Anonymous said...

sorry I meant mini-fridge

Anonymous said...

mini-fridge, spinny-pidge, find a new family.

Anonymous said...

not to be off topic - but this person doesn't seem to know where they live - you cant live on Park and Lexington, they are parallel streets...if you live between the two thats one thing, but doesn't necessarily say how much money your employers make... thats a large area

Anonymous said...

What does that have to do with the issue at hand? Who cares what street in N.Y. they live on. It has to do with holding food back from a live-in aupair.

cali mom said...

Room and board means FOOD and lodging. If she is not allowed to touch any of THEIR food, they must give her a reasonable food allowance. And if they will not do that, they are violating the terms of her employment, and she should notify the agency she was placed through. I *HOPE* she worked through an agency or she's just screwed! OP, give us an update!

Anonymous said...

HOw do we know this is even real? This nanny could have easily put these note on there for pics and be making this up.

Anonymous said...

We don't know if any of these posting are true or false.

Anonymous said...

3:19 Good point. 1/2 this stuff could be made up.

Anonymous said...

I have to say it, 1:05am you are an idiot!!

Anonymous said...

wtf is wrong with you people. give the nanny a chance just like theyre horrible nannies they are horrible ass parents. come on people youre gonna leave your kids with someone you mistreat, come on!!!!!!

spooky said...

Why would anyone go through the trouble to make up phony notes to put on fruit packages? Just to get the sympathy vote on here? Get real, idiots.

Anonymous said...

This nanny posted this first on Craigslist. If you are reading this can you let us know whats happening???

Thanks

Anonymous said...

10:22...yes she did put this on Craigslist with horrendous writing, spelling and grammar skills. I wouldn't hire a nanny that could not put a simple sentence together or spell simple words. I think this is made up.

an au pair is not a nanny said...

um, okay 9:44.
You're no mensa member yourself.
She isn't a nanny.
She's an au pair. As in, someone from another country, here to spend a year living with a family as a member of the family. Someone who gets room and board and a small stipend in exchange for childcare. Her first language may not even be English. But go ahead and judge the angry foreigner. Maybe her brain has stopped functioning since she is lacking nutrition.

Anonymous said...

9:44

Hello, just like 9:48 mentioned she is a au pair. Like mentioned she comes here to work, explore a different country, and to LEARN. Most au pairs are working here but take classes at night.

Anonymous said...

9:44
How perfect is your second language?

Anonymous said...

9:48: How do you know I am not a mensa member? She's a nanny, she's an au pair. Who cares? It's the same thing generally. They are both employed to care for the children. The title doesn't change the responsibility.

And 12:44: You don't know what country she is from. I know of several "au pairs" and they are all from England, where they speak ENGLISH! And, yes, I am aware that not all of them come from England but, that said, her writing did not look like that of struggling with a second language, it looked like that of someone who is not nearly educated enough. I would know as you will see below.

My second, and third, languages are just fine by the way. At least the students I teach them to think so.

IF this is real, I do pity her, but airing it out on craigslist and here is not going to help her situation. It's going to make her end up homeless. She needs to be professional enough to go to her employer or agency, or give notice and go home. She is handling this in a very unprofessional and immature manner. Not the kind of person I would want caring for my child.

Thankfully, I raise my own children rather than pay someone else to.

Anonymous said...

so you are pissed that you are stuck at home watching the rug rats and scrubbing the toilet rims? get over yourself lady. and don't even try to offer your opinions on something you know nothing about. an au pair is not the same as a nanny and their description is not the same.

maybe if you had a sitter watch your children a couple hours a week, you could make time to get to the doctor and have that stick removed from your ass.

Anonymous said...

If an au pair is not the same thing then why is this on this site? This site is I Saw Your NANNY!

chick said...

2:15

Because there is no "I saw your Au Pair" blog, I would assume.

And 12:29, Nanny is a childcare professional, with either a great deal of experience or a child related college degree, or both. They are generally older than 18, and they are NOT illegals working off the books.

Those illegals are babysitters. They tend to wander off and leave their charges alone, hit them, scream at them, and provide 99% of the fodder for this site.

An au pair is a young person (18 - 26) who comes to the US from a foreign country to live with a family *as a family member*, and provide a little childcare in exchange for room, board, a small stipend, and some money for college classes.

There are the differences.

And just how do you teach languages to students if you don't pay someone else to "raise your children"? Do you ignore your kids while they listen to you teach at home? Teach only at night and leave your kids with their father? Please enlighten us.

jaquawn said...

Jaquawn cannot imagine having a nanny living with him and eating his food. Jaquawn thinks if the nanny were attractive and thin, he would mind less than if the nanny were unattractive and large bodied. Jaquawn knows this is not right and this causes Jaquawn to wonder if this is a case for NAAFA to explore during their 2007 Chicago convention.

Anonymous said...

Does Jaquawn know Jimmy from Seinfeld?

Anonymous said...

If I were this Au Pair, I guarantee I'd be rinsing these forbidden fruits in the commode. Immature? Perhaps, but deeply deeply satisfying.

David Stopsky said...

Now that's just being plain cheap.

Anonymous said...

12:29 PM
"She's a nanny, she's an au pair. Who cares?..... The title doesn't change the responsibility."

Actually the title changes the responsibility of the employer. The host family for an au pair is to act in locis parentis.

As for your language skills, I'm not impressed. "I am aware that not all of them come from England but, that said, her writing did not look like that of struggling with a second language, it looked like that of someone who is not nearly educated enough. ..............At least the students I teach them to think so" Ask your students to diagram these two sentences. LOL You live in a glass house.

Sue Doe-Nim said...

Holy crap.

It's an au-pair not a slave.

Can't they switch your home?

Doesn't it make you want to do something horrible to the mother's food?

Anonymous said...

OP, Please up date us!

Anonymous said...

10:40, despite host responsibilities, she is digging her own grave, so to speak, by handling this so immaturely. She needs to contact her agency.

Secondly, I'm blogging here....not writing a novel. Get off your high horse. I also implied I teach foregin languages, not Amercican Language Arts.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this is real, anyway. Why hasn't she updated us to what is happening. Unless, her employer read this and kicked her out. Maybe, shes in a woman's shelter now.

Anonymous said...

if u dont think this is real, u must never have worked as a nanny or au pair. this is mild compared to some of the horror stories out there.

Anonymous said...

Its 2:55

2:57
Can you give examples of some of the horror stories. I was curious.
I think its terrible not feeding a nanny or aupair. Just wondering why she hasn't updated us yet.

2:57 said...

You'll have to wait and buy the book.

Anonymous said...

There are many many stories of au pairs getting mistreated. It's more common than you think. Most times it's not outright abuse- just a few extra (unpaid or $2 an hour or smth)hours of housework and babysitting under a veneer of nice-ness.

Then there are families who yell constantly at their au pairs telling them they're 'stupid' (most au pairs are college students and most aren't sending money home ,they don't come from very poor families and don't plan to be in childcare forever), the weird dads who come into their rooms in the middle of the night, the mums who go crazy at the thought of a young lady in the house (honestly if this is going to bother you, DON'T get an au pair! Besides, any young girl would prefer a young guy- not some 30/40/50-something year old married man) etc. Limited food is not uncommon- some families count how many slices of bread the au pair ate, some say au pairs have to find their own food on days off (this is NOT allowed).

I remember this au pair girl I knew was constantly cleaning. And her host family would yell at her that she missed a spot and she'd have to clean everything again. Another was constantly babysitting and was even made to pay for her air ticket plus got less than the minimum for more than maximum hours.

This is why I always advise au pairs to go via an agency- bad things happen in agencies (the first girl I wrote about went through an agency) but at least you get your air ticket paid for and there is a possibility of you changing families).

Anonymous said...

i totally worked for a family like this only no notes - just attitude and disgust - like who the f*** do you think you are. Actually I could eat small portions of the good food, large portions of the starches, and the housekeeper wasn't allowed to eat anything (she found out after eating good food to okay food to canned. The mother would always disparage her to me and it was sort of my responsibility to let the housekeeper know.) -- Yes, new family. It's not about money or food or anything like that - it's about control and keeping you belittled. It's actually a very specific technique to strip you of your dignity. I'm serious.

nanny kate said...

my friend was working for american family in london.... very rich... she was not allowed to eat in the house at all. the mother was stick thin of course. the richer they are the sticker they are.... i worked for american mom... she had no idea how to cook had only evian and egg white in the fridge.... roll on british women ! healthy attitude to food and dont starve their nannies.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous! If it's a live in nanny with room and board give her shelf space or a mini-fridge and a reasonable budget to buy her weekly food! This labeling of the food sounds like nouveau or faux rich with absolutely no class! There are classy and mannerly ways to address the food issue!

Anonymous said...

Eat the damn food anyways and when they bitch to the agency tell the agency that you ate only what was in the house and all food had labels telling you not to eat it.

Jane Doe said...

If you wish to share your au pair experience with us, please email me directly at isawyournanny@aol.com. We will not publish names, so please do not "out" employers in the comment section. If you have a viable complaint or a warning for other nannies or au pairs, please share it.

Anonymous said...

While these notes seem harsh, our au pair (not the same person as above) eats all our fruit, like a hoover.

SCREWYOU said...

That is soo harsh! I feel really bad for the nanny. If I were to buy something needed for a recipe I would just tell her...no notes! I would just tell her. By them doing this it's a way of controlling her...there is some under lying resentment here.

I would advise her to go elsewhere...move...contact the agency.

Heidi said...

It seems like this posting along with most of the commentary is coming from au pairs. So having a host family prespective might be good. I am a host mother. While my initial reacation is shock to these pictures, I have to admit that there might be more to this story than not allowing the au pair to eat food. It is documented with all au pair agencies that it is the responsibility of the host family to provide food for their au pairs. However, were those items intended for a recipe? Are they intended for a school/work function? Is the au pair inviting friends over frequently and food is being consumed at an unreasonable pace? Whatever the case, my first recommendation is NOT to rematch. That is the worst advice anyone can give and it sounds like a suggestion that is not well thought out. It seems to me that there are too many girls that come over with the idea that if it doesn't work out with their host family, it doesn't matter they can rematch and the rematch solution will be easy. What they don't know is that the rematch process is miserable for both parties involved. The family has to deal with inconveniences of having limited to no child care and the children have to sever a relationship with a girl that they probably have developed a good relationship with. The au pairs, if they move in with a friend, no longer will receive a weekly stipend. Additionally, the au pair agencies almost always side with the host families even if the host families are dead wrong. Sorry girls, but that is a fact. So more than likely when new host families look at your information about why you didn't work out with your family, it will appear as your fault, not the host families. When interviewing with new families you will hear it or feel it when they interview you and it's not fun. If the au pair remains with the host family while trying to rematch, she will be living in a very tense environment. She will be far away from her family and friends at home that support her and if she hasn't felt home sickness, she will now. So by the time she rematches with the next family, the au pair will most likely be somewhat depressed and very home sick (understandably). The likelihood of the rematched family being successful is not good. I'm not saying it's impossible - as a matter of fact, my best au pair was from a rematch.. but it will be difficult. Lastly, just as the children develop a bond with the au pair, the au pairs usually really do love the children. Detatching themselves from the children has shown to be very difficult even if the au pair detests the host family. With that being said, what I do recommend is good old fashioned communication. Au Pair programs differ from hiring a typical nanny because nannies are usually considered employees while au pairs are assumed to be "part of the family". If an au pair has a problem with a family member at home, does she move out? A mature way to approach the situation is to ask the host parents (and I emphasize both parents) to have a meeting. Sit down ahead of time and write down on paper the high points you wish to discuss. Do not address every little problem you think you are having - stick to the problem.. which is why can I NOT eat food in the refrigerator? Even if the host family starts to bring up many different topics, I would try to stay on topic. If you have to give a quick explanation for what ever it is they are unhappy about... but don't allow them to take the discussion somewhere else and make your best effort to get back to what's really going on. It is also my recommendation to try to think of a few solutions ahead of time. No one (host family/boss/etc..) likes it when their au pair/employee comes to them with a complaint without offering a solution. This again shows maturity. You might find that the host family communicates poorly. Do not assume that because the people are older than you or host parents that they are good communicators. When trying to address a difficult topic, it may be difficult to do so without becoming defensive. Keep in mind your goal is to resolve the conflict, be able to live peacefully, eat items in the refrigerator without stress, and complete your year while having fun. If the au pair does this and does not see a difference/improvement, then my recommendation is to try again with one of the host parents (not both) that she feels most comfortable with. For example, it may be that the host father wants to address the situation but needs to talk with both his partner and the au pair invididually first to completely understand the situation. If after that, the au pair still does not see improvement - then I would go to the au pair agency and see if they can offer some assistance. I warn against this though. In my experience, the au pair coordinators are greatly under trained and under paid and generally make matters worse than make matters better. So I would use this as a last resort. It's unfortunate because that's what they are there for - but that has been my experience... I'm sure there are some really terrific coordnators out there... but I've yet to find one who's been able to make a difference with a conflict! Additionally, to the coordinator's defense - once the host family realizes the au pair went around them, the host family generally is not happy with the au pair and there is little the coordinator can do to resolve the conflict and salvage the relationship. Lastly, once all of the above efforts have been done and assuming they've been done maturely and professionally - and there is still no difference, then I do recommend a rematch. Now when the au pair coordinator makes notes in the au pairs file about the au pair, she will hopefully indicate that the au pair attempted to resolve the conflict maturely and showed dedication and commitment to trying to make the relationship work - this will speak volumes to a family that is looking to rematch... because the family that's looking to rematch may have had a big problem with an au pair! So now you have an aprehensive host family who's had a bad experience with an au pair interviewing a girl who hasn't worked out with her host family... So in summary, don't give up. There may be more to this situation than what's on the surface. Being an au pair and being a host family is a commitment and it's a difficult one to make for both parties... but it makes a big difference if you can communicate well, try your hardest to put yourself in the other person's shoes so that you can understand why they might not be happy with you, and if you show that you're not ready to jump ship the minute things get difficult. Lastly, and most importantly - remember that there are no guarantees that your next family will be an improvement from the family you have now... especially if the true problem was that the au pair was eating items intended for a recipe or having her friends over and they were eating too much... and she never attempted to communicate, understand, and resolve. She will be destined to repeat the problem again and fail again. Sorry long, but hopefully meaningful to all the girls who commented or might be having other conflict and could make use of this advice. Good luck!

Heidi said...

I have to say I read some of the comments more in detail. I'm appauled and sadened by some of the postings... obviously coming from au pairs/nannies. To see so many negative comments and this back and forth and name calling. Try to understand that usually when a host family signs up for a program like this, just like the au pairs, they are excited. The host families really do think they are speaking with women who were thoroughly screened by the au pair company and have been identified as women who genuinely love and care about children. They really do think that these women want to come to the United States to enthusiastically care for their children. They really do think that these girls understand that as part of the agreement is the au pairs duty to contribute to the overall household and it may mean that cleaning is involved. I know there are extreme cases out there that host families abuse situations with au pairs and make them work too long and their expectations are unreasonable with their household duties... but I also know first hand that there are some truly awful au pairs out there. Girls who only think of themselves first. I had an au pair who came to my house whose true intention was to pursue a professional dance career and attempted to use being an au pair as her ticket to study in the U.S. Once here realizing that I had the nerve to expect that her priority was caring for my children when she signed up for a childcare program!! That was one girl - do I think that all au pairs are like this? Absolutely not! Every girl is different. Maybe I'm nieve, but I signed up because I wanted superior childcare... better than some daycare down the street. I chose au pairs over nannies - which the cost is actually about the same. Nannies may make more money, but the host families do not have to assume as many financial responsibilities as they do with an au pair (usually). I wanted a girl who should be very dedicated because she signed up for a program that would require her to be away from her family for 1 year + and she chose my family. I actually felt honored and privileged when girls agreed to stay with my family. I'm heart broken to hear these women refer to host family kids as "brats" and refer to themselves as "slaves" or complain about having to keep up their end of the bargain and YES it clearly states it just as it states that host families are responsible for providing room and board... it states that au pairs are able to help with light housework, laundry, cleaning the children's bedrooms.... Girls, I am a working professional woman - who would give my career up tomorrow to stay home with my children... but I was too ambitious early in my career and to give up my career now would be a huge financial hit to my family. Paying for my children to go to college and living in a nice area are 2 things I do not want to give up for my children so I sacrifice for my children... I'm still there for my children and I know that no au pair can replace me with my children. I guess I'm nieve to think that just as I am honored by the girls who agree to live with my family, that they should be honored to be able to care for my children who are 2 wonderful little boys who have so much love to give. I choose to continue to believe these things because I cannot even begin to think that these women cannot be such horrible people to say such horrible things. We're superior gender, ladies. Men cannot even begin to accomplish the things we do. I'm so disappointed. I hope that reading this posting it might give new perspective. It might stop this unecessary and counterproductive bashing towards one another. If you cannot offer constructive advice to these people who come to these sites to seek helpful advice, then please keep your hurtful words to yourself. Ripping on one another for typos, for gramatical mistakes, for mistating street information - it's unecessary and you're not helping this girl who probably really needs help... because again YES I assume that she's not making this up... I assume her family really may be mistreating her. I hope I am not wasting my time and I make a difference with WOMEN, not girls - who are not mature enough to process this posting and be able to really get why they are here. You truly are so important. Your role in the family is huge. When a host family has a great au pair, it's a great and bad thing at the same time because you never want the girl to leave because she really does become a part of the family... which is what this is really is about.

Heidi #1 said...

Welcome Heidi with the blogger ID, are you new?

I love your comments. Very solid thinking. And you are correct, I think a lot of people who use au pairs don't need full on nanny care. They use the au pair in the spirit she is intended and welcome her into their homes and take her on vacations across the US, to visit family in the US, to share in American Holidays and do so with great excitement and open hearts.

But there are some people who see an au pair as a "cheap nanny".

Anonymous said...

Hello an Au Pair is NOT a cheap Nanny. Au Pairs cost a min. of $17K per year plus room and board. Oh yes, and you have to pay their college/university classes. Oh, and an extra car, gas @ $4.20 per gallon these days. Extra money for kids activities. You are talking $27K / year by the time its said and done. NOT AT ALL a cheap Nanny.

Anonymous said...

27K a year? Yes, that is cheap. OMG!
35 is cheap!

Anonymous said...

There is no reason to treat a human being that way, to me is very unrespectful and humiliating I am an aupair and if somebody do this to me I just go away from that house

Fly said...

Thinking that au-pairs are cheap domestic servants isn't new and will probably always be around. And the people who mistreat them are not likely to change their mean ways. Vote with your feet, quit, find a better family. There are good ones.

Nana said...

I'll bet she did just that.
Two years ago.