Au pair gossip can at times be the thing that brings you closer to your au pair, or the very thing that ends up pulling you apart!
Gossip is a dangerous thing and when someone is living with you there is always going to be that niggle of doubt about whether they they are telling their friends and in some cases your neighbours about your personal lives.
When an au pair arrives at my house I have my little talk about the do’s and dont’s. I always tell them that there are different kinds of families and different kinds of au pairs. Whilst staying with us they will hopefully meet lots of new friends from other families and that these girls will all gossip about one thing and another, but in my experience they are “the unhappy ones” so I tell my girls … not to get involved.
The first thing that au pairs always talk about is money: how much are you getting paid per week, how many hours do you work, how many children are in your family, what are your duties ? And so on. I guess this is a given and an excepted part of having an au pair. However at times this gossip can change in tone from the usual to details about the family and what goes on behind closed doors. In my opinion this a complete breach of trust.
Don’t get me wrong, I know none of us are innocent and we all have a little gossip now and then, but would you gossip about a friend knowing it would go straight back to them, no.
Au pairs, if you want to say something about the family, tell your friends at home, not the au pair next door. They will tell their host mother who will tell their friends. Everything gets back in the end.
Before I sound like I am putting the blame all on au pairs, I also know that host families are just as much at fault of gossiping and in some instances even worse!
I know host mothers who go through their au pairs draws, when they are out, and in one instance I know a host mother who found the au pair’s diary and spent the afternoon, with a dictionary and a cup of tea, translating it. The damage only started there, this host mother told her friend (who is very close to her au pair) she told her au pair and then she told the poor innocent au pair, whose diary had been read.
Personally I can’t imagine what that breach of trust must feel like and I really don’t think I could look my au pair in the eye after prying on her like that. Suffice to say the au pair left and the host family lost a fantastic au pair… was it really worth it?
Over the years I have been told about affairs, violence in the home, drug taking, open marriages and the list goes on… do I really want to know what goes on in other people’s houses? Whilst it may seem interesting at the time we have to live with the knowledge long after the au pairs have gone.
What do you do? Do you do you tell the host family that their au pair is spreading the word on their private affairs? Do you tell your au pair about the prying host mothers? In my experience gossip, however harmless, is always dangerous and will never be a good start or end to au pair experience.