Rule no. 4- You are NOT a maid

This rule is very difficult. Not just to follow, but difficult in general. Most families, when describing your duties will say "light housework." As soon as you hear this ask for a specific list of what you will be expected to do. This is essential. I did not do this with my family, and I have been having an incredibly difficult time with them because of it. You are not a maid. You are not there to clean their house. You are there to look after their children. So not only ask for a specific list of duties, but ask for them to email it to you. That way you have a hard copy from them on what you will be required to do. So that if you ever feel like you are being over-worked, or taken advantage of, you can take that paper and say "See! I came here with these tasks to do, and nothing more. I am not your maid!" And always remember that they need you more than you need them.

A few things that will be normal for an au pair to do for their family:

  • Sweeping (once or twice a day)
  • Vacuuming (max. every other day, NOT everyday)
  • Mopping (once a week, sometimes more)
  • Ironing/ Laundry (I recommend keeping your clothes and the children's cloths in the same hamper and washing them together, separately from their parents so that you will not have to handle your employer's laundry at all)
  • Dusting (once a week, or when needed)
  • Cleaning the kitchen
  • Light cooking for the children (If you do not know how to cook, make sure that your family knows this before you get there)
  • Picking up the children's room
These things are normal to do, it looks like a lot, but it's not that much really. Things that an au pair are NOT required to do:
  • Laundry (touching your employers dirty underwear is not your job)
  • Cleaning up after the children/pets if they get sick (meaning if they vomit, NOT your job to clean up)
  • Spring cleaning
  • Cleaning of bathrooms/ toilets (unless the au pair is the only one using said toilet)
  • Cleaning windows, walls, ceilings, floors
  • Mowing the lawn
Now I recommend that before agreeing to go work as their au pair, both family and prospective au pair must be clear of the duties expected. Therefore if the family is asking more than what you are comfortable with you know that from the beginning and you can either find a compromise that you are both comfortable with, or you can find a different family. 

Another thing that is very important: an au pair is allowed to work a MAXIMUM of 5 hours per day, and 30 hours per week with one full day off. 

This is very important to remember and make sure is clear to your family. Do not let them over work you. And do not allow yourself to be over worked! This is where Rule no. 2 comes in handy. Go to your room, read a book, skype your parents/friends/boyfriend/girlfriend, take a nap. Your room is your sanctuary. Use it!





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