An au pair is second guessing a prospective offer of employment after receiving an egregiously long list of rules from a family who’d expressed interest in hiring her.
The woman shared her dilemma – plus seven screengrabs that captured the entire set of rules sent to her – to Reddit in search of guidance, titling the post: ‘SHOULD I RUN OR MATCH? NEED ADVICE.’
‘Hey everyone! Right now, I’m going through the rematch process and have already connected with three families. One family in particular has shown a lot of interest in me, and I really enjoyed talking to the host mom – they seem like such a lovely family,’ the au pair began in her post to the Aupairs subreddit.
‘However, after our conversation, she sent me a set of rules via email that struck me as a bit strict. I could use some advice as I’m not sure if I’m overreacting or if there’s a cause for concern.’
A woman took to Reddit to solicit opinions on whether she should accept an offer of employment as an au pair for a family who sent her a list of more than 80 rules to follow
The list of rules was divided by headings including: ‘rules,’ ‘outside rules,’ ‘pool rules,’ ‘au pair car rules’ and ‘au pair general rules’ (stock image)
The list sent by the mother laid out a total of 83 rules, organized under different headings — including ‘rules,’ ‘outside rules,’ ‘pool rules,’ ‘au pair car rules’ and ‘au pair general rules.’
In fairness to the family, many of the rules seemed reasonable — including ‘Avoid being overly loud’ and ‘No smoking or vaping or drugs including weed.’
At the same time, many of the stated rules seemed so obvious they arguably didn’t have to be put in writing.
These included, ‘Stay out of the street when cars are coming,’ ‘Always know where the kids are,’ ensuring the kids have their seatbelts buckled when the car is in motion, and ‘no drinking water from the pool.’
But a few of the rules struck the au pair job applicant as overly strict — particularly in the context of a list that was already 83 rules long.
For example, one rule demanded that the au pair ‘be helpful even if you are off duty, if you are around.’
Another that stirred controversy: ‘No Phone, Period. Put your phone away when you are on duty. Find a spot to put it so it will not distract you and leave it there. Set a special ring so you know it’s the host family calling.’
The family’s au pair would also be forbidden from ‘doing personal tasks’ while ‘on duty.’
A separate rule instructed the au pair to ‘shower before around people’ after ‘coming home from travel’ so as to ‘avoid spreading germs’ – a directive that, while not wildly unreasonable on the surface, does seem unnecessarily dictatorial as to the personal hygiene of an adult household staffer.
The overarching ‘rules’ category included many reasonable rule examples, such as ‘The kids are where you are’
Among the more obvious ‘pool rules’ included ‘no drinking water from the pool’
The ‘au pair general rules’ section put the employee’s curfew at midnight – or ‘8 hours prior to your schedule work time’
A rule mandating that the au pair would be expected to stay completely off her phone while ‘on duty’ also raised some eyebrows
Yet another rule forbade any guests of the au pair – whose hypothetical visit would already require preapproval from the employers – to eat any food in the household. ‘If you have friends over, they are responsible for own food unless there is a special circumstance,’ the rule states.
The ‘au pair general rules’ also put forward a curfew of midnight ‘if you are staying at our house,’ adding: ‘If staying the night out and you work the next day, curfew is 8 hours prior to your scheduled work time.’
The au pair would also be expected to ‘keep personal items out of sight’ in the ‘shared bathroom’ they’d be expected to use.
Users flooded the post with more than 2,400 comments offering their take to the original poster – OP for short.
‘If most of this list is common sense, why does it make me so uncomfortable (run),’ one wrote, with someone else responding: ‘It’s because while most of the list is common sense, the 5-10% that isn’t is really really bad and shows no willingness to compromise or be welcoming to an au pair.’
Users flooded the comments section with more than 2,400 responses offering feedback
Another commenter chimed in: ‘”No willingness to be welcoming” Bingo.’
One person offered: ‘We don’t have an au pair or nanny but I’d like to think I’d be a dream mom to work for if we did. That being said, I cannot fathom ever sending something like this. Like literally anything anywhere near this. I’d keep looking.’
To this, OP jokingly responded: ‘Can you be my host mom?’
Someone else concurred of the list: ‘Too many rules. I agree re phone because our toddler has been hurt a few times when our last AP was on her phone. That makes sense. A lot of the rules make sense. But not letting your friends eat food when they are over? Things like that are just rude.’
‘Be helpful even if you’re off duty,’ one Redditor pointed out, who added two sweat-faced emojis in imagined exasperation at the rule.
The OP’s responses to many of the comments were even more revealing of the less-than-ideal nature of the prospective job situation.
The gig, she explained, would only pay a mere weekly stipend of $200.
Referencing the rule articulating that the au pair wouldn’t be allowed to take the family’s car any farther away than Fredericksburg, i.e. within a 25 mile radius, OP mentioned that the house was located in a rural area in Virginia.
One commenter shared that the area was ‘boring and car centric,’ adding that ‘you’re gonna need good company (which doesn’t look like this family) or a way to escape and find good company(which looks hard to do with their car rules and curfews).’
OP answered this comment, declaring: ‘Based on all these details, it seems like the best decision for me would be not to match with them. I really appreciate you letting me know, as it has helped solidify my final decision not to pursue a match with this family. Thank you so much.’