Au Pairing, 50 years ago – Part 2

Tips and Advice

Written by Tina Collins, Tina is now living in Sicily with her Sicilian husband of 40 plus years. She survived her years as an AuPair in Sicily and decided to live there after retirement.

Family life had no routine. The boys were taken to school by the driver and usually went to the grandparents to eat (school was only half day). The little girl usually stayed with me, but it was difficult to amuse her. They had no toys. Very often the parents ate out and the girl was taken to the grandparents.

After about 10 days the cook/housekeeper disappeared and life became difficult as there was no food in the house.
On one of my mornings in the park with the girl I was delighted to be approached by a group of Australian/English/Maltese au pairs – and to be able to speak English!! They told me ‘my’ family were well known as usually never kept a girl longer than a couple of weeks. One of the other AuPairs was going home after 6 months and suggested I might like to meet the family she was with as they had asked her to find someone for them I
thanked them and said I’d see how things went, however, just a few nights later I was awakened by the parents having a terrible argument ending with the husband crashing into my room and wanting my bed!!  The next day I went to the park (the girls had told me there was always a group of them there with their charges) and said that yes, I’d like to
meet another family!


Meeting the second family was like stepping into another world.  Apart from the fact the mother was my age, the children aged 2 and 1 had a room full of toys and bright colours and I gladly accepted the offer. The mother spoke English quite well and was keen
to improve. Leaving the first family was a drama I’d never witnessed, crying, screaming, breast beating…….but just one month after I’d left London I moved in with the second family, where life was totally different.

The mother was a good mother, and was always present, I soon made friends with the toddlers (I slept in their room) and felt on cloud nine with proper meals and lots of laughter Dad only had eyes for his wife and we formed a good friendship I was made part of the family even when we went to the maternal grandparents.The paternal grandparents were less friendly and I could feel I was being judged all the time.


For the first few weeks we had a problem, as the first mother would wait outside the apartment block of my new host family and have hysterics asking me to go back. This upset the little ones, who of course didn’t know what this hysterical woman wanted, so if we saw her, I would have to dash in with the children while their mother tried to
reason with her.

More to come next time!

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  • Reply
    carla macario
    July 21, 2017 at 6:19 am

    hello, I’d love to know how you had left your first host familly, did you gave them time to find someone else to mind their kids or did you just left as soon as you told them. I am having a terrible experience with my host mum and I really wanna leave as soon as possible. One of the kids needs psychological help, he is extremely violent and the situation has came to a non return point. Life became impossible, he hit me and his younger sisters, get mad for no reason, he even locked me out of the house with his sisters. I obviously told the mom who doesn’t seem to really worry about the situation, she even reject the fault on me. I wanna leave because the situation really affects and make me sick. I feel like the situation became very dangerous for everyone. What do you think I should do ? How should I leave ?
    I am looking forward for your answer

  • Reply
    Funny Nanny
    July 21, 2017 at 9:20 am

    I am sorry you are having a hard time with your current family. I think it all depends, did you find the position through an agency? Do you have a place to stay while you look for another job? Will you return to your home country? I always recommend letting the family know how you feel and what your intention is and giving them some time to look for a replacement. If you have a contract that time may be listed in the contract. If you feel you are in imminent danger then you need to do what is best for you.
    I hope this helps, keep us posted!

  • Reply
    carla macario
    July 21, 2017 at 11:53 am

    thank you so much for answering so fast
    I feel like himself and his other siblings are in danger. He puts himself and others in dangerous situations and the fact that I can’t get anything from him when he is in a bad mood really scares me, because if something bad happens, I would be the one responsible, that is why I wanna leave quickly, because I really can’t handle such situations. I know that their grandmother, who lives up the road would be able to mind them, so the mom won’t be in big troubles. I am here since 7 months and I was not aware of that kid’s problems when I came, but I kind of dealt with it and it was most of the time okay. I told the mom about his issues and she told me that she was going to try to send him to a psychologist, I waited and nothing happened. Moreover the situation in the house is not very healthy for the kids, their rooms are extremely dirty (they sleep without bed sheets, their nappies are left for weeks in the bathroom and the smell is awfull…) I did way more that what I was supposed to do since I came, and now one of them calls me mom sometimes and it is terrible… This experience made me grow up, I was very naive at first and now I am just realizing how unhealthy this situation is. Kids should not leave in such atmosphere, and I wanna help them, but I dont know what to do. In the meantime I wanna leave because I cant do that anymore ( and yes I have somewhere to stay ).

  • Reply
    Funny Nanny
    July 21, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I think you have just answered your question 🙂 The situation you describe is one that should be discussed with social services as it is unhealthy for the children. I think you already know what the right thing to do is.

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