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*WARNING: You may find mistakes in the following story as it was sent by a non-native English speaker. For the sake of authenticity, the message have not been altered.
Hello everybody! I’m a former au pair from Italy 🇮🇹. I’m writing this to let you know about my terrible experience as a summer au pair in Ireland, which I endured last May.
“Let’s start from the beginning…”
The first week everything appeared to go well, at least to me; I was being guided by the au pair in rematch and even met up with two other au pairs (my host dad had given my number to one of them for us to become friends) and I started familiarizing with the city and the surrounding area by hitting the gym and attending a meeting for volunteers at the above mentioned shrine. I immediately created a bond with one of the kids, while the other one needed more time to get used to a new person, as the other au pair once told me, the same for the parents, except for some misunderstandings due to the fact that they spoke English very fast and with a strong accent which were later clarified; they even worried for me as I had been suffering from a terrible toothache throughout the weekend, which caused me some pretty annoying pain.
“The second week started and my nightmare began…”
The more I spent time with the family in fact, the more I realized how strict the parents were towards me, and how spoiled the kids were (I blame the parents for this anyway), refusing to eat unless they could play with an electronic disposal and always fighting for the toys. One of them in particular was extremely challenging when it came to eat. He screamed and acted as though he wasn’t up to obey everytime I tried to feed him; This caused a big frustation for the parents, who accused and blamed me for this issue, even if the kid wasn’t used to me already. The dad in particular once got so angry for this and for other issues (for which I always apologized) that he started insulting me.
“He said that I had lied regarding my skills with kids”
He even cursed in front of me and the kids; later that evening, I confronted him and told him that what he had said had hurt my feelings; he apologized for his behaviour, he looked repented and even offered me to stay downstairs for dinner and eat some Chinese food all together with his wife, an offer that I accepted very willingly. I calmed down a little and started to trust him again..
“How naive I’ve been! This was only the beginning…”
The kid continued to reject the food I gave him and both of them once didn’t drink enough water (I apologized and gave them more water the following day, even though one kid did nothing but spilling it on the floor) but clearly this wasn’t enough for the parents; so I decided to try to gain their respect and appreciation by humbly suggest some proposals in order to solve these issues I was no longer able to bear with; for instance, I proposed the mother to discuss together an article about children nutrition I had found on a website, and asked to borrow some books at the library for me to read them, so that I could find some suggestions…how I wish I never did it!
“They got angry and started yelling at me, insulting me and threatening to go and sue me to the police for child abuse (!) claiming that the kids were malnourished and dehydrated because of me.”
The mom became offensive ’cause she had assumed the books I was asking for were for her (they were for me instead) and everytime I tried to defend my opinions I was being silenced..so I informed them about my wish to leave immediately, to which the dad yelled that I had to stay until a new rematch (apparently to him forcing me to stay in such unpleasant environment against my will didn’t represent a crime);
“After that, the mom called her brother and made him stay at home with me to be my supervisor and control everything I did with the kids.”
I spent the day with this stranger, who luckily was kind and gentle with me; I even sent a message to the mom to apologize for what happened but she didn’t reply and once at home, she treated me like I was someone unwanted in that house, but the worse had yet to come..as the dad came back home, he informed me that he wanted to talk to me; so after a while, he knocked on my door and took me to the living room where he made me sit on the couch while he would interview me about my mistakes in order to take notes of that and report it to the agency; the interview was being recorded, but I never gave my consent for it, nor he had asked for it (apparently he didn’t consider it a crime neither).
At the end of this interview, wich basically consisted in him insulting me, accusing me of being a very bad person and silencing me everytime I tried to explain my thoughts, the host dad offered me another chance to stay with them, which I turned down because I felt like I couldn’t trust him nor his wife no longer and informed him that I was already packing my stuff to leave the following day at 5am (to catch the very first train to Dublin); this made his anger burst!
“He ordered me to leave immediately,”
he gave me only 30 minutes to pack all my belongings and i strongly suspect that he even turned off wifi because when i came to my room i found out it was off and he had stayed on all the day (and the previous days) long; whatsmore, he knew i used it to call my family via WhatsApp, for i had told him upon my arrival. So he basically kicked me out at 8pm (thankfully it was still sunny) and i got rescued by some random people who found me shaking and crying on the edge of the busy road nearby with my heavy luggage; they took me home with them,offered food and beverages, helped me book a flight back home and the accompanied me to a local hotel, where i spent the night scared and still crying. The following morning they gave me a lift to the train station, where i cought the train to Dublin and went to the airport. Once in Italy, my brother in law picked me up at the airport and as i arrived home, i inform my family of what really happened.
I decided to contact the agency to report everything and they confronted the family about it, but they replied by sending an email full of lies and slinders, depicting me as an unstable, aggressive and religious obsessed person who could accuse them of anything….
Needless to say that this has since caused me actual anxiety and nightmares at night. I even reported it to the embassy, with no result, for the agency refused to proceed despite my concerns regarding the safety of a new potential au pair girl they are already looking for.
Nowadays, I’m finally moving on, but i’ll probably need some more time to forget about what happened..i think of the kids everyday, sometimes i feel even guilty for abandoning them,but i couldn’t live with such mentally abusive and manipulative people like my host parents were..i feared for my wellness, and i even caught the dad staring at my bare legs in three different occasion (i was wearing a long skirt, a summer dress and a bath suit in my room when he entered in after knocking repeatedly).
Now i’m home safe, i’ve reprised the job i had before leaving and i’m making big plans for my life; i hope and pray the next au pair girl who will live with this family and hope she won’t be treated like that by the parents, who, indeed, were described as serious, respectful and open minded people in the account of the website where i found them.
Founder of “Au Pairs Chronicles” and author of the novel “#AUPAIRCHRONICLES”, my main goal is to help and motivate people, including au pairs to live their dream. My favorite quote is ” Be somebody nobody thought you could be.”