Monday, October 06, 2008

Not Helping

In the past few weeks, I have befriended a local au pair at the schoolyard. Basically, none of the moms really want to talk to any of the babysitters or au pairs and I can't make friends with any of the babysitters because I don't speak Spanish.

In the hour I am waiting for my charge to finish playing soccer or football in the play yard, the au pair vents about her home family. When I went to pick up my little boy a few weeks ago, I witnessed first-hand how the mom treats her. The mom was basically going over which children's shoes to throw out and which ones to keep, but in the time she was "showing" the au pair how to do this task, she could have just done the task herself. This wasn't really so much micro-managing as it was power-tripping.

An example of one of the mean things the mom does? They were all in the car and the mom looks at the au pair and says to her: "Something smells in here. Oh, it's you. You STINK." She says that it wouldn't be so bad, but the kids are really awful to her also, and curse at her and call her names all the time and everyone treats her like a slave.

The funny thing is that she's from a place where there are no Jewish people and this family she's staying with is Jewish, so when I tell her to try to get assigned to another family, she said, "I should, because not ALL of the families will be Jewish."

I quickly tell her, "Not ALL Jewish families are mean. You just happen to be staying with a mean family. Who HAPPENS to be Jewish. A lot of my friends are Jewish and they're AWESOME."

She looked at me like, "Yeah, right." And I felt really bad for her. I really think that if you are hosting an au pair, you need to be extra nice because then the au pair will think Americans suck. That mean lady is creating an Anti-Semite in her own house.

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