From an Au Pair mom.
It is important to talk about boundaries and how you see the relationship with your future au pair with your partner.
There is no one answer – every family has a different culture, different levels of comfort with physical contact with others, and different standards of what a casual conversation is and how long it should take. In my family, we don’t casually touch any stranger of opposite sex, and my husband is not a chatty type who is likely to stay up talking for hours to an au pair. My comfort boundaries have never been crossed in my husband’s relationship with our au pairs.
When preparing to host an Au Pair, it is important to discuss those boundaries, and write down the rules of the relationship with an au pair, that will make both spouses comfortable. And if an issue arises after the au pair arrives, it is important to revisit those rules.
In summary, in order to make both host parents comfortable hosting an adult of an opposite sex in the house, there are three things to consider:
1. Be confident in the stability of the marital relationship.
2. Involve both spouses in the selection of an au pair, to ensure that the spouse of the opposite sex doesn’t find the au pair extremely attractive to the point of discomfort.
3. Discuss the boundaries of the relationship with an aupair, that will make the host mother of a female au pair, or a host father of a male au pair, comfortable.
If you are getting ready to welcome a new au pair into your home, see more advice at How to welcome your new au pair