By SallyB2 Last edited 135 months ago

What on earth possesses people to get an au pair? And why is there no shortage of applicants for such work?

OK, Londonist isn’t stupid. There are lots of hardworking parents out there who either can’t afford proper childcare or can’t find anything suitable. And there are even more desperate young (for the most part) women who want to come to England to study but need that little financial boost. On paper it is the perfect arrangement – Mr. & Mrs. get live in child-care with the option of light cleaning and laundry duties thrown in, and Fifi/Inga/Marie-Claire gets free accommodation, the opportunity to practice the old lingo, and a wage of sorts. So that’s why. And when the right combo is found, it can be an au-pairing made in domestic heaven.

But deary-me there is so much that can wrong. For starters, the idea of introducing an attractive, vulnerable teenager into a standard nuclear family (if there is such a thing anymore: discuss) is a recipe made for stand-up comedy at the very least. And then, most of these (albeit willing and pleasant) girlies have little or no idea which end of a baby is which, and so placing your darling progeny in such hands can at best be construed as foolhardy.

So the news story which caught our eye this weekend – Greenford-based former police officer in the dock for spanking 17 year old au pair – is not quite as News-of-the-World-ish as it first seemed: it is sad, farcical, pathetic even, but not all that surprising.

Piccie courtesy of one-11’s flickr photo stream

Last Updated 21 October 2007