English Mums Are 'Lazy And Selfish' Says Survey Of Au Pairs

02/08/2010 10:19 | Updated 22 May 2015

English mothers are lazy, slow and selfish, according to a new survey of foreign au pairs working in Britain.

The study found that au pairs believe that if a family chooses to employ them, they must be 'either lazy, or lack proper care and consideration for children and for people in general'.

Many complained that English women were too slow. One claimed that it took as much time for her employer to prepare carrots as it did for the au pair to clean the whole house.

And as for the man of the house: in the au pair's eyes, he's more than likely to be a sleazy sexual predator who will try to get her into bed.

These unflattering views are revealed in the first academic study on the subject. Authors Daniel Miller, professor of anthropology at University College London, and Zuzana Burikova, an ethnologist at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, have just published their book, Au Pair, after a year's intensive research.

Dr Burikova interviewed 50 au pairs from Slovakia who were working in London, representing 86 host families.

Slovaks form one of the largest groups of the 90,000 au pairs thought to be working in Britain.

The employees were found to have a generally low view of women who think they can 'have it all' by juggling the demands of work and family.

One, employed by a mother who worked from home selling antiques on eBay, was 'shocked' when the mother just seemed to be playing games on the computer and failing to take an opportunity to be with her child.

Another was 'horrified' when she was regularly employed as a babysitter so that the couple could stay at home and watch TV together without interference from their children.

One au pair was told by the man of the house that he would be waiting for her in the Jacuzzi. The au pair quit soon after.

Other au pairs told the researchers they were asked to clear up sex toys and lingerie in their hosts' bedrooms.

'These people have no shame and behave as swines,' said one.

Some of the quotes from the study include the following:

'An English mother has three wonderful children... she works from home... fortunately she has an au pair because to spread butter on toast for all three, to make their beds, defrost their ready-made food for dinner, to vacuum, iron, sweep the floor, all this would be really, really too much for an English mother.'

'I'm surprised that children and parents don not eat the same food, and that parents seem to buy healthy food like vegetables and fish for themselves, and not for their children.'

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