Au Pair childcare is not for all families, but is it for yours? Host Mom and fellow-blogger Cyndi Frick shares the good, the bad and the ugly. Check it out! There really wasn’t that much ugly, but she will make you laugh. Pay close attention to her final line – she may never be able to live without an au pair!
The benefits of having a young, energetic, if sometimes immature, caregiver can outweigh the need to ramp up your communication skills, like Cyndi needed. I can just picture some of my Host Moms trying to explain their kids’ behavior to their au pair, as the au pair is looking at the child with some disdain. It does help me understand how some Host Moms just give up the idea of getting all they can out of the cultural exchange experience that is hosting. If you’re unwilling or unable to put a fair amount of effort into teaching your new au pair about your family, home and community, hosting may not be your thing.
Cyndi makes it perfectly clear, and I want Host Moms everywhere to hear this: it takes work. If you expect a young adult from another country to move in with you and have the routine down in a week, you are dreaming or have had an incredible au pair experience. While au pairs do come to you with experience, it has most often been in their home country. She may or may not have lived with her previous employers, and likely they spoke her native tongue.
Imagine how much more adjusting your au pair has to do compared to you, the Host Family. Yes, this person will live with you for a year or two, caring for your children and living and eating with your family. Your au pair has left all he or she knows to live with strangers who speak a language in which she is not completely fluent, and she is responsible for the well-being of your children, making new friends for herself, and completing college credit requirements for the program! Your au pair is busy and deserves you to put in the work to train her well.
Why? Just ask Cyndi, as she is a real Host Mom. The unseen benefits, beyond the 45 hours of FLEXIBLE childcare, the added lifelong friend for her family and the cultural exchange and appreciation, far outweigh the personal stretching she had to endure as part of life with a 20 year old stranger with another language and culture. Host Families will reap what they sow. Put a bit of effort into helping your au pair understand your kids and family in the beginning and your friendshlp may know no end!
If you are interested in a live-in childcare au pair experience for your family, contact me, Joan Lowell, your RI area Local Area Representative for Go Au Pair, at 401.309.1925 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also register for FREE online – tell them Joan Lowell sent you!