Hosting an au pair is relatively common in Europe and other countries. Why isn’t it more common in the United States? San Francisco Bay Area Moms is a community of contributing mom-bloggers who often discuss the stress and overwhelm of motherhood, among other things. I wonder how different this community would be if we each had an au pair.
During the first three years of motherhood, I was either pregnant, recovering from labor, or nursing. We had two boys under two. I was lucky enough to stay home, breastfeed, make food purees, and nap when I could. However, I rarely left our house during that time, and when I did, I was carrying two kids with opposing nap schedules and diets. It was hard. I don’t regret staying home; however, I remember the stress of long days and loneliness.
Every kid-free moment my husband and I had during that time was made possible with child care assistance.
Now that my kids are in grade school, I am immersing myself in a full-time writing career, and we are again considering hosting an au pair as an option. While our family would have benefited from having an au pair when the kids were younger, having one now in grade school would be just as beneficial.
The company we’re considering is called Au Pair in America. Check them out! If you’re wondering what an au pair does, visit their site. In short, an au pair will do everything I spent the last seven years doing; caring for and loving the kids. Individual families set the roles and responsibilities according to particular needs. These arrangements with au pairs are set for 12 months (with the option to extend for an additional year) through the agency, which works to ensure that the family and the au pair are both satisfied with the agreement.
It sounds fantastic, right? So, how much is it? Before I looked at their pricing, I considered all the money we’ve spent on date-night nannies, the afternoon one-off/last-minute help, and the overnights and weekends when we’ve had to inconvenience family. I also considered all the events, places, and things I couldn’t commit to because of child care. Considering the time and energy we’ve already spent, hosting an au pair, specifically through Au Pair in America, is affordable.
Gain a role model. Impact a Young Person’s Life.
Au Pairs can also make wonderful mentors and positive role models for their host children. Because au pairs are between the ages of 18 and 26, they often fill the role of “older sibling”.
As a teen, I worked as a nanny abroad. I know firsthand how much I benefited from being in a home while away from my own. This firsthand experience gives me so much resolve when considering an au pair for my family.
I look forward to meeting an au pair who will fit nicely into the routine of our home and family. Mostly, I look forward to considering them family.