There’s no shortage of things that stress moms out. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, stress management may be something that’s been on your mind lately.
Juggling the responsibilities of parenthood, work, managing a household, and generally just being an adult can be exhausting. We all know prolonged periods of stress aren’t good for us, and can lead to health concerns like weight gain and a weakened immune system.
So how can moms (and dads, too) reduce stress without neglecting that huge pile of laundry that’s been taunting you for a week? Or caving to fatigue and relying on frozen and instant foods for dinner?
(We’ve all been there. It’s okay).
But there is one solution that many parents name as a huge stress reliever.
What if you had an extra adult living right in your home? Someone who could take on some of the demands of caring for your children, while also helping you save money on childcare expenses?
You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m referring to an Au Pair.
(If you aren’t familiar with this term, Au Pairs are young exchange students who come to the U.S. for up to 2 years on a special visa program. They care for your children in exchange for free housing and a stipend. Au Pairs can work up to 45 hours/ week, with a max of 10 hours/ day).
35 Things That Stress Moms Out
(and How an Au Pair Might Be Your Best Solution)
1. Securing safe, affordable childcare is one of the most stressful things for moms
It can be stressful to find childcare for your kids. This is often named as one of the biggest things that stress moms out. Even once you manage to find a center that has room for your kid(s) and meets your family’s needs, many parents still worry that the adult-to-child ratio isn’t ideal.
Having an adult in your home, who you’ve gotten to know personally and who follows your guidance, can be a huge stress relief. Plus, at an average cost of $8.15/ hour,* Au Pair childcare is one of the most affordable and convenient solutions out there.
2. Getting the kids ready in the morning can be a hassle
Even once you do find childcare, the stress doesn’t end. Of all the things that stress moms out, getting everyone ready and out the door on time can be a huge factor. If you’re a working mom, this is even more vital because you have to be on time to work, too.
Au Pairs can actually do this for you. Since your Au Pair isn’t stressed about getting to work on time (she’s already there!), it’s often less of a fight for her to get the kids ready in the morning.
3. Arguing about who will drop kids off puts strain on parents
Every parent knows the morning drop-off can make them late for work (maybe more often than we’d like to admit). According to a study conducted by researchers at belVita Breakfast, this is one of the things that stress moms out the most (and dads, too!). The study showed that 38% of parents argue over who will take the bulk of the morning work and risk being late to work.
Eliminate the arguing and simply have your Au Pair handle the morning drop offs! Less hassle means more sanity for both of you.
4. Remember getting yourself ready in the morning before you had kids?
Ever try to get dressed with kids clinging to you and begging for your attention?
Of course you have.
Rather than sneak around your bedroom before waking up the kids, you could save yourself the grief by hosting an Au Pair.
Who knows? With someone else feeding and dressing the kids, maybe you’ll even have time to work out before leaving the house?
5. Keeping up with chores just adds to the workload
Every mom has been there. You get home from work, give the kids a few minutes of attention, then rush to prep dinner and fly through chores before bedtime.
Even at your best, you sometimes find yourself folding laundry at midnight, sacrificing sleep to keep up with everything.
This is where Au Pairs become a huge asset. They can’t be responsible for cleaning up after the parents, but they can at least take care of the kids’ laundry and other chores so you don’t have to.
6. Getting to bed on time plays a huge part in your day
A big factor in getting everyone out the door on time is making sure they all go to sleep on time. When your kids stay up late, it also makes it harder for you to to go sleep on time.
Au Pairs can take care of any child-related chores. You’ll find this frees up some of your attention. Now, you can focus on spending time with your children and starting your bedtime routine on time.
7. Making sure kids brush their teeth can be a battle
Making sure kids brush their teeth can be more painful than… well, pulling teeth. And don’t even get me started on flossing. Ha!
If this nighttime routine stresses you out, you’re not alone. Brushing teeth is one of the things that stress moms out, simply because everyone is already tired, and it’s not exactly something you can skip when you don’t feel like supervising.
Au Pairs can help make sure the kids brush their teeth in the morning and after school. This way, if bedtime brushing is less than stellar, you have the peace of mind knowing they got a good brushing at least twice in the day.
8. Ensuring children finish their homework is an important part of your nightly routine
Making sure your kids get their homework finished before school the next day is a huge factor in ensuring a smooth evening routine. This is often named as one of the things that stress moms out the most, and it’s easy to see why.
Host Parents often ask their Au Pairs to supervise homework time before dinner. This is a great way to make sure homework gets finished and your routine stays on track. (You may save yourself a headache, too).
9. Preparing lunches takes up extra time
The researchers at belVita also found that parents often give their kids lunch money rather than prepare lunches. Not only does this cost more than preparing food at home, but it’s likely not as healthy as the lunches you would make yourself.
Since Au Pairs can help with anything childcare-related, they can easily assist with preparing lunches. Parents often report healthier eating habits for the entire family after hosting an Au Pair.
10. Cooking dinner isn’t always something moms have time for
Imagine how your kids might behave after spending a day with someone who’s 100% dedicated to playing with them and giving them undivided attention. Imagine having that same person feed your children a snack right before you get home so they aren’t hangry.
Au Pairs cannot be responsible for cooking dinner for the entire family every night. However, if you’re able to meal prep, you can ask your Au Pair to turn on the crockpot or pop something in the oven before you get home.
Cooking dinner can go a lot more smoothly with an Au Pair around!
11. Meal prep sometimes feels like wishful thinking
Speaking of meal prep, this can be one of the most stressful events of the week. Making sure your kids eat right takes up so much time, and it isn’t surprising if you lack the time to prepare healthy meals for yourself.
With an Au Pair helping around the house, you may find you have a little extra time to get this done (instead of picking up Legos for the billionth time).
*Be sure to tell your Au Pair which meals are yours so she doesn’t eat them by accident!*
12. Making grocery lists stresses moms out
As if grocery shopping didn’t take long enough, making your shopping list can take all day if you aren’t prepared.
Pro Tip: Keep a whiteboard on your fridge. Every time your Au Pair notices a certain food is gone, have her write it down on the whiteboard. This will save you a lot of time!
Also, keep your Au Pair apprised of the week’s meal plans. Make sure she knows which ingredients you’ll need for dinners so they don’t get used by accident.
13. Getting kids to eat dinner is often a struggle
All that effort and the kids won’t even eat it!
This has to be the most annoying part of dinnertime. All you want is to sit down, relax, and chat with your family about their day. Instead, you end up nagging your kids to eat and threatening them with a lack of dessert or going to bed hungry.
Your Au Pair can’t do everything for you, but sometimes having one more person there to offer gentle reminders to the kids can be a lifesaver.
And if worst comes to worst, you at least know that your Au Pair has been feeding your kids well throughout the day. So, if they don’t finish their dinner, they won’t starve.
14. Getting children to sleep through the night can be just as hard as putting them to bed
Two words: Tired. Kids.
Your Au Pair has the opportunity to take the kids out exploring on a daily basis. Children are often worn out after a day with their Au Pair. Getting out and getting some extra physical activity will help your kids sleep more soundly.
Overly-tired toddlers often have more difficulty sleeping through the night. Your Au Pair can help make sure your child takes naps, too.
15. Getting children to eat certain foods adds unneeded stress
It can be difficult to get kids to eat all their veggies. (And let’s be honest, sometimes kids won’t eat even the most scrumptious meals, out of sheer stubbornness). Parents just want their kids to be healthy, but getting them to eat healthy food is often a struggle.
Since Au Pairs can have a hand in preparing food for your children, they can also help you be creative in getting healthy foods into your children’s diet.
16. Teaching manners can be frustrating
Ah, the well-behaved child. That ideal image we hold before becoming parents, saying “My child will never do that.”
And then you become a parent and you LOL.
Or cry. Sometimes both.
If you’ve ever been in a daycare situation where your child’s behavior has worsened due to a lack of consistency, you’ll understand the importance of a consistent disciplinary strategy. Au Pairs are the most consistent because they live in your home. Many parents report improved behavior because of this factor.
17. The dreaded back-to-school rush is one of the most stressful times of year for parents
Even if you start prepping for the school year early, it can still be one of the things that stress moms out the most.
Many families decide to host an Au Pair just in time for back-to-school. Not only are they thinking of school drop-offs, but Au Pairs can help maintain your sanity by watching the kids while you go school shopping. (You’re welcome).
18. Snow days make parents stress about their work schedules
What do you mean, school is canceled?
Uh-oh. Every working parent dreads the last-minute call-in to work. Maybe you have to take PTO to stay home during a snow day, or maybe your boss wants you to work from home with restless kids.
Whatever the case, having an Au Pair really helps in this scenario. They can prevent you from taking a sick day, or help keep the kids out of your hair while you work. Plus, think about how much fun they’ll have playing in the snow. Often, it’s the Au Pair’s first time!
19. Summer vacation means parents need childcare
This is another time of year when many parents have to make arrangements for childcare. Perhaps this is why summer vacation can be one of the things that stress moms out.
Hosting an Au Pair means you have consistent childcare for at least a year (sometimes two, if your Au Pair is able to extend with you!). This consistency offers peace of mind for working parents.
20. Family vacations can be more stressful than relaxing
What’s supposed to be a relaxing experience can often be draining to parents. Planning a trip is challenging enough, but traveling with kids can be downright exhausting.
If you take your Au Pair on vacation with you, you can trade off watching the kids. This gives both you and your Au Pair some much-needed time to relax and enjoy your destination.
21. Sick days mean parents have to scramble to rearrange their schedules
Sick days are one of the things that stress moms out. Especially if you have more than one child, you may find yourself taking a sick day for each child that has to stay home from daycare or school.
While it’s true that your Au Pair might need a sick day occasionally, hosting an Au Pair can minimize the number of sick days you need to take from work. Plus, the two of you can work together to be extra diligent washing hands and disinfecting the house when the kids get sick.
Teach your Au Pair and your family how to take precautions against getting sick.
22. Shopping for new clothes for the kids can give moms a headache
Shopping with kids? Hard pass. Going shopping takes long enough as it is, but add in a few kids and it can turn even the most put-together moms into a frazzled mess.
Skip the meltdown on Aisle 4 and have your Au Pair watch the children while you shop for kid clothes. Or vice versa! Your Au Pair might think it’s fun to pick out kid clothes. Plus, this can be a great way to facilitate bonding, especially if she picks out some of the kids’ favorites. (Just make sure you set a budget and be clear on what you want).
23. Remembering everything that needs to get done just adds to the mental burden
As a mom, you are well-acquainted with the mental burden of remembering everything that needs to be done to make your household, and your family’s lives, function. Remembering everything is one of the things that stress moms out because at some point, you can only do so much.
This is where Au Pairs can become really helpful. Since they’re directly involved in your kids’ lives (often as involved as you are yourself), they can help keep track of what needs to get done. Hooray for lessening you mental workload (even if your spouse shares an equal mental burden, this can be a huge relief to you both)!
24. Juggling after-school schedules is stressful at best
Speaking of remembering things, even when you do remember your family’s crazy schedule, executing it can be exhausting, too. Just think of all the mom hacks out there, invented to help lessen the stress revolving around the constant go-go-go.
But having an Au Pair is the ultimate hack to helping you manage all of your kids’ different activities. Au Pairs can drive the kids around, write down reminders on your calendar, or just sit at home with your little one(s) so you don’t have to drag everyone around town. It can be a lifesaver!
25. Planning birthday parties is fun but also tiring
What’s more fun than a birthday party? Planning one!
Unless, of course, you’re stressed out and pressed for time. This year, I actually printed invitations for my 3-year-old’s birthday party and forgot to give them out. (I’m not big on paper invitations, so my first attempt was a big fail).
Next time, I think I’ll just ask my Au Pair to swing by the neighbors’ houses and drop off invites. Maybe she can help pick up some decorations, too!
24. Making sure school projects get done adds extra stress in the evenings
Have you ever stalled bedtime because you and your child both forgot to finish that science project that’s due tomorrow? Or even worse, did have you ever remembered your child’s project was due like, the moment it’s actually due?
This is one of the things that really stresses moms out, and it’s easy to see why. On top of remembering everything else, you have to manage your kids’ homework, too!
Unless, of course, you ask your Au Pair to take charge of homework time. Many parents report that they come home to find homework and chores already completed. What is this, a dream?
27. Mom guilt weighs heavily on our minds
Oh, man. The never-ending mom guilt. Sometimes, we even feel guilty for feeling guilty (cause the world tells us to stop feeling so much guilt, but here we are, guilting away).
Would you believe that having an Au Pair can actually help lessen mom guilt? Don’t take my word for it– many moms have said they feel less guilt going to work after hosting. It has a lot to do with knowing your Au Pair loves your children as much as you do. They provide consistent, loving care, and often have a close bond with their Host Kids.
Some parents even say they start to feel a little insecure about how much their kids love their Au Pair! (Don’t worry. If your kids and Au Pair are inseparable, that’s a good sign).
28. Relationship demands can sometimes be stressful, too
When was the last time you went out on a date? Got a massage together?
If you plan carefully, your Au Pair can help you on evenings or on a weekend if you want to go out together. This can help alleviate some of that stress, and offer some much-needed bonding time with your significant other.
Just make sure you aren’t exceeding the 45 hour/ week limit on your Au Pair’s working hours (she’s here to have fun, too!). Also keep in mind that Au Pairs are required to have at least one and a half consecutive days off per week, and at least one weekend per month with two full days off.
29. Parent’s social lives are impacted by all the demands life puts on us
Not only do you need to spend time with your spouse or significant other, but parents tend to see a decline in their social lives due to the demands of parenting and working.
Your Au Pair can also help with this. In fact, why not give her the night off and take her out on a girl’s night with your friends? This is a great way to get to know each other better and help her feel more at home. (If your Au Pair is a guy, maybe you can send him on a guy’s night with your husband instead!)
30. Parents stress over ensuring their family’s health
It’s hard enough to keep everyone from getting sick, but it’s common for moms to watch out for the emotional and mental well-being of their spouse and kids.
Hosting an Au Pair means you’ll be conscious of one more person’s well-being. However, your Au Pair can actually help you keep everyone happy and healthy, so ensuring your Au Pair’s health is more like giving back than adding to your workload.
31. Self-doubt weighs as heavily as guilt
Along with the mom guilt often comes self-doubt. What if I’m not doing enough? What if my kids are in the wrong daycare environment and it impacts them permanently? Are we spending enough quality time? Will my kids grow up thinking I didn’t care?
Au Pairs often help boost their Host Mom’s the confidence that their kids are well-cared for all the time. Plus, less to clean when you get home from work means more quality time together with your children. Goodbye, self-doubt! (Or at least, some of it).
32. Lack of alone time can make it difficult to recover from stress
Yet another reason moms feel guilty. We worry that we aren’t spending enough time with the kids, yet we also yearn for alone time. We need time for self-care, and we often underestimate its importance.
Having an Au Pair in the house can help you free up some time to be alone when you need it. Whether it’s because you no longer have to pick up toys when you get home, or because you’re able to use one of your Au Pair’s hours to get the kids out of the house and spend some quiet time alone, this is one of the most important and unseen benefits of hosting.
33. Parents often have a lack of time to exercise
Self-care also means taking care of your fitness. If you aren’t keen on gym memberships, or if you don’t want to pay the extra gym daycare fee, you may struggle to find the time to work out.
But with an Au Pair in the house, you may actually find yourself with an extra half hour to work out in the evenings.
For me, personally, simply having an Au Pair around has been motivating. She goes to the gym every night, and whenever she goes out the front door, I automatically think, “Oh, hey. It’s time to exercise!”
34. Sleep deprivation doesn’t exactly relieve stress, either
This is the one thing that can stress moms out the most (and dads too!). It can be challenging to get enough sleep, especially if you have little kids and/or a busy work schedule. Plus, sleep deprivation can raise cortisol levels, making parents feel more stressed than ever.
You may find yourself working from home at night to stay caught up with the billions of things you have to do. Or, maybe your toddler is like mine and keeps waking up at 3 AM with growing pains (this is him making up for being such a good sleeper as a baby).
If your Au Pair is watching your kids all day, they certainly can’t be on the clock at night. But, if your Au Pair is keeping your kids active, hopefully, it’ll help them sleep through the night a little more soundly.
Also, reflect on how lessening your stress can help you sleep better. Just the sheer fact that you have an Au Pair might be enough to lessen your sleep deprivation.
35. Work demands are just one more plate to spin
Have you ever needed to work overtime but couldn’t because you had to pick your kids up from daycare at a certain time? Or have you ever been asked to change your work schedule, but been unable to because you didn’t have childcare at that time?
Many of these concerns can be mitigated by hosting an Au Pair. While you do still have to operate within the 45-hour time limit, an Au Pair’s schedule is much more flexible than a daycare’s, or even a nanny’s. You may not be able to get a hold of your nanny to change her schedule last-minute, but your Au Pair lives in your home. If you offer to change her time off, especially if you give her more time during the weekend, your Au Pair will likely be more than willing to change her schedule and help you out.
Plus, if you or your spouse has to travel for work, having an Au Pair at home makes it so much easier to care for the kids during this time.
Interested in Hosting an Au Pair to Reduce Parenting Stress?
With an Au Pair, there tend to be fewer things that stress moms out, and more time to enjoy your family and life in general.
There are likely many more ways that hosting an Au Pair helps lessen the stress working moms feel.
Are you a Host Parent? Tell us in the comments how your Au Pair has helped you manage your stress!
*Pricing, listed as of April 1, 2019, is subject to change over time.