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When My Husband Travels for Work, My Au Pair Steps Up!

When Cyndi's husband travels for work, her Au Pair steps up!One of the main reasons we decided that Au Pair childcare was the perfect solution for our family’s situation was my husband travels often for work, and leaves me with two very young children and an extremely frazzled state of mind. Knowing that there would be another adult and a potential additional set of helping hands when he would make me a “work widow” was just what I needed to secure my sanity.

Over the past six months of hosting, my husband has been gone on work trips from a few days up until a whole week. Before we hosted an Au Pair, every time he was planning to be away, I’d instantly begin to dread that impending chaos falling to my shoulders.

However, now that I know what it’ll be like with my Au Pair around, I don’t get crabby when he tells me he needs to plan a trip away from home. Now, every time my husband travels, I can breathe!

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And yes, we did seek out someone with a similar lifestyle to our own, one that was more homebody than adventurer, and that has worked out well for the most part. Gathering together to watch our favorite television shows, my husband, my Au Pair, and I have gotten to spend some quality adult time together after the children have gone to bed. And while she does like to hang out with her friends occasionally on the weekends, she isn’t constantly on the go whenever she’s off duty.

The ways in which the hosting experience has not been what I expected were things I don’t think I could have anticipated. Her adjusting into our family and into understanding the children took longer than I thought it would. In the beginning, I would see how frustrated she would get and how childish some of her responses were to my three-year-old’s irrational attitude, like when she would give him a dirty look or seem to insight arguments with him that just should have been dropped. Luckily for all involved, she has matured and has also learned how to effectively communicate and handle the emotional and irrational behaviors of children.

Could I have predicted the reality of what it would be like to have a 20-year-old in my home? Pretty much no. Her addiction to social media I don’t even understand and her fascination with videos online are completely unrelated to anything pertinent to life as I understand it have taken some adjusting to. Dealing with the priorities of a person of that age are an interesting challenge. I don’t necessarily understand why she and her friends are at the mall every weekend, and she is always buying clothes when I know that she wants to save money to travel while in the US and to do other expensive things.

I also did not understand how much more I would need to up my communication skills and learn to face conflict and issues head-on. Twelve years ago before I met my husband, I was such a passive-aggressive personality who did anything and everything to avoid conflict. Over the years of being married to a non-filtered and in-your-face person has changed the way I communicate, but hosting an Au Pair has definitely helped me to try to find ways to keep the peace and to manage conflict resolution in a way that makes all parties happy.

Even though not everything is how I expected my first hosting experience to be, there have been so many unexpected benefits along the way. I have come to appreciate and understand another culture, our family has forever welcomed another member, and I have come to realize that having an Au Pair is something I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to live without!

Shonna Anderson


Shonna has worked for Go Au Pair for 9+ years. She started as a Placement Coordinator creating connections between Host Families and Au Pairs. Then moved in to the Au Pair and International space working with Au Pairs from all over the world. Now she writes helpful, inspiring, and fun content for Go Au Pair. If you are interested in sharing your experience, or if you have questions or would like assistance, please reach out to @ShonnaAuPairSis on Facebook or email sanderson@goaupair.com.

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Go Au Pair is one of the best Au Pair agencies in the United States, providing quality child care for over 30 years. Beginning as a nanny company in 1984, we soon expanded to include Au Pairs. We were one of the original Au Pair Program sponsors designated by the department of State in 1989.

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