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!
I know that from what I express and how I express it, it sure seems as though my husband doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot, but when he’s gone, I realize how much he actually does do (shh… don’t tell him) in the mornings and in the evenings when there is no paid childcare to ease the burden. Other than the extra time I have to put in before my Au Pair starts at eight, it actually seems as though the house functions more smoothly when he’s gone. How could that be?
If your husband is like mine, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Just because a husband is present doesn’t mean he’s helping. When he isn’t around, the frustration that comes with disappointed expectations isn’t there because you can’t be mad at someone for not helping when he’s not there… To that end, when my husband is away, my Au Pair often steps in and fills his shoes, and it almost seems like we are a highly functioning same-sex couple (no, it’s not weird for me to say that because she and I have made that joke one more than one occasion, and we have a great relationship).
Normally, I do the dishes after dinner, but when he’s gone, she cleans up while I care for the kids (only in my fantasies does my husband ever jump up to do the dishes after dinner), she asks if I need her to be around or if she can work on homework in her room, she goes with us to the store or for an after-dinner activity to wear the kids out, and she never complains… unlike said husband who has perfected the art of whining.
Yes, the boys miss their father when he’s gone, and I miss the extra set of not-morning-person hands in the divide-and-conquer nature of our mornings when all I want to do is feed the baby and work out, but through the miracle of technology, they can talk to him on the iPad, and that seems to appease them both. My house is cleaner, I have to nag less, and my expectations are exceeded instead of being disappointed when my Au Pair stands in for my husband.
There are so many unexpected and wonderful benefits to hosting an Au Pair. Being accepted and treated as one of the family, our Au Pair also steps up as a member of the family to help when help is needed without being asked or required to. You’ll never know how much an Au Pair could help your life and your sanity until you’ve tried it and benefited from the experience!