Living with an Au Pair may sound like work for the Host Family. But many parents say it gives them peace of mind above all else.
Living With an Au Pair Alleviates Many Parenting Concerns
1. Au Pairs help relieve stress & anxiety for parents
From finding a daycare for an infant to rushing the kids to and from school, there are many things that stress parents out on a daily basis.
Jennifer, a Host Mom from Colorado, says they chose Au Pair childcare because of a lack of childcare options. Even six weeks before she was due to give birth, the daycares in their area didn’t have any openings for infants.
“We had heard from other families who had great experiences [with their Au Pairs],” Jennifer says. “We have had more than a great experience, we have had an AMAZING one.”
Jamie, a Host Mom who lives in Ohio, says, “I don’t experience the stress and worry I used to.” She explains that living with an Au Pair gives her the peace of mind other types of childcare can’t offer.
She adds that her Au Pair, Anuschka, has “allowed me to be more present for and enjoy the time I do have with my boys more than I could have before.”
2. Scheduling concerns can be eliminated by living with an Au Pair
Scheduling concerns plague every parent. Your daycare might charge fees if you’re late to pick up kid(s). Or you may stress over a lack of childcare on sick days, snow days, or summer vacation.
Danielle, a Host Mom in Michigan, said her family experienced regular snow days and school closures due to the weather.
“We both work in health care,” she explains. “Calling in to work on short notice is extremely difficult… Figuring out who it was going to be this time had always been a huge stressor for us.”
One morning, Danielle received a message from her four-year-old twins’ preschool: “Due to strong thunderstorms that occurred throughout the night, the school has lost power and school is canceled.”
“I sat up in a moment of panic,” Danielle says. “But the feeling was short-lived… The twins would stay home with Alessandra for the day and my husband and I would go to work as planned. All I had to do was let her know of the change. It was that simple.”
Simple as it is, this moment was a huge eye-opener for Danielle and her family. She knew their lives had been forever changed by living with an Au Pair.
She says, “We are no longer in a constant rush: to work, to pick up our children from school, to prepare dinner and then try to survive until bedtime.”
Other parents mention giving up travel opportunities at work because of childcare needs. It’s no secret that working moms often feel they have to choose between career advancement and raising kids.
Jamie agrees that it can be difficult to balance the demands of work and family life. She describes herself as a “full-time working mom of three young boys who travels for a living.”
Since she started living with an Au Pair, she feels she’s gained a peace of mind she didn’t have before. Now, she feels she can focus on her work without stressing.
“Just knowing that our children are well cared for,” she says, “has allowed me to be more present for and enjoy the time I do have with my children more than I could have before.”
3. Parenting guilt plagues us all… but Au Pairs help take some of the guilt away
Whether you’re worried about leaving kids at daycare with less one-on-one attention, or you suffer tearful goodbyes each morning when dropping them off, know that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Jennifer says that there’s no greater peace of mind than leaving her kids with her Au Pair, Ale, while she’s away.
“Ale loves our girls 100 times more than anyone we know,” she says. “The bond she has with them is almost like they have three parents who love them more than life itself.”
Many parents also worry that their kids might not be getting enough enrichment and activity at daycare.
However, Jamie said she feels their Au Pair, Anuschka, has completely eliminated this concern.
“Anuschka is very engaging with our boys,” Jamie says. “She takes them on fun outings, and ensure they’re safe and secure at every turn. She reviews what they’ve learned in school, reads them stories, does puzzles with them, and plays hide-and-seek.”
Knowing your kids are active during the day, practice reading, and stay away from screens, can be quite rewarding.
Many families insist that their relationship with their Au Pair goes even deeper than this.
Jennifer even says, “Ale has helped our kids learn to love family as deeply as she does. We LOVE her!”
4. Lack of time could mean unhealthy meals for the whole family…
Another big stressor for parents is food. Many working parents don’t have enough time to pack healthy lunches, much less go grocery shopping.
And if you don’t have time to pack a healthy lunch, chances are you don’t have time to cook healthy breakfasts, either. Or you might turn to boxed dinners out of sheer stress and exhaustion.
Au Pairs often come from cultures where cooking for every meal is commonplace. Even if this isn’t the case for your Au Pair, they still have more time to focus on healthy meals.
Many Au Pairs also enjoy sharing food from home with their Host Families.
“She has prepared some of her favorite Brazilian dishes for us to try,” Danielle says.
Danielle and her family also feel that living with an Au Pair has allowed them to reclaim dinnertime as family bonding time.
“[Alessandra can] help with dinner preparation each night, and my husband and I are afforded the energy to focus on what’s most important to us, connecting with our children.”
5. Au Pairs help parents practice self-care more often
Many parents feel they don’t have the time for self-care. In fact, for many of us, self-care is the least of our concerns.
Working parents often feel they don’t have time to work out. They neglect date nights and time spent with friends. It feels like a necessity in the face of everything else we have to do as parents.
Danielle says that living with an Au Pair has allowed her the time to focus on self-care once again.
“Having Alessandra in the home has given my husband and I time to deepen our own relationship,” she explains. “Once a week we go out on a date night without the hassle of trying to find a babysitter.”
It’s also common for parents to feel they don’t have the time or energy to take vacations. Plus, family vacations can often feel like more work than staying home.
However, with an Au Pair, family vacations can become a lot less stressful. Jamie says that their vacations have been more enjoyable when Anuschka comes along.
“She has accompanied us on all of our family trips and has been such an integral part of those trips going smoothly,” Jamie says. “As you can imagine is challenging with a kindergartner, a preschooler, and a toddler.”
Au Pairs Make Life a Little Easier for Parents
For many families, Au Pairs are able to provide even more peace of mind than the norm.
“There have been difficult times this year as well,” Jamie adds. “When my boys lost their beloved grandfather just before Christmas, Anuschka was there for us… She mourned right alongside us and the boys, allowed them to talk through their feelings, allowed them to ask questions, and made sure to communicate all of it in great detail to my husband and me.”
A loss like this is hard to deal with. But living with an Au Pair gave Jamie and her family peace of mind in a difficult time.
“A time like this once again reminded us how fortunate we are to have Anuschka,” she says. “While we were away making funeral preparations, she remained entirely flexible in her schedule… It allowed us to focus on making the arrangements, as well as take some time for our own grief.”
Danielle agrees that life is better with an Au Pair. “By having an additional adult in the house, we are granted the time and energy to be our best at work as well as with our kids,” she says.
And Host Mom Jennifer shares that their experience with Ale has been so much more than they thought it would be.
“To say Ale came to ‘watch our kids’ is nominal,” Jennifer says. “She came to show us how much we could love each other.”