When I was little, I associated the word Au Pair with high-society, fancy families. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that having an au pair isn’t as expensive as my 10 year old self thought.
I was talking to a friend recently, who has an au pair through Au Pair in America, about her experience, the reasons she and her family decided to go this route, and the costs associated with it. Honestly, I wish I would have had this conversation 9 years ago when my kids were very little and both my husband and I were juggling two corporate jobs plus two kids in diapers! It turns out that you don’t have to be high-society types to afford an au pair…
Here is what my friend loves about her Au Pair in America experience:
Support for before and after daycare and/or school. She and her husband, both working jobs with potentially long hours, didn’t love the idea of their two kids being dropped off when the daycare opened in the morning and occasionally staying there until the daycare closed. And this predicament continues in Elementary school – early mornings at school, followed by extended care options that they weren’t thrilled with. Long hours of work meant long days for the kids to be away from home. They have support to pick their kids up from school and to kick off afternoon/night routines with them, like snack time, homework time, and taking them to extra curriculars.
Help with unexpected days off. Sick days, snow days, random school days off… their au pair supports them all. For working parents, these unexpected days off can be stressful (cancelling work trips, rearranging meetings, etc). Having support in these situations has been a blessing!
Adding an extra set of hands. Adding an au pair into their family meant there was another constant for the kids, in terms of support and care inside the household. Having a third adult in the house that can help support their children has reduced the stress of every-day life. Whether it’s helping with the kid’s laundry, keeping rooms tidy, or just being there for them when they get off the bus, the family benefits from having an extra set of hands!
Intercultural education. Au pairs through Au Pairs in America are recruited from nearly 60 countries. My friend has had them from multiple countries, including Brazil, France, and Columbia. It has been fun to watch them share their languages, cultures, food, etc with my friend’s children’s (and my children too since they play over there often!).
No rotating babysitters. There’s no need to keep a “roster” of babysitters when you have an au pair. My friend has consistent support in case care is needed for weekend events or date nights. If you have maintained that “roster” like I have, you know this is a huge benefit!
Vacations with the benefit of having your kids AND having some adult time. Like my friend, my husband and I like taking our kids on vacations to experience new places. We often want one or two nights out without the kids, but how do you find a reliable babysitter in a foreign location? Well, my friend has that benefit with her au pair! She and her husband bring theirs along so they can enjoy a nice night out while the au pair hangs with the kids.
Au pairs provide all of these benefits, with the bonus of being much more affordable than most people think. If you feel like an extra pair of hands from an au pair that feels like family would be good for your family, check out Au Pair in America. Their website provides additional benefits, a breakdown on costs, and steps to get started finding the right au pair for your family.