To consider an au pair(12 Posts)
DD starts school Aug 18 and whilst it's a way off, I'm considering wrap around arrangements.
Breakfast/after school clubs are available. Both DH and I work full time (both 30-50 mins commute away).
We have a biggish house - it's a big bungalow with two spare bedrooms, a large study and a shower room in the extension upstairs. We largely live downstairs.
DH doesn't like people (generally speaking) and isn't keen.
I'm sold on all of the benefits but need to gauge how tough it is / likely it is to go well / horribly wrong. Can you share your experiences - good/bad/indifferent?
We haven't done it but it's the done thing here. I think it would be fine for an older kid- say 6 + but otherwise I'm not keen.
Some of the stories I've heard are horrible. I'm not blaming the au pairs, it's the situations these young inexperienced girls find themselves in. I loved being 19 but I was hopeless.
I would trust a well researched, interviewed, reference checked, gradually assimilated into our family au pair with my eldest. But not my younger ones (1 +3).
We've got our first who has been here a month. She is lovely and is great with the kids. We enjoy spending time with her too. But we are pretty sociable and enjoy meeting people..if your DH doesn't then the au pair might not feel welcome or comfortable and that isn't very fair.
Part of the deal is they become part of the family and eat with you etc..we haven't looked back but appreciate it's not for everyone.
Have you thought of getting a childminder ?
If your DH doesn't want a stranger in the home (and I would feel the same I think) I don't think an au pair is a good idea as they are supposed to live as family so she would be around most of the time.
I've got one and wouldn't recommend it for under 5s. I've got 3 children and the oldest is fine (7), the 5 year old is sort of okay with her and the 3 year old doesn't want to be left with her. So it's only so much help to me personally. It's a bit frustrating that the child I need a break from dislikes the au pair so much.
Also, I personally find having someone in my house all the time very difficult. I didnt think I would to this extent. You could always try it but I would absolutely love not to have a live in help now - having done it. And I'll try and avoid having another au pair after her time is up.
When I was 5 and my dad died my mum got an au pair in, lovely Hungarian girl - she'd take me to school and look after my 3 year old brother (if he wasn't at nursery) she was fabulous, she insisted on doing things she wasn't "supposed" to do like cooking and cleaning, and only asked for a meagre wage, which my mum paid her more than. She was like a member of our family and my mum wouldn't have been able to carry on in her job without her! My mum worked 8-5 Monday-Friday. Unfortunately our au pair ended up moving to London for her studies and found another family to au pair for, and we ended up going to a childminder while we were in primary school - but I have nothing but happy memories with our au pair, I could even speak a fair bit of Hungarian as a wean obviously I've forgotten it all now but she was great
Ah rosy you all struck
Gold there - lovely sounding girl
Probably depends where you are and who you get. I offer meals but none of ours ever choose to eat with us unless it's a birthday. They are too busy! Generally not around much when I am here. But it is lovely when there is someone to help unpack shopping etc. I would recommend slightly older, post university age, with friends in your area already. We are not sociable really, and don't have much spare space but it has worked v well as wrap around care. Could not really manage without them. I would try it provided you live somewhere with an established au pair network so they are not reliant on you for social life, if you don't feel able to be the social life.
We have a summer au pair who looks after my DD during the long holiday. Last year's au pair was amazing and we loved her to pieces. I'm really hoping she'll come back next year.
We weren't sure whether an au pair was for us so we had a summer one to try, she was a university student in her early 20s. We found it a really good experience and are now on au pair number 6. All except the first have been 25 or older for car insurance reasons, and they have mostly been male for football-playing reasons.
Maybe I've been unlucky then! Ours is absolutely lovely and tries to be very helpful (and is so domestically) but despite being older than usual is not really independent at all and around all the time.
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