Being an au pair is a unique experience. No two jobs are the same, and that’s one of the many things I love about it.
Now there will probably be some of you who don’t know what an au pair does, so let me just give a short explanation: An au pair lives with a host family (typically for a year) and helps them with their children. Often, both parents work long hours and therefore need help getting the children up in the morning, getting them to and from school, and cooking dinner for them in the evening. Depending on the family, the job also includes some degree of housework.
Now, working as an au pair is not the most well-paid job in the world. The pay (in the UK) ranges from £70 – £100 a week. Of course, the job also includes free room and board, but you don’t become an au pair for the money, you do it for the experience.
You learn so much about so many things. If you have yet to accumulate experience in cooking, you’re likely to get much better at that. You also learn a lot about children, when you spend that much time with them. Naturally, what you learn depends almost entirely on the family and the children. Children are unique individuals, and as an au pair you need to get to know the children you look after, so you know how to deal with them in all kinds of situations.
There will be ups and downs as with any other job. A typical ‘down’ is homesickness. A year is a long time to be away from friends and family, and I for one can’t do that. I went home for two weeks over Christmas and I’m also going back for two weeks in April to celebrate my 20th birthday. It’s not that I don’t like spending time with my host family or living here in the UK. I just need a break every once in a while. Being an au pair is a 24-7 job. You may have your free time, but as long as you’re in the house there will be things to do or children to handle. When you live at your place of work, it’s sometimes necessary to go away and give yourself a chance to catch your breath.
Moving in with a family, you’ve never met, is a big leap of faith. You never truly know how it will work out between your host family and you . But look at it from their point of view: They don’t know exactly who they are letting into their home, and they will be entrusting their children to you. It is a big leap of faith for both the au pair and the host family. Of course, sometimes it doesn’t work out and the au pair goes back home after a month or two, but you never know until you try.
I feel blessed to have been welcomed into the home and the heart of this family. They’re amazing, and they will forever hold a special place in my heart. ❤