I’ve tried to write a post about what being an au pair taught me many times before but each time I had to start again, the older drafts didn’t seem honest enough. So I’m giving it another try with this one!
What being an Au Pair taught me
Driving on the left is easy
Okay, this is probably something you didn’t expect to read. But I just had to mention it. So many future Au Pairs are very worried about driving on the left side. They really don’t need to be. You’ll get used to it suuuper quickly!
After driving for a few months here in England I visited my family and freaked out because I suddenly had to drive on the right side again. I got so used to driving on the left that it threw me off. But after a few hours, I adapted that again, so no need to worry at all. It’s easier than you think.
Your Freetime isn’t actually your Freetime
One very important thing you need to be aware of is that even when you’re not working, you’ll still be surrounded by your host children. Maybe you’ve got the weekends off but the children still want to play with you. Or you want to have a lie in but the children are too loud so you need to get up anyway.
I was quite lucky and had the chance to go over to my boyfriends at the weekends to actually have some time off. Most other Au Pairs don’t have this opportunity and are always on ‘standby’. Many people might be okay with that but during the last 6 months, I realised that this isn’t for me.
Having to accept the parent’s kind of upbringing, whether you like it or not
This point might offend some people but I really don’t mean to do this. I just want to be honest with you. It’s pretty obvious that everyone has different preferences when it comes to upbringing their children. I don’t have children yet (and won’t for another few years, lol) but I’ve got some ideas about how I want to raise my children.
When you come into a host family the parents have their own way of raising their children. In my case, I absolutely didn’t agree with their way but I had to accept it. As an Au Pair you’re not supposed to criticize the parents but to support them in their way of doing things.
For me, this was definitely the hardest thing to do. Or not to do in this case. I just couldn’t understand some of the family’s views or ways of upbringing. I won’t get into too much detail but the boys had some issues with showing respect towards me and I was wondering why. After I mentioned it the dad told me that the only person they respect is him because he has taught them to do so, as his dad did when he was young.
I don’t know about you but in my opinion, this seems a bit odd, especially when you have nannies living in the house that should look after your children. I’m afraid the children need to respect them to make it work.
This is just one of several occasions where I had a very different view on something. But as I said, as an Au Pair you just have to accept it.
Would I do it again?
The short answer is no, probably not. The longer answer is no, I feel like it’s time to settle down and not going on adventures for a few months anymore. University starts soon and after my graduation it’s time to get to work. So no more time for being an au pair.
The other point is that I don’t want to be apart from Connor for such a long time. I would go to a different country if I was an au pair, which means I wouldn’t want to do it.
Not everything was bad, even if it sounds like it in this post. I’m actually glad I had this experience. Apart from some difficulties, the family, especially the mum, was lovely and I felt welcomed and accepted. I’m sure I’ll always remember them and the fun things we did together!
The last 6 month only made me stronger and made me stand up for my opinions and rights. Usually I’m quite a shy person and I’m afraid of starting arguments. But sometimes it’s just not avoidable so I had to go through it. In those situation my parents often try to support me as much as possible but in this case it was impossible, they can’t speak any English.
But going through all of this, good and bad, made me feel more confident in so many ways!
Puuuh, this was quite a serious post but I just wanted to get it off my chest. What about you? Have you had similar experiences? Or completely different ones?
In case you’re going to be an au pair soon and you’ve got some other questions, don’t hesitate to ask them! Either in the comments or in an email, I’m happy to answer all of them. 🙂 To all of you going abroad soon I, maybe you want to check out my post about how to feel at home in a foreign country , it might help you deal with some issues.
If you liked this weeks post don’t forget to subscribe to not miss any future ones!