In Between Au Pairs

After the sudden and unexpected departure of our au pair late last month – who watched our baby full-time, our four year-old every afternoon, and helped out with the evening routine when either Jessicah or I were out of the house – we’ve had our hands full.  My work schedule has taken a beating – because I’m doing a lot more childcare, my days start later and end earlier than they had – but thanks to several moms and grandmoms from church, I’ve been able to put some time in at work while the kids are lovingly looked after.  Our new au pair – a 26 year-old young lady from Thailand – arrives next Friday.

Many folks don’t understand the whole au pair thing.  An au pair "is a foreign-national domestic assistant working for, and living as part of, a host family" (from Wikipedia).  Structured as a cultural exchange program, the au pair provides childcare and child-related housekeeping for up to 45 hours/week.  In exchange, the au pair receives wages, room and board, six credit hours at a local university, and is included as part of the family for the year-long program.

Obviously, such an arrangement has its pluses and minuses.  But for us the pluses – childcare at a fraction of the cost of standard daycare and flexible scheduling (where else would you find someone to watch your children on Sunday morning or Christmas Eve?) – far outweigh the minuses (giving up a room in the house, losing some privacy, managing personal/cultural/childcare dynamics, etc.). 

My wife and I have three kids, we both work odd schedules outside the home, we live in a tiny townhouse, and we have very little money.  The au pair arrangement – far from perfect, far from ideal – is the best option we have for now.  Despite the challenges we had with our first au pair, we are cautiously optimistic about our new au pair.  I’ll let you know . . .

Published by Chris Duckworth

Spouse. Parent. Lutheran Pastor. Veteran. Jedi. Political Junkie. Baseball Fan.

One thought on “In Between Au Pairs

  1. Well, good job.I appreciate it as many parents aren’t aware of au pair hosting and your article would be very useful for them.

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