I guess many guys of you have already heard about the job “AuPair” and some of you might now, that I am currently an AuPair in Australia, so believe me, when I tell you, I know what being an AuPair is really like.
Before I came to Australia I heard all kind of stories and even now I still hear things that make me shiver. To be honest I heard more negative stuff than positiv, which is not that motivating at all. But I couldn’t care less, so I had to see myself how it is. And here I am.
I’ve been in two different families, cause the first turned out to be… not the right one. Therefore I am right now in the best family I could’ve ever imagined, so everything has its reason, right?
My impression what many teens think it is like:
“Oh well, I’ll live with that family, see a foreign country, learn to speak that language better and did I metion that I also get food for free and even get paid on top? …oh, what? Yes, there will also be some kids running around, which I have to look after occationally, but let’s face it, they’ll just sit infront of the TV, so no big deal.”
What some AuPairFamilies seem to think:
“The AuPair is here to look after the kids, obviously. And maybe do some light housework, like all the laundry, vaccum cleaning bascially everyday, doing the dishes and the shoping, tiding at every hour of the day, cleaning the bathroom and prepare all the meals for the kids (if we want something else than the kids, she has to cook that, too). See, nothing too bad!”
Okay, maybe I exaggerated here a bit, but some parents honestly give this impression, both my families weren’t that bad, but I met many AuPairs so far…
So, what is it actually like?!
To be honest, I cannot tell you, but I’ll still try.
If you think about being an AuPair, because it’s easy and you’ll get paid for basically nothing and you have free time all the time and so on I must disappoint you. But if you’re in a good and nice family it won’t kill you either.
The first thing I want to tell you, should actually be pretty obvious, but I often get the impression it’s not. Sadly. You should know how to deal with kids and you should LOVE dealing with them. You should be open and friendly and fun, but you shouldn’t forget, that kids need barriers and rules. Find a way between: super-strict and funny. And remember, you’re working with kids so you shouldn’t role your eyes with everything they do. Have fun, be crazy, be a child, but keep in mind that you’re the one who says what’s going on!
And yes, if you’re not a total asshole you have to help with housekeeping. Nobody wants that you do everything and all the time (if they do, say something!), but helping at home should be natural and especially when you’re kind of a guest. Some family ask for more than others, but just ask in advance what they expect from you. But never expect you don’t need to do anything. You always clean up your own mess and at least help with all the daily tasks.
I was always worried that it wouldn’t work out with the parents, but in my first family something happend which I’d never thought could happen. – Just to tell you, I’ve worked with kids a lot in my past (Kindy, Summercamp, teaching, …) and ALL of them liked me – The kids just didn’t seem to want me there. It was frustrating and kinda depressing, I really tried my best and tried to pull myself together, but after almost three month I finally manage to face the truth and I left. No matter how bad it is in one family, don’t just give up, next time it could be perfect. Now you know what exaclty you’re looking for, trust me, that helps.
But even though I decided to leave I was still pretty lucky, I was allowed to stay a couple weeks longer and the Mom was still kinda helpful. That’s not always the case. Yes, there are weird families out there. One day everything can be great and the next day you’re sitting without anything in a hostel cause you’re family kicked you out for no reason (true story btw).
Some maybe take you and your work for naturally, which they shouldn’t, but talking always helps, really.
Maybe You don’t always agree with how the parents raise their kids, that’s normal, but try to find a way you and the parents can live with. That was one of the major problems in my first family: I couldn’t agree with her parenting at all but I was never alone with the kids eiter, to do my own thing – grrrrr. The agentcy told me that parenting isn’t my job, but I personally cannot work with something I don’t agree with. And furthermore I do believe that we’re also there to help raising them, but of course the parents are – in the end – the once who decide how to do it.
Despite all these bad “what if”s, it’s still a great thing and I am so super happy that I am an AuPair, no matter in which family. All the bad experience just made me stronger and then there are all the good, AWESOME moments you can have. You’ll honestly maybe find a second family abroad and you’ll experience thing you never could otherwise.
It’s not easy and sometimes it’s annoying but in generall? It’s the best thing I’ve done so far. But please, PLEASE BE SURE YOU WANT TO WORK WITH KIDS ALL THE TIME! Cause if you do, it won’t feel like work.
Another time I’ll also write about what I think you should be like to qualify as an AuPair and I’ll also write more detailed about my experiences in my two totally different families. And maybe I’ll also write about how to become an AuPair.
Are/ were you an AuPair? What are/ were your experiences?
See you, Saskia xxx