What do you dream of?
I dream of sharing a drink with my husband without my boys crawling all over me.
Of heading out to work without having to do the screaming, tantrum filled day care drop off.
Of maybe showering alone once in a while. Seriously, I’d settle with once a week.
Oh and being able to make a phone call in peace, without the person on the other end thinking that I’m calling from the zoo.
Pretty simple things really. Pretty simple things that can prove increasingly difficult in today’s society where “the village” is hard to come by.
If you’re a working Mum, perhaps a FIFO family, you work from home – or you just need an extra pair of hands, then hosting an au pair might just be the answer you’re looking for.
With child care costs increasing steadily, many families with two or more children find that hosting an au pair makes sense financially. It also gives them more flexibility than day care can.
An au pair can make all your parenting dreams come true. True story.
What is an au pair?
By definition (according to the all knowing Wiki), an au pair is a young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and some pocket money. Now I’m here to tell you that male au pairs are now a thing. We’ve even had couples apply to some of our ads.
Like anything, you definitely need to know what you want and how you’d like them to fit into your family.
You need to do your research. I’m sure you’ve heard the horror stories.
But, I’ve also had so many friends who have had more than positive experiences and in fact have hosted several au pairs. A good au pair just becomes part of the family. The relationship of trust is there and the kids love having them around. And so do you!
There seems to be a lot of au pairs looking for East Coast postings – it can be really hard to attract them to the West when you’re competing with Sydney or Brisbane. But there are a few tricks and tips that you can use in order to make your family stand out from the rest.
Living close to the coast is a big draw card for potential au pairs – creating a positive narrative around your family and the place you live will give you a definite advantage.
How do you attract “the right one”?
While I was researching tips to hosting an au pair, I came across this resource, “The Guide to Hosting an Au Pair in Australia” which has been super handy in answering a lot of my questions without having to go on a Google Hunt.
I highly recommend you have a read if you’re looking to host an au pair – or looking for some tips to help you attract your dream extra pair of hands.
It also helped me to link into some really useful forums which can be super valuable when you’re looking for help.
Pros & Cons
Like any decision, you need to weigh up the pros and cons.
While an au pair can be a flexible, personalised child care option, you need to consider that you will be sharing your house with someone you don’t know very well at first. There may be some language issues if English is not your au pair’s mother tongue.
Setting some ground rules around what’s acceptable in your family and what you expect from your au pair on a daily basis is really important to ensure a successful experience.
If you are providing use of your car or even wifi, you need to make sure you’re clear about their use. It’s much easier to have a successful relationship if you’re all on the same page to begin with.
Have you had an experience with an au pair that you’d like to share? Or some tips on how you attracted the right au pair to live with your family? We’d love to hear your story! Come and share in our Facebook Group, South West Mum Life.
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