Tell me if this scenario sounds like something you have experienced? Knowing the trials and tribulations of rounding children up to get dressed for an event, you make the announcement?early that it is time to get ready. Looking?on with satisfaction, you are elated that for once you will be on time, and then down clonks the?littlest one in your high heeled shoes, wearing the same make-up you are wearing, or at least that was her intention. Suddenly, that?peaceful, happy?sense of accomplishment?goes up in flames, along with your patience, and as you undress and redress that little cherub of yours?(your hair getting bigger, your clothes getting lipstick stained) you start dreaming of how nice it would be to have?help.
In my case, me and my pack of wolf-pups were?never on time, always arriving as a?whirling dervish of disheveledness.?I often found myself staring with great discern, and longing,?at?the?well coifed mothers,?swathed in luxurious silk clothing,?hair and nails perfectly manicured,?precious?kids dressed in Oilily by their side as they strutted through town with a?nanny in tow carrying all the shopping bags AND pushing the stroller. My thoughts would roam?to the what ifs in life. What if?I could afford?a nanny? Would I?still be late? Would my pack?still be motley? Would I be more manicured? Would my hair be less wild and crazy? Would I look as if I had it all going on? What if I could have somebody else to do all of the?cooking,?cleaning and laundry? Would?my time be freed?up to greater connect?with my children, and Baddy? Recognizing it as an?unattainable dream, regardless of what choices I would make if given the opportunity, I’d shake off the vision onto someone else like a wet dog shakes?off water.
When I got?pregnant with our third boy I?worried about retaining the ability to stay patient?and?fun for the boys, and attractive for Baddy, and so I found an alternative solution to the proverbial nanny and found us an Au Pair. Why I had not done that?earlier I’ll never know.
Now I’d like to introduce you to Summer Blackhurst. Summer has three children of her own and she?interviews Au Pairs for family placement throughout the country:
What is an Au Pair?
Au Pairs?provide live-in affordable Child Care and offer more flexibility and benefits to a?family than any other form of child care.?They?work up to 45 hours per week and 10 hours per day which offers flexibility?and they?participate in one’s family life and activities creating a consistent, safe and loving environment.
Coming from places throughout the world, Au Pairs share?stories of their cultures,?where fish eyes arent thrown out before dinner, and?frog legs may be considered a great appetizer. Several Au Pairs from Go Au Pair (one?of the 14 State Department sponsored agencies) enjoy the mountain backdrop of?Aspen.
Some will come to Aspen and see their first snowflake fall. For others it will be the first?time they have heard whimsical American phrases like “The Sky is the Limit” and Party Pooper?(not to be mistaken with someone dashing for a bathroom while at a party).
The cultural experiences?are mutually exchanged. One of Aspens Au Pairs, Fulan Li, said with?her Host Family, We exchange our thoughts and our culture, even though things are so?different, we are always getting along well with each other. I get a chance to experience?the culture here, at the same time, I can bring my culture to the family.
Compared to other childcare options, Au Pairs become one with the family?and?often become a best friend, a trusted confidant, and a partner in parenting.
The best part of being an Au Pair, is to be with my host kids, Sheldon 5 and Ava 3?years old. They are very precious children. Fulan Li feels like she is lucky to have?been chosen by such a great family. I have been enjoying so many wonderful things in?the past two years because of my host family.
Having?an Au Pair is a one of a kind childcare experience that pales in comparison to?other forms. Initially the effort and upfront costs are greater, but the cost levels out to be?the same or less than using a daycare or a nanny.
Next time you take a hike think about having someone from China, Germany or South?Africa as a companion to help out with the kids and to laugh with you even if you?are?a?party pooper sometimes. Having two nations share and learn under one roof for a time?is a one of a kind experience. The kids will benefit from it and the family will be all the better for?it.
More parents should consider this option if they can spare an extra room. It will?surprise them how often the Au Pair will be able to step up to cover complicated working?schedules.
BIO of Author: Summer Blackhurst is a writer and mother of three very small people (an 18 month girl,?3 year boy and 5 year boy). Reading Jillys Aspen Real Life blog has her both terrified and excited to watch her own boys grow up.?Writing is Summer’s?best shot at sanity at this?phase in her life and she does most of that for Go Au Pair where she is a firm believer in?the benefits of cultural exchange. She has interviewed close to 200 Host families and?Au Pairs.
** Note From Jillian: We just found out that our Au Pair from 10 years ago, who was only 19 at the time, just had a baby boy. Congratulations Katharina, we still miss you and NEED you to visit?us in Aspen so we can have our baby boy fix!!!!