Maybe I'm too trusting, but I think we just matched perfectly with a mature and wise woman who is full of love and common sense and just the right amount of anxiety to make me feel at east when she's got the kids. Like, I have started running upstairs to use the bathroom alone on occasion -- but she would never dare leave them unattended.
The biggest reason we went the au pair route is because regular childcare -- or even a full-time nanny -- would not work for my challenging and ever-changing work schedule. It's too unpredictable, and with David's travel schedule (he travels 80% of the week), it was no good and also a little lonely being the only adult in the house.
It's also great for last-minute surprises. This morning, for example, when he was at the airport at 6am and realized he forgot something, he called (and bless *aupair for answering her phone because I was zonked out and didn't hear mine) and I was able to run out to the airport without dragging the kids along with me.
Other bonuses to #aupairlife:
- My 2-year-old occasionally counts his Hot Wheels in Portuguese.
- She loves to bake, so sometimes there is surprise cake!
- We are looooooving rice and beans in a way we never did before.
- David and I had date nights twice this weekend (we don't always schedule her on weekends, but D and I hadn't seen each other in ages because I've had so many weekend gigs), and we didn't have to explain bedtime routines or what the day had been like and why G was so tired. We just walked out of the house!
- We've had incredible cultural exchange conversations that have led to smart and eye-opening chats about feminism and country differences. I love creating this normal for my kids.
- There is always someone to hug.
- There is always someone to remind me to relax and appreciate my amazing children.
- There is always someone to remind me that I don't have to do everything.
Here's a link to our au pair agency. (If you sign up and host, we both get a wee discount. If the registration fee isn't waived for you, email me, and I'll send the code.)
I'm working on an entire blog to explain exactly what an au pair is and what she can and cannot do -- there are restrictions to keep both au pairs and families on the same page and both treated humanely. It's hard to explain, but I'm loving it!
*I still haven't come up with a good code name for her, so I don't blow her google-ability privacy to the world. Oops. (She has said photos are okay.)