When anyone hears the word au pair, that's what comes to their mind immediately: a good life in a foreign country, new friends, great parties. Of course, it also comes with it, BUT this is not the most important part! For those, who had thought it's all about fun in our work I have to say sorry, but it's not true.
Before I've started this whole thing I had thought about it many times, would it be good for me? Do I have every skill what it takes, to take care of a little child? It can't hurt to see these things clear, before you start to explore the unknown ...
Before I became a part of this world, I've always thought that being an au pair is't hard work. Come on, playing with the kids and live your life happily. So this is a lie... Who has never been an au pair before what sees from the outside and through the blogs? Oh, good for her/ him, great family, cute kids and lots of partying. Yes, this is also a part, but there are many things, we don't write about. And why not? Who would want to read about some poor complaining about how bad life is there ... And anyone can say anything, but taking care of kids is so much responsibility. Not just fun and games.
Of course, now you might ask what are you talking about, you don't have much experience in the matter. It's true. But the thing is, that you can feel the weight of it after a short time, too.:)
What are your duties actually as an au pair? Most of the time it depends on how you agreed with the family, but is usually around the same schema: take care of the kid(s), cook, some cleaning. Of course, at first sight, it doesn't seem difficult, I guess, you probably help at home to your mom, too. But at home you can say, that ok, I will do it tomorrow, wait I just send this e-mail quick and things like that ... Are you familiar with these excuses? Here, however, it isn't possible! It's your job, you get paid to be there when they need you, and help where it's needed.
Ok, I don't say that this life-style is a total disaster, because it's not! (Yes, yes, I think it's a way of life: D) I just want to open your eyes, that if you want to be an au pair, you should see the other side, too. You shouldn't be motivated by the fun-factor of it, like: "Wow they will throw huge parties there" and "Wow I'll go to grab some coffee every day with my new besties". Of course this is possible, but then don't expect to stay there for a longer period. The families are not looking for a partyanimal, but for somebody, who they can trust, and they'll know, that their child is safe with you.
Who do I recommend for this way of life?
· Love the kids, this is the first and most important thing in this case
· Be open to new things, another culture - for example, if you know that you hate the British people, who are often cold (at least that's my experience- no offence) then don't take a job in England just to say: hey I work in London, how cool is that?...
· Be communicative, without chatting it will be difficult with the small ones and even with the parents
· Be at least in one foreign language fluent. You don't have to be perfect, you'll be better with time,but it's neccesary to understand the people around you
· Be creative and neat: you need to get small children's attention and it's not always easy, don't think that it is enough, if you put in a dvd and hit play ...
· Be helpful. I don't say that you need to be like a puppy and follow the mum everywhere, but when you see she could use your help offer it to her. Believe me, it will pay of, she will be thankful.
· Intimacy: don't expect them to treat you as a family member, if you always keep a certain distance. You don't need to trust everyone immediately, but don't even push them away. Just be kind.
In my opinion these are the "rules", which are absolutely important. And one more thing! If you don't feel that this is your dream job and that you really want to do this, then don't do it! There are other jobs abroad if you don't want to work at home, this is not the only option. If you don't like it, you will suffer, it wouldn't make a sense.
However, if you can imagine yourself playing with a little kid , then why not? :) You need a certain amount of courage to do it, but nothing is impossible. You know who dares, wins ;)
(Again: These are only my thoughts about it, it's based only on my experience)
This post is from the old au pair themed blog. Receive it with lots of love! :)
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