For all things au pair -related, the first step is to know what kind of care-giving you need.
Clarity in your needs not only helps you narrow down the field of impressive au pair candidates, it also helps you make the necessary trade-offs between “ideal” and “real world terrific”.
Dear AuPairMom, my spouse and I are wondering whether an Au Pair might be the right kind of caregiver for our two kids, ages 5 and 7.
Briefly, mom and dad agree on nothing except that we do well having babysitters/ nannies/ doula / tutors/ bodyguards work with our active children. I say ‘active’ because our kids make ADD/ADHD kids look somnolent.
So far, early education PhD’s, hardened professionals and normal-types got left in the dust; young, beautiful, energetic, engaging, intelligent, tree-climbing swimmers worked briefly until they found easier jobs. Actresses and school teaches have worked the best. But we need someone who won’t abandon us for a spot on the national tour of The Lion King.
Currently, I employ NYPD Medal of Valor detectives for week nights and the Captain of Police, Detective Squad and EMS Director for weekends; I have a Navy Seal with me to go to F.A.O. Schwartz with my kids. We have an International Terrorist Commando who takes them for McDonalds and pizza runs. (That FBI guy who plays with the kids in the pool? He’s a friend, not an employee).
Flexibility is a must. We are having a sleepover on a Battleship this weekend, and we also did one in the Museum of Natural History– that might appeal to an au pair who’s watched a lot of Ben Stiller movies?.
We are ‘Town & Country’, so the Au pair could have a room in a $4.5 million dollar apartment on the 43rd floor in Manhattan (provided we are not evicted this month) and stay in one of the family’s 2 (two) vacation homes, one in the Hamptons, the other in Aspen (provided that IRS seizure remains delayed). Anyway, I figure the Au pair would travel with the children: “go where the children go”, whether with mom or dad, either here in NYC or elsewhere.
We don’t do much driving in the City. An Au Pair will need to learn how to use Uber when the towncar is unavailable. However, she (or he) should be able to drive a car with a stick shift. Although I don’t generally allow other people to drive my Lamborghini, for obvious reasons, sometimes it is the last one in the driveway at the Hamptons. If the au pair wants to go to an early SoulCycle class she’d need to move it out of the way.
She just can’t drive the Range Rover over the lawn to get around it. Bt; dt. No good.
The kids enjoy all the fun of the Big Apple, but they are not what you’d call ‘spoiled’. Pampered, perhaps, but not spoiled. The boy’s first plane flight was on a private jet (we did not want him scolded for not sitting down) and the girl was born in a suite in the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital (courtesy of our friend-the Chairman/CEO of Morgan Stanley). Certainly, they have experienced luxury. But they are not spoiled.
We hang out with the extended family, with cousins coming and going from both the NYC apartment and the Hamptons home. Grandma tips generously, but she is a bit chatty. An au pair that spoke Italian, or Yiddish, would make things fun for Grandma.
The children appreciate all types of people (daughter loved having an actress who looked like Princess Jasmine as a sitter — lots of bedazzling and dress-up). What’s more important is a caregiver who can hold her own in a Karaoke bar– that’s the kind of spirit we’re looking for.
We are fine with an au pair who likes to use Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter to document her year. Who wouldn’t want pictures of these beautiful children! We just insist that she refrain from sending photos of our family to NYSD.com or Page 6. We know Mike Bloomberg, so we don’t want to offend him by helping Rupert sell papers.
This is 1% of 1% of the details, but as you’ve written in other places on your blog, we know that paying attention to the details and warning signs in interviews can help us insure a great fit with an au pair. So which agency do you recommend that we use? ~~~ ThatGuyYou UsedToPartyWithInCollege, now a daddy, HHK
No, this is not an April Fools Joke. Yes, I really did receive this email, and I recommended …. well, what do *you* think I recommended?