AuPairMom is thankful for … TaCL

by cv harquail on November 25, 2014

We all know her. We all love her.

TaCL : the internet-famous TakingAComputerLunch.

thankful owlShe’s #1 of 2,200

Over the course of the 6+ years of AuPairMom, around 2,200 different people have contributed to the blog by offering advice in the comments.

It’s TaCL’s 5 Year Anniversary on Au Pair Mom, and I think it’s time we celebrated her. Don’t you?

One of the reasons that TaCL is so famous, and it’s the same as the reasons why we are thankful for her, is that she’s had a powerful, positive impact on this community. It’s not simply the volume of her comments, or the length of time that she’s been participating, but rather the usefulness, relevance, and straight-shooting kindness that her comments offer.

Here’s just a glimpse of  TaCL’s impact:

Other commenters have referred to her/her ideas in their own comments over 350 times.

TaCL has contributed not just through comments. She’s had some guest posts on the front page of the blog, and emailed me and others ‘backstage’ with more private advice.

You need help? TaCL is here.  

After a few comments we start to get to know you.  Many of you we get to know pretty well, because you comment regularly enough and honestly enough that we get a sense of the details of your lives, and of the depth of your spirits.

Over these 5 years, we’ve learned about The Camel and the challenges of a host child with special needs, we’ve learned that her son can rarely find his library card, that her DH does grocery shopping and teaches their au pairs to drive, that TaCL is not afraid of the ‘reset conversation’ and that she has an honest, thoughtful, helpful idea for any problem you can even imagine.

Other than that, though, TaCL is a bit of a mystery. For example, do you have any idea how many comments she has contributed to this blog?

[Note: the person who guesses the closet number and mentions this in the comments, before Dec 15th, will win a copy of my favorite-right-now book, Dear Sugar, by Cheryl Strayed.]

That’s not the only TaCL mystery.

  • Does anyone know her first name?
  • Where she lives?
  • What else she reads on line?
  • Why she ever chose this nom de mom?
  • Whether she’s ever posted as someone else?

More importantly– does anyone know what we’re going to do when TaCL’s kids age out of the au pair program, and she’s not a host mom anymore?

I can hardly bear that thought, and I’m not alone in dreading that day.

I am Thankful For…

I am thankful for the 2,200 people who’ve commented directly on the blog. I’m thankful for the 530,000+ readers who’ve come to the blog, read the stories, posts and comments, and for the large portion of those readers who’ve taken wisdom from the blog and applied it in their own families to improve their host family-au pair experiences.

I am thankful for the other frequent commenters, those active now and those who’ve been active in the past, because there are about 50 members of the community who we could describe as co-creators of the blog. (I wish I could write about all of you– and maybe over this next year, we will??)

Without you, without them, this blog would just be me opining into the void about what I personally think is the best thing. Which after some point would be both boring and limited in its usefulness.

I am especially thankful for the wisdom of host parents like TaCL, who’ve made it so much easier and more meaningful to be a host parent.

Are you feeling thankful for the moms, dads, au pairs, and au pair professionals who comment on the blog? 

Let’s use the comments to call out some contributors and community members whose participation on the blog has made a difference in how you enjoy being a host parent or an au pair.

And just this once, TaCL, let us show how much we have learned from you.  



See also:  Au Pairs and Common Sense: Guest Post by TakingAComputerLunch

Thankful Owl image from Dreamy Breeze on Etsy.


DarthaStewart November 26, 2014 at 8:33 am

Love this post. :D I agree that Taking a Computer Lunch has been an invaluable contributor to this blog. :D

Thank you – and I am grateful for this blog, as it has helped me over a few bumps, and helped keep me sane more than once.

Anonomomma November 26, 2014 at 9:56 am

here here

TexasHM November 26, 2014 at 10:06 am

So grateful to so many contributors on here – TACL, CalifMom, Should be Working, DarthaStewart, really all of you – too many to name! Thanks for all your contributions and support!

Should be working November 26, 2014 at 12:55 pm

I would still love to meet in person with all the regulars! But I also want to stay anonymous for the sake of future posts about au pair difficulties, so I can’t broadcast here where I live and tell the regulars to contact me if you are in the area!

I’d be fine with appearing on a “backstage” list of regulars with my real name and contact info, to be shared only with regular HP posters here.

TaCL, I do wonder what other boards you post on and what OTHER spheres of wisdom you have to offer. I hope you are on some for kids with special needs, because your general outlook and specific knowledge would likely be hugely helpful to other parents of kids with big health challenges.

hostmominco November 26, 2014 at 1:14 pm

I am so thankful for this online community. I have both vented and contributed what I hope was seen as positive comments/helpful advice. We have very few au pairs and host families in my area and this blog helped me understand that I was NOT the problem when we had a less than stellar au pair. Thanks to all of you for helping me keep my sanity and for all the other tips, tricks, and strategies!!!!

Seattle Mom November 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I love this blog… I recommend it to everyone who tells me they are considering getting an au pair.

I am thankful for CV, TACL, Should be Working, DarthaStewart, TexasHM, HRHM, and all the others who contribute their insights. I’m really bad at remembering screen names so I know there are many I’m leaving out.

I have gotten so many good ideas from this blog about what to do in different situations. But most importantly I do not feel alone… I know that you are all out there trying to be good host families and experiencing similar highs & lows to my family! And whenever I have a question about something in au pair world I come here. I have had a lot of my questions answered.

Seattle Mom November 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm

More specific contributors to thank:

WarmStateMom, Returning HM, 5kids=au pair, Host Mom X, Always Hopeful HM, Midwesthostmom, NJ Mama, ex au pair, Dorsi, Emerald City Mom, NOVA Twin Mom, Old China Hand, AussiePair, Skny, Peachtree Mom, WestMom…

and of course many more!

WestMom November 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm

And cheers to you Seattle mom! You often get the words right out of my mouth. You must be my alter ego from the other coast!

Seattle Mom December 15, 2014 at 5:09 pm


WarmStateMomma November 26, 2014 at 3:14 pm

I’ve received so much great advice/info/insight/wisdom here from other HMs and a few former APs – including a lot of older posts I’ve read. I don’t know if we’d still be hosting APs (or at least Chinese APs) if not for the ideas/support I’ve found on this site. The moral support is worth as much as the practical advice; especially because the commenters here are overwhelmingly reasonable and fair to all concerned (which greatly enhances their credibility in my mind).

TexasHM, SBW, TaCL, OCH, Host Mom X, HMitC, hOstDCMom, HRHM, GermanAuPair are the first names that come to mind, but there was an AP on the recent posts about LGBT au pairs who gave me a lot to think about as well.

TexasHM and OCH have also been really great offline, and I’d love to share some wine with them. :)

German Au-Pair November 26, 2014 at 5:35 pm

I still love this blog even though I’ve been back in my home country for more than a year now. It constantly makes me wish I could do some things differently and be a better au pair. And while the biggest reason I am still here is my connection and love for the AP program, I also like the view in other families’ lives. I hope it will improve my ability to emphasize with the parents of my future students.
So thanks to all the HP on here to take their time to contribute.

German Au-Pair November 26, 2014 at 5:38 pm

TACL has written 339 comments, BTW. You can see the number on the start page. ;)

TexasHM November 26, 2014 at 10:00 pm

I think that may be just this year or since the blog was updated. There’s no way it’s 339 total! :). And if any of the regulars roll through DFW (with 7+ million people here I’m less worried about being found ;) I hope they’ll drop me a line! Especially CV!

TexasHM November 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm

BTW I am guessing she has blessed us with 2400 comments…

Anonymous in CA November 27, 2014 at 2:19 am

As a fellow mom to a child with special needs, I am especially grateful for TaCL’s grace and wisdom, and her ability to be direct and forthright about …. everything she encounters! I get much more out of her posts then ‘just’ host-mom stuff. Thank you, TaCL, for being so generous with your time and your experience…it really does help.

Taking a Computer Lunch November 27, 2014 at 8:11 am

Ah shucks, you’re giving me a swelled head. It’s Thanksgiving Day, and I’m grateful to CV for keeping this Blog going – and for the rest of you for contributing! I came when AP #5, who was perfect for The Camel, was reluctant to do anything that made her stretch her limits as a person, needed you all when AP # 8 drove headfirst into the side of an SUV, and when it was clear that the last thing DH and I wanted to do was limp through a year with AP #10!

To me, the Blog is wonderful because it makes it clear there is no one way to be an Au Pair Host Mom! We can each strive for generosity of spirit and make each year the best it can be – but we’re human and our APs are too!

Always Hopeful HM November 28, 2014 at 11:29 pm

I am so, so grateful for this blog! TACL’s posts were a large part of what first caused me to return to the blog time and again. She is so consistently open, forthright,generous and thoughtful in her posts…I’ve learned so much! In the time since I’ve been visiting, I’ve also cherished the thoughts, suggestions, laments and cheer of the many posters, whether HM, AP, or LCC. So, my deep gratitude goes to you, CV, for starting, maintaining and monitoring this blog to help make sure it would be the amazing resource it is!

Anon November 29, 2014 at 12:02 am

Agree with Should be Working….want to be anonymous…but would always be willing to contribute behind the scenes. 6 years under our belt, and one year we should have rematched, the rest were incredible. The advice here is invaluable, I should have listened but my husband thought I was over-reacting to the issues with #5. Turns out I was right but I will never get that 9 months back. There is so much the tenured families can bring to the new ones. TACL has helped so much over the years. Here is my #1 advice; chill and don’t expect more than you would of your own teenager…they don’t expect perfection from you, don’t expect it from them…but you would be surprised at how much they want to contribute!

Peachtree Mom November 29, 2014 at 6:14 pm

I agree this site is fabulous….I recommended it to our LCC. Sometimes I just laugh out loud at the wit and humor that comes across along with the words of wisdom. Often when I feel like grinding my teeth I will end up laughing which makes it all good or at least makes it more pleasurable getting through the tough times. Here is to a wonderful holiday season.

old au pair mom December 2, 2014 at 1:12 am

I am fairly new to the site, but as an AP hoster for over 16 years, I find TACL an intelligent individual, who shares her dilemmas and triumphs. As a mom to a special needs child, I read her posts with interest.

Anon December 31, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Late to the party but I wanted to add that I too am grateful to TaCL for all the wise words, both directed to me directly (I went through a nasty rematch in early fall) and to others that has allowed me to learn so much as a HM.

We’re on AP3 and I am ready to throw in the towel on this AP thing — which is how I landed back on the site today. Thankfully I’ve read more of the wise words from TaCL and other regulars, and I’m seeing how I might cope/adjust so that this program can continue to work for our family.

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