Over time, being an au pair Host Parent can start to feel tiresome.
Even though each au pair is new, with his or her own talents and challenges, the activity and responsibility of being a host parent stays the same.
Sure, with each new au pair relationship you get better and better with your handbook, your orientation, and your systems. But, some would argue (me included) that the more we know about how to be effective host parents, the higher and higher our expectations become for ourselves.
I think with each of our au pairs (even the fabulous ones) there has been a time when I have stepped back and fumed a little bit on how much work it is.
I’ve consoled myself with the knowledge that *every* kind of childcare option has work involved. With an au pair I might be frustrated with dishes left in the sink, but with a day care center I’d be racing to pick up my kids on time and avoid the late charge after a meeting that went over or a train that was delayed– and managing that is just as much work. But it’s all work, and it can get tiring.
One benefit of using au pairs is that, once a year (or after an extension) we have a concrete chance to reconsider whether an au pair is the best kind of childcare for our family at this moment.
We can look ahead at kids’ schedules, growth challenges, and social needs; we can look ahead at our own career & job changes, and we can think about what our family needs emotionally, socially, and instrumentally that an au pair can or might not be able to fit with. So, on the plus side, you get to recommit each time you decide to find a new au pair.
But what about during the year, when you just get tired of being a host parent?
When one little thing after another just gloms up to be too much?
Although we’re having a fairly successful year with our au pair, I think I may be experiencing a little bit of ‘senioritis’ with the AP program lately. It’s worked out well for us over overall (we’ve had 5 APs, some good, some ok, 1 rematch), but as of late, I am getting a bit worn out by the ‘parenting/managing’ aspect of it.
I’m feeling irritated at having to shut unused lights off all the time (regardless of how many times my APs see me do this, they somehow never seem to remember to do it themselves!!), prodding about signing up for classes, always being the one to initiate communication, reminding to do more creative/educational/interactive activities with the kids and less coloring and trips to Walmart, more fruits and fewer prepackaged snacks, etc.
We’ve never tried the nanny or daycare route, so I don’t really have anything to compare to, but I’m feeling a little deflated lately with the management part of having a young person in my household. I’d appreciate any thoughts or wisdom out there….