I Am Grateful for Our Au Pair, Because… : Open Thread Nov 20

by cv harquail on November 20, 2014

IMG_0180My family is on our way to Ohio to see Grandma perform in The Glass Menagerie and to celebrate her 8oth Birthday!

It was on a long drive to Ohio back in 2008 when I realized that we needed  AuPairMom — so in celebration of (yet another) 8.5 hour ride, here’s an open thread for the long weekend.

This open thread has a special twist though:  

To contribute, you must use the phrase “I am grateful for our AuPair because…”

Then add anything you want to about why you’re grateful for her/him.   You don’t have to use this exact phrase– a reasonable facsimile will do.  Any threads that diverge from this concept of gratitude will be pended for another day.  Let’s see what we can make with this challenge!

(Au Pairs-– of course you can join in! Just tell us what you’re grateful for about host families, host kids, this au pair adventure, … )

{ 22 comments }

AussiePair November 20, 2014 at 2:08 pm

I am grateful for my host family because they are some of the most generous and loving people I have ever met. I’m super thankful for everything they’ve done for me these past 9 months and for how amazing they’re being right now as we get ready for me to leave. I’m actually devastated to be leaving them and wish that my time in America didn’t have to end yet.

I remember being so nervous getting off the plane to meet them, had I made the right choice in extending? Maybe I should have just gone home? But they were absolutely amazing and made me feel at home right away. I’ve been super blessed to have spent my time here in two amazing families! Each a little different and each a perfect fit for me.

I’m not sure how avidly I’ll continue to follow/contribute to aupairmom now that my time as an aunpair is ending, but I hope this site continues to be the amazing melting pot that it is and that I can come back and contribute from time to time. So I guess I’m trying to say is that I’m thankful to you too CV, for making such a great site where both host families and au pairs alike can improve their practices.

cv harquail November 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm

You are so sweet. It’s *really* hard to say goodbye — I know from having had to say goodbye to some truly wonderful au pairs. One thing to look forward to, that I am very grateful for, is having a connection between au au pair, a host parent and host kids, that you can keep enjoying year after year.

WorkingMomX November 20, 2014 at 2:16 pm

I am so grateful for all of my au pairs. They have taught my kids about other cultures and different languages. They’ve had light saber battles, run around the yard screaming GOOOOOAAALLLL! while playing soccer, read countless books aloud, explored in the woods, made snowflakes from coffee filters, sung songs, made and wrapped gifts, baked cakes, driven all over creation to activities and sports, taken pictures of moments I wouldn’t want to miss, built sand castles, skied and swum with our family. They love my children and make them feel special and part of something wonderful. We have family all over the world thanks to the au pair program. Being a host family truly has been a gift that keeps on giving.

NoVA Twin Mom November 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I’m grateful to our current au pair, who recently returned from vacation with us and embodied everything the au pair program should be. She was able to anticipate what we would need help with and do so without us asking – and was truly helpful! She’s like this at home too, but it became so very clear while we were on vacation how wonderful she is.

We were able to take her with us to Hawaii (using award tickets and staying at military recreation areas) – and she totally “rolled with the punches” the whole time. She made plans (at our urging) to snorkel and hike while there as our girls are still too young for both, and met up with an au pair living in Hawaii some evenings, which was great because it’s always nice to have some time apart when staying in a small cabin. She even cheerfully accompanied us to see some of my husband’s relatives that we seldom get to see, and at airports was fine with “guarding the luggage” while we dealt with rental cars. I told her while we were there that we could have gone on vacation without her – but it was SO MUCH easier with her along.

At home, she does the same – anticipating our needs. She asks for the opportunity to cook meals from her home country, and has truly embraced use of our crock pot, which is fabulous because I can just tell her I left a meal in the fridge and she completes it! Her friends are wonderful too, we truly enjoy having them visit. She makes our life so much easier when she’s around than when she isn’t.

Seattle Mom November 20, 2014 at 6:02 pm

OT- can you imagine being an AP in Hawaii? I’ve never seen an au pair request Hawaii, so I guess I just assumed most of the agencies aren’t there. The transportation cost from NYC must be pretty enormous. I mean it’s $500 for us, would it be $1000 to Oahu? And food and housing are pretty expensive there, so maybe mere mortals who live in HI can’t afford to have an au pair.

NoVA Twin Mom November 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm

At least APIA is there (Oahu in any case). From what I understood, there’s a small cluster, but distance/time driving makes it sometimes hard to get together with the others. The au pair I met is definitely not living with mere mortals – their house was in the most expensive section of Oahu and RIGHT on the beach. The au pair has her own floor. All that being said, from what she said they were very nice.

The “complaint” they seemed to have was that it’s really hard to do any traveling outside of their travel month – they can’t afford to “go to New York for the weekend” either money wise or time wise. A flight to another island is doable, but not generally the mainland. We once considered an au pair in rematch from Hawaii (whose situation really wasn’t good, even the LCC agreed there were too many people living in that sized house to be hosting an au pair) as well as someone whose first year was in Hawaii but wanted to extend on the mainland so she could travel more! I think host families in Hawaii probably have the same problems a lot of New York and California families have – that au pairs pick them for their location rather than their family.

WarmStateMomma November 21, 2014 at 2:36 pm

The cost of child care is pretty high on Oahu, so hosting an AP may be pretty affordable if you can spare a bedroom. We just returned from our first vacation there a few weeks ago and I was surprised at how tiny and run down many of the public schools are there. I got the impression they don’t have the wealth of extracurricular activities or variety of classes we have in many places on the Mainland. I can imagine some HPs want to find an AP to help their kids with a language, sport or other interest that isn’t readily available there.

WarmStateMomma November 20, 2014 at 3:10 pm

My list is pretty long, but I am most grateful to my au pair for being a cheerful presence around my toddler when my husband and I were devastated by a very personal matter. Our au pair likely won’t know how much that unsolicited act of kindness and love for my daughter meant to me until she has her own child’s happiness to consider.

HRHM November 20, 2014 at 5:15 pm

I’m so grateful for our Au Pair because she has finally shown me that the program CAN be the amazing, everybody wins, two-way wonderfulness that I always wanted it to be. She is our 7th AP and is everything I have wanted and needed. She is smart, funny and so great to be around – I truly consider her a friend. She is mature, flexible and responsible – I can trust her to do her job and beyond without having to micromanage. She is kind, gentle but firm and a great example for my girls – both have told me that she is their best AP yet! She is energetic, hardworking and engaged – I love to see how much “hay” she is making with her year (camping in the mountains, travelling out of state on road trips, joining and volunteering, participating in local runs and events).

She hasn’t yet been here 6 months but I already am in mourning that some day I will have to let her leave us. I guess that’s the flip side of having the best AP on earth – how sad to ever have to lose that! I try to let her know often how much I value her and appreciate everything she does. I hope she knows it’s authentic! <3

Seattle Mom November 20, 2014 at 5:59 pm

I am grateful for our au pair for being a flexible, easy-going person who can cook a mean au gratin and does so on a weekly basis. I am also grateful for the love she has shown my daughters, because in the end that’s the most important thing.

Texanadian Hostmom November 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I am grateful for our au pair because she is such a loving and positively energetic person in our home. Not only has she been hugely helpful and flexible, but she’s so calm and cheerful to be around. She’s given us the ability to have date night, and time to hit the gym, and ability to make it through our otherwise crazy morning and evening routines, and for that I am incredibly grateful!!

Boys Mama November 21, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I am grateful that our AP loves us and understands we are all human! I don’t feel judged by her for the imperfect nature of our family. APs often see us at our worst and it is such a tremendous relief to feel accepted and not judged at those times.

AuPair Paris November 21, 2014 at 4:58 pm

I’m grateful for my HD today, for coming home to me telling off an angry, dramatic, host-kid, who was being REALLY mean to her (crying) sister, dealing with it strictly and firmly, and then making both kids laugh and let it go.

Not something I’ve ever managed to do with them, and it’s given me really good ideas about how to handle it in future. Plus, it showed me that he respects my attempts at discipline. He could have ignored it, or taken over in a way that undermined me, but instead he said very clearly that he didn’t want to come home to find them arguing with me again, and that they have to listen to me – addressed the behaviour (on my word alone, although obvs I was telling the truth!) firmly and fairly, and then somehow got rid of the nasty atmosphere. Amazing!

Also, my eldest HK has a birthday party and bought plastic horses as a gift. HM and HD joined forces this eve and made a stable for them out of cardboard. (I love my HF, but due to schedules there’s a lot of running around and doing homework and being serious. This was the most fun and easy-going evening!)

Taking a Computer Lunch November 21, 2014 at 8:08 pm

After my first rematch (in 13 1/2 years), followed by 4 weeks with a wonderful, reliable nurse, I am grateful for AP #11. She has been in our house less than 24 hours, and she has been cheerful, helpful, working hard to convey her meaning when she doesn’t have the English word, texting APs in our cluster, fed the Camel, and right now attending the middle school play in which child #2 appears. She is gentle, sweet, intelligent, helpful, and eager to learn. She is a 100% contrast to our rematch AP, whose depression affected the way she did her job and treated our children.

Oh, and I am grateful for the nurse who cared for The Camel in the interim, and doubly pleased that she has landed on her feet and has another home nursing patient who will actually give her full-time hours (we were only authorized for 5 hours a day, which made DH and I quibble who was going to put the Camel on the bus and be late for work).

cv harquail November 22, 2014 at 6:05 pm

I am SO SO happy for you TaCL! You deserve a great AP and a great year. May it get even better!

meanwhile in canada November 21, 2014 at 9:06 pm

i am grateful for our au pair because she fits so seamlessly into our family. she loves our children (even when they do less-than-lovable things), & takes the time to do crafts and read endless books, even in her time off. she has been so flexible while i have been looking for work, & now that i have started working full-time, is helping us transition into what the new normal looks like for our family. she does this cheerfully & thoughtfully, & we are already dreading the day she returns to her home country.

TexasHM November 22, 2014 at 1:54 am

I am grateful to our au pairs for their bravery in being willing to stick their neck out and live with complete strangers often halfway around the world.

For their resilience on the not so perfect days and during those first couple weeks when we know they are often desperately drinking from the firehose.

For their willingness to be open minded and try new things and really stretch themselves and for pouring their strengths into our children (that love of music, that calming mature presence, that affection when they were babies, that enthusiasm for life).

For reserving judgment when we host parents struggle and for offering support without being asked. For loving our children like family and broadening our understanding of the world.

For allowing us to witness and be a part of what is often a transformative year of your life and for teaching us we have far more in common than we do differences, regardless of our nationality.

happyhostmom November 25, 2014 at 10:10 am

+1 TexasHM. I too admire their courage as well. I don’t know if I could’ve done it myself.

Multitasking Host Mom November 22, 2014 at 8:03 pm

I am grateful for our current au pair because of what I overheard her say last week: As I was walking out the door to go to work early on a Saturday morning, AP told my son, “Isn’t this great?! We get to spend the whole day together!” It made me so happy to hear that, and put me in a good mood all day just knowing that my child was being cared for, while I was working, by someone who enjoyed being with him.

Also, I am a grateful to all of our au pairs because without them I don’t think our family would function as well as it does. Hosting APs gives us the flexible and quality child care that we need. I appreciate the patience and enthusiasm that they bring into our home. We are so glad that these young people decided to spend their AP year with us though both the good and the bad. We happily welcome them into our family.

happyhostmom November 25, 2014 at 10:07 am

I am grateful for my Aupairs (past and current), because they have become members of our family. They have been the big sister to our children (caring for them like they are truly her own flesh and blood). They have cared for HD and I too like their own familiy. They have made hard days easier, great days better, put smiles on our faces, opened up a whole new world of culture to our children and to us too, and just fit into our family like a hand in a glove. The kindness they have shown our children, our pets and us is unmatched. When the AP program works, it really works. I am happy to celebrate another Thanksgiving with our Au Pair this week! Thank you CV for this thread, it is a great one.

Sweet Mama Jane December 2, 2014 at 12:20 am

I am grateful for just discovering this website, as we begin our search for our very first Au Pair! And I am especially grateful for this thread, because after a few days of browsing comments I was starting to reconsider the program… so much disappointment and misunderstanding, who would ever want to do this? But now I’m seeing how good it can be, and I’m more excited to get my essay finished and start interviewing!

old au pair mom December 2, 2014 at 1:02 am

We have had so many au pairs over the past 16 years. we were able to add an extra baby to our family via adoption because we knew that our APS would help with not only the work, but the extra love and fun. Each woman has been different and has brought different skills and fun to our family. The cultural exchange is important, I remember one Chinese AP on her departure thanking us for teaching her that kids were fun and that she needed to learn ‘what a good job you are doing’ in Chinese b/c it was such a nice compliment to give to both adults and kids. Our British AP made us all snappier and insisted we spend time in the garden, even in the rain. We miss her shortbread and her ease with DH and me. I miss our Australian’s weekly wine picks and the closeness between our Eastern bloc wonder and our very young disabled child. Truly the only common thread among many of these young women was uncommon kindness. What a lovely chance to say only nice things.

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