A brand new Host Mom writes to share her distress.
Her toddler’s unsure about his new caregiver.
The Host Mom’s unsure about how to coach the new Au Pair.
The Au Pair’s unsure about how to manage when the child is desperate to interrupt the mom while the mom’s working in her home office.
The Host Mom issues instructions, like “Make some lunch.” and “Take him to the park.”, that the Au Pair doesn’t quite execute.
The Host Mom’s starting to notice all the things that the Au Pair said she was in her application — a good driver, a non-smoker, a person with her own ‘get up and go’ — that the Au Pair is not demonstrating.
Is having an Au Pair supposed to be this hard?
If you’ve prepared yourself by:
- Reading about other host parents’ experiences so you know what reality looks and feels like,
- Creating an Au Pair handbook,
- Orienting your Au Pair comprehensively, systematically and slowly,
- Identifying what matters most to you, and reminding yourself to let the rest go,
- Having a plan or routine to calmly manage the rough spots as they come up,
- and more
then YES it’s supposed to be this hard.
If you’d done few or none of these things, being a First Time Host Mom would be even harder.
Truth is, having any kind of caregiver whom YOU have to train and supervise is hard. Unless you outsource the management of your caregiver to a childcare center, or send your child to someone else’s home for childcare, all of this falls on you.
It’s the tradeoff we make for having the flexibility of an Au Pair and the comfort of having our childcare in our own homes.
When you’re a first time Host Parent, your own learning curve is HUGE.
You have to approach it as an opportunity to clarify what you want as a parent, what you want from a caregiver, and what priorities you’ll reinforce as you adjust.
All of us who are Host Parents have had those moments when we’ve wondered:
Is the work of having an Au Pair worth it?
We forget about the work involved in taking a child to a childcare center– getting yourself and your kids into the car on time, paying the late fines when a meeting goes overtime, managing yet another round of colds, dealing with the second or third new employee this season, and filling out the darn forms.
We forget about the work involved in managing a relationship with a professional child care provider– finding a certified nanny, adjusting to considering the concerns of another person with an adult life, family obligations, and career goals.
First Time Host Mom, you’ve gotten this far.
You’ve found an Au Pair and welcomed her into your home. You think you’ve done the bulk of the work of making it work… and you have… and there is still more to do.
Host Moms and Dads, any advice for her?
Ideas for helping her mom-up and take on this challenge?
First Time Host Mom Overwhelmed by Regret: Can She Fix Her Mistake?
How to Fix It When Your Au Pair Starts Out On The Wrong Foot
Ways to start orienting your New Au Pair: Some advice for the first two days
Image: Miniature cake by Stephanie Kilghast on Flickr