Part of the Family: What does that mean to you?

by cv harquail on July 1, 2009

200907011734.jpg What does it really mean for your au pair to be "part of the family"?

What do you do in your relationship with her that is different, if you treat her as "part of the family" versus if you don’t?

Have you had the opportunity to compare the experience of a live-in caregiver who was ‘part of the family’ versus one who was not?

200907011733.jpg

As I sat down to write this post, I realized that in my family we have no hard and fast criteria that would explain what ‘part of the family’ means to us.

We include our au pair in meals– but only when she wants to join us. We include her in trips to casual restaurants on the weekend — but only if she wants to go. We protect her privacy inside and outside the house, being as loyal to her as we can (which, in my book, is treating someone like a family member). She can eat anything she wants, use anything in the house that the other ‘people who aren’t mom’ can use (yes, some things are just for me, the mom-diva). Then again, there are things that we don’t ask her to do that other people in the house do, like chores in the yard or going to church.

200907011735.jpg What are the host family behaviors that show she is "part of the family"?

What are the host family & host parent attitudes that show she is "part of the family"?

I’m really at a loss for words to describe how we try to help our au pairs feel welcome in our home, like normal everyday members of the craziness, and not like a ‘guest’. We don’t expect her to always somehow be ‘on duty’. We share with her the emotions that are going on, my concerns about the girls and their growth, and so on. But also I give her (and myself) personal space. She can use lots of the family stuff, like CDs and tools and snowboots, but not my iMac or my clothes. Honestly, I’m at a loss here.

200907011732.jpg So Host Parents:

What about you? Are you able to describe just what it means to have your au pair be ‘part of the family’?

[Au Pairs, you get to chime in on the next post: What does it feel like to be ‘part of the family’. Save your insights….]

{ 19 comments }

TXMom July 1, 2009 at 11:28 pm

What a great question! What I realize is that a family’s dynamics are constantly changing (as the kids mature, our interests expand, etc.) And upon reflection for each different AP my defintion of “part of the family” is slightly different.

Some have been like adult “equals” others like teenagers and then there was one whose English was so poor she was always like a foreign exchange student (not getting what was happening around her.)

To make someone part of the family we always invite the AP along when she is off duty. We live modestly but we generously share what we have. (Which is a challenge if HF and AP don’t share the same values.) We take interest in her life and make sure she is safe, informed and equipped to enjoy the area. Generally, I never ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself. (I hate picking up dead mice in traps, but hey, you have to do a lot of dirty jobs as a mom.)

I’m curious to hear from others because “being part of the family” was a phrase often used by LCC’s when we were in rematch looking for a new AP.

Ann from NE July 2, 2009 at 8:14 am

In addition to the things mentioned by CV and TXMom. In the time that our paths intersect, I/we do share: information on our past (childhood, parents, successes & mistakes); introduce her to what we do for work (tour of the offices, talk about projects, I helped previous AP write her own resume in English for job-hunting, talked about U.S. concept of networking); as co-equal in our weekly house meetings in discussing parenting concerns about our daughter (I took AP to several parenting workshops with me).

I talk about money – while not in exact details, I give approximate sense of how much our house/neighborhood houses cost, what % of my salary goes to full AP costs etc, what my choices for childcare are when AP leaves (price of summer camps in the area). So she gets a reality check on life of U.S. working parent, the high living costs at our East Coast metropolis, and dispel the myth that Americans have unlimited $$.

I have given unsolicited advice on things I wish I had known more about as a young woman – job hunting, nutrition, love, planning for children, hey even taxes. I have pushed APs to explore things new to them – attend a church service of a new faith/religion, try new foods, I paid for an acupuncture session for both.

And this may sound trite, but just by example and show them the basic facts of adulthood and values my husband and live by: (1) we’re not perfect; (2) hard work and organization are important; (3) when unexpected things happen, you have to muddle through and maintain your daily responsibilities and positive attitude. In last 3 years, our APs have watched us deal with unexpected events and issues of various flavors, from serious (planning funerals of 2 close family members) to relatively humorous (exploding plumbing pipes in AP’s basement bedroom in middle of winter) to perhaps distasteful but important (writing down color/consistency of daughter’s poos on daily basis and collecting occasional stool samples for Dr visits to monitor her milk protein allergy).

Mary July 2, 2009 at 8:44 am

I have found this very difficult. I had one au pair who felt that this meant that she wasn’t on duty when she was with us because she was a member of the family. For example, the family was going to a water park. I told our au pair that she would be on duty while we were at the park and her job was to watch my son. She needed to be with him at all times. I also told the entire family that we were having a large breakfast before we left and that we would not eat again until later in the day. I made eggs, waffles, etc before we left. I also had a cooler of fruit, cheese, crackers, water bottles, etc in the car. My AP refused to eat breakfast. She slept during the two hour ride to the park which was fine because she was off duty. When we arrived at the park had a snack before entering. You can not bring food into the park. We met several other families at the park. Our au pair was wearing a thong bikini. I asked her to put on shorts because I felt it was not appropriate. She was very angry. She watched my son for about an hour and then indicated that she was hungry and wanted something to eat. I reminded her that we were not eating until later and she said she would faint if she didn’t eat. I gave her $20 to get something and told her to bring back the change. There was no change. Now all the kids want food.

The other families are upset because now they are forced to buy their kids food. After she ate she said that if she was part of the family she shouldn’t have to watch my son. I reminded her that she was working. She said no this was a family day and she was tired. Next she wanted me to buy souveniers. I don’t buy my own kids “junk” but she got them all asking for things. I refused and she said that I wasn’t a good mother!!! I told her that she could spend her own money on whatever she wanted. On the way home, we stopped for pizza for dinner. She was at the opposite end of the table. I asked my kids and AP to decide what type of pizza they wanted. The pizza came with a family style salad for everyone. When the meal came, the AP had ordered a seafood pasta dish for $30 for herself. I specifically said that we were having pizza!!

All this AP kept saying was that she was suppose to be a member of the family and this is what she would do in her family. I tried explaining that she was here first and foremost to work for us and that we were paying her to do this. We don’t pay our kids. She also need to follow our rules and instructions. She quit after three weeks with no notice. Guess what – she was placed with another family because we were horrible people!!! I had spent tons of time orienting this AP, showing her the area, taking her to the bank, getting her a SS card, making sure she was introduced to other au pairs etc. To me being a member of the family doesn’t mean that I am suppose to pamper her and do her work. I would never let my kid get away with this. What is the expectation that agencies set?

PA Mom July 2, 2009 at 8:56 am

Being part of the family to me is joining in family dinners, spending some time just being around each other when “off duty”, talking a lot about “things”. It’s really more about sharing living space in a friendly way, doing a little “teaching” or parenting because as an older teenager and maturing women you still have a lot to learn from others, encouraging each of them to try something new and then share something familiar to them. It’s trying to meet their new friends and have them meet ours at family events and casual parties. It’s sharing in the work, the fun and the normal stuff. How it works varies with each AP as it’s largely dependent on chemistry and personality – different with each AP and as the kids mature. They should feel at home or at least comfortable in your house – if they are never there during off hours – it may mean they are very social or it could be a clue that you have an awkward fit.

Southern Host Mom July 2, 2009 at 10:00 am

Reading these posts reminds me of when we were in rematch and I was interviewing a potential rematch Au Pair. When I asked what was most important to her about joining a new family, she said, “I want to be treated like a family member.” My immediate follow-up was, “And what does that mean to you?” She was most appreciative that I asked the question, and it gave me a better understanding of her expectations. I could tell that she wanted to be more actively involved in our daily family life than our previous Au Pairs (and I was okay with that).

Having had several Au Pairs, we TRY to accommodate the Au Pairs’ differing expectations of “being treated as a family member,” so long as it is not disruptive to our family or inconsistent with our values. And I do always try to tell our Au Pair of our family plans (e.g., “We are going to the park . . .”, “We will be going to this neighborhood event . . .”), and end with, “And as always, you are welcome, but NOT obligated, to join us.”

Anonymous July 2, 2009 at 10:12 am

That is a great interview question! I am adding that to my list now

Rayann July 2, 2009 at 10:35 am

I think for us it means that she is included in the things we do as a family – dining out, weekend shopping trips, traveling. Host Dad and I also take her out with us once in awhile when we go out in the evening with our friends. Yes, that means we use back-up babysitters, but part of the family means sharing in the work equally – and sharing in the fun equally. When we travel, we make sure she has time off duty to explore the area. When we have parties at our house, the three of us take turns chasing the 2 year old.

We share clothes, wine, diaper duty and a lot of laughs. I consider her a close friend, and I like it that way.

Prior to our current AP (who has just extended for another year), we had a live-out American nanny for two years. We absolutely loved her, and would never consider her an “employee” but it was definitely a different relationship. We rarely socialized with her or spent time with her off duty. Our current AP, on the other hand, is home for dinner several nights a week, and is often home on the weekends.

We’re fortunate to have had a really great match with AP – we give her a lot, but she gives us even more in return. She has never complained about her work hours (always varying) or helping out with the kids when she is “off duty” – she just does it because that’s what families do. On the other hand, we have never complained when she needed time off or needed time away from the family – because again, that’s what families do.

Anonymous July 2, 2009 at 12:08 pm

All of my four aupairs have been very self centered and primarily concerned with how being a family member can benefit them. It has never been a two way street which has been very disappointing. I am very tired of my family being hurt by these girls. I may be expecting too much but when they can’t even make my 5 year old a birthday card and sing happy birthday with us…….something is wrong. We always buy the AP presents and try to celebrate holidays, special occasions with them. I guess you can’t change the person. During the interview, they answer all the questions correctly and we are very excited about their arrival…………and then are disappointed.

anonmom May 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm

If I may suggest that perhaps you are not asking the right type of questions of potential au pairs. To have 4 AP’s all not so friendly or family oriented, if it were me, I would re-evaluate my screeing process. You have to do more than just ask the ‘right’ questions, you want to find out more about their social and family habits, etc. sorry to hear you have had so much disappointment. I usually go through dozens of AP applications and take a long time deciding.

Another CA Mom July 2, 2009 at 12:41 pm

We have been very fortunate in our 2 au pairs so far – they really do want to be part of our family, and participate in activities pretty frequently – although I do try to remind them they aren’t obligated, either.

We do specifically seek out au pairs from Brazil, partly because we believe Brazilian culture celebrates family, and we want someone who is interested in being part of a family – not just have a job to help her get here and learn English. During the interview process, I carefully listen and read the candidates’ responses about what they like to do, etc. to see how much family is mentioned. So far, so good – but we are still pretty green in the au pair world!

(saving your question for another thread… cvh)

Anonymous July 2, 2009 at 1:35 pm

We usually have our “meetings” with the family over dinner. The au pair is not on duty, but expected to help as a family member would with setting the table and clearing, etc. I tell my family including the au pair that I am not the maid.

Jeana July 2, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Our successful experiences with aupairs have been the young women that wanted to be treated as if they are part of our family. Being a member of our family has meant many different things, through the years.

Our aupairs have helped around our home much more than they needed to. They’ve helped by doing my laundry, and I’ve helped by doing theirs. As a member of our family, I’ve helped them with their homework, and helped edit their written work. I’ve tried to help them understand cultural situations that might be surprising for them in the US. I am an ESL teacher and work with families from all over the world, so I draw from this experience.

Our aupairs are always invited to family gatherings such as holidays, birthdays, and special family dinners. They’ve joined us for most of those activities, too. The two aupairs that did not remain with our family did not participate in family events.

Johanna (our first aupair) held my newborn niece, two hours after she was born. She helped me when I would do freezer cooking, preparing meals for the next month, in a weekend marathon. Our basement was being remodeled, and Johanna let me know messages each day, from the builders. She spoke with her family multiple times each day, as we’d found “The Purple Card”, which allowed her to place calls for less than a penny a minute. I was always curious about what her family was doing, and Johanna kept me posted, each day.

Johanna’s mom, dad, and brother came to visit for two weeks. I must say that I wouldn’t usually want a two week visit from anyone, but I knew that it would be an awesome two weeks, as I felt that I knew her parents, through knowing Johanna. If I could have pledged my daughter to Johanna’s brother, knowing I wouldn’t have to deal with teen love, I would have done it. Her brother visited a second time for several weeks, and another friend of Johanna’s visited for a week or so. I totally enjoyed the visits from her family and her friend. I must say that I also would never have agreed to visits from family or friends of two aupairs who did not remain with our family.

After Johanna completed her year as our aupair, she returned to her home country and applied to be an international student. My daughter was in school, and I had not yet adopted my younger daughter. We did not need an aupair, and for two years, Johanna lived as a big sister in our home, while she studied. During this time, I went to meetings with her, as she made decisions about her college, and e-mailed questions she had, to an admissions counselor. Her schooling was painfully expensive, and at least she had no living expenses while she studied. When Johanna graduated with her Associates Degree in Business, we attended her graduation, and hosted a party for her. During the three years Johanna lived with us, she was flexible when illnesses and hospitalizations of family members, resulted in me walking out the door. She walked my daughter to school in the morning, like a big sister, and reminded my daughter of appropriate behavior in different situations. Johanna often asked to take my daughter to church with her, after school. She went on to complete her Bachelor’s Degree, and just graduated with her Master’s Degree! Our extended family plans to visit her in Germany, when our kids are up to an international trip, and when our bank accounts permit! She’s been back in Germany for three years, and we still talk about her everyday! We’ve communicated that there will always be a place in our family and home for her, if she has the opportunity to return to the US in the future.

Dikun, our first Chinese aupair, stepped up from the beginning, as I became ill with the flu the first day she was with our family. She tried hard to understand the needs of my younger daughter, who spent three years in an orphanage, before joining our family. Behaviors that might serve a child well in an orphanage don’t work well in a family, and Dikun helped me with my efforts to teach my daughter appropriate behaviors for life in a family. We had many wonderful conversations, comparing and contrasting information about China and the US. We talked about families, parenting, cemeteries, crime, judicial system, and politics, especially during the most recent presidential election. We talked a lot about Dikun’s goals for the future, and her thoughts about making a good life for her future. As part of our family, Dikun, met many of our local friends, who are also adoptive families, with children from China. She was happy to attend group events with our adoptive families, and became a friend to the little girls and their families.

The terrible earthquake in China happened very close to Dikun’s home. The morning I learned of the earthquake was very tough in our home. I awoke Dikun, told her what had happened, and handed her the phone to call her family. The lines were busy, and it took awhile to get through. I was sick for the people who had been affected, and terrified for Dikun. I was wondering how quickly I could get her back to China, if the news she received was bad. I was also trying to get my girls up and ready for school, and get to work on time. Dikun got through to her parents, knew they were safe, and I explained to my daughters what had happened. They were trying to take extra good care of Ms. Dikun, and I called a friend, asking her to check on Dikun, during the day. Other friends stopped by with flowers, cards, and e-mailed her their kind words of support. Dikun told me that these efforts meant the world to her and her parents. For a very long time, I asked Dikun if she’d spoken to her parents each day. There were thousands of after-shocks and this was very stressful for her parents.

As part of our family, Dikun went to stay with my sister and her family for several days, so that I could travel to another state, with my older daughter, and take her to China Camp. This was organized by our adoption agency, and was an opportunity for my older daughter to reunite with some of her baby friends, from her orphanage. I couldn’t leave Dikun and my younger daughter alone for three days, so they stayed with my sister, and my sister was there to help with Grace, also. This, of course, required flexibility from Dikun, and she was gracious to agree. My sister kept telling me how much she enjoyed having Dikun stay with them, and how helpful she was. This was simply life with Ms. Dikun. She made every day better for us, as Ms. Johanna had during her time with us.

Dikun moved to a different part of the US for her second year as an aupair. It was not a rematch situation due to any type of problem. I wrote a three page later to any potential family that would match with her, as I was determined that the best, possible family would match with her. I kept telling her that “just any old family” was not good enough, and she deserved the best. I actually spoke to her current host-mom first, had a good feeling about her, e-mailed her early on, and met the host-mom’s sister, who lived nearby, before Dikun matched with this family. At every point, I was making sure our beloved Ms. Dikun was going to a family who would love her, value her, know they were very blessed to have her, and would take very good care of her. She’ll be visiting this, as her host family is coming to the area on vacation, soon. Ms. Dikun knows she’ll always have a place in our hearts and our family.

Ms. April has just joined our family, and she too, has shown that she wants to be part of our family. She calls her mom for cooking advice, then tells me what we need from the store, to create a Chinese meal. She is teaching us to make Chinese dumplings. Ms. April really likes my mom a lot, and made sure she was able to join us when we had a birthday party for my mom. Ms. April meets me at the door when I return home from shopping, and is headed toward the car, without my request for help, immediately. She helps me carry bags inside, and my sleeping daughter, too. Ms. April knows when I’m tired, and has sent me off to take a little rest. She has the most delightful laugh, and I check with her often, to ask if she’s talked with her mom, recently. She’s incredibly thoughtful and asks if she can help, even when she isn’t working.

Ms. April had a horrible day in the spring; I really could have cried when I knew how bad the day had been. Thankfully, it didn’t have anything to do with my kids, but it was a horrible day. When I understood what had happened, I sent her upstairs to take a warm bath, and ordered Chinese food from a local restaurant. They delivered, just as she got out of the tub. I wanted her to just relax in her room for the night, and she kept trying to help in the kitchen, because she’s such a wonderful helper in our home. Ms. April just makes every day easier and better.

Our aupairs have made every day better, for our family. They have understood the times of the year when my work schedule is crazy, and their schedule was stretched, to accommodate mine. They’ve arranged to help with my girls when family members were ill and needed my help. They’ve studied with my older daughter, and been role-models of young women, focused on their education.

Our aupairs are part of our family, and I’ve helped them purchase computers, and airline tickets. I’ve counseled them on what a good price is for different items they want to purchase, and pointed out different stores that are good to visit, and best to walk past. As part of our family, I also ask them to contact their mom and dad when they are facing some type of struggle or challenge. I do my best to help them, but also want them consulting with their family. Our “family” aupairs have been great about calling home to talk with their family, at my suggestion.

I’ve appreciated when our aupairs are flexible, and I try to be flexible with them, as well. Our aupairs have been generous with their time, spending more time with my girls than required. They’ve helped out when my kids were sick, or when I was sick. They’ve graciously sent me on my way when a family member has been ill and I needed to leave home to help. I’ve tried to be considerate about their schedule, and tried to accommodate opportunities they’ve had with their cluster, vacation time, and friends.

Our aupairs have understood that my motherly advice about friends, men, travel, and holding on to a beverage when they are away from home is coming from my sincere desire to keep them safe, while they are part of our family. They know I’ve got their back, and that I want their parents to sleep well knowing that while their daughter is away from home, another mom is caring and watching out for their daughter. I also ask if they’ve talked to their parents in the last few days, as I want their parents to know they are cared for, in our family. I also want their parents sleeping well, knowing that they’ll hear from their daughter, again, soon. We talk about the realities of caring for children, and I’ve told each one of them that I am so glad that I’m a mom, and that I’m grateful that I had a lot of experience in life before becoming a mom.

As part of our family, we’ve welcomed the friends of our aupairs. We’re happy to include them when we go apple-picking, go on picnics, or have family events. I have truly enjoyed the friends of our aupairs, and through time with their friends, I’ve known that they’re in good company.

Perhaps what is most important in treating our aupairs as a member of our family is knowing that they are young women with a dream. Traveling to another country, with an opportunity to improve their English skills, which will help them in their future, and studying in a foreign country is their dream. They know that this will help them with the next step in their lives. I want them to know that there will always be a place for them in our family, and that we’re cheering for them, as they move away from our family, and work toward their next goal. I always want our aupairs to look back on their year with us, and reflect that they’re thankful they chose us. I want them to believe that we were the best family for them, in their home away from home, and that there will always be space in our home and hearts for them in the future.

katerina June 27, 2010 at 10:15 am

this is such a wonderful post!

HM in WI July 2, 2009 at 10:39 pm

“Being part of the family” is such a difficult thing to define, and I think it can change as each year goes by and new APs arrive. In my experience, though, there are a few things that have stood out as things a member of the family does just because they live in this house…sharing evening meals, helping prepare and clean up, helping put away the groceries when I come home with a trunk full of food,going to church with us once in a while, not sleeping in EVERY weekend. Yes, I know, they are young adults who love to sleep until noon or later, but I will say that the best HM/AP relationship I have had was with the AP who was up on Saturdays cleaning her room/bathroom and helping me with random things around the house. I never asked her to do this stuff, and I was always surprised by her help and very thankful for it.

What I’ve learned from my APs is that they value the fact that I expect them to be responsible, and I allow them a lot of privileges from the very beginning. I know a lot of HPs will make their APs earn their privileges, but I have taken the attitude that the APs deserve my respect, and I give it to them until they prove me wrong. Luckily, this has worked well for me thus far.

I’ve learned from other APs that they just want to be heard and loved as if they truly are valued young women. I find it kind of sad when an AP tells me that their HM never asks them about their family or friends. Ask about their social activities! You don’t have to know every detail, but your AP will be happy to know that you care.

NewAPMom July 2, 2009 at 11:07 pm

My ideal relationship with my au pair would be that of a younger sister (to myself) vs. another child. I like to ask her how she’s doing, what her plans are, and sometimes give her career advice and “mentor” her, and tell her about my own life path.

Ideally, I’d like her to take care of her own needs completely and function as a fully adult member of the family: keep herself fed, keep her laundry done, keep her living space straightened up, find things to do on weekends, take responsibility for getting herself from place to place. This does not usually happen, unfortunately. I have my hands full with my current children, so when my au pair does things that show immaturity, it frustrates me.

I’m very careful to keep her hours limited to the agreed-upon 45 hours a week. I don’t expect her to do non-childcare related chores, since we have a cleaning lady and I do all the shopping and errands myself. I’m trying hard to find the balance with cooking dinners and would appreciate any feedback about how other families handle this… we started out with the au pair, my husband, and myself each cooking dinner two nights a week, and everybody eating together. That didn’t work very well for various reasons… now she’s on her own for dinner 6 nights a week and we all eat together/have the family meeting/reconnect on Sunday nights, and I usually cook. I’d love some more help with cooking/menu planning, which seems fair since we’re all eating.

What I struggle with is the balance between being an employer and being a family member. The closer the au pair and I get as family members, the less respect she seems to have for me as an employer. So because of that I’ve had to pull back. I don’t know if this is because of something I’m doing, or a sign of the level of maturity of my au pair, or a little of both, or what…

(And now I’m going to go copy this post to a safe spot so I can use it during my interviews for my next au pair.)

MominPA July 5, 2009 at 1:51 am

The best 2 APs I have ever had were the ones that truely are a part of our family. One was like a younger sister that I could teach about the stages of life I had gone through and lessons I had learned with much laughter and the other is my current AP who is a bit less mature and needs to know how special she is sometimes.

For our family being a part is a reflection of the golden rule. It is that special girl who is willing to treat us the way she wants to be treated. The one who notices when I am about to go out to dinner after hurriedly putting the bambinos to bed with my dress buttoned wrong and corrects it for me because my husband would never notice… knowing full well I would do the same for her. I try to remember the pin money is not always that much and do a bit more when I can, and I try to make sure there are the same number of gifts for her to open on Christmas morning as everyone else because I would want someone to treat my daughter that way.

I have been blessed with girls who have given up weekend days because I have had a migraine or my husband was unexpectedly called into a golf match. I am thankful we have a great enough relationship that after the kids are in bed we go out together for pedicures or coffee together and just talk. (I treat).

I think it is about listening to the girls and being interested in their lives and not always expecting them to give over to yours. That is so hard, because it is all about our households at the end of the day isn’t it? I mean that is what we have in common, our children. So to sit and listen to our APs talk about past children they have cared for is sometimes rather difficult. For me anyway. I really try.

I care about my APs because I need them to care about my children and that is the most important thing of all. How will my children learn to care for and respect others if they don’t see me do it? I want them to be part of our family because I want my children to grow and learn from the experience and I want my AP to grow and learn as well. Actually I would like to grow and learn too!

sh

katerina June 27, 2010 at 10:24 am

this basically sums up what i feel makes a good host family, when they care for you as a person too and not just a their childcarer.
‘I think it is about listening to the girls and being interested in their lives and not always expecting them to give over to yours. That is so hard, because it is all about our households at the end of the day isn’t it? I mean that is what we have in common, our children. So to sit and listen to our APs talk about past children they have cared for is sometimes rather difficult. For me anyway. I really try. ‘

Anne July 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I knew our AP was part of the family when Host Dad needed to go to the emergency room in the middle of the night and I knocked on her door and asked if she could be responsible for the children–and she was happy to do it!
Here are some other examples of what “Part of the family” means to us:
(1) that she is invited to go (and goes) on weekend trips with us, when she’s not working or expected to work. And even though she’s not working, she’ll help us out with things like loading the kids into the carseat or the stroller.
(2) that she joins us for dinner every night, and that my daughter loves the “job” of knocking on her door to tell her that dinner is ready.
(3) that we tell each other where we’re going when we leave.
(4) that we fold each other’s laundry when we need to use the dryer.

Franzi July 7, 2009 at 1:15 pm

@anne, i like #4 – very true!

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