Funny how, once an au pair has become part of your life, he or she stays part of your life.
Many au pairs go home or on to their next adventure, and we don’t really hear from them again. Others keep in touch with birthday cards and Facebook, and with some we are lucky to have ongoing friendships– maybe over email, maybe over Skype and maybe even over years.
Occasionally, we get to reopen our homes and our lives to au pairs as they ‘re-stage’ themselves for their next adventure.
We got an email from a Former Host Mom who has been enjoying the return of her (former) au pair as a visiting family member. But, she’s also a little worried about where her au pair is taking herself. This former host mom is wondering, now that she’s no longer a host “mom” — is it okay for her to offer advice to her former au pair?
I’m an ex-host mom who no longer has an Au Pair due to my kids being in school all day now. We have after school care for the children, so we really have little need for an Au Pair as we once did.
One of our old Au Pairs, whom we adored, arranged to return to the US to study on a student visa. We offered to help her out by giving her a place to live during her time here, and she has been living with us for several months now. She did not ask us to sponsor her, and we would not do so if asked. She is self-sufficient and does not work for us. She does help out as a member of the family by helping us with a bit of housework and helping get the kids out the door in the morning. By no means is this a requirement, and we do not pay her for anything. She is a great person, and we truly enjoy having her as part of our family.
Everything is wonderful for us, but I’m beginning to wonder why she’s here, and if this is really the right thing for her at this point in her life.
She is in a program at a local college but says she doesn’t really like it and would possibly like to change majors or switch colleges. She’s not really committed to a major and seems like she’s just flip flopping, so to speak. This is also a second degree for her, but not a graduate degree. I know she is working under the table somewhere, and she doesn’t seem to think this is a big deal. I’m nervous for her and do think that it is a big deal.
I’m starting to wonder if she should just go back to her country. I want her to do the right thing. She isn’t trying to meet a man or get married to stay in the country, and I believe that she does want to eventually return home. I’m wondering what to do. Should I mind my own business or push the issue?
How can we host parents reshape our roles and our relationships with our former au pairs?
And, more specifically, what do you advise this former host mom to do?
Image: The Brown-Headed Cowbird -Brood…from Rhode2Boston