When we talk about how to choose an au pair, we’re usually talking about female au pairs.
Although I/we try to make advice on this blog ‘gender neutral’, most of the time we’re discussing how ‘general’ desirable characteristics get demonstrated by young women.
And, while the characteristics we look for might seem gender-neutral, they are laden with our assumptions about what women are like and what men are like, and how general characteristics like “warm and friendly” or “willing to help out” get expressed by women and men differently.
Women and men demonstrate skills and characteristics in different ways, since they have gendered/different histories, opportunities, and work experience. For example, when we talk about whether to choose an older au pair, we’re assuming that a younger woman woman is likely less independent than an older one. Would this assumption hold true for a male au pair?
Even if you’re only looked for or matched with female au pairs, take the point of view of a family looking for a male au pair.
If you *were* looking for a male au pair, what specifically would you be looking for to determine whether he has the characteristics you want in a childcare giver?
- Do you still look for someone who can cook (and by cook I mean ‘grill meat’, not ‘bake cakes’)?
- Do you look for a young man who’s lived with sisters, or brothers? Who studied pedagogy and not geography?
- Who volunteered at Sunday School or who was a camp counselor?
SAMaupair emailed wanting to know what host parents look for:
I would like to know your insights on a male Au Pair. I would also appreciate the insights of the Host parents that follow this blog.
I am 21 years old, working as a Financial Planner in South Africa. I have child care experience and absolutely adore children. I studied education for one year, whilst working at a day care, and did some tutoring.
I would really like to have the opportunity to work as an Au Pair in the USA. However, I have no idea how Americans feel about the idea of a male Au Pair?
Even though I am a man, I can still do all that is needed, such as cooking, cleaning, caring for children, etc. Another plus point about having a male Au Pair, is that we generally have more “authority”. Beyond that, I feel the children are to some extent safer with a male, because we will most probably be able to protect the children against any foreseeable threats like criminals etc. (Please, I am not in any way trying make female Au Pairs seem weak, just a thought about how a male au pair might be more usefule).
I would really appreciate some feedback, for I need to know the feeling towards this. Thanks so much!!
See Also: Why is a good Manny so hard to find?
Male Au Pairs: When would you hire one? (Poll)
Our AP’s appetite is so big, we can’t afford to feed her!
Someone Else in Your House: Getting comfortable with the idea of an Au Pair
Image: Cam Gigadet & Daughter, from “Super Hot Dudes Holding Super Adorable Babies” feature on TheFrisky.com