‘SotaGal commented last week about, sometimes, she just wants to be with her kids, alone.
“Mommy-a-mano”, no DH, no DP, no AP. Just Mom & the kids.
There is nothing wrong with that. We all want 1 on 1/2/3 time, time when we are the only adult in the room, the only adult in the universe, with our little babies all to ourselves.
This is normal, and natural, and common. So, why does it feel so hard to say?
One reason is that, for the host parent, mentioning that we need time alone with the kids reminds us of how precious that time can be. Some of us only really get quiet time with one kid or another when they are sick, or when they have crawled into bed with us on a Sunday morning. We are glad to have help from our au pair, and to have our au pair as part of our lives, but we don’t want that all the time.
From another perspective, suggesting that you don’t want your au pair around right now is akin to saying, out loud, that having her/him around cramps your style. It may lead your au pair to think, just for a minute, that his or her presence is an obstruction, a cross that parents have to bear, even though we need the help.
The scary thing is, there is truth in both of those reasons. Having another caregiver around *does* change the parent-child(ren) dynamic. This is true whether than other caregiver is a teacher, an au pair, or a grand parent.
How can we deal with this need, and create some space for our private time with our kids, without hurting our au pair’s feelings or triggering concerns?
Sota Gal asks:
I have a question for the au pairs here with my gray area… As a mom who works from home, helps DH run his business and divides time caring for our 3 kids how do I handle/say that I just need some time alone with “my” kids?
Our current AP seems to get very offended when I tell her she can be done early because I want to spend some quality time (alone) with my children.
Once I did ask her to turn on the oven so I could start dinner in a bit but other than that she was done and free for the rest of the day. When I started the conversation I said that I was done working for the day, I had had a long couple of days and missed spending time with the munchkins and I would love to play with them alone now. You can have the rest of the day off!
I really think I made it sure she knew that it was nothing she was doing, just that I wanted to do something fun with them (rather than dinner, sports, errands, getting ready for bed which I do every day). And because of my schedule and the fact that we have 3 year old twins and an 8 year old, she and I often do fun things together with the kids.
Is there something I could have done differently?
Image: Mom and Daughter from VancityAllie