The Weems family of Lakewood, Colorado is a busy crew—Michael and Laura Weems are parents to four children: Estelle (8 years), Elizabeth (6 years), Cora (4 years) and William (3 years). Michael shares, “We are a big family and with four children there is never a dull moment, or quiet one for that matter, in our home.” To help manage the household chaos, the Weems have hosted au pairs from Switzerland, Mexico, Germany and France.
While a family might expect a few ups and downs over the course of four years with four different au pairs, “All of our au pairs have worked out great,” says Michael. When asked how his family has enjoyed so much success finding the right au pair matches, Michael attributes some of their good fortune to the website he created to help au pairs get to know his family and community.
At first, Michael built the website—weemswagon.com—for the purpose of saving time. “When matching with the first couple of au pairs, it was a bit overwhelming to keep answering the same questions over and over again. I didn’t want to have to keep repeating myself.” But soon it became apparent that the site not only cuts down on time spent relaying the same information time after time, but really gives au pairs a clear snapshot of what life with the Weems is like. “Personally, I felt like I had more information to share than what I could fit into our profile or letter. And this website is a way to do that visually—which au pairs find easy to digest.”
“Our au pair experience is very important to us, and we want to do everything we can to make it successful,” adds Michael. That includes clearing spelling out the household rules, many of which au pairs might consider somewhat strict. Michael contends, “Don’t be afraid to be bold and set the rules from the beginning. We actually appreciate it when au pairs reject our family, because if they are scared off by what they see on our website, they aren’t the right candidate in the end.” The website also includes blog posts which help keep the information current and interesting to prospective au pairs.
Michael says he got the website up and running in about three days using iweb. “It really is super simple after that. The biggest headache is renewing the domain name each year.”
We realize most of our host parents don’t have the time and resources to be building their own websites for the purpose of matching with au pairs. However, the Weems family’s success suggest that families can do many other things to ensure they are attracting the right au pair candidates in the matching process: share as much information as you can about your family and community; don’t be afraid to lay down your rules and schedule upfront; include photos of each family member and your community; and, perhaps most importantly says Michael, “Be open and honest about who you are.”
Families, do you have other tips for success during the matching process? We’d love to hear them!