Cheryl Celebi, at work-at-home mom in Potomac Falls, VA is finishing her coffee at the kitchen counter as she surveys the situation in the next room. Her 5-year-old twins, Aleyna and Maya, are playing a game on the floor and her almost-3-year-old, Derya, is sitting on their au pair Zehra’s lap, watching intently. She says, mostly to herself, “Well, I’m heading to work.” Her commute is one that many working parents would envy—Cheryl rounds the corner and walks into her home office on the first floor, shuts and door and sits down to start her day.
Like a lot of host parents on our program, Cheryl (whose family and au pair are pictured above) works from home and finds au pair childcare to be the perfect solution for her family’s needs. The benefits of securing an au pair as a work-from-home parent include:
The flexibility an au pair provides is the number one reason host families choose au pair childcare and continue to host au pairs year after year according to Cultural Care surveys. This proved to be true for all of the work-from-home host parents I talked to as well. Cheryl Celebi says, “Being able to move our 45 hours around within the week is much more conducive to our work schedules. For example, sometimes I need to be on the road to a customer by 6am—a daycare just wouldn’t work for us at all.”
Kelly Gitzke, mom to five children in Illinois who works from home part of the time, agrees that the au pair program’s flexibility is a lifesaver. “My husband and I work crazy hours and our schedule changes week to week. We are able to change our au pair’s schedule to fit our family needs on a weekly basis. Nannies want a set schedule, but with an au pair we can adjust as needed.”
Host mom Laurie Elkins has four children and works from her home in Frisco, TX. She has hosted three au pairs with great success and shares, “I can change the schedule throughout the day to balance my client calls. My au pair is so awesome—if I need her to she’ll work more hours than she had planned one day and just have more off-duty time later in the week.”
Convenience of live-in care
Another great perk that comes with an au pair? The convenience of having a live-in childcare provider.
Sarah Manucy, a work-from-home mom in Charlotte, NC, says, “With in-home care, there’s no need to pack up every morning to get the kids to daycare.” Kelly adds, “With so many little ones, [either my husband or I] are usually at home with our au pair. She will often stay with some of the kids at home if we need to take the others to school or gym activities. It’s very convenient.” Cheryl loves that her au pair can get dinner started while she is finishing up her workday. “Knowing that I don’t have to rush around to get the kids fed is a relief. Most days I like to cook but sometimes I just let Zehra [their au pair] take care of the kids’ meals. It’s nice to have that option.” Au pairs can also help with other household duties related to the children including laundry and picking up their rooms.
The ability to spend time with your children during breaks
According to the work-from-home parents I spoke to, one of the biggest advantages of hosting an au pair when your office is at home is being able to sneak in some quality time with them during the day while on a break. “My au pair rocks at ensuring I’m not disturbed, but I like to surface to interact with my four children occasionally,” says Laurie. And when one of her kids scrapes a knee or just needs a little “mom” time, “they come into my office for a cuddle, which I love.”
Sara also enjoys the opportunity to “be involved with the kids and the home activity” as does Cheryl who says, “If I’m caught up for the day, I will open my door. Then when my older girls come home from school, they know they can come in and tell me about their day, even if it’s only for a few minutes. It brightens up my day, too!”
The ability to keep an eye on what’s going on in your household
As a parent it can be tough to leave your own child in someone else’s care. But parents who work from home and opt for live-in childcare enjoy peace of mind knowing their children (and caregiver) are always close by. Cheryl adds, “Also, it’s easier to drive the point home with an au pair that the kids need to be outside playing, not hanging around inside the house. Go to the pool, or ride your bikes, or play in the playground—mommy’s working!”
It’s nearing the end of her workday and Cheryl surfaces from her home office to see what’s going on. Her oldest daughter is now home from school and she, along with Cheryl’s younger three girls and their beloved au pair Zehra are having a tea party in the family room. She doesn’t interrupt them, just stops for a moment to listen to them giggle and offer each other pretend cupcakes and biscuits. After a few minutes, she returns to her office to finish up a few things before it’s time to start fixing dinner.
Are you a work-at-home mom or dad searching for a the right childcare solution? Consider hosting an au pair to enjoy flexibility, affordability and the opportunity to spend more quality time with your children.