When people first hear that the Blinstrub family of Northern Virginia have an au pair, they usually react with: “Isn’t it strange having someone else in your house all the time?”
Admittedly, host parents Beth and Gregory thought it might be at first—but today they’ll tell you, it absolutely wasn’t. In fact, if you ask Beth and Gregory about their South African au pair Tamera, they’ll tell you that without a doubt, she’s changed all their lives for the better.
Beth and Gregory Blinstrub put their first child, Bryce, in a nanny share, then moved him to an in-home daycare and finally a full-time preschool. When their second child Drew was born, he was cared for at an in-home daycare while his older brother was still in preschool. Working out the logistics of getting the boys to and from their childcare was just too much for the family. Both Beth and Gregory work full-time—between the demands of their jobs and the traffic to and from their offices every day in Washington D.C., they realized it was time to find a less stressful childcare provider. Someone who would relieve them of the complicated back-and-forth, and would give their boys the attention they deserved.
When their third and final child arrived—a baby girl named Kate—the Blinstrubs finally decided to welcome an au pair. After a personalized recommendation from Cultural Care staff, Beth and Gregory interviewed South African au pair Tamera and it was an instant fit. They felt as if they had already known her for years. After their first, 25-minute video interview, the kids asked if Tamera could over to bake cookies with them! The Blinstrubs decided they wanted her to be part of their family.
“Tamera’s calm nature, gracious attitude and contagious laugh emanated throughout our home and our hearts the minute she walked through the door,” says Beth. “I had fears of my children not connecting with her, but those melted away as soon as Bryce grabbed Tamera’s hand to show her to her room (with Drew and Kate following) within moments of meeting her.”
Tamera always says yes to board games and checkers when Bryce asks to play, even if she’s tired. She often listens to his (long) stories and laughs at his silly 6-year-old jokes. She is patient with Drew, who Beth and Gregory say is sometimes referred to as their crazy “threenager”—but she is always encouraging and devoted to spending time with him. She’s also engaging and comforting with baby Kate—reading books, playing peek-a-boo, giving baby massages and making her giggle until she falls over.
Tamera shares her culture with the Blinstrubs by making delicious South African food for the family! She cooks with the children and tells them stories of cooking with her family as they follow the recipe together. It’s a way to bond, and to introduce the kids to important traditions from her home country. It’s another way the children are enamored with her.
“Tamera is polite, gracious and respectful,” says Beth. “She is an example to my children so they’ll grow up to be polite, gracious and respectful adults like her.”