Honestly, I was nervous about hosting an au pair.
We were the first people in our network of extended family and friends who explored the idea of the cultural exchange program. My husband and I are both physicians, with busy schedules that change from week to week! Not only are we both in medicine, but we live away from family and all of our close friends seem to be in medicine too! We need reliable, flexible and affordable childcare. I found this and MORE through the au pair program.
While in medical school and in residency I had work and studying to do after my time at the hospital was done each day. We knew we needed wrap-around childcare. The au pair program gives us up to 45 hours to schedule childcare around our family’s unique needs, including daycare drop offs and pickups, kids’ dinner preparation, and childcare during date nights, while studying, and when I am swamped and need to put in a few additional hours of work at home. I cannot imagine the costs and headache that would be involved in trying to find a dependable nanny for this! I shudder at the thought!
Welcoming our first au pair was more than having a young adult live in our home, it was adding a third loving member of our parenting team and family. I don’t know where we would be without the au pairs we’ve hosted over the last couple of years. I can assure you my stress level would be through the roof without them! It’s so wonderful knowing I can go to work and my children are surrounded with love. Our au pair gets up with the kids in the morning and is always there to pick them up at school. Our kids have the benefit of consistency in their daily routine, which helps them thrive. At the end of the day, we all sit down for dinner to share stories about our days, our lives, or our favorite traditions!
Traveling as a big family is also a treat. We love having extra hands at the airport and on road trips. As a bonus, my husband and I get to sneak away for dinner in a new city. Similarly, our au pairs love exploring new areas of the United States and the world! They help us make the most out of traveling. They motivate us to explore our city and the local tourist attractions that we might otherwise take for granted. This ensures that the au pair is fully immersed in American culture. We take time to see famous monuments together in addition to sharing holiday traditions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas! If they aren’t exploring American culture with us, they are out meeting new friends and forming lasting friendships within their local au pair group!
Not only are our au pairs leaders and role models for our children, but they have become our life-long friends. We recently traveled to Germany to spend time with our first au pair, Lovis. It was amazing to see where she grew up and visit all of the local spots she told us about! We had such a wonderful time that we are already planning our next international adventure!
I’m so thankful for the au pair exchange program. We’ve been fortunate to open our home to such wonderful, dynamic individuals! Both Lovis and Sophia have been an essential part of our last two years. Their constant willingness to support our family has made it possible for me to continue to do all the things I love, such as motherhood, learning, and life as a physician. We welcome our third au pair in January, and while the goodbyes are hard, I am so excited to see where our next year takes us.
For more information about our creative childcare solutions and adventures as an au pair host family find me at my blog Alyce Jane (www.simplyalycejane.com). Or follow me on Instagram @simplyalycejane for adventures in real time.