Being an au pair is a weird job and a lot of people don’t know what it exactly entails. These are some things that no one actually tells you before becoming an au pair but that I would have loved to know.
Kids will challenge your authority in the most ridiculous ways
Ask the parents what the rules are as early as possible. Your first few weeks as an au pair are going to be tough. The kids will try to do stuff that they would never do with their parents – just to see if they can get away with it. Be strict, hold your ground and don’t let them do anything stupid. Remember that you’re more like a big sister than a parent, but make sure that they listen to you.
Some families just aren’t right for you
Sometimes, au pairs go to live with a family, and things turn out not the way they expected. The workload, the attitude your host parents have, the kids and the expectations you have of each other can all affect your experience. Sometimes things just don’t work out. And that’s totally fine. I’ve met a few au pairs who felt guilty for wanting to leave their host family (because they obviously need the extra help) but you are allowed to leave. If the situation’s making you uncomfortable and things are just not working out, you are allowed to go home or find a different host family.
Not everyone can handle life as an au pair
People often think that being an au pair is an easy job. It’s not. It’s extremely challenging. Parents will know what I’m talking about. Exhausted from taking care of your own kids? Imagine that feeling when the kids aren’t even yours. As an au pair, you need to engage with kids on a daily basis – this includes dealing with tantrums, injuries and anything else that parents deal with. You might just lose your mind while doing this job (and you won’t even see it coming).
You will make friends for life
It’s hard to leave when your adventure is over (which is why I added on an extra year). Whether is it the kids, the host parents or the people you meet along the way, being an au pair allows you to meet tons of people that will change your life in the best ways.