Here’s a testimony from an au pair that wants to stay anonymous.
OC California, Beverly Hills 90210,
Twilight or even the Simpsons…
All these movies, all the shows, sitcoms, comedies; daytime, prime time, late night.
Everything takes place in the United States. The land of the free. The land of the brave.
That spirit has always fascinated me and it was my dream for over a decade to live in this great country one day. That dream finally became true for me in 2015. Unfortunately, it was a nightmare, dressed like a daydream.
As I moved to California 1,5 years ago, I thought „West Coast – Best Coast“.
Nothing could go wrong, right? Well… Wrong!
But lets start from the beginning…
Do you know these au pairs that write in social media groups „I found my PERFECT match“ and then end up in rematch? Well…that’s me! I really did think I found the PERFECT match.
Let me tell you, with which family I matched. They lived in L.A, Santa Monica.
For me, that meant: Hollywood, lots of „vitamin sea“, beaches and beach bodies, music, media, VIP’s. I was thrilled.
Although my host parents were not part of this scene. They made their money suing other people. Yes, they were lawyers, medical malpractice.
That basically means, when a doctor makes a mistake, they’d find it and let the hospital pay for it. I immediately thought of Boston Legal“, „Legally Blonde“ or, Suits“. Maybe even how to get away with murder“?! 😉
The parents both lived an active lifestyle. Healthy food, running marathons, vacations in Hawaii and Aspen twice a year.
The kids were 6 and 4. Boy and girl. Cute little kids that liked baseball, Penguins, Elsa, Lego and their dog, Leo“.
They lived in a beautiful neighborhood with good schools, expensive stores, the best Universities of the West Coast pretty close, always sunny, 5 minutes from the beach. I had my own room and a bathroom with jacuzzi, my own car, walk-in closet.They had cleaning ladies and a cook.
So far, so good – you probably still think.
There was this picture perfect family from the outside. But when you looked behind the curtain, you saw two overwhelmed and overworked parents who neither had time to spend with their kids, nor to enjoy their multi-millions dollars house they worked so hard for and they worked really hard. Sometimes 80 h per week. That just worked out because they had a backup nanny and another babysitter.
I always worked my full 45 h per week. The other girls worked the rest. When I served the breakfast, they served dinner. One of us was always there. It didn’t matter if it was during the weekend, a holiday, or at night. My host parents seemed to be working all the time.
That meant, they were never with the kids. You can imagine the negative impact on them. From the outside, it seemed like they had everything. The reality was: They had everything. Except their parents love. Nannies, cooks and maids took care of them all the time.
They didn’t really have a chance to become independent. I wonder how they want to pass college, or even the driving test, when they do not learn to stand on their own feet. I once talked to a professor who taught at UCLA and also at Harvard. He told me that the students at the west coast are way more needy and helpless than the students at the east coast.
I strongly believe that is caused by the “helicopter“ way these rich people at the west coast with maids and cooks and an army of nannies raise their children. These kids had a time schedule like a manager and they were supervised 24/7. I think kids should be kids.
They should be allowed to play at a playground without an adult holding their hand every single minute. It didn’t take long for me to decide that I didn’t want to be a part of that lifestyle any longer. I just didn’t fit into that world. A world of money and status. Of every day fighting for attention. The need to be perfect every single second of every day at the week.
Keeping the picture of a perfect family alive for the neighbors. Although nothing was
perfect. After a month, I decided to go into rematch, because I just needed to be happy and healthy again. To be ME again.
That episode of my life was nerve wrecking, devastating, hard, exhausting, it made me questioning myself, my worth, my self esteem. But it made me realize, nothing is like it seems. It needs life experience and an open mind to see whats behind the curtain.
People will only let you see what they want you to see. All these picture perfect families, these romantic relationships, breathtaking vacations. I wish you all a life that is as perfect as it appears on social media, but that is not reality. I had to learn it the hard way.
My advice for you is: “have an open heart and an open mind, don’t be afraid to stand up for what makes you happy. There’s just one life and it should be as colorful and adventurous as your sweetest day dream. You can build a castle with the bricks people throw at you!”