There are many factors that contribute to securing a successful au pair journey. Even with all the opportunities that come with being an au pair, every single one of us has regrets along the way. Whether it’s choosing the wrong host family – resulting in re-match, not traveling enough, poor dating choices, or not striving to be the “perfect” au pair to your host kids, every au pair has made a mistake.
We all know there’s no such thing as a perfect au pair because not all of us are perfect. However, there are different types of au pairs with unique personalities.
With each host family and children of different ages, it can be difficult to get every one of your host kids to like you and even with your head held high, sometimes, you feel like giving up. We’re human beings, we make mistakes which makes us even better human begins. However, as an au pair for over a year, I have made many mistakes.
Here a just a few of the mistakes I’ve made as an au pair.
- Giving up – Towards the end of my au pair year, I had less time for fun activities with my host kids. I was focusing more on my plans for when I returned home to the UK. I would often be looking after the kids whilst having Skype interviews for jobs back home. Eventually, I caved into the habit of letting the kids do what they want so they wouldn’t get in my way. Whether it was watching TV whilst eating dinner or keeping them up an hour late for bed, I kept them occupied whilst I manage my tasks. It was for my own discretion but also, to theirs. I also wanted to be remembered as the “nice” au pair who let them have fun.
- Saying “Yes” to everything – Okay, so I regret this one quite a bit. I always said yes to dessert before dinner. I always said yes to playing with the neighbour’s kid for an extra hour instead of showering them straight after school. I think this made things difficult for the nanny after me but again, I wanted to be remembered as the “fun” and “cool” au pair.
- Saying “No” too often – At the beginning of my au pair journey, I soon became the strict au pair. I was always putting rules and schedules in place. I wouldn’t drift away from our daily tasks or their chores and I really wish I was more flexible. It created a barrier between my older host child and myself. He saw me as the “mean” au pair and it made it difficult for him to play with me but as time went on, we learned to compromise and formed a special bond.
- Let the kids be kids! – You know the phrase “Boys will be boys”? Well it applies to all children. I’ve spent way too many days planning activities for the kids – Spanish lessons, violin lessons, play dates, making sure they eat right, get enough exercise and their daily dose of vitamins. I know it’s important for children to develop an educational knowledge from an early age, but kids need to be kids. There are so many children who spend all day on their technological devices such as iPhone, iPad, and can’t believe I’m saying this, but even a fidget spinner! Let your kids be kids and let their minds be free.
I hope you can relate! Feel free to share your mistakes in the comment section below.