Almost One Year as an Au Pair

I’ve been here for a year now and could honestly say I could see myself living here If I didn’t love my home country, New Zealand, as much as I do.

I would like to start off by saying I have the most amazing host family who has truly welcomed me as a member of the family. The kids are made up of two boys – a 6-year-old and a 12-year-old as well as two girls – a 9-year-old and a 10-year-old. All have had birthdays since I arrived.


I live in the basement, which has certainly taken some getting used to. I’m used to having a room with a big window and lots of sunlight. My room is directly under the kitchen, which has wooden floors, so, unfortunately, I hear everything!

Not to mention three of the kids play basketball “bounce, bounce, bounce” all the time, I used to get so incredibly frustrated.

I don’t know what it means to have a sleep-in anymore but strangely I’m now okay with that…..
“When they go away I miss it”

A typical day for me is
Wake up and Go upstairs 7:30 – 7:45am to get the kids ready for school
During this time I make the lunches and prepare breakfast making sure they have everything they need for school, checking that they have changed from the clothes they wore the day before. Send them out the door by 8:25am down to the bus stop.

During the day I am free but will have a few tasks to get done i.e., making the beds, cleaning rooms and living space, grocery shopping, laundry and some times children will have appointments to get to. The oldest comes home around 3:30pm and the others follow around 4:00pm.

After school activity’s can get pretty chaotic with each day presenting a new challenge. Children have homework, reading and music practice to get done during this time. The kids have extremely busy social lives and at any time I could have up to eight children running around which only adds to the excitement of course.

During this time I will prepare the children’s dinner, I’m lucky that they love most foods and are somewhat happy to try new foods. Host parents arrive home between 6:30 and 7:30pm but some days I will work till 10:00pm depending.

Weekends for me are usually free but I will work the occasionally Saturday or Sunday night, on these nights the kids and have fun going out to do a fun activity or staying in to watch a new movie. “I love these nights the most”

Although it hasn’t always been easy and some days have provided bigger challenges than others, I have learned to accept that some things you can’t change and you just need to embrace it.

Being an Au Pair is different from any experience I have had to date and I have learned more about myself than I would have ever imagined.

As my Host dad put it once “you are essentially entering into middle-aged life to help raise someone else’s children” which is no small task in my opinion. If you are willing to come halfway around the world you need to have an open mind and with that new opportunities will arise.

I look after four little people who all have very unique personalities and with each, I have realised need a different approach in order to get tasks done. The youngest child has more love and kindness in the palm of his hand than I have in my entire body. To see that grow in him with each and every day is truly special.

I don’t think that I could really leave this place entirely when my time is up as I do feel that a piece of my heart will be left behind when I do eventually have to say goodbye.

I almost did make the decision to come home at the end of my year; I filled out the form and was prepared to hand it in. The deadline drew near and on the eve of when I was supposed to hand my form in, Miss eight came and sat with me as she could see I was having a hard time trying to make up my mind. She asked me if she could paint my nails and who doesn’t like a manicure from an artistic eight-year-old right?

It was at that moment that I realised that I wasn’t ready to go home. Although I really liked the thought of going home to my family, friends, Familiarity and of course my dog … I saw that being an Au Pair for these children was where I was to be.

I smiled and said to miss eight “I think I might just stay here a little longer” She jumped up with bright eyes and a big smile – for me that was enough to stay. That weekend we told the kids at the dinner table that I was going to stay awhile longer and the reaction I got from the kids was heartwarming and reassured me I was making the right choice.

Next week is the anniversary of my year here in the USA as an Au Pair and I am glad I’m here for a little longer.

I have had the opportunity to travel and see new sites, Washington DC is a fantastic place to live. There are so many free sites and activities to take part in i.e. museums, monuments, concerts and art festivals the list is endless. You are also never too far from the surrounding towns allot of them have quaint little streets with boutiques for shopping and speciality dining.

Summer was incredibly fun with these kids; you would think that spending three and a half months with children at your side every moment of the day would be draining. It is I’m not going to lie but it was so much fun, I have never spent so much time laughing and enjoying hanging with them. With no worry of homework and rushing to and from the school bus, I was really able to watch the kids blossom over the summer.

The leaves are changing and fall is upon us with Halloween and Thanksgiving just around the corner, before I know it Christmas will be here. I am looking forward to many more precious memories with my host family and friends they have become my second family.

So if you are thinking about becoming an Au Pair I say go for it, don’t do it for the money do it for the opportunity. It will enrich your life and you will make new contacts and a family in a new part of the world.

Guest Blog by: Rebecca Spijkerman

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