My daughter is an Au Pair. She decided to become an Au Pair long time ago. She has been helping with children of the age of 5 and up in a gymnastic club for a couple of years. Two girls of this gymnastic club have been Au Pairs in the USA and because of their experience my daughter already planned to become an Au Pair long before she finished school.
My daughter is an Au Pair and it’s exactly her thing
I was absolutely not surprised when my daughter told me about her decision to become an Au Pair. That fits perfectly with her. She has always been good with small children, which was also visible in the way she was with her 12 years younger brother.
I thought becoming an Au Pair is the right thing for: To leave home, to see the world, to travel and to help another family. ? Of course, there were some things I was also a bit worried about. But in the club she learned a lot about discipline and perseverance. I knew if someone could make it, then my daughter.
My daughter wanted to be an Au Pair in the USA
My daughter was completely open to where she was going to live as long as it’s in the USA. I think she had one or two desired places, but she was not determined. She was more curious about where she was going in the end. After 2x Re-matches, she is now in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
My daughter has always asked me about my opinion, but then she formed her own and trusted her gut feeling. I have supported and encouraged her. Sometimes I asked her what she wanted, if she couldn’t make a decision. She often asked me about my gut feeling, too.
I never doubted my daughter’s decision
I never had any doubt about my daughter’s decision to become an Au Pair. She wanted it absolutely and pulled out all stops. I could only support that.
We planned the Au Pair year together (she did the main work and came to me for the authorisation or some advice). She has packed her own suitcase. Only for the presents for the host children she utilised my craftsman skills.
If something would not have been right from the start, I would have said that.
In many interpersonal relationships the gut feeling and the first impression often play an important role. That’s why I wanted to get to know my daughter’s Host Family, what her new home would looked like, how the family is and what first impression I got. If something had been wrong in my eyes from the start, I would have said that.
OMG – one year without a hug from my daughter!
The last weeks before the departure were quite filled with her school examinations, the graduation party preparations and many other appointments. We deliberately did some nice things together, like going shopping or eating sushi (my daughter invited me), visited Grandma and Grandpa and so on. We hardly had time to think about her departure.
When we finally had to say goodbye I just thought:
“OMG, one year I won’t be able to give you a hug! Luckily there are things like Skype. And: Hopefully everything goes well on your journey and you arrive healthy!”
We didn’t have a plan B in case something goes wrong
We didn’t talk about things that can go wrong. Somehow we did not assume that something could go wrong. Besides this, I’m not the type that predicts disasters. There can always something happen, then you have to react to the new situation and see how it goes. All eventualities can never be excluded anyway. In my opinion, if you already think about everything that can go wrong and try to come up with proper solutions for these cases, then things will go wrong and these things, that you have not thought of before. So there was no plan for the case, that something goes wrong.
I missed her a lot
I felt a bit alone and abandoned without my daughter. She was a great support and help for me in many ways. After she left I had to re-plan and reorganize myself. Just good, that we had regular contact on Skype. We were able to support each other emotionally. I missed her a lot.
In the beginning we skype very often: There were some major problems, 2x Re-match, she was very unhappy and just about to fly back home. During this time we skyped several times a day. After the second re-match she is doing well now, she is happy and has even extended her stay for another 9 months. Now we skype every couple of days.
Being an Au Pair is a great opportunity to proof yourself
Since my daughter had been very independent and self-confident before the trip because of her gymnastics club, I didn’t see bigger changes in her. But she can now speak even better English than before. She knew English very well before, but now she speaks the language fluently. In addition, she is now more assertive and became a real organizing champion.
I visited my daughter for two weeks a while ago. It was awesome and very exciting.
I find it a great opportunity for the young people to prove themselves, to grow, to travel and to see the world, to become independent and independent, to grow up. Great that there are such possibilities.
Giving up is not a solution – finding a different way is
I do not know what we could have done better. My daughter was very well informed about becoming an Au Pair. She already started to planned her Au Pair experience for years, researched a lot, gained experience with children and saved money.
You can’t become an Au Pair overnight. Before my daughter made the decision, she informed herself on all channels, spoke with Au Pairs, read about Au Pair experiences, visited internet forums, asked questions and received tips and hints. She jobbed after school to earn the money for the Au Pair agency. I could not have afforded this. She did a lot of babysitting and an internship in a kindergarten.
I would advise parents of future Au Pairs: Believe in your child, support them in every way, and don’t focus on things which can go wrong. This makes your children unsecure. But they need your full support during this time and need to know that they can rely on you.
Support them with advice, but do let them do their own thing. The children should be allowed to do the main work. Help your child in the perhaps somewhat difficult initial period and strengthen and comfort them. I have always told my daughter, giving up is not an option; finding new, other ways is the key for tricky situations. But whatever they do, they should remain loyal to themselves and never do anything risking their health. Because no one can give you your health back.