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What au pairs don’t talk about

Do you have any au pair friends? You constantly see them having fun with other girls at parties, exploring new places, going through countless adventures like diving or swimming with dolphins, getting tattoos or making cupcakes with adorable kids! Of course they all share these pictures on facebook, and make you utterly jealous. You are most likely studying hard for your university exams or stuck in your boring job. While being an au pair is mostly great in my experience, there are a few things that you probably don’t envy about au pairs and they are not going to share this with you.

-Dealing with dirty nappies, snotty noses and vomit

Oh yes, we’ve all been there. Kids can be disgusting sometimes let’s face the fact! Whether it’s a toddler’s  dirty nappy, someone’s school shoes with dog poo or the cat’s vomit on the living room floor, it’s likely that the au pair’s gonna have to deal with them.

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-Having to do small talk

You know after a long day you just want to go to your room and not talk to anyone. As an au pair you often have to do small talk with the host parents. This can be very exhausting at times!

-Getting food

I think many of us stood behind our bedroom door silently trying to hear whether the family is in or out. Are they in the kitchen? You try to avoid them in the kitchen as much as possible. No one wants them to see how much and what kind of food we eat. This often results being in our room starving waiting for the family to bail.

-Not knowing if you are working or not

This is probably the worst! In most jobs you have clear working hours. As an au pair there are several situations when you don’t know exactly whether you are expected to be present or not. You don’t want to ask, because then it comes down like you don’t like being with the family. So it’s not easy! I suggest you try and have a clear understanding about the working hours before you decide on your host family. Of course it will often change, but it’s good to know what to expect.

-Waking up early even on day offs for kids crying, yelling

Who doesn’t like a day off? You can finally sleep in and get your well deserved rest. Wrong! If you are an au pair you are likely to be waken up by kids crying/arguing/fighting. Where do they get the energy to get up soo early?

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-Ask permission for friends over

All of a sudden it’s like you are 10 again. It’s not your house, so you have to ask permission to have some friends over in your room. Even if they say say, you are probably among the lucky ones, as many families are not to keen on this.

-Your English will be criticised and you feel stupid

No matter how good your English is, kids will always find an excuse to laugh at your accent/grammar/vocabulary.

-Coffee addicted

We are just addicted to our coffee. It’s the first thing we have in the morning and then we are likely to have one more later during the day with some au pair friends at the local Starbucks.

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-Being homesick

We are thousands of miles from our home and family. After a difficult day, you can feel under the weather and you start wondering why are you even doing this? At these times you Skype with your family or try to have a get together with your fellow au pair friends. They know exactly what you are going through.

-We are asleep by 10

Working with children can be exhausting. On top of that you have the housework as well. So most of us are happy to be asleep by 10. We have to get the children up the next ay early after all.

-We have no idea about what we want to do after our au pair year

Many of us have absolutely no clue what we want to do in the future. Being an au pair is safe. Accommodation, food and a nice environment is provided for us. But what happens after our stay comes to its end?

-Going home sucks

Despite all the above we enjoy being an au pair, so naturally when our stay comes to its end, we get depressed. My biggest passion is travelling, yet after I had to leave my host family in Australia I couldn’t enjoy my travelling a 100% as everything reminded me of the 3 angels who I looked after in Perth, so I often burst our in tears.

 

So before you start being jealous to all of us au pairs, think of these things! Would you be able to deal with all of these? If so the opportunity is there! Sing up to an au pair site and find your perfect host family and have the time of your life! :D

What do you think fellow au pairs? Do you agree with my point?

Please also read my post about why it’s a good idea to become an au pair!

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About Enikő

Hey, I'm Enikő! I'm currently an au pair and I want to share my experiences with you. I've travelled a lot in the past years. I'm gonna teach you how to settle in to a new country and get free accommodation anywhere in the world. Circle Enikő on Google+!

45 comments

  1. I am Au pair 1 and half year and can’t find myself in any one point. Maybe I am just lucky.

    • Thanks for your comment! You must be really lucky then or you just have a different personality! This article is based on my and many of my friend’s experience. To be honest I consider myself lucky with all of my host families (I had a few), but even with the best one I could find a few points that would be true.

  2. I think you just summed up perfectly well the au pair daily life !

  3. Girl, you nailed it! greetings from London household :)

  4. Oh, god, too real. That kitchen thing is horrendous!

  5. Great post and honestly I thought I was the only one doing the kitchen thing and actually felt a little bit bad for not wanting to get food when my host family is around :D

    • Yeah, I at first I also thought I was the only one, but talked to many au pair friends about it and they’ve been doing it as well. xD Although it depends on the family as well. With some I had nice dinners together. :)

  6. Duuude
    Are you serious??
    That’s pretty offensive for the good families that are around
    My hostmom and I have none of those issues
    If you don’t know when you’re working get a roster up the fridge
    I actually think it’s pretty mean to complain about kids waking you up, you get to live with a family that treats you as a part of them (ideally) so just suck ut up and be the big sister you chose to be
    If your family laughs about you’re language skills they are either mean ir your english is crap…either way just laugh it off

    It sounds like you just didn’t get too lucky
    Then again, YOU signed up for your job. Dirty nappies and all
    No one made you be an au pair so posting this wingy shit is a bit out of line as far as I’m concerned

  7. Hey folks! This is a cool blog, but, I kinda felt bad for some Au paira who I know are dealing with more of what they are “supposes to”. Being an Au pairs can either be a great and enriching experience, as well as a bad and frustrating period of your life. I was an Au pair for a year and 9 months and went in a rematch in my second week after I first arrived. I can tell you there’s some wonderful families out there waiting to host Au pairs like members of the fam, but also, this other kind of families looking for nannies and housekeepers at the same time. Girls, I’m Isabel, 23 years old, and I changed my status ALL by myself. If any of you is thinking about staying for longer and is already on the process of changing the visa and staff, Lmk! I can help u to go through the process of application etc etc. Just make sure you have a sponsor ☝. Plus, I’ll be more than happy to help you with any tips for dealing with the kiddos and and also with host families.
    My e-mail is isagomez2592@gmail.com
    Fb: Isabel Gomez
    IG : isabelgomez_Isa_…
    Contact me and I’ll reply as soon as I can :) see ya! ✌

  8. You summed up life perfectly. I loved my host famil and the child that I looked after so much; but on days off I didn’t know if I was ‘working’ or just hanging out with the fam, especially when one parent wasn’t home. I loved hanging out with both host families but having to stay up until 9ish or later with just the parents to have small talk and watch tv took so much out of me, because usually after work I like to curl up in bed with a book, but I would feel obligated. It wasn’t anything against the famil (though sometimes we had disagreements). But honestly you even nailed leaving, the job seemed like a 24 hour job but when I left I got depressed. And missed taking care of the kid and being in that environment and having that safety of food and accommodation and people to help me when I needed it. But I TOTALLY agree with all these struggles. (Except thankfully my kid was potty trained)

  9. I hosted more than 20 aupairs in 11 years.

    I can say almost all our girls liked their stay with us, even when the kids were very small and they had to manage dirty nappies.
    They had a lot of free time and could live the city, the nightlife without any problems.

    And it’s the same for all the others aupair they met during their stay

    • I never said I didn’t like my au pair stay. I just listed some of the downsides of the job!
      The fact is I love being an au pair, but it comes with certain uncomfortable situations. (just like any other job would)
      I also have a blog post about why I love being an au pair btw.

  10. OMG, that is just spot on!! Greatings from London!

  11. Absolutely right!

  12. Köszönöm Enikő! Minden szavaddal egyetértek. Köszi az összegzést ;)
    Andi

  13. Nagyot nevettem meg fanyalogtam is mert nagyon jól leírtad! Az evéssel kapcsolatos bekezdésen nyerítettem :D Én is Londonban vagyok most de nekivágok hátizsákkal Thaiföldnek aztán ki tudja lehet, hogy még leszek au pair én is Ausztráliában ;)

  14. What a beautiful post.
    Being an au pair is definitely emotional and challenging and you described it all too well. It is quite a challenge to fit into a new family. Especially with speaking a different language it is exhausting.

    The small talk with the family is important for the host parents to get a better understanding about their au pair. Of course it can’t drag on every night if the au pair is exhausted and of course every au pair has a right to disappear especially after a long day with the children. To find a balance is the difficulty as always.

    I totally agree that a work schedule is a must have.

    I wish all au pairs the best of luck with their family search because if you match well, it will be a great experience.

    You are sooo right that children can be very disgusting. When my youngest was still in nappies and both my au pair and myself could ‘hear’ what was coming, both of us quickly glanced to the wall clock checking, who was ‘on’. We both got our fair share ;)

    If anyone has a question about au pairing in Australia, has a problem to discuss, please feel free to contact me info@aupair-assist.net
    Anja

  15. I want to be an au pair….I’m from Philippines how can apply?

  16. Hi!
    You absolutely say it right! Haha. It makes me think off of my current situation. Its so funny summing up all those things. But still a very great exprience though.
    That fact that you don’t actually know what to do after the contract. It’s really a struggle.
    Thank you for this blog.
    Greetings from denmark.

  17. Well, this just made my day! =) =D
    Anyway, I am aupair in London also. We should hang out sometimes!
    That could be fun!
    XOXO
    E

  18. It’s my third year as an au pair and the only point I can relate with is what I want to do next. So I’m just stayin’ with my wonderful, loving and caring host family haha.

  19. Wouu… I don’t understand the person that called this offensive.. I can’t see any complaint in it.

    I was an aupair 8 years ago. I didn’t live all the experiencies mentioned but definatly some!! The food one made me laugh!! I seriusly waited for them to be asleep so I could go and get a snack (not meals, I ate with them on the table). It wasn’t something that I needed to hide but I don’t know why I did that like 4 times.

    For me it was more like being with family. If I needed a break they would accept it just as I would cooperate if they needed me extra hours. It wasn’t like a job where they would have to pay me extras, it was being fair with one another.

    I still talk with the family. They came to my wedding 7 years later! I go with them on vacation most years when they come to the beach. I love them like an extra family and miss them every day too! But I can’t deny that some days in my aupair year I wanted to come back home.

    I guess what you mention are the tiny little problems that many lucky aupairs face. I know of many other aupairs that weren’t as lucky that these problems would be like their best day!

  20. All of this is so much truth ! :D Maybe except one thing… Well, me and my au pair friends share all of these things, its not like we pretend to each other that our au pair life is so perfect. We talk about all of these :)

  21. Omg! I’m in shock that it’s a prefect description about my life every day and special today that I Didn’t have a good day

  22. Hi I am Tereza right now I am in Usa and it is my second time like Aupair. Two continents 3 year of my life. And I can agree just with the last two!! It is sucks. I am 27 and After my second year here I going to Switzerland because I can’t imagine real life, this is what I know and what I am good and all my friends and family make fun from me that I stay Aupair forever.

  23. This is so accurate! Thought I was the only one waiting on my room for my HF to leave so I could eat! Haha. I’m at the end of my year, leaving in two days and I’m dreading it. I underestimated how much I would grow to love my host family and the thought of leaving them makes me so sad! Thank you for this article!

  24. You totally nailed it. I mean, I was in the lucky position that I had such an easy and almost problemless year in the US 2013/2014 but most of my friends would aggre to all of your points. I’m the lucky one that I can agree with four of your points but especially with the last one! Was so horrible to leave my second home to go back to first home. But I was back there in 2015 and going back this fall!

  25. I’ve been an Au Pair in the US from summer 2013 – summer 2014 – and this article sums it up perfectly.
    However I have made a slightly different experience regarding being criticized for my English. In my first host family I definitely experienced that. Back then I wasn’t able to say words starting with “v” properly, so words like “veggies”, “veterinarian” always sounded kinda weird. Whenever my host child was particularly stubborn he would tell me, he wouldn’t eat his veggies, if I didn’t say the word properly.
    But then I went into Rematch and eventually I came to a host family whose kids spoke German, which is why I was required to speak German with them. Naturally the kids couldn’t criticize my English, since I didn’t speak a lot of English around them.

    Also I wasn’t required to do the laundry or do housework in either of those two families, of course I did help washing the dishes etc. But I was very lucky that respect.

  26. Funny, from a hostparent point of you: we just wished the aupair would go out or to their room and not hang around wanting to watch TV or make small talk with us! Just want to chill out at the end of the day and not having to talk to anyone!

    As for most other points (going to bed early, being woken up, not knowing if on or off): welcome to parenthood/ living with kids :-)

  27. The worst part is what happens after you leave. You spend a year living with this family and they almost become like your own family. Then one day you have to leave and never see them again. It’s really hard. It’s been 3 years since I was a nanny in Australia and I still think about the girls almost every day and sometimes even find myself bursting into tears at random times because I miss them so much.

  28. that’s beyond fucked yo!!! the first thing they could think of using h2O engine was for defense!!! Not at all thinkin’ about the masses quality of life. this was twenty year ago! WTF!! If any of these things are true; we should all be ashamed of ourselves to allow such behavior from a goverment that owes us.

  29. I agree with you in every single point of the review!!!
    Even if you are living with a nice family, living together 24 hours can be exhausting :)

  30. Hi.

    Thanks for your open post! I think you are right! Either everything is lovely and perfect or completely the other way round and au pairs write really horrible stories on Facebook which gets deleted as they are too intimidating.

    I’m really interested how you became a nanny after being an AuPair. What did you had to do? How long took the paperwork and what did it cost? Was it easy to find an employer?

    If you like, I would be more than happy to publish your story on http://www.hostmum.com

    Cheers,
    Uta

  31. Wow you nailed it. I spent almost a year with a lovely family and took care of two sweet girls. But at the end of the day I just wanted to be by myself a little, in silence, rest my brain of the language and the new things you learn everyday. Being Au Pair is a 24h job.

  32. Hi!
    My experience is a bit different than yours, as I came to the family that wanted an au-pair that doesn’t know their language, only english, so that children could learn. It end up me starting to understand them after only a few weeks! haha. But as only HM speaks english I simply don’t feel obligated to have any small talks or spend time with the family, as we don’t understand :D It’s really funny, gives you opportunity to learn new language fast (really fast if you want to communicate with kids :D) but also a lot of free time.
    The problem a have, and that you did non mention is difference in the ways people rise their children, and that kinds can be evil sometimes :D

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