So, I’ve decided that I want to make better and more frequent use of my blog, and to kick that off, I thought perhaps an “introduction” was in order.
Like many of you reading this, I’m a busy working Mom. Besides being an LCC, I am an attorney, and I work full-time for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on issues relating to fraud and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. I have three beautiful children – at the time of this writing, Adam is 18, Jeremy is 14, and Maria is 10. When the boys were younger (and before Maria was even born), my husband, Michael, and I kind of “stumbled upon” the au pair program as we were researching our childcare options. The more we learned about it, the more it sounded like a good fit for us – we loved the flexibility of being able to schedule the 45 hours to fit our varying weekly schedules, rather than being tied to a strict daycare or nanny schedule. We liked the cultural exchange aspect of the program, and thought that we’d really enjoy welcoming a young person from another country into our home and family. And we found that (at least in our area), the cost of hosting an au pair was significantly less than the cost of full-time daycare for 2 or more kids. So, we took the plunge and became a host family!
Hosting au pairs was an amazing experience for our family – in all, we hosted a total of 5 au pairs, 1 from Lithuania, 2 from Germany, and 2 from Venezuela. Our first au pair (Erika from Lithuania) ended up leaving after only 3 months due to extreme homesickness, but we had extremely successful years with all of our subsequent au pairs! Even the short-lived experience with Erika wasn’t a total failure – she was WONDERFUL with our boys during the time she was here, and I feel like we also learned some valuable lessons about what to look for and what questions to ask during the matching process with future au pairs. (I plan to do a future blog post on this subject, but feel free to post a comment below or reach out to me via my contact info in the sidebar if you’d like to hear some of my thoughts before I’ve had a chance to write an official post on the subject.) And we still think of our other au pairs, Sibel, Nicole, Vanessa, and Patricia, as “family” in every sense of the word.
We stopped hosting once the kids were all in school full-time – much as we could have still used the help before and after school (and don’t even get me started on the hassles of SUMMER childcare!), it was hard to justify the expense anymore. But I really missed being a host mom – not just the ways that hosting an au pair made my life easier, but also just the fun and energy our au pairs (and their friends) brought to our home, and the opportunity to develop relationships with some amazing young women. So when I heard that Cultural Care was looking for a new LCC in my area, I jumped at the chance!
The au pair program was such a terrific, enriching experience for our family, I describe myself as a “true believer.” I love having the opportunity to share the program with other families, and to work with them to help ensure that their experience is as positive as ours was. And I love that I still have the chance to build relationships with some truly incredible young people from all around the world, and to be a friend, resource, confidante, and coach to help make their au pair experience as successful as possible.
Friday, 29 July 2016 5:31 PM