I had this post in my drafts for quite some time now and was thinking back and forth whether I should share this with you or not. But I think it might be actually quite handy for some mums out there who have one or two children but can’t afford the nursery fees for example.
You finished school but you are not ready to start the job life yet. You want to go on an adventure. There are different things that people do before they go into the job world. If the money is right, then they go on a years trip to Australia or travel different countries. I had chosen to get to know one country better and its culture. In school I was always a big fan of the English language. Not so much of my own language which is German. But I think everyone is the same. My English teacher always wished that I could go and spend some time in an English speaking country. America wasn’t really an option for me because I was only 19 years of age and I didn’t want to be too far away from home.
After school I started to look for families in Ireland everyday. My mum had no idea of this. I wanted to show her that I can achieve something all by myself now. Soon enough May 2006 I found a lovely family in Co. Dublin. We talked on the phone weekly until I started off with them for a year in September 2006. Of course it was hard for my mum to let me go as I was her only daughter.
3rd September 2006 was the day my life was going to change. Originally I had planned to stay for a year and then go back to Germany but I had no idea that I liked it so much, so that I could call Ireland my new home.
The boy I minded was 7 years old at the time. A nice age but also sometimes difficult in my opinion. The family lived at an estuary road in a cosy little house.
8am – This was the time I generally got up, got ready and then got Conor ready and made sure he had his breakfast. We walked to the school every day as it is only about a 20 mins walk up a hill.
9am – 2pm – While Conor was in school I could do whatever I wanted really. Apart from minding, one of my responsibilities also was to make sure the house was clean. This involved hoovering, sweeping and mopping the floors once a week. On top of that I’ve done the laundry and ironed the dad’s shirts every now and then which sometimes took me up to 3 hours depending how much there was to iron. When I had some spare time left, I went to see some of my friends who were also Au Pairs in the area.
3pm – I had to pick up Conor from school at this time. We passed a shop daily so it was hard trying to drag him away from it but because I am just too nice, he got a treat off me every Friday. Only something small though, like a chocolate bar or whatever he wanted.
Once we were home, he had to do his homework and was allowed to watch some TV. Some days he finished school early so I had to prepare some lunch for him, too. Conor was big into tennis. He had tennis lessons after school twice a week or sometimes we just went down to the club to have a match.
6pm – Once or twice a week it could be a case that Conor’s mum had to work late, which meant that I had to make dinner for him. Either she had something prepared the day before, so I just had to heat it up or I cooked something simple for him. All the other days she prepared the dinner once she came home from work and we had dinner together.
Once a week I went to an English course in the village with a few other Au Pairs. At the end of the course we all had to do our Cambridge Exam. As far as I can remember I think I did the Advanced English one but didn’t do too well. It is on my list to pass it at some point.
8pm – When the parents were off out once a week (this could also be once at the weekend) I had to get Conor ready for bed. He got a bath every 3 days or so. I read him a story in his room and that was me off for the evening until the next morning.
Weekends – Saturday and Sunday were my days off with one evening babysitting occasionally. I spent these days driving into Dublin city centre to meet a few friends and go shopping or just browse around. Basically to spend my money that I earned on Fridays.
My host family was very kind. As Conor’s mum and Conor were both into tennis they arranged for me to have tennis lessons in the park once a week. I really enjoyed it. This was usually in the morning when Conor was in school.
Through the whole Au Pair experience I actually got to meet my now best friend Karoline. She is German, too. On top of that I met my hubby to be and have 2 beautiful children. Life is good isn’t it?
I don’t think having an Au Pair is for everyone though. Personally I wouldn’t want to have one for my own children. That could also be because Chloe is yet too young. My opinion might change once she is maybe 4 or 5 years. It has also got to do with the fact that you will have somebody else living with you for a year. I kind of like my own privacy.
Have you ever travelled abroad for a year or worked as an Au Pair?