If you’ve ever thought to yourself, my family could never host an au pair, it could be time to rethink that notion! One of our host mothers recently wrote about her family’s experience as they anxiously signed on to become a first-time au pair host family, and their au pair, Paula from Poland, has exceeded their expectations in every possible way. Read on to learn more about this family that embraced the au pair experience and has never looked back!
Letter excerpted below:
“If you had asked my husband and me two years ago if we would ever have an au pair, the answer would have been definitively ‘no.’ The idea of a ‘stranger’ living in our condo with us seemed intrusive at best, intolerable at worst. Then we got pregnant and the realities of providing safe child care in a home with two busy professionals came crashing in. After looking into all the options, an au pair seemed to be the only thing that might have worked, and we signed up to start the process, albeit with some trepidation. Fast forward to today, and we can honestly say that having Paula in our house and caring for our daughter has been one of the best decisions we have made. We hit the jackpot with Paula.
It was late one Sunday night in my third trimester when we finally got around to selecting some au pairs to interview. Paula wrote about her family, her beloved rescue dog, and her deep involvement with Sea Scouts. She was memorable. Not twelve hours later, my water broke unexpectedly, and just like that we were first-time parents to a healthy and beautiful girl. Two nights later, we found ourselves already exhausted, interviewing Paula while she attended a boisterous anniversary gathering for friends. Paula was friendly, upbeat and asked us several reasonable questions about our parenting style, to which we had to sheepishly admit that we were improvising until we hatched a real game plan. Paula considered, and then accepted this challenge!
Paula is critically influential on our daughter’s emotional, social, and cognitive development. And for that, we are so, so fortunate to have matched with Paula. She has a bottomless capacity for imaginative play, and easily tailors this for our daughter. Whether she is pretending to make a race car out of a cardboard box, or creating a drum set out of pots and pans, or making a book come to life, or setting out to explore a new playground, Paula is constantly talking to and engaging our daughter. My husband and I have remarked that we actually can’t ourselves manage to carry on such lively conversation with our daughter – but because of Paula’s example, we strive to improve.
Paula has not only been an amazing au pair for our little girl, but has also truly become a member of our family. We regularly eat dinner together, and Paula also fills us in on the kooky things that our daughter did during the day. We compare life in Poland to the United States. Paula has cooked many traditional Polish recipes with us and humors us when we add an American twist, like ‘pizza pierogis.’ She shared with us the Polish tradition of the Christmas wafer, oplatek, and I look forward to teaching her my secret Thanksgiving stuffing recipe. We have thoroughly enjoyed the cultural exchange that having Paula in our lives has brought and can’t wait to visit Poland when our daughter is older.
Paula will leave some big shoes to fill when she finishes her stay!”