Sunday, March 6, 2011

Our Au pair Experience (Part 1)

Having an au pair has been a great experience for us.  I grew up with au pairs starting when I was born until I was a teenager. We had 11 different girls  as I was growing up. Now that I am an adult I have also had many au pairs, we have had 8 girls to date. The difference between the au pairs  I grew up with and the au pairs my daughters are growing up with is that all of the au pairs I had as a child were all Norwegian. Back then there was no agency and there were no strict visa regulations. We brought Norwegian girls with us to be au pairs for a year. My family is from Norway and we lived in many places around the world and we hired au pairs in Norway and brought them with us to the country we were living in, Moscow, Washington DC and Vienna were our three main places where we lived. The greatest difference between having au pairs then and now is that there was no agency and no support for either the aupair or the family. I remember as a child some of the girls we had were not so good, they were homesick, or drank on the job or brought their boyfriends over while they were working and once we brought them to our family we were in a sense stuck with each other. We also had great girls during those years that I remember fondly and some of whom I am still in touch with.

So when my daughter was born I knew that having an au pair was the natural choice for us. It is flexible, enriching and an affordable option for childcare. I also wanted to bring an aupair over from Norway and carry on the tradition of my childhood. But I quickly found out that we live in a different world now with far more regulations and you cannot just hire someone in another country and bring them to America. My mother contacted an Au pair agency in Norway  (because I still had my heart set on a Norwegian girl)  and she found the partner company to Aupaircare. So when my daughter was born I contacted the San Fransisco office and the process of finding an aupair started. I met with my area director and she did our home interview and got us started on the process of finding an au pair. She was a wonderful area director and made me feel so comfortable with the whole process and I knew she would be there to help us through the year. So this is how our family came about hiring an aupair and adding to our new and extended family from around the world. And our first au pair was not Norwegian but we got a wonderful Danish girl.

No comments:

Post a Comment