Monday, May 16, 2011

Using au pairs for childcare

So how many of you folks out there have used or are using au pairs for childcare?

With baby #3 entering our world soon, we've been looking for more help around the house.  Although the time I spend at work add up to about 25 hours/week, I feel I still need help around the house even when I am home.  Otherwise,  I just can not get any chores or important phone calls in.

We've never used an au pair agency before and we're entering this somewhat tentatively but some of the factors that drew us to try this include:
  • Cross cultural experience :  I would love my kids to be fluent in Mandarin Chinese and this is the age where they can soak it up easily and it will probably stick for the rest of their lives.  Plus, I'm also excited about the idea of sharing life here in the States with someone who grew up in a different culture and country.
  • Availability:  Advantage of a live-in caregiver is that I don't have to worry about someone cancelling on me if there is a snow day (and we had a lot of those this past winter).  Plus, there is also the advantage of being able to sneak out after the kids are asleep late at night because someone is home with them.
  • Economic financially :  Using an au pair comes out to about $7.50 per hour.   That is practically impossible to beat especially if you are asking someone to watch 3 kids under the age of 4!
There is a small part of me that feels I should be able to do it all and why do I need to get so much help when there are other moms out there doing it all by themselves without any help.  Well... for the sanity of my family, I'm giving in and realizing to just accept help and use help if available.  I will always fall short of my own expectations.  So we'll see how it goes!


  1. An au pair just mean "an arrangement" and I would go for the college student studying ECE way before bring in a non american.

    First, because when the going get tough, people will use the skills from their family of origin which in China usually is corporal punishment.

    Second you will want your family to yourself when you get home and while its dreamy to think she will set the table and sweep the floor after dinner, the fact is she won't (unless it is part of the arrangement.)

    I have a part time au pair and it is a hard road. My kids love her like an auntie so changing out au pairs is not easy. I have problems with her cultural values (why my kids ask to see her color of bra is weird) she sneaks cig's while out walking the kids (yes I have set the limit) just found out she doesn't pick up the dogs poops (walking the dog with the kids I pay extra for)...OK I will stop 'cause I'm sounding nit picky but lots of little things come up and it seems like another thing to micro manage.

    What you pay is what you get (I pay 20 bucks an hour, but that is our arrangement.) I would go with college educated (they just think differently), similar economic and cultural background to your family, someone with good auditory skills (cause we give report of the day/night to them verbally) and someone with good boundaries to let you have family time without them too.

  2. Thanks for the comment... will keep it in mind...