Finding reliable childcare help can be a real challenge. Before pulling the trigger on the au pair program, we had a very hard time finding consistent help. I hired numerous babysitters who canceled the day they were supposed to be at my house for one personal reason or another, and it was tough on me. I would make appointments, whether that be doctor appointments, hair appointments, or nail appointments, etc. (PS they’re all important in my book!), on days I thought I would have childcare and then I was put in a position to cancel them – last minute. That uncertainty was incredibly stressful. But since welcoming an au pair into our family, those worries have vanished. If you’re debating between hiring an au pair vs. nanny, I highly recommend going with an au pair. The reliability and peace of mind an au pair brings is truly priceless.
I wanted to write this blog post for those of you who are on the fence about having someone live with you. Because let me tell you, I was that person! My husband was very on board but I was not thrilled about the idea of having someone I really didn’t know – from another county, at that – live in my home and take over my personal space. Boy have I changed my tune!! I can’t wait to share all the reasons why having an au pair vs. nanny has enriched our lives for the better! And for the record, I could think of 50 more reasons but for the sake of not wanting to bore you with this blog post, I kept it at 10. Here they are in no particular order…
Having an au pair living in your house means she (or he!!) will get to know your kids REALLY well. Not just on the surface. When she is on the clock and watching them, I have no doubt that she is giving them the most personalized care. Our au pair, Ana, has been like a big sister to Brody, Levi, and Demi. They have formed super strong bonds, and she really knows each of their likes, dislikes, and routines. That is not something to take for granted!
Flexible Schedule and Reliable Childcare is HUGE
Life with kids is unpredictable. With an au pair, you have flexibility. Whether it’s early mornings, late nights, or last-minute plans, having someone RELIABLE there to help is a game-changer. No more scrambling for backup care! Something to note: in the au pair interview process, one of my go-to questions is about their willingness to be flexible. I am not a traditional working mom at a 9-5 job, and my schedule is so different from week to week so the way we do it is that I make our Au Pair’s schedule on Sunday nights. Most weeks, it stays as is, but sometimes things do come up and changes must be made. Typically, our au pair is happy to help in times of need, which I so appreciate (but also wouldn’t want any other way!).
There’s a Cultural Exchange Aspect
The cultural exchange aspect is one of the coolest things about having an au pair. Ana is from Argentina and our kids have learned so much about Argentinian customs and food. They are obsessed with empanadas, Messi (the soccer player!) and have also learned a lot of Spanish. Demi basically speaks Spanish and English now! This is a valuable skill for her future and one of the reasons that we decided to go with another Argentinian au pair once Ana leaves… we don’t want Demi to lose that.
Reduced Stress for Parents
The stress of juggling mom life, work, and taking care of my three wild and crazy kids has almost completely disappeared. With an au pair, both Isaiah and I feel more relaxed and in control. We can focus on our work and personal lives without worrying about childcare arrangements.
The Household Help is Really Nice
Au pairs can assist with light household chores, like meal prep and laundry. It’s not just about caring for the kids; they become part of the family and help share the load. A tidy house and happy kids? Yes, please!
The Program is Cost-Effective
Believe it or not, having an au pair can be cost-effective compared to other childcare options. We did the math and it definitely made more sense for us than hiring a nanny or babysitter. The way it works is you pay your agency an upfront set fee (we are with Cultural Care) and then you pay your au pair on a weekly basis. We have it set up that her weekly stipend from us automatically goes into her bank account so we literally don’t have to think about it. In addition, you do provide room + board as well as all food.
I recommend aiming to match with someone who eats similarly to you so you don’t have to buy a ton of separate things when you go to the store. Ana and I have the exact same taste buds (which is awesome and something I didn’t expect but it was a welcome surprise haha!), though she loves drinking Coke and we don’t drink that in our house. Even so, it’s not a big deal to get it whenever I remember to when I’m at the store! I also typically ask her if she wants anything specifically whenever I run into the grocery! She is always appreciative of that!
More Opportunities for Date Nights
Mine and Isaiah’s relationship has never been stronger and that’s because we are extremely proactive in scheduling casual weeknight date nights. If we go out on Saturday nights, we are typically with other couples which is so fun and wonderful but it’s not a chance to reconnect fully, ya know?! Ever since we got an au pair, we’ll try and find a night during the week that works for us to duck out of the house on the early side (around 5:30p) and be back around 7:30-8p. It’s the perfect amount of time to “date each other” again and connect about life and our weeks. We love coming home after dinner, spending a little more time with our kids and then putting them to bed. This has been such a positive to having au pair help in our house!
Family Travel is More Enjoyable
If your family loves to travel, having an au pair can make it way easier and way more enjoyable. Your au pair can accompany you on trips (and again, in thinking about the au pair vs. nanny debate, most nannies will not come with you on vacation!), helping with childcare and making vacations run that much more smoothly.
More Quality Family Time
When we are together as a family, whether it be at home or during outings, we have a much more enjoyable time with each other since there is another adult around to help lighten the load of the kids! We can enjoy dinner together, play games, and create lasting memories without being stressed and exhausted.
It Creates Lifelong Bonds
Our au pair has become a cherished part of our family. We’ve honestly treated her like family since the day she stepped into our house, and even after she has to leave, we will no doubt stay in touch with her forever. When this program works, it works! The bonds formed between her and each of us are invaluable and we don’t take them for granted. It’s not just about childcare; it’s about building lasting relationships.
To Settle the Au Pair vs. Nanny Debate: The Au Pair Life Wins!
When I look back at my initial hesitation surrounding the topic of getting an au pair vs. nanny, I can’t help but want to shake the old me. Having an au pair has improved our family life tenfold. Even though there are definitely cons to the program, namely the fact that your au pair has to eventually leave after 1 or 2 years, the positives far outweigh the negatives. The personalized care, flexibility, cultural exchange, reduced stress, and many other benefits have made it the best decision for our family. So, with that said, if you’re considering childcare options, we highly recommend trying the au pair program. It might just be the game-changer your family needs!
If you are interested in hiring an Au Pair for your own family, we have loved our experience using Cultural Care. Sign up on their website for free and browse their network of amazing au pairs now! Right now my referral link will get you $175 off the full program fees if you do end up matching with an Au Pair! How awesome is that?!
Cheers to happy kids, less stress, and more family time!!!!
Pics of our current au pair, Ana, with our family!
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