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Raising Someone Else’s Children

Au PairI’m one of those old fashioned people. I believe in raising your own kids. Now, I don’t care if it’s the mom or the dad — or some kind of mixture of the two. Do what works for your family.

But if you can’t admit that having someone else — no matter how qualified — care for your children nine hours a day is equivalent to having someone else “raise your children,” then we’ll have to agree we are working within entirely different mathematical systems.

That said, I’ve had a number of friends who worked as nannies or au pairs. What’s an au pair (other than a fancy French term)? An au pair is a young foreign person (usually female), who helps with housework and/or child care in exchange for room and board and, often, a salary.

Working as an au pair can be a fabulous experience. The person travels to another country, and gets to experience the new culture with complete immersion.

The hours can be long (up to 45 hours per week) and demanding, but the opportunity to live and work in another country, to learn the language and customs, to be part of a family and community, is much richer than taking a vacation — and instead of paying, you get paid.

Given the hours and schedule, many au pairs can attend night school or just take in the town. If you choose a large city to work in, the opportunities for culture and entertainment are endless. Two friends of mine worked in New York City. Is there anything you can’t find in NYC? (Other than peace and quiet?)

Some brokers also allow you to take time to travel and for an extended period of time after you complete your stay.

My friends who worked in this field found the experience mostly positive. They learned a great deal about raising children and running a household. They were also able to save money for college because their living expenses were covered. They learned about other cultures and family structures.

If you’re considering such an arrangement, be sure to carefully vet the service you use and the family you will work for. A clear and carefully structured arrangement will make all the difference in the world.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Cristina March 26, 2012, 7:18 am

    I have two kids, my eldest is 14 years old now and she grew up with her grandmother because my husband and I had to work most of the time. I guess I’m really lucky because she grew up to be a well rounded person and I have my mother-in-law to thank for that. Now that I have a baby, she’s 7 months old now, I refuse to not see her grow up and raise her myself. So now, I’m working from home and having a wonderful time seeing her grow up everyday. It’s like being a mom for the first time.
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  • Karren O. March 26, 2012, 1:14 pm

    I’m really interested to be an au pair someday. The advantages are great and you’d many many learning experiences. How much is the average salary of an au pair per month? I hope you could give me an estimate.

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  • DiNaRa March 28, 2012, 7:06 am

    I have never wanted to work as au pair as I have heard so much negative stories about it when you are not considered a human in such a family and it is very hard sometimes to get into contact with a child as there are different kids and they behave in different way when they are with their nanies.

  • Priti March 29, 2012, 11:57 pm

    Really a useful post. The concept of Au par is totally new to me but it sounds quite interesting. What better way to learn about a new culture than staying with a family and provide some help to them. I like small cute children and would definitely like to be an Au par one day.

  • Joy April 5, 2012, 6:11 am

    It’s not easy letting other people take care of your children. But if you really have to get another person to help you with your kids, I suggest you treat that person right – treat her the way you want her to treat your children too. Treat her like she’s part of the family and she’ll treat your children like her own too.

  • Chris May 6, 2012, 7:41 am

    Now a days nannie is really much required, because if you are doing job then its very hard to take good care of your child.

  • MBL May 9, 2012, 2:58 am

    In every action people do when it comes to children. There is an accompanied care with it. It’s also important that we are concern on their needs. This usually occurs and applicable to our own child but how about those people who are doing it for their living. I think in my opinion it’s the same, they also should have the same approach just like the real parents. Parents entrusted the safety of their children to person who will take care of their child, they need to hold and prove that trust. Thanks for your article, there are many people out there that can relate with this and probably learn about this. Keep on posting.

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