'I'm a stay-at-home-mum and hired an au pair for my twins. People think it’s selfish.'

For Katie Bunton, the decision to hire an au pair to help care for her twin boys practically fell in her lap.

The full-time mum and content creator had just moved to Byron Bay with her husband, Harry, and their sons, Brooks and Oscar, when she was contacted by a Swedish woman on TikTok.

Elsa, 21, was living in Australia and looking for a new family to work with.

Katie had been sharing content online about the realities of raising twin boys for years and was candid about the fact her sons often missed out on things like swimming lessons or group activities because she was outnumbered by "two very active, very confident boys".

So the idea of having an extra set of hands to help while Harry was at work sounded like a dream.

"I had never ever thought about it. I always looked at having a live-in nanny or an au pair as something that was just out of reach for most people, so it really wasn’t on my radar," the 32-year-old tells Mamamia.

"But when we moved into this new house, it had this room that seemed like it was designed for a live-in nanny off to the side so that had started getting the wheels turning."

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"So when Elsa reached out, it caught me on one of those days where I was having a tough day with the boys and I remember being like, 'I need to do this'."

After one phone call in February this year, Katie said her gut was telling her it was a good idea, so they organised for Elsa to come and meet the boys — who turn three this month — and begin a trial.

But Katie admits she and Harry were still dubious at first.

"The thing we feared the most in taking on an au pair was, are we always going to feel like we’re hosting someone in our home at all times and feeling like we can’t be super comfortable in ourselves," Katie says.

"It could definitely feel draining having to socialise every day when you just want to sit on the couch and eat a cheeseburger, and that was a fear of Harry’s even more than mine but he was very excited about the idea that I was going to feel more supported."

Having shared the ups and downs of 'mum life' on her account, When Katie Met Harry, for years, Katie is used to receiving feedback — both bad and good — from her 500,000-plus TikTok followers, but she wasn’t prepared for the response when she admitted to taking on an au pair.

"I knew it would ruffle some feathers but I’ve never seen a response so intense about anything on my feed before," Katie says.

"The main thing people are nasty about is the idea that I’m a neglectful or a lazy parent and that I don’t want to raise my own kids, which is so far from the truth and so sad that mums face that level of pushback.


"A lot of it is that people don’t understand it, I get that because I thought I would have to be some billionaire to have a live-in nanny and the reality is, it’s not and it’s designed to help more normal families."

@whenkatiemetharry AHHHH! This is huge for us. My sister got an Au Pair recently and it opened my mind up to the idea… And then one day last week when Harry was away for work and I was struggling to manage the twins while also working I got this miraculous email from a girl looking for an Au Pair role in Byron Bay and I was like “ok universe…I see you 😏” Were about to go pick her up from the airport! Chat soon x #aupair #byronbaymum #twinmom #grwm #lifeupdate #momtok #realmoms #honestmom #relatablemom #boymom ♬ original sound - Katie & Harry

With their arrangement, Elsa is paid a salary and helps with the boys Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8.30am-4.30pm with an option to look after them every second weekend so Katie and Harry can do a date night.

But having Elsa living there means the schedule can be flexible if Elsa wants more time to travel and experience Australia or if Katie needs extra help in a particular week.

They pay her a salary, but this is subsidised in return for her accommodation and living expenses.

The biggest game-changer for Katie has been having a second person on-hand for the boys' activities.

@whenkatiemetharry That last one 🥹 I didn’t see coming at all. Sometimes you don’t know how disregulated you are until you start to unwind all those knots… We adore you @elsanordstromm for going above and beyond x #aupair #hostfamily #twinmom #pottytrainingtips #aupairlife #momsoftiktok #twinboys #fyp #trending ♬ TEXAS HOLD 'EM - Beyoncé

"I find personally — and I know a lot of twin mums have experienced a lot of the same — but a massive thing for me has been getting a lot of outing anxiety with the kids, with twins it feels like I’m running a military operation every time I leave the house.

"I have two very active, very confident and very wild boys so that combination is so overwhelming in 99 per cent of situations so they’ve missed out on a lot. 

"There was no way I could do swimming lessons, all these activities are designed to be one-on-one. We tried gymnastics, every single thing we ever did I ended up cutting them. I always felt so embarrassed and so mortified when all the kids are sitting there listening to the person and mine are climbing up and down the walls! I would say I don’t really care what people think, but in these situations it was always the worst."


Katie said having Elsa on hand has also meant she can work more on her content creation as it becomes more demanding or go to the gym without lugging two toddlers to the creche. 

But some of Katie’s followers made no secret of the fact they thought she would fall victim to the ‘hot nanny’ cliche.

"The other thing [people have commented on] was the whole controversy of me bringing a female into my home and people saying I was asking for my husband to cheat on me, that was really intense," Katie said of the reaction to her videos. 

"I didn’t expect that. I expected people to judge me and say 'oh you’re lazy, what are you going and getting facials' but it was about the fact she’s a young woman."

Despite the criticism, Katie has loves sharing her experience of having an au pair online and the improvements it has made to her life.

"It’s like having a friend with you to help raise your kids, and having that social interaction with an adult too," she says 

"I have single handedly put a new economy into place, I get hundreds of messages from people who are doing this now. Honestly if I can do anything for a mum, it's to share this because I had no idea I could afford this either, it has changed my life."

Feature image: TikTok/@whenkatiemetharry

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