Hiring an au pair was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I never wanted an au pair. That’s the truth of it.
In fact, I couldn’t think of anything worse.
So two years ago when three of my friends– all of whom work in breakfast radio and all of whom have au pairs – suggested I look into hiring someone TO LIVE WITH US and help me look after our three small kids, I was horrified.
“I couldn’t do it,” I said. “Have someone live with us? A stranger just hanging around in our house? Nup. I’d rather try and go it alone.“
What. An Idiot.
Because then I had my son Quincy which meant I had three kids under five. Three kids under five, no grandparents on hand to help and a husband who was never home.
Suddenly leaving the room to hang out the washing became a logistical nightmare. Just the though of doing kindy drop-off with three kids gave me a headache. HAVING A SHOWER seemed impossible. And forget my work as a writer, I couldn’t even figure out how to manage the kids’ bath time.
Suddenly having an au pair looked like a not-so-terrible-idea.
And a hell of a lot more economical than paying $20 an hour for a nanny.
Six months on from jumping aboard the Au Pair Express and let me tell you – it’s right up there with buying no-iron uniforms as one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Having Pia has given me the freedom to work from home part-time as well as given me an extra set of hands around the house. When my two boys (aged 1 and 3) are asleep, she might bring in some washing or help chop up vegies for dinner while I work.
Or. Or we might sit together and, well, you know, watch last night’s episode of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here while I try to answer her questions like, “What is a Daddo?” and “Why is the High-5 girl so angry?”
So how much does it cost? You can expect to pay around $200 for up to 35 hours of childcare a week and in return you provide your au pair with full room and board (so we provide Pia with all her meals and snacks 7 days a week. She also has her own bedroom and bathroom and free wifi).