I feel as though there is no way to describe the emotion you get when you hear that question. I like to think of it as the fury of one million volcanoes on the sun ready to erupt.
Just an Au Pair!?!?!
Ohhh baby, wouldn’t you like to know the day I’ve had: “A real job?!?” It’s what I am doing right now not working?!?
Now in every instance where shouting at someone in public isn’t normal, I’ve devised a few “common” questions you will hear as an Au Pair to prepare yourself when you’re out in the wild.
“Ohhhh so you’re are a babysitter?”
Wrong. Babysitters are those who come to one’s house to watch the children for a few hours, then leave with cash in hand. That is not what we do. We are part of the family, working all day, and sometimes night, helping the children grow into the amazing people they can be. We are there for every tear, every laugh, every shout and every potty time. We aren’t just babysitting, we are co-raising.
“Lucky! You get to sit around and play with toys all day.”
I cannot count how many times this one has been said to me. Condescendingly or not, it’s a tough one. We all know that some days, yes, we are hanging out, drinking tea and colouring with the kids. However, we also have the days, about 95% of the time, where one child is hanging from the ceiling fan, the other is crying because they want chocolate pudding and the infant is crawling out of the room at lightning speed.
Of course, we have our easy days, just like every other job, but don’t think that is all we do.
“When are you going to get a real job?”
Oooooph. This one goes over like a kick to the gut. I think what we do is a real job. Isn’t the definition of a job getting paid for doing a task?
Task = raising/taking care of children
Payment = spending money, food, and a place to live
Seems like a pretty simple equation to me.
“I thought you went to university though?”
Whether or not you have been to University doesn’t really matter when it comes to Au Pairing. We come from a range of careers, backgrounds, cultures, and education, yet we are all doing the same work, making sure the lives of our house kids are fulfilled and kept safe.
So, “Yes, I went to university and majored in honours science actually, however, my friend standing next to me didn’t go to university, but she is tri-lingual now from Au Pairing.”
We all have our stories, but higher education is not a determining factor on whether or not we SHOULD or SHOULDN’T be looking after children.
“I can’t imagine how crazy it is! I’m sure you are ready to go home?”
I can’t explain how far from the truth this statement is. Not the crazy part, no it is crazy, but being ready to go home. There has not been a single time that walking away from those kids heading to the airport has been easy. Of course, they drive us mad, make us cry from exhaustion and sprint out of the house as soon as our house parents arrive home from work, but they are “ours”.
Not a day goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars that I chose to hop across the globe to become an Au Pair. We will hear these questions and it will be hard to keep face, pretending these questions aren’t bothering us, but we also have the most incredible experience under our belt and the cutest little ones who we can’t get enough of.
What other questions do you get as an Au Pair? I’m sure I missed a few. Send them my way on Facebook or Instagram @aupair_life and I’ll be sure to mention them on our next Facebook Live Q&A on EazyCity Go Abroad on the 10th of August.