This weeks au pair is an 18 year old from South Africa, Zanie! I met her on my trip to Tallinn, Estonia and was so happy I did. Zanie au pairs for a family where the mother is Finnish and the dad is American. The family has three kids and also owns their own cafe (hello free coffee). Zanie’s host family also owns a lot where they have two houses so she has her own house to live in! Which is super awesome.
A Day In The Life Of An Au Pair, Zanie:
What is your daily life like?
My daily life can be somewhat repetitive. I mainly look after the five year old girl, who doesn’t go to school yet. Other than that, I get the kids from school and take them wherever they need to be.
We have a good system going. I make dinner on Mondays and Thursdays. My host parents take turns cooking dinner on the rest of the evenings. This ensures that you can have structure because you can plan your meals and never wonder who’s got dinner sorted that night. At least, it’s been working for us.
What is included in your contract?
- Food at the house
- Own house
- Bus card
- Monthly pay
- Assist children during hours upon agreement
- Light cleaning
- Prepare meals
- Maximum 30 hours per week
What do you like about being an au pair?
I like working with kids, and learning about another family’s life and culture. You settle in with a new family as if you are a part of their own, and while working you get to travel through a different country and see how it differs from your own.
What do you dislike about being an au pair?
There can be a lot to dislike. For one, if you are very attached to your own family, obviously being apart from them for so long can be really tough. I definitely miss my own country a lot too.
Repetition, another thing I really dislike. I like when I have different things to do each day, not constantly the same routine.
I dislike that there’s almost never getting away from certain things. Sometimes I need quite some space and alone time away from the kids on the weekends to regain the energy to go into the next working week without being utterly annoyed. Although of course its difficult when you are staying with them.
Have you learned anything so far?
Patience. I, myself, am not very patient person. You need a lot when you decide to become an au pair, and although I didn’t have any when I made the decision to be one, I certainly learned some in the past four months as an au pair.
I also learned that you can’t tun away from any problems you have, because they will follow you all the way to Finland 😉
I have learned a lot, life is short, and traveling opens up many doors.
What advice would you give someone looking to be an au pair?
Follow the guidelines of your contract. My host family is so good to me, and that sometimes makes me feel like if I’m working a lot more than I should or running around like a maniac doing things on days I don’t need to be doing it, that I shouldn’t complain, because they are so good to me. But then I question it, are they this good to me because they are hoping I’ll just do extra things for them, or is it because they are just good to me because they have good hearts?
Don’t portray an image you can’t keep up with for the rest of your time working for your host family. If you start off the first month constantly cleaning and doing so much more than you need to, they will expect you to do it all the time. Another reason this isn’t great is because it really just makes the kids lazy and they will see you as someone that just picks up after them!
Also, don’t ever hesitate to communicate. If something is bothering you, talk about it, and ask your host family to do the same. This way, if there is any problems coming from either the au pair or host family it can be worked on and the general relationship between you and the family will be much better.
Thank you Zanie for the interview again and your advice!
If you missed my previous posts about au pair life you can find them here and here. Also if you want to know how I became an au pair, you can find that post here.
Any au pairs out there that have advice?! Let me know! 🙂
All Material is Copyrighted by Boarding for Chynna. Please Do Not Use Without Permission.