I just got a new job and needed a hand with childcare, because I had to travel twice a month.
My manager suggested an aupair and I started to wonder through a complete new world.
In my enquiries I spoke to many people, including my child’s nursery; they told me some other parents had one and worked really well. There’s hope, I thought.
My search began. Time was not on my side. I had about a month to find my first au pair.
I created an account on a well-known site that claims to help au pairs and host families to get together. It was not free, but I got a 3 month membership.
I created our page, where I introduced our family and summarised what we were looking for. I was offering pocket-money, food and room, gym membership and a travel pass.
I received hundreds of messages. It looks like the end of summer is a good time to look for an au pair.
It was not an easy task to go through each profile and decide who to contact. There are girls from all over the world, but it was very clear that the Spanish girls were the majority.
In fact, 60% of the candidates were Spanish.
They all love children and can’t wait to meet your kids. The main reason to be an au pair is to improve their English and to have a new experience. They are quite young, mostly in their early twenties. Some of them don’t go to the trouble of writing a profile in English. Others came through as quite professional, with a bi-lingual page.
I can’t stop noticing the similarity with online dating. You build an attractive profile, upload a couple of nice photos, that portrait you as fun and interesting. Get a huge amount of interest. Try to ascertain who’d be worth a reply, have a few chats first by email, then by Skype, decide on who to go for, based on your gut feeling, and hope you found the one.
After exchanging a few messages, I passed on to the next phase.
Skype interview that is.
Sometimes, I could see the person would not understand a word of English, or was not very communicative.
I got to a point where I decided I wanted a Spanish au pair.
If they could not understand English, at least I could give some use to my Spanish skills and make do. That’s when I defined the candidates that made the shortlist.
We went on to the second Skype interview, this time with the kids.
After some deliberation, where I took into account the children’s feedback, I chose our first au pair, got her room ready and set a start date. I would pick her up from the airport.
At home we were excited and apprehensive.
We are a very close family, me and the kids. I have a somehow solitary life style, don’t invite people over that much. Sometimes I think I am a bit OCD, I keep my house organised and have a methodical way of living (was the best way I found to manage my family, on my own). I don’t like when my routine changes, my things get out-of-place…
I could see this was going to be a challenge and could not imagine how many more times I would have to go through this process.