Can you describe your family for us?
We live in Austin, I’ve been in Texas for almost my whole life, minus the three years when I lived in Europe. We lived in North Austin for many years, and a few years ago we moved to South Austin. We have two girls, our oldest is almost eleven, and our youngest is nine. We love to spend time outdoors, we love going swimming in our pool, barbequing and camping.
Did your experience living abroad influence your decision to host an au pair?
I was 21 when I moved to Europe, where I lived and worked for three years. I think I definitely have a unique perspective that helps me relate to the au pairs. I understand moving to a new country at a young age and the cultural differences that you have to navigate. It’s really fun to make someone feel at home when they are far away, especially since I was once in a very similar position.
Why is the au pair program a good fit for your family’s childcare needs?
When we first started thinking about hosting an au pair through Cultural Care Au Pair, I loved the fact that au pairs become a part of the family. They are living with us, and get to know our family on a different level because of that. As a physician assistant, I am very often on call and my schedule changes a lot and is not very flexible. This makes having our au pair right in our home so wonderful, because I feel like I am leaving my girls with another member of the family. I don’t just need someone to watch my kids, I want someone to love my kids. I want someone who is a role model, who will help them grow and give them a new perspective. That is what I have gotten through the au pair program.
What does that cultural exchange look like for your family?
We absolutely love to learn about our au pair’s culture, traditions and holidays, as well as share our traditions and holidays with our au pair. We particularly enjoyed learning about our first au pair Costanza’s Moroccan heritage. She was from Italy, but her mother had Moroccan heritage. We got to learn more about North Africa and absolutely fell in love with the food. My new au pair, Jude, is from France, and the other night my daughter was showing Jude her loose tooth. So Jude asked, “is the little mouse going to come and give you money for your tooth?” My daughter was so confused! It was so funny, and I explained to Jude that here we call that the tooth fairy.
What have your au pairs enjoyed about being in the U.S.?
Constanza travelled all over, but she really fell in love with Austin. I do often talk to the au pairs we interview about how wonderful the weather is here in Austin! Interestingly, Helene, an au pair we hosted from South Africa, told us that Austin reminded her of South Africa in a lot of ways.
Do you think there are any benefits about the au pair program that people don’t automatically recognize?
I think what is wonderful is the cultural similarities that you find out you have with someone from another culture. For example, Costanza liked to say that the open, warm and friendly culture of Texas is much like where she is from in Italy! When you have a lot of love to give in your life, you can share that with so many people and enjoy people from all different places. Living overseas was such a wonderful experience for me, and I got to meet so many people that I still consider friends. It’s so great to get to know someone and have someone added to your family.
What advice do you have for families who are interested in hosting an au pair?
I think it is so important that families are willing to open up their hearts. Families have to know that they are going to be adding another member to their family. It’s a very intimate connection, which I think is great, because I want that for my children.
This interview was sponsored by Cultural Care Au Pair.