Sounds like a Prince song, right? “You don’t have to be rich to be my girl…” I know, I’m weird. Now, I don’t know what your perception is when you hear that a family is getting an Au Pair, but I used to associate that sort of childcare with rich families like you see in movies like Grown Ups (even though they referred to their foreign live-in as a nanny). I mean, any word with a French origin must equate to expensive, right? Not so.
Obviously well-to-do families may be more likely to have an Au Pair (like our Au Pair’s best friend whose Host Dad is a physician who owns a medical company, and his wife is a lawyer…. A doctor and a lawyer – sounds like the beginning of a joke), but like most assumptions, however, the assumption that you have to be rich to host an Au Pair would be incorrect. My husband had an Audi A4 early on in our marriage, and people used to make weird comments to him about how he must make a lot of money to afford an Audi when in fact those very people were spending much more money on their trucks.
When my husband saw an ad for an Au Pair company and mentioned to me that we should look into the idea, I didn’t think that it would be something that we as a middle class family could afford. What do I mean when I say “middle class”? My husband is in technical sales (he has an engineering degree and an MBA and thinks he’s smarter than I am, but he would be wrong), and I am a freelance graphic designer and writer that works part-time from home. We live in a very suburban neighborhood where all of the houses are pretty cookie cutter, are close together, have at least four bedrooms and three-car garages, and have very green, weed-free lawns.
We don’t have a mansion, a big ranch at the base of the mountains, a house on the water, manicured grounds with a large swimming pool… no, we are what I would think is pretty middle class. Our last form of childcare was a nanny, and nannies run $12+ per hour. Seeing that an Au Pair costs roughly $7.63/hr., I was shocked. How affordable is that? Plus, you get the added benefit of a cultural exchange which sounds like an exciting adventure to me and to my husband.
Sure, we will be paying more yearly than we would for a part-time nanny, and there will be the added expense of room and board, but we will be getting so much more out of the Au Pair experience: live-in help, almost twice as much childcare hours, help on vacations, and a new family friend.
As I get older and continue to learn new things, I have come to realize that assumptions will get you nowhere. If you think that you cannot have or cannot achieve something, maybe you should do a little research, and you will come to find that you can have things that you didn’t realize possible. If you’re on the fence about hosting an Au Pair because of your middle class status, don’t dismiss the idea, and heck, you can even pick my brain about it if you’d like!
My recommendations for Au Pair companies:
Image Credit: Kayla Paler Photography
Cyndi M. Frick
This lifestyle blog is my outlet to share and advise about the things I love. I always have an opinion!