I thought the best way to tell you what it is like to be an Au Pair is would be by showing you. Keep in mind, though, that every family is different, so not every Au Pair job will be the same.
The alarm sounds at twenty to seven, I open my eyes, stop it, and go back to sleep. I’m not a morning person, so I’ll stay in bed until the last minute. Finally, a few minutes before seven I get up, get dressed, brush my hair, wash my face and go down for breakfast.
Sometimes the children are not awake yet and I can enjoy a nice peaceful breakfast by myself. Not today. I make my breakfast at thesame time I make the 5-year-old’s and as we sit down the 3-year-old wakes up. The baby is on Mum’s arms.
At half past seven the Nanny arrives with her baby-girl and prepares their breakfast and the parents go off to work. Having a Nanny, which is not a usual things for the families who decide to have an Au Pair, means that I have less responsability. Between the Nanny and I, we get the children dressed on their uniforms, hair brushed, teeth and faces cleaned and at half past eight she takes them to school while I stay with the baby and put him to sleep for a morning nap.
Once he’s down I go back downstairs and clear out the kitchen: cereal boxes and milk back in cupboard and fridge, bowls and plates in dishwasher, swipe the floor and clean the counter. By the time I’m finished the Nanny’s back and I’m off duty, although before going about to my things I take some time to do laundry (put on the washing machine or the drier, fold clothes already washed, put away clothes already folded… ).
I go upstairs to tidy up my room a little bit and I leave around half past ten with the buggy because I’ll be picking up the 3-year-old from school at twelf on foot. I leave early so I can stop by at Costa and write notes on the book I’m writting while having a hot chocolate.
Around half past twelve we’re back from school with the 3-year-old and the babies are having their afternoon nap after their lunch, so it’s time for our lunch. I make myself a ham and cheese omelette and at half past one I’m off duty again.
I go upstairs and type the notes I made this morning into the computer. At three I’m back downstairs to stay with the children while the Nanny goes to pick up the 5-year-old. We put music on and dance until they’re back.
While she sits down with the 5-year-old to make her homework I play with the babies and the 3-year-old in the playroom.
At half past four it’s tea-time (dinner). I feed the baby while she feeds hers and the older ones are beggining to be tired.
When dinner’s over it’s bath time. First the babies, then the other two. Once pajamas are on, we tidy up and go back downstairs for some TV-time. Mum arrives on time and at six o’clock the Nanny leaves.
Around half past six I help her put the children to bed and then I finish tidying up the playroom and folding the laundry while she cooks dinner. The Dad arrives around seven. We sit down at the table and I always tidy up afterwords – it’s only fair, given that I rarely have to cook.
At eight o’clock I’m back upstairs. I have a shower and procrastinate on YouTube until I’m too tired and go to bed.
This would be my daily routine from Monday to Friday, with some variations if the mum is travelling, or a kid is ill or any other reason. Weekends are usually free, although sometimes I help on Sunday morning when they go to church or do activities with them on Saturday.
So, if you want to do the math: I work between 30 to 35 hours per week, about 6 hours/day (having about 4 hours of spare time but being available from 7am to 7pm).
In exchange for my help around the house I get a bedroom with a private bathroom in one of the most expensive cities in Europe, I get meals, and £85/week or pocket money, sometimes more if I’ve done extra hours or some babysitting at night.
A lot of families pay a bit more, but I preffered to settle for less with a family I immediately connected with. After all, you’re not just working for them, you’re living with them.