For some reason the French think its a good idea to put kids in school from 8:30am to 4:30pm. When I say kids, I mean they start at age 3. Edgar is turning 4 on Saturday and this is his second year in school. Ridiculous, right? At the age of 4, I am pretty sure my mommy dropped me off at pretend pre-school twice a week for half a day. Anyways, I guess to balance this madness the French have decided the kids get every Wednesday off. And every 6 weeks they have school, they get two weeks off. Pretty sweet I guess. However, the people in charge really did not think of all the poor souls who decided to sign up to be au pairs.
Being an au pair is really not that bad. I have to say we are all pretty good at complaining. Yes, basically it is slave labor. But hey, you get to live in a foreign country. During the week, work is bearable…
- Wake up at 7am– get the kids ready, fed, and take them to school
- Back home by 830am
- Usually it is in this period of time I take a nap…
- 11:30am– get ready for class and have lunch
- 12:30pm– out the door to catch a bus that is, lets face it, 9 times out of 10 late.
- 1:40pm-3:40pm– French class
- 4:20pm– bus home.
- 5:10pm– get home and drink tea before insanity starts
- 6:00pm– get the boys then craziness sets in… goûter, baths, playing, fighting, cartoons, scooby, dinner, the list goes on.
- 8:30pm– parents and i eat dinner
- 9:30-10ish– lock myself in my room and spend ridiculous hours on the internet.
But on Wednesday, this all changes. You have to think of 13 hours of entertainment for ninos. Yes, they have sports for an hour a day each but that really doesnt help much. Even taking them to the park and killing a few hours doesnt help. The day lasts forever…..
However yesterday, as I sat in the sun “watching” my kids play in the park, (but really reading my book), I decided that life is not all that bad. I think the reason why all au pairs complain is because of the whole weirdness of the situation. What is being an au pair? You are basically this young girl hired to raise someone else’s children, (yes, I say raise because I strongly believe I am doing more than watching a few kids), and live in your boss’s house. I went from recent college grad without a care to full-time mother. I cook, clean, and basically my whole life revolves around these two little kids. Add this with trying to be 20-something, have a social life, and see the world. This is where things get off balanced and we see the constant feeling of dissatisfaction with au pairs. All of us moved to a foreign country to get an experience. Little did we know that the major experience would be growing up because of the job aspect of it. Dont get me wrong, I am still so happy that I made this decision. I also highly recommend au pairing if you can find the right family and situation for you. Just know, you will never be ready for what you actually signed up for.
I always tell my mom that the one requirement of being an au pair is a sense of humor. I realize that I have a ridiculous life and no where in a traditional scheme of things does it make sense. But it is mine. I am doing what I wanted and what many people are too afraid to do. I took the leap. Sometimes I want to kill the kids or dream about living in the middle of Paris, but I have to say this was the best decision of my life. I have grown more in the past few months than I ever could have imagined.