Finally, I felt like a real au pair…does it matter?

Cassie & Lilly after collecting tadpoles at the creek--turns out, no tadpoles so they built “habitats” and then Cassie accidentally in.

I can finally describe the best day I’ve had on this journey because, after two months, it has finally happened–I felt like a real au pair.  Not surprising, it was the very first time that Audrey was actually gone the entire day and I suddenly felt my being here was necessary. It was a Friday and I had my first lone lunch with the kids, just the four of us.  There was a huge fight and I resolved it my way—not Audrey’s.  I felt such a breakthrough with the kids because I was finally able to establish some authoritative boundaries.  Then Audrey’s mother-in-law came to visit for the weekend so we went to pick up the kids from school together.

The mother-in-law is a very eclectic woman and speaks only French, which put my French/charade skills to the test.  Apparently, Audrey does not get along with her mother-in-law (no surprises there) because she does not always agree with how she raises her kids (giving us a lot in common).  And this is the reason Audrey arranged to be away from the house all day.  So for the rest of the afternoon all I did was play with the kids.  I helped Lilly with an art creation (twig basket equipped with flower petals), jumped on the trampoline, taught Cassie how to ride Eliot’s scooter (two-wheels instead of three), bathed the kids and then we all started to play Life while cooking dinner.  The time flew by and we all had so much fun.  I finally felt like I belonged here.

That was until Audrey came home.  She was huffing, puffing and stomping around like she does and seemed very upset.  I was thinking to myself that it must have been a stressful day (she was visiting a friend at the hospital) or she was not in the mood to talk with her mother-in-law.  It never crossed my mind that she was actually upset at me.  Come to find out later, all the anger was directly because I didn’t hang the jackets up, put the shoes away or have the glass table spick and spotless.  Basically, the first day I actually felt like an actual au pair, Audrey got upset because I neglected to be the perfect maid.  Moral of this story: she does not need an au pair; she needs a maid that can babysit sometimes.

I tried to explain the situation–as in sorry, I was playing with your kids and did not have a chance to satisfy your obessive need for clean (I put it nicely).

In a fit of rage she asked, “Do you really want to be here because you can leave early?”

What I should have said was, “As a matter of fact, no, I don’t because I am tired of being an underpaid, overworked, under-appreciated, bored illegal immigrant.”

Instead, I somehow managed with hot cheeks and shaking hands, “I am sorry, I will pay better attention and try to do better.”

My new plan is to beat her at her own game and make everything more perfect than her expectations foresee.  I don’t think this will invoke any sense of compassion in Audrey towards my life, but I do hope it will help to avoid any more “talks” that leave me wanting to scream out of anger all the time.

Yes, I have reached a very unhealthy state of mind.


3 thoughts on “Finally, I felt like a real au pair…does it matter?

  1. I Stumbled across your site whilst googling a london tube map. I am also an au pair and got completely lost in your writing and enjoyed reading your experience, some of which I can completely relate to. Thanks for brightening my evening :)

  2. Hi, i have found your blogs and i enjoyed reading them very much. I am from Europe but i have spend 7 years being au pair/nanny in the USA, where the situation is very different. It felt great being nanny in USA. But then i decided to leave and went to Switzerland, which sucks, i work 13 hours a day, weekends, holiday etc and they treat me like a slave i cant wait to leave. I would like to talk to you more if it’s possible….

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