6 Ways Having an Au Pair Is a Win-Win-Win!

We are grateful to Au Pair in America for partnering with us to bring you the content in this post. We think you’ll find their programs as amazing as we do!

Growing up, young people from all over the world lived in our house at different times. Some stayed a few months, some up to a year. I formed not just friendships, but also a genuine curiosity about the world around us and the people in it. These experiences early in my childhood inspired me to spend a summer abroad on my own when I was 14, to move to Europe when I was 19, and to study three different foreign languages.

An au pair giggles with a kid on a swing.

Early in my years in France, I met a lot of people who were in the country as au pairs. The phenomenon was common. Being an au pair was a way for younger adults to get to see the world (and hone their language skills), while it was also an affordable way for families to have regular child care with someone they trust. While both of those things are important, I also couldn’t help but think of younger me, who loved having so many different customs, lifestyles, and languages in my home growing up. Au pairs seemed like a win-win-win!

The benefits of hosting an au pair

Back then, I thought of au pairs as a mostly French thing, but it turns out we’ve got our own version here in the United States: Au Pair in America. The company defines an au pair as “a child care provider who lives with a host family as part of an international cultural exchange program.” Wouldn’t you know it, this was the exact experience I had observed in France, only in my own country.

Wouldn’t it be incredible to have an extra set of hands most days?

As much as I admired the au pairs I met when I was a young adult, I now see the benefits of an au pair program through a new lens. Today, I am 15 years older and have four children. I can recognize many ways having an au pair makes life easier for moms:

  • Access to up to 10 hours/day or 45 hours/week of child care
  • Care during sick days or on vacations without the need for extra logistics (no school closures to worry about!)
  • Au pairs committed to a minimum of 12 months with their host family
  • A spectrum of care from newborns to older children
  • Date nights with my partner and peace during my work-from-home days!

But the cherry on top is the sixth benefit au pairs bring to their host families: Having an au pair in the home means kids get to experience something like I did growing up. Living with someone from another culture means opening their eyes (and ears!) to the world around them. While having someone care for them certainly helps parents in the day-to-day, what children learn from the experience is virtually guaranteed to have a lifelong impact.

If you’re interested in finding out if hosting an au pair is right for your family, visit Au Pair in America’s website for information on program options.

Psssst: I’m secretly hoping my kids will be inspired to live overseas somewhere once out of the house, so I can come visit one day!

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Lee Ann
Lee Ann moved to Portland in 2008 following an eight-year stint in Paris, France, where her eldest was born. Though she thought nowhere could compete with the City of Lights, the City of Roses immediately stole her heart. As a great place to raise kids, she loves getting out and exploring the city and the PNW with her husband and four young children. While in France, Lee Ann earned a B.A. in Journalism and a Master's in Linguistics at the American University of Paris and L'Universite de Paris - La Sorbonne, respectively, before returning stateside to become a Speech-Language Pathologist through the Portland State University graduate program. Throughout her studies, she kept one foot in the digital world, writing content for publications and creating websites for clients. After many years as a medical Speech Pathologist, she left to the field to continue freelance writing, become the owner of Portland Mom Collective (!), and to create a crafting/workshop space for PDX makers. She likes to spend whatever "me" time she can muster making soap, geocaching, jogging, sewing, and staring at the wall with no small humans talking to her. Get in touch by sending a note to leeann {at} portlandmomcollective {dot} com, or follow her on Instagram.