What NOT to say to an au pair

Being an au pair, is definitely one of the most challenging job that there is, and of course, people have a lot to say. Here I bring up a few things, that makes us au pairs pissed, even though we know you might not mean anything bad by saying it. 

"So, you're a nanny, right?"

Definitely the one I hate the most. Nanny. Funny thing that my blog carries that name, but little did I know when I made this! We work more with less money, than a nanny, that should alone earn more respect. Living WITH the family makes you so much more than a nanny, you are part of the family. This weekend I was asked, "how should I call you then?". An au pair. You should call me an au pair. What makes it difficult, is that not so many knows, what the word means, and explaining gets hard (the word alone is something that should be known worldwide). How I explain it: "I live with a host family and take care of their kids". Don't use the word nanny, it's offensive.

"Omg you're life/job is so easy"

Nope it's not. Not our life, not the job. We have to balance in a difficult place all the time. We need to be part of raising a child, which alone is hard for a 19-25-year-old. And when the kid is not your's, you can't do it how you think is the best. You do it how the parents think it's the best, and most likely, they have some way how you wouldn't do it, but you still have to, because it's not your child.
And when it comes to our lives. We left them in our home countries. We need to get new ones, and again prepare to leave them after the year. I honestly don't know why anyone thinks this job would be easy. This weekend, I was among 140 other au pairs, and we were told how brave we are, and how much courage it needs to come here and do this job. Hearing it felt really good.  

"I can totally relate, when I was babysitting my neighbors' kids..."

No you can not. Even if you had babysat ten kids at the same time, there's no way you could relate or understand, if you haven't done this yourself. So don't even try. I know people mean well and just want to be supportive by saying this, but hearing this makes us just smile and burn inside. You know nothing. It's so much more than just the kids. Like I said, we live with the family, but we don't quite know what we are in the family. The kids are challenging, they're not ours and we work with them 45h/week (some less). We're alone, in an other country, most of us on the other side of the world from their own family. And then there's a weird culture that we know nothing about. So this has nothing to do with your Friday-night babysitting at the house next door. Not comparable, please don't do it.

"C'mon, I'm sure you can stay longer than your curfew, you're not a kid"

Half right, definitely not a kid, but that's not why we get curfews (again, not everyone has one). We get it because we are strangers in someone else's homes, and we need to earn trust. I have a curfew, and I respect it. Don't ask me to go home late, it's annoying, it's not my rule but I want to respect it. 

So, obviously host families have their own things they don't want to hear, I'm sure, but these are the ones that I think of as the most annoying things to hear. And like I said I know, that people who say these things, they don't mean to annoy us etc. Don't take this post too seriously, except the headline and underlined parts... 


- Sanni

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