I wish I could think of a more creative title for this post. But I’m all for cutting to the chase. A few months ago, I got a call from my kids’ daycare. I was expecting it to be about my 5-year-old daughter, Hadley, who was a few months away from starting kindergarten and didn’t particularly like being in daycare anymore. Except this time it wasn’t about Hadley. It was about the one-and-a-half-year-old, Lawson. My immediate thought was, shhhhcrap. He’s probably sick (again) or threw up (again) or caught another random virus (again) so I mentally prepared to stop working and go pick him up. Then I heard something completely unexpected…
“Mrs. Sink, we are concerned about Lawson because he has been escaping from the daycare classroom, running down the hallway, and is making the daycare workers chase him.”
The director proceeded to explain that they’d tried to keep Lawson inside the classroom, but he had figured out how to undo the child lock and then it became a game for him. He waited until the workers were preoccupied with other kids and then he made his quick escape. He also liked to turn on and off the hot water faucet. They recommended that I speak with his pediatrician to see if they had any recommendations. Ummm okay.
So a few days later, during Lawson’s 18-month wellness visit, I brought it up to the pediatrician. I explained what was happening and I asked the doctor, do you have any recommendations? He laughed and said, “Yeah, find another daycare.” I think most working parents understand that to just “find another daycare” is not that simple. It could take months to secure a new spot somewhere else. We had tried the nanny thing for a while. It was very expensive and wasn’t always reliable which often left my husband and I scrambling to figure out whose meetings were more important to miss that day.
Coincidentally, around this same time, I had been approached about a potential new job opportunity. It sounded like a perfect fit. A dream job — except it would mean going back into the office full-time instead of working remotely as I had been the last few years. I was hesitant about the transition, knowing the stress and pressure it would put on my husband and kids. The commute. The traffic. Having to shower. Not being able to get my kids off the bus at 4:00 every day. Not being able to throw a load of laundry in during my lunch break. etc. etc. But it was an opportunity I felt I had to at least try to figure out if there was a way to make work.
What I needed was a clone of myself. A reliable and affordable clone who loves kids and who could become part of the family and help with all of the things I couldn’t do while being away from home. I had heard about hosting an au pair through a Facebook moms group. I was intrigued, so I started looking into it. I signed up for a free account through Cultural Care Au Pair so I could peruse potential candidates and see what it was all about. I read about the costs and fees and learned that it was actually quite affordable. (Comparatively, as there was a point in life when I had three kids in daycare at one time). We ended up matching with a candidate from Brazil who loves kids and is a Christian. We spend the next several weeks talking through FaceTime and getting to know each other. As a family, we decided it was the right decision for us to pursue.
Fast forward to August of 2022 – We welcomed Ms. Amanda to America! She flew overnight all the way from San Paolo, Brazil to Atlanta. Then from Atlanta to Raleigh-Durham. We’ve had her with us for 3+ months now, and she’s been absolutely amazing and such a joy and a blessing to our family. There was definitely an adjustment period for everyone, but overall it’s been well worth it. She helps to get the 1st grader and kindergartener ready for school and off to the bus in the morning and then she takes Lawson out on adventures and exploring during the day. She has a real and genuine love for our kids and has even managed to wrangle the wild baby (full disclosure: we did warn her ahead of time that we had a wild baby on our hands, and she was up for the challenge). It’s been rewarding to be able to host Amanda as she experiences so many “firsts” here in America. In fact, I may even live vicariously though her Instagram posts when she’s out and about traveling around the US with her au pair friends.
Oh yeah, and I accepted that dream job. It was everything I as hoping it would be – except for the having to shower every day part. I could do without that.
Question about hosting an au pair? Drop me a line in the contact form. I’m happy to answer any questions about our experience so far.