On the monthiversary of my time as an au pair, I’ve decided to write a different kind of post. A really honest one.
You’ve heard all about how amazing it is to be an au pair. The Côte d’Azur is sunny every day, my “work” is going to the beach and swimming pool, and I get to eat plenty of croissants and pastries. But the reality is that being an au pair isn’t all rainbows and lollipops.
For one, I’m exhausted. I have a break for a few hours during the day, but when the day starts at 8:30 am and ends at 9 pm, that still ends up being 10 hours. On other days (when I have the morning off) it’s more like 6 hours, but every day it’s something. And it’s been that way for a month. Oh, and even when I am not working, the kids might just come banging on my door.
Second, the kids are wild…really wild. There’s a reason I’m here to be a second pair of hands. Because these three are crazy. Adorable. But crazy.
Third, I feel like I can’t say no. Mom and dad can say no because they have work to do, or just got done doing something, but when the kids ask me to play soccer or chase them or catch them when they jump into the pool, it’s either a “yes” or an “in 5 minutes” or a “give me a few.” I think everyone just expects me to say yes all the time. I mean that’s why I’m here, right? Today, for instance, the pool was cold and I was exhausted, but the boys wanted someone to come in the pool…and host mom’s back hurt and host dad just got back from work. “Allie come swim,” they yelled. And when I paused for a second, host dad looked at me and said “oh Allie, life is so rough, you have to go swimming and to the beach every day.” But it’s not just “swimming” or “going to the beach.” It’s standing in the pool while all three little ones (none of whom can swim all alone) take turns (or don’t take turns) jumping into my arms, filling my nose and ears with water (actually). It’s chasing a two year old into the sea because she doesn’t have her water wings and is about to fall in. It’s breaking up fights, calming crying children, and trying to keep everyone from getting hurt. Over and over and over.
And we can’t forget that 90% of this happens in French or Italian, so my brain’s tired too.
I don’t want to sit here and rant and complain about my life on the Côte d’Azur, but I do want you to know that it isn’t all fun and games and joy and laughter like my last posts may have made it sound. It’s like being a nanny without weekends and evenings off to spend time with friends or family. It’s exhausting and sometimes really lonely. It’s been a month, and the fatigue is setting in.