We just said goodbye to our first au pair for the second time... she came for a two week visit and it's been fantastic. She bonded so well with our current (4th) au pair Alyce and the two weeks flew by. How did we get so lucky?!
After a few years of utilizing our moms to help us so we could work we realized we were running them into the ground... instead of being grandparents, they were having to discipline our kids, fold our laundry & shuffle our kids to and from school (and birthday parties or dance)... But it was an IEP meeting with our twins teachers that sent me over the edge and crying out in desperation via social media that landed us in the world of au pairs... as we entered the world of transitional kindergarten for our twins and 1st grade for our oldest we were told they would each be at a different school for the next year... my panic & subsequent vent on social media resulted in me being educated by a local mom friend about the cultural exchange program via Cultural Care Au Pair. I researched in true me fashion & made the decision with my husband to check it out immediately.
We began our search online (similar to a dating website experience), created our family profile and started favoriting girls whose profiles seemed to match what we were looking for... very quickly we came across Petronella's profile (aka Petra) and were thrilled to know she was already living in California with a host family in Los Altos (less than an hour from our home).. we chatted via FaceTime and then had her come over and meet the family in person. Interviewing turned to being "matched" and then we waited for the day she would move in... We moved our oldest daughter and youngest daughter in together and bought a queen bedroom set so she would have a room. We bought a 3rd car and a used iPhone and go all set up to welcome Petra to the family! It was a whirlwind experience but something I feel was so incredibly meant to be!!
Petra changed our lives and improved our family's functioning, not to mention saved our mom's from babysitting hell. Before Petra we lived in a world where our dining room table was covered in kid laundry (and adult laundry) constantly... except when we were expecting company... she was a kid laundry wizard and she would wash, dry, fold and put away all the laundry while we were at work... she helped with meals, making lunches, pick up and drop off of the kids from school and was with our littlest daughter all day every day! She helped with potty training (PRICELESS) and discipline... but most of all she brought JOY to our lives...
When we said goodbye to Petra, all of us cried ugly cries... but here we are reunited!! After spending two weeks together again I'm left with such an overwhelming sense of blessing that we have not only had Petra but Beca, Thai and Alyce to support us on this journey called raising a family while working. These girls are our family, they are worth so much more than they are paid, they are doing so much more than just providing childcare... They are loving our children, learning a new culture, sharing their culture with us and we are all growing, learning and bettering ourselves because of this program!!
To all four of my girls... whether you are in our home for a short time or a long time, you're giving us a priceless gift by being our au pair and we are forever THANKFUL. xo Aly