I worked as an AuPair in a very tiny town not far from Munich. I heard both good and bad things about working as an AuPair from different people. I think it mostly depends on your personality, the family you work for/live with as well as the town/city you live in.
This was to be my first of two AuPair jobs and for the most part I liked it. At the time, I had a lot of experiences working with children from babysitting (10+ years), lifeguarding/swimming instructing and my family so I didn’t expect it to be too hard but one thing I did learn was a HUGE appreciation for my parents and all parents because looking after children is exhausting! I have always heard parents say that but I got to see it first hand and as an AuPair I got to give the children back at the end of the day ..so it was only a tiny take of what parents do on a daily basis. I also found it a bit boring at times, I won’t lie. Playing Barbies gets old after 2 minutes, so having to do that for hours sometimes can be a pretty big chore.
Probably one of the cons of being an AuPair is that they are not your kids. So they are taught and disciplined the way their parents believe is best and you are just the messenger for all of these things. I am not a yeller, I am more of deal maker and reasoner with kids. When I babysat for one family in Newfoundland, I really loved how honest and candid the parents were with their kids and that is how I want to be if I ever have children. There was never a “because I said so” the parents always explained why and I find that kids are more likely to accept something when they have a reason behind it. Sometimes.
There are pros as well, such as the kids themselves. I worked for a very religious family and one super cute thing the girls would do after I tucked them into bed at night would be to add me in their prayers and cross my forehead, I thought it was adorable. Also, the first day I worked for this family, myself and the youngest girl, who was around 4, were outside and she looked up at me and said “I love you… and your face, and your hair” in a sweet little British accent. I made me melt.
The house I lived in was massive and over 500 years old and it had a moat. I had the whole top floor to myself which included 4 bedrooms, a sitting room with a pool table and a library. It was pretty cool.
To get to and from Munich I had to ride my bike for 20 mins to the train station and then take the train for 20 mins to Munich. This was actually awesome but I only had one day off a week so I didn’t get to do it as much as I would have liked as the trains stopped after 11pm and I only got off at 7-8pm every night.
Interesting things can happen in small towns, one morning I woke up and was going for a run and I saw that there were two dead boars at the bottom of the driveway. They were shot by a local and had to be tested to see if they were radioactive. I also tried to make friends but the town only seemed to have people between the ages 0-18 and then 25-90 so there was a pretty big gap. Most people moved to a bigger city once they graduated college. The town only had a bar, a post office and a corner store so there wasn’t much there for anyone when they reached 18 so most moved away.
Overall it was good but I did feel pretty isolated. The family I worked for came from old money and lived in a very small social circle so I didn’t have a lot in common with them but I looked at it as an experience. My best friend there was a 4 year-old girl, she was great but I found it hard when their parents would enforce some traditional stereotypes. Such as keeping their hair prim and proper when they are outside playing in a field. I just thought…they are kids, if anyone is judging little girls for how well kept they look when they play outside (which nobody was ever even around to see them) then I think they are the problem.
Also, one morning I let the oldest girl pick out her outfit. She was getting to the age that she wanted to explore making her own choices but she was only 8, so I mean, what kind of choices do you have at 8 other than deciding what color crayons to use. One morning, I told her it was okay for her to pick out her clothes for the day. We were just going to be inside the house all day as it was raining and it was a Saturday so it’s not like she was going to school or anything. I told her as long as it was weather and age appropriate then it’s a-okay!
The outfit she picked out was hideous. It was an explosion of pink and buckles and bracelets. She had on pink cords, a pink sweater, a pink headband, a pink cardigan, pink socks and pink shoes. It looked awful but she was beside herself with joy at having the opportunity to pick out her clothes. I actually never saw her happier. Then her mother got home and I got in trouble for letting her walk around the house in an ugly outfit. I was a bit put off by it because if I had a kid and they wanted to wear a superman cape to the grocery store, I would totally let them. This is what I mean when I say the match of the family and AuPair is important.
Overall the experience was good. It felt like being in a movie living in their house because it had so much history. The house (which was actually a castle btw) had been in their family since it was built (in the 1500s) so it had been through a lot of history, especially being in Southern Germany. I became friends with the great aunt that lived next door. She lived through WW2 in Germany and had a lot of interesting relics from the war in her house.
I had a lot of time to myself when I wasn’t working because I had no friends there so it was a great time for self-reflection and also dwelling on what I was going to do with my life thus far haha. It was a very calm place to be and I enjoyed my time there after the craziness of Berlin.
That’s mostly it! I was there for a total of 3 months and I got to go to Switzerland with the family which I will write about next!