6 Lessons Au Pairing Taught Us

Hey Au Pairs,

Are you feeling festive yet? If not, we definitely recommend walking around Galeries Lafayette and looking at the beautiful presents you would buy everyone if you were as rich as your host family.

Shameless plug, thankfully something which is affordable to au pairs is OUR NEW BOOK! It’s out very soon!

When we moved to Paris as 18-year-olds, we were pretty overwhelmed by the au pairing process. We certainly don’t claim to know everything now, but you have to LEARN FAST as an au pair.

A couple of weeks ago, we uploaded a video about SIX things we learned as au pairs. We had a lot of fun coming up with this list. (At the time we were in Nice looking after a doggie!)

1. Everyone Thinks their Country/Culture is the BEST in the World

In a Britain obsessed with Brexit, I continue to hear people say the phrase: “THIS is the best country in the world.” Living abroad taught me that it’s not.

Or, more specifically, it taught me that everyone loves their own culture and country as much as you love yours - your country isn’t special.

In my opinion, this was an important lesson to learn as it opens your eyes to learning about other cultures without thinking yours is superior. Learning the differences between cultures as an au pair makes you a more respectful person and tolerant of things which are “WEIRD” to you.

Alternatively, you could choose be someone who only sits with other people of your nationality to moan about how much you HATE France. Sure, we did that every so often, but we quickly learned that if you embrace the quirks and the weird aspects of French culture, you’ll be a lot more likely to get a better understanding of the country and people and enjoy your time a lot more in Paris.

2. You Can Live MANY Different Lives

YOU’RE BORN, YOU’RE EDUCATED, YOU GET A JOB, YOU RETIRE AND YOU DIE. Right?

Au pairing taught me that you can live as many different lives you WANT. Who says you need ONE CAREER? As someone who still hasn’t found exactly what it is that I love, sticking to just one career would be horrible.

Of course, money is the biggest problem in many young people’s lives. Au pairing is a great way to go away for a while, earn some cash, and decide what you want to do next.

Break the mould! Do something CRAZY! Learn, grow and thrive! Ok. I’m done.

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3. Homesickness SUCKS But You’ll Get Over it and BE STRONGER

Edwina and I are regularly asked if we still get homesick. And, for me at least, the answer is no. I miss my family and friends like CRAZY sometimes but thankfully, I haven’t had that horrible homesickness you first experience when you’re away.

For months when we were first in Paris, we’d carry this ACHE around with us, feeling so homesick we couldn’t do anything else but watch FRIENDS and maybe cry.

But, after you get settled in a place and learn to deal with that feeling (whether it’s calling your friends at home or making new ones), you’ll feel 100 times better. Au pairing helped me go through tough times and learn how to deal with them a lot better.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with quitting and going home if it gets too much. But, for us at least, going through that hard emotional time helped us grow!

4. You Learn to Make Friends with ANYONE

Okay, I feel like I did a bad job of explaining what I meant in the video above - did it make any sense?

As an au pair, you learn to go out and make friends with anyone. “Friend dates” are a regular in your life and you learn to communicate with people from all over the world, not just people you grew up with.

5. I NEVER WANT KIDS!

And, of course, when you’ve looked after children for a few months or years, you learn the lesson that KIDS ARE THE WORST! Almost every au pair I’ve ever met has said “I NEVER WANT KIDS”.

Au pairing the best form of birth control around. But, presumably, time changes your mind and you begin thinking “well, MY kids would be much better behaved than my host kids…”

6. Changing a Nappy is All About Controlling the Arms and Legs

If you DO decide to have kids, at least you know what you’re in for. Our final point for this blog post is that changing a nappy is a SKILL.

If you don’t want poop flying around the room, then you better learn what you’re doing early on. To be honest, the best way to change a nappy is to give the baby something to play with and hold their legs with one hand. Then, be as FAST as you can!

We have more useful tips such as this one in our book. Which is coming out this month! Woohoo.

Au pairing taught us that the Grande Mosquée de Paris has delicious tea which is only €2. Mmm!

Au pairing taught us that the Grande Mosquée de Paris has delicious tea which is only €2. Mmm!

Thanks so much for reading! Sorry if you’re sick of hearing about our book already! But, we’re very excited that it’s finally becoming a reality.

If you want to help support us and keep this community alive, please consider becoming a patron. As little as $1 will help keep our website live (which currently costs us around $300 per year to run!)

Furthermore, if you need any help with the au pair process, make sure to join our Au Pair, Oh Paris Open Forum which both Edwina and I are active on!

That’s all for now.
Ciao! xo

What we HATE about Paris

Hey Au Pairs,

OUR BOOK IS OUT VERY SOON!

We’ve very excited about this news. So, we’re launching even more blog posts than normal with some exclusive content from the book. This all starts THIS week.

Today, we thought we’d MOAN about Paris a little…

A couple of weekends ago, Edwina and I spent some time in LONDON, England. It was a lovely weekend celebrating Thanksgiving together. Edwina took the Eurostar over from Paris and we met in St. Pancras. She was looking all chic and French in a new coat she just “found and threw on” and the sexiest beanie hat some French men have ever seen, apparently.

As we were in London for four days, we were discussing everything we love and dislike about the city. It gave us some time to reflect on what we do and don’t like about Paris too. I, Hanna, am much more in favour of London, while Edwina is a Francophile through and through.

We’re ALWAYS going on about what we love about Paris and France in general, especially on our Instagram (which just so happens to be run by Edwina!) So, in last week’s video, we’ve listed FIVE of the things we HATE about Paris.

Once again, we want to remind you that OUR BOOK IS COMING OUT THIS MONTH! SO KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED FOR THAT. WE’RE VERY EXCITED!

Get used to secondary smoke

We’d be lying if we said we’d never at least TRIED a cigarette. But, it’s true to say that neither of has ever been a smoker. As a result, being surrounded by smoke in Paris all the time is my personal pet peeve.

Edwina may be over this fact now after having lived in the country for so long, but it winds me up no end. However, I recently learnt that France isn’t the top location in Europe for smoking..

Maybe I would be a little more tolerant if secondary smoke didn’t actually damage health… Rant over (until someone starts smoking on me again.)

It Smells Weird…

Okay, au pairs, you have to tell us, is it US? Whenever we’re walking around Paris, we occasionally catch a whiff of something far from desirable. Am I going crazy?

I find it’s always a similar, undistinguishable smell which pervades over the entire city… Have you experienced it? Please let us know in the comments of our YouTube video.

After some Googling, the smell I’m specifically talking about is “wet limestone” apparently. How bizarre. Okay, onto number 3…

Where are the PUBLIC TOILETS?!

This is a problem so often faced that there is now a BOOK called “Où faire pipi à Paris” and we thank you very much Cecile Briand because it’s a God send.

If you manage to find a public toilet, make sure to hold your nose, have your own tissues on hand and perhaps even 50 cents.

Are Parisians Judgemental?

We all know the stereotype of “arrogant French people”. Although, we know this certainly isn’t the case for most Frenchies, we have to ask - what’s up with those few that STARE at us on public transport?

Having arrived in Paris from New York and London where pretty much ANYTHING goes, I suppose we’re not used to the disapproving glances. We regularly feel uncomfortable on the metro if we’re wearing workout gear and clearly not heading to the gym.

It’s not just us either, as our wonderful Patreon patron Julia Mortley adds:

I have purple running shoes and people give them the weirdest looks, they were fairly normal in Canada, but not here!
Even though we HATE somethings about Paris, we have to love it really as it’s the city that brought us together! (Even if I do look like I’m in pain from Edwina grabbing my shoulder too hard… “smile”

Even though we HATE somethings about Paris, we have to love it really as it’s the city that brought us together! (Even if I do look like I’m in pain from Edwina grabbing my shoulder too hard… “smile”

Thanks so much for reading our blog and supporting Au Pair, Oh Paris.

Our book is out so soon. We’re currently facing glitches (who knew publishing a book was so hard!) But, we hope it have it with you ASAP.

If you want to help support us and keep this community alive, please consider becoming a patron. As little as $1 will help keep our website live (which currently costs us around $300 per year to run!)

Furthermore, if you need any help with the au pair process, make sure to join our Au Pair, Oh Paris Open Forum which both Edwina and I are active on!

That’s all for now.
Ciao! xo

We also LOVE meeting you au pairs! Check out our APOP Member Group!

We also LOVE meeting you au pairs! Check out our APOP Member Group!