During these scary COVID-19 times we have to stay strong, however difficult it may be. Some of us are dealing with homesickness, some feel scared and others try to make the best out of the situation. We are all dealing with this situation in a different way, but we want to let you know that you are NOT (!) alone. We will share COVID-19 stories from au pairs to show you that you are not the only one who is dealing with this.
Au pair from Italy
Hello there, I’m an au pair from Italy. I’m currently in my extension year in San Francisco, California. In my first year I was an au pair in Seattle, Washington State. My experiences are very different because of COVID-19 but I am very thankful for spending time with my second host family. I will tell you why.
My first host family has two little girls, very sweet and lovely cutie pies. I really love them, but as you know, little kids mean a lot of work and being stuck inside all day. My second host family has two teenagers, two smart and fun girls. Now you would think that I’m having the best experience, even if there’s a lock down. Well I will be honest with you, I definitely feel lucky to have teenagers instead of little kids. But don’t think this situation is easy for me. I love my host family, they are very nice and my host mom told me clearly she doesn’t really need me since the girls are old enough and independent.
That’s the problem: they are too independent and they don’t need me. They needed my help when I had to drive them around to their after school activities. You would think: “what a lucky girl!” Yeah, I am and I don’t want to complain about it since a lot of my au pair friends are struggling being stuck at home with little kids. But believe me, being stuck at home, without being able to hang out, and especially knowing that I am off and my host family doesn’t need me is stressful.
First off all because I feel useless, I try to do chores in the house to show them that I’m still available to help them. But after doing the laundry and the dishwasher, I was done. I was scared that my host family could ask me to leave the program or at least their house since they don’t really need me. I cried in my room for a few days, I couldn’t decide if I should go back to my home country or if I should talk with them. I’ve heard bad stories about au pairs and I was very worried to be kicked out.
Thank goodness I talked with my host family and I explained my feelings. They were surprised I thought they would kick me out. My host mom, such a kind and amazing person, told me she never thought to do that. She told me that she understands the situation and told me not to stress about my host kids, she recommended me to create my own schedule and eventually the kids would join me in my activities. You might not understand my feelings and concerns. I felt that I was paid without doing my job and kind of taking advantage of the host family’s benefits (like food, place to stay and live, etc) without having any reason to receive their money. I’m very thankful my host family considers me part of the family and would never do that to me.
Also: having so much time for myself was fun the first three days, then it became very boring. I’m not used to having so much free time and now that I have it, I’m confused and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to waste my time being lazy and watching TV. I tried to ask my host kids to do something together but they prefer watching TV. I totally understand them, they are teenagers, I would do the same at their age. So every day I’m trying something new or different to fulfill my days and don’t feel guilty about being lazy. For bored au pairs like me, I really recommend you to create your own schedule and do something different every day: do research online, learn a new skill, work out, take a walk, challenge yourself by cooking something new, painting, learning to play an instrument, or call all the friends and relatives we never had time to call.It’s a very good time to spend with ourselves, to dive deep inside us and learn about ourselves, to love ourselves and be ready when all this situation will be done.
Do you feel inspired and want to share your story with us? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your situation.