“If au pairing has taught me anything, so far it is the value of mothers”
I recently saw a meme on Facebook that stated ‘your mum isn’t a mum if she doesn’t say she does everything around here’ – for the life of me I cannot find it again, but it was something along those lines. Anyway, normally I would like these kinds of things, laugh and think yeah that’s so true, because well it kind of is. I know myself that through my years growing up I often got the ‘lecture’ about how I never do anything, how my mum does it all like a slave and I just walk around like it is a hotel. I always thought ohhh will you just stop the dramatics and lay off…typical thought for a teenager living at home. The sad thing is I actually did think my mum was being dramatic, and that the only reason she thought she was doing everything was because the house always looked like a showroom. Of course that would feel like doing anything! Stop cleaning so much and maybe you would feel less like a slave.
21 years later and only now after three weeks of au pairing do I finally understand what my mother was saying to me all those times. It wasn’t about the cleaning, it was the desire to just have a little help, and well the easiest thing for a teen to do is clean. Of course, when I left home for university I learnt that it is kind of nice to have dinner made for you every night, and your washing and ironing done for you, but it never really affected me that much. The difference is ‘doing it for yourself’ verses ‘you doing it for someone else as well as for yourself’, it is hard work!!
As an au pair I would work 30 hours a week and in between that I would clean the boys’ rooms, their bathroom, and wash/iron their laundry and bed sheets (whilst also doing my own room and washing). I also cook for them every night and on Wednesday I do breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus running them around to sports, getting dressed and showered. AND BREATHE! An au pair lifestyle isn’t that bad, and all of the above is set in the hours we work and we are paid for. Not too bad right? However, despite this, I have often found myself feeling like I am taken for granted, like I do everything for them and I get no thanks. This feeling is a difficult one to experience and it can sometimes feel a bit lonely.
For example: When they make a huge mess on the table and just walk away with everything still there expecting me to clean it. I call them back and they moan as if I’ve asked them to move a mountain. This may seem like nothing but these little events over time and in a new environment can be challenging.
If au pairing has taught me anything, so far it is the value of mothers. Thinking of my own mum, single, and raring two children whilst having a job, she didn’t get paid for all the things I do, and she didn’t just do her room and ours, she did the whole house. Au pairing has given me the opportunity to learn a lesson, and experience something that I once moaned over. These are the kind of things you do not learn at school, or in a grad job. I learn more and more each day with this job, and I am forever grateful for the chance to do so. One day these lessons will come in handy, and if not the knowledge itself is good enough.
P.S….Shout out to my mum, you are an absolute queen and I apologise for myself centred view! Lesson learnt
Image taken from http://southernbella-klw.tumblr.com/image/74240897567