Before I flew out to Oz I had done a lot of research (read: created multiple Pinterest boards) on traveling Australia alone and working whilst doing so. Au pairing was mentioned in multiple articles when talking about ways to experience the country more like a local than a backpacker, so it had already been on my mind as a potential job before arriving.
When I first moved to Orange I had no idea what to expect. I was putting all my trust into a family I had never met before and they were putting their trust in a backpacker they didn’t know to look after their most precious thing in the world; their one-year-old daughter. Yeah, Australians are weird…
So anyway, fast forward 7 months and I was heading back to England and making the most heartbreaking goodbye to Poppy; my little partner in crime, my number one gal, my BFF. I had the most amazing time looking after her and watching her grow and develop was truly wonderful, so I wanted to share with you guys a round-up of the main things I learned from being her au pair and add a few of my many favourite photos of my time with her too.
Kids are a hella lot smarter than you think.
They know that phones are meant to be put up to your ears, they know when you’re trying to hide something from them (read: biscuits), and I don’t know about any other child, but Poppy sure as hell knew when a camera was out and made sure she was looking her best.
Parents work bloody hard at what they do…
…and we need to give them more credit for it. Especially when their kid is throwing a tantrum in the middle of a store and they’re trying their best to calm the situation.
Peppa Pig is a bad influence.
She’s a brat. End of discussion.
I’m more responsible than I thought.
I no longer joke about how I’m not cut out for adult life because let’s face it, when you’re thrown into the deep end your instincts kick in and you realise “actually yeah, I’m pretty damn good at this whole adulting thing”.
I’m broodier than I thought.
This one makes me laugh because although I don’t want a child of my own for at least another 6/7 years, I just wanted to take Poppy back to England with me because I got so attached to her. I am excited about having my own kid, don’t get me wrong, but I think for now I’ll just stick to dogs.
Kids bring you so much joy.
My Mum always said this to me (because I’m the light of her life of course) and every time I would respond saying I very much doubt it. But through au pairing I’ve realised they will bring you all the happiness in the world when, for example, they say novel words or choose to bring a book over and cuddle with you rather than playing with toys.
I’ve always been a relatively patient person, but that was truly tested over these seven months. I will never again take for granted how little time it takes for me to leave the house or how I can just run into a store to do a quick food shop, because a toddler who’s adamant on carrying the basket and making a run for it down the frozen isle when all you need is a carton of milk will get tiring very quickly.
Kids are not adults and we shouldn’t expect them to behave or understand like them either.
Before I became an au pair I would talk to young kids (by young I mean 1-3) using full sentences and expecting them to understand, but now I realise that using few-word sentences with only keywords such as “more or finished?” makes it easier to understand and respond. I would also expect them to behave as if they knew the consequences of their actions, but kids don’t, and that’s all a part of their innocence and they’ll learn as they go on.
Being an au pair is hard work…
…but it’s the best job I’ve ever had and I would fly back out to Oz to look after Poppy again in a heartbeat.
If you’ve been considering au pairing during your travels let me know in the comments below, especially if you have any questions you want to ask before applying! I seriously can’t recommend it enough.
Until next time,