Being an Au Pair can be pretty glamorous. And other times it can be really challenging. Hear me when i say challenging…
The daily life of an Au Pair varies from person to person. It depends on the family you work for and their schedule as well as their expectations. My Italian host family consists of a single mother and two school children, Gabrielle, a 10 year old boy and Luna, a 7 year old girl. Here are the details of my average day, working for a family in Milan, Italy. For other useful resources, click here.
7 am – 8 am
Buongorno! Wow! So very early… Usually only once a week or even less i have to prepare Luna and take her to the bus stop at 8am. This time involves rushing around for 30 minutes trying to eat, get dressed, brush teeth and do her hair. She often tells me that she doesn’t want to go to school today and would prefer to stay watching TV however, be strong, don’t let the puppy dog eyes trick you.
9:30 am-12:30 pm
Twice a week during this time i attend my Italian language classes. Language classes are a great way to learn another language, obvious, i know but also, to meet new friends. In Milan, i attend the “Commune Di Milano” language course because it is super cheap at just 92 Euros for a three month course. If you’re planning to be an au pair for a longer period of time I definitely recommend trying to learn the language, even just the basics, because it will greatly enhance your cultural experience in Italy.
If I’m not at class, I will always (ok, maybe not always, motivation can sometimes be severely lacking… we are all guilty right?) go to the gym during this time. The gym is such a good way to clear your head and burn off those extra carbs that consuming ridiculous amounts of pasta comes with.
During this time, i try to speak with my family at least once a week and run any errands i may have.
1 pm – 4 pm
Lunch time! This time, for me, is some of the best time you will have being an Au Pair. I am free during this time which means hanging out with my Au Pair friends. Usually, we grab lunch, have picnics, go shopping or even plan weekends away. It is a good time to speak with people in the same position as you, it’s a network of support and great friendships. Milan has the biggest community of au pairs in the world so you could never feel lonely.
4 pm -7 pm
By 4 pm I am always home drinking a coffee and preparing to pick Luna up from the bus stop. At this time, Gabrielle has already returned from school and is usually (with a lot of nagging) doing his homework. I pick Luna up from the bus stop, give her a snack and we organise what she wants or needs to do on the particular afternoon. The kids, twice a week, have sport. Luna does gymnastics and Gabrielle boxing so i take them to their retrospective activities in the afternoons. Then, i wait for them to finish and come home. On the days that they don’t have sport we are at home playing games, they’re with friends or we go to the garden. When the afternoon is over i’ll tell the kids almost 100 times to shower and eventually, they will. I always like to have them showered and ready before dinner.
Now it’s time to eat some yummy Italian food for dinner. My host mum always cooks, i’m never expected to do the cooking which is good because trying not to burn toast is a struggle for me. After dinner, i help with whatever i can including: dishes, playing with the kids or getting them ready for bed. After dinner i am generally free but some nights a week i will be asked to “babysit”. Generally, for Au pairs, this is considered extra work because it is “out of hours”. I am really lucky with my host mum because we have found a happy medium between the work i do during the day and the babysitting hours. Although, i do know some au pairs that’re being asked to babysit four times a week and that is so not okay.
9 pm – 12 am
Drinks! By this point every au pair has earned a drink or two. Especially if it’s Friday! Having a wine with friends is a good way to wind down at the end of the day. I meet with friends during the week after work about twice a week. One of the best parts about being an au pair is making connections and friendship all over the world.
So that’s it, my average day as an au pair in Milan. Most of the time, everything goes super smoothly during the day but stay tuned for my post about a crazy day as an au pair in Italy.