I was going to write a post about my overall experience as an Au Pair and how it was not a pleasant one. But it’s really not that interesting, and the people who would care to know the whole story already do. I’ve been complaining to them about it for the last 6 months. Instead of getting whiney, I’ll just tell you how it was all my fault.
To start, I jumped the gun choosing a family/country/city and ended up with a terrible host family…and then just stayed anyways.
I do really care for the kids. Of course there are bad days for us all, but I will miss them when I go. The 5 year old girl has already been talking about coming to visit me in California when she’s a grown up and being the Au Pair for my kids (ha!). Adorable.
Now, during the last 6 or so months in Munich, I spent a lot of time being miserable about my job. A few times I was motivated enough to look into other options for me to stay/work in Europe, but nothing substantial and nothing was accomplished and I didn’t want to find another Au Pair job. I just kept working. I was making friends, seeing old ones, and taking the trips I’d always wanted. Maybe it was worth it to stay…
But I hated the job. Not that it was difficult or overly demanding, I just didn’t like it. I hate playing Suzie Homemaker and cleaning up other people’s stuff. I hate making beds. And my host mom was an insane perfectionist which drove me insane making everything seem 10xs worse. And once the job did what I wanted it to (get me back to Europe long term), I had even less desire to do it.
And of course I knew living with a family would be weird. But I’m used to living with at least 2 of my best friends and having someone to talk to/drink/watch movies with any given night. As someone who does not party a lot, this was kind of a big deal. I was not close with the parents either- everyone went their own ways after the kids went to bed making us very disconnected. They were also of the upper upper class and treated me (and the 2 other woman who came to help with the kids/cleaning) like it was them helping us, not the other way around.
I closed myself off from the family and didn’t go on many outings with them. Sort of defeats the purpose of a cultural exchange, yeah? The job became more of a job to me and less of an experience. And it made me miserable.
And still I stayed and endured.
I wish I had a more clever way of saying this- but hindsight is always 20/20. Life is short. Do what makes you happy. No time like the present.
These are all things I know.
These are things I tell my friends on a regular basis.
These are things I have to learn for myself again and again and again.
I think everyone has that one thing they never seem to be able to learn for themselves. For me, I tend to put up with things much longer than I should. Perhaps it’s the phrase engrained in my brain ‘it builds character’ from years of ballet training. Did wonders for me in the dance world, not so much otherwise.
I managed to make what could have been a fantastic experience into one I might now regret. I kept telling myself it would get better. I’d take a holiday and come back feeling refreshed, only to rediscover each month that it quickly deteriorated back to the horror and stress it was before.
I did it to myself. But I am fairly certain this job just wasn’t for me. Crazy family or not. I have made some wonderful friends in Munich and had many fantastic times. I will carry these memories with me forever and maybe, just maybe, next time I find myself in a messy situation I can look back and remember that it’s best to get myself out as quickly as possible. I will finish out the summer with them and then possibly go work at the same hostel in Portugal I stayed in in March before heading back home. New adventures to begin!