Jen is originally from Cape Cod and currently lives outside of Boston, where she works in financial services. Jen and her husband, Greg, are proud parents to their six year old son, Matthew, and their three year old twins, Julia and Ryan. They are also proud to be host parents to their beloved Mexican au pair, Kari, who they found through Cultural Care Au Pair.
You’ve lived in Massachusetts for quite a while, what do you love to do with your family for fun?
We love to get busy, our weekends are go, go, go! It’s obviously harder in the winter, but in the summer I scour the internet for local events in the area. We love to go to playgrounds! We also love to go to large indoor play structures with lots for the kids to do. Lots of fun family activities! Our au pair loves to take the kids to either- it really helps them get their energy out!
That sounds fun! Have you always hosted an au pair since you had children?
We actually didn’t have an au pair until after our twins turned one. I was speaking with a coworker, who was commenting on how much money his clients were spending on daycare. I’m in financial services, so part of my job is to encourage people to save money—for retirement, for their kid’s college—but nobody ever says, “save money for your kids to go to daycare!” But, truthfully, what we were paying to put our three kids in daycare is pretty close to a college tuition. So, my coworker suggested that we host an au pair. Now when I talk to people about our au pair, I say it’s the best decision we ever made.
What is it about the au pair program that made it the right fit for your family?
The flexibility really is key. I no longer have to worry about snow days, or sick days, or anything like that, because my au pair is right here in my home. I also love the consistency for my children. I have had friends who have hired nannies in the past, and they have sometimes struggled with a lack of consistency. A lot of regular issues that come up day-to-day, like the nanny getting a flat tire on the way to work, or something like that, are eliminated or reduced because the au pair is living with you.
How did your kids react when someone new came to live in the house with them?
They adjusted really, really quickly. I made a concerted effort to show Kari around and make her feel comfortable. We took her to the beach, a few different playgrounds in the area my kids love, and we went to the Marshfield Fair. She was very natural with the kids early-on, it was such a great blend and fit for our family right off the bat. She really has become like a daughter to us.
Your au pair, Kari, is from Mexico. How have you learned about Mexican culture and traditions from her, and has she enjoyed learning about American culture?
Yes, Kari loves Thanksgiving! We have told her so many times that we would really like her to come back and visit once she goes home, and she always asks if she can come during Thanksgiving! Around Halloween, she also taught my kids about the Mexican tradition of celebrating the Day of the Dead, and used the Pixar movie, Coco, to explain it to them. It was very sweet.
And what has it been like for Kari living in the United States?
Kari has had the opportunity to travel quite a bit, she has gone north to ski (which she loved!), and has also visited major cities like Chicago, New York and D.C. She has also been surprised by the many conveniences in the U.S., such as drive-thru service and Amazon delivery. She has said many times that she can’t believe how customer-friendly the country is!
What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions about hosting an au pair?
I think the biggest misconception is that it is exorbitantly expensive, when in fact it made more sense for my family financially than any other option. I think people also don’t automatically think of the increased flexibility, my oldest is now in kindergarten and she can meet him off the bus, she can drive him to activities- it’s all about the extra hands! I recently had surgery, and Kari just went above and beyond for my family, so a few weeks later when I was feeling better, I took her to a spa to be pampered herself!
This interview was sponsored by Cultural Care Au Pair.