My blog went on silent mode these past two months for a number of awkward reasons I’m still worried about writing about. But after some careful consideration I thought TO HELL WITH THAT and I’m going to write about the ordeal so that other Au Pairs can have something to read if they ever find themselves in the same posistion…

After a month and a bit I decided to leave my orginal family. On paper, they were fine. They paid me my pocket money, they got me whatever food I needed, and let me have my weekends off like my contract said I should. Unfortunately, families are complicated structures and finding yourself in the middle of a stranger’s private business is not an easy adjustment to make. Living in a tiny piso where I could hear everything that was being said in all three rooms around me did not make for comfortable living. It turned out the family had issues that I should definitely have been made aware of before I moved in with them, and I started to feel like they thought an au pair would be the solution to said issues. Unfortunately, for 50euros a week I did not believe an au pair should ever be used in such a way and I wasn’t prepared to put up with the craziness any longer.

The turning point came when I was offered a teaching position in Singapore for 2015 and, well, it made me realise just how qualified I was, which in turn led me to reconsider how much I could gain from being an au pair. I thought about staying because I believe some struggle is good for a person’s development, but unfortunately “Au Pair” is not taken seriously on neither a CV or a Linkedin Profile. After being offered a job in Singapore, I was then contacted by another family living in the centre of Madrid, offering me an alternative Au Pair job whereby I would work a third of the hours and instead would be paid hourly for teaching private lessons to their extended family. It sounded too good to be true and I was weary of trusting strangers again, but after meeting them in person something just felt right and I told them I could be with them in two weeks.

Handing my notice in to my first family was awful. I took the the Au Pair facebook groups to ask for advice and I was overwhelmed by the amount of support I recieved from others! It really gave me the confidence and reassurance I needed to finally break it to my family. It was an incredibly awkward situation because I lived in their home, and had to stay with them for a week after telling them I didn’t want to live with them anymore. I would stay out aaaaall day and hide in my room as soon as they came home. I even lived off cereal bars for the week to avoid cooking in the kitchen!  Their family issues only intensified the awkwardness, and I had to work tirelessly to ensure the parents did not lay the blame on their son. That was the worst part.

I decided that there was nothing I could do, atleast not for 2 euros an hour. I told myself before I arrived if I didn’t feel it was beneficial to my professional development then I would leave, and in the end I just took my own advice. I was feeling lonely, trapped, and disrespected. It just wasn’t the experience I signed up for, and fresh out of university I was not about to sit around for a year feeling that way when I knew I could be doing more. La vida es demasiado corta!

I thought I had been a master of spin, but in the end the mother found this very blog (apparently you can google me, who knew) and read my posts. I believe the positive messages in my Nucella Sandwich entry got lost in translation and she was not happy about me writing about my experience online. I totally understand this and I have removed said post from public view, but as I keep all identities anonymous I have now decided to break my silence and tell people a bit about it (emphasis on a bit). Now I’m living in the centre of Madrid, with an absolutely spectacular family, working not one, not two, but THREE teaching jobs on the side of my studies and Au Pair duties. I have QUINTUPLED my income and I’m only working a few extra hours a week. Now it really is awesome; so if you’re an au pair feeling a bit iffy about your family then  GET OUT OF THERE NOW YOU DON’T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH IT. Great families do exist (Au Pair world wasn’t lying), and if not, there are plenty of people crying out for an English tutor (at least in Madrid anyway) that’ll pay you half your weekly au pair wage for one hour’s work…

6 thoughts on “Life as an Au Pair: When the going got tough and I buggered off.

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