Being an au pair can be totally draining and frustrating. It’s like parenting, but without the reward of unconditional love. Between all the negotiating, complaining, crying and rule-enforcement you have to deal with, sometimes you just need to TREAT YO’ SELF.
Any au pair can tell you that the time you get to yourself is precious, and needs to be spent wisely.
If only I were a mathematician, then I could write you an equation for the amount of energy I spend trying to get A to take a nap and its proportion to how much I then need a nap. Oh, the sweet, sweet irony. Sometimes, napping is the ultimate priority: one of my friends told me she decided not to punish herself by keeping her kid home from soccer when he forgot his homework, “I just wasn’t going to deprive myself of my the-boys-go-to-soccer-nap.”
I partially blame this on the family for always having chocolate in the house… I only have so much self control. After a long day, you just need something to take the edge off. Since I live with the family, binge-drinking is off the table and thus chocolate is my frequent substitute. Hiding in the kitchen alone with a piece of dark chocolate is often the only way I get through the afternoon.
3. Other snack binges
I have enough self-control to stay out of the sweets cabinet when the family is home, besides my vice mentioned above, and I’m pretty shy about making myself food in general (usually I eat my meals with them, I don’t cook for myself). Technically they’re supposed to feed me as part of the whole au pair deal, but I don’t think that means that the fridge is open 24 hours… But once they leave? It’s pretty much a free-for-all. I feel the least guilty about the leftovers I polish off, but I think they might have noticed that their jar of cornichons (little pickles) is emptying itself more often than usual.
My host mom has the most magnificent tub in the master bathroom. I’ve always been a shower girl, but after giving A a bath in this tub 3-4 times a week, I jumped at chance to use it the first time the family left me home alone. That plus glass of wine, a face mask and some Netflix… Bliss.
Ah yes, it deserves its own special mention. I take special pleasure in the fact that I spend so much of my free time watching Netflix and yet the kids are only allowed 30 minutes of screen time per day… Suckers, being an adult is the best. Again, it’s ironic that I often choose to watch the old Disney movies that I could watch with the kids, but its so much better to watch them with my chocolate and snacks pilfered from downstairs… Even if I can’t take a bath and didn’t have time for a nap, at least I get to fall into a blissful Netflix-induced-coma at the end of the day.