Hey guys, welcome back to another Wednesday with me, Abbey.
This week I want to talk about a more serious topic because I know for me, the prospect of working for a single-parent was kind of daunting and I didn’t really know what to expect. But, trust me you don’t have to worry! I’ve been living and working in Milan, Italy, for one year as an Au Pair for a single mother. It has been the best year of my life and my Host Mum and I have become really great friends. But I really didn’t know what to expect from the situation at the beginning. I had so many questions and now that I have had the experience of working for a single mum, I’m here to answer them for you.
Should I choose a family with a single-parent?
When it comes to choosing a family, choose one that you feel the best about. Go with your gut-instinct, that’s exactly what I did and surprisingly enough, I was right. I couldn’t have possibly chosen a better family. The thing about my family that really “captured” me was their humorous description, but the coolest thing was that they had a pet rabbit, Penelope. I too had a pet rabbit during my childhood, so it just put the icing on the cake for me. Pick a family that you really like and get a good feeling from. This is the key, don’t worry about whether they’re a single-parent family or not, you just have to go with your instinct.
Is there more work involved?
Just because there is one less parent physically living in the house that doesn’t mean that there is anymore work involved. I actually work less than a lot of my Au Pair friends because the kids go to stay at their dads every Wednesday and every second weekend. I always try to help my Host Mum as much as possible because single parents will be so grateful for any extra help you give them. I always unpack the dishwasher or fold the washing for my Host Mum so that when she gets home it’s just one less thing she has to do. However, I am not required to do that. A little bit of help with everyday house-hold things can go a long way with a single-parent. As for your working schedule, this should be agreed upon and fixed hours should be created with a potential Host Family before you even agree to be their Au Pair. This is relevant for all types of families and it’s really important to organize this in order to avoid working too much or too little.
If the children are with the other parent do you have to go with them?
This varies, however, in most cases the answer is no. For me, I work for the mother and when the children are at their dads, I am totally free just like her. She is my employer not the father and that’s why it works like this. Another Au Pair that I know who is working for a single-parent family has a totally different arrangement to me. She is required to stay with the children once a week while it’s their dad’s night with the kids, however, every second weekend when they’re with him, she is normally free. This is the agreement that they have made and is totally different to my arrangement but it’s something you need to talk about with a potential Host Family in the initial stages of interviewing.
How many days a week do the children spend with the other parent?
In most cases, once a week and every second weekend. My host kids go to their dads every Wednesday after school and every second weekend. I think this is generally the case because my Au Pair friends who work for a single-parent said that their families function in the same way.
Is it strange to work for a single-parent of the opposite sex?
I don’t have any personal experience with this, but I know a friend who has. She worked for a single-dad who had custody of his child. He was enthusiastic about his son learning English and needed the extra help as he was a business owner. She had an amazing time with the family and had a good relationship living and working with the father. It was very beneficial for the child to have a female figure in his life every day
. My Host Mum is also open to the prospect of having a male Au Pair
because of similar reasons. She believes it would be just as beneficial to have a
male figure in her children’s lives on a daily basis. I can certainly understand that you would be a little nervous going into a situation like this, but you need to remember why people get an Au Pair: to teach their kids a second language, to play with them and help with their daily activities. Regardless of whether the single-parent
is male or female, they just want the best for their children
I hope that this post has answered some of your questions about working for a single-parent family
. I have really enjoyed working for a single-parent family here in Milan and I feel that it’s given me the opportunity to grow a really strong relationship with both my Host Kids and Host Mum. Always remember to choose a family that you think is the right fit for you. You can read more about finding the right Host family here