Au Pairs come in every shape and size and this is completely fine. You might get another impression if you have a look at the public image of Au Pairs. Let’s try a little experiment: google the term “au pair” and have a look at the related pictures. Do you notice something? The ideal Au Pair is always constructed as a young, beautiful woman - and of course she is skinny. Obviously people don’t look the same and they don’t have to. But most Host Families still expect their Au Pairs to match the current beauty standard, which means that they have to be rather slim. Today we want to touch on the topic of why you shouldn’t avoid overweight Au Pairs.
Overweight does not mean inactive
Most Au Pairs are working 20-30 hours per week, but it’s still a full time job: taking care of children can be quite difficult sometimes. Many parents like to see when the Au Pair doesn’t just stay at home with the kids but makes them go outside with her. Whether it’s a walk to the local playground or other fun activities such as hiking, biking tours or climbing, you need to be quite active to catch up with the kids.
The first argument we hear from parents is: overweight Au Pairs won’t go outside with the children. But this is not correct in every case. Have you ever been to a local run in your neighbourhood? If so, we are sure that you haven’t only seen young athletic people around you, but also people who might have a bit more on their waist and still overtake the skinny ones. It’s a common stereotype that overweight people are not sporty. But gyms, sport clubs and parks would be empty if there were only skinny people working out there.
How do I make sure that my Au Pair is an active person? Ask her! During your Skype interview you can insert some questions which cover her activity level. For example: What are your hobbies? How does your typical day look like? Which outdoor activity is your favourite? Trust us: being overweight and being lazy are completely different things. A skinny Au Pair might look like a marathon runner and still die while trying to climb the stairs. Don’t judge a book by its cover - you might even find your favorite Au Pair ever by being a bit more open.
What about the body image?
Of course we all want the best for our children: the highest education, the right food and a suitable role model. An Au Pair really is that: in most cases the children look up to their Au Pair and adore her. Do you worry that your children would want to become overweight because their Au Pair is? Let us get that straight from the start: yes, having a few more pounds around your waist can be caused by eating too much. But there are many people who eat just right and are naturally stronger or well-built. If your Au Pair is still active there is no reason to be afraid that she might not be a good role model.
The opposite can even be correct: we all know that children can be very mean especially towards people who seems to have a physical weak point. If your children grow up with Au Pairs who are not model-size that might even be better for them than glorifying potentially unrealistic measurements. Remember Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s famous quote: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. Consider these wise words when selecting your Au Pair. You can’t see from photos or her outer appearance if she will take good care of your children. Make an appointment with her for a video interview, listen carefully to what she is saying and decide not based on her looks but on your gut instinct.