The stress of managing child care responsibilities with work demands takes a toll on many parents’ personal and professional lives. The American Psychological Association reports that over 43% of employees say that their family responsibilities interfere with their work performance. There are many professions such as doctors, lawyers, and various administrative positions that require working unconventional hours. A challenging work schedule requires flexibility when it comes to child care.
Some jobs require the employee to stay longer some nights without advanced notice. This can be a problem for parents scrambling at the last minute to make arrangements for their children's' care. Daycare options charge additional fees for after-hours care and will eventually close for the day. Also, waking up one morning with a sick child will leave parents frazzled, as they attempt to find alternative child care solutions for the day. Does the parent sacrifice a work day to care for the sick child?
These are important factors when determining what child care options are best for your family. As a paramedic and doctor, James and Meagan realized early in their marriage that their busy professions would not exactly be conducive to providing their children with the full-time care and attention they deserve. James talks about how they decided on the best child care solution. “We talked a lot about what childcare to use. We also looked at the cost part a lot. Regardless of what you do with your child – it’s going to be expensive; there is no way to get around that. We came down to the bigger factor for us and that was lifestyle. There are a whole lot of advantages to having an Au Pair— the flexibility in scheduling, a whole lot of consistency, and oversight in the house.”
Au Pair child care provides safe, reliable live-in child care and supervision of your children while offering a valuable cultural experience for your family. Au Pairs work up to 45 hours per week and 10 hours per day, which offers the flexibility busy professionals need. Au Pairs participate in your family life and activities creating a consistent, safe and loving environment.
Daycare typically starts at around $8/hour per child. Families with multiple children can get a discount, but the price per hour goes up. A nanny typically starts between $10 and $15 per hour with extra charges for more children. Au Pair child care averages $7.65/hr per family regardless of the number of children.
James continued, “The primary reason why we chose an Au Pair was the distance I had to travel to work, which would regularly keep me overnight on trip. My wife didn’t need to be home with the kids and miss out on her work as a doctor anymore, and Au Pair care is more flexible than a daycare.”
“In the selection process, I think we hit a home run with our first Au Pair, from Australia. She was 26 years old. My wife and her are great friends, they still communicate by email and Skype frequently. Our second Au Pair was a bit younger—not anything wrong with that, it just required a different approach. She was 18 and had inherent challenges, and we had more of a fine-tuning process with her. In the end, she rose to the challenge and met our expectations. Our kids loved both Au Pairs and still talk frequently about them.”
Parents who successfully balance parenting and work understand that making their children a priority sometimes means working hard to meet their children’s needs. In the case of James and Meagan, successfully balancing parenting and work included a new family member (Au Pair) to help manage the child care responsibilities.
Nikki Khuong is an author, mother, early childhood education expert, and Local Area Representative for Go Au Pair in the Toledo area. Go Au Pair has been providing quality childcare for over 27 years and is designated by the U.S. Department of State as a sponsored agency to provide families affordable child care solutions through various Au Pair Programs.